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Prince is being considered for a congressional gold medal for “changing the arc of music history”

Prince
(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

US congress is considering awarding Prince a posthumous congressional gold medal in recognition of his contribution to both music and “Minnesota and American culture”.

Introducing the resolution to congress on Monday, Minnesota senator and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Amy Klobuchar said: “The world is a whole lot cooler because Prince was in it – he touched our hearts, opened our minds, and made us want to dance. 

“With this legislation, we honor his memory and contributions as a composer, performer, and music innovator. Purple reigns in Minnesota today and every day because of him.”

Added Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, co-sponsor of the resolution: “Prince is a Minnesota icon. I remember when I first came to America being captivated by Prince's music and impact on the culture. 

“He showed that it was okay to be a short, Black kid from Minneapolis and still change the world. He not only changed the arc of music history; he put Minneapolis on the map. Places like First Avenue, Uptown are landmarks because of Prince.”

She continued: “He not only changed the arc of music history; he put Minneapolis on the map.”

The resolution – which requires the support of at least two-thirds of both the senate and the house to pass under congressional law – calls Prince “one of the greatest musicians of his generation”, and says he was a “participant in, and supporter of, the local Minneapolis arts community”.

If the resolution to award Prince a posthumous congressional gold medal is successful, the medal will be given to the Smithsonian Institution, and will be displayed at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

The congressional gold medal is the highest civilian honor awarded by US Congress. Previous recipients of the award include former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan and civil rights activists Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Prince's verified Twitter account – which is managed by his estate – tweeted on Monday urging Prince's American fans to contact their local representatives and senators and “encourage them to support this monumental commendation of Prince's talent, cultural impact, and historical legacy”.

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Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1958, Prince established himself as one of the most prolific names in pop music, releasing 39 solo albums, selling more than 150 million records and bagging seven Grammy awards, six American Music Awards and an Oscar for his score for 1984 movie Purple Rain, which also marked his acting debut.

He was a renowned multi-instrumentalist, lending his talents to bass, drums and keyboards, but was best known for his abilities as a guitarist, where he showcased tight rhythmic chops and show-stopping solos.

Three posthumous records have been released under Prince's name since his death in 2016: Piano and a Microphone 1983 (2018), Originals (2019) and Welcome 2 America, which dropped back in July.

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.