Over the span of almost four decades, Prince has been a major force in the music industry. His unique artistry and unwillingness to conform to certain standards have made him an icon who redefined genres. His passing on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57 is a devastating loss for those who were impacted and mesmerized by his musical genius. We asked the Summerfest Staff to share some of their favorite Prince songs in his honor. 

"Before I knew much about James Brown or Jimi Hendrix….I knew Prince. I spent a summer in Minneapolis in 1989, interning for an agent in the music business. I spent a couple nights at First Avenue seeing bands and caught a glimpse of Prince in the VIP box and once on the dance floor. His aura was magnetic. The Purple Rain album (yes album, and probably on cassette) was the sound track to my high school experience. On every bus ride to sporting events and at every party, there wasn’t one person who didn’t love Prince. The first time I heard the guitar riff to open 'When Doves Cry' I instantly fell in love with his sound. We had hopes of him returning to Summerfest for another performance. Today is a very sad day."

Scott Ziel - Associate Booking Director

"My favorite Prince record is The Black Album (this album was not formally released)."

Whit Lehnberg - Production/Contracts/Stage Management 

"'My Name is Prince' reminds me of my days in the early 90's clubbing in Chicago."

Brad Bertz - UI Architect

"I could pick any number of Prince songs, but '1999' by far has the most meaning for me. It was truly the first Prince song I had ever heard. I think I was in elementary school at the time and my sister was dating this guy who had a flashy car. I remember riding in the backseat with the windows down on a warm summer day listening to this song and just being totally enamored at how good it was. To this day, every time I hear that song I have a flashback to that summer."

Matt Cisz - Graphic Designer

"'When Doves Cry' is my favorite because I just love the beat."

Bob Babisch - Vice President of Entertainment

"'Beautiful Ones' always gets me. The music and lyrics are haunting and always make me tear up, but never more so than today. I've lost two of my favorite artists this year, Bowie and Prince. Both iconic. May they rest in peace." 

Gayelin Littell - Director of New Business Development

"I was in 5th grade when '7' came out and I distinctly remember sitting down and memorizing all the lyrics so I could sing it with all my friends at school."

Sara Peronto - Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator

"Although I'm a rocker, I always appreciated his style. He's completely mesmerizing. That entire Purple Rain record was practically the soundtrack of my high school years so it would be impossible to name just one favorite song. Prince was an incredible talent and musician. There will NEVER be another like him."

Chris Congemi - Accounting Assistant

“'Kiss' may not be my favorite Prince song, but whenever I hear it, I smile as I’m transported back to my days as a high school athlete. A few of my team members would loudly sing this song whenever we were on the bus headed to a game or meet. That was 10 years after 'Kiss' was released and the fact that the song, along with so many of his others, is still played today just goes to show how timeless Prince’s sound was." 

Sara McGuire - Marketing and Advertising Coordinator