It can be tough to find Prince music on the web, not because there's not a lot of Prince music that screams out to be shared, but because Prince was suspicious of digital culture and was protective of his art. Sharing didn't mean caring to Prince, it meant the artist didn't get paid what he deserved. So if you want to listen to his music, buy it.
Still, amazing stuff has been surfacing since the heartbreaking news of his death at his Paisley Park compound broke on Wednesday afternoon, and I'm sure there will be much more to come. Here are a bunch of performance clips that would give an uninitiated observer an idea about the guy's greatness, plus an episode of the old MTV claymation show Celebrity Deathmatch that I couldn't resist including. Thanks to Dan Finnemore, Rob Watson, Keith Richards and everybody else who posted these first.
For further reading, my obituary from this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer is here. And a review of a 2013 Prince show I saw in Austin, Texas at SXSW in 2013 that was one of the peak musical experiences of my life is here.
Super Bowl Halftime Show, Miami 2007. I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I saw this performance live. Though it took place in a driving rainstorm, so you probably enjoyed it more than I did.
"Controversy," Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey, 1982.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction 2004 with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood and Dhani Harrison. With all due respect, he blows everybody else off the stage.
"Head," 1981. Gives new meaning to the phrase "making love to his guitar."
The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman," 1993. A reminer of the famous Robert Christgau reaction to Prince's Dirty Mind: "Mick Jagger should fold up his penis and go home."
Radiohead's "Creep," Coachella festval 2008.
"Gett Off," on the 1991 MTV VMA Awards.
Celebrity Deathmatch v. Prince Charles, 1998. Featuring an amusing cameo from Queen Elizabeth, who turned 90 on the day Prince died.