Here's my Prince story:
In the summer of 1990, my friends and I road-tripped from my middle-of-nowhere hometown of Hector, Minnesota, to Eden Prairie Center (as featured in Mallrats). The reason: Prince's Graffiti Bridge had come out that day, and we wanted to buy it. No iTunes, no Spotify, no reliable music store anywhere near us, so we drove an hour to go get it.
And it wasn't that good!
The two best songs on the whole thing were a Time song and a Tevin Campbell song, and the only Prince song that entered the pantheon was "Thieves in the Temple," maybe "Joy in Repetition" if you're being generous. The rest was just kind of, "Man, this is not Sign o' the Times."
But still: That's the kind of respect Prince commanded. Because if it had been another Sign o' the Times, and you didn't have that CD/cassette in your shitty car radio or dorm room, you'd be a dumb idiot.
You don't need to read another thinkpiece about him or an inventory of his greatness as an artist, so I'll say one more thing.
Prince belonged to everybody. But holy shit did he really belong to Minnesota. For residents of a certain age, the fact that somebody this fucking cool was from your frozen backwater part of the world meant something. Like many, I make fun of our state's tendency to "one of us" anyone who lived here for six months in 1979, but you're goddamn right Prince and I are from the same state. Fuck your "flyover country" coastal bullshit sideways, Prince is from here. I'm sure Billy Joel is great, though.
In his final act as a true Minnesotan, Prince died at the place he built in the suburbs after he made a little money and got out of the city. He really was one of us.