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50 Geeky Facts About Prince

  • You've gotta love Prince, haven't you? As the UK reels from another amazing whistlestop tour, including a date at Birmingham's LG Arena, reviewed in this week's NME) here's 50 geeky facts to tide you over till the next time the Purple One graces us with his godly presence. For instance, did you know he played guitar on Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’?

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • When John Lennon was murdered in New York in 1980, Prince was staying only a blocks away. The musician's a huge Beatles fan, and has been known to cover Fab Four tracks such as 'Come Together'. Albeit with more glam. Obviously.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince has no shortage of nicknames and aliases: across his career, he's been known as The Kid, The Purple Purv, The Minneapolis Midget, Alexander Nevermind, Christopher Tracy and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. His real name's Prince Rogers Nelson and when he was a kid he was known as Skipper.

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    Added: 13 Feb 2014

  • You know you've made it when you have your very own Wikipedia spin-off site. Princepedia was created by fans a few years ago and remains a popular resource among Prince devotees.

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    Added: 23 Apr 2014

  • Prince initially asked Stevie Nicks to write lyrics for 'Purple Rain'. "It was so overwhelming, that 10-minute track... I listened to it and I just got scared," she said. "I called him back and said, 'I can't do it. I wish I could. It's too much for me.” And so Prince went his own way and ‘Purple Rain’ was born.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Despite Prince’s small stature at just 5’2, he's a talented basketball player and once played for one of the best school teams in the Minnesota state.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • On tour in the UK in 1987, Prince had found no way of getting a baby grand piano up the stairs of the London’s Chelsea Harbour Hotel for him to practice on. Therefore, the workaholic star hired a crane and brought it in through the window. As you do.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 10 Feb 2014

  • ‘Purple Rain’ was originally a whopping 11 minutes long. A verse and chorus were cut, apparently because the theme of money was deemed inappropriate. The original lyrics are as follows: "Honey I don't want your money, no, no. I don't even think I want your love. If I wanted either one I would take your money and, I want the heavy stuff."

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince belongs to the Jehovah’s Witness faith and refuses to swear in his songs or regularly sing old songs that champion sexual freedom, such as 'Darling Nikki' and 'Little Red Corvette'.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • The week of July 27 1984, Prince topped both the film box office, single and albums charts, with his film ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘When Doves Cry’ respectively. Total dominance, that.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince has written more songs than The Beatles, with a back catalogue that expands to over 600 tracks. In your face, McCartney.

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    Added: 18 Feb 2014

  • If you're at a Prince gig, it's probably best you put your phone away - in January 2014, he sued 22 individual fans he believed had committed “massive infringement and bootlegging” by uploading footage of his sets to YouTube.

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    Added: 05 Feb 2014

  • In fact, best not to mention any kind of social media at all around the guy. In 2010 he claimed “the internet is over," explaining that "like MTV, at one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computer and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers, and that can’t be good for you.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • That said, he is on Twitter. We'd also totally recommend his Instagram, or as he superbly calls it, "PRINCETAGRAM.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Life hasn't always been so sweet for Prince. Back in his home town of Minneapolis when he was a struggling musician, he was so broke he'd hang around outside his local McDonalds just to smell the food.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Days before Prince was set to release ‘The Black Album’ in 1987, he scrapped the whole thing, claiming it as too “dark and immortal.” Later he claimed the change of heart was due to a "spiritual epiphany", though press reported instead he'd been experimenting with ecstasy.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince's cover of the Foo Fighters' ‘Best of You' during his 2007 Superbowl appearance had Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins scratching his head: “I have no idea why he did it, but I’d love to find out. I mean, the thought went through my head that maybe he was doing it as a sort of 'fuck you’ to us, or maybe he really likes the song.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • In 1989 Prince’s half-sister, Lorna Nelson, tried to sue the Purple One claiming she'd written the lyrics to the song ‘U Got The Look’ from his ninth studio album 'Sign o’ the Times'. After a long drawn out court battle, the judge sided with Prince.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • If you're ever in Eden Pierie, Minneapolis, drop by Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse on First Avenue - that's where Prince recorded most of his chart-toppers.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince was often compared to Jimi Hendrix early in his career, a comparison he hit out against in a Rolling interview, claiming it was “only because he’s black.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince’s dad, John Nelson, led his own band, the Prince Rogers Jazz Trio.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince knows value for money - at his recent Shepherds Bush gig, he charged fans £10 for a mammoth 34-song set. That's 29p a song. Not bad, huh?

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince once sent friend and collaborator Janelle Monae a "singing telegram" asking for a copy of new album 'The Electric Lady', who guested on the record.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince's 'Purple Rain' film pulled in an almighty $68,392,977 and only cost $7million to make. Pretty, pretty good.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Fans have been trying to work out the meaning of "purple rain" for decades now. Some believe it’s about the end of the world, a theme Prince was interested in mid-80s: "When there’s blood in the sky - red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god" guide you through the purple rain."

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • According to band mate Lisa Coleman, 'Purple Rain' symbolises “a new beginning. Purple, the sky at dawn; rain, the cleansing factor." There you have it. That won't stop fans guessing again though...

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince initially wanted Stevie Nicks to sing on 'Purple Rain' ("I told him, 'Prince, I've listened to this a hundred times but I wouldn't know where to start. It's a movie, it's epic."). However, according to the Fleetwood Mac singer, he wanted more than just a musical collaboration: "I think he would have liked a romance with me, too."

    Photo: Press

    Added: 05 Feb 2014

  • A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well, 2013 in Chicago), Prince performed at the wedding of Star Wars director George Lucas as tied the knot to Mellody Hobson. Hopefully he was rewarded with his very own purple lightsabre.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince’s first band formed when he was only just 13. The group was called Grand Central, and then Champagne, playing original music in the style of Sly & The Family Stone and Earth, Wind & Fire.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Another reason to love Prince - he dissed Maroon 5 for daring to cover 'Kiss' in 2012. "I do pay performance royalties on others' songs I perform live, but I'm not recording these songs and putting them up for sale. Why do we need to hear another cover of a song someone else did? Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what's already there."

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • In 2010, Prince banned a NHS dentist from covering 'Purple Rain' on an album of operatic takes on modern pop songs. He must have fought tooth and nail for it.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince's second film didn't quite replicate the success of his first. 'Graffiti Bridge' was a both a critical and box-office flop nominated for five Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst New Star (Ingrid Chavez).

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince wrote some bonafide bangers for artists, notably 'Manic Monday' by The Bangles and 'I Feel for You' by Chaka Khan. Then of course there was 'Nothing Compares 2 U', covered by Sinead O’Connor.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince and Amy Winehouse almost collaborated. After Prince declared himself a fan, the Camden singer said she'd "drop everything to do that... I’d do it with bells on. All day long.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • In 2012, Prince was ordered to pay a perfume company $4 million, after failing to promote one of their fragrances. Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics sued the superstar back in 2008 after he reneged on a deal to promote a scent called 3121, named after his 2006 album.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • The 'Purple Rain' soundtrack spent 24 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. That's about the length of a guitar solo at one of Prince's gigs.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince's favourite meal? Why, Spaghetti and orange juice of course.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince used to write fan mail to Joni Mitchell, who says she once spotted the singer aged 15 in the front row at one of her concerts.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • You'll never find Prince at home listening to his old albums. “I make a statement, then move on to the next," he told Rolling Stone.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince once paid a salon in Washington to close down, black out all the windows, and do his hair.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince’s younger sister Tyka Nelson is also a musician who has released two albums. Her last release, a Gospel album called Brand New Me, came out in 2008.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center was set up after the release of Prince's saucy tune 'Darling Nikki' from the 'Purple Rain' soundtrack.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Because his staff at Paisley Park couldn't pronounce the "Love Symbol" they called Prince "the dude" instead.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • In 2007, Prince gave away free copies of the album ‘Planet Earth’ in the Mail On Sunday. Didn’t seem like a good marketing move at first - until it was announced that all his 21 consecutive London tour dates had sold out...

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince once sought legal action against Adobe Photoshop CS6 to prevent fans doctoring photos of him. It didn't pan out, unsurprisingly.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince wrote his first ever song aged 7. It was called 'Funk Machine'. Naturally.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Michael Jackson's 'Bad' was meant to be a duet with Prince, but Prince was uncomfortable with the song’s opening line: “Your butt is mine.” “Who’s singing that to whom?” Prince asked at the time, “because you sure aren’t singing that to me.”

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince is reported to have often stayed awake for days on end when in the studio working on early albums. No surprise, given his gigs often go on into the early hours.

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    Added: 30 May 2014

  • Prince only contributed to the soundtrack of Tim Burton's Batman film because he had a crush on star Kim Basinger. It worked - the pair dated for almost a year afterwards.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 18 Feb 2014

  • Prince originally wrote 'Kiss' for a band called Mazarati, Revolution members Mark Brown and Bobby Rivkin. He later backtracked, telling Brown and Rivkin, “It’s too good for you guys.” Too bad, fellas.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 30 May 2014