*The death of Prince seven years ago is the latest and perhaps most widely known event of ill fortune to happen on April 21st. But fans of two other music icons are also mourning today. Also, on this day in 2004, a future EGOT winner famously ran out of luck.
No matter what the weather was doing on April 21, 2016, it was snowing for Prince fans as reports of his death began circulating.
In this April 20, 2004 video from a performance at London’s Webster Hall, Prince sings “Sometimes It Snows In April,” about the unpredictability of life. It’s preceded by his banter with the audience through bits of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing,” which he said invoked memories of his high school years, and Ike and Tina Turner’s cover of “Proud Mary,” the first song he learned to play on guitar.
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Eight years before Prince died of a fentanyl overdose at age 57, soul legend Al Wilson passed at age 68 of kidney failure.
The Meridian, Mississippi native’s biggest hit was “Show and Tell,” reportedly inspired by songwriter Jerry Fuller’s son coming home from school and talking about his day. The song would peak at No. 9 on the R&B chart and was Wilson’s only single to crack the R&B top ten.
Fuller initially wrote it for Johnny Mathis, but the crooner’s version gained zero traction. Compare and contrast below:
Five years before Al Wilson’s death, Nina Simone made her transition due to breast cancer. She was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, NC, and became a global talent – as unapologetic as her full-throated, in-your-face wail against white supremacy in “Mississippi Goddam,” and her joyful celebration of Black excellence in 1969’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” The latter was written in memory of her late friend Lorraine Hansberry, who had died in 1965. The title comes from Hansberry’s autobiographical play of the same name. Watch performances of both songs below:
And finally, April 21, 2004 was the day that America voted Jennifer Hudson off of “American Idol.”
On season 3, the 22-year-old contestant from Chicago was famously part of the all-Black female bottom 3 alongside LaToya London and eventual season 3 champ Fantasia Barrino. The trio was shook when host Ryan Seacrest – after much made-for-TV tomfoolery – revealed that the they were not the top 3 vote-getters, but actually received the least amount of votes that week.
Elton John would later say the quiet part out loud, calling America’s vote, “incredibly racist.” Watch below:
At the 2:58 mark:
To say Hudson was better off coming in 7th and forging her own path to EGOT glory away from “American Idol” is an understatement.
To bring this full circle, here’s Jennifer and her cast-mates Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks and more from Broadway’s “The Color Purple” paying tribute to Prince on the day of his death, April 21, 2016.
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