Prince performs ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ on his TV debut back in 1980
The late, great, and forever purple Prince had one of the most incredibly varied and artistically challenging career’s in pop music’s history. His meticulous work in the studio and on the stage is what will always stand him alongside some of the greats.
One place he could put all his planning into action, where Prince never failed to keep the spotlight on him was on TV. The singer’s television debut would allow the purple one to leave a mark as soon as he was invited on to NBC’s Midnight Special in 1980.
Whether it’s memorable performances or candid interviews, Prince always left his mark wherever he went and television was just another stomping ground for the artist. So whether at his Super Bowl half time show, performing with Michael Jackson and James Brown, or appearing on Arsenio Hall, Prince always showed his power when presenting himself.
As polished as Prince may have been, as legendary as he became, it all had to start somewhere. The performance on NBC’s The Midnight Special on January 8th 1980, saw Prince introduced to a national television audience and he wouldn’t disappoint on the show. He would show exactly what he was made of as a performer.
The ‘quirky’ hosts (who are in fact members of Dr. Hook and The Medicine Man) offer a small nod to the great man’s talent with their introduction: “There’s nothing our next guest can’t do, he arranged, produced, composed, and performed his last album entirely by himself.”
They’re not wrong, Prince had been targeting stardom from the very beginning and this was just another obstacle to clear. The driven artist has always been credited with putting in the extra work and his performances have always shone brighter than any other.
Prince, backed by his band, then walks onto the stage in a Zebra print lingerie number and thigh-high black leggings and some heels to deliver versions of ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ and ‘Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad’ the lead tracks from his self-titled debut Prince. It’s a magnetic performance that showed right from the very start that the singer was destined to be a legend.
Take a look below at the beginning of one of the most vibrant and powerful careers in musical history.