When Prince paid tribute to David Bowie, who had passed away unexpectedly several months prior, at the Atlanta date on his Piano & A Microphone tour last year, those of us who were fortunate enough to be in attendance were stopped in our tracks by the poignance of one icon honoring another. During a set where fans cheered, danced and sang along to reworked versions of their favorite Prince classics, the rapt silence while he performed his take on Bowie’s “Heroes” spoke volumes; the crowd was (rightfully) mesmerized by the way he paid homage while simultaneously making it his own, slowing it down, adding a spoken-word breakdown (“We are still standing, standing for what we believe”).
We had no idea Prince himself would be dead a week later.
He had been ill—the Atlanta show, originally slated for April 7, was pushed a week due to “flu-like symptoms,” the same symptoms cited as an explanation for the emergency landing his plane was forced to make on the way back from the show. But even then, when news of his death broke on April 21, many of us assumed it was a hoax. You don’t die of the flu at age 57, especially when you’re a celebrity with access to the best doctors money can buy. Sadly, we’d come to find out the legendary musician had been hiding an addiction to painkillers and overdosed on fentanyl, a synthetic opiod described as being 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than pure heroin.
One year later, it still doesn’t feel completely real. To pay our respects, we’re digging through our archives and revisiting our best Prince content.
First off, watch an incredible set from the Capitol Theatre in 1982 below—an exclusive from the Paste Cloud.
Check out the 50 Best Prince Songs here.
Read His Name Was Prince, our obituary by Jonathan K. Dick.
Revisit our review of one of Prince’s last-ever shows here.
Celebrate His Purpleness’s style with Prince in Pictures.
Read “Prince, Bowie and the Air of Mystery in Art” by Eric R. Danton here.
Check out Patterson Hood’s piece on Prince’s songwriting here.
And finally, don’t miss this excellent Sly and the Family Stone cover from Prince, recorded live at Tramps in 1998.