One of pop’s all-time iconic performers, Prince will make his Abu Dhabi debut tonight at Yas Island. City Times peruses the star’s brilliant but controversial career.

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Published: Sun 14 Nov 2010, 10:46 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:00 PM

PINT-SIZED POP supremo Prince will give a rare public outing tonight, as he closes this year’s Formula One main concert series.

The multi-instrumentalist has sold 100 million albums in his lengthy career, despite wrangling with record labels, his reluctance to remain in the public eye and his recent decision to ‘reject’ the internet as a means to sell his music. The seemingly bizarre announcement seems to have reaped dividends, however, as Prince’s last three studio albums have all entered the US chart in the top three.

Now 52, the man born Prince Rogers Nelson became a global phenomenon in the 1980s. Both revered and reviled for his suggestive output, the performer’s biggest hits came with Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Kiss, Raspberry Beret, 1999 and Cream. He proved to be a lothario offstage as well as on, romancing a string of stars including Madonna, Kim Basinger and Carmen Electra.

Prince also starred in the 1984 musical Purple Rain. Named after his hit song, the movie’s soundtrack went on to pick up an Academy Award and spend almost half a year uninterrupted at the top of the US album charts. Among his songwriting efforts for fellow performers were Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2U and Manic Monday, performed by The Bangles.

As the 90s unfolded, the singer became involved in an increasingly bitter dispute with record label Warner Bros over control of his musical output. As he was only contractually obliged to release records with the company under his known stage name, the performer adopted a strange symbol as his new moniker, began writing the word ‘SLAVE’ across his face and gained the clumsy reference ‘The artist formerly known as Prince’.

Thankfully though, the dispute ended a long time ago and fans can simply call him Prince once more.

In recent years, he has stuck to a lucrative touring schedule – winning his seventh Grammy Award in 2008 for the single Future Baby Mama and earning a spot in this year’s Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World poll.

Tonight, tens of thousands of fans at the Yas Island stadium will catch a rare glimpse of the reclusive star, and see whether the prodigious talent still has that burning fire in his belly.

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