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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  April 21, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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>> curt! >> you see a bee. >> oh, there's a bee! >> you poke hillary on the forehead. then you lick her face. >> no! nah. >> bad lip reading, you are always the best new thing in the world. i need ed you today. i thank you. that does it for us. we'll turn it over to brian williams for live special coverage on the life and death of prince. ♪ he was a cultural icon. >> as an artist i went there just to find it. >> an innovator. >> i tend to try to create something i've never seen before. >> a music legend. >> a little guitar playing, i tried to do my thing. ♪ >> this is an msnbc special, the life and legacy of prince.
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>> for his fans, it is still so hard to believe he's gone. good evening. i'm brian williams. thank you for being here with us tonight. as we continue to look at our lead story all day today, we have for you tonight a look back at the extraordinary career of the music icon known around the world simply as prince. just a week ago tonight, he was in atlanta. he played two shows last thursday at the famous fox theater in atlanta. they were stripped-down performances by design, featuring prince alone on stage with just a piano for accompaniment. those in attendance say he ended the night by playing his classic "purple rain." it was that same song, of course, that gave prince his real breakthrough to a mainstream audience back in 1984. he collected seven grammys across a career which he constantly reinvented his own sound and his own image. and even ditched his own name at
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one point for this unpronounceable symbol. but even the backstory there is important and we'll get to that tonight. we'll also be taking some time during this next hour to enjoy some of his product. his iconic music. there's plenty to choose from. he gave us 39 albums over 37 years. his latest released just last december. for a lot of you wondering, folks have been asking all day the cause of death is still unclear as of air time tonight. that hasn't stopped speculation. officials do tell us an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. for more let's start off our coverage tonight with ron mott, he's outside the recording complex that's part apartment, part sound stage, recording studio called paisley park outside minneapolis. ron, good evening. >> brian, good evening to you. i suppose the best way to describe the scene behind me tonight is this is a vigil. a lot of these folks have been standing at this fence where we
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have flowers and balloons for 20, 30, 40 minutes, seemingly unable to pull themselves away from this fence. prince, of course, was a fixture here in the minneapolis/st. paul twin cities area. folks have been streaming down this street all day, the street closed much of the day. they have parked across the highway and walked across this highway to pay respects to a man who was an icon of this community but really belonged to the world. ♪ purple rain purple rain >> reporter: over the years he was called many things. icon, legend, genius. even a symbol for which there was no name. tonight a music world is calling him a lost treasure. from fans outside his famous paisley park -- >> i can't believe he's gone. >> reporter: to industry giants like aretha franklin who spoke to brian soon after getting the news that prince was dead at age 57.
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>> prince is gone. but the music will go on. >> what was bit him, do you think? >> well, i don't know. young adults and adults loved prince. ♪ the sky was all purple there were people running everywhere ♪ >> reporter: mtv, which came into its own about the time prince was turning into a mega star in the early '80s, interrupted its programming. his music was transcendent evidenced by the multi-cultural, multi-generational crowd that paid respects throughout the day and evening. but he was much more than a musician. an artist in every sense of the word who was a masterful show man. a man who understood the business of making music and money, grappling with studios at points to carve a bigger slice of the dough and control for himself. >> who was prince? i don't know. and that's kind of the way he wanted it. >> reporter: late last week, hours after a performance in atlanta, during which
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concertgoers reported nothing out of the ordinary, prince fell ill on the private plane ride home which made an emergency landing in illinois. hospitalized, he was treated and released saturday morning, throwing a release dance party later in true prince fashion. >> -- for a medical, paisley park, for aale down, not breathing. >> reporter: but this morning something went wrong. medical personnel dispatched to his home and studios around 9:45 local time found unresponsive in an elevator. his publicist confirming the death a short time later. reaction on social media an unrelenting outpouring of grief and happier memories. madonna, like him known best by a single word, called him a true visionary. i'm devastated, she said, on twitter. ♪ purple rain purple rain >> reporter: tonight the 20 cities draped in heartache and purple. and fittingly it's been raining. as mentioned there is speculation as to cause of death. nothing official tonight.
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an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. and we are keeping a close eye on the gate over here to paisley park. we understand that his protege and former band member sheila e. is expected to come by here tonight. >> all right, ron mott outside the gates of paisley park which as we mentioned is part recording studio complex, he's got a sound stage in there so he could rehearse for tours without being around a general audience. also he maintained an apartment there, it was part of his residence during the year. we are happy to be joined here in the studio for the hour tonight by a friend of ours. he is a journalist, he is an author, but specifically for the purposes of today's sad news and this conversation, teree is the author of the book, came out in 2013, "i would die 4 u: why prince became an icon." it is awfully good to see you and i am awfully sad about your friend.
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a television reason to harriblen television. i have to begin, ron mott alluded to it, i alluded to it, everybody with one of these devices tonight has seen this report that this was somehow related to a drug overdose, that that stop we saw him make in moline, illinois, coming out of atlanta, was not the flu, that it could have been a shot to save his life from the aftereffects of opiates. what can you add to this? none of this has been confirmed by this news organization. >> that's right, none of it's confirmed. i don't know what happened to him and his body in the last week, but i can tell you i have talked to people who knew prince throughout his life, from his teenage years to his 50s, and people said over and over, this was not a person who used drugs at all. people from his teenage years, when they would go out to smoke weed, to take a break from rehearsal, he would not go with them, he would make fun of them for doing that. in his 20s when he was doing "purple rain," working 24-hour sessions, making a song a day, brian. no drugs. not even caffeine.
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this is a person in his 50s when he was struggling with hip pain, i saw him at madison square garden, he did five nights. the first night he comes out and does it in flats. not heels. this is a person who always wore heels, it was strange to see him in flats, because his hip was bothering him and at that point he was not taking drugs to heal his pain from his hip. later that changed. but this is a person who didn't want to do drugs and eschewed drugs through most of his career. as long as the period of time that i spoke to people about him. so this would be divergent from the behavior i have heard about through his entire life. >> all right. you'll help us through this topic all night long. as we continue our conversation on today's top news story which was this out of nowhere sudden death of prince. so many people stunned to learn he was 57 years old, but when you stop and think how long he has been an icon in the music business, it begins to make sense. we've been talking about this
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brilliant career all day long. harry smith has a report tonight with a deeper look at how this artist became prince. ♪ let's go crazy >> prince. maybe once a generation an artist cuts through like no other. ♪ everyone was into prince. with a range that reach the sky and chops as good as any in the business, prince delivered us into a world that was his alone. ♪ prince played every note of every instrument on most of his songs. songs he wrote. songs he produced. songs that didn't sound like anyone else's. ♪ i would die for you >> a skinny, soulful kid from minnesota, came from the prairie and asked us to dance. we couldn't say no. >> we like sexy music. it comes out that way.
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and there's nothing really we can do about that. >> he was born prince rogers nelson in 1958 in minneapolis, minnesota. >> i've never spoken about this before -- >> in an interview with tavis smiley he remembered being a frail and vulnerable child who found solace in music and a persona that would wow the world. >> i've been having to deal with a lot of things. getting teased a lot in school. you know. early in my career i tried to compensate for that by being as flashy as i could and as noisy as i could. >> he made demo tapes with his cousin's band that led to his first album in 1978. he was just 19. owen husney was his manager at the time. >> this was not some 18-year-old kid who was rebelling against his parents and doing drugs and acting crazy. this was someone who was focused, who was brilliant. >> even then, he was
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provocative, which he showed off in a new art form -- the music video. ♪ but for prince, sex wasn't just about shocking an audience. it was part of his artistic dna. as he told matt lauer in 2004. >> you know, mattie, really you can't help but be sexy. i mean, it is what it is. sex isn't so much what you say, it's how you say it. ♪ little red corvette. >> "little red corvette" was his first top ten hit. now prince was driving into our living rooms on mtv, delighting teens and shocking their parents with his evocative lyrics. while it was only 1982, the sonic visionary was already telling us how to celebrate the next millennium. ♪ 2000 party almost out of
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time ♪ >> weddings and bar mitzvahs haven't been the same since. >> the guy had crazy chops. >> i never, ever would have believed somebody could play like hendrix and do a james brown split at the same time and keep playing. >> al sharpton knows. he worked with and for james brown for 20 years. >> he said, that kid has something different, he's something different. something different. and i think that he had the courage to be different. and commercial at the same time. so he was different, he created a kind of genre that we'd not heard. but he was able to sell it. >> while he'd work with a band on tour, on his early albums he played virtually all the instruments with full creative control. >> there weren't a lot of artist hot is who were free to say what they wanted to on record, and they were put into molds. the freedom that i had came from a long, hard fight of trying to get them to understand that i
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wanted to be different. >> rumors started in 1983 that prince was making a movie. like elvis and the beatles before him, he knew the power of the big screen. the result? "purple rain." ♪ purple rain purple rain >> "purple rain" really was an entirely result of prince's own vision. >> it was the vaguely awe biographical story of a musician struggling at home, falling in love, and going crazy on the stage in minneapolis. author alan light wrote the book "let's go crazy: prince and the making of purple rain." >> he had a full game plan for how to go become the biggest pop star in the world. and he went out and executed against that. nobody believed in it. even the people around him thought it was nuts to try to make a movie. >> nuts? crowds loved him and the album, with his biggest hit "when doves cry," sold more than 13 million
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copies. prince even won an oscar. ♪ ♪ purple rain >> by 1984, prince had become that rarest of artists with a number one album, number one single, and the number one film in the united states. critics cracked out the word "genius." fans called him "the purple one." >> it was as big as it gets. ♪ ♪ i just want >> two years later this. ♪ kiss >> prince could do no wrong. >> to go to a song like "kiss" and say, i will blow everybody out on the dance floor in case you forgot i'm the funkiest guy out there. >> then came the '90s. the phenomenon called prince, soon to become the artist formerly known as prince, went head to head with warner brothers. the record label that had signed him to a multi-million dollar
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contract. ♪ make it come around >> what did he want? he scrawled his feelings on his face. ♪ must be some kind of >> i talked to people at his record company, what they felt about his walking around with "slave" written on his face. at the same time as they're saying, this guy's making millions of dollars. but prince didn't see it in money terms. >> after the split with warner brothers, prince released a ton of material. he'd never stopped writing, never stopped working, and never stopped delivering his music straight to his fans. >> prince very clearly had a sense that, i made it. i open it. i sell it. and anybody else who got involved in that had to play by his rules. >> so the internet ended up, for him, was emancipation? >> absolutely. ♪ everybody >> the best ones, the artists with true talent, chart their
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own course, go their own way. >> he lived music, breathed it. you know. it was a day in, day out passion. ♪ 2000 party almost out of time ♪ >> sadly tonight we remember what prince wrote in his song "1999." "life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last." ♪ >> we could watch it all night. we may try. so many thoughts flood in late at night after this story. to think about the state of minnesota, they gave the world bob dylan, they gave the world prince. prince never forgot it and was a local guy till the end of his life. we'll take our first break. when we come back, a side of prince we rarely got to see. ♪ maybe i'm just like my father too bold ♪ ♪ maybe i'm just like my mother ♪ ♪ she's never satisfied
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we want to show you the scene tonight, looks just like the scene this afternoon. almost immediately after word of his death, folks have been bringing music down to the apollo theater, uptown in harlem here in new york tonight, where it's kind of turned into a remembrance. i wouldn't be surprised if they went all night until the sun comes up tomorrow.
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same thing is happening out in minnesota at paisley park. again, we've described this complex as part recording studio, part sound stage, and part apartment. he spent a lot of time in residence there. it's on a fairly busy road. everyone knew what it was and where it was. but when he was in there, it was private. and that speaks to his dichotomy. his private life was private. many times he was described as more than that, as reclusive. even during television interviews, kind of a necessary evil in his business, he appeared shy and reserved. back in '04 he was on tour, matt lauer asked him about his stage persona versus his private persona in an interview that aired on the "today" show. >> you're back on the road after years of doing this. let me play a little portion, some concert footage for people, then i want to find out how you
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feel these days up on stage. ♪ ♪ >> why is there such a difference between the personal prince, the guy i see all the time, who's so quiet and so reserved and seemingly so shy, seriously, and the guy who gets up on stage there and explodes? >> i'm waking up now. >> but why? what happens when you get on stage that creates that personality versus the more reserved personality? >> well, the music and the energy. i mean, that's 20,000 people. you can't come on stage like you just got out of bed. >> is it still as fun to get onstage in front of those people than you were young? >> more fun, actually. >> younger, sorry about that. >> more fun, actually. being out here so long, i've
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learned a lot. and i like showing off some of those new tricks. >> it's really the great dichotomy. so many people on television, so many entertainers, are tro verts. they save it for the stage. ruffles, no problem. high-heeled shoes, no problem. but that's showtime, not private time. another memorable prince moment came on the "today" show january 3rd, 1997. prince surprised bryan gumbel on his last day on the show. >> -- for a combination of two songs -- >> get out! look at this! yes! >> it's a look. >> i don't believe it.
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i don't believe it. >> all right, hit it, guys! >> looks good on you. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i can't disguise the pounding of my heart ♪ ♪ it's in your eyes oh what can i say hey ♪ ♪ you turn me on ♪ i don't care where we go i don't care what we do ♪ ♪ i don't care pretty baby take me with you ♪ >> this doesn't happen over at
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real sports on hbo, does it. here in the studio with us is teree who wrote the book on prince. he was also in on the joke. "snl" had a good time with him over the years. parodying ow introverted he was, how mysterious he was, but he was in on the joke. >> some of that stuff, a lot of that stuff, was an act. right? i mean, how do we get people to really pay attention to what we're doing? actually say nothing, or pretend we're saying very little, when they go up and do these moments. this makes the journalist much more uncomfortable, which makes for a much more interesting moment for him. when i interviewed him, it was the rules time. you can't record this. can't have a hand recorder. i'm writing, writing it down. but he spoke in this way that made it hard to even write it down. i would write things down exactly as he said it, read it later, what does that mean? i have no idea. he was brilliant. he was funny. he was witty. he liked taking -- making the press, the media, sort of feel
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off-kilter. he loved that stuff. >> you've got to be mysterious. as we said, the other minnesota kid, bob dylan of hipping, minnesota, made a living being mysterious and he still is to this day. more with teree in just a moment. stay with us through this next break. up next, prince's effect on the art of the music video. carson daly will be with us to talk about those early mtv years. with my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor.
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♪ as they say, the tributes keep coming in. this is the i-35 bridge in the twin cities tonight. you're going to see a lot of things lit up as purple, especially in the twin cities. also the cover of "new yorker" magazine, the cover they have planned was scrapped at the last minute. look at that, very simply purple rain. we've been looking at all these videos go by all afternoon, all evening tonight. that's because the timing was right of prince as an artist and his fame and this new arrival, the early days of mtv. he was able to ride it to increase his profile, crucially
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though, he understood it early on. he knew it was going to be a vehicle. we've already seen tonight his music video for "little red corvette," it was one of the first by a prominent black artist to be played on mtv. another part of the founding of mtv that can't be softened as history goes by. his videos though helped transform that network, paved the way for up and coming artists behind him which was a large part of his career, and his success. with us tonight from l.a. is our friend carson daly from the "today" show, from "the voice." he was also, of course, the face of mtv for many years though we prefer to think we created carson daly around here. carson, good evening to you. >> thank you, brian. you know, mtv first went on the air august of 1981. very few artists actually had music videos to run on the network. but luckily for them over the years there was this prolific artist named prince. his hit videos helped fill the music network's programming and
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of course it would be a dynamic relationship that lasted for decades. ♪ ♪ let's go ♪ 1999 ♪ little red corvette ♪ kiss >> when it came to combining great music with eye-popping performances that electrified fans, no one did it better than prince. ♪ she wore a raspberry beret >> during the '80s he dominated the music scene with a series of ground-breaking videos and albums that blended pop, funk and rock. note what it sounds like when doves cry ♪ >> 1984's "purple rain" made him a global superstar. ♪ purple rain purple rain >> "purple rain," huge, number one for almost half a year. ♪ i know i know i know >> one of the biggest-selling soundtrack is ares of all-time,
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a landmark album not only for prince but for music. >> prince, michael jackson, madonna, bruce springsteen, reshaped what it meant to be a pop music artist. he was a mixture on mtv for much of the '80s and '90s. his landmark performance of "get off" on the 1981 mtv video music awards proved he was not only one of the greatest video artists all-time but was equally great performing live. >> with prince it's very easy to just say, that guy gave great shows that guy made great records, that guy stayed true to himself for his entire career. >> another tragic loss. there's a heaviness in the air for sure. it's sad but at the same time, you know, i mean, his legend does live on. and will continue to inspire other musicians. ♪ touched a place in me that's calling out your name ♪ >> today, mtv, which almost never plays music videos anymore, paid tribute to the
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icon by changing its regular programming, changing its logo to purple, and playing a music video marathon of many of his hits. ♪ i just want your kiss >> three decades after his videos helped revolutionize music television, his death brought mtv back to the days when prince was king. ♪ 2000 party almost out of time ♪ >> i got to mtv in the lit '90s, i went as a radio disk jockey and a huge lover of music because they played music television. i would leave eight years later because they decided to stop playing music videos. today it was cool to see them go back to that format and to watch those prince videos, man. he was the best. >> yeah, they may be on to something with those music videos, you never know. carson, stand by. teree as here in the studio. it strikes me all day watching. there was never a doubt about
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his masculinity, his sexuality. but just as richard -- as little richard had gone first and bent some laws and some rules and tested the limits, a big part of who he was, his persona, was testing the limits. >> sure, absolutely. i mean, even as early as controversy saying, am i straight, am i gay? playing with that line. he was playing with intersectionality before that was a term in academia and bringing both those things, playing with the notion of being mixed, he was not mixed but he told us that he was, to play with that notion and the gendered notions, these are ways of pushing yourself forward in the '80s. partly what we're talking about, that he understood the importance of the visuals. it wasn't just the music. when he saw mtv, he said to his folks, i need to do that. then he said, no, no, i need to make a full-length, 90-minute music video for the screens, for the theaters. and they said, well, that's crazy. how can we get somebody to give us a movie budget? he was not big enough to deserve a movie budget at that time in his career.
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but he demanded it, his managers got it, mike ovitv was involved, a favor was asked, he paid that off, and somehow they got just $7 million. which is nothing. to make a movie. but because the performance scenes are so great, that's why that movie really kills. >> carson, i was thinking about this today. it's going to sound crazy for folks who weren't around then. but if you came up in that era, then you know. if you were buying records, watching videos, michael jackson was the safe, corporate musician. he was the family guy. prince was dangerous. much more edgy. and that was reflected in their videos until michael kind of made his break and started to change. >> correct. the amazing thing also was the landscape in the '80s, how conservatism was at a high with reagan in office. and yet prince pushing all those buttons still was able to sell that to critical mass and soccer moms.
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he sold it inside the malls. he still did it his way. he seemed to just do whatever he wanted without any rules and it worked. >> carson daly, who is never more than five hours away from his next broadcast for this company. it's been a treat having you tonight. thank you, carson. thanks for helping out our coverage when the initial word arrived this afternoon. teree will stay with us here in the studio. as we said, memorials are breaking out all over the place. in minneapolis, people are gathering. you see the famous and familiar logo of the mayo clinic. a huge part of that community, a big employer locally. we've got reports of a big gathering of fans tonight in brooklyn. some beautiful unseasonably warm weather. is allowing people from new york to the twin cities to l.a. to come out, to remember, do a little dancing, and celebrate a life well lived. ♪ it's probably bringing you
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all day long here in new york we've been watching the coverage of our colleagues in the twin cities. the nbc station kare. they're known as kare-11. there is a block party they're covering tonight in the twin cities. reporter jay oelstead is on the form. did this form organically? was this organized by a radio or tv station? >> yeah, this was organized by the current, the local radio station here. they started probably organizing it just late this afternoon. and it has turned into something that you would see planned for weeks. we have hundreds if not more than 1,000 people that have essentially shut down a portion of first avenue. for those who may not know, first ave, the nightclub, is the club prince made famous all those many years ago. so there are a number of local bands that are playing and of
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course playing a lot of prince's big hits that he has had over the last several years. it's kind of odd to say this but it's an electric feeling here despite the fact that, of course, people are mourning this loss. but all day people have come to first avenue laying flowers, teddy bears, just wanting to be close to this place, because here in minneapolis, when you think of prince, you think of first ave. >> you sure do. the sound so recognizable it became known as the minneapolis sound. thank you very much, jay oelstead, from kare-11, just as long islanders are proud of billy joel, folks in jersey are proud of the boss, they were really proud of prince in minnesota and the twin cities. another break, our coverage, our remembrance, continues after this. ♪ dearly beloved we are gathered here today ♪
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just think of this, we've seen crowds of people all night long. how nice it is for a change to see americans in the streets because they loved someone. i am very sorry that that person is gone. but there are crowds of people outside from coast to coast tonight playing prince music and remembering him. rickey minor is with us tonight, a music director who worked with prince for a lot of years, he's been music director for whitney houston, the grammy telecasts, "the tonight show" with jay leno, "american idol." i'm sitting here with toure in new york. he just casually tossed into the conversation that at one point in his career, prince was making
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a song a day. if you're a music fan, you just can't get over that. because it's the unreleased material that is going to be the treasure trove for generations to come. how does that get produced, curated, who starts to go through it, and into whose loving arms does that material get passed? >> i have no idea. but i'd like to be in the room just to hear some of it. this guy revolutionized the music business, revolutionize d music, imaged the whole thing. every guy wanted to be prince, every woman wanted to be with prince. how does that come along? once in a lifetime somebody like that and i can't wait to hear this music. he operated from a much deeper place. and those songs came from deep within him. and i'm just so grateful to be alive to even hear this music and feel this music.
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>> he was really music's iceberg in that for what we saw above the surface, for the records we bought and the songs we loved, there's a multitude of people who were helped by him. there's a multitude of people who were influenced by him. there's a multitude of people who got their self-image and their strength to live their life by watching him. >> yeah, i definitely agree. >> ricky, what was the last time you saw him, last time you worked with him? >> i think the last time that i saw him was performing at the forum here in l.a. and he had a sold-out night, just perform, bring the people and give the music to the people. he was a true performer and everyone was on their feet every second. no one sits down at prince concerts. you just don't. you're afraid you're going to miss something. he's just electric. >> and there's a list
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circulating of 27, 28 different instruments that he was proficient on. most people you walk into a recording studio, you see a wall of electric guitars, you either know how to play those or you don't. but then you see a hammond organ, you see a drum kit, you see the stuff of recording. and he was such a musical polymath or whatever the term was. there wasn't much need for many credits on his albums if he was playing everything. >> no, not at all. that first record came out and it said, all instruments by prince. i mean, from that point on, i mean, you just had to watch everything. the singing and his performance level. he studied james brown. he studied jimi hendrix. he was a great songwriter, a great artist. but he was a great musician. so he was a musician's musician. that guy could play. >> toure, does it give you chills tochill s s to think that the greatest prince song, the most
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influential prince music, may be in a reel rooil-tape conadminister, it may be on a thumb drive, it may be on a laptop? >> it could be. we think about tupac and other people, the music keeps on coming out. the label could go in there and have us listening to new prince muse folk ar decade or more. if he was truly doing a song a day, that could be 600, 900 songs created in a three, four-year period that we haven't heard most of them. so yeah, i mean, you know, i'm interested to hear that muse and i can see what comes out of it, you know. too ricky was talking about the performance. and it was one thing to be at a prince concert, like at madison square garden or something. but he would always leave that show and do a little show at some club somewhere. i remember seeing him at sobs with quest love on the drums and deangelo playing the keyboards and it was amazing. >> rickey minor, toure who will stay with us here in the studio, thank you ricky very much for join us.
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at least you had the great pleasure of working with him. another break for us and our remembrance of prince will continue. right under this tree. ♪ (man) some things are worth holding onto. they're hugging the tree. (man) that's why we got a subaru. or was it that tree? (man) the twenty-sixteen subaru outback. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. it's easy to love your laxative when that lax loves your body back. only miralax hydrates, eases and softens to unblock naturally, so you have peace of mind from start to finish. love your laxative. miralax. trust safelite. with safelite's exclusive "on my way text" you'll know exactly when we'll be there. giving you more time for what matters most. (team sing) ♪safelite repair, safelite replace.♪
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>> by the way, if you want to know about prince the guitar player of all of his instruments you see tom petty and danny harrison there, that was the '04 rock 'n' roll hall of fame induction concert. the band for years and years and years directed by paul schaefer. but that was "while my guitar gently weeps" in the hands of prince. an incredible guitar solo worth watching all over again. another gathering in los angeles that our cameras have spotted east of the crenshaw neighborhood in la merck park -- we just lost our live picture. we are back with the man who wrote the book on prince, toure. i like asking prominent musicians, what one piece of your work would you hang in the louvre museum?
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what would it be? and this calls for a judgment on your part. but you're his biographer. what do you think prince would have said, hang this in the louvre? >> you know, one thing about prince is he was always looking forward. he never wanted to look back. it was part of the changing of the name thing. we're moving forward. so if you asked him that, he would say, the next album. right? because the next thing is the greatest thing that i'll ever do. if he thought something he did in the past was the greatest thing he ever did, that would be a failure, right? so it always has to be the next thing. so whatever next album or tour he was working on, that would be the thing that he would want in the proverbial louvre, until the next album is about to come out. >> let's talk about the influence prince had, especially on his younger fans. this sounds funny to say. prince's hair was hugely influential. >> absolutely. >> and when he kind of made his debut with an afro, that was a big day. >> it was a big day. it was a big change.
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we'd gotten so used to seeing him with the long straight hair. he paid so much attention to the outfits. the image. that stuff was so beautiful. but you know, i hope that when we remember him, we will remember, this was the hardest-working man in show business. i am sorry to my mom and the other james brown fans who are heartbroken to change that throne, but this man worked insanely hard at recording, at rehearsing, at every aspect of being a superstar. and this is why he had an album a year for many, many years and most of them fantastic and did amazing tours and then great club shows. and this is the hardest-working man. and this is prove that you can come from anywhere in america. if you work hard enough and you believe in yourself so much, you can create anything. this is a person who was basically homeless at 13, that he had left both his parents' homes. and he makes himself into one of the greatest rock stars of our
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time. >> someone said today that unlike when a lot of famous people die, the kind of negative stories, they wait an appropriate amount of time then they come out. the thing that's going to happen with prince is all these artists are going to come out of the woodwork with amazing stories about him, that people who were down on the luck and he basically subsidized their lives, people who he would hand songs to. let not forget, nothing compares to you, sinead o'connor. for folks who don't know the prince musical canon, there's a lot there and there sure was a lot to his career. >> yeah, and you remind me of "manic monday." the bengals song, right? nobody thought that prince would be writing a song for the little bengals. it seems like a silly pop song, then you go through the lyrics. this is a really great written pop song. and it's really brilliant. she starts talking about, i was in the middle of a dream kissing valentino by a increase call blue italian stream. you don't hear that kind of
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writing in a pop song in america, but prince would deliver that sort of stuff all the time in his sleep. >> i can't help but think we music fans have grown up in a great time. it's a great time to have been alive to love music. toure is the author of the book "i would die 4 u." he's been a friend of ours around here, long dive time journalist and author, thank you very much for copiloting us through this hour tonight. finally tonight, everyone has their favorite, especially among prince fans. but his performance at super bowl 41, in the rain, in miami '07, one of his most memorable outings ever, considered to be among the best performances in super bowl history. when prince was told it was going to be raining during halftime, he is reported to have asked his only question was, "could you make it rain a little harder?" ♪ purple rain purple rain
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