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Music Legend Prince Dead At 57; Jimmy Jam Remembers Prince. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 21, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening tonight and it is a sad one. Stevie Wonder joins us, and George Clinton and Spike Lee, Jimmy Jam. They are to remember the musician and musical force of nature Prince. It's like hearing the Grand Canyon die, that's how writer director Adam McKay reacted to word of his passing at age 57 and that barely scratched at the surface.

In the next two hours along with whatever late reporting comes in on the circumstances of his death, we will try to do Prince' justice. We'll talk with the musician he influence during of case of Stevie Wonder and who influenced him. We look at the people he loved, business he changed, and everyone, everywhere who feel such sadness tonight. It felt such joy whenever, they heard him.


PRINCE, MUSIC LEGEND: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Oh no, let's go.

COOPER: Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, music was in his blood. His mother was a singer and social worker, his father a jazz pianist.

PRINCE: My father left his piano at the house when he left and I wasn't allowed to play it when he was there, because I wasn't as good as him. So when he left I was determined to get as good as him. I taught myself how to play music and I just stuck with it, and I did it all the time.

COOPER: A singular dedication to music was the guiding force of his life and career from the beginning. Through five decades of music, songs that immediately set down anchors in countless hearts. Prince's debut album "For You" came out in 1978 when he was just 19 years old. He played all of the instruments and produced the record himself. Two more albums quickly followed.

PRINCE: I am here because of the golden age of the '60s, '70s and '80s in music and that's when artists played their own instruments, wrote their own songs.

COOPER: Prince's first mash hit came in the '80s, the album included "Little Red Corvette" little track, 1999.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you describe your music? PRINCE: The only thing I could think of because I really don't like categories, but the only thing I could think of is inspirational. And I think music that is from the heart falls right into that category. People who really feel what it is that they're doing.

COOPER: In 1984, Prince and the Revolution released "Purple Rain", track was timeless and including "Let's Go Crazy" "I Would Die For You" and "When Doves Cry."

That album in movie of the same name made Prince an international superstar, the Purple Rain had begun.

Ever the prolific song writer, Prince released an album a year through the '80s and early '90s. In 1987, he unveiled the Paisley Park Recording Studio in a state just outside his hometown of Minneapolis. A few years later during a dispute with his record label, he changed his name to a symbol and was often referred to as the artist formerly known as Prince, or simply and appropriately just "The Artist."

PRINCE: I had to search deep within my heart and spirit, I wanted to make a change, move to a new plateau in my life. And one of the ways in which I did that was change my name.

COOPER: Eventually he went back to being called Prince and continued making music and touring. He was passionate about performing live, wanted to interact with audiences, to play and sing without using a prerecorded track.

PRINCE: I think that's cool for the circus, you know, trapeze artist has to catch the other person right on cue. But music is not like that, it should be organic and unexpected.

COOPER: An absolutely electric performer with unparalleled skills on the guitar, he took the stage in 2007 for what many consider the greatest Super Bowl performance of all time.

In pouring rain, he showed millions why there never was or will be anyone quite like Prince.

[20:05:05] PRINCE: Purple rain, purple rain, oh yes. Don't it feel good.

COOPER: In recent years, Prince kept releasing music and performing. The last album HITnRUN Phase Two was released just a few months ago, he announced piano and microphone tour of smaller venues. After seven Grammys, an Oscar, and five number one singles, Prince's legacy is what his life was, music.

PRINCE: Ultimately all music is or can be inspirational. And that's why it is so important to let your gift be guided by something more clear.


COOPER: Now, it is hard to imagine someone so one of a kind modeling himself after anyone, and Prince did so and said so openly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE: I use Stevie Wonder as inspiration, whom I look up to a great deal, just the - for the way that he crafted music and his connection to the spirit. And, boy, back then I used him as a role model in trying to play all the instruments and be very self-contained and keep my vision clear.


COOPER: Prince talking to Larry King, joining us shortly, another influence Earth Wind and Fire Verdine White join us right no with Stevie Wonder.

Stevie, thank you so much for being with us. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. When you heard first the news of his death this morning, what went through your mind?

STEVIE WONDER, MUSIC ARTIST: Well, it is a heart break and I was shocked. I didn't believe it. And I find it so hard to believe.

You know, in this journey of music, we as artists create that sort of create the reflection of society and reflect really the people that really wanted to see a better world, a better people, our unity of people, all those things as music too and we'll continue to do for those of us who will continue to listen to it.

It's heart break to lose a member of that army of love.

COOPER: That army of love. The clip that Prince there we showed, talking to Larry King, saying you were a role model for him and inspiration to him. I think when it came to playing his own instruments. I wonder, how does Prince influence you? How does he inspire you?

WONDER: Well, he was a great musician. He loved music. He loved playing his instrument. And, you know, the times that we did jam together were amazing. All of the various people he would bring together. And most of all, he brought all the various cultures together.

He could play classical music if he wanted to. He played jazz if he wanted to. He could play country if he wanted to. He played rock, you know, he played blues. He played pop and everything. He was just a great musician. And very cognizant of what his responsibility was as a musician and human being.

COOPER: Today, I was watching recording of a concert that you did in Paris back in 2010. You were performing "Superstition." Prince was accompanying you on the guitar. And what I think (inaudible) sometimes of Prince is, I mean, he wasn't just a great song writer. He was a stellar guitar player, and wasn't just guitar. He played nearly all the instruments on all, on his first five albums. I mean, that's incredible.

WONDER: Yeah, it's amazing. And, you know, it's fun to do that because basically, you're going inside yourself and you're really giving people every single part of what you feel. It is what your soul is saying, "This is how I wanted this to be played".

And fortunately, I can play it and express myself. It's like an artist painting a picture. So he was a great artist of picture, sound, picture and music. This is an amazing day as we see so many things happening. The heartbreak to see this man, who was so talented, be taken away from us.

But I know that, you know, the almighty God has far greater things for him to do eternally. So I just hope that we celebrate his music and celebrate his purpose that he fulfilled.

[20:10:05] COOPER: With that in mind, that idea of celebrating his music. I know you and Prince sang together at the White House last year. Is their a favorite song of yours? Is there something, I think you're piano, is there anything that comes to your heart, that comes to your head, in terms of music when you think of him?

WONDER: You know, I love Purple Rain and the whole album was in credible, but I love the stuff that he did. You know, the song that -- I like the whole album, but I think I like (inaudible). It was like an interesting kind of song.

And -- but, again, as people I heard say earlier today on CNN, there was someone that said he was able to mix the blessing of life of God and yet, you know, the marriage of sex and passion. So that's very, very true. He had fun doing it.

And, you know, it's rare for me that I can feel with every single breath how he just passionately loved music. It's like when musicians can jam, there's nothing like it in the whole world. I guess, it's like when, you know, ball players are playing and they're excited about the game. Well, it is the same thing with us as musicians to be able to say, "OK. You could do that and let me - watch me do this." "And you can do that, I'll do that". It is just a lot of fun and he was incredible with that.

COOPER: Is there - I don't want to put you on the spot, is there any song you want to sing a little of or play a little of? Again, I don't want to put you on the spot if you're not up for it.

WONDER: I think I would probably breakdown if I do a song right now. But, you know, he was incredible. And I'm just glad that I was able to say to him, I love you the last time I saw him.

COOPER: And he wrote a lot of songs for other artists over the years, and he was also a philanthropist, donating instruments for young musicians, was concerned about social justice issues about. I mean, he did a lot of things for charity and didn't necessarily get his name associated with that. He did a lot of things anonymously.

WONDER: Well, I think his spiritual commitment was far bigger than, you know, him having to say he did this and he did that. His commitment was in the action of what he did, not with the satisfaction of letting people know that he did it. COOPER: How do you, I don't know if I should even ask this question because it is maybe too soon to figure this out and certainly we'll always have the music, but how do you hope people remember him?

WONDER: Just a great musician, a great producer, great song writer, someone that allowed himself to be himself and encouraged others to be themselves. And he was very free and to do what he did without fear was a wonderful thing because it's always great, it is always great when we don't allow fear to put our dreams to sleep, and he didn't.

COOPER: Stevie Wonder, thank you so much. Again, I'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but it's always an honor. Thank you.

WONDER: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, performer and producer, Jimmy Jam with privilege of knowing Prince from the very beginning. Later, the women he shared the stage, studio and life with, as we remember one of the greats.


[20:18:14] COOPER: Tonight's breaking news, the unexpected death of music legend Prince and the mystery surrounding it. As we've been reporting, the 57-year-old icon was found unresponsive this morning in his home in Minnesota. No cause of death given. The medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy. No word when the results maybe available.

So many unanswered questions tonight, CNN's Ryan Young is outside Prince's home in Minnesota. He joins me now with the latest. What do we know? How did this all occur today?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a lot of people asking that question. Of course, that phone call came on 9:43 to 911. And then when people got here, they found Prince unresponsive in the elevator here on his property. From there they pronounced him dead after trying to perform CPR.

So this is a conversation a lot of people having is, they want to know what happened that lead to Prince being found unresponsive in that elevator. And they want to know if anyone else was here.

And, Anderson, I also want to show you something, hundreds of people are now gathering outside of his house here. Obviously, so many people know about this area, Paisley Park, a place that so many people want to venture to because of the music that was produced here.

Now, as you can see, we almost can't even get the camera all the way to the fence, but they're lining all the way down the street. There's extra security here. And on the other side, would you people who seem like they're a part of the Prince entourage who are the back side. Police have cordoned it off to make sure no one can run from the gate.

There are people arriving with flowers in hands, young children telling stories to each other. There are artists out there, are painting pictures of Prince. You can feel the love for this artist.

And honestly, I was here over the summer, went inside this hallowed ground for music. I can tell, it was always flattering to be on the inside. So many people want to just show up and be a part this now. You can hear them having the conversations along the fence line, talking about what they most loved about Prince.

[20:20:01] And, of course, autopsy is going to happen tomorrow, so many people with questions, what to know exactly what happened to the superstar ...

COOPER: We lost the connection there. Ryan, thanks very much.

So many people remembering Prince today. Sales of Prince's music obviously soared after news of his death. Nine of his hits including Purple Rain are on iTunes top ten song list.

Joining us now is Alan Light a Contributing Editor of Rolling Stone, Jon Pareles, the Chief Pop Music Critic at the New York Times, and Michaela Angela Davis, one of Prince's stylists, went on tour with him. Jon, let's start with you.

I mean, what was his impact on the world of music?

JON PARELES, CHIEF POP MUSIC CRITIC, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, the impact was seeing somebody whose entire being seemed devoted to creating music. Every iota of his life force was in making music. He just poured it out. He recorded all the time. He toured all the time. You had to fell that he was awake, there was music was coming out of him.

COOPER: And it wasn't just for him, it was music for other people. I mean, he's writing for other people, he developed other talent. And he played, I mean, seem like every single instrument.

PARELES: Yeah. Many of his albums say composed, produced, arranged and recorded by Prince. Actually, produced, proposed, arranged and performed.

COOPER: Yeah. Alan, I mean, has there - who does he compared to? Or does anybody sort of ...

ALAN LIGHT, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ROLLING STONE: Well, I don't know where you -- he was clearly a towering musical genius of his generation. And Stevie Wonder, you know, who you just had on, in some ways the closest parallel of somebody who had this self-contained genius and was able to see through from every aspect of writing and recording. But on a stage, there was nobody could compete with what Prince could do. I mean, the fact that he could play, sing, dance, entertain each of those things at the peak of the game, all of them at the same time on stage in front of you. There was nobody else who was capable of doing all of that at once.

COOPER: Michaela like to worked with him.

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, PRINCE'S STYLIST: Wen you said, you know, immediately I thought nothing compares to you, which is what it was to work with him. Nothing compared to the diversity of feelings from fun, to scare, to funky. But the best thing was as you were saying, these spontaneous parties and music, these dance parties, you would get a call at 2:00 in the morning, to come to the lobby. He is going to open a club in Paris. And then, all of a sudden, you're there and it's ecstasy. You know, so ...

COOPER: I got invited to a show like in a room at the Gansevoort Hotel. And I was like, "OK, just a room". And I don't know, maybe 50 people in a room. He goes on at around 2:00 a.m. or something, and it just kept going and he kept saying, "I got too many hits."

DAVIS: He does.

COOPER: And I was just, I can't get off the stage, I got too many hits.

DAVIS: He was boundless. He wasn't bound by time or race or gender or space, so he could rock out in Gansevoort or Madison Square Garden. It was the same example. It was big, and full and fearless.

COOPER: I just re-watched the Super Bowl half time show, which probably where a lot of people maybe hadn't heard of him before got introduced to him. I mean, pouring rain.

DAVIS: With the two bag.

LIGHT: Couldn't have scripted it better.

COOPER: Then "Purple Rain" for the finale. I mean, he didn't trip, none of the dancers tripped. And he just - it was like he wanted it to rain. It was like ...

LIGHT: It's like he willed it to rain. He made that happen because he knew it made a more dramatic scene.



PARELES: Well, he asked the producers for more rain, actually.

COOPER: He did? He said he wanted more rain. Bring it up.

DAVIS: You know, what's really significant about him, you know, aside from the genius was his activism. Like he's really walked around with the word slave on his face, as a black American he made me see that he understood his value. That he understood his worth, and he understood the system, right?

And so, there's an activism in him. You know, he wrote a song about AIDS when no one was talking about AIDS. "Sign o' the Times" was a political song. So there's a part of him in all his intersections and diversity, there's a part of him that is very much an activist and very much - he was a prophet and a pimp, and a protester and passionate. He was all of that. LIGHT: And have incredible sense of independence that ran through

everything that he did. I mean, this was somebody who signed his first record deal as a teenager, insisting on complete creative control.

COOPER: Right.

LIGHT: Then a lot of time, unless this is all my vision. Somebody who came up with "Purple Rain" as an idea, as a vision in his head when everybody around him said, "Who is going to make a movie" like it doesn't make any sense.


[20:25:00] COOPER: At 19 to have been offered a record deal, multi- record deal. But he wanted to do it himself and didn't want somebody else to produce it.

PARELES: That's astonishing because if you're in the music business, you think your elders can make you a hit. And he knew at 19 that -- he knew how he wanted to make hit.

DAVIS: But that's freedom, right? When you're willing to walk away from something that was never offered to you before, you're a midwestern little black guy, and at that moment you knew you were royalty, you knew you were prince, before we called you names.

COOPER: But he knew he was going to be the artist that became Prince.

DAVIS: Clearly.

LIGHT: And if there's anything that inspired everybody that followed him, it was that sense of that's what it is to be an artist. You take risks, you follow the directions that you need to follow. You don't worry about expectations that he could do that and have the success he did was such a tremendous example for everybody, whether they sound like him or not for everybody that came after him.

DAVIS: And he took a lot of fashion risks, like butt cheeks were out. We saw that, you know, even at the Super Bowl, he had a do-rag. Lie ...

COOPER: And he took it off right at the end of the "Purple Rain."

DAVIS: Because his hair was a flake. Like no mistakes, right? We are like just a trench coat and nothing else. Like, again, I think Stevie talked about this idea of god and sex be coexisting, right? And he made us see God and sex on the stage at the same time. These are things that people care about one or the other or both very much.

LIGHT: That's such (inaudible) because so many singers, you know, so many of his predecessors, Al Green or Marvin Gay are going to struggled with, there was sex and there was spirituality.

He was the one who said, it's about all of it. It's about all these size of our personality, always side of our life. COOPER: And I keep coming back to what you said, Jon, at the start which is that, I mean, every fiber of his being was about music, and making music, and sort of the generosity of making it for other people and with other people, Chaka Khan. And I mean, all these artists who he brought along and gave a career to.

PARELES: But also, that - there was the life force within him and the life force was in sexuality and the life force was in thinking about AIDS and poor people, and a life force within making that band the tightest thing in the universe, and the life force was in watching people just go crazy because he knew they could just like a flick of his hair or with the guitar solo.

COOPER: Yeah. And, again, I just lost that the, Super Bowl (ph). And even on that, there was an intimacy to the performance.


COOPER: It was almost like he knew where the cameras were. And little facial and gestures which in a stadium size like that, you don't see performers do.

LIGHT: As you said, any space, he was able to make his own.

COOPER: Thank you so much. Great, I mean, again, it's terrible the circumstances we're here to discuss him, but so great to have you all.

Coming up next, fellow artist, collaborator, friend Jimmy Jam joins us. A break first as we look at the (inaudible) Apollo Theater.



[20:32:04] CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: There was never like any rivalry between you and Mr. Jackson?

PRINCE, SINGER: Not to me, no.

ROCK: OK. So I love the story of you, you know, is all these Prince, I'm sorry, that well is the guy you used to be, the story of you turning down bad.

PRINCE: Well, you know, that Wesley Snipes character, that would have been me. When you run that video in your mind.

The first line of that song, is your butt is mine. I ain't saying who going to sing that to whom, because you sure ain't singing that to me, and I sure ain't singing it to you. So right there we got, you know, right there we got a problem.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN AC360 ANCHOR: Chris Rock and Prince who died this morning at his paisley park compound outside the twin cities. Later in that conversation Prince changed the subject from rivalries and controversy to what he said he lived for, creating and performing music.

Joining us now is someone who knew that side of him for decades, friend, collaborator and fellow pioneering member the Minneapolis music scene, award winning producer and performer, Jimmy Jam.

It is so good to have you on. I'm sorry it is under these circumstances, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. You and Prince had a friendship spanning decades. Is it true that you first met in junior high?

JIMMY JAM, MUSIC PRODUCER: Yeah that's right, junior high school in Minneapolis. And we actually took a piano class together, if you can believe that. We actually both knew how to already play, but it was a good excuse to get out of school for an hour. So we would go to the high school and the teacher would give us, you know, Mary had a little lamb, or something like that, tell us to learn it. And as soon as she walked out, we would start jamming, and as soon as she walk back in, we would go back to kind of pretending we didn't know how to play.

COOPER: Now what did a 7th grade Prince like, what was a 7th grade Prince a like, what did he look like, what was he like?

JAM: He was amazing. I fancy myself as a pretty good keyboard player at that point in time, and Prince could play rings around me, I mean, he was so good. But not only was he a great keyboard player, but also as I found out later he was a great guitar player. And he is one of those people that are very few they -- he can pick up any instrument and play it but play better than you do.

COOPER: Had he lessons or ...


COOPER: ... or I mean had he been taught of this?

JAM: Well, he came from a musical family. I mean his dad was certainly musical. My dad was musical also. So I think we had that in common. Our birthday is like one day apart. So I think we had a lot of things in common like that, but no, you could just tell, you know, he just had it. You know, and people say how do you know if they have "it", he had it. He was so smart, and was witty, and, you know, he was shy around people, but not when the music was around. And that was the way I got to know him was around music, in front of a keyboard. And so he wasn't shy. He was actually very funny, very witty.

[20:35:07] COOPER: You remember the band "The Time" which was assembled through Prince. What was Prince -- I mean was Prince the boss? I mean I remember seeing you guys on the stage. What was he like to work with?

JAM: Well, he was definitely the boss, no question about that. The interesting thing about "The Time", "The Time" kind of organically came together. "The Time" was really five guys that were already together, including my partner, Terry Lewis, and Morris Day and Jessie Johnson were the last two guys to come into that, and then Prince basically had Morris, listen I'll get you a record deal if you put a band together.

So Morris just came to our band, and that's how that happened. But Prince was very involved with the writing of our song, with the production of our songs. Drilled us at rehearsal. His work ethic was absolutely unparalleled.

COOPER: Is it truly he actually fired you from "The Time"?

JAM: You know, we did get fired. What happened was we had been asked to only work on Time Music, and not do any outside production or outside writing and we did. And we actually ended up missing a gig, we got snowed in Atlanta, we missed a gig. And after the tour was over, we basically got fired and that was kind of the end of that. So -- but it was the biggest favor that he could do us because it kind of, you know, like they say, you know, when the mama bird kicks the kids out and says you've got fly, Prince allow us to fly, you know, myself and Terry Lewis.

COOPER: I was talking earlier about, I just, I only saw him perform once at a very small venue in New York, in a hotel room -- kind of big hotel room. And one of the things he kept saying on stage was I've got too many hits, I've got too many hits. And when he is actually on the stage just playing one hit after another, I mean you sort of forget the sheer volume of work and hits. I mean huge hits that he has.

JAM: Well one of the things about Prince is that, you know, when you talk about the word prolific, meaning someone who's ultra creative and does it very quickly, that is definitely him. It's funny, too many hits, he said that we saw him in concert in London at the O2 arena, he did 21 days ...

COOPER: Right, I remember that.

JAM: ... I think is the record for that arena, right? And that was the thing he kept saying, he kept saying too many hits, too many hits. And he would start a song, and then he stop it, and then just go too many hits, too many hits. And the crowd was like so mad, because like no, play the record, play the record.

So it was crazy. But no, prolific is definitely, if you look it up in the dictionary, should be his picture next to it avoid.

COOPER: I remember Al Sharpton, who is I think tour manager for James Brown once telling me that James Brown used to flash sort of his hands at someone who wasn't keeping beat, or, you know, the drummer who's maybe a little behind, every time he flashed a hand it was $5, he was funding him.

I don't think Prince did that ...

JAM: Yeah.

COOPER: ... but he was very much in command of the stage. I mean you had the sense when you were seeing him that he knew everything that was happening and had worked it over and over again to make it perfect.

JAM: That's absolutely right. And the similarity to James Brown and the way James Brown ran his band is a very good observation because you had to know not only every song but what Prince would do, Prince never liked doing the same show. So he would always switch up songs in the middle and you had to be alert if you were in his band, and he would all of a sudden go, you know, like I'm not doing that song, let's do this song.

And he would make, you let's say you had to learn 10 songs. He would make you learn 20 songs to play the 10 songs just in case one night he felt like I'm going to go play this other song and he made us do the same thing by the way in the time, that same work ethic he that he put forwards, what he did, he in instilled and that's in our band, too.

COOPER: Well even during at the Super Bowl performance which I just re-watch, he was playing other people's songs. So it wasn't like he was promoting himself as one of the critics said, he was wanting to give a good show and felt, you know, what oh I'm going to sing somebody else's song because it's going to work better in this ...

JAM: Yeah.

COOPER: ... in this thing. I mean that's amazing. He was more interested in, you know, I mean for a lot of artists, it is a prime promotional vehicle, getting the Super Bowl half time. For Prince it was to put on the best possible show and he did that.

JAM: It was the best possible show, and I heard you guys talking earlier and that it seemed like almost he commanded the rain, like he almost wanted that rain to fall and the fact that he was doing it and finally and, you know, ending up with "Purple Rain," as the rain is coming down ...

COOPER: Right.

JAM: ... but he's not slipping, he's not falling. It's almost like he's in control of everything. And he had amazing ability to do that.

COOPER: Well Jimmy Jam, again I'm sorry it is under these circumstances, but it's really a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.

JAM: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, the women Prince loved, including Carmen Electra one of this many romances, they met when she was just a teenager.

[21:40:00] More ahead.


COOPER: That song "I Wanna Be Your Lover" with Prince's first major hit in 1979. Prince was famous of course for pushing blurry boundaries, his sexually frank lyrics and suggestive performances broke new grounds, and love life was epic, often complicated, his collaborators often became romantic partners. Randi Kaye tonight looks back.