People who worked closely with the pop superstar paint a picture of a hard taskmaster who protected himself assiduously from the public gaze
Alan Edwards recalls the first time he did business with Prince in 1991 with amused lucidity. I got a call from Rogers& Cowan in America, the PR firm, asking if I would like to work with him, says the veteran publicist, whose clients have included David Bowie, the Who and Michael Jackson.
I was flown out to Minneapolis and picked up by a chauffeur. It was flat and cold and it was the middle of wintertime. We drove for miles and miles through the snow, then suddenly Paisley Park[ Princes record studio and headquarters] pops up. I was shown up to a suspended room merely hanging in the air, with a glass floor and everything in the middle. I sit there. No one even offers me a beaker of coffee. A button is pushed and an album starts playing. It was Diamonds and Pearls, and I had a sense I was being watched. So I put on a lot of foot-tapping.
At the end, the receptionist goes and gets me and says the cars outside. Id come halfway around the world and no one had spoken to me. I get in the car, and were driving along. The driver, this cool African American guy, says to me: What did you think of the album? What about this way? I was being questioned forensically, so I guessed it was being videotapeed, or played back to his highness. I got back to London, and 3 days later I was hired to work on Prince.
Edwardss story is typical of Prince, a human who lived a life in the public eye, while protecting himself assiduously. One of his habits was to ride a bike around Paisley Park, and even last Sunday, one local resident told the Guardian he had been out and about on two wheels. Julie Reid was getting a haircut when the salons receptionist told Prince was cycling around outside. Reid, foil in her hair, operated outside to assure. Prince waved to her, but wagged his finger in admonition when she created her phone to take a photo. In public, but private.
That Prince was out and about on Sunday having hosted one of his famed Paisley Park dance parties the previous night induced his death all the more of a shock. He had been in hospital briefly the Friday before, after his airplane made an emergency landing in Illinois following a gig in Atlanta. That incident has become the subject of supposition, with the celebrity gossip website TMZ which broke the news of his death on Thursday claiming he was treated for a drug overdose, rather than the influenza his representatives claimed.
The transcript of the 911 call made to the emergency services in Minneapolis shed no illuminate. The caller said someone identified only as the person or persons was dead, that the people are just distraught. Merely late in the bellow did the confirmation come from the caller: Yes, its Prince.
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