Music icon Prince dead at 57

  • A photograph of Prince flashes in the background during a memorial dance party Thursday night at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Scott Olson | Getty Images

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  • "I have played cello in the Mississippi Valley Orchestra for 30 years. In 1992 one of our orchestra members heard that Prince was looking for a cello player to be in one of his current videos, and that he was holding auditions at Paisley Park. Seeing that Price was one of my all time favorite musicians and that I had been to every possible concert of his since he started his music career, I of course went to audition for the video! While waiting for my turn I was sitting next to and talking to this very nice man who I happen to not know who he was. About 10 minutes into our conversation I asked him his name and he started to laugh and said, "You don't know who I am?" and I said, "No" it turned out to be Ice-T!" -- Linda DeRoode, Hopkins
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  • On "Little Red Corvette"

    "Along with the Rollings Stones' "Going Home," it is just the sexiest piece of music ever recorded." -- Marcus

    "It is such a compact perfect song. ... It is like the perfect pop song." -- McGuinn
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 2:50:19 PM
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  • A stage is prepared ahead of an all-night celebration honoring Prince outside of First Avenue Thursday. Christopher Juhn for MPR News

    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 2:59:29 PM
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  • Remembering Prince

    Prince Rogers Nelson, Minnesota’s pop music powerhouse died yesterday at the age of 57. 

    Today--a roundtable on how Prince evolved as a musician from the 1970’s….Who he influenced...And who influenced HIM.
    At 10: We’ll open the phone lines and take some calls about what you’ve heard from our guests.

    Our Roundtablers:
    Jim McGuinn is the Program Director of 89.3 The Current.

    Toki Wright is a musician Vice President of
    Soul Tools Entertainment


    Greil Marcus is a music journalist and critic..and the author of a number of books, including: “The History of Rock and Roll in 10 Songs.”
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  • Thousands gather for a block party in front of First Avenue in honor of Prince. Christopher Juhn for MPR News

    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:11:42 PM
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  • "My mom was 50 in 1994 and was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She always listened to Purple Rain while in the MRI and CT and during her procedures. She said he was the Little Richard of his day. His music also was before it's time for everyone except those who could appreciate his musical skill and gift. She had the movie also. When mom passed no one mentioned it so I took it. It's VHS. When she would hurt, she listened to his music. It helped her. And my mom was a spiritual woman and found a lot of his music was spiritually uplifting." -- Jerrilinn Folz from Lorena, Texas
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:13:17 PM
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  • "Hearing Prince say 'I'm not a woman. I'm not a man. I am something you will never understand' was a crucial moment I'm understanding my own trans identity. His flamboyance, coupled with his artistic excellence, made me appreciate what being queer/trans could offer to make the world a more beautiful and joyful place" -- Nicky Noel, Minneapolis.
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:16:04 PM
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  • "A bunch of years ago, I was in the fan club and paid more than I've ever paid for a concert ticket to see Prince at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA. The show was great, but I also got to go to soundcheck. It was almost like being let in the back door to see Prince dressed down (as much as he ever was) and working through partial songs and jams. Having done plenty of soundchecks myself over the years, they can be super boring. But Prince knew what we were there for and he made sure to break the fourth wall and let us into the experience. Sure, I'd paid to be there, but it was intimate and fascinating." -- Phil Johnson, Milpitas, CA
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:24:14 PM
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    At 10a: Dessa of Doomtree joins us to take your calls and reacts to the death of Prince

    Tell us: What was the best Prince show your saw?
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  • "He helped me understand sexuality, art and music and how they all fuse together. When he left his record label in protest and then made Emancipation was the frst time I understood the evil of corporations." -- Jessica Drummond, Minneapolis
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:30:39 PM
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  • "I will never forget standing a foot away from Prince wailing on guitar @ 4 a.m. on the floor of a jam room at Paisley Park. My friend Arthur Lee was recording a record there and Prince would come in from his club 'The Big Bam Boom' in Mpls around 1 a.m. He had given out invitations to people - always just regular looking folks - at the club to come back to Paisley Park. Prince and his band were set up just on the floor of this jam room and would start to play around 4 a.m. and play 'til dawn. This happened multiple nights that we were there. One night Lenny Kravitz came and clearly couldn't hang with the playing and begged off after struggling through one song. Prince joked smilingly, 'Lenny has to go home -- he's got a cold.' Prince by contrast - the night I remember best - played bass, drums, keyboards and of course, guitar! Ever the showman, the final number that night culminated in a blistering guitar solo. At the climax, Prince held a scorching note at the top of the register, flung the guitar in the air where it seemed to hover, the note still ringing in the air, time suspended for what seemed like an eternal instant - before the guitar plummeted to earth, Prince swiveled electric on his heel and strode out. A foot away, this is how I will remember him always. Tear it up in Heaven Prince! Tear it up... I have no doubt you will." -- Ben Hunter, Los Angeles
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:34:45 PM
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    Some Beautiful Soul Turned NYC's Prince St. Station Into a Tribute for Prince (Updated)

    Brooklyn, NY PatchWe've always wanted to take the Love Train to Brooklyn.
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:36:45 PM
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  • "In 2011, Prince visited The O'Shaughnessy in St Paul to see an Esperanza Spaulding concert. I discovered Prince greatly admired Esperanza's music, especially her improvisational passages so prevalent in her music, and liked to see her perform live. I met Prince and his entourage of fashionable guests at the stage door. While I thought Prince would like the excellent seats we saved him in the house, he preferred watching the concert from the wings backstage. After the concert, he and Esperanza discussed her approach to music composition, arranging and performing. He was quiet, gracious, and unassuming, and I only wish we could have featured them both onstage that night." -- Kathleen Spehar, St. Paul
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:39:53 PM
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  • On Sunday, the Minneapolis City Hall tower bells will play Prince songs from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

    Minnesota loses its identity. What now?

    NewsCutWho represents us now? Who puts the bounce in Minnesota's step. Who's left to declare to the world that Minnesota matters?
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 3:54:21 PM
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  • First Avenue retrospective: Prince's 'Purple Rain' film turns 30

    The Daily Circuit's Tom Weber and Andrea Swensson of The Current curated a retrospective from First Avenue, where much of the movie was filmed.
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  • "I first saw Prince perform in 1978-79, at one of the bars at 26th and 26th in Minneapolis. Dragged there by a friend who said I had to see this guy, I went. He was right. A few years later, after grad school I was working at Monte Carlo and Faegre's in Mpls. from 1982-84, and Prince mania was everywhere, with his performances at First Ave and the filming of Purple Rain in 1984 behind the Wyman Building, which was becoming heart of Mpls. art scene. Later, in 1986 I was buying boots at Tootsie Ploughound in SoHo, NYC, and the fellow helping me asked if I'd seen Prince. When I said yes, and that movie was filmed in part in the alley behind where I worked, he asked if he could wash my feet! I saw Prince again in about 1990, in the huge, over-the-top production concert at old Met Center in Bloomington, as he arose through the floor with a corvette. My first contact with someone who did not like Prince's music, at all, was in 1994. I was surprised to learn that not everyone admired Prince. It was the young talented glassblower, Dante Marioni, who I met outside of Seattle at Pilchuck Glass School. I was stunned, and somehow never thought as highly of his glass again." -- Mason Riddle, St. Paul
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 4:25:50 PM
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  • My best friend and 'Partner-in-Loving-Prince,' Dave, had just left the University of Minnesota to seek his fortune in radio advertising.

    A year earlier we'd discovered Prince (and Prince spin-offs, Andre Cymone, Jesse Johnson, Vanity 6, The Time) while working at campus radio station, WMMR. WMMR (or "Wimmer") was a carrier-current station broadcasting to the dorms. It's safe to say that, during any given air shift, we had no more than a handful of listeners -- and that's being generous. This fact afforded us great artistic license. We had all the tools of a real radio station, but few of the responsibilities. This meant that one could, if one felt so inclined, devote an entire air shift to nothing but Prince and the Prince brand and nobody (especially not the WMMR General Manger, one Dave, was going to 'write you up').

    Anyhoo... like I said, Dave had moved on (to his first real job in beautiful Rockford Illinois) leaving me behind (and bereft) for one more U of M quarter. I missed him... and never so much as when I learned Prince was doing a dance theater benefit at First Ave. Luckily, Dave's younger brother, Steve was still around and he agreed to fill in for his big brother. He wasn't exactly Dave, but he was close enough.

    Steve was a 19- or 20-year old kid fresh off the prairie. You know that moment in time: in his physical prime, open hearted, a-political and eager to 'party like it's 1999.'

    Steve elbowed our way up to the stage and we were able to park ourselves right under Prince's microphone. I cannot emphasize enough the importance, to me, of being close enough to catch the mist from Prince's brow. Prince had timed his arrival in my life to correspond with my own psychosexual awakening. He was. My God. (It's too bad I was drunk on whiskey-sevens.)

    It was so hot in there! I'm sure we'd gotten through Purple Rain (rapt and totally oblivious to the place it would ultimately hold in the annals of rock and roll legend) and were nearing the end of the show when my knees started to buckle. "I gotta get some air," I managed. Steve grabbed what was left of my drink and poured it, ice and all, over my head in an effort to revive me. Really, the only thing keeping me vertical at that point was the mass of 1983 First-Avenue humanity.

    Eventually the sated crowd dispersed and poured out onto a First Avenue and 7th Street. Wow. That was amazing. Steve had torn off a postage-stamp sized piece of carpet from the stage -- right where Prince had planted his high-heeled boots -- as a souvenir.

    Still overheated -- not to mention overstimulated -- we decided it would be a great idea to drive my little red Toyota to Uptown and purify ourselves in Lake Calhoun. So we did.
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  • "My friend and I won tickets to see Prince from our hometown radio in Eau Claire. We took a bus full of other fans to St. Paul. We were 14 years old. We wore lace and big hair. We saw him during the Purple Rain tour in 1984. It was amazing." -- Joanne Spencer, St. Paul
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 4:28:53 PM
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  • We've added a memory wall so please come share your thoughts. @MNHistoryCenter opens at 10. #mnprincememories

  • Minneapolis celebrates Prince

    After the death of Prince was announced, Minneapolis held a block party to celebrate his music.
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  • "2004 concert in St. Paul. I had tickets because my superfan friend's husband was in line for twelve hours to get four tickets. His treat for her and three friends to enjoy together! Stood the entire concert, sang and danced and sang and danced. I was recovering from abdominal surgery six weeks before and got a side ache about half way through -- but danced on! Went to the ER the next day -- passed a kidney stone! Prince and kidney stones are forever connected for me!" -- Bonnie Wilcox, Apple Valley, MN
    by Michael Olson, MPR News via Minnesota Public Radio 4/22/2016 4:43:38 PM
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  • I've always equated Prince with Mozart... Child prodigy genius... died to young.
    Have to watch Amadeus once again.
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  • 11a What did Prince mean to you?

    Tom Weber continues with remembrances of Prince. 

    Joining Tom Weber in the studio:
    Steven Hyden, former Grantland writer and author of the forthcoming book, “Your Favorite Band is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life.”
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