tv The Eighties CNN April 21, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
sadness tonight, and felt joy whenever they heard him. ♪ ♪ dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life ♪ ♪ >> prince rodgers nelson. in minneapolis, minnesota, music in his blood. his mother was a singer and social worker. his father, a jazz pianist. >> my father left the piano at the house when he left. i wasn't allowed to play it when he was there, i wasn't as good as him. when he left, i was determined to get as good as him. i taught myself to play music. i stuck with it. i did it all the time.
>> people feel what it is they are doing. >> prince and the revolution released "purple rain." with "let's go crazy." "i would die for you" and "when doves cry." >> that and the movie of the same name made him a super star. the purple reign had begun. ♪ ♪ kiss ♪ ♪ it all i heard oh, no, let's go crazy." >> prince released an album a year in the '80s and '90s.
a few years later, during a dispute with his record label, he changed his name to a symbol. and referred to as the artist formerly known as prince. or just the artist. he was passionate about performing live. wanted to interact with audiences, wanted to play and sing without a prerecorded track. >> trapeze artist has to catch the other person, music is not like that it should be organic and unexpected.
>> many considered the greatest super bowl performance of all time. he showed why there will never be anyone like prince. >> in recent years, prince kept releasing music and performing. the last album released a few months ago. announced piano and microphone tour. smaller venus. # after seven grammys, an oscar, five number one singles, prince's legacy is what his life was, music. >> ultimately all music is or can be inspirational. that's why it is so important to let your gift be guided by something more clear.
>> hard to imagine someone so one of a kind modeling himself after anyone, and prince did so and said so openly. >> i use stevie wonder as inspiration, who i look up to a great deal for the way he crafted music and his connection to the spirit. boy, back then i used him as a role model trying to play all of the instruments and be very self contained and keep my vision clear. >> prince talking to larry king, in moments, verdean white, joining us now, stevie wonder. stevie, thanks for being with us. sorry for the loss of your friend. when you heard the news this morning, what went through your mind? >> well, it is a heart break. a shock.
i find it hard to believe, in this journey of music, we as artists create a reflection of society and reflect really the people that really wanted to see a better world, unity of people, all those things, as music will continue to do for those of us that will continue to listen to it. it is heart break to lose a member of that army of love. >> prince talking about you on larry king, saying you were a role model and inspiration for him when it came to playing his own instruments. how does he inspire you? >> well, he was a great
musician. he loved music, loved playing his instrument. the times we did jam together were amazing. all of the various people he would bring together. mostly he brought all the various cultures together. he could play classical music if he wanted to, jazz if he wanted to, country if he wanted to, played rock, you know, he played blues. he played pop. everything. just a great musician. and very cognizant of what his responsibility was as a musician and human being. >> today i was watching recording of a concert that you did in paris back in 2010. you were performing "superstition." prince was accompanying you on guitar. he wasn't just a great song writer, he was a stellar guitar
player, and not just guitar, he played nearly all the instruments on the first five albums. i mean, that's incredible. >> yeah, it's amazing. you know, it is fun to do that. basically you're going inside yourself and you're really giving people every single part of what you feel. it is what your soul is saying, this is how i wanted this to be played. fortunately i can play it and express myself, like an artist painting a picture. so he was a great artist, of picture, sound, picture and music. this is an amazing day as we see so many things happening, the heartbreak to see this man who was so talented be taken away from us. but i know that the almighty god has far greater things for him
to do eternally. i just hope we celebrate his music, celebrate his purpose that he fulfilled. >> with that idea of celebrating his music, you and prince sang together at the white house last year. is there a favorite song of yours? is there something, i think you're near a piano. is there anything that comes to your heart, that comes to your head in terms of music when you think of him? >> you know, i love purple rain, the whole album was incredible, but i love the stuff he did. the song that -- i like the whole album. >> i liked "nicki crying" interesting song. # i like -- people said earlier today on cnn, someone that said he was able to mix the blessing of life of god and yet, you know, the marriage of sex and
passion. so that's very, very true. he had fun doing it. it is rare for me that i can feel with every single breath how he just passionately loved music. like when musicians can jam, there's nothing like it in the whole world. it is like when ball players are playing, they're excited about the game, it is the same thing with us as musicians to be able to say okay, you can do that, watch me do this, you can do that, i'm do that. it is just a lot of fun. he was incredible with that. >> is there, i don't want to put you on the spot. is there any song you want to sing a little of, play a little of? again, i don't want to put you on the spot if you're not up for it. >> yeah. i think i would probably breakdown if i do a song right now, but you know, he was
incredible. i'm just glad i was able to say to him i love you the last time i saw him. >> and he wrote a lot of songs for other artists over the years, and he was also a philanthropist, donating instruments for young musicians, concerned about social justice issues. he did a lot of things for charity and didn't necessarily get his name associated with that. did a lot of things anonymously. >> well, i think his spiritual commitment was far bigger than him having to say he did this and he did that. his commitment was in the action of what he did, not with the satisfaction of letting people know that he did it. >> how do you, i don't know if i should even ask this question, because it is maybe too soon to figure this out, certainly we'll always have the music, but how do you hope people remember him?
>> just a great musician, a great producer, great song writer. someone that allowed himself to be himself and encouraged others to be themselves. he was very free and to do what he did without fear was a wonderful thing because it's always great, it is always great when we don't allow fear to put our dreams to sleep, and he didn't. >> stevie wonder, thank you so much. again, i'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but it is always an honor. thank you. >> thank you. >> just ahead, performer, producer, jimmy jam who had the privilege of knowing prince from the very beginning. later, the women he shared the stage, studio and life with, as we remember one of the greats.
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you'll enjoy consistent comfort with the heating and air conditioning systems homeowners rank number one. american standard heating and air conditioning. a higher standard of comfort. ♪ tonight's breaking news, unexpected death of prince and the mystery surrounding it. the 57-year-old icon was found unresponsive in his home in minnesota. no cause of death given. the medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy. no word on results will be available. many unanswered questions tonight.
cnn's ryan young is outside prince's home and joins us with the latest. what do we know, how did this all occur today? >> reporter: anderson, a lot of people asking that question. the phone call came at 9:43 to 911. when they got here, they found prince unresponsive in an elevator on the property. from there they pronounced him dead after trying to perform cpr. people want to know what happened that led to prince being found unresponsive and want to know if anyone else was here. hundreds of people are gathering outside his house here. obviously so many people know about this area, paisley park. a place that so many people want to venture to because of the music produced here. you can see we almost can't get the camera to the fence, but they're lining all the way down the street. there's extra security here. on the other side, people seem like they're a part of the prince entourage, people
cordoned it off so you can't go through the gate. people are arriving with flowers, young children telling stories. artists painting pictures of prince. you can feel the love for this artist. honestly, i was here over the summer, went inside this hallowed ground for music. many people want to show up and be part of it. you hear them having the conversations, talking about what they most loved about prince. an autopsy will happen tomorrow. so many with questions on what happened to the superstar. >> lost the connection there. ryan, thanks very much. so many people remembering prince today. sales of prince's music obviously soared after news of his death. nine on the itunes top ten song list. joining us contributing editor
from rolling stone, and chief music critic from "the new york times," and angela davis, one of prince's stylists. went on tour with him. john, start with you. what was his impact on the world of music? >> well, the impact was seeing somebody whose entire being was devoted to music. every iota of his life force was making music. he poured it out. he toured all the time. if he was awake, music was coming out of him. >> wasn't just for him but music for other people. he was writing for other people and developed other talent. he played every single instrument. >> yeah. many of his albums say composed, produced, arranged, and recorded by prince. >> allen, who does he compare to.
>> i don't know where you -- he was clearly a towering musical genius of his generation. stevie wonder says in some ways the closest parallel of somebody with a self contained genius, was able to see through from every aspect of writing and recording. but on a stage, nobody could compete with what prince could do. he could play, sing, dance, entertain each of those things at the peak of the game. all at the same time on stage. nobody else was capable of doing all of that at once. >> immediately i thought nothing compares to you. nothing compared to the diversity of feelings from fun to scared to funky. as you were saying, these
spontaneous parties and music, dance parties, you would get a call 2:00 in the morning, come to the lobby, he is going to open a club in paris, all of a sudden you're there, and it is ecstasy. >> i got invited to a show in a room at the hotel, i was like it is just a room. i don't know how many, maybe 50 people in a room. he goes on at 2:00 a.m. and he kept saying i have too many hits. >> he does! >> can't get off the stage, i have too many hits. >> he was boundless. he wasn't bound by time or race or gender or space. he could rock out. at madison square garden. it was big, full, fearless. >> i rewatched the super bowl half time show, probably where a lot of people maybe hadn't heard of him before got introduced to him. pouring rain. >> couldn't have scripted it
better. >> then "purple rain" for the finale. he didn't trip, none of the dancers tripped, it was like he wanted it to rain. >> like he willed it to rain. he made that happen, it made a more dramatic scene. >> he asked the producers for more rain. >> he did. said he wanted more rain. >> you know what's significant about him, aside from the genius was his activism. like he really walked around with the word slave on his face, as a black american he made me see that he understood his value, that he understood his worth, and he understood the system, so there's an activism on him. he wrote a song about aids when no one was talking about aids. "sign of the times" was a political song. there's a part of him in all his intersections and diversity, there's a part of him very much an activist.
he was a prophet and a pimp and a protester and passionate. he was all of that. >> incredible sense of independence that ran through everything he did. this is somebody that signed his first record deal as a teenager, insisting on complete creative control. said i will not sign unless this is all my vision. somebody who came up with "purple rain" as an idea, as a vision in his head when everybody around him said who is going to make a movie -- >> at 19 to have been offered a record deal, multi record deal. but he wanted to do it himself, didn't want somebody else to produce it. >> that's astonishing because if you're in the music business, you think your elders can make awe hit, he knew at 19 that -- he knew how he wanted to make his. >> that's freedom, right? when you're willing to walk away from something never offered to you before, a midwestern little black guy, at that moment you knew you were royalty, you knew you were prince. >> he knew he was going to be
the artist -- >> and if there's anything that inspired everybody that followed him, it was that sense, that's what it is to be an artist. you take risks, you follow the directions you need to follow, you don't worry about expectations, that he could do that and have the success he did was a tremendous example for everybody, whether they sound like him or not for everybody that came after him. >> he took a lot of fashion risks. butt cheeks were out. we saw that. even at the super bowl, had a even at the super bowl, had a do rag. >> took it off for "purple rain.." >> no mistakes. we are like just a trenchcoat and nothing else. again, i think stevie talked about this idea of god and sex coexisting. he made us see god and sex on the stage at the same time. these are things that people care about one or the other or both very much. >> so many predecessors dealing
with sex and spirituality. he said it is about all of it. >> i keep coming back to what you said at the start. every fiber of his being was about music and making music and sort of the generosity of making it for other people, with other people, chaka khan, all the artists he brought along, gave a career to. >> the life force thinking about aids and poor people, making that band the tightest thing in the universe and the life force watching people go crazy, he knew he could do it with a flick of his heir or guitar solo.
>> even with that, there was an intimacy to the performance, like he knew where the cameras were. little facial gestures which in a stadium size like that, you don't see performers do. >> any space. >> thank you so much. great, again, terrible the circumstances we are here to discuss him, but so great to have you all. coming up next, jimmy jam joins us. a break first. ♪ ♪
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>> it first line in that song. >> who is going to sing that? you ain't singing it to me. i show ain't singing it to you. right there. we got, right there we got a problem. >> chris rock and prince who died this morning at his paisley park compound in the twin cities. later prince changed the subject from rivals and controversy to what he lived for, creating music. award winning producer and performer, jimmy jam. so good to have you on. sorry it is under these circumstances, i'm sorry for loss of your friend. you and prince had a friendship spanning decades. is it true you met in junior
high? >> t that's right, junior high school in minneapolis. we took a piano class together, if you can believe that. we both knew how to already play, but it was a good excuse to get out of school an hour. we would go to the high school and the teacher would give us mary had a little lamb, tell us to learn it. as soon as she walked out, we would start jamming, as soon as she came back in, we pretended we didn't know how to play. >> what did a seventh grade prince like, what did he look like, what was he like? >> he was amazing. i fancy myself as a pretty good keyboard player at that point in time, and prince could play rings around me, i mean, he was so good. not only was he a great keyboard player, but also a great guitar player. he is one of the few people that can pick up any instrument and play it but play better than you. >> had he been taught? >> well, he came from a musical family. his dad was certainly musical.
my dad was musical also. i think we had that in common. our birthday is like one day apart. i think we had a lot of things in common like that, but no, you could just tell, you know, he just had it. how do you know if they have "it", he had it. he was so smart, he was witty, and, you know, he was shy around people, but not when the music was around. the way i got to know him was around music, in front of a keyboard. so he wasn't shy. he was actually very funny, very witty. >> you remember the band the time that was assembled through prince. was prince the boss? i remember seeing you guys on the stage. what was he like to work with? >> well, he was definitely the boss, no question about that. the interesting thing about the time, the time organically came together. the time was five guys that were
already together, including my partner, terry lewis, and morris day and jessie johnson were the last two guys to come into that, and prince told morris i'll get you a record deal if you put a band together. morris came to our band, that's how that happened. prince was very involved with the writing of our song, production of our songs. drilled us at rehearsal. his work ethic was absolutely unparalleled. >> is it true he fired him from the time? >> we did get fired. what happened was we had been asked to only work on time music, not do any outside production or outside writing and we did. and we ended up missing a gig, got snowed in in atlanta, missed a gig. after the tour was over, we basically got fired and that was kind of the end of that. but it was the biggest favor he could do us because, like they say, when the momma bird kicks
the kids out and says you've got to fly, prince allowed us to fly, myself and terry lewis. >> i was talking earlier, only saw him perform once at a small venue in new york, in a big hotel room. one of the things he kept saying on stage was i've got too many hits, i've got too many hits. when he is playing one hit after another, you sort of forget the sheer volume of work and hits. huge hits that he has. >> one of the things about prince is that when you talk prolific, someone ultra creative, does it very quickly, that's definitely him. it's funny, too many hits. we saw him in concert in london at the o2 arena, did 21 days, i think a record for that arena. that was the thing he kept saying, too many hits, too many hits. and he would start a song, stop it, go too many hits, too many hits. the crowd was so mad.
no, play the record, play the record. it was crazy. but no, prolific is definitely, if you look it up in the dictionary, should be his picture next to it. >> i remember al sharpton, tour manager i think for james brown once telling me james brown used to flash sort of his hands at someone who wasn't keeping beat, the drummer maybe a little behind, every time he flashed a hand it was $5 he was fining him, i don't think prince did that, but he was very much in command of the stage. you had the sense when you were seeing him he knew everything that was happening and had worked it over and over again to make it perfect. >> that's absolutely right. and the similarity to james brown and the way james brown ran his band is a very good observation because you had to know not only every song but what prince would do, he never liked doing the same show. he would switch up songs in the middle.
you had to be alert if you were in his band, he would all of a sudden go i'm not doing that song, let's do this song. say you had to learn ten songs. he would make you learn 20 songs to play the 10 songs in case one night he felt like playing this other song. that same work ethic he instilled in our band, too. >> in the super bowl performance, he was playing other people's songs. so it wasn't like he was promoting himself, like one of the critics said, he was wanting to give a good show. it is going to work better in this thing. that's amazing. he was more interested in -- for a lot of artists, it is a prime promotional vehicle, getting the super bowl half time. for prince it was to put on the best possible show and he did that. >> it was the best possible show. seemed like he commanded the rain, like he wanted that rain
to fall. the fact he was doing it and ending up in "purple rain," he is not slipping, not falling. it is like he is in control of everything. he had amazing ability to do that. >> jimmy jam, sorry it is under these circumstances, it is a pleasure to talk to you. thank you. just ahead, women prince loved, including carmen electra. they met when she was just a teenager. more on that. ♪ ♪ flonase controls six. and six is greater than one. flonase changes everything.
complicated, collaborators often became partners. randi kaye looks back. ♪ ♪ >> she was his drummer, then eventually his fiancee. sheila e.said somewhere in the middle of a european tour prince mouthed to her marry me. she said yes. >> i was walking on stage to introduce myself, he was in the mirror, he shook my hand, he goes i know who you are. i went huh? he said i have been following your career. >> she later signed a contract with his production company and prince oversaw her first album "the glamorous life." ♪ >> another prince's loves was his protege, denise matthews, former model who became a singer began dating him in the 1980s. jet magazine said she claimed prince was the only man she ever truly loved. prince called her vanity, built the group vanity 6 around her, encouraging her to record songs like "nasty girl." after several years together, they split.
after she died, he dedicated a song to her on tour. madonna had a relationship of sorts with prince. they dated briefly in 1985. prince later helped produce her 1989 album "like a prayer" which he was also featured on. they sang a duet. "love song." years later, the friendship soured, though just last fall, she attended one of his late night jam sessions at paisley park in minnesota. after her own concert, grabbed a stage for his own 2:00 a.m. show. electra when she was 18. they dated awhile, prince produced a rap album for her. it was prince decided she should change her name to carmen. she recalled how it happened. >> the name of the song is
called carmen on top. my name is tara, so i was confused. i loved the song, i loved it. but he said uh-uh. you're not tara, you're not tara, you're carmen. >> prince's first wife called him her first crush. >> i got married when i was 22. i can't really pinpoint a time when it became romantic. i just think it evolved, you know, through the heavens, i don't know. >> as she tells it, they first met when he asked her back stage at one of his concerts. she was 16. she eventually joined his band, and the two started seriously dating. they married valentine's day in 1996. prince was smitten, so it is no surprise, she inspired many of his songs, including "the most beautiful girl in the world." but the marriage wasn't meant to be.
the couple lost two children, one son lived for only a week, the other was a miscarriage. she told reporters it was hard to move forward as a couple after that. they split in 1998 and divorced in 2000. prince tried marriage again in 2001 when he married manuela testalina. they met while working for his charitable foundation. he was 43, she was 24. when they tied the knot, the magazine reported his new wife took his last name nelson, which the singer never used. this marriage reportedly lasted five years after she filed for amicable divorce. >> that's randi kaye reporting. she will join us shortly from spike lee's place where a celebration is coming up. a rolling stone editor that got a private concert from prince shares his memories. ♪
♪ unforgettable guitar solo by prince during an all-star performance at the rock and roll hall of fame. pretty much out-shown everyone. # tonight, the death of prince sparked an outpouring of grief around the world. he was 57 years old. the cause of death not known. joining me, david wild. you knew prince the better part of 30 years. i know you got a lot of stories to share. first of all, your reaction on the passing, what it means for music in the u.s. and around the world. >> you know what, anderson, seeing stevie wonder earlier made me think that there are only so many geniuses, people like me come on shows, call people geniuses. but there are only a handful.
we are ending the year with a few less than start of the year. it is a blow to the family of music. >> what was it like to spend time with him. you spent time with him early on in paris. >> i went to cover him in the love sexy tour in 1988. that's when i met him. i was brought over after a concert, 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. curt loader and i from mtv, brought over in a private party. i think i believed kirk stepped on his foot. kirk might think i stepped on his foot, one of us, and this is a man not only the big conversationalist with the media, he did say i'm playing later if you want to come. this was 2:00 in the morning. that was unusual. went to a show, little club, basement club. i remember walking out of the club at 6:00 a.m. thinking this is the best day of work i'll ever have. >> what was it like on stage. for you, what stood out when you watched prince on stage. >> well, you just showed that
amazing performance from rock and roll hall of fame. i love the fact that you can look at the faces of other rock gods, they're going what just happened. prince happened. he was like a special effect. a beautiful mystery. even other great artists that knew him, when they discuss him, he was mysterious. i think that's part of what he wanted to be. he wanted to be a beautiful, compelling mystery. >> also wrote award shows. is it true you pitched a "purple rain" joke? how did that go over. >> it was the day of tremendous sort of downpour, houses were falling down in hollywood hills. i got to the show. he was back stage. he goes what do you want me to say. at award shows, grammys, he liked to do the fewest possible words. i said why don't you walk out, say what about this "purple rain" we're having. he said that's funny, no.
he liked it, got a smile. he was right as always. but he did so many things with a wink, beyond being this musical genius, he had such style and great sense of humor. >> came out on stage. there were times when he would be performing, he would look sideways or -- almost like he had a funny thought in his head. he was able to communicate nonverbally even when in the midst of singing. >> yeah, he was almost like james brown, charlie chaplain put together. that's what came out in "purple rain." i remember you alluded to a time he gave a private concert. we were going over to meet about the performance with beyonce, it would be one of his many great moments on screen, but we got there, he goes do you guys want a private concert before we
meet, and we of course said yes. he did, he put two chairs in front of prince and the band, did a whole concert. afterwards he looked at me, looked at me as journalist, you have to sign a release, you can't talk about this ever. i said no, prince, you have to ask me for release before you did the concert. i am now free to talk about it. >> i can't imagine that. incredible experience. david wild, thanks so much. more with david in the next hour. up next, prince's influence in the music world. tributes pouring in for a musical talent from another musical talent gone too soon. ♪