Prince Biography

A biography of the the music legend

Prince. Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Plenty of contemporary recording artists are talented, but few were as talented as Prince. Known for his vocal range, instrumental abilities and stage presence, the eclectic artist was a mainstay in popular music for more than three decades, serving as a musical influence and innovator. Prince passed away on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. Here is a look back at his amazing life and career.

Early Life:

Prince was born Prince Roger Nelson on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Music was a significant part of his life from the beginning. His mother was a jazz singer and his father was a pianist and a songwriter who performed in the Prince Rogers Trio, a jazz group, under the stage name "Prince Rogers." Prince is named after his stage name.

Breakthrough and Success:

Prince dabbled in music throughout his childhood, forming a popular funk band in his late teens. After shopping around a series of unsuccessful demo tapes, he released his debut album For You in 1978, but his second effort, Prince, was much more commercially successful. It produced the hit singles "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and it went platinum. Dirty MindControversy and 1999 generated more acclaim for the artist, but he really hit it big with 1984's Purple Rain. The album, which accompanies his film of the same, catapulted Prince into superstardom.

His backup band, The Revolution, dissolved after the releases of 1985's Around the World in a Day and 1986's Parade, but he bounced back stronger than ever as a solo artist with Sign "O" the Times.

Riding high on a solo career, he followed up with three more albums before introducing his new backup band, The New Power Generation, in 1991's Diamonds and Pearls

In 1993 he famously changed his name to the "love symbol," and combination of the male and female symbols. Between 1994 and 1996 he released a whopping five albums in an effort to rid himself of contractual obligations with Warner Bros.

He joined Arista Records in 1998 and started going by "Prince" again, instead of his unpronounceable legal name. Since then he released 15 albums. He released his 34th studio album, HITnRun phase one, in September 2015.


Few artists can revel the successes of such enduring careers. Prince was surely one of them. He was one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records. He has won more awards than you can count: seven Grammys (1999 and Purple Rain earned him Hall of Fame awards), an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Purple Rain," a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "The Song of the Heart," and four MTV VMAs. Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, cementing his place in music history.