How well do you know The Purple One? From his kid sister, who's also a singer, to his favorite meal during the Purple Rain era, we've compiled 12 facts about the legend's life.
Fact 1: Prince Wasn't a Party Animal
While he can definitely get a party going, the Purple One wasn't exactly a wild and crazy guy. In a Spin article commemorating the 25th anniversary of Purple Rain, Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson revealed: “Prince would pay for these elaborate parties and we’d show up for like 12 minutes and go back to the hotel.”
Fact 2: Prince Kept a Journal
Before making his big screen debut with Purple Rain, band members recall Prince walking around with a notebook of ideas. “He’d always come up with little scenarios on a plane or on buses,” Revolution (Prince’s backing band) keyboardist Lisa Coleman told Spin.
Fact 3: Prince Came from a Family of Musicians
Both of Prince’s parents were jazz musicians. His father John Nelson, a pianist from Louisiana, led the Prince Rogers Trio. His mother, Mattie Shaw, sang in the band.
Fact 4: Prince's 'Purple Rain' Father Was Fake
Contrary to popular belief, Prince’s father in the movie Purple Rain, was not based on his real-life father. "That stuff about my dad was part of [director-cowriter] Al Magnoli's story," he told Rolling Stone in a 1988 interview. "We used parts of my past and present to make the story pop more, but it was a story. My dad wouldn't have nothing to do with guns. He never swore, still doesn't, and never drinks."
Fact 5: Prince Had a Sister
Prince’s younger sister Tyka Nelson is also a musician who has released two albums. Her last release, a Gospel album called Brand New Me, came out in 2008.
Fact 6: Prince Had an Alter-Ego
Prince reportedly had an alter-ego named Camille. That’s her on “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
Fact 7: Prince Used to Write Fan Mail to Joni Mitchell
The legendary folk singer once told New York Magazine how she spotted a young Prince sitting in the front row of one of her concerts in Minneapolis. "He must have been 15," she recalled. "[He] used to write me fan mail with all of the U’s and hearts that way that he writes," she added.
Fact 8: Prince Loved Spaghetti & OJ
Prince’s staple meal during the Purple Rain era was spaghetti and orange juice. “[That] was his favorite meal,” the film’s director Albert Magnoli told Spin.
Photo by Getty Images
Fact 9: Prince Didn't Listen to His Old Music
Prince didn't play his old albums leisurely. “I make a statement, then move on to the next," he told Rolling Stone.
Fact 10: Prince Didn't Allow Recorded Interviews
Prince doesn’t allow journalists to record interviews with him. "Some in the past have taken my voice and sold it," he recently told Billboard. "I can't remember the incident that triggered it and it's probably best that I don't."
Fact 11: Prince's Purple Rain Tour Was Super Successful
The 1984-85 Purple Rain tour sold 1,700,000 tickets, reports Spin.
Fact 12: Few Musicians Stay Awake As Long As Prince Could
Prince once told Rolling Stone how he can spend up to 20 hours in the studio. "I swear to God it's not out of boldness when I say this, but there's not a person around who can stay awake as long as I can," he said, adding, "Music is what keeps me awake."