As news of his passing breaks, here are some little-known facts about the cultural icon that was Prince.
Prince had 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 was Prince Rogers Nelson and when he was a kid he was known as Skipper.
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.
‘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.”
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In 2010 he claimed “the internet is over,” explaining that “like MTV, at one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”