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Out of the blue, on a gorgeous Spring day, the news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson, the one and only I-only-have-to-use-one-name Prince, had died at the age of 57. It wasn't merely that his age was not advanced enough to warrant death that shocked us, it was that Prince—the soundtrack of our lives—was suddenly gone. Prince was an iconic artist who defied mortality, at least we thought.
He was a music God. Prince was supposed to live forever.
You know who seemed hardest hit by news of the death of a man 99 percent of us had never met? We parents.
We are of that age. Prince was integral piece of our generation. "Let's Go Crazy" played at our proms. We made out to "Erotic City." And we silently mouth the lyrics of "I Would Die 4 U" to that girl/boy we were crushing on. While those days are long gone, Prince's music never really went away. His songs have permanent marks on our souls.
Prince will live on forever, especially with us parents who will always and forever play Prince songs for us and our kids (well, the age-appropriate ones that is—I'd skip ones like "Darlin Nikki," "Jack U Off" and the aforementioned "Erotic City").
Parental reaction to his passing was overwhelming. Tears were shed, memories were shared and lots of "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life," memes were posted. Moms (and Dads) came out in full grief mode professing their shock, awe and love for the man. This is what 11 moms and dads tweeted or posted on their Facebook pages and on Instagram:
"OMG. I seriously feel sick. He cannot possibly be gone. He was such a huge part of all of our lives. So talented. Like genius level Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein level, like Kanye West WISHES he could be even just a little bit of Prince. I'm completely gobsmacked. This news is crushingly awful. And I'm not a celeb-crush type person. But this is the WORST WORST WORST. Oh Prince. Why did you have to leave us?" Later Katherine added, "I don't know about the rest of you but everyone in my generation, Generation X, is pretty much beside themselves today. #undone
Favorite Song: All the hits. A more recent favorite is "Call My Name" from his Musical Musicology album. Everything on "Purple Rain." "Starfish and Coffee" is the song my husband always sang to our daughter when she was little, so that's a big deal.
"When I watched the news break on Twitter that Michael Jackson died, I remember thinking that he was my first crush. I wrote him a fan letter with heart doodles and was sure that I'd grow up to marry him. But Prince. I wanted to BE Prince. I wanted to fake sermon right into a kick ass song. I wanted to figure out innuendo and then master it. I wanted to wear purple velvet and ride a motorcycle. Damn. Just damn."
Favorite Song: "The first one I fell in love with was "Raspberry Beret," my dad drove a Corvette, and I was sure I would someday, too, so "Little Red Corvette" was also a big one. "Let's Go Crazy" is the one that got my Prince tape taken away—my dad thought the "sermon" at the beginning was blasphemous. And then Sexy Mother F**ker, which I first heard at 16, was life changing. Because of course it was. DAMN."
"Prince was one of the first artists to put me on game in regard to the industry. He was not only a genius artist, he was kind, funny, beautifully eccentric, curious, imaginative, magical, spiritual, rebellious and extremely intelligent. He showed me early the power of living one's life by one's own rules and no one else's. There are really no words to express what we have all lost today. To quote my friend Paress, "Music has lost its heart beat."
"I feel like part of my childhood just died. I can't even count how many times I watched "Purple Rain" in elementary school. My friend had it on VHS and we would all watch it at his house—it was the go-to "bad" movie.
I'm not all that into music. I like what I like and tend to listen to the same stuff I listened to in the '80s and '90s, so Prince has been a constant on my playlist all these years. I won't be able to listen to him for a while without sobbing. I have work to do, so I'm not even going to try. Maybe next time I'm alone in the car..."
Favorite Song: Tie between "Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry."
9. Gwynne Watkins
"Dammit I did not sign on to raise my children in a world with no Bowie or Prince"
"I graduated from high school in 1986. "Controversy," "1999" and "Purple Rain" are the soundtracks of my high school memories. I hope people appreciate how much of a unicorn this man was. In a time where gays were firmly in the closet, and AIDS was just entering our world, he was bending genders and challenging people to accept everyone without labels. Purple rains, raspberry berets, cherry moons, may he forever be lighting our skies with colorful rainbows."
Favorite Song: That is SO hard, but I'm going with "1999." When the song was released in 1982, I was 14, and the year 1999 seemed impossibly far in the future. My sister was just a baby, and I figured out "1999" was the year she would graduate from high school.
11. Edie Rindal
"What can I say that hasn't been said. After Bowie left us we still had the genius Prince, and now he is gone too. The world is a lot less interesting; colors more muted. And I don't use genius lightly—Prince was prolific, powerful, an unparalleled performer, guitar virtuoso. He created his first few albums when he was a teenager, and wrote every song, produced every track and played every instrument out of a home studio. He was enigmatic, an imp, deeply spiritual and deeply sexual. Bow your heads, because greatness is passing. My heart is broken. Thank you Prince for being a soundtrack to my life. Perhaps you were too powerful to stay on this earth too long. The afterlife just got a hell of a lot funkier."
Favorite Song: Honestly, it's impossible to pick (just) one.