Minnesota feels the loss of Prince

Minnesota has had superstars before Prince Rogers Nelson dropped his last two names and became one of the brightest pop music stars of the past 40 years. Judy Garland was from Bemidji. Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues” writer and 50s rocker who died in 1960, just as his fame was growing) was from Albert Lea. Bob Dylan, of course, from Hibbing, who transformed folk and rock music and remains today a living legend.

The difference between them and Prince, however, is that Prince stayed here in Minnesota, close to his roots, and transformed it.

Since Prince’s death last Thursday at the age of 57 there has been no end of the praises written and spoken for Prince’s many talents – his musicianship, his song writing, his showmanship and his ability to nurture other talents.

But where many talents have taken off to find fame in LA or New York, Prince stayed here, built his Paisley Palace in Chanhassen, and continued to live here. He traveled on concert tours and performances, but his home and his workplace were in Minnesota. He lent his aura of coolness to the state. He opened up his home for impromptu parties and performances to the public, he attended performances at the clubs he helped make famous, sitting quietly in the back maybe, but still there to show support.

When he died suddenly on Thursday, it jolted the international entertainment world, but it cut deepest among Minnesotans. Whether you were an ardent fan of his music or not, there is no denying he made a difference to this state.