MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The loss of Prince one year ago today still stings for many of us in Minneapolis, and the rest of Minnesota.
We here at WCCO wanted to share our favorite songs, albums, performances and moments that keep Prince’s legacy alive in our hearts.
Mark Rosen, Sports Director
Many personal Prince connections. He sent me an original music video of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Alive (And It Lives in Minneapolis)” to use on Rosen’s Sports Sunday. He was wearing a Vikings jersey when he recorded it. Seeing him in person at Paisley Park a couple of times and literally walking into him in the hallway before the performance when he shook my hand and said “Hi, Rosie.” Yeah, I was speechless. Also taking my son for his H.S. graduation gift with some friends to see his performance at the Xcel Energy Center in 2004. He was very happy, very carefree and locked in with some of the best guitar solos I have ever witnessed.
Frank Vascellaro, Anchor
The Super Bowl performance tops the list for me. A command performance on a huge stage = Minnesota pride.
John Lauritsen, Reporter
“Pop Life” is my favorite Prince song! Also, “Holy River” isn’t well known but it’s up there for me.
Nina Moini, Reporter
Favorite song: “Little Red Corvette,” great memories of singalongs with my cousins at family gatherings!
Chris Shaffer, Chief Meteorologist
Of course I love the nasties (Little Red Corvette/Erotic City/Darling Nikki/DMSR/etc.) but I will go with “Let’s Go Crazy.” The second I hear the organ I am ready for the preach we all know word for word. Then it just jams — a fun, rockin’, energetic, let-your-hair-down funfest that will ultimately lead to me needing hearing aids someday. I can’t help but crank it up every time I hear it. That song will always bring the image of the iconic, big-haired purple one with the cloud guitar to mind.
Guy Still, News Assignment Manager
There is only one answer:
Stephanie Stoll, Account Executive
Oh this is so hard, like asking me which child I love best. If I have to choose I am going to go with my favorite album: Controversy. It was 1981, I was 11 years old and it blew my mind! I remember I had to listen to it really quietly, because of the lyrics; my parents hated a few of the lyrics to the songs. My favorite song off the album is “Controversy,” but “Ronnie Talk to Russia” was a close second. Favorite song overall is hard to choose, so many … “Controversy,” “Raspberry Beret,” “The Beautiful Ones,” “Pop Life,” “When you Were Mine,” “7.” Favorite memory is seeing him riding his bike around Chanhassen, he waved to me once at a stop light. I started to freak out, he just laughed and rode off.
Paul Koffy, BUZ’N @ 102.9 DJ
In 1982, I bought “Delirious” on a 45 at Ben Franklin in St. Croix Falls, and at 9 years old horrified my mom by singing “Girl, you gotta take me for a little ride up and down/In and out and around your lake.” I had no idea what it meant.
Esme Murphy, Reporter/Host
No contest, this is the best because it was a reminder of what an insanely gifted musician he was. He just blew away some of the best guitar players in the world. Second choice: Super Bowl performance in the pouring rain.
Mary McGuire, Reporter
“Raspberry Beret” is my all-time favorite song! I was living in Tampa when Prince died. I came home a week later and my first stop (before even heading home) was at Paisley Park. I tweeted out a pic of the incredible memorial there.
John Williams, Host
Just after Prince died, my wife and I led a group on a tour to Paris. The Eiffel Tower had been illuminated with purple lights in his honor, but by the time we got there the color had been changed back to white. Strolling through a market that week, a vendor was playing “Purple Rain” for all to hear. And then we began to notice Prince signs and posters and music playing elsewhere. He had passed that week but his light was shining brightly all about France.
Ann Heuer, Sales Operations Manager
“D.S.M.R.” is my fave! And “Delirious!” Both songs bring back great memories of college in Winona!
Cole Premo, Web Producer
“Uptown.” I might be a bit biased because I live in Uptown, but I just love the light-hearted/strolling-along vibe to this tune. And while ridiculously catchy Minneapolis-sound synths introduce the tune, it mostly has a three-piece (guitar/bass/drums) vibe to it. Something about it just gets me in a good mood.
Steve Simpson, Reporter
This is easy for me. In February 2007, I was working for an Indianapolis radio station and was sent to cover the Super Bowl when the Colts played the Chicago Bears. One of my “assignments” was to cover the press conferences of Billy Joel, who was singing the National Anthem, and Prince, who was performing at halftime. Joel came out and sat behind a table while the assembled media, perhaps 200 of us, asked him a series of mundane questions. When he was finished, we all were wondering what Prince would say, knowing that his quiet demeanor was not particularly suited for this type of an event. He took care of that by not answering any questions at all but rather PLAYING a quick set. It was an amazing experience that was only outdone two days later when he performed what would become one of the greatest halftime shows in Super Bowl history. And I was there. In fact, if you look closely, you may see me kneeling down in the front row shooting video at the press conference.
Max Huber, Community Relations Manager
Prince absolutely killing it at the Super Bowl. I wasn’t a huge Prince fan at the time — mostly rock and heavy stuff — but his attitude and absolute command of the stage was intoxicating.
Laura Oakes, Reporter
Growing up in Shakopee in the ’80s, Lake Riley in Chanhassen was our beach of choice in the summer once my friends and I were old enough to drive. It was so cool to be able to see Prince’s first house — which was purple, of course — from the beach, and know how close we were to him as we worked on our killer tans and bleached our hair with Sun-In. 🙂
Christopher Ellston, Board Operator
I’ll never forget seeing Prince for free at the Mill City music fest downtown Minneapolis. We went straight from The Time playing in a side street right over to Prince in front of thousands of people filling the streets. The crowd was electric for the whole show and nobody wanted it to end.
Katie Fraser, Web Producer
The first Prince song I ever remember hearing was “Get Off.” And I remember feeling torn because I liked the song, but thought I probably shouldn’t because it was a bit mature for my age! Also, I remember when I first heard “Kiss,” I couldn’t believe it was being sung by a man.
Phil Jenkins, Digital Sales Manager
Favorite song: “Pink Cashmere.” Favorite memory: Outside of First Avenue the night of his death. Never experienced such a singular harmony and solidarity shared among thousands of strangers.
Aaron Goodyear, Photojournalist
Lindsay Guentzel, Producer
Growing up in the south metro, we drove by Paisley Park all the time. I remember thinking it was so special he still lived here, so elusive and mysterious. I was outside Paisley Park on April 21, 2016 and I was amazed by all of the stories I heard — people who were given a glimpse inside his life. It was magical and heartbreaking.
Ali Lucia, Traffic Anchor
Favorite song: “Kiss.” He blends his softer side with his erotic side.
David McCoy, Sports Reporter/Producer
April 20, 2015, almost a year to the day before his death, I saw Prince play to a crowd of like 300 people, at Paisley Park, in the middle of the night, like 20 feet from the stage, for $30. I hadn’t seen a show with a crowd that small since a friend’s band in high school. And it, oddly, felt rather similar. It felt like I had just watched Michael Jordan shoot hoops. In his driveway. On a basket bolted to the garage.
Edgar Linares, Reporter
My favorite Prince song is “Little Red Corvette.” When I was a kid I use to watch MTV, when it was about music videos, and this song rocked. Every time I hear it it stays in my head all day long!
Pam Henry, Sales Assistant
My dad sheet-rocked Prince’s mom’s house. I told everybody I knew in 2nd grade back in 1982, ha!
Jimmy Erickson, The Morning Show with Dave Lee Producer
Halftime of Super Bowl XLI. The hair on the back of my neck stood up during “Purple Rain.”
Vinnie Biskupic, Account Executive
On February 4th, 2007, my father and I attended the wettest Super Bowl in history. I must admit, while I was extremely excited to attend Super Bowl XLI, I was less than thrilled to learn the halftime show would be performed by an artist with a symbol for a name. Middle school Vinnie had yet to experience The Purple One! And experience he did. “Dearly beloved, we gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” His opening words resonated with the stadium full of soaked fans disappointed by a lackluster first half. Over the course of a 12-minute set, Prince brought more electricity to the Sun Life Stadium than the storm that had surrounded it all day. The pinnacle moment was, of course, singing “Purple Rain” in the rain as the artist’s guitar solo screamed out to the heavens. The gods of music cried as their Prince took Miami by storm and their tears were lit purple by the stadium lights. I sang along to a Prince song for the first time that night and remember feeling goosebumps as I connected with 75,000 people. Today, I feel the goosebumps again remembering the talent of a man whose music could define an entire city but was ultimately just trying to help us get through this thing called life.
Eric Henderson, Web Content Manager
For me, nothing will top the one-two combo in 2004 when I saw him take command of the stage at Xcel on the Musicology tour, in the full bloom of a comeback, and then the next night seeing his aftershow at Paisley Park. At one point, he stepped off the stage to let the band jam on Parliament for awhile. My sister and I took a break to cool our heels at the back of the auditorium (it was about 5 a.m. and we’d been on our feet since 11). While we were milling next to an elevated platform, all of a sudden, a shadowy figure stepped down the stairs and walked less than three feet in front of us. He lifted the mic to his face, said “Yeah!” as he crossed back to the stage, and my sister grabbed my arm. We were breathing in Prince’s cologne. I remember I was wearing a Stevie Wonder tee, and the first song he played when he got back in front of the crowd was “Superstition.” To this day, I think my shirt got him back on that stage.