Hook and Bullet Club - Minnesota-born star

Sitting in the back seat of a station wagon while we were cruising the streets of Ely in the summer of 1984, a new cassette was flipped in. The music that came out was different and every song was worth a listen.
“Do you know who this is?” asked Joe as he wheeled us down Sheridan Street.
“Nope, who is it?”
“It’s Prince, he’s from Minneapolis.”
“Doesn’t he sing that song about a pocket full of horses - ‘1999?’”
“Yup, same guy, he did “Little Red Corvette” too.”
“Cool.”
For at least one generation, Prince’s music helped define us and made us proud to be Minnesotans. Prince died on Thursday at 57, another music superstar gone far too early.
That cassette tape was played over and over again and we listened to every song. The days of artists putting out albums where every song is worth listening to is now a nearly forgotten art.
Prince was the artist who made us proud to be from Minnesota. We knew about Bob Dylan and that he had some connection to Hibbing, but that was before our time, to be honest.
Prince was our guy with the catchy lyrics, a beat you could more than dance to and a hit movie to boot in “Purple Rain.”
On our next trip to Minneapolis we made sure to check out First Avenue, the legendary bar where the movie was based. Again, our artist was helping to make our state famous. Cool.
But just as mysterious as Prince turned out to be in the years after Purple Rain, it was the same story for his music.
A year later when Prince released his next album, “Around the World in a Day,” we bought the cassette and flipped it in the tape deck. There were two songs we liked, “Raspberry Beret” and “Pop Life” but the rest - not so much.
Two more albums would follow, each with the same response from his fans. One song, maybe two we liked, yet we longed for the “Purple Rain” songs, “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry” or “I Would Die 4 U.”
But Prince wanted to expand from the album that sent him to superstardom. He strove to be different. From how he dressed, to his music, to even changing his name to a symbol.
In 1989 Prince returned to the top of the charts with the “Batman” soundtrack album. His genius was back at work by mixing lines from the movie into several of the songs. Jack Nicklaus, Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger were wrapped right into several tracks.
Prince’s songwriting skills were on display in full force in the soundtrack. Prince knew what the public wanted and he dished up a full scoop, albeit with his unique edginess.
“If a man is considered guilty for what goes on in his mind then give me the electric chair for all my future crimes,” Prince sang in “Electric Chair.”
But the artist’s battles with Warner Brothers led to a music meltdown. Prince wanted out of his contract and the company wasn’t going to let the golden ticket leave the chocolate factory until he fulfilled his album obligations. The result was a series of quickly made and quickly forgotten releases.
We hoped our Minnesota-born star could weave his magic one more time from Paisley Park but it wasn’t meant to be. He was always going to be Prince - pushing the edge of the musical envelope while forever remembered for Purple Rain. On Thursday his purple reign came to an end.
Cruising the streets of Ely will never be the same.