Prince Rogers Nelson was a prolific musician and artist, who was known just as much for his unique style as he was for his catchy and memorable songs. His tragic passing on April 21st this year was both sudden and extremely sad, as he was still very much active in the music world and had a great deal more to share with the world. Here are 10 things you should know about His Royal Purpleness, Prince.
1) He was notoriously protective of his music catalog
Since his tragic and shocking passing, many who were not aware of him before may have been searching for his songs and music videos online, such as on YouTube. Unfortunately though, Prince’s music is not readily available on a lot of streaming sites, except for Tidal. The reason for this is simply that Prince was fiercely defiant against the control recording labels have over artists, and refused to accept that he and other artists were being cheated of their royalties, even going as far as to protest this by painting the word “slave” on his face to make a statement.
2) Many other artists have performed songs he wrote
His own catalog of songs is extensive, but Prince was known to write songs that ended up being hits for other artists. Ever the elusive artist, he sometimes even used pseudonyms to preserve his anonymity as a songwriter. Songs include Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You, Manic Monday by The Bangles and Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’ Connor.
3) His songs were featured in many films
Besides starring in Purple Rain, Prince also curated the soundtrack for the film, and it features the song of the same name, which is arguably one of his most recognisable hits. Oftentimes he was approached to contribute a song to a film’s soundtrack, but he would only get involved if he really believed in the film. This led to him writing the entire soundtrack for Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, and having some fun dressing up as The Joker for a music video. Also, The Song of The Heart was written and produced by him specifically for the 2006 film Happy Feet.
4) He was very charitable
Throughout his life he was notoriously private, and it was only after his passing that some came out to praise his charitable efforts. While he did have his own charities, he also took time and effort to contribute to many people and organizations who were in dire need of monetary support. The visionary artist knew the importance of technology, and contributed a great deal for 100,00 less fortunate young adults to be trained in the field.
5) He once appeared onscreen alongside The Muppets
Although his earlier music was often considered to be quite risque, Prince also knew how to appeal to younger audiences, appearing on the program and singing songs about breakfast – of all things. It was a cute appearance that showed his jovial and easy-going side, at a time where he was often under scrutiny for infamously changing his name to the now iconic “Love” symbol.
6) He could rock a pair of high heels
Prince was quite diminutive in stature, but instead of letting that get in his way, it just gave him more options in terms of footwear. His androgynous style was always unique and gorgeous, his shoes were no exception. From custom made heeled boots to stilettos that would make Victoria Beckham jealous, he wore it all and he did it fabulously.
7) He was an ace on the basketball court
Although it was once thought to be just a legend due to an infamous Dave Chapelle skit (which can be viewed below) where the comedian hilariously portrayed the musician beating professional basketball player Charlie Murphy at his own game, it turns out Prince not only loved watching the game, he played it well too, and even was on his Junior High basketball team. Talk about being multi-talented!
8) He had a great sense of humour
For one thing, he had no qualms about the above-mentioned basketball skit, and even featured an image of Dave Chappelle dressed up as him for an album cover of his. He also made a rare but much talked about appearance on comedy The New Girl, as himself. Though he was an icon and legend, he was still able to laugh at himself, which is pretty cool.
9) He was married twice
As expressive he was on stage, when it came to affairs of the heart, Prince was very much a closed book, save for clues peppered throughout his music. From 1996 to 2000, he was married to his former dancer Mayte Garcia, who was the mother of his only son, Boy Gregory Nelson. Sadly, Boy tragically passed away from an undisclosed illness shortly after his birth. From 2001 until 2006 he was married to Manuela Testolini, and following their separation he did not remarry.
10) He was a true son of Minnesota
As a huge star, Prince could have lived just about anywhere in the world, but he never left the place of his birth, Minnesota, Minneapolis. His legendary Paisley Park home and studio was based there, and that’s where he spent most of his time when he wasn’t travelling or touring, until the day he died. Besides putting Minneapolis on the map with the film Purple Rain, he was always an active citizen of his home state, supporting local businesses and activities.