Prince Turns 57: His 5 Most Memorable Career Moments
On the music icon's birthday, THR rounds up the album releases and stage performances that changed the course of his music career.
Across the span of nearly four decades, Prince has released 34 studio albums, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and won an Oscar on top of seven Grammy Awards.
In honor of his 57th birthday, THR rounds up the most memorable moments of the music icon's prolific career.
1. Dirty Mind (1980)
The third studio album from Prince, Dirty Mind sparked controversy for its sexual themes and trademarked the singer's promiscuous music style. Two risque tracks on the album, "Head" and "Sister," tackled topics of oral sex and incestuous relationships. His following album, Controversy, would go on to stir public reaction with its equally sexually explicit lyrics.
2. Purple Rain (1984)
The singer made his film debut in 1984's Purple Rain, a music drama in which he starred as a young musician on the rise. The film's soundtrack of the same title, written and performed by Prince and his backing band, The Revolution, topped the Billboard album charts for 24 consecutive weeks and nabbed two Grammy Awards in 1985. The film was also awarded the Oscar for best original song score, marking Prince's first Academy Award win.
3. Sign o' The Times (1987)
The 1987 album was Prince's ninth studio album and first solo release following his departure from The Revolution, the band he created in 1979 and performed alongside for seven years. The album touched on a variety of themes, including spirituality ("The Cross"), lust ("It") and gender identity ("If I Was Your Girlfriend") and covered a broad range of music genres, including funk, rock and soul.
4. Love Symbol
In 1993, Prince changed his stage name to the unpronounceable symbol that he had titled his last album (which later became known as the "Love Symbol"). Following his name change, he was often just referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" — shortened to "The Artist — due to the symbol having no specific pronunciation. He returned to using the stage name "Prince" in 2000.
5. 2007 Super Bowl XLI
Prince's showstopping performance at Super Bowl XLI, which took place in Miami in 2007, became known as one of the greatest halftime shows to date. The singer performed his own tracks "Purple Rain," "Let's Go Crazy," and "Baby I'm a Star" (all from his wildly successful album Purple Rain) and covered Queen's "We Will Rock You," Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" and the Foo Fighters' "Best of You."