Prince-purple-300pxPrince has moved on and his music now stands testament to his incredible talent.

The tributes roll in with one band after another and one artist after another playing Purple Rain (or another Prince song). And all fail to capture the mystery of the genius of Prince.

Yet the answer is simple. Space. Listen to any recorded or live version of Purple Rain when played by Prince and his bands and you will hear space. Space between the notes, space between the enunciation, space for the emotion to appear and be revealed.

The tribute versions of Purple Rain don’t sound even as good as a cover band may produce. A cover band – or at least a good one – will often peel back the layers of a song and find the essence.

To hear that essence, that caressing use of space, check the recent upload to YouTube:

Even the audience appreciate how to go slowly into the aural space that Prince and his band create – it’s a calm and sensuous build towards a passionate explosion of voice and guitar that, it seems, none can equal, even when they try to play this signature tune.

And just to emphasise why so few other people can play Prince songs in the way he and his bands could, here’s Prince with Wendy, Lisa and Sheila E playing Purple Rain in the middle of their set at the Brit Awards 2006:

Long live the Prince!