Discover more from The Nelson George Mixtape
KOOL HERC, 'PURPLE RAIN' THROWBACKS
Articles from 1978 and 1984 written by a much younger me
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Last line of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Two events this weekend made me recall very profound moments in my career and had me pulling out old pieces of writing for reference. November 4, 1984 Prince & the Revolution played the first show their tour following the blockbuster success of the film ‘Purple Rain.’ It was in Detroit, which had been a breakout market for Prince. I traveled there for Billboard magazine to review the show and was disappointed. The resulting review, I believe, led Prince to write “Bob George,” a track on his The Black Album that seemed to dis yours truly. There’s a long story connected to my relationship with young Prince (you go through the archives here you’ll find a long piece on Prince and I).
The funny thing is I lost my print copy of the offending review years ago. A fan sent a copy to me in the last year. The way it’s been scanned, its a little hard to follow, but bare with it. It harks back to an era when there was actual criticism in music criticism.
Aside from casting a critical eye on superstar artistry, one of the other important jobs for any music journalist of my era was to identity new movements and scenes. I didn’t quite know what i was getting into when I wrote the below story for the New York Amsterdam News in July 1978. I just knew this DJ was doing something different. Decades later Kool Herc was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on November 3. This was the first piece written about Herc, “Bongo Rock,” and what came to be known as hip hop.
It’s collected in The Nelson George Mixtape Volume 1 and 2. Available via www.pacificpacific.pub.