RIP, Purple One.
This album is right at home in any white new wave fan's record collection, with its topical rock action, and to be honest, like the best punk, is very confrontational and provocative. That quality makes it as important as a Mappelthorpe work (whether you're gay or not), a Dali acid-melted clock, or Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies ' The American Metaphysical Circus (review forthcoming).
Prince slept on the floor of a studio as a young artist so that he could learn to record his music without editorial input from some non-musical engineer. He caught on quickly, and developed a sound that rapidly became the soundtrack of everyone's 80's. Pretty amazing how the genre-bending music made such an impact with its blatant sexuality ("Jack U Off"), political content ("Ronnie Talk To Russia") and everything in between.
Prince had 5 Number 1's, 14 Top 10's, and will forever be remembered as The Artist Formerly Known As...