It’s been a tough year for rock music. First David Bowie died, and now His Purpleness, Prince, has left our world. From his amazing sense of style to his zany interactions with the media and other entertainers, Prince Rogers Nelson was as true to himself as a person could be. He held his art sacred above all else, and was absolutely dedicated to making music, which is lucky for all of us because the guy was an absolute genius.
I never personally perceived him as a sex symbol, but his individuality and unflagging commitment to his creativity was admirable. He was ahead of his time, a virtuoso, a prolific song-writer, a rule breaker, “a unifier of dualities,” and even an Academy Award winner. He also “knew how to throw shade magnificently.” He was a weird dude, and he was beloved. He was completely unique; he was Prince.
Read more: A Tribute to David Bowie, in Cocktails
I have a feeling, though, that this won’t be last time we hear from him. With his vault of unreleased material purported to hold at least 50 highly produced and never released videos and who knows how many audio recordings, Prince is likely to continue contributing to the world of music from beyond the grave. My gut says we weren’t at all ready for that stuff when he made it anyway. Prince knew that work was ahead of our time.
As I read around the Internet today, I came across dozens of tributes to and stories about him that ranged from hysterical to touching to amazing. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. That Time he asked an NPR reporter to dance. (Not!)
Minnesota Public Radio reporter Andrea Swensson was a regular on the Prince beat in Minneapolis, and reported yesterday from the superstar’s home there, Paisley Park. She recounted this funny anecdote about running into Prince at a concert:
At one point, you know, he turned to me. He had this little house band playing some music for us, kind of like a jazz combo. And he turned to me, and he said, would you like to dance, and put out his hand and then whipped the hand away and said, just kidding (laughter). And I was mortified and thought it was hilarious.
2. That time he told my photo editor “no costumes” then showed up in a super sparkly outfit.
One of my first jobs in journalism was at a magazine called Yahoo! Internet Life. (Yes, it was a magazine about the Internet. I know, I know.) We landed some excellent covers – David Bowie and Prince among them – and Facebook has been bursting with stories from the awesome staff that worked with there. As per his custom, Prince wouldn’t allow our interviewer, Bilge Ebiri, to record their interview; a custom keyboard had to be developed that would type out the symbol for “the artist formerly known as Prince;” and he had some pretty specific instructions about the photo shoot, too. Our photo editor Gail Henry explained:
When Prince’s webmaster called and gave me a thumbs up to photograph his “Purpleness” I felt like I’d won the photo lottery. Who in the world was cooler? For some reason, Prince was adamant that he wouldn’t wear a costume, only normal clothes. Heck, it was Prince. I wasn’t going to argue about his choice of wardrobe. This left [us] pondering just what he WAS going to wear. We couldn’t imagine him in a polo shirt and jeans. All that talk about “regular clothes” flew out the window when he strolled in wearing this red and black outfit, and then proceeded to pull out the black number with rhinestone trim and serious neck bling for the cover. We didn’t want to rock the boat, and decided not to ask. When he left, he shook my hand, still wearing his Michael Jackson silver glove. It was all very surreal. It’s a different game for us mortals.
By the way, that’s the only issue of the magazine that I don’t own. There was a run on them in the supply closet, I guess.
3. That time he kicked Kim Kardashian off stage.
KIM!!! What’s that booty for if not shaking it with his Purple Majesty, girlfriend!? Kim explained her non-moves in a tweet:
I was so nervous I froze when Prince touched me!!!! http://twitpic.com/3xkig7
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) February 8, 2011
(h/t to Newport Buzz)
4. That time he schooled Charlie Murphy in basketball.
The memorable comedy skit about a late night pick-up basketball game between Prince’s and Charlie Murphy’s posses is hilariously seared into the minds of Chapelle’s Show fans everywhere. Find out how Prince reacted to it here and here.
5. That time he went roller skating with Questlove.
Bandleader, professor, author, and drummer Questlove delivers a tale of an after-hours skating party.
Prince had the briefcase out on the floor. He clicked the lock and opened it, and took out the strangest, most singular pair of roller skates I had ever seen. They were clear skates that lit up, and the wheels sent a multicolored spark trail into your path… He took them out and did a big lap around the rink. Man. He could skate like he could sing.
Take another moment to let that sink in. Questlove and His Purpleness. Roller skating. Roller skates that shoot rainbow sparkles.
Dear Dave Chapelle: I think you know what I want to ask you. Pretty please?