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Music Legend Prince Dead At 57; Block Party In Honor Of Prince Outside Spike Lee's Home; George Clinton Remembers Prince; Prince's First Manager Shares Memories; Verdine White Remembers Prince; Stevie Wonder Remembers Prince. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 21, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:37] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN AC360 ANCHOR: Good evening. There are new songs on a play list tonight featuring David Bowie, Glen Fry, Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White, and now Prince. He died today. He was just 57, so the sound track tonight is touched by sadness at the loss of another enormous talent.

Which also full of joy at all he created, some of which is pouring out right now Spike Lee's place in Brooklyn where Randi Kaye joins us now. What's going on there Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Anderson. There's quite a party here tonight. As you said we're outside Spike Lee's place in the heart of Brooklyn. This was supposed to be Spike Lee's party celebrating the life of Prince, but really this feels like Prince's party. I got going to tell you. You can feel his presence here. There are hundreds of people in the streets. They have actually close off the streets. There are people here who are black, who are white, who are young, who are old. You can see and they are all singing every word to Prince's songs, including "When Doves Cry" which is playing right now.

There are people in the balcony. They're all talking about where they were when they got the news that Prince died. There are people who grew up in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and they all feel like they grew up with Prince. Such an outpouring of love here on the streets, Anderson and it's also an outpouring not just from everyday people like you see here on the streets but from celebrities today. Take a look at this.


KAYE: Pop, funk, rock he did it all

The passing of Prince has left legions of funs and celebrities are like stunned. Many taking to Twitter today to remember the purple one. Whoopi Goldberg tweeting, "This is what it sounds like when doves cry, Prince, R.I.P. Condolences to his family and to us all.

Lenny Kravitz, "My musical brother. My friend. The one who showed me the possibilities within myself. Spike Lee, "I miss my brother. Prince was a funny cat, great sense of humor."

Justin Timberlake who idolized the rocker posting a heart felt message on his Instagram. They say don't meet your idols, that they let you down. But some of my greatest, funniest, yes, he was hilarious and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from moments that I spent with him.

Even the President chimed in, saying in part, "Prince did it all, funk, R&B, rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.

His impact was and continues to be undeniable. Here is Beyonce describing her Grammy performance with the pop idol in 2004.

BEYONCE, SINGER: I was like is that, are you serious? I was on the stage with Prince? Like are you serious? That is crazy! I still can't believe it.

KAYE: And Alicia Keys upon Prince's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

ALICIA KEYS, AMERICAN SINGER AND ACTRESS: There are many kings, King Henry VII, King Solomon, King Tut, King Kong, but there's only one Prince.

KAYE: Jamie Foxx even talked about how prince influenced his career.

JAMIE FOXX, AMERICAN ACTOR, SINGER AND COMEDIAN: Everything about this guy, dug everything about his music because there was I called it delicious music. It's like you could almost taste the music he was making.

KAYE: Composer, performer and artist, Prince was one for the ages. And for that he will always have a place on the stage.


COOPER: One for the ages, and Randi, you're saying people there of all ages out of the party at Spike Lee's place. How late is that party going to go? Do you know?

[21:05:00] KAYE: I think it will go for several hours, Anderson. Like I said they closed off the street, and people don't seem to mind it. They have their windows open, the music is blasting, and if you have talk to people here they are willing to stay all night. They say that Prince changed their life. So many of them told me that they grew with him. He got them through make-ups, and breakups. Then I asked him, you know, one word to describe him, Anderson, it just to go through a short list.

Edgy, entregent (ph), sexy, out there, unconventional, not afraid to be different. And another thing -- one thing -- one last thing, is people here aren't talking about what might have killed Prince. They don't want to be that. They want to celebrate his life here tonight and many of the people here, that doesn't matter. He is gone and they will miss him terribly. COOPER: And then Randi, thank you very much. We'll talk to Spike Lee coming up shortly.

Prince inspired influence wrote for, produced, nurtured so many other talented performers. Many of them whom would became stars in their own right or in the case of parliament's funkadelics -- parliament funkadelics George Clinton already were in the stratosphere. He collaborated with Prince, recorded on his label and we spoke just before airtime.


COOPER: George, you knew Prince. You worked with him. You were on his record label. What's going through your mind tonight?

GEORGE CLINTON, COLLABORATED WITH PRINCE: Well, the world is going to be missing a great personality, not only a performer but a song writer. And with me, a good friend, you know, just watching. We used to call him the kid. Myself, it made a state below made the park. I haven't processed it yet. I'm still in denial.

COOPER: Did you know -- I mean, his publicist said that he was battling the flu. Were you aware of any concerns about his health, about his well-being?

CLINTON: Nothing. I just heard the other day, last week that he was on a flight and that he had the flu or something. I had no idea. He always seemed in great shape. I don't know anybody that could work that hard, you know, from morning to night everyday and then get up and go party.

I just never seen him as being ill, like myself. I can't picture myself being ill, you know, but he was strong, as far as I knew. So, I have no idea.

COOPER: Talk to me about him as an artist. Now, I remember, I saw him a couple years ago in a small room at the Gonzo Board Hotel playing to a crowd of maybe, I don't know, 50 people. And he went late into the night and I remember, he just kept saying -- he kept saying I got too many hits. I got too many hits. I got to keep going and he just kept on playing one hit after another.

CLINTON: He was into that, you know, showing up in places. People didn't expect him to be. I saw him with his girl group last year over in London, and it just, I didn't know he was going to be there and then he called up and told me he was there. He enjoyed that, same as we did. We still do playing in places where hardly anybody in there sometimes. We call it the anti-tour.

But he was into that even when we were back at, you know, when I was on Paisley, he used to do all those kind of things, go around places. The people wouldn't expect you to be.

COOPER: I saw a clip of you with Arsenio Hall many years ago, and you were talking about Prince. And you said he does his job. He expects you to do yours. Was he a tough guy to work with? I mean, you can't achieve the kind of success he has without being disciplined in terms of his pride.

CLINTON: Oh no, he's true to the craft, but he also inspired that in you when you're around him and don't be hard to do once you're around him and see how dedicated he is to doing what he do. He inspire you to want to keep up with him, but he expect the same from you, that's for sure. Where he going to do his part and, you know, you might not think you go get the compliment. But that's why you around him, because he think that you're good enough to be around. So, yeah, he expects a lot from you.

COOPER: In person, was he as kind of enigmatic and mysterious as he was, you know, in his public persona? I only met him really once or twice and sat next to him at dinner one time. And I don't get nervous very often, but I got nervous sort of trying to figure out what to talk to him about because he does -- he was quiet. And when he spoke, you had to kind of lean in and listen to what he was saying. But I was really struck by how interesting he was and how interested he was in a lot of stuff, not just music, but, you know, issues, news, things like that.

CLINTON: Right and he did a lot of it, you know, in calculating that he wasn't going to waste his energy, you know, for the most part, and but he is really quiet. He's really quiet, but he did do a lot of it intentionally to save his energy. He used to tease me a lot because I could run out into the audience and after he show and then be bothered by the people and he always wondered, how could I do that.

Some people do it that way, some people don't. His way of doing it was to keep you thinking he is mysterious and you didn't want to bother him. He is so quiet.

COOPER: Right.

[21:10:04] CLINTON: But, once he got down and got to having fun, then, you know, then you could see how much fun he can have and how much he like to talk. I would go over his house after the show and just sit around and kick it. You know, political or social or any of that. He was very interesting, but like you said, he was mysterious, but it mainly just to preserve his own energy.

COOPER: OK. And George, I'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but it's a real pleasure to talk to you and I'm a big fan. So thank you very much.

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you for having me.


COOPER: George Clinton, tributes everywhere.

Tonight, take a look at purple super dome in New Orleans. Next, we'll go back to Brooklyn. We'll to talk to Spike Lee at the block party he arranged in honor of his old friend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: The Bangles hit, the "Manic Monday" just one of many, many huge songs that Prince wrote for other artists. The other's include nothing compare to you which of course performed by Sinead O'Connor. I Feel For You, performed by Chaka Khan and Love Song by Madonna which Prince co-wrote. Here she's talking about his death.

He changed the world, the true visionary with a loss and devastated. This is not a love song. The visionaries of course aren't always understood.

[21:15:01] In 1999, CNN's Larry King asked Prince why he had stopped using his name and switch to a symbol. He was known simply as the artist.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: You would admit yourself an unusual personality.


KING: Well let's say you're different.

NELSON: As compared to what?

KING: As compared to most people in, let's say show business. You're an unusual person. Most people don't get famous with one name and then change it, right? What would you say? What's the story of that by the way?

NELSON: Well, I had to search deep within my heart and spirit and I wanted to make a change and move to a new plateau in my life. And one of the ways in which I did that was to change my name. And so it divorced me from the past and all of the hang-ups that go along with it.

KING: Do you still have fondness for Minneapolis?

NELSON: Oh absolutely.

KING: What was it like growing up there? Aren't many blacks in Minneapolis? I was talking to Dave Wing Field the other night. It was the one percent maybe.

NELSON: Yeah. It was interesting for me because I grew up getting a wide array of music. I grew up with Santana, Larry Graham, and then Fleetwood Mac, all kinds of different things, you know. So that was very cool.

KING: Good place to grow up?

NELSON: Yes, sir.

KING: Well, you had a rough childhood, didn't you?

NELSON: In some respects. KING: That affects your music?

NELSON: I don't think so. I think it probably helped me to look inside to know that I had to do for yourself. I've always known that God was my creator and that without him, boy, nothing has works. It works to a point, and then it just kind of deteriorate, atrophy takes place.

KING: When bad things have happened to you, you blame him?

NELSON: No. Absolutely not. Yeah.

KING: How do you explain -- how do you resolve that in yourself?

NELSON: I learn from it and I don't wallow in it. I don't spend time in a place. I let myself move on, you know.


COOPER: Prince on Larry King as we said. The Prince released his first album when he was just 19 years old. Owen Husney was his first manager. He joins us now.

Owen thank you for being with us, again I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. You were in music business in Minneapolis and someone came to you, you said they had the next big thing. They played you a demo which has happened to be then an 18 year old Prince. What did it sound like? And did you know instantly this guy got an incredible talent?

OWEN HUSNEY, PRINCE'S FIRST MANAGER: Yeah, it was very interesting fellow by the name of Chris Moon had a small studio in South Side of Minneapolis. And he brought me this cassette and, you know, it's half it was routine for me to have people bring me cassettes and I'm sort of shuffling the papers on my desk. And he's reaching over and putting it in my cassette player. And I'm all ready with the speech to say, you know, it's promising. Come back in five years.

And I listen, and from the very first notes that I heard, it was a very early demo that they had done at Chris's studio of "Soft and Wet" which was really his first single. And I listened to it and I noticed that the sound was different. It was derivative, but it was a whole brand new sound, the way he was using the guitars against this keyboard and it just this little A-track studio. It was different.

And then his voice came on and it was this fault saddle which was he was using at the time and it was so vulnerable. I didn't know what he looked like. I had no idea who he was. I just wanted to hug him and protect him. And I realize that he was creating a new sound.

In this business when you hear things, you can say well that sounds like so and so is guitar playing or that sound is like this. He was melding the sounds against the keyboards and he was actually going for something quite new with that.

COOPER: And on the first albums, I mean, he was playing all of the instruments.

HUSNEY: He was playing all of the instruments on the first album on for you. He did have some help I believe. Patrice Russian played some keyboards on there, but by enlarged, he played every single instrument on the first album.

COOPER: It's incredible. When you finally met him, what were your impressions of him?