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Remembering Prince: Four decades of City Pages stories

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The collective heart of the Twin Cities shattered into a million purple pieces last Thursday.

That's when Prince Rogers Nelson, our proudest export and favorite son, was discovered dead at his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The Minneapolis-born music icon was only 57.

Since his death, the cause of which remains unknown, worldwide press have rhapsodized to the point of hyperbole about Prince's otherworldly talents and profound impact on pop music. Except, when it comes to the Purple One, it's tough to overstate anything.

The seven Grammys, the Golden Globe, the Academy Award, the virtuosic mastery of every instrument he encountered, the mythic persona he cultivated, the singular and revolutionary artistic vision he possessed that transcended race, culture, and sex — these aren't tall tales and they're not half-truths amplified by mourning.

They're the legendary parts that composed Prince, an unparalleled musical force who was taken too soon, but whose work will radiate into eternity.

But for now, we're looking back.

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City Pages was born as Sweet Potato in 1979, one year after Prince issued his debut album, For You. We hit the dusty archives to unearth our best Prince coverage and commentary.

The following is an abridged sketch of the hundreds of stories City Pages ran while cataloguing the greatest musician to ever come out of Minneapolis. Most of these clips have been edited down substantially, and dozens more were lost to the cutting room floor.

What emerges is a portrait of an artist who existed in rarified air from the start, one who made good on his prodigious gifts and applied them in a fiercely unique fashion.

We'll miss you, Prince, but you made damn sure we'll never forget you.

January 19, 1979

When local disc jockey Kyle Ray introduced Prince's debut concert at the Capri Theater in north Minneapolis earlier this month, he hallelujahed in the tradition of Muhammad Ali: "The power and the glory, the Minneapolis story — PRINCE."

He wasn't just fanning the audience. At 18, this young black wizard from the Twin Cities plays countless instruments, and wrote, arranged, produced, played, and sang everything on his first album [1978's For You]. He is indeed powerful.

Prince is the sixth youngest in a family of ten, mother and father included. His father plays piano and writes music, and performed in a swing band.

"My dad called my piano playing 'banging,' and didn't pay much attention to it," Prince said. "I guess I was seven then. I never really listened to music, either, and I still don't very much. There's never nothin' I can get into. If I listen to a record, I hear something that I'd like to do differently, and I become too critical of it. You shouldn't be that way, 'cuz the group took their time and effort and worked on it. I'd rather just do my own thing."

His high school days at Minneapolis Central thoroughly bored him, and once his music teachers discovered they had a monster talent on their hands, they left him completely alone. "They'd just lock me in a room, once they understood what I was doing.

I skipped school a lot, but I graduated early; dismissal was my favorite time of day. I believe in teachers, but not for me. Anything creative I don't think can be taught, otherwise you get somebody else's style; it's not yours, it's theirs."

"The music end of my life I'll probably always do, but not the business end," said Prince softly. "I hate plane rides, too. I'd rather stay at home and rehearse, or play in the studio by myself. I like the quiet here in Minneapolis, and nobody bothers me; I'll always keep a place here."

The multi-talented prodigy, who once dreamed of becoming a cowboy or a fireman, lives alone with a couple of pet alligators, and chooses not to make the scene very much. He's still underage for most bars in this state.

"I used to hang out at the Infinity (a St. Louis Park disco which recently closed) but I'd rather hear loud, live music if I go out at all. Actually, I spend a lot of time in the bathtub thinking. Music and playing is almost like breathing for me," he said shyly in the low voice that belies his performing falsetto. Prince plans to play here again soon, once the tour is set.

"But before I can do that, I have to go to New York and L.A. and that means more plane rides," he winced. Since his career might rest on the wings of those planes, I urged him to get used to it. "Well, I may not stay in music, you know. If I get bored, I may become an artist, a painter — I do that too. Or I might become a janitor or something else," he shrugged.

Given Prince's age and his remarkable abilities, it's safer to assume that "the Minneapolis story" will spend more time in the air and on the airways than he will mopping up. — Martin Keller, for the Twin Cities Reader

December, 1979

While Prince's touch isn't golden yet, it does shimmer. What we have here is something like genius unfolding. Prince is still in the bud. Where else did you think a groove got started? — Frank Schwartz


January 21, 1981

Clad only in matching zebra striped vest and briefs, high-heeled boots, and thigh-high stockings, Prince prances about the Orpheum stage like a stripped-down version of Gene Simmons in a drag show.

He drops to his knees. He's down, but he's hurt only by a would-be lover who hasn't yet heard his message. He coos like Smokey Robinson, telling them in the front rows, "I'm still waiting...." Swoons and then shrieks flood the hall.

In a minute, the young black singer is back on his feet. He straps on his axe and begins knocking out the heavy-metal lead line from "Bambi," a song sung to a lesbian to convince her that it "is better with a man." The young man everyone knows simply as Prince finishes off "Bambi" and starts in with his big soul hit, "I Wanna Be Your Lover."

For You was released in 1978. Warner Bros. did the buying, but most major labels went along in the bidding process. It sold between 150,000-200,000 copies, while "Soft and Wet," the single from the LP, sold around 350,000. His second LP [1979's Prince], went platinum, Prince went on tour, and the national press started paying attention.

With his multi-racial appeal, his marble-cake combo, and a head still full of jams, Prince may be the best thing to come out of Minnesota since Dylan. Prince may soon rise to rock's royal throne as his music tumbles the walls between black and white, rock and funk. — Martin Keller

Prince getting silly with Morris Day during the 1980-81 Dirty Mind tour

Prince getting silly with Morris Day during the 1980-81 Dirty Mind tour

October 8, 1981

What was supposed to be a secret "dress rehearsal" for Prince and band at Sam's [which later became First Avenue] Monday night turned into a blockbuster sellout, and maybe the best live club gig this year.

Prince had booked the club last week in order to run through the show he and his troupe will perform this weekend at the Los Angeles Coliseum, when they open for the Rolling Stones. By 11 p.m., Sam's had almost reached capacity. (The hush-hush, word-of-mouth strategy for the sneak preview had obviously run amok over the weekend.)

The nine-song show was simply tremendous. It mixed songs from the new album with older material like "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad," and a smattering of Dirty Mind ("Head," "Party Up," and the title track). Looking more like Edgar Allan Poe in Civil War clothing than Sly Stone on a rock 'n' funk roll,

Prince pirated about the stage, throwing suggestive looks at an adoring audience. The new songs sounded as powerful as any from Dirty Mind. He opened with a wild rave-up about standing up and organizing, mixing in funny bits about life-as-tourism. Another tune, one whose title he didn't want to announce "'cuz my dad's here tonight," was a swingin', boogie-styled number all about "jacking you off."

The band burned through "Controversy," complete with a recitation of the Lord's Prayer at the bridge.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the word on the street is that the California press is going out en masse to see Prince this weekend, not the Stones. Prince's new album, Controversy, is due out soon. His royal badness has reportedly dedicated the record to one of his favorite songwriters and artists, Joni Mitchell. For real. — Martian Colour

November 5, 1981

Since Prince's Bambi prettiness makes him appear extremely androgynous, and his lineage makes him appear as mixed blood, it's inevitable that we speak of him as the perfect, composite American pop star for the '80s. And his ambitions are that lofty, thank God.

Hell, even Rolling Stones fans find him threatening. Maybe it's Prince's cockiness, or that he dares to be prissy and still call himself a man. For me, it's precisely that quality of brashness that makes Prince so appealing. — R. Anderson


March 4,1982

Prince backstage during the 1980-81 Dirty Mind tour

Prince backstage during the 1980-81 Dirty Mind tour

You've read about him in every rag and mag from Newsweek to the New York Rocker, from Rolling Stone to Jet. The albums speak for themselves, but the live shows are something else again — lusty and legendary.

Prince's sexual politics make how-to coupling manuals obsolete, while cutting a diesel-driven swath through the ambiguous layers of race and sexuality. Sure he carries pillow talk to ridiculous heights, but forget all that — it's just his flashy way of coming on. The dance steps are done in Humphrey Bogart's trench coat; a crack band executes the songs.

Tonight, our own Prince comes home. A special dance floor will be available up front, and with the Time turning out its funk hits in the opening set, the evening promises to be filled with nothing short of ardent brilliance, even if it is at the Met. —Martin Keller

May 27, 1982

There His Royal Badness stood in a swashbuckling pose among his band members, sporting different-colored cowboy boots, wrap-around shades, a shirt open to the navel, and the familiar studded trench coat. "When will they give the award for the Best Ass?" Prince quipped as the crowd roared out with a standing ovation. — Martian Colour

November 17, 1982

It must be interesting to head a dynasty by the time you're 23, and it looks like that's what Prince is doing. First came the Time, who reportedly began as a live vehicle for Prince's extracurricular writing and producing exercises. Then Vanity 6, a female trio in classy lingerie doing a brazen distaff version of Dirty Mind. Add Prince's undeniably charismatic stage presence, multi-instrumental musical ability, and rather bizarre psycho-sexual stances, and you have the makings of a legend. — Tony Glover

August 10, 1983

At last Wednesday's benefit for the Minnesota Dance Theater at First Avenue, with band and new guitarist Wendy near peak form, Prince played an exhilarating hour or so set in what may have been the kid's sweatiest, most soulful hometown performance yet.

Previewing five new tunes and doing his first cover ever — Joni Mitchell's "Case of You," in abbreviated form — the purple prancer dished out something called "Computer Blues" (a hard rocker); two new ballads, one a long guitar-edged thing about "purple rain," and "I Go Crazy"; plus a potentially flammable hit titled "I Will Die for You," easily the best new song of the lot.

Said one observer at weekend party, "Prince makes Jagger look clumsy and sloppy." — Martian Colour

November 23, 1983

Friday night, downtown Minneapolis. The production crew of Purple Rain has been standing in a drafty alley for about four hours. Prince sits in a canvas chair up front, his tiny body swaddled in a gray overcoat with a fur collar. Nobody bothers him; his bodyguard Chick, a gray-bearded hulk with a 56-inch neck, surveys the crowd balefully.

The International Lover sashays onto the set silently, goes up on tiptoe to see what's going on. Nobody turns around. Nobody acknowledges his presence.

"Actually, no one talks to Prince really, except for the directors and the makeup people," says Byron Hechter, Prince's lookalike stand-in for the movie. "I've seen a few people come up to him that weren't supposed to, and Chick told them to go away."

Prince on the cover of City Pages in 1983

Prince on the cover of City Pages in 1983

By Christmas, Purple Rain will be in the can, and Prince will retire to his lakeside mansion to work on the soundtrack album, scheduled for release in April in conjunction with the film. His oh-so-bad face will be plastered on billboards everywhere, and the Dylanesque title song of his movie will blare out of every car radio and cassette player on Hennepin Avenue. — Phil Davies 


August 8, 1984

On the screen [in Purple Rain], his presence lives up to the purple prose it has spawned. Stylish, sensual — and perpetually self-absorbed — his persona recalls James Dean and the best of a whole generation of rock 'n' roll heroes, evoking simultaneous feelings of identification and pathos. — Steve Perry

August 22, 1984

Everyone and his brother is hyping Prince these days — we thought we'd dig up something banal about him.

This was about 13 years ago. Class Piano, Bryant Junior High. At the time, says Prince's piano teacher, Mary Ann Stark, the prodigy was self-absorbed, unhappy, and not very articulate, but tremendously gifted. "I couldn't teach him a thing," she confesses.

For a month, Stark found a tack on her chair every morning. She was convinced Prince Nelson put it there — "I think I might have seen him do it." And every day she waited till no one was looking, then brushed it off and sat down.

Meanwhile, the diminutive artist noodled away brilliantly on the keyboards. Occasionally he might call the instructor over and ask what a B flat minor 7th chord was — "he could play it, but he didn't know the name for anything." So Stark tried to teach Prince about musical notation.

Often she reminded him that John Lennon had had to learn how to read music and that writing it down was a protection against someone stealing it, but the sullen composer would just glare at her. Stark became intrigued by him: "I would have given my left arm to crawl inside that kid's head."

Prince playing the Met Center in 1988

Prince playing the Met Center in 1988

So one day she decided to sit on the tack. She walked to the chair briskly, lowered herself on the tack in such a way that it wouldn't pierce her, and let out a fake howl. Then she shot a glance at the budding genius. "He smiled," she reports. "It was one of the only times he did." — Philip Weiss

November 7, 1984

Prince, music's world-champion at the moment, opens his Purple Rain tour in Detroit tonight with the first of seven sold-out shows, but somehow Motor City hasn't quite caught on. The waitress at a restaurant near the concert hall shrugs; she's only seen the regulars today — no fuss and nobody special. Down at Bert's Bar, home of live jazz and doughy pizza, Janice the bartender frowns. Prince who?

At 7:55, press cattle are herded to their seats. I turn around and discover a chorus of four teen angels: Lesli, Christine, Ruth, and Bethany. Maybe 15 years old. From Rochester, Michigan.

Q. What is it about Prince that gets to you?

"He's massive!"

"He's awesome! He's the best thing on earth!"

"Take a look at that body! Who wouldn't fuck Prince?"

Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL rocking the 2013 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas

Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL rocking the 2013 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas

It's been 20 minutes between sets. The lights go down, the curtain comes up, but the curtain falls again. A false start. Already the teens behind me are shrieking like police whistles. "What if Prince is terrible?" I ask them in a moment of mean boredom. "He won't be," is the answer. "He can't be."

He isn't. The very first show of a tour that'll last till next June is visually and musically spectacular. When the first synth note reverberates ominously from the stage, the Rochester Four become hysterical. "Can you believe we're here?" one asks incredulously. "I'll never forget this as long as I live!"

It might be the most meticulously calculated show in pop history. Prince, a knight in white satin, materializes in a cloud of smoke from beneath the stage, as though ascending from some video underworld. Throwing his cloak aside, he stalks the stage in trademark impatience, twirls abruptly, grabs the mike, and falls to the floor screaming bloody rock 'n' roll.

The show is a series of building, endless, erupting crescendos — every song staged as if it were the final encore, each one a production number rehearsed down to the smallest step or gesture. Prince sticks primarily to radio material, his opening salvo consisting of "Let's Go Crazy," "Delirious," "1999," and "Little Red Corvette."

Prince turns "God" into a Sunday school singalong, then slumps over the piano, his body limp for 30 seconds. For a minute. Just as the crowd begins to consider the awful possibility that Prince maybe died onstage, a leg jerks in spasm. Prince jumps up.

"What's the difference between life and death?" he asks the crowd, a philosophy professor demanding a response. "God. Now, do you wanna spend the night? You do? You will?" Sudden purple lights reveal an elegant bathtub at the top of a staircase. Prince walks seductively up the stairs, takes off his shirt, slides into the tub. Prince and porcelain sink slowly into the stage, disappearing just as the arena goes dark.

In the course of the show, Prince incorporates dozens of sexual moves and virtually every imaginable special effect — waterfalls of smoke, a laser TV, strobes, a multi-colored computer light display. We see him in costumes ranging from black leather to what looks like purple saran wrap.

Prince collapses on stage, feigning exhaustion, then leaps up to play it all again. He picks up a guitar, strokes it and points it at the crowd. A thick stream of water gushes from the end of the instrument.

Then he's back for "Purple Rain," spinning out Hendrix-influenced musical webs until the whole evening simply washes into sweat, smoke, and the numb delirium of absolute illusion. "Thank you. Thank you," is his benign farewell. "May you live to see the dawn." — Greg Linder 

Fans mourning Prince last week outside of First Avenue

Fans mourning Prince last week outside of First Avenue


July 23, 1986

MTV giveaways aside, it's easy to see why Prince's Under the Cherry Moon premiered in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you were the director and you'd made a film this bad, you'd premiere it in an obscure place too. — G.S. Brennan

April 22, 1987

Sign o' the Times is the first Prince (hold the Revolution) record since 1999. It's weird, introspective, very playful, and not at all aimed at the mainstream the way Purple Rain was. — Michael Welch

September 9, 1987

Armed with the assurance of "inside information," I arrived at Rupert's nightclub at about 8:30 p.m. Lots of people with much hair and even more fur slid wordlessly past. We knew our place, and our eyes followed them reverently through the door. They were the Entourage.

When we entered the room, which had only moments before seemed to be some intangible, smoky nirvana, Sheila E. was bashing out a monster drum solo. Prince soon emerged, wearing a little black number with suspenders that looked like something out of a gangster musical.

He played songs from Sign o' the Times, Parade, Purple Rain, and 1999, coordinating his outfits accordingly. He had everyone in the room under his little thumb, including the band; even when things seemed to be getting real loose, it was planned loose.

At one point, Prince went up to one of his male back-up singers and pulled his underwear over the back of his pants and then went to the mike and said "Snuggy." Pretty funny. — Heather Keena

September 21, 1988

Prince's entertaining, amusing psychosis dominated the [Lovesexy] show. It was a two-hour exercise in confusion. It was a weird, mentally debilitating Vegas-ish trip through a circus of sex and God, funk and fun.

The fact that everybody had to change key and tempo every 10 seconds didn't help. It felt like Prince was trying to expunge a confidence problem (probably brought on by the Strib's pronouncement that he is commercially washed up — yeah, right). — Michael Welch

February 14, 1990

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All he did in the '80s was reinvent funk, interject ideas about rhythm and record production that'll filter through music for years to come (just like 1999 made itself felt years after the fact, in '85-'86), and translate developments on the margin (in hip-hop and house to name a couple) to a pop setting.

The only sure bet for the '90s is that he'll continue to reinvent his music and his bad self; if he was the James Brown of this era, he may go on to become the Duke Ellington of the next. What will that mean in the digital age? He'll let you know. — Steve Perry


August 22, 1990

One measure of Graffiti Bridge's brilliance is its thorough ease in absorbing all the innovations of Prince's other post-Purple Rain albums: Lovesexy's dense texturing and adventures in dissonance, particularly in harmony vocals and horn arrangements; Sign o' the Times' broad palette of electronic percussion sounds; Parade's excursion into what can only be called baroque funk, in which busy, complicated arrangements are laid atop angular, minimal rhythms so sharp they practically cut. — Steve Perry

September 19, 1990

[Paisley Park Records executive Alan] Leeds believes in Prince in the way he always believed in James Brown. Both of them are real pieces of work — proud, self-conceived, and mistrustful, hungry for validation yet never able to taste it to their satisfaction for more than a moment.

"I think artists like Prince and Brown reach a stature that it's impossible for anyone to vibe on," Leeds offers. "The rush I get standing at the sound board when the lights go down and 10,000 people start screaming can't be the same rush you get when you're the one they're screaming at. I can't feel the trauma, the effect that it would have on your emotions and your insecurities." — Steve Perry 

October 14, 1992

Minneapolis of the 1960s and '70s was a cruel city toward children of color. It took a fantastically strong will for Prince to become Prince; if there was a lesson attached to that experience, it was that inventing and reinventing yourself, coupled with a profound distrust of the world outside, was the key to survival. — Steve Perry

March 3, 1993

After performing "My Name Is Prince" on the Arsenio Hall Show last Thursday, Prince produced a flask of lighter fluid and the October 11, 1992 Star Tribune Variety section — which contained [Jon] Bream's review of Prince's latest album — and set fire to it. — Jim Walsh

September 14, 1994

From now on, he announced, he'll release records in two ways: Warner Bros. will retain the rights to "Prince" and release material from his vaults on their own timetable, and meanwhile (symbol) will release new material on independent labels.

His own protests aside, Prince was always a voracious consumer of what critics had to say about him; what could he have made of the shrug accorded to Lovesexy? He was probably tempted toward the same conclusion thousands of working stiffs reach every day when for some reason their best efforts get ignored or censured: Fuck it. They want bullshit, give 'em bullshit. — Steve Perry


November 20, 1996

Last week, Capitol/EMI and the Artist Formerly Known As Prince (heretofore known as "The Artist"), hosted a party for the upcoming release of Emancipation, the Artist's triple-CD comeback. What follows is some of the evening's dialogue.

"God put me here... I'll stay here the rest of my life." (The Artist on his hometown)

"I don't own Prince's music. I don't own 'Purple Rain.' But I know how to play it." (The Artist on the vagaries of the music business)

"I've got a record to sell." (The Artist on why he suddenly decided to make himself available to the press after years of shunning it)

June 23, 1999

UPTOWN was among nine fan websites and two zines against which Prince filed trademark and copyright infringement lawsuits in New York federal court.

"I would be advising Prince not to sue [his own fans]," says Ron Herbert, an Atlanta-based record promoter who has worked with Prince. "But Prince is one of the smartest guys I know, and he has the best people working for him. There just has to be more to the story than what you and I know." — Andrew Carter

February 9, 2000

D'Angelo studies live videotapes of Prince at First Avenue like a coach watching old Super Bowl films. —Peter S. Scholtes

July 25, 2001

Freed from his Warner Bros. shackles, Prince negotiated independent, one-record deals with EMI in 1996 and Arista in 1999. When those CDs failed to hit it big, he blamed the labels. In 2000 he changed his name back to Prince, a gesture met mostly with indifference by fans and music writers alike. A new CD was purportedly in the works.

This past May Gotham magazine reported that Prince had become a Jehovah's Witness. In subsequent public appearances, he would speak out about his views on the subordinate role of women in society and vow to erase profanity from his lyrics and onstage vocabulary.

On those increasingly rare occasions when he appears in small venues or at Paisley Park to give his all in a late-night, last-minute gig, it's still the stuff of legend: Prince lying on the stage, playing the blues on his guitar for 20 minutes, Prince working up a funk for hours, drumming the bass like a rhythm guitar. No medleys. No sermons. Just a good chance that he'll finally beg the crowd to "Shut up already! Damn!"

As far as Alan Leeds is concerned, Prince ought to take that trademark plea to heart. "As a songwriter, Prince will forever be able to write a hit song," says Leeds.

"He's brilliant — way more brilliant than people will ever know, because of the mask, the imagery he is so obsessed with. If the guy would just stop caring what people think. If he would just put on a sweater and blue jeans, go on a theater tour without a band, sit at a piano, and just play. Man. It would triple his fan base. It would blow people away." — David Schimke

September 3, 2003

Curtiss A: "I opened for Prince the first time he played First Avenue in 1980. I have this great memory of thinking that it was nice of him to allow me to open for him, and then later realizing that he really did that just to crush me. You know: 'You guys think this is the top thing in town? Well, here: Minneapolis got a brand new bag.'"

Christine Knox-Davidek, scenester, makeup artist: "Women would run after him just screaming, 'Prince! Prince!' They usually were wearing lingerie." — Peter S. Scholtes

July 14, 2004

Summer, 1974. As his bandmates recall, Prince is living in a basement in the home of his friend André Alexander (later André Cymone) on Russell, near Plymouth Avenue.

His band practices in the damp room next door, on a red-painted floor crawling with centipedes and spiders. They call themselves Grand Central, having rejected "Phoenix" (from Grand Funk Railroad's 1972 album Return of the Phoenix) and "Soul Explosion." The name suggests Central High School in south Minneapolis, which Prince attends, as well as Grand Funk.

Prince sings low, like Sly. He covers Grover Washington and Carole King. All the musicians wear Afros. — Peter S. Scholtes

December 15, 2004

Kicking ass with Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards, Prince initiates a year of relevance. Subsequent kicking of ass is reported from his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, several sold-out shows at the Xcel Energy Center, and reunions with old friends back at Paisley Park. — Peter S. Scholtes

December 20, 2006

Prince kicks ass on Saturday Night Live this month, kicks ass at the Orpheum (inviting guests back to Paisley Park for a Legendary Combo afterparty), then refrains from kicking ass on the road — instead launching a scheme to turn Elvis on us, taking up residence at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and performing there regularly. — Peter S. Scholtes

July 11, 2007
The orbital convergence of the Kid and First Avenue is a rare [his first in 20 years] celestial phenomenon that might not be repeated and therefore cannot be missed.

While getting some fresh air during an extended instrumental jam, I hear a host of rumors: Steve Jobs is on the guest list. Sandra Bullock and Elvis Costello are hanging out in the VIP lounge. The police are about to shut down the show.

Multiple sources confirm that last one, and the night ends without the wished-for revue of beloved Prince hits. But before he leaves, he looks out at the brimming house and declares, "I'll be back. I promise U." — Sarah Askari

July 15, 2009

When he packed up Paisley and left for Los Angeles some years ago, we missed the crazy parties in Chanhassen and regular sightings at random Minneapolis haunts.

We never wanted to be your weekend lover, Prince.

So when we heard from several sources that we were getting our pop icon back, we felt oddly validated and most certainly excited. A sighting this weekend confirmed it: Prince has returned.

Jay "Strangelove" Tappe said he saw Prince sitting in the VIP section of [Minneapolis club Envy], where he remained for about an hour and then quietly left.

"I flashed him a peace sign and he flashed me one back," said Tappe. "He was bobbing his head by himself. Just chillin' like he always does." — Jen Boyles


May 17, 2010

Prince blended in with the swarm of Gayngs members coming on and off stage, standing near the [First Ave] green room and requesting that a sound man plug in his guitar. He played along off stage for a short while before unplugging and heading out to the parking garage. — Andrea Swensson

December 15, 2010

After debuting a few tracks on the Current and giving out his album as a free insert in U.K. newspapers, Prince announces a run of five shows in New York and New Jersey in honor of his album 20Ten.

To promote the shows, the Purple Yoda crashes an episode of The View, causing co-host Sherri Shepherd to fly into a tizzy and blurt out, "You don't understand, I have wanted to make love to you my whole life!" — Andrea Swensson

June 7, 2011

NBA star Carlos Boozer was Prince's Los Angeles landlord in 2006 and he later sued the Purple One for painting his symbol on the house's exterior and installing monogrammed carpeting.

Prince would stay awake for days on end when he was in the studio.

When Prince's alias was the unpronounceable symbol, some staffers at Paisley Park just referred to him as "the dude."

Prince once paid a salon in Washington, D.C., to close down, black out all the windows, and do his hair. — Andrea Swensson, Jen Boyles

December 25, 2013

One magical week this November, comedian Dave Chappelle bombarded the Twin Cities with eight shows at First Avenue and four at Pantages. Credit the "Purple Rain" allure of First Avenue. On his final night, he staged a 2 a.m. charity basketball game that included a pancake dinner, and that Prince himself attended. — Patrick Stephenson


January 22, 2014

Nate Kranz, general manager, First Avenue: "[Prince] was playing air guitar to Mason Jennings. He was just like a guy up in the DJ booth, and during one song all of a sudden he needed to jam." — Reed Fischer

February 9, 2015

Prince showed his exasperation with the Grammys in the middle of the show's third hour. "Albums. Remember those?" he said after making his way to the stage to present Album of the Year. "Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter." — Reed Fischer

March 23, 2015

The usual comments about him smelling nice were on point. Prince strolled into the room [at Paisley Park] wearing a long-sleeved shirt with his face on it and sat down.

The room belonged to Prince. He directed the conversation and peppered it with his thoughts about how the music business has evolved. He mentioned meeting with Apple to discuss iTunes about a decade ago, and being unimpressed with how few albums they sold at that time.

When Spotify was mentioned, he asked for an explanation of what it was. — Reed Fischer

August 10, 2015

In a rare meeting, Prince assembled 10 journalists at Paisley Park for an interview about the business of music.

"Record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word — slavery," he told the group, according to NPR. "I would tell any young artist ... don't sign."

Prince also dissed radio giant Clear Channel and advocated a direct, artist-to-fan model for music distribution. When asked how he plans to spread his word, he laughed and informed the journalists, "That's why you're here." — Jay Boller

February 10, 2016

Kendrick Lamar wanted Prince to feature on his album To Pimp a Butterfly, but says the session never made it to the recording stage. "We got to a point where we were just talking in the studio," Lamar told Rolling Stone. "I didn't trip over getting a song done. I really appreciate the actual game he was giving me. He took control of his music." — Jared Hemming

March 1, 2016

Here's the amazing moment when Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg first met Prince, as it appears in Bob Mehr's new 'Mats biography, Trouble Boys:

"Prince was rumored to have lurked in the shadows at some of the Replacements shows at First Avenue, but it was in the bathroom of a club in St. Paul where Westerberg finally ran into him.

'Oh, hey,' said Westerberg, seeing the dolled-up singer standing next to him at the urinal. 'What's up, man?'

Prince turned and responded in cryptic fashion: 'Life.'" — Jay Boller

April 21, 2016

Prince died Thursday at his Paisley Park studio/venue in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The Minnesota-born music icon was 57.

The Carver County Sheriff's Office responded to a "medical situation" at Paisley Park around 10 a.m. Thursday. County dispatch broadcast the incident by saying "a medical, Paisley Park... for a male down not breathing."

Prince was briefly hospitalized last Friday after an unscheduled plane landing in Illinois. He was reportedly suffering from flu-like symptoms. He threw a dance party at Paisley Park the following night. — Jay Boller

April 21, 2016

Tina Evans drove with her brother to Paisley Park to pay her respects. She spoke of Prince like he was a childhood friend.

"Back when we were young, he'd say stuff you weren't supposed to say, and he'd do shit you weren't supposed to do," Evans said. "He was cool, sexy, hot."

In Minneapolis, mourners assembled outside First Avenue. A mound of flowers grew beneath Prince's star on First Ave's outer wall. — Jared Hemming