The death of Prince in 2016 not only robbed the musical world of one of its most gifted stars, but it also robbed it of one of its most eccentric. With the first anniversary of his death coming up on April 21, here are 20 little-known things about the Purple One that prove he was truly one of a kind.
20. He redecorated an NBA star’s property without his permission
Carlos Boozer was left regretting his decision to rent his West Hollywood mansion to Prince back in 2004. In fact, the NBA star actually filed a lawsuit after the musician redecorated the property in his favorite purple without asking. But Boozer eventually dropped the case when Prince restored the home back to its original colors.
19. He had an unusual piece of bedroom furniture
Of course, Prince was just as idiosyncratic when it came to kitting out his own house. One of the guest bedrooms in the star’s famously purple Paisley Park home boasted a two-foot yellow gnome adorned with butterflies. Strangely enough, the statue was initially kept in the living room but had to be moved after spooking out visitors.
18. He had his own private hair salon
Prince’s unusual tastes also extended to his properties abroad. The star’s house in Marbella, Spain, boasted sea views and was also uniquely equipped with a hair salon. However, only the man himself was allowed to use it. Indeed, even ex-wife Mayte was forced to go elsewhere every time she wanted a trim.
17. He used to stand outside McDonald’s just to smell the food
Prince’s extravagant lifestyle as an adult was in stark contrast to his experiences growing up in a poor family. In fact, the star was so impoverished in his youth that he regularly stood outside McDonald’s. But it wasn’t to beg for money for food, he just wanted to inhale the aroma of the restaurant’s Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.
16. He was a reporter’s nightmare
An interview with Prince was the stuff of dreams for most music journalists. However, it often became the stuff of nightmares thanks to the musician’s refusal to allow any electronic gadgets to record his words. He even insisted that journalists couldn’t jot down any notes because of how distracting he found it while talking.
15. He didn’t own a cell phone
Of course, Prince’s deep distrust of all things technological didn’t stop there. The star repeatedly spoke about how irritating he found society’s obsession with cell phones and refused to own one himself. Furthermore, he also banned fans from taking footage of him during a show, kicking out anyone who broke the rule.
14. He wasn’t a fan of Photoshop
Prince was famously anti-YouTube and anti-internet in general. However, you may not know that he was also very much anti-Adobe Photoshop CS6. The star once took legal action, unsuccessfully, against its makers in order to stop fans manipulating images of him using the software.
13. As a kid, he danced with James Brown…
Prince famously performed with James Brown and Michael Jackson at a Los Angeles gig in 1983. However, that wasn’t the first time that he’d appeared alongside the soul legend. The Purple One briefly danced alongside Brown as a ten-year-old when his stepdad decided to lift him onto the stage during a show.
12. …but he was insulted by being asked to sing with Michael Jackson
Although he once performed with Michael Jackson, it seems the love for his fellow artist stopped there. Most stars would consider an invite to perform on a Jackson record a huge privilege, but not Prince. In fact, the musician actually became incensed when he was asked to appear on the King of Pop’s Bad album. The star refused to contribute as he didn’t like the idea of being just a guest.
11. He didn’t believe in the concept of time
Prince may have worked with backing band The Time, but he didn’t actually believe in the concept of time itself. In 1999 he told a Dutch TV reporter that he’d stopped celebrating birthdays. Moreover, in a 2011 interview with The Guardian he claimed that, “time is a mind construct… it’s not real.”
10. He practiced door-to-door evangelism
One Prince fan got the shock of her life when the star turned up on her doorstep unannounced in 2001. Unfortunately for Minneapolis resident Rochelle, the Purple One wasn’t there for musical reasons. Instead, he was attempting to spread the word of his Jehovah’s Witness faith as a door-to-door evangelist.
9. He once took out a nationwide personal ad
“Eligible bachelor seeks the most beautiful girl in the world to spend the holidays with.” It’s not exactly clear why one of the biggest stars in the world needed to place a nationwide personal ad to find a date (a publicity stunt, perhaps?). But that’s exactly what Prince did in 1993.
8. He met his wife via videotape
In the end, Prince met the love of his life through watching a videotape. Longtime Prince fan Mayte Garcia first caught his attention with footage of a belly dancing performance she sent to the star as a teen. After meeting in person, Prince asked her to perform on his Diamonds and Pearls tour. The pair later married in 1996 – on Valentine’s Day, no less.
7. He made his Purple Rain co-star keep her marriage a secret
Before settling down with Garcia, Prince liked to keep the public guessing about his romantic relationships. In fact, he even made his Purple Rain co-star Apollonia Kotero keep her very own marriage hushed up. The reason? To make fans believe that they were also a couple in real life.
6. He planned to release a record as a woman…
Renowned for exploring his sexuality, Prince created a female alter ego named Camille during the recording of the seminal Sign ‘O’ The Times. He later recorded a whole album under the pseudonym, using studio trickery to distort his voice. Sadly for Prince completists, the star canceled the record mere weeks before it was due to be released in 1986.
5. …and canceled an album that was “the work of the devil”
The Camille album wasn’t the only Prince recording that got shelved at the last minute. In 1987 the star canceled The Black Album just a week before it was due to hit stores after becoming convinced it was the work of the devil. However, the LP finally got a commercial release seven years later.
4. He wanted Kevin Smith to make a film based on one of his albums
Director Kevin Smith and Prince wouldn’t appear to be the likeliest of bedfellows. But the pair very nearly worked together on a film based on the Purple One’s 2001 LP, The Rainbow Children. Understandably, the director pulled out when he realized the movie would essentially be little more than a Jehovah’s Witnesses recruitment video.
3. He liked talking in riddles
Sticking with Smith, the director once revealed how Prince often liked to talk in riddles during their early conversations about the project. “If a big snake gives birth to a little snake, what is that little snake going to grow up to be?” was just one example. Oh, and the answer was a big snake, apparently.
2. He once organized a Willy Wonka-style contest
Prince was often hailed as a real-life Willy Wonka – even more so when he staged his very own golden ticket contest, just like the reclusive chocolate factory owner. In 2006 the musician placed purple tickets within 14 copies of his latest album. The lucky recipients were then treated to a private show at Paisley Park.
1. He once charged an unusual price for concert tickets
That wasn’t the only gimmick that Prince used when it came to live performances. In 2006 he decided to charge fans the figure of £31.21 ($39) for U.K. shows promoting his album titled 3121. Also, the record itself was apparently named in honor of the address of the LA residence that it was recorded at. Whatever the truth behind the title, Prince fans certainly got a great deal that day!