The late iconic musician Prince, an artist like no other, is missed more with each passing day. Looming over the world of music like an irreplaceable beacon of creativity, Prince was a true enigma and one who tried his hardest to firmly keep his cards close to his chest throughout his career. Never far away from delivering a maverick stunt, the Purple One’s influence on popular culture stretches far wider than just the music alone.
Often dodging questions that revealed too much of his private life, Prince never allowed the media to get too close, a factor that only added to his mystique. It was hard to fully decipher the full back story of Prince, and he implemented this distance in a plethora of wild ways. Prince rarely let the mask slip, and while more stories have emerged since his death, it remains highly unlikely that we’ll ever discover the ‘real’ Prince.
Prince lit up the world with his vivid artistry, a creative who possessed more flair in one finger than most musicians have in their entire bodies. That said, it wasn’t just his wild and unrelenting achievements that made Prince realise his deity status. The way Prince carried himself and his general weirdness is just as pivotal to his legacy as the albums he released.
Here, we take a look at ten of his most classically Prince moments, times in which he did things that no other musician would even consider. Yet, somehow, he pulled off the impossible.
Prince’s 10 wildest moments:
He didn’t believe in time
Yep, that’s right, Prince didn’t believe in time.
The singer saw the concept of time as a social construct and never followed it. He claimed that this ethos was why he remained youthful, despite ageing in the traditional sense.
The Purple One lived his life in his own time zone, and when Notorious Magazine asked him about the topic, he shared the reasons after being quizzed about his anti-ageing routine. “Your magazine probably won’t print this but I don’t believe in time. I don’t count. When you count, it ages you,” he told the publication.
He hated eye contact
It’s a surprise that Prince was never forced to defend himself at an industry tribunal considering the way that he treated his crew. It goes without saying, he had a penchant for firing staff for innocuous reasonings. On one occasion, he sacked a member of his team for making eye contact.
In that same piece with Notorious, an anonymous member of his staff said: “No crew members were allowed to look at him or talk to him. I literally saw him fire a guy for looking at him. He just said, ‘Why is that guy looking at me? Tell him to leave.'”
Speaking in tongues
Even when he was away from the stage, Prince was still operating mystically and didn’t drop the persona to other celebrities — as director Kevin Smith discovered the hard way. Still, at least his encounter was one to remember.
Smith recounted a standard conversation with Prince during a talk in 2013. “He’s like, ‘Kevin, if a big snake gives birth to a little snake. . . what is that little snake gonna grow up to be?” Smith responded, “A big snake?” which was met with, “Right. That snake gives birth to a snake. What’s that gonna grow to be?’ And I said, “Big snake,” Smith continued.
“He said, ‘Exactly, you gotta know who your father is.’ And I’m like, I don’t know what that fucking means. So I’m like, ‘I hear you. I hear you.'”
Confused? Me too.
Prince, at one point, rented former Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer’s Beverley Hills mansion and thought nothing about making his own Purple adjustments to the property was in his name.
“Prince changed the front gate to the Prince sign, he changed the master bedroom to a hair salon, he changed the streaming blue waters that led to the front door to purple water, he knocked out walls, he changed the molding on top of the ceiling,” Boozer’s former teammate Jay Williams told ESPN in 2011.
“Booz was livid. So pissed off, so angry. He put his Purple Rain stamp on it. Booz was like, ‘I was getting ready to go over there and beat this little man down.’ And dude was just like ‘Here, Boozer, here is a little check for about a million, it’ll take care of everything, get it back the way you want it.’ And Booz was like, ‘This little man is cool as hell.'”
He hated small talk
Matt Damon used all his star power to pull strings to meet Prince backstage after taking his daughter to her first concert when she was 10, but things didn’t quite go as planned.
“We could reach up and touch Prince,” Damon said on Fallon. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘We’ve completely ruined this child. This is her first concert!'”
When they met backstage afterwards, Prince had no time for Damon’s small talk. The actor continued: “I asked him, ‘You still live in Minnesota don’t you?’ And he just turns and looks me right in the eye, and he goes, ‘I live inside my own heart, Matt Damon.'”
Prince record The Black Album was shelved after the Purple One became unsure if his latest effort was suitable for the current landscape. He arrived at this decision after taking ecstasy and talking himself out of a record he previously believed in.
During the clarity of mind that Prince had during the trip, he became convinced that the album was an “evil” entity and demanded that the album was shelved — just a week before it was due to go on sale.
Withdrawing the record would end up being a slightly futile act and, in the end, too little too late. It was simply too far down the line to stop the album from reaching the public, and the LP would later become the most bootlegged album of all time.
He could do more than just make music
Prince wasn’t just a genius artist, but he had a hidden talent that is as obscure as you’d expect. When he wasn’t making music, there’s a fine chance that you could have found Prince down his local ice rink practising his expert skating skills.
“Prince had the briefcase out on the floor,” Questlove explained in 2015. “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 multicoloured 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.”
He didn’t keep up with the Kardashian’s
Prince was a massive fan of New Girl and contacted Zooey Deschanel about making a cameo in 2013, which of course, they obliged. However, it wasn’t smooth sailing on set.
The writers created a storyline just to shoehorn him into an episode, and, in the end, decided to make him host an exclusive celebrity party at his home. Given that it was a high profile party, they needed to fill the room with A-listers. In doing so, production staff then managed to secure Khloe Kardashian and her mother, Kris Jenner, to participate in the episode.
According to Deschanel, on filming day, Prince asked which names they had been recruited to fill his celebrity party. “I hope it’s not a Kardashian,” he said. Prince had reportedly told production staff that he would never invite a Kardashian to any of his real parties, so why would he have them at a fictional party?
The production staff of the show then had to quickly usher Kardashian and Jenner off the set before Prince spotted them. They then went as far as destroying all evidence that the Kardashians had ever been a part of the episode, literally burning the script and call sheets to prevent Prince from ever finding out about their involvement.
Changing his name to a symbol
“The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Brothers was to change my name from Prince to (symbol),” Prince once explained in a press statement. In 1993, Prince was facing a difficult working situation after his record label wanted him to stop releasing music at such a prolific rate if the market became saturated. However, the business side of things never occupied his thoughts.
“Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth,” he wrote in a statement, “Warner Brothers took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music I wrote.”
Adding: “The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Brothers.” He decided, therefore, to ensure that the point really stuck, the singer changed his name to a symbol and fought for his artistic freedom in a way that we’ve witnessed before or since.
Door knocking as a Jehovah’s Witness
Prince didn’t do anything by half-measures, and after being converted to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2001 by former Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham, Prince knocked on doors until his knuckles were sore.
He took it seriously, and even though he could convert a Jewish household on Yom Kipper. “Then they start in on this Jehovah’s Witnesses stuff,” Rochelle, a member of that family, told the Minneapolis–St. Paul Star-Tribune. “I said, ‘You know what? You’ve walked into a Jewish household, and this is not something I’m interested in.’ He says, ‘Can I just finish?’ Then the other guy, Larry Graham, gets out his little Bible and starts reading scriptures about being Jewish and the land of Israel.'”