As the world marks the first an­niver­sary of his death, Martin Cooper tips his hat to the much-missed pop-rock ge­nius, Prince.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Martin Cooper re­mem­bers one of funk-rock’s great­est in­no­va­tors, the le­gendary Prince.

In April 2016 the mu­sic world lost the leg­end that was Prince. But he left a cat­a­logue of some of the most in­ven­tive, era-defin­ing songs, in par­tic­u­lar his most suc­cess­ful ’80s pe­riod. Prince could move from Hen­drix-style histri­on­ics one minute, to per­fect pop and funk the next, and he al­ways had a killer melodic sen­si­bil­ity to his writ­ing and ar­rang­ing. Such is his legacy that im­me­di­ately af­ter his death he sold over four mil­lion copies of his al­bums and sin­gles be­tween April 21 and 28.

Prince signed with Warner Bros records in 1978 at the age of 18 and re­leased his de­but al­bum For You the same year. Over the next few years he con­tin­ued to re­lease al­bums at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, gain­ing in­creased crit­i­cal ac­claim and com­mer­cial pop­u­lar­ity along the way – his 1982 al­bum, 1999, still fea­tures many clas­sic pop songs that are played to this day. He man­aged to flaw­lessly blend pop, R&B and rock dur­ing his ca­reer and his songs were sassy and in­ven­tive through­out. Some of the big­gest al­bums of Prince’s ca­reer fea­tured his back­ing band The Rev­o­lu­tion, which included Wendy Melvoin on gui­tar, Lisa Cole­man on key­boards and Bobby Z on drums. Af­ter The Rev­o­lu­tion dis­banded Prince con­tin­ued to re­lease solo al­bums be­fore new en­sem­ble the New Power Gen­er­a­tion emerged in the ‘90s. In 1993 he con­tro­ver­sially changed his name to an un­pro­nounce­able sym­bol due to a con­trac­tual dis­pute with Warner Bros - not en­tirely out of character as Prince’s ge­nius was touched by an el­e­ment of ec­cen­tric­ity dur­ing his ca­reer.

In 2007 he played an in­cred­i­ble 21-night res­i­dency at Lon­don’s O2 arena, and con­tin­ued to tour un­til his death. Prince died of a Fen­tanyl over­dose at his Pais­ley Park es­tate in April 2016. There’s a strong ru­mour that he has left be­hind sev­eral al­bums ‘worth of yet-to-be re­leased ma­te­rial. Tributes poured in from around the world at the news of his pass­ing, in­clud­ing Bruce Spring­steen who per­formed a mem­o­rable show-open­ing ver­sion of Pur­ple Rain at his next gig.

Our track is based on Prince’s pop-rock sound of the mid ‘80s. Th­ese tunes fea­tured dance­able beats along­side heav­ily over­driven chords and flashy so­los. It’s in the key of G ma­jor (G-A-B-C-D-E-F#), but in­cludes chords out­side of the key and so­los built on G

(G-Bb-C-D-F) Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic and G Do­rian (G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F),

so there’s plenty of colour to the melodies and har­monies. There’s a har­moniser set an oc­tave be­low where the melody is played on the rhythm gui­tar fill near the begin­ning and on the solo, but the ac­tual notes played were as per the no­ta­tion.


Prince play­ing a Floyd-equipped Fender Strat

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