LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Enigmatic rock and pop star Prince, who soared to the top of pop music charts in the 1980s with albums such as "Purple Rain," will be given the Lifetime Achievement honor at the upcoming BET Awards.
The BET television network, which will give out its annual honors on June 27 in Los Angeles, called Prince a "genre smasher," and "virtuoso musician" and "one of the most emotional singers of all time."
"Words are too weak to describe just what he means to our culture," Stephen G. Hill, president of programing, music and specials for BET, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Prince, 52, came out of Minneapolis, Minnesota in the late 1970s with an act that was part funk, part rock, part pop and pure sex appeal. His 1980 album "Dirty Mind" earned him a loyal fan base, and three years later "1999" became a smash hit.
But it was 1984's "Purple Rain," and the movie of the same name, that put Prince in a league of his own. The album spent 24 weeks at No. 1 on record charts, and along with the title track, included hits "Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry."
"Purple Rain" earned Prince two Grammys, including best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals, and the movie won an Oscar for original song score.
In the 1990s, Prince became embroiled in disputes with his record company and for a time, he wanted his fans to know him only by a symbol, rather than his stage name. More recently, Prince has reclaimed his name and returned to pop charts with albums such as "Musicology," "3121" and "LotusFlow3r."
Other performers who have been given BET's Lifetime Achievement Award include singers Whitney Houston, James Brown, the Isley Brothers and Diana Ross.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Jill Serjeant