Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Prince was renowned as an innovator, and was widely known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He was widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, soul, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and pop.
He went by the name Prince but between 1993 and 2000 he went by an unpronounceable symbol and was referred to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Prince has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. During his career, he produced ten platinum albums, had 40 top ten singles, and promoted singers such as Sheila E., Carmen Electra, The Time, and Vanity 6. He wrote over one thousand songs which have been released by himself, under a pen name, or by another artist. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year of his eligibility.
- With special thanks
2 Clare Fischer 4 Making Brighter the Colors
Black and White
- At this point, I wouldn't want to jinx it by meeting him. His arrangements are incredible. I just send him a tape, we talk on the phone, and he sends me the finished orchestra tracks. Hear that? I'm gonna get that chord on the radio!
- It's a hurtful place, the world, in and of itself. We don't need to add to it. And we're in a place now where we all need one another, and it's going to get rougher.
- Tavis Smiley Show, PBS  (April 27, 2009).
- Well, the reason why is because I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses and we've never voted. That's not to say that I don't think Barack Obama - President Obama - is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.
- When asked why he doesn't vote, Tavis Smiley Show (April 27, 2009).
- The internet's completely over. [...] The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you.
- Chris Rock: I love the story of how you turned down an offer to appear in Michael Jackson's music video for, Bad.
Prince: You know that Wesley Snipes character? That would've been me. Now you run that video in your mind. The first line in that song is "your butt is mine." Now I said to Michael, who's gonna sing that to whom? 'Cause you sure ain't singing it to me and I sure ain't singing it to you so right there we got a problem.
- VH1 interview (1997) 
- I've been to the mountaintop. There's nothing there.
- To Jim Walsh, in context of writing new material.
- Love... Thy will be done
I can no longer hide, I can no longer run
No longer can I resist Your guiding light
That gives me the power 2 keep up the fight
Oh Lord, Love... Thy will be done
Since I have found you, my life has just begun
And I see all of Your creations as one perfect complex
No one less beautiful or more special than the next
We are all blessed and so wise 2 accept
Thy will, Love, be done.
- "Love... Thy Will Be Done", co-written with Martika; Martika's version first released as a single (25 July 1991), for the album Martika's Kitchen (26 August 1991); Prince's original demo version sent to her, based on a prayer poem and lyric ideas she had given to him released on Originals (2019) · Official audio of Prince version at YouTube · Martika's 1991 video · Martika in a 2016 performance in Adelaide, Australia
- You can live your own life and I'll live mine
I will never try to keep you down
And even if I only see you some of the time
I'm just happy when you come around
And even if the sun don't shine
I'm warm enough when you're in these arms of mine
Just as long as we're together.
- I wanna be your lover
I wanna be the only one that makes you come running
I wanna be your lover
I wanna turn you on, turn you out, all night long, make you shout
Oh, lover! Yeah.
I wanna be the only one you come for.
- There's some talk going 'round town
That you really don't give a damn
They say you really put me down
When I'm doing the best I can
I gave you all of my love
I even gave you my body
Tell me, baby, ain't that enough?
Dirty Mind (1980)
- Now where I come from
We don't let society
Tell us how it's supposed to be
Our clothes, our hair
We don't care
It's all about being there
Everybody's going Uptown
That's where I wanna be
Set your mind free.
- I just can't believe all the things people say—Controversy
Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? -- Controversy
Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me?
- Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me?
Some people wanna die so they can be free
(I said) Life is just a game, we're all just the same...do you wanna play?
- C'mon everybody, yeah, this is your life
I'm talking about a revolution we gotta organize
We don't need no segregation, we don't need no race
New age revelation, I think we got a case.
I'm OK as long as u are here with me
Sexuality is all we ever need.
- I was dreamin' when I wrote this
So sue me if I go 2 fast.
But life is just a party, and parties weren't meant 2 last.
War is all around us, my mind says prepare 2 fight
So if I gotta die I'm gonna listen 2 my body tonight.
Yeah, they say two thousand zero zero party over,
oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999.
- I guess I shoulda closed my eyes
When U drove me 2 the place
Where your horses run free.
'Cuz I felt a little ill
When I saw all the pictures
Of the jockeys that were there before me.
Believe it or not,
I started to worry
I wondered if I had enough class.
But it was Saturday night
I guess that makes it all right
And U say, "Baby, have U got enough gas?"
- I get delirious whenever you're near
Lose all self-control, baby just can't steer
Wheels get locked in place
Stupid look on my face.
It comes 2 makin' a pass, pretty mama
I just can't win a race.
Purple Rain (1984)
- Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life.
Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here 2 tell U
There's something else:
A world of never ending happiness
U can always see the sun, day or night.
- So when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
U know the one - Dr Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby.
'Cuz in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life,
You're on your own.
- Let's Go Crazy
- Dr. Everything'll Be Alright will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children.
- Let's Go Crazy
- I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess U could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotellobby
Masturbating with a magazine.
She said "How'd U like 2 waste some time?"
And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind.
- Dig if U will the picture
Of U and I engaged in a kiss.
The sweat of your body covers me.
Can U my darling,
Can U picture this?
Dream if U can a courtyard,
An ocean of violets in bloom.
Animals strike curious poses;
They feel the heat,
The heat between me and U.
- How can U just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold? (So cold)
Maybe I'm just 2 demanding
Maybe I'm just like my father, 2 bold
Maybe you're just like my mother
She's never satisfied (She's never satisfied)
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry.
- When Doves Cry
- I'm not a woman;
I'm not a man.
I am something that U'll never understand.
I'll never beat U;
I'll never lie.
And if U're evil I'll forgive U by and by.
- I never meant 2 cause u any sorrow
I never meant 2 cause u any pain
I only wanted 2 one time see u laughing
I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain.
Around the World in a Day (1985)
- There is a park that is known
4 the face it attracts
colorful people whose hair
On 1 side is swept back
The smile on their faces
It speaks of profound inner peace
Ask where they're going
They'll tell U nowhere
They've taken a lifetime lease
On Paisley Park.
- I was workin' part-time in a 5-and-dime.
My boss was Mr. McGee, huh.
He told me several... times
That he didn't like my kind cuz I was a bit 2 leisurely.
It seems that I was busy doin' somethin' close 2 nothin',
But different than the day before
That's when I saw her, ooh, I saw her,
She walked in through the out door ...out door.
She wore a raspberry beret
The kind U find in a second hand store
And if it was warm she wouldn't wear much more
I think I love her.
- Pop life
Everybody needs a thrill
We all got a space 2 fill
Everybody can't be on top
But life it ain't real funky
Unless it's got that pop
Parade Under the Cherry Moon (1986)
- I want to live life to the ultimate high,
Maybe I'll die young like heroes die,
Maybe I'll kiss you some wild special way.
If nobody kills me or thrills me soon,
I'll die in your arms under the cherry moon.
- Under the Cherry Moon
- Happiness in it's uncut form
Is the feeling that I get, you're warm, warm
Happy's what I get when we do what we do
Happiness, mama, is being with u
- Women not girls rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age, mama (not your shoe size)
Not your shoe size
Maybe we could do the twirl
U don't have 2 watch Dynasty
2 have an attitude
U just leave it all up 2 me
My love will be your food
U don't have 2 be rich
2 be my girl
U don't have 2 be cool
2 rule my world
Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your
Sign O' the Times (1987)
- Oh yeah
In France a skinny man
Died of a big disease with a little name
By chance his girlfriend came across a needle
And soon she did the same
At home there are seventeen-year-old boys
And their idea of fun
Is being in a gang called The Disciples
High on crack, totin' a machine gun.
- Here we are folks
The dream we all dream of
Boy versus girl in the World Series of love
Tell me, have U got the look?
- U walked in (I walked in)
I woke up (U woke up)
I never seen a pretty girl look so tough' baby (baby)
U got that look, yes U do (yes U do)
Color U peach and black
Color me takin' aback, baby
Crucial, I think I wantcha.
- U Got the Look
- And I said, baby don't waste your time
I know what's on your mind
U wouldn't be satisfied with a one night stand
And I could never take the place of your man.
- I'm going down 2 Alphabet Street
I'm gonna crown the first girl that I meet
I'm gonna talk so sexy
She'll want me from my head 2 my feet.
- This feeling's so good in every single way,
I want it morning, noon and night of every day;
And if by chance I cannot have it, I can't say
But with it I know heaven's just a kiss away.
- I've seen the future and it will be
I've seen the future and it works
If there's life after, we will see
So I can't go like a jerk
Systematic overthrow of the underclass
Hollywood conjures images of the past
New world needs spirituality that will last
I've seen the future and it will be.
Graffiti Bridge (1990)
- Pardon me 4 living, but this is my world 2
I can't help that what's cool to us might be strange to u.
Pardon me 4 breathing, can we borrow some of your air?
The problem with u and your kind is that u don't know love is there.
Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
- Gett off - 23 positions in a 1 night stand.
Gett off - I'll only call u after if u say I can.
Gett off - let a woman be a woman and a man be a man.
Gett off - if u want 2 baby here I am (Here I am).
The Gold Experience (1995)
- Could you be
The most beautiful girl in the world?
Could you be?
It's plain to see.
You're the reason that God made a girl.
Oh, yes, you are.
- It's 2 o'clock in the morning and I just can't sleep
Outside the rain is pourin', I'm lonely as can be
Maybe 2night'll be different than the nights before
I need 2 feel someone beside me, I can't be alone no more
- I’ve never seen the moon look so lovely as the night I saw it with you.
It let me know I’d never seen the moon before. (Never seen the moon before)
So many speak of the moon as though it had no flaws.
But to compare it to a beauty like yours would give one pause.
Quotes about Prince
- Somebody like Prince, who is so impressive as a human being, it is difficult to not completely canonize him. He is amazing, a gift to humanity. But at the same time, he was a guy we worked with every day and it could get really stressful and annoying. One day he'd come in and be all excited and energetic and happy and want to goof around. The next day he'd walk in really somber with a cloud over his head, mumble into the microphone, and be a dick. Evey show we played, he videotaped and made us watch on the bus afterward. He was charming and funny, but also boring, repetitive and self-absorbed.
- Lisa Coleman, in Prince and The Parade and Sign o' the Times Era Studio Sessions 1985 and 1986 (2021) by Duane Tudahl
- [M]ost of the pop music out today I consider to have become a homogenized product. It gets to the point that so much of what is going on is copying everything else that is out, because there is a businessman that knows what he has just sold millions of records with, and so he keeps trying to get every group that comes in to do it, you know. You know, you approach somebody who is well known as a booker or manager, and the first remark will be, "I love what you do, but you would have to change this to this, and that to that, and this to this, in order for me to be able to sell it." Well, by the time you've changed that, of course, it's like everything else that is out there. And when Prince first started sending me songs, I thought maybe that by the time I had done four arrangements that I would have started getting some sort of a repetitive something or other. I have been extremely surprised to find that each one is as different from the last as the next one is going to be different. Some of them are like little art songs. Some of them have dealt with heavy things like friendship and death. I mean, death of a friend. And yet, some of them are as baudy as...
- Clare Fischer, being interviewed, circa 1985, by Ben Sidran, as quoted in Talking Jazz With Ben Sidran, Volume 1: The Rhythm Section (1992, 2006, 2014)
- I've talked to him on the phone, received notes through the mail, but I've never seen him face to face. I sent him my last LP and I understand that he turned his head away as he took the disc out, saying, "I don't want to see what he looks like. I have this image and I don't want to destroy it." So there's a certain amount of mystery involved. I suppose if he knew I were a gray-haired, older guy with a big paunch, he might say, "Oh, that ruins it."
- Clare Fischer, on his working relationship with Prince, as quoted in "He Arranges, Composes, Performs: Fischer: A Renaissance Man Of Music" by Zan Stewart, in The Los Angeles Times (May 14, 1987)
- Prince is intelligent. He never visits the studio when I am working for him; and I have never met him in person. He sends me memos and we talk over the phone. Once I sent him my Grammy-winning CD. I heard from people that were present at the time that while he took out the disc he looked away from the cover, saying, 'I don't want to know what he looks like. It is working just fine as it is.' Prince does not want to meet me because he knows that the minute he walks into a studio he will start interfering. It is uncommon that a person with such a strong ego realizes that I have an ego too.
- Clare Fischer, as quoted in "Clare Fischer: The Best Kept Secret in Jazz" by Maarten De Haan, in Artist Interview (1998)
- Last night I was watching TV.
I was watching Arsenio Hall.
And he had Prince on.
What a character he is!
And he can dance.
He's a little bitty guy.
He had a weird beard.
I tell ya it was—
I couldn't explain it.
- Phil Rizzuto, from The Prince, as published in The Village Voice (September 18, 1991), directly quoting Rizzuto's remarks made during the second-inning at-bat of Billy Ripken vs. Yankee starter Eric Plunk, at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium; reproduced in O Holy Cow: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto (1993), ed. Tom Peyer and Hart Seely, p. 102
- The morning of the game, I opened the curtains in my hotel room, and Oh my God — it was like a scene from Moby Dick — it was like the winds were blowing the palm tress, the rains were one of those Miami rainstorms which would just not relent ... were in this truck, sitting behind Don Mischer, and I remember Don said, put me off the phone with Prince. Don says, "I want you to know it's raining" — and Prince, like: "Yes it's raining" — and "Are you OK?" And Prince was like "Can you make it rain harder?" — and I thought Right on! … To me its about one guy in front of a hundred thousand people, and a hundred million people on television, and its your moment to be "Prince — at the Super Bowl", and Mother Nature is dropping thousands and thousands of gallons of rain. I always thought, how cool the guy is — to rise up and to just get stormed upon — and just bring what he brought — that was so special.
- Bruce Rodgers, production designer on the Super Bowl XLI halftime show (4 February 2007), commenting on it, in "Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour — Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show"
- I think Prince was heads, hands and feet about all the rest of them, I thought he left (Michael) Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don't kid yourself, that's what he did. Slowly, I'll grant you … but that's what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death.
- Prince on IMDb
- Profile at AllMusic
- Lyrics of Prince songs
- Billboard chart history
- profile at Find a Grave
- Walsh: I said to him, "Come on, man—don't you want to make another Sign o' the Times, another Purple Rain?" I don't know if I framed it exactly like that, but he said, "No, no—Jim, I've been to the mountaintop. There's nothing there." https://www.gq.com/story/prince-stories