Prince Roger Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016), mononymously known as Prince, was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, dancer, actor, and director. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. Considered a guitar virtuoso, he was well known for his eclectic work across multiple genres, flamboyant and androgynous persona, and wide vocal range which included a far-reaching falsetto and high-pitched screams.
Prince’s innovative music integrated a wide variety of styles, including funk, R&B, Latin, country, rock, new wave, classical, soul, synth-pop, psychedelia, pop, jazz, industrial, and hip hop. He pioneered the Minneapolis sound, a funk rock subgenre that emerged in the late 1970s. He was also known for his prolific output, releasing 39 albums during his life, with a vast array of unreleased projects left in a vault at his home after his death; it is believed that the vault contains dozens of fully produced albums and over 50 music videos that have never been released, along with various other media. He released hundreds of songs both under his own name and multiple pseudonyms during his life, as well as writing songs that were made famous by other musicians, such as “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Manic Monday“.Estimates of the complete number of songs written by Prince range anywhere from 500 to well over 1,000.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records at the age of 19. Prince went on to achieve critical success with the innovative albums Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982). His sixth album, Purple Rain (1984), was recorded with his backup band the Revolution, and was the soundtrack to his film acting debut of the same name. Purple Rain spent six consecutive months atop the Billboard 200. Prince won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. After disbanding the Revolution, Prince went on to achieve continued critical success with Sign o’ the Times (1987). In the midst of a contractual dispute with Warner Bros in 1993, he changed his stage name to the unpronounceable symbol (known to fans as the “Love Symbol”), and was sometimes referred to as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince or TAFKAP, or simply the Artist. He signed with Arista Records in 1998 and began referring to himself by his own name again in 2000. After returning to mainstream prominence following a performance at the Grammy Awards ceremony in 2004, he scored six US top ten albums over the following decade. Joni Mitchell said of Prince, “He’s driven like an artist. His motivations are growth and experimentation as opposed to formula and hits.
In mid-life, Prince reportedly experienced considerable pain from injuries to his body (mainly hips) sustained through his dynamic stage performances (which included leaping off speaker stacks in high heels), and was sometimes seen using a cane. In April 2016, at the age of 57, Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Prince sold over 150 million records worldwide, ranking him among the best-selling music artists of all time. His awards included the Grammy President’s Merit Award, the American Music Awards for Achievement and of Merit, the Billboard Icon Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Prince Roger Nelson – 11 Surprising Facts
1. HIS REAL NAME WAS PRINCE.
Born to two musical parents, Prince Rogers Nelson was named after his father’s jazz combo.
2. PRINCE ROGER NELSON WAS A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS.
Baptized in 2001, Prince was a devout Jehovah’s Witness; he even went door-to-door. In October 2003, a woman in Eden Prairie, Minnesota opened her door to discover the famously shy artist and his bassist, former Sly and the Family Stone member Larry Graham, standing in front of her home. “My first thought is ‘Cool, cool, cool. He wants to use my house for a set. I’m glad! Demolish the whole thing! Start over!,'” the woman told The Star Tribune. “Then they start in on this Jehovah’s Witnesses stuff. I said, ‘You know what? You’ve walked into a Jewish household, and this is not something I’m interested in.’ He says, ‘Can I just finish?’ Then the other guy, Larry Graham, gets out his little Bible and starts reading scriptures about being Jewish and the land of Israel.”
3. PRINCE ROGER NELSON WROTE A LOT OF SONGS FOR OTHER ARTISTS.
In addition to penning several hundred songs for himself, Prince also composed music for other artists, including “Manic Monday” for the Bangles, “I Feel For You” for Chaka Khan, and “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinéad O’Connor.
4. HIS SYMBOL ACTUALLY HAD A NAME.
Even though the whole world referred to him as either “The Artist” or “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” that weird symbol Prince used was actually known as “Love Symbol #2.” It was copyrighted in 1997, but when Prince’s contract with Warner Bros. expired at midnight on December 31, 1999, he announced that he was reclaiming his given name.
- IN 2017, PANTONE GAVE HIM HIS OWN COLOR.
A little over a year after Prince’s death, global color authority Pantone created a royal shade of purple in honor of him, in conjunction with the late singer’s estate. Appropriately, it is known as Love Symbol #2. The color was inspired by a Yamaha piano the musician was planning to take on tour with him. “The color purple was synonymous with who Prince was and will always be,” Troy Carter, an advisor to Prince’s estate, said. “This is an incredible way for his legacy to live on forever.”
- HIS SISTER SUED HIM.
In 1987, Prince’s half-sister, Lorna Nelson, sued him, claiming that she had written the lyrics to “U Got the Look,” a song from “Sign ‘☮’ the Times” that features pop artist Sheena Easton. In 1989, the court sided with Prince.
- HE TICKED OFF A VICE PRESIDENT’S WIFE.
In 1984, after purchasing the Purple Rain soundtrack for her then-11-year-old daughter, Tipper Gore—ex-wife of former vice president Al Gore—became enraged over the explicit lyrics of “Darling Nikki,” a song that references masturbation and other graphic sex acts. Gore felt that there should be some sort of warning on the label and in 1985 formed the Parents Music Resource Center, which pressured the recording industry to adopt a ratings system similar to the one employed in Hollywood. To Prince’s credit, he didn’t oppose the label system and became one of the first artists to release a “clean” version of explicit albums.
- PRINCE TOOK A PROMOTIONAL TIP FROM WILLY WONKA.
In 2006, Universal hid 14 purple tickets—seven in the U.S. and seven internationally—inside Prince’s album, 3121. Fans who found a purple ticket were invited to attend a private performance at Prince’s Los Angeles home.
- HE SIMULTANEOUSLY HELD THE NUMBER ONE SPOTS FOR FILM, SINGLE, AND ALBUM.
During the week of July 27, 1984, Prince’s film Purple Rain hit number one at the box office. That same week, the film’s soundtrack was the best-selling album and “When Doves Cry” was holding the top spot for singles.
- HE SCREWED UP ON SNL.
During Prince’s first appearance on Saturday Night Live, he performed the song “Partyup” and sang the lyric, “Fightin’ war is a such a f*ing bore.” It went unnoticed at the time, but in the closing segment, Charles Rocket clearly said, “I’d like to know who the f* did it.” This was the only episode of SNL where the f-bomb was dropped twice.
- HE SCRAPPED AN ALBUM RELEASED AFTER HAVING “A SPIRITUAL EPIPHANY.”
In 1987, Prince was due to release “The Black Album.” However, just days before it was scheduled to drop, Prince scrapped the whole thing, calling it “dark and immortal.” The musician claimed to have reached this decision following “a spiritual epiphany.” Some reports say that it was actually an early experience with drug ecstasy, while others suggested The Artist just knew it would flop.
Prince Song list
- $ (dollar sign)(2009)
- Act of God(2010)
- Around The World In A Day(1985)
- Baby I’m a Star(1984)
- Better with Time(2009)
- Billy Jack Bitch(1995)
- Black Sweat(2006)
- Breakfast Can Wait(2013)
- Cinnamon Girl(2004)
- Darling Nikki(1984)
- Days of Wild(1998)
- Dirty Mind(1980)
- For You(1978)
- I Wanna Be Your Lover(1979)
- I Would Die 4 U(1984)
- If I Was Your Girlfriend(1987)
- La, La, La, He, He, Hee(1987)
- Let’s Go Crazy(1984)
- Little Red Corvette(1983)
- Live 4 Love(1991)
- Moonbeam Levels (2016)
- My Name Is Prince(1992)
- Pop Life(1985)
- Purple Rain(1984)
- Raspberry Beret(1985)
- Rock & Roll Love Affair(2012)
- Sex in the Summer(1996)
- Sign O’ the Times(1987)
- Soft and Wet(1978)
- Sometimes It Snows in April(1986)
- Starfish And Coffee(1987)
- The Ballad of Dorothy Parker(1987)
- The Most Beautiful Girl In The World(1994)
- Thieves In The Temple(1990)
- This Could Be Us(2014)
- U Got the Look(1987)
- U Know(2014)
- Wall of Berlin(2009)
- What If(2015)
- When Doves Cry(1984)
- Prince dies at age 57 after overdosing on fentanyl, a highly addictive opioid.
- Prince played his last concert on April 14 in Atlanta, closing the show with “Purple Rain.” The next morning, his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, when he lost consciousness. He was taken to a local hospital and given Narcan – his representatives said he was feeling the effects of the flu and also dehydrated. Dr. Howard Kornfeld, an opioid addiction specialist from California, was summoned to treat Prince on April 20. He couldn’t go right away, so he sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, to start the treatment. When Andrew Kornfeld arrives at the Paisley Park compound where Prince lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota, he and two members of Prince’s staff find him dead in an elevator. Kornfeld calls 911; paramedics arrive a short time later, but Prince had passed away hours earlier. News of his death spreads fast. At first it seems like a hoax, but it gradually becomes clear that Prince has made his transition to the afterworld, just months after the passing of David Bowie. Tributes pour in, his music saturates the airwaves, and his albums re-enter the charts: on the Billboard 200 dated May 7, he holds eight spots, including the top two (The Very Best Of Prince, followed by Purple Rain). The medical examiner’s report is issued on June 2, listing his weight at time of death at 112 pounds (his height is 5’3″). On April 19, 2018, the investigation into his death is closed with no charges filed. That investigation reveals that Prince took a counterfeit Vicodin pill spiked with fentanyl, but could not determine how he obtained it.
Prince released several hundred songs both under his own name and under pseudonyms and/or pen names, as well as writing songs which have been recorded by other artists. Estimates of the actual number of songs written by Prince (released and unreleased) range anywhere from 500 to well over 1,000. He has released 97 singles, 34 promotional singles, 21 internet singles, and eight internet downloads. After signing a contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1977 at age 18, he released his debut album For You the following year. Prince’s first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Soft and Wet” (1978), which peaked at number 92. The following year, he released “I Wanna Be Your Lover“, which became a top-40 hit in several countries and peaked at number 11 in the United States; it topped the Billboard R&B chart in early 1980. The album Prince spawned a top-20 R&B hit single (“Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?“) and a top-five dance hit (“Sexy Dancer“). His next two albums, Dirty Mind (1980) and Controversy (1981), furthered his success on the dance/R&B charts, spawning the top-five hits “Dirty Mind“, “Uptown“, “Head”, “Controversy“, and “Let’s Work“. In 1982, Prince released the album 1999, which spawned the Billboard Hot 100 hits “1999“, “Little Red Corvette“, and “Delirious” throughout 1983, during which time he earned distinction as one of the first black artists to be played on MTV alongside Michael Jackson. Purple Rain (1984) gave Prince two American number one singles (“When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy“) while the three other singles, “Purple Rain“, “I Would Die 4 U“, and “Take Me with U” became worldwide top-10 hits and established him as one of the most popular performers of the decade.
Throughout 1985 and 1986, Prince scored the worldwide top-40 hits “Raspberry Beret“, “Pop Life“, “Paisley Park“, “America“, “Girls & Boys“, “Mountains“, and “Anotherloverholenyohead“, as well as the number-one hit “Kiss“, from the musically diverse albums Around the World in a Day and Parade. His 1987 double-album Sign o’ the Times garnered a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year and spawned the top-20 hits “Sign o’ the Times“, “If I Was Your Girlfriend“, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” and “U Got the Look“. His success in Europe and Asia increased throughout the late-1980s with his 1988 album Lovesexy which crafted the top-40 hits “Alphabet St.“, “Glam Slam“, and “I Wish U Heaven“. Prince closed the 1980s recording the soundtrack to the massively successful 1989 film Batman, which included the worldwide number-one hit “Batdance” as well as the top 20 hits “Partyman“, “Scandalous!“, “The Future” and “The Arms of Orion“. By the end of the decade, he had amassed the most entries on the Hot 100 of any act in the previous 10 years, including six worldwide number-one singles.
Prince entered the 1990s with the soundtrack to Graffiti Bridge; the album spawned the top-10 hit “Thieves in the Temple” and the top-40 hit “New Power Generation“. His 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls spawned several hit singles including the title track, the number-one hit “Cream“, “Insatiable“, “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night“, “Gett Off“, and “Thunder“. The 1992 follow-up record, the Love Symbol Album, scored several top-40 hits including “Sexy MF“, “My Name is Prince“, “7“, “Damn U“, and “The Morning Papers“. Prince’s first compilation album, The Hits/The B-Sides (1993) included the top-40 hits “Pink Cashmere” and “Peach“, while his 1994 album Come scored the hits “Letitgo” and “Space“. That same year, he released a duet with Nona Gaye, “Love Sign” taken from his compilation album 1-800-NEW-FUNK.
In 1994, he released “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World“, the second most successful hit of his career after “When Doves Cry” 10 years earlier; the single reached the top 10 of 20 countries worldwide. The song’s album in question, The Gold Experience, was released the following year and hit the top 40 with the singles “I Hate U” (Prince’s last original single to reach the United States top 40), “Gold“, and “Endorphinmachine” (in Japan), while the promotional single “Purple Medley“, a remix of his greatest hits, reached the top 20 worldwide. After scoring the UK Top 40 hit “Dinner with Delores” in 1996, Prince released the triple CD set Emancipation which spawned the top-20 hits “Betcha by Golly, Wow“, “The Holy River“, and “Somebody’s Somebody” throughout 1996 and 1997. A re-release of the hit song “1999” in 1998 brought Prince back to the pop charts. “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold“, released in late 1999, became a moderate worldwide success as Prince’s single releases became less frequent.
Following the release of 2004’s comeback record Musicology, the title track and “Call My Name” reached top 40 positions. In 2006, several compositions including “Black Sweat“, “Fury“, and “Te Amo Corazon” reached the top 20 of charts throughout Europe and Asia.
Prince Roger Nelson has sold over 150 million records worldwide, including 48.9 million certified units in the United States, 4.7 million in France and over 5 million records in the United Kingdom, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
He has accumulated five US number-one singles and fifteen worldwide number 1 hits, as well as 8 worldwide number one albums. He was the most successful artist on the Billboard charts from 1980 to 2000, scoring 8 number 1 R&B singles and 7 number 1 Dance singles (tied for second place for male entertainers with Enrique Iglesias and Michael Jackson). He has scored over 50 top 40 hits around the world since 1979. He has been ranked as the 21st most successful sales act of all time, the 26th most successful chart artist worldwide, including 27 overall number-one entries, and being the most successful chart act of the 1980s, as well as the 10th most successful chart act of the 1990s. His most commercial period was from 1982’s 1999 to 1996’s Emancipation, however, he has maintained a loyal audience since and experienced a commercial resurgence with 2004’s Musicology, paving the way for several successful albums to follow including his latest, Art Official Age, released in September 2014 reaching all major Top 40 markets. Prince has scored at least one top-40 hit every year from 1979 until 1999.
16 things you should know about Prince Roger Nelson
1) He played basketball in middle school and high school.
Prince played basketball at Minneapolis’ Bryant Junior High School and at Central High School, from which he graduated in 1976.
As it turns out, even at just over 5 feet tall, he was actually pretty good.
His ball skills were featured in a classic skit from comedian Dave Chappelle.
2) Prince Roger Nelson was ill as a child.
Prince was born epileptic, and had seizures as a child.
“My mother and father didn’t know what to do or how to handle it, but they did the best they could with what little they had,” he told Tavis Smiley in 2009.
3) Prince Roger Nelson produced his debut album at 19.
When he was barely 19, Prince produced his own debut album, “For You,” with Warner Bros.
He sang and played all the instruments himself and became the youngest producer with the label.
In 1979, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” became his first No. 1 hit on the R&B charts.
4) His “Purple Rain” is Minnesota’s most popular album.
His 1984 album “Purple Rain” and the movie it spawned transformed Prince from cult icon to superstar.
At 13 million copies, “Purple Rain” is the best-selling album to ever come out of Minnesota, and it’s widely ranked as one of the best albums of all time.
5) He put Minneapolis on the musical map.
The film “Purple Rain” solidified Prince’s stature as a mega pop icon and put the Minneapolis music club First Avenue on the national map.
In the movie, Prince and his love interest rode a purple motorcycle to get purified “in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.”
And he was an avid supporter of the local music scene: His final tweet was a link Saturday to the website of The Electric Fetus record store in Minneapolis, where he was selling his Piano & A Microphone concert program.
Electric Fetus retail music manager Bob Fuchs said his store sold out of Prince merchandise in two hours after news broke that Prince had died.
6) He played a leading role in creating the Minneapolis Sound.
Unlike other musicians from the state, Prince stayed rooted in Minnesota and helped pioneer the Minneapolis Sound, which Rolling Stone described as a “hybrid of rock, pop, and funk, with blatantly sexual lyrics.”
The scene cultivated musicians and producers — Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Appolonia 6, Sheila E., Morris Day, and many others — who would go on to spread their influence throughout the pop and R&B of the 1980s.
Its influence can be heard all the way through to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ 2014 song “Uptown Funk.”
7) He was prolific.
Prince released 39 albums over a span of 37 years, and had five No. 1 singles, including “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” and “Let’s Go Crazy.”
His catalog is massive — in addition to the studio albums, he’s produced about 160 singles and EPs and well over 1,000 recorded appearances in all, according to Discogs.
Fun fact: His guitar work appears on Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”
Prince Roger Nelson also worked with several bands throughout his career: Grand Central (later known as Champagne), The Revolution, The New Power Generation and, most recently, 3rdEyeGirl.
8) He became The Artist in the ’90s.
He changed his name in 1993 to an unpronounceable symbol during a dispute with his record label, Warner Bros. He was commonly referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”
But he changed it back to Prince after his contract expired in 2000.
He’s also been known as The Purple One, His Royal Badness, The Artist Formerly known as Prince.
9) Prince Roger Nelson wrote all kinds of other hit songs you probably didn’t realize.
While the seven-time Grammy winner — he also won an Oscar in 1985 for Best Original Score for the film “Purple Rain” — had his own collection of memorable hits, he wrote chart-toppers that he’s not famous for, including:
“Jungle Love”: This funk-pop hit by Minnesota musicians The Time was released in 1984.
“Nothing Compares 2 U”: It’s mostly known as a Sinead O’Connor, but it was originally written for The Family, one of Prince’s side projects, in 1985. O’Connor’s version became a hit in 1990.
He used other pen names, too: Alexander Nevermind and Jamie Starr/The Starr Company and Joey Coco.
10) Prince Roger Nelson was a fierce advocate for creative control.
Always the innovator, Prince removed his catalog from all music streaming services except Tidal, the lossless audio streaming service run by Jay-Z.
He was notoriously protective of his work, once suing fans for $22 million over bootleg recordings.
Still, he apparently saw hope for digital music in Tidal, throwing his whole support behind the site and giving it the exclusive release for two of his recent albums.
In the summer of 2015, Prince held a dance party at Paisley Park for attendees of the National Association of Black Journalists, who were convening in Minneapolis for their annual conference.
A longtime advocate for creative control, Prince told a group of 10 journalists there that record contracts were like “slavery.”
11) Prince Roger Nelson was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world.
In 2010, he was named to Time’s yearly list. In an essay for the magazine, R&B star Usher wrote that Prince inspired his second hit — and was a role model when he was first getting interested in music.
“I think I was about 8 or 9 when I saw Purple Rain. I was interested in music and trying to find a model. It was Michael, or it was Prince. He had an attitude, a rawness that Michael didn’t have. He was not urban, but he was our version of what cool could be. You look at an icon like James Dean or Steve McQueen — they represent a certain energy, a certain poise. That’s what Prince has.
“Young kids are getting into Prince now, and it’s because he was ahead of his time. He’s timeless. He hasn’t aged a bit. My second hit, “Nice and Slow,” was inspired by Prince. He’s had his ups and downs, but he’s used his career to change the way artists are treated. Being in his presence is surreal. His energy is just so fly. He is so poised. He is the s___. He is what he called a ‘Sexy M.F.'”
12) Prince Roger Nelson got involved in the Black Lives Matter movement — through music
Last May, Prince released a protest song called “Baltimore” after a black man named Freddie Gray died in police custody, sparking a wave of protests in the city and charges against the officers involved.
“If there ain’t no justice, then there ain’t no peace,” he sings in the song’s bridge.
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis memorialized Prince on its Facebook page hours after he died.
13) He helped inspire Kendrick Lamar’s latest album.
The album, “Untitled, Unmastered,” came out in March.
“As far as Untitled, Me and Kendrick always talked about doing a sort of Black Album, like how Prince did back in the day,” Top Dawg Entertainment Co-President Terrence “Punch” Henderson told Billboard. “There was no album cover, no song titles, no anything — just tracks he threw out.”
Prince almost ended up collaborating on Lamar’s earlier album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which has become an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement.
” Prince Roger Nelson said he wanted to talk about the beauty of black people,” Lamar’s collaborator Rapsody told The Grammys. “I told him to say no more.”
Lamar said Prince didn’t make the cut because “we just ran out of time.”
14) Prince Roger Nelson mentored legions of proteges.
Throughout his career, Prince championed women in the music business. Many of his band members were women — including his most recent band, 3rdEyeGirl — during generations where the music industry was dominated by men.
Prince Roger Nelson also worked to bring up the careers of younger female artists like Denise “Vanity” Matthews, Sheila E., Appollonia Kotero and Wendy & Lisa.
15) “Purple Rain” was remade in Niger — in a language that doesn’t have a word for “purple.”
According to NPR:
Three decades after the film first premiered, it got a remake filmed in Niger, featuring members of a nomadic group of people known as the Tuareg.
It’s called Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai — which translates to “Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It.” That’s because there’s no word for “purple” in Tamajeq, the language spoken by the Tuareg.
16) Prince Roger Nelson had a memoir in the works.
Prince announced in March that he was writing a memoir, called “The Beautiful Ones.” One of his literary agents told the Wall Street Journal that day that Prince had already submitted 50 pages to editors.
Rolling Stone called it “one of the most anticipated memoirs in music history.”
It was set to be published in the fall of 2017.
Prince: 12 things we’ve learned since his death
This Friday, it will be one year since Prince died, after taking an accidental overdose of painkillers.
His death robbed the world of a true original: A pocket-sized virtuoso who broke musical rules and defied genres, apparently without breaking a sweat.
President Obama called his death a “remarkable loss”, and revealed he listened to Purple Rain to “just to get warmed up” in the morning.
The star was famously private, rarely giving interviews, and even serving non-disclosure agreements on former bandmates and collaborators.
Since his death, however, fans have been afforded the occasional glimpse into his life – some funny, some enlightening, all of them elevating his status as a visionary, and a musical genius.
Here are 12 things we’ve learned in the last 12 months.
There was a swear box at Paisley Park
After that, he excised swear words from his music (Sexy MF was never played live again) and kept a “cuss bucket” in his recording studio.
“He didn’t want to dishonour the faith,” said his friend James Lundstrom. “He wasn’t joking. You had to pay in cash in the bucket. He would charge you between three and 10 dollars per swear word.
“Once I bumped my knee and I said, ‘damn’. He said, ‘What did you say?'”
On one occasion, Lundstrom recalled, a foul-mouthed musician stuffed a handful of hundred dollar bills in the swear jar as a down-payment for the rest of the day.
An obscure song called Comeback was played at his funeral
Among the songs played at the service was Comeback, an acoustic lament the star originally recorded in 1996 for his son, Ahmir, who was born with a rare genetic disorder and died seven days later.
Released on the fanclub-only album The Truth, the song’s lyrics were equally apt for Prince’s funeral.
“If you ever lose someone dear to you / Never say the words ‘they’re gone’ / They’ll come back.”
• Prince: No-one in the universe will ever compare
• Documents show Prince’s painkiller habit
• Prince: A life in pictures
Prince Roger Nelson is wearing a wig in Purple Rain
He also recounts the time Prince invited him to watch a montage of old performances he was preparing for the American Music Awards. When a scene from Purple Rain appeared, the star bellowed, “Look at that wig!” and burst out laughing.
Parke later asked Prince’s hair stylist Earl Jones about the comment. He explained the star had had to reshoot a few scenes after the filming wrapped – but he had already cut his hair and bleached it blond – necessitating the bouffant hairpiece.
Jones added that Prince had reacted so badly to the bleach that his hair started breaking off, so he had to let it grow out, and dye it back to black.
“The hairstyle in Raspberry Beret was literally all I could do with it.”
Prince Roger Nelson had a vicious mean streak
“He did like to push the band with fear,” said Michael B Nelson, who played trombone for the New Power Generation.
One night, months into 1993’s Act I tour, Nelson missed a high B during his solo on a song called The Flow.
“The next day, [Prince] came by and said, ‘You’re gonna play that solo right tonight?'” he told Rolling Stone. “I said, ‘I’ll do my best.’ And he says, ‘Uh, you did your best last night.’ And he walks away.”
That night, when it came to the solo, Prince walked up to him with his “golden gun” microphone (pictured above) and held it to his head.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ And he kept doing it. And it was like a week of him doing this, and I’m freaking out. It wasn’t showbiz at that point. It was, ‘Don’t you ever do that again’.”
His final shopping spree included CDs by Stevie Wonder, and a cup of coffee
image captionPrince was pictured riding his bicycle through Minneapolis shortly before his death
Five days before his death, Prince celebrated Record Store Day by cycling to his local record store and snapping up a few bargains.
According to Bob Fuchs, the manager of Electric Fetus, the star bought six CDs:
1. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
2. Chambers Brothers – The Time Has Come
3. Joni Mitchell – Hejira
4. Swan Silvertones – Inspirational Gospel Classics
5. Missing Persons – The Best Of Missing Persons
6. Santana – Santana IV
Prince then set off on his bike, waving to fans at a nearby hair salon before visiting a local coffee store. According to barista, Alya Al-Hilwani, he preferred a mocha, with no whipped cream.
Prince Roger Nelson secretly bought the Purple Rain house
In summer 2015, the Minneapolis house that featured as Prince’s childhood home in the film Purple Rain went up for sale. It turns out that Prince bought it himself.
Minnesota Public Radio checked property records and discovered the owner of the 1913 house, at 3420 Snelling Avenue, Minneapolis, was NPG Music Publishing – one of Prince’s companies.
The initial asking price was just $110,000, but Prince paid $117,000 in cash to secure the property.
After his death, Prince’s estate put it up for sale, saying “the costs of repair and ongoing maintenance” were such that keeping hold of the house was “not in the Estate’s best interest”.
Prince Roger Nelson outsold Adele and Drake last year
Incredibly, Prince was the biggest-selling artist in the US last year, in terms of album sales. He shifted more than 2.2 million albums in the months after his death, partly because his music was unavailable on the major streaming platrforms.
He was the only artist to sell more than one million digital and physical albums in 2016; and sold a total of 5.4 million digital songs, putting him ahead of Drake and Adele.
When his music finally became available on Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Google Play this February, it was streamed 17 million times in one week – with Purple Rain alone racking up 1 million plays.
• In the recording studio with Prince
• Hunting for Prince’s vault
• Prince: Sixteen pivotal songs
• Prince – BBC Music homepage
Prince Roger Nelson travelled under the name Peter Bravestrong
Prince had many aliases as a songwriter – Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco and Jamie Starr, to name but a few.
But unsealed court documents show, released earlier this week, show that the star, an intensely private person, travelled under the name Peter Bravestrong to help conceal his identity.
That name was on a luggage tag he used while travelling to Atlanta for what proved to be his final concert.
The suitcase was found at Paisley Park after his death, and contained several prescription bottles in the name of Kirk Johnson, a personal friend and employee since the 1980s. (It also contained handwritten lyrics for U Got the Look, according to investigators.)
US authorities are still investigating how Prince obtained the prescription medications which killed him.
Prince Roger Nelson cooked a lot of eggs
As bandmates and friends lined up to pay tribute to Prince, they all seemed to have one memory in common: Eggs.
“Prince did the cooking. Scrambled eggs,” singer Jill Jones told GQ magazine. “He put curry and a little bit of cheddar cheese in them. It was really good, actually.
“You know, he barely ate. I was always starving around him. I was always freaking hungry.”
“Prince was never an eater,” agreed Cat Glover, who joined him on the Sign O The Times and Lovesexy tours. “He would usually smell his food. Literally. I never really seen Prince eat. I’ve seen him make pancakes – he made me pancakes, he made me eggs. But he’s not the type of person that eats a lot.
“Yeah, he has made me scrambled eggs,” said dancer Misty Copeland. “Breakfast was his forte. He liked to use a lot of seasoning. They were delicious.”
It’s worth noting that Prince himself did not carry an eggy whiff.
“Ever since I’ve known Prince, I’ve attached a smell to him, which is lavender,” Madonna once said. “He reeks of it.”
Prince Roger Nelson destroyed a windmill
One of the other properties put up for sale by Prince’s estate was a huge, 160-acre estate near Lake Ann in Chanhassen, which was valued at almost $14 million.
It once contained a yellow three-story mansion-style house, complete with a home studio, where portions of Sign O’ the Times and The Black Album were recorded.
“There were a couple of summer nights where we could hear music coming through the woods,” Juli Gempler, who lived next door, told ABC News after his death. “Nice and loud. It was good. It was really cool.”
The property even had its own windmill – also bright yellow – where Prince presumably spent many a happy hour milling organic flour before baking a nice batch loaf.
Sadly, though, he had the house and the windmill torn down in the 1990s. Satellite images now show the property as a vast expanse of green fields and woodland, except for a lone tennis court.
We’ll be hearing new Prince music for the rest of our lives
Shortly after Prince’s death, the legendary “vault” that contained his archive of concert recordings, unreleased songs and rehearsal tapes was drilled open.
According to the singer’s former recording engineer Susan Rodgers, who started the vault for Prince during the 1980s, the facility was almost full when she left in 1987, with songs in there that pre-date his legendary Purple Rain album.
“We used to do two songs a day, and he just put them away,” added his friend and engineer David Z. In fact, there’s so much music waiting to be released, “it probably won’t be tapped out in our lifetime,” said former Paisley Park employee Scott LeGere.
The first release came last year, when the 1999-era track Moonbeam Levels was unearthed for the compilation Prince 4Ever.
This June, an expanded version of Purple Rain is due, containing “two incredible albums of previously unreleased Prince music and two complete concert films,” according to Warner Bros Records. A leaked tracklist suggests fans will finally get to hear studio versions of the much-bootlegged songs Electric Intercourse and Possessed, amongst others.
Prince’s estate has also signed a $30m deal with Universal Music to release non-Warner Bros material – which will hopefully include fan favourites like Extraloveable, Wonderful Ass, Lisa, Train, Rebirth of the Flesh and Big Tall Wall.
There is some speculation that the star didn’t maintain his vault to archival standards, and that some of the tapes may have deteriorated. Furthermore, the process of cataloguing the material hadn’t even begun by the start of this year.
Prince Roger Nelson never rehearsed that solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps
One of the most widely-circulated links after Prince’s death was a video of his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
It sees Prince joining an all-star version of the Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps, backed by Tom Petty, Steve Winwood and George Harrison’s son, Dhani. He keeps to the sidelines until the final two minutes, when he steps forward to deliver one of the most breathtaking guitar solos you’ve ever seen, full of fluttering high notes and ringing harmonics.
Amazingly, Prince never rehearsed this moment with the band. At a run-through the night before it was Jeff Lynne’s guitarist, Marc Mann, who took the solo.
“Prince doesn’t say anything, just starts strumming, plays a few leads here and there, but for the most part, nothing memorable,” recalled Joel Gallen, who directed the ceremony.
But when the big moment came, Prince stole the show. At one point, he turned to face Petty and Harrison, then fell backwards into the audience – while still playing – before strutting off stage, throwing his guitar into the air before the song ended.
“You see me nodding at him, to say, ‘Go on, go on,'” Petty told the New York Times. “I remember I leaned out at him at one point and gave him a ‘This is going great!’ kind of look.
“He just burned it up. You could feel the electricity of ‘something really big’s going down here.'”
Prince later claimed he had never even heard the song before it was sent to him to learn for the performance.
Source – , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_singles_discography ,