*This article was originally published May 2014
Sometimes it’s too understated how lucky we are to live on the same planet as Prince or the fact that he even exists in the same solar system. The musical legend — dubbed by many as the Purple One — exudes a cool indelible enough to leave his mark on music and pop culture. This speaks to his musical output, its quality and Prince as a being. He’s an enigma that commands respect, rather than investigation.
Prince could’ve quietly retired and lived out his days as a recluse but still be remembered as one of the greatest performers of all-time for decades to come. He isn’t just a purveyor of cool, though; The Purple One is a workhorse. After releasing 33 solo albums in his career, Prince has two new albums: ‘Plectrumelectrum’ and ‘Art Official Age.’ He’s still got that creative spark judging from his recent output.
But for those who’ve fallen prey to Prince’s career-long trap — he always leave you wanting more — there are those unknown tidbits about the star. From what could’ve been the biggest pop duet ever to diarrhea-inducing swagger, here are 25 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Prince.
Many critics believe Prince’s career was pretty much the foot-in-the-door technique: He delivers sexuality explicit lyrics to lure you into religion.
Examples cited for this strategy include ‘Thunder’ and the sermon that opens ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’
Prince only looks tall from a far because of his cultural impact and surrounding mythos. He’s only 5’2″.
He played the electric guitar on Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’
At 10 years old, he danced with James Brown.
The two greats shared the stage not once but twice. The first came courtesy of a family member. “My stepdad put me on stage with him and I danced a bit until the bodyguard took me off,” Prince told MTV in 1985. Once he was an established entertainer, the Purple One graced the stage with Brown and Michael Jackson during a concert at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983.
When he was broke, he’d go outside of McDonald’s just to smell the food.
“I didn’t have any money, so I’d just stand outside there and smell stuff,” Prince said in a 1985 Rolling Stone interview. “Poverty makes people angry, brings out their worst side. I was very bitter when I was young. I was insecure and I’d attack anybody. I couldn’t keep a girlfriend for two weeks. We’d argue about anything.”
Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ could’ve been one of the biggest pop duets in history.
He originally planned for Prince to be on that song. The Purple One gives some insight as to why it didn’t happen, specifically surrounding the lyrics “your butt is mine.”
His video shoots for ‘1999’ and ‘Little Red Corvette’ proved to be disasterous for toilets.
The mineral oil used to create the smoke in the videos gave many people on the set diarrhea, according to producer Sharon Oreck.
Prince was never too cool for romance. He once canceled a Japanese tour to record an album in hopes of impressing his crush, ‘Batman’ actress Kim Basinger.
Journalists must have impeccible short-term memory to interview Prince. He doesn’t allow his voice to be recorded and frowns on taking notes.
It was Prince who emailed Zooey Deschanel and asked to star on ‘New Girl.’ He’s a fan of the show.
Prince was an inspiration for Tupac Shakur during the making of ‘All Eyez on Me.’ The rapper sampled some of his music on the album.
His favorite meal was spaghetti and orange juice during his ‘Purple Rain’ era.
An entire album recorded as his feminine alter ego Camille was never released.
Prince fans first heard Camille on his 1987 track ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend.’ He actually achieved the sound effect of a woman by singing in his normal tone, slowing down the tape, then speeding it up as it was played back.
He originally asked Stevie Nicks (of acclaimed rock group Fleetwood Mac) to write the lyrics to ‘Purple Rain.’ She said the enormity of the track was too much for her.
That famous ‘Chappelle’s Show’ sketch was inspired by Prince’s actual talent as a basketball player. He played for one of Minnesota’s best high school teams.
Prince’s half-sister, Lorna Nelson, tried unsuccessfully to sue the singer after claiming she wrote the hook to ‘U Got the Look.’
The force is undeniably with Prince. He performed at George Lucas’ wedding.
Prince never listens to his old albums.
“I make a statement, then move on to the next,” he said to Rolling Stone.
The motorcyle used in Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ video is a tricked out Honda.
The bike went from a Hondamatic to a customized Prince ride. The wheels were changed to spokes, the seats had hot pink velour inserts added in and an early version of Prince’s “Love Symbol” decorated each side, among other additions.
The entertainer almost gave ‘Kiss,’ a song he penned, to a band named Mazarati. “It’s too good for you guys,” he said as a reason for keeping it for himself.
It was Prince who wrote Sinead O’Connor’s biggest song, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’
He sadly lost a son. Boy Gregory passed away in 1996 from a rare genetic condition called Pfieffer Syndrome. He was just one-week-old.
NBA player Carlos Boozer was actually Prince’s landlord in 2006.
Boozer ended up having to sue the Purple God for painting his symbol on the home’s exterior and installing monogrammed carpeting.
Prince is part of the reason the Parental Advisory sticker is found on some albums.
Tipper Gore was shocked when she heard her 11-year-old daughter listening to ‘Darling Nikki,’ a song about masturbation. After a legal fight, the RIAA decided to put the sticker into use.