Prince Goes ‘Into the Light’
Prince's music was so delightfully attuned to earthly pleasures that it can be easy to forget he was also open to the metaphysical. And though his explorations of those themes rarely tended to land with the same commercial impact enjoyed by his biggest hits, they're just as important in terms of understanding the bigger picture of who he was as an artist.
A case in point is "Into the Light," a cut recorded for Prince's 1996 Chaos and Disorder LP. Although the album itself arrived during a particularly turbulent period for him, and was part of a flurry of contract-fulfilling releases that signaled his exodus from longtime label Warner Bros., this particular track was motivated by far more positive feelings.
In fact, while writing "Into the Light," Prince was inspired by Embraced by the Light, the bestselling book written by author Betty Eadie describing her perspective on a near-death experience she's described going through after surgery in 1973. Part of a series of Eadie books that attempt to offer readers information and comfort about what happens after death — as well as a blueprint for living mindfully — Embraced made Eadie something of a household name in the early '90s, and her words clearly resonated with Prince.
"In a light too bright to behold / Is a truth more shiny than gold," reads one passage of the lyrics written for "Into the Light." "And as sure as this candle burns / Every soul must return / Into the light, into the light."
The appeal of that spiritual homecoming not only moved Prince to write "Into the Light," it motivated him to seek out a meeting with Eadie herself. As the author recalled after Prince's death, the two met when she gave a talk in Minnesota, after which he invited her to his Paisley Park estate for what she remembered as a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from the music business to the concepts covered in Embraced by the Light.
"When our visit came to a close we felt our deep connection and spoke of it. There was a bonding that often occurs between people that is so strong, it exists without need for words," wrote Eadie. "Our contact with each other continued through the years. Prince wanted to help more with the promotion of Embraced by the Light and offered, should I take the book to film, he would love to write the music."
That collaboration obviously never came to pass, and Prince's death in 2016 eliminated the possibility of the two working together on another film project she said they later discussed. But to those who felt grief over Prince's passing, Eadie offered hope, saying he was on "a journey that is beyond description and imagination" and adding, "He is now sharing his beautiful spirit and amazing talents with even greater audiences."