tv 2020 ABC April 22, 2016 10:01pm-11:00pm EDT
tonight, on a special "20/20" -- as music fans cry. >> i couldn't believe it. ♪ this is what it sounds like when doves cry ♪ >> they also danced. from the superdome to san francisco to australia, the world turns purple. >> everybody that ever cooed into a microphone and harmonized it, owes prince. >> the mystery of his final days. >> he said, wait a few days
>> he'd be embarrassed that i told you that. >> the innovator that caused a revolution. with his own brand of shock and awe. funk and fashion. >> there's not an artist alive that would wear lace and a midriff, and have every girl. it's true, who could do that? >> and inviting an entire generation to his party. but who was he off stage? >> i'm prince. i haven't given you enough time to freak out yet. you may do so now. >> a rare glimpse into his private life. and the man that got out of a contract that he said made him a slave. >> and, "purple rain," from
extravagan extravaganza. >> i've been waiting for this, too. come on, y'all. >> prince, the legend, the mystery. >> good evening. i'm elizabeth vargas. david is away tonight. icon, legend, phenom, wizard, trail blazer, rule breaker, prodigy. just some of the words used to describe prince. he -- fans tonight are saying i miss you. and our dan harris is with them now, right outside paisley park. dan? >> reporter: good evening to you from paisley park studios, where prince worked, lived a
ultimately died. behind me, you can see a growing memorial. waving to the camera tonight, and look at the fence there, a sea of purple balloons and flowers, a fitting tribute to the man known as the purple one. and the complex, sitting on more than 9 acres of land. where he was found dead inside an elevator on the first floor yesterday. and now, the sheriff promising to leave no stone unturned. ♪ ♪ dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life ♪ >> reporter: they gathered here in minneapolis today to celebrate the life of prince -- but also to try to make sense of his mysterious and untimely death. here at paisley park, where prince both lived and worked,
who became a global pop icon. how'd you feel when you heard the news today? >> devastated. >> reporter: it was 9:43 central time thursday morning when sheriff's deputies found the music legend unresponsive inside of an elevator that led to his living quarters. it was sudden -- but not entirely shocking. while just last month, prince appeared the picture of health, showing up courtside at this golden state warriors game, april brought the first signs of trouble. at the fox theater in atlanta on april 7th, organizers cancelled two concert appearances saying the entertainer was battling the flu. but just last thursday, prince was back in atlanta to make up for those missed shows. by all accounts, he gave his usual strong performance. >> he left everything on the stage. he gave us his all. he did arount four encores. >> reporter: just hours after the show, however, as prince's private jet was winging its way ho t
emergency landing at 1:30 in the morning in moline, illinois. an "unresponsive person" aboard. >> moline, uh, 990 downwind 2-7. >> reporter: the celebrity gossip site tmz broke the story. >> they took him to the hospital. and after doctors looked at him they said, "look, you're going to have to stay for 24 hours." >> reporter: curiously, tmz's harvey levin says because no private room was available, prince left the hospital after just three hours, and flew home. >> the reps for prince told us it was because of the flu. that never made sense to us because with the flu you tough it out for 48 minutes so you can get home and you're comfortable rather than in some strange city. >> reporter: however, the next day, after returning to minneapolis, prince tweeted out this flyer, announcing a dance party that very night at paisley park. "2 give thanx 4 the good weather and 4 all the love and support." sharyn jackson who works for the
local paper the "star tribune" attended the event, not as a reporter, she says, but as a fan. >> he seemed great. he seemed totally fine, energetic. >> reporter: it just strikes me that what you're describing does not sound like a man on death's door. >> i certainly did not get that impression when i was there. he spoke for a couple more minutes. he said, "wait a few days before you waste any prayers." >> reporter: after the show, prince tweeted out this picture of the crowd, and a message -- "thanx everybody 4 ur extra time." on wednesday night, outside this walgreens drug store near his home, prince was seen in this photo that tmz says it obtained -- perhaps the last image of him alive. just hours later, on thursday morning, prince was found dead at his home. as his body was released to his family today by the medical examiner. we learn that the riddle of what caused his sudden death may not be solved until we get back the results of an autopsy. and that could take weeks. >> we are going to leave no stone unturned with this, and make sure the public knows what happened. >> reporter: what the sheriff
should not expect any quick answers in this case. interestingly, he and the other officia officials volunteered, they're prince fans as well. which is why they're treating it so carefully. back to you. >> an early manager of prince once said, the thing he feared most was being normal. no worry there. he sold his first song at the age of 7, "funk machine." here's chris conley on what happened after that. >> reporter: his music fused funk, r&b, & rock & roll into the most adrenalized sound of the 1980's. his hyper-sexual image redefined masculinity for a new age. ♪ my name is prince and i am funky ♪ >> reporter: he was a rock star who didn't look like what some people thought a rock star was supposed to
allure, and a level of technique that his peers knew was off the charts. ♪ >> he's the best pop musician that ever lived. >> he could do it all. prince would take the instrument from you and play it better. >> reporter: a prolific, ceaselessly creative musical visionary on every front. >> he was a game changer. the rare combination of great musician, great singer, great songwriter, and great conceptualist. >> if you had a picture of the word prolific and had to put someone's picture next to it, it would be prince. >> he was not confined by rules of race, sexuality, style, music. he had his freedom. ♪ >> reporter: pushing limits, in total control of his
groundbreaking look and sound. with the aura of danger that cutting-edge artists are meant to have. when he was young, what were his dreams? >> he wanted to be elvis. ♪ dig if you will the picture >> reporter: the child of a jazz singer mother and a pianist father. >> my father was so hard on me. i was never good enough. >> reporter: prince rogers nelson grew up in minneapolis with musical influences that spanned genres. from joni mitchell to james brown. a whiff of minnesota's scandinavian melancholy and the twin-cities hit "funkytown." >> prince was shy as a kid. i never thought of him like that. whenever there was music involved, he was the exact opposite of shy. he really loved music, it was just in him.
>> you're very sweet, but very much to yourself. and shy? >> i wouldn't say that. >> reporter: he didn't say much of anything, and publicly, never would. but from the jump, what he sang was risky, different and just dripping with sex. ♪ i wanna be your lover wanna be the only one you come for ♪ >> every song was either a prayer or foreplay. you either wanted to drop to your knees or you wanted to drop to your knees. >> reporter: it was off-the-rails, and irresistible. yet not everyone liked it. when he opened for the rolling stones in 1981 in los angeles, he was booed off the stage. no big. just two years later, he would have his first big hit single. on a song he nearly gave to another singer to record.
>> i said, "no, no, no." and i'm, like, i'm having a heart attack. >> reporter: its success set the stage for "purple rain," the album which would make prince an undeniable superstar in everyone's eyes. >> who was top in the pops in 1984? >> prince was the critic's artist of the year. >> reporter: he would go on to amass seven grammys and sell more than 100 million records. and see his popularity put him in the cultural crosshairs. ♪ i met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine ♪ >> reporter: this "darling nikki" verse, deemed public enemy number one by the parents music resource center -- with tipper gore and susan baker eager to slap a sticker on albums with explicitly sexual lyrics. >> i asked him about the lyrics and he just said, my generation will understand the real reality of my lyrics.
>> reporter: whatev. prince remained a witty provocateur, from his diverse, sometimes lingerie-clad band -- to his famous "rear-window" jumpsuit. at the mtv vmas, where, like at the oscars, fashion was another opportunity for cheeky individuality and defiance of the norm. >> using fashion and clothing to further illustrate his creativity. i don't think t-shirts and jeans were his thing. too pedestrian. >> reporter: the power of all of his work would endure, even as musical tastes changed. and the hits stopped coming with such frequency. was it difficult for him when hip-hop and rap came on board and the-- >> yeah. he asked me. "should i learn to rap?" see, he'd be embarrassed that i told you that. but i said, "i don't think so."
honors started to roll in, he proved his musicianship remained without equal. ♪ purple rain purple rain he was back-to-back glam with beyonce at the grammys. and jammed with tom petty. >> prince. >> reporter: the night he was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2004. >> thank you. this is definitely an honor. >> reporter: the performer with song titles too lubricious to say on network television, became a jehovah's witness, asking pals not swear around him. what did matter to him, bob? >> that when he did a show the band was good, the dancers were good and that the audience went nuts. that was his greatest joy in life, was playing. it's what he thought he was put on earth to do. >> reporter: in recent years, he
devastation of hurricane katrina and the racial strife in the city of baltimore. ♪ >> reporter: through his final shows, prince never lost his belief in freedom. for his own creativity, for other artists, and for his fans, the millions he liberated every time he strapped on a guitar and started to play. ♪ tonight i'm gonna party like it's 1999 ♪
one of those hit songs, "pop life." ♪ pop life fights with the girl. hall movie where he the one where he gets rejected by the girl. even stream the one where he creates the girl. with unlimited data, you can stream all the anthony michael hall movies you want. i wonder what he's up to these days maybe he's shopping in an at&t store? get unlimited data and your fourth line free when you have at&t wireless and directv. plus, up to $650 in credits to help you switch. with 100 million food and cash prizes, 1 in 4 wins! 100 million prizes? that's more prizes than all the scottish terriers in the us! more prizes. more chances to win! just peel, win instantly... hey, i just won $50 bucks! i just won a quarter pounder with cheese! or collect pieces for a chance at $1 million dollars and other cash prizes.
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♪ raspberry beret the kind you find in a secondhand store raspberry beret ♪ now, "20/20" continues. with debra roberts. ♪ and i love her >> reporter: every enigmatic superstar has his quirks, and prince was no exception. the man who could order anything he wanted was happiest with spaghetti with a glass of orange juice. prince was a vegan. a fact his hairdresser discovered years ago. >> i brought some wendy's in, and he said, nothing comes in my building with parents and eyes. >> reporter: but he did have a sweet tooth.
>> we had to carry tootsie rolls. >> reporter: impatient, impulsive and easily, easily irritated, prince was about control. >> we called it the no jeans on the road. we all had to stay fly. i work for prince. like, i have to be. >> reporter: there's so much we never knew about prince because he lived so famously behind this gate. elvis had his graceland, and prince had paisley park. >> prince was very much was about creating his own world, that world was called paisley park. >> reporter: this was his sanctuary. these exclusive photos in "the
the rooftop pyramid also lit in purple whenever the artist was inside. but it was definitely not neverland. >> there was no ferris wheel. there was no menagerie. there's no monkey. there's no zebra. >> reporter: it did have a basketball court, where it turns out, prince was the king. >> and he could make every shot, any shot with his left or his right hand. i mean, amazing. >> reporter: in this classic comedy skit dave chappelle spoofs prince's basketball skills. the fiercely competitive singer found the skit funny, but had resentment for those who failed to recognize his basketball talents earlier in life. >> he said to me, "i knew i was the best basketball player in high school that they could've had on that team, but that guy never let me play because i was too little." >> reporter: but prince clearly found lasting confidence in his
music. ♪ could you be the most beautiful girl in the world ♪ >> reporter: prince had one woman in mind when he penned this smash hit back in 1994. a belly dancer half his age named mayte garcia, who told vh1 her meddling mom connected them at a prince concert in spain. >> he performed a number that was kind of arabic style and my parents were like, "mayte, you should give him a tape!" two weeks later, prince is at a concert in germany where we lived, and my mom hands a tape to the dancer and five minutes later, i met him. >> reporter: the couple would marry on valentines day 1996. >> he lost two children with mayte during their marriage, and also his own parents, but he never really spoke out about it and almost kept it very, very tight in his own circle. >> reporter: the marriage ended in 2000, but garcia says she'll always love the music icon.
prince's second marriage would also in divorce. but there seemed to be a never ending list of beautiful women who found prince charming. his protege vanity called him the only man she ever truly loved. she too was just 57 years old when she died earlier this year. >> reporter: sheila e., who played on stage alongside prince, revealed she not only dated him, the two were engaged. >> he turned around and looked at me, and asked me to marry him. >> reporter: kim basinger, madonna, sheena easton, susanna hoffs from the bangles, and a young girl from ohio named tara leigh patrick, who prince thought would benefit from a name change to carmen electra, are all rumored to have dated prince. >> he just never stopped being interested in, well, in women and in beautiful women and in their talent. >> reporter: the
performing on stage for hours at a time. giving fans their money's worth and more. >> it was always whatever they wanted. whatever took them higher, that's what he was going to do. he wanted to give them every ounce he had. so i know when he got to the gates of heaven, he can tell god, i gave them all you gave me. >> a wonderful thought. thanks so much, debra. and "purple rain" was filmed at a memphis night club, where fans are gathered tonight. and we send you to commercial with another song, "i would die for you." today, i don't want to be hungry.
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back now live at paisley park, as fans gather to sign a memorial for prince. we listen to "thieves in the temple," one of prince's top hits. fans have been there since news broke. and paisley park is the hit factory where prince recorded so many of his songs. but he also broke ground in the way music was sold. fought an epic battle against the record industry and he won. ♪ >> reporter: "when doves cry" was one of prince's most iconic hits. the song spent five weeks at the top of the charts, selling two million copies. but even though he wrote it, you might be surprised to know that he didn't own it.
most people think a singer writes a song. it's an amazing hit. it's his song. it's not quite that simple. >> the record company owns the record. so when you wanna use that record, you have to get the permission of the record company. >> reporter: and for prince that was a problem. in 1993 he began an epic and unprecedented battle with his music label warner brothers, and announced he would no longer be known as prince, but by this symbol. >> and a lot people scratched their heads, "what is he doing?" >> reporter: prince began appearing in public with the word "slave" written on his cheek. >> this was incendiary. he wanted people to be unable to look at him without understanding what the music industry did to artists. >> reporter: prince wanted out of his massive contract and attorney londell mcmillan was hired to make it happen.
when you met prince, he had the word, slave, written on his cheek. >> and i said to him, how do we get "slave" off of your face?" and he said, "well, if you get me free from warner brothers records, i'll take slave off of my face." he wasn't in control of his creative output. he didn't own his masters. and we have a saying. if you don't own your masters, your masters own you. >> reporter: prince discussed the problem during an appearance on "good morning america." >> you know, i don't own, "purple rain," and i don't own, "when doves cry." >> reporter: how risky was this move to take on warner brothers, in this epically public battle? >> it was a very, very dangerous move. >> reporter: dangerous why? >> he had to be willing to walk away from so much. >> reporter: because we have to remember. at that time in the music industry, record labels controlled everything. >> absolutely. >> reporter: he began a partnership, and a friendship. with a man who had no name, dubbed by the media, "the artist
formerly known as prince." you also didn't call him prince. >> prince was very serious about his stuff. this was not a game for him. i actually started calling him "the artist." >> reporter: so you'd walk in and say, "hey, the artist"? >> i would say, "what's up, artist?" >> reporter: it took almost a year for mcmillan to get prince out of his contract. prince's first album post warner brothers was fittingly titled emancipation. in the decades to come, prince only worked on his own terms, he reclaimed his name. >> i will now go back to using my name instead of the symbol i had adopted as a means to free myself from all undesirable relationships. >> i said, "oh, you wanna be a prince now?" [ laughter ] >> reporter: he pioneered new ways to release his music using the internet before anyone else. but without a record label's support and promotion it was more difficult to sell cds. do you think he paid a price by taking on warner brothers? >> prince absolutely paid a
some would say, "well, he didn't sell as much. and his records didn't receive as much air play." >> reporter: so it's a flop. >> so it's a flop. but we would go to shows. and the shows would be all sold out in an hour. >> reporter: so he came up with the idea to include the cd along with his concert tickets, which ultimately returned him to the top of the charts. prince would eventually return to warner brothers. prince signed a new deal with warner brothers, that gave him what he always wanted most. ownership of his biggest hits, like "1999." and his victory transformed not only his own creative freedom, but that of the entire industry. >> i think prince really challenged a lot of preconceived notions of what it was to be an artist, and really knocked down a lot of barriers. >> reporter: his legacy now may include even more music. he leaves behind a vault filled with music yet to be released. >> r
>> reporter: would he want that music to be out? >> i think that prince did not create music for it not to be heard. >> reporter: for mcmillan, there is a sense of pride at having a front row seat to the transformative time in prince's life. and a sense of profound loss. >> we're going to miss him terribly. but he'll have the heavens jamming and having a great time listening to his -- his music. ♪ >> wonderful tape of prince jamming to "nothing compares 2 you." which could certainly be said about prince himself. and here's a different take, from a huge fan, john mayer. >> w
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delores kelley: although we were all one maryland, our schools weren't treated the same way. narrator: with neighborhoods getting unequal
funding for schools, something had to be done for our children. kelley: it didn't matter where chris was from. he knew that we couldn't leave a child having less just because they lived in a region that was poor. joanne benson: he has not just talked about it. he is going to stand tall for all children to succeed. i'm chris van hollen, and i approved this message.
with 100 million food andme is cash prizes.s 100 million prizes? that's more prizes than all the scottish terriers in the us! hey, i just won $50 bucks! 100 million prizes! 1 in 4 wins! you could be the one! ♪ just another manic monday ♪ wish it were sunday ♪ that's my fun day "20/20" continues. once again, chris connelly. ♪ just another manic monday >> reporter: last night, real recognizing real. the ca
"hamilton," currently at the center of the culture's beating heart with a post-curtain tribute to another heroic figure -- prince. on social media, "hamilton" creator lin-manuel miranda giving props to a kindred creative soul. "today we laughed, we cried, we mourned, we danced. what more could we ask of that electric word, life?" for the 57-year-old who set the pop world ablaze in the '80s. respect and admiration. the musicianship, along with the showmanship, along with the songs. the level of virtuosity, that was really unique. >> everything that prince did you can't think about it without thinking about the talent. >> reporter: singer/songwriter/guitarist john mayer, eager to acknowledge the broad extent of prince's cultural reach from a time steeped in stars.
>> i think prince is sort of the pinnacle of greatness when it comes to musicians making pop music in the early '80s. i remember a song called "how come u don't call me anymore." ♪ i keep your picture beside my bed ♪ >> if he only played the piano you would have said he's one of the best piano players. >> reporter: mayer says he was still a young child the first time he heard prince. what'd it mean to hear guys sing that way about sex? >> i was too young, i didn't understand sexual innuendo. and so i just was like, "he's singing about cream, people." [ laughter ] you know? ♪ cream get on top cream you will cop ♪ ♪ cream >> this is in a lot of ways, a masculine sort of fantasy of being a guitar hero. you know? while also decked out in -- in the sort of "purple rain" thing. you know?
>> reporter: as an influencer, he extended even beyond the confines of music. >> i don't ever expect genius not to come with madness stapled to its back, so i'm easy to please when it comes to somebody being a genius. a true genius. >> re -- he brought the best out of people. he would help you go to a place you've never experienced. >> reporter: for the woman we came to know as sheila e. that meant some big hit singles. ♪ >> reporter: grammy-winning artist yolanda adams was a friend for 20 years. >> there is not a person whether they were in country music or jazz or even in symphonic music that has not heard prince and has not been influenced by something that he did. >> reporter: artists like lenny
kravitz, beyonce and usher. >> there is just something about a falsetto that i think women go crazy over. you know, if you are able to hit that high-high note, they go crazy. so, thanks prince. >> because of artists like prince, my generation can understand "sex machine" and "get up offa that thing." there is no "uptown funk" without prince. >> reporter: bruno mars, another heir to the throne. ♪ don't believe me just watch ♪ >> i think bruno is definitely the torch carrier to me for really great music that is global, that transcends, that everybody likes. >> reporter: in his paisley park home, this portrait of prince embracing those who came before him and those he inspired. his passing robs the world of an outsider's voice, someone who understood loneliness and alienation.
when -- when it comes to artists passing away, i just mourn the young version of them. when they just went, "i wanna be that." >> reporter: as with so many who changed so much, the hope that they realized. what a difference they'd made in people's lives along the way. >> my thought today, when i sat there and really took it in, was i hope he knew that he did it. and he did it better than anybody else ever did it. >> reporter: hours after our nighttime conversation, john mayer put this performance on social media, a final acknowledgment of prince. ♪ >> our thanks again to chris. a and taking a look once again at paisley park. fans leaving tributes, leaving mementos, and wanting to be together. when we come back, the song that prince thoht
yeah. we love low prices. no bones about it. [ laughter ] thousands of blue tags. thousands of low prices. my giant. in 1984, prince jumped from the concert stage to the silver screen, starring in "purple rain" and releasing an album of the same name. the movie turned a kid from minnesota into a worldwide superstar. >> reporter: prince roars into super-stardom aboard a customized honda motorcycle in 1984.
starring in a low-budget movie called "purple rain." >> purple rain blew my mind, blew all my circuits. >> reporter: music journalist alan light wrote a book about the movie, titled "let's go crazy." "purple rain," the movie and the album mark an enormous and dramatic turning point in prince's career. >> this movie had no business getting made. prince was this kid with a couple of hits. he was not a household name celebrity. and they don't just go around handing out feature films to everybody who's got a song on the radio. >> reporter: the studio wanted to cast john travolta as the lead but it was a part only prince could play. >> prince is the star, he's never acted -- first time director, most of the cast is the band, and we're going to film it in minneapolis in the winter. that doesn't sound like a blockbuster, that sounds like a disaster. >> reporter: but it wasn't a disaster, it was b
the movie that cost $7 million to make, grossed $70 million at the box office. >> the winner is prince for "purple rain". >> this is really unbelievable. >> reporter: by any standard, it's an story success. and many big stars had tried to make movies. >> many much bigger names had tried and failed. >> reporter: the movie is semi-autobiographical. the song "when doves cry" is a poignant take on the real life family dysfunction and domestic violence from prince's childhood. there was plenty of sex and controversy in "purple rain"
as well. was it shocking when it came out? >> certainly "purple rain" was daring when it came out, for the sexuality. obviously 30 years down the road that all looks kind of tame. >> reporter: people were appalled when they heard "darling nikki" and when they saw his performance of the song in the movie. >> there was this intense sexual charisma that was at the heart of what he did. you couldn't have prince without having that daring sexuality right at the center of it. >> it wasn't the sexuality or dancing that transcended, it was the song "purple rain." evoking his favorite color. as alan light reveals in his book. wendy, his guitarist told you
about this, quote, "it's a new beginning, purple, the sky at dawn, rain the cleansing factor." purple rain the album sold 13 million copies going multi-platinum. but prince quickly tired of it. >> he cut the tour off after six months, he didn't do a second. >> reporter: why? >> i think he realized i can't play the same show for the next two years. >> but he never gave up on that emblematic anthem. he would play "purple rain" for years to come in concert. >> it says, i don't want anything from you, except to see you crying in the purple rain. i don't even know what that is. at all.
but i want to be crying in it. >> reporter: prince's final was in atlanta one week ago. his final song in that performance, the last song he would ever perform in his life. "purple rain." ♪ >> how amazing to have been there at that last performance in atlanta. never knowing it would be his final. now, we're talki italking -- ta look at the first avenue club in minneapolis. and as we go to commercial, we listen to another of his hitshits, hits,
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n open heart. ♪ every kiss begins with kay. as we close our show, we want to check in one last time with dan harris at paisley park. where there have been so many fans gathered. >> reporter: yeah, they're loyal to him, because they feel he was loyal to them. he was a global superstar, but stayed put in his hometown. for that, they feel proud and really grateful. >> thank you so much. and there's only one way to tell the story about prince. we'll go out listening once again to "purple