The news of Prince’s death on Thursday (April 21) traveled fast, and far, as fans and commentators turned to social media to share their grief.
The brilliant musician’s shock passing at the age of 57, also made the front pages around the world and in many languages. On both sides of the Atlantic and further afield, the legendary singer was the top story, his image dominating the dailies at the newsstands.
Britain’s The Independent featured on its cover an effective, unmistakable illustration of the hitmaker in silhouette.
— The Independent (@Independent) April 21, 2016
Tabloid The Sun led with the headline, “Purple Reign Is Over.”
— ?? (@cfmcfc) April 21, 2016
Many European newspapers echoed in their own languages what President Obama said about the life, death and music of Prince. And all titles paid tribute to the artist’s extraordinary musical talent.
Vienna’s Der Standard carried its analysis on the performer’s career under the headline, “Music icon Prince: The smallest greatest superstar,” noting the “masterpiece” Purple Rain was “already defined as an epoch – one of the best albums in the history of music.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 21, 2016
Berlin’s Die Welt recalled: “Prince Rogers Nelson, as he was baptized, was in fact a prince, a son of the old rock and pop music, a shy and peculiar fairytale hero, a magician.”
Prince, reported Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger, was an “Alleskoenner,” a man who “could do everything. He was already an icon during his lifetime. He never watched others. He carried musical visions in his head and wanted to transfer them immediately into music.”
Madrid’s El Pais declared Prince “the genius of Minneapolis, icon amongst icons.” The musician was “an incontestable figure of popular music for the last 30 years.” The muso “hated routine and orthodoxy,” the Spanish paper explained, “and throughout his career he was always determined to defy convention.”
— Marc Thill (@marcthill) April 21, 2016
Paris’ Le Figaro paid close attention to Prince’s attire, from his sleeveless jackets, to his tight boots, sunglasses, velvet tuxedos, leather jackets, gold jewelry… and diminutive stature. The singer “enjoyed playing an androgynous figure. With the same ambiguity, he infused this own sensitivity and a certain romanticism into his songs by leaving behind the indelible mark on the musical landscape of the 1980s,” the title enthused.
De Volkskrant of Amsterdam identified Prince as “a phenomenon”. And the “greatest ever performer in the history of pop.”
Today’s Irish Daily Star front page: Nothing Compared 2 Prince RIP pic.twitter.com/PlTh2b9Jly
— Irish Daily Star (@IsFearrAnStar) April 22, 2016
Milan’s Corriere della sera remarked on a big-picture situation few music fans would contest: 2016 is an annus horribilis for international music, with David Bowie and now Prince among the legendary names to fall in quick succession.
Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung paraphrased one of Prince’s many enduring hits: “The doves are now crying.”
Australians woke Friday morning to learn the sad news of Prince’s passing. The Sydney Morning Herald’s online service described the late, great performer as “one of the most popular, inventive and influential recording artists of his generation.”
Additional reporting by Maximilian Brändle.