Craig Allen’s Prince stories
I was driving into New Jersey 101.5 Thursday afternoon, when Dennis Malloy "broke" the news of the passing of Prince Rogers Nelson.
Before I could get to the station, I already had several texts to respond to...as the sad news spread like wildfire...and then the enormity of it all began to sink in...
Upon arriving, I was asked if I had Prince stories to share.
Two weekends ago, during our "Music In Films Weekend," I shared (on air) when I first saw "Purple Rain," and then said: "Remind me sometime to tell my college roommate's Prince story....it's a good one."
Its my one degree of separation from "the artist formerly known as Prince."
Who knew that I would be sharing it under these circumstances...
While cleaning schools was my college summer job back at home here in New Jersey (I wield a mean mop, and am great with a floor buffer), my roommate was from Minneapolis...and he was a ticket taker/usher at one of the major mega cinemas in the Twin Cities.
It was sometime in the Fall of 1984, Prince was at the height of his career...and one night I asked Jeff if he had ever had a Prince "encounter."
He starts to laugh, and tells me that, when in town, Prince would often show up (unannounced) to see the summer blockbusters.
But...he would try to jump the long line for tickets!
My roommie and his co-workers wanted nothing to do with this...and they'd call him out!
Then, they'd hear: "Don't you know who I am? I'm Prince!"
(So much for incognito, right?)
Jeff, would respond with: "So what...go to the back of the line, and wait with everybody else."
This is what he told me...and why should he LIE?
Sadly, this story is the closest that I ever got to "meeting" Prince...I never had a station "meet and greet"...and, I never saw him in concert.
EVERY time that I play a Prince song on the radio, this story comes to mind.
Hindsight is 20/20...but, were it me...I would have (quietly) allowed Prince to "cut the line" at least once...and I would have asked for an autograph in return. "Selfies" weren't even a glimmer at the time...
I lost track of Jeff a few years after graduation (I hope that he is still living the dream...in meteorology...somewhere), and I wonder how he is feeling today...
The "Purple Rain" story? (as I told on air recently):
Of course, it doesn't sound like a big deal now, but it was the 1980s...
One Friday night, all of us on my dorm floor (at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) decided to pool our pennies, and rent a big screen TV, a VCR, and some of the latest movies on VHS tape (DVDs weren't even a glimmer, either).
I took charge of "All-Night Movie Night!"
Come in your "jammies!" (mandatory).
Did I mention that I lived on a co-ed floor?
One of the "chick flicks" was "Purple Rain."
ALL of my fellow guys...cruised. They were too "cool" for Prince!
So, it was me and about 20 girls in the den. Good times!
Although I have to admit...when the swooning got to be a little much...I would excuse myself, and run to my room to grab a snack, saying: "I'll be back in a few minutes, fill me in!"
I'll leave you with my (biggest) Prince faves...which just happen to bookend "the artist's" Top-40 career.
"I Wanna Be Your Lover" was Prince's first top-40 hit, debuting on the charts December 8, 1979!
It just missed the top-10, stalling at #11/1980. I never played it on the radio, til it was an "oldie."
Unfortunately, the only "video" that I can find is a remix...which doesn't sound ANYTHING like the single. Please consult your personal Prince collection...or download it!
"The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" hit Jersey airwaves in the Spring of 1994...
I enjoyed "talking it up" as a "current" here in Jersey (and on Philly radio, too)!
Rest In Peace, Prince.
"Thanks for the music."