by Whitney Phaneuf

Like the rest of the world, I’m reeling from the news that Prince is dead at age 57. His cause of death remains unknown, but there are reports of him being hospitalized with the flu last week.

I was born in the late ’70s, and Prince was the soundtrack of my youth. Purple Rain was the first R rated movie I ever saw (thanks mom and dad). I remember when he became “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” and his “Love Symbol” became the butt of many jokes (it was actually an f-u to his then-label Warner Bros.).

What I don’t remember anyone ever taking about — when I heard him on the radio, watched him on MTV, or laughed at the jokes about him changing his name to a symbol (sorry Prince) — is that the man was an incredible guitarist. When I saw Prince in 2013, I was blown away by his playing (read more here).

Though he wasn’t known to pick up an acoustic guitar very often, I did find this clip of him from 2004 where, during an MTV special called Prince: The Art of Musicology and taped at New York’s Webster Hall, he performs a bluesy rendition of his 1991 hit “Cream” on a purple (what else!) acoustic guitar. Prince is playful and funny, stopping at one point to comment, “You know I wrote this while I was looking in the mirror, right?”

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