It’s hard to believe that an entertainer could touch so many people so deeply and yet Prince has proved that to be possible. Sometimes we take it for granted that those we hold in such high esteem can be taken just as quickly as anyone else. The loss of the musical legend known as the Purple One, Prince struck not only his fans but most people who grew up listening and identifying with his musical genius.
He was a truly talented man who played numerous instruments and wrote many hit songs for others under assumed names, never publicly taking any credit. He emphatically made his mark on pop culture and the music industry. He was an artist for the art’s sake. A testament to this is the 600+ songs that his vault still holds unreleased from over the years. I wonder what magic they might contain.
Respected by his fellow artists, beloved by his fans, Prince could’ve easily retired years ago and lived comfortably, but truly great entertainers do not do this. He was too cool to go out quietly. Prince will always be remembered as one of the greatest performers of all time. However, there are many things about Prince that aren't very well known. Despite his stage bravado and swagger, most close to him admit he was a shy and quiet man, never one to self-promote. For those that think they know it all about his Purple Badness, here are thirteen fascinating little-known facts about Prince.
13 Prince is the Official Pioneer of the “Minneapolis Sound”
When he was just 13 years old, Prince formed his first band, Grand Central, with some school friends. Later he joined another local band, 94 East. By 1980, the quite, shy young man was appearing, for the second time, on American Bandstand. Dick Clark remarked, “This is not the kind of music that comes from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” It wasn’t… yet.
12 Prince Wrote Many Hits for Other Entertainers Too!
Many people know Prince wrote Sinead O’Connor’s hit song, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Did you know the song was originally written about Susannah Melvoin, twin sister to bandmate Wendy Melvoin and Prince’s fiancé at the time? He also produced “Round & Round” for Tevin Campbell and wrote “Manic Monday” for The Bangles and “I Feel For You” for Chaka Khan.
11 Prince Suffered Personal Tragedies When Trying to Start a Family
Prince has been romantically linked to many beautiful women: Kim Basinger, Madonna, Vanity, Sheila E, Carmen Electra, Susan Moonsie of Vanity 6, and Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. He was engaged once in 1985, to Susannah Melvoin, but finally Prince had found true love.
10 Prince Never Actually Dated Apollonia Kotero from Purple Rain
Purple Rain cost a mere $7 million to produce and grossed a whopping $68.4 million! The semi-autobiographical story of “The Kid” featured Prince and his protégé, Apollonia, falling in love and much of the publicity around the film revolved around the romance between the two.
9 Prince Accomplished What Only The Beatles Had Done Before Him
In 1984, Prince achieved greatness unparalleled; he topped the charts simultaneously with a #1 album (Purple Rain), a #1 film (Purple Rain), and a #1 single (“When Doves Cry”). It all occurred the week of July 27, 1984, and Prince dominated!
8 Prince’s Unpronounceable Symbol Actually Had A Name
That unpronounceable symbol actually did have a name. People didn’t know what to call Prince when he was using the symbol as his alias, but it was actually called “Love Symbol #2.” However, employees of Paisley Park usually just referred to him as “the dude.” I think Lebowski would abide.
7 Prince was a Formidable Basketball Player
Prince stands only 5'2" tall, which is roughly 1.5 meters. Despite his small stature, he was a talented basketball player and once played for one of the best school teams in Minnesota.
6 Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness
Prince was baptized a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001. Due to this, he refused to swear or sing any of his old songs that support sexual promiscuity (“Darling Nikki”, “Little Red Corvette”). He even went door-to-door.
5 Prince Once Released a Recording of Kim Basinger’s Sex Sounds
In 1989, Prince released a 12-inch single called “The Scandalous Sex Suite,” which featured vocal “offerings” from actress Kim Basinger. These included sexual moaning and groaning rumored to have been recorded during an actual lovemaking session between the two celebrities.
4 Prince was Sued by his NBA Star Landlord
In 2006, Prince rented a home to live in while in Los Angeles. The home was rented to him by Carlos Boozer, an NBA star then playing for the Utah Jazz. Prince proceeded to modify the home more to his linking: installing monogramed carpeting, putting a hair salon in the master bedroom, changing the front gate to his symbol, and changing the color of the blue water stream that led to the front door to purple.
3 Prince Kept his Iconic Motorcycle from Purple Rain
Who can forget that iconic purple motorcycle Prince strutted around on in the film, Purple Rain? Did you know it was a Honda and that there were actually three bikes used in the film’s production? Two were stunt bikes but the third one was the one on the album cover. That is the one that everyone wanted. It was a 1981 Honda CB400A “Hondamatic,” with a 395 cc air-cooled twin engine and semi-automatic gearbox.
2 Stevie Nicks was Supposed to Have Helped Write “Purple Rain”
“Purple Rain” is an iconic song. Did you know that Prince initially asked Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks to lend her vocals and help him write it? Nicks once commented, “It was so overwhelming… I listened to it and I just got scared. I called him back and said, ‘I can’t do it. I wish I could. It’s too much for me.'”
1 Prince was Meant to Sing on Michael Jackson’s “Bad”
Do you remember the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Bad?” Do you remember the gang leader portrayed by Wesley Snipes? That was supposed to be Prince, and he was meant to be singing a duet with Michael originally on the song. However, Prince was a little uneasy about the opening lyric, “Your butt is mine? Who’s singing that to whom?” Prince asked, “Because you sure aren’t singing that to me, and I sure ain’t singing it to you. So right there, we got a problem.”
Wow! It’s a good thing there was no internet back then, because this is the kind of thing that would have broken it; two incredibly popular entertainers, public rivals, together on one track, in one music video. But alas, it never happened, possibly for the best.
Sources: nme.com, citypages.com, wetpaint.com, mentalfloss.com, vulture.com, boldride.com, nypost.com.
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