It’s been four weeks since Prince passed away and we’re not over it, and we don’t think we ever will be. How can someone as funky, as cool and as talented as Prince not be immortal? If you had told us that he was actually a sexy vampire we would have believed that way before we would have believed that he would be taken from us so suddenly (and at such a young age).
But if we were to look at one positive thing that came out of Prince’s death, it’s the ongoing celebration of his music and unmatched talent through personal tributes, magazines, TV segments and articles like this. Prince was so ingrained in the fabric of my childhood that I didn’t realize how big of a fan I was until after he passed away. He was just one of many artists that were part of the soundtrack of my life. Prince was extra special to me because he was one of my big brother’s absolute favorite musicians. He introduced me to Prince, made me watch Purple Rain even when I wasn’t supposed to, and when he passed away from colon cancer in 2013, hearing Prince’s music was one of the things that brought my brother back to life for me again. Are there bigger Prince fans out there? Most likely, but who cares? I never understood why people get up on their high horse after an artist’s death, specifically about how they’re the better fan because they have all his songs, own 30 t-shirts or went to concerts before they passed on. If the death of a musician sparked a newfound passion for their music for someone who wasn’t a fan before, I can’t imagine why that would be a bad thing.
There is no shame is being someone who has just recently discovered Prince and his music. So if you’re a fledging Prince fan, or someone who has since developed a new appreciation for his music, don’t be shamed into hiding it. Join the Prince Revolution and keep his memory alive with these 10 classic, must-see performances all Prince newbies need to see!
10. Prince Playing Gershwin
The word “genius” gets thrown around willy-nilly everywhere you go. But when you hear someone call Prince a musical genius, it really is one of the few times that the term is being used correctly. Prince knew how to play roughly 20 to 30 instruments while I’m sitting here having a hard time even naming 30 instruments. On his first album, For You, it says that the entire thing was “produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince.” He wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on that album, and he wasn’t even old enough to drink. This video isn’t a performance so much as it is evidence of his awe inspiring musical talent as he effortlessly plays Gershwin’s “Summertime” during a rehearsal.
9. Purple Rain Live At The American Music Awards
At the height of his fame in the 1980s, Prince performs his hit “Purple Rain” in all of his Prince glory. He showcases his amazing vocals, and his guitar skills were on full display along with his flamboyant style and mesmerizing stage presence. For many of us, this was the first time we saw Prince and how we remember him best. Although this performance is nearly 30 years old, the song and his obvious talent is timeless, and worth seeing again and again.
8. Prince Makes His Guitar Weep
This was one of those performances I had never seen before until he died. After he passed, Prince’s performance at the 2004 Hall of Fame induction was shared over and over again on social media, and for good reason. Prince’s guitar solo during the song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” blows everyone else’s out of the water, and he’s up there with some serious high-quality talent like Tom Petty and Steve Winwood! Despite not having even heard of the song before it was sent to him to learn for the performance, Prince of course KILLS it with two minutes of making his guitar weep the loudest and the best.
7. Prince Plays Arsenio Hall
Prince stood at 5’2, but make no mistake that every inch of him oozed sexiness. He isn’t traditionally handsome, and had an androgynous style, but there was no doubt that this tiny man wearing high heels could steal anyone’s girl if he wanted to. Maybe it was his unmatched talent, his slick dance moves, his confidence, or the way he could eye-f–k the entire room with just a glance. Whatever it was, Prince was sex personified. Hide yo girlfriends, and hid yo wives, ’cause this collection of Prince’s performances on Arsenio Hall is making everybody’s panties drop up in here.
6. Prince’s First Television Performance
We have no idea what NBC’s Midnight Special was, except that it was the first time Prince performed on television (January 8, 1980). They introduced him to the stage saying that there was nothing he couldn’t do before going on to talk about how “he arranged, produced, composed, and performed his last album entirely by himself.” So, hokey and pokey with the cowboy hat and eye patch (why?) get off the stage just in time for Prince to jump on it, dressed in what can only be described as a woman’s two-piece, zebra-print bathing suit and thigh high boots. The best part? He pulls it off because OF COURSE he does. We don’t think we have to tell you his performance was just as amazing as his outfit.
5. Prince At The Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame Induction
A smoother, understated but always funky and cool Prince was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. If anybody had any doubt that he was a performer with or without all the bells and whistles, this video proves it. Decked out in a smart white suit, his hair cut short and overall, looking decidedly low key in comparison to his past outfits, Prince still manages to deliver a fresh, addictive and exciting performance of “Let’s Go Crazy.” His ever present, natural sex appeal and musical talent always steal the show, flashy garb or no flashy garb, you literally cannot take your eyes off of him.
4. Prince Sings A Cover Of “Creep” At Coachella
It’s no secret that Prince was very protective as well as adamant about having control over his music. He’s fought with Warner Brothers in the past for refusing to relinquish the master tapes of his recordings and he’s famously known for keeping his music off streaming services and issuing take-down notices for all videos uploaded on YouTube. But it was a surprise to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke when Prince was issuing take-down notices on his Coachella performance of Radiohead’s “Creep” considering that it was their song. Prince went back and forth on it, first posting the video on his Twitter and then taking it down. But it’s up again and a one of the must-see Prince performances that will give you goosebumps.
3. Prince Super Bowl Performance
Arguably the best Super Bowl performance ever. After Janet Jackson’s nipplegate in 2004, Super Bowl performances were extra safe and a little bit of a snore with Paul McCartney in 2005 and the Rolling Stones in 2006. Then in 2007, Prince brought sexy back and made the sky cry with joy. While other artists would have been apprehensive about performing in the rain (and playing an ELECTRIC guitar), Prince famously said, “Can you make it rain harder?” Super Bowl performances after Prince became sexy again; they went bigger and were more fantastic, but no matter how elaborate the setting, none of them can collaborate with mother nature like Prince did.
2. 1991 MTV Video Awards
This is the kind of performance that no words can describe how special it is because it’s an experience that one has to take personally with Prince. Quite possibly one of the most talked-about MTV Awards performances ever, Prince doubled-up on sexy in 1991 when he performed “Cream.” There was fire, attractive men and women writhing on each other. Then, there was Prince in a bright, skin tight, yellow outfit, a matching yellow guitar and …two tight asscheeks on full display with zero f–ks given.
1. MTV Unplugged
Why is this performance so great? Because it showcased everything that we love about Prince; his amazing guitar playing skills, his smooth-as-silk voice, his cup of sexiness that runneth over and best of all, his sass. It’s the side of him that he doesn’t always show but on his 2004 MTV Unplugged performance, he playfully gives the crowd side eyes when their sing along is a little too off-key for his taste and makes them sing it again. Prince interrupts himself mid-song to let the crowd know that he wrote “Cream” when he was looking at himself in the mirror naked. Watching it is bittersweet because as great as this performance was, it also remind us that we may never see the likes of Prince again. Rest easy Purple One. You are so missed.