When Prince Rogers Nelson passed away on the morning of April 21st, the world collectively shed a purple tear. Prince was an innovator, an inspiration and a massively talented musician and will be dearly missed. In the wake of his death, Prince’s close friends, colleagues and fans have expressed their sadness and gratitude with stories of their personal experiences. Alongside with his music, these stories will keep his memory alive and ensure his legacy lives on into the future. After looking back over his vibrant life, here are five lesser-known facts about Prince.
1.) He Once Wrote A Fight Song For The Minnesota Vikings – It’s no secret that Prince loved his home state of Minnesota. When asked by Oprah why he chose to stay in Minneapolis, he proudly stated “The cold keeps the bad people out.” His hometown pride stretched beyond First Avenue and the Minneapolis music scene and into the sports world, enough to motivate the Purple One to write and record a fight song for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2010. According to ESPN, Prince penned and recorded the tune, aptly titled “Purple and Gold,” at his Paisley Park studio after the Vikings defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the 2010 NFC divisional playoffs. The song was released before the Vikings went to New Orleans for the NFC Championship Game, ultimately losing the game.
2.) He Was A Master At Ping Pong – Prince was a man of many passions, ranging from doves to a meal of spaghetti and orange juice. According to his friends, one of his many joys in life was being a superb ping pong player. Music journalist and Prince biographer Ronin Ro wrote he once beaned Michael Jackson in the crotch with a ping pong ball while trying to initiate a game with the King of Pop. Back in 2014, he flexed his paddle skills when he appeared in an episode of “New Girl,” playing a quick game with CeCe. Most recently, Jimmy Fallon and Questlove told the story of “The Tonight Show” host’s ping pong match with the Prince.
3.) He Wrote and Co-Wrote Songs For Other Artists – Prince personally topped the charts throughout his career with hits like “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” each sitting in the top five for multiple weeks at a time. Outside of his own releases, Prince was still king. Without his songwriting, we wouldn’t have seen other chart-toppers like “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks and “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. Some of Prince’s more quietly-released B-sides were turned into chart-topping singles, like “When You Were Mine” by Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles’ “Manic Monday.”
4.) He Was Very Philanthropic – “Albums still matter,” Prince said while presenting Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards. “Like books and black lives, albums still matter. Tonight, and always.” This very public statement only scratched the surface of Prince’s involvement in political and social activism. Throughout his career, Prince was known only by a few to secretly donate and support various causes, ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to bringing technology to kids in low-income areas. Van Jones, activist and friend of Prince, recalled to Rolling Stone all the organizations Prince privately supported and funded, including Green For All, which creates green jobs in poor communities, and #YesWeCode, a group that brings coding and computer skills to inner-city youth.
5.) He Danced On Stage With James Brown At Age 10: In an interview with MTV in 1985, Prince recalled a time when he graced greatness at a very young age. He attended a James Brown concert, and at one point, his stepdad pushed him into the spotlight. “My stepdad put me on stage with him,” Prince said in the interview. “I danced a bit until the bodyguard took me off.” Even as a kid, Prince packed a powerful music punch. Years later, Prince would once again share the stage with James Brown and Michael Jackson at a show at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983.