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Music Icon Prince Dies at 57; Remembering Prince. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired April 21, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:19] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The world mourning the death of a superstar tonight. You're looking at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem where fans have been gathering all night to pay tribute to Prince.
This is "CNN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.
The super dome in New Orleans lit in purple to honor the man known as the "Purple One". Prince Rogers Nelson died today at the age of 57. Found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios. The cause so far unknown. But Prince leaves an incredible musical legacy of pop, rock, funk and soul behind. Songs you just can't help but dance to, like 1984's aptly named "Baby I'm a Star".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE, SINGER: Hey, look me over. Tell me do you like what you see?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So let's get right to CNN Contributor and "Entertainment Tonight" host, Nischelle Turner. Nischelle, good evening again to you. You're at Paisley Park, describe the scene to us.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, Don. Well, it is still -- I mentioned this to you last hour and it's the same feeling out here right now, eerily silent. I mean, you are just playing the music and I got a little caught up and I have been doing all day. And I know, so many fans out here have kind of been saying the same thing. They're just out here to celebrate the man, celebrate the music.
Right over here, over my shoulder, you can see a huge crowd that has gathered here at Paisley Park and people they're just kind of milling around, talking to each other, some bringing flowers, other bringing balloons, just looking for any sign from inside the compound here, anything that they can take with them, and also just sharing memories with one another.
So it is one of those nights that you'll remember for the rest of your life and I know people just kind of wanted to come out here and experience it with other fans of Prince's.
LEMON: What are your sources telling you about the days, Nischelle, leading up to Prince's death?
TURNER: Yeah. There's not a lot of information that's coming out at this point, Don, but we have gotten some new information at "Entertainment Tonight" this evening. Sources close to our Kevin Frazier have been telling him that Prince indeed did have the flu and that that flu turned into walking pneumonia. They're also telling Kevin that Prince was battling a hip injury and that he was dealing with all of those things, that he did have some dehydration, was dealing with all of those things into one. And that source also did say Prince was not healthy. But we won't really know the full picture of everything until the autopsy is done. And again, we mentioned the autopsy will be done tomorrow, and so maybe we'll get some more answers in the coming days. But apparently, he was battling something pretty serious there, Don.
LEMON: Let's talk about his legacy and influence. He was a pioneer ...
LEMON: ... in every sense of the world. His music, fashion ...
LEMON: ... his influence is everywhere in the industry, isn't it?
TURNER: Yeah. You know, it kind of makes me smile and chuckle a little bit when you talk about that because, yes, you know, his fashion, his style was something when he came on the scene back in the '80s was something that we, especially people of color and our community didn't really know and didn't really understand what a man could look like, very kind of androgynous and feminine in a lot of ways, but be so strong and manly in other ways. And I know a lot of people at home probably had the same conversations with their friends and girl friends and we said Prince is the only man I know that can turn -- put on a pair of six inches high heels and have a perm that looks better than mine and I'm still wildly attracted to him and that's definitely what he was like. I mean, he was just as total package.
This enigma erupting (ph) a musical genius that we all wanted more of and more of, so way before his time with his music and his message that we've heard a lot about from Van Jones tonight of humanitarianism, is just really something special. And so, this person, you know, I'm bummed out that we won't get to read his memoirs, because one of the things we all wanted to know is what was behind that looking glass. Like what -- who was Prince Rogers Nelson at the end of the day? I mean, we got a little bit of a look of "Purple Rain", it was loosely based on events in his life, but we really want to know the man. We want to know what Prince is like when he comes home from a long day and kicks his shoes off. What does he do, what does he think, who is he?
LEMON: It's funny that one of my favorite social commentator as you know is Michaela Angela Davis and was honored to share, you know, the ... TURNER: Yes
LEMON: ... this platform on CNN with her today, and we were talking about some of the same things that you're saying.
[23:05:08] We said, "Look, Prince didn't just have an afro, he also had a pressing curl and he was doing a smokey eye before you all knew what a smokey eye was.
TURNER: Yes, yes. And every woman I know said I could care less, look at that. I mean, it's sexy.
TURNER: That interview you've been playing with Larry King is one the sexiest looks that Prince, I believe, he ever had. I mean, he just was kind of everything rolled up into one for a lot of people.
TURNER: And I have been hearing, you know, fans out here talk about those things tonight as well. It's actually, it's been a really tough day, Don, because I know you're a fan of his just like I am. So, it's good to get a laugh when we're talking about and reporting on him tonight.
LEMON: Yeah. Well, I went to the store and here is my paisley purple tie that just happened to be the first thing I saw ...
LEMON: ... when I got off the escalator in the men's department. Thank you very much, Nischelle. I appreciate it.
LEMON: Now I want to bring in a superstar who is also a friend of Prince and that's none other than Ms. Dionne Warwick and she joins us now on the phone.
Thank you for joining us Ms. Warwick, how are you doing?
DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER/ACTRESS: As well as can be expected under these circumstances.
WARWICK: Yeah, such a sad, sad day.
LEMON: So, tell me about your relationship with Prince. How did you guys first meet?
WARWICK: You know, I met him backstage at one of the Grammy Awards. I was standing -- in fact, it was the night I presented my cousin Whitney with her first Grammy. And he walked up behind me and in that very low voice, he says "Hello, Ms. Warwick" and I turned around and there he was, you know. That was my first encounter with him.
WARWICK: And of course I've gone to a couple of his shows, which are spectacular, of course. Such a loss, such a major, major loss.
LEMON: Yeah. So you've gone to his show and I imagine you've encountered him a number of times other than him going -- coming up behind you and saying "Hello" in that voice, do you have any other special moments that you can share?
WARWICK: I went down to his club in Los Angels, which was wonderful. He'd give free concerts, you know. He'd just get up on stage and do a concert for anybody who wanted to hear him sing. He was just a wonderful young man, just a really wonderful young man.
LEMON: You know, and it's interesting that you say that because a lot of people mention how he would sometimes just call you up if he was friend and tell you come to this place, you know, at midnight or after and he would just give these free concerts and you would wonder if he was dealing with, you know, flu, we don't know what the cause is, but what would inspire him to still get up on stage and perform? He needed it. That's who he was.
WARWICK: Yeah. He was entertainment, Don, in a capital letters. You know, he loved what he did. That was apparent. I mean, we're all privy to his legacy, his music, his recordings, so that will live on forever and ever and ever.
When you find someone that talented, willing to give as much as he gave, you know, what else can you say about him?
LEMON: Yeah. You know, I just saw you last week and then, you know, I think I saw you a couple weeks before at another event, and every time I see you, you just inspire me to live every single day because you're still going. There we are at the barbershop three ...
LEMON: ... and then we were at the God thing for Morgan Freeman a couple weeks ago. But I want to talk to you about you, right, and you as an inspiration. Your music doesn't get played on the same radio station as Prince. You have a very sophisticated catalog, Prince played on a funkier part of the dial. Did you connect though with Prince musically?
WARWICK: Yeah. You know, actually, of course everybody loves "Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette", my favorite was "When Doves Cry". It's was one of those -- that was the sensitive part of Prince that I kind of connected to.
LEMON: Do you know if he and -- you talked Whitney, were they close?
WARWICK: I really don't know, I don't know if they were close or not.
LEMON: You have been close to so many artists, we lost too many too young, of course, Michael, we lost Whitney, and I reported on all of them, it's awful and now I'm reporting on Prince. How do you want us to remember him, Ms. Warwick?
WARWICK: Oh, well, as a loving, giving and caring human being. That's the best I can say. He gave us himself, his time, his finances, he gave us Prince, which was just wonderful. Like I said, he was one of the good guys.
LEMON: Why is it that all those big bold names that I rattled off here, Whitney, Michael, Prince, I mean, you look at, why does the talented seem to go so young?
[23:10:02] Do you ever wonder that?
WARWICK: You know, I have -- I've kind of put a tag on it, and, you know, and once I've say it people stop and say, "You know what, maybe you're right." I think the big guy in the sky that we call God, I think he's putting together the most spectacular event that will ever, ever happen and he is calling all of the creme de la creme at this moment.
LEMON: What do you say to family and friends tonight?
WARWICK: Oh, wow. I send my heartfelt condolences of course go out to them, and just know that he is now at peace, he's with our Maker and he's OK. He's OK now.
LEMON: A legend celebrating the life of another legend. Ms. Dionne Warwick, thank you for joining us here on "CNN Tonight".
WARWICK: My pleasure. Thank you.
LEMON: Stars paying tribute tonight. Justin Timberlake sharing one of his earliest memory saying "It was Raspberry Beret. I was four years old. Yes, four. I remember that I instantly loved it. Mommy, who is that singing? Seems weird but it's true."
LEMON: President Barack Obama paying tribute today to Prince, calling him brilliant, one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.
[23:15:00] And "Purple Rain" is one of his iconic albums, also the title of his acclaimed 1984 film.
Joining me now is Joseph Ruffalo, Prince's former manager and the producer of "Purple Rain". Good evening, how are you doing, Mr. Ruffalo?
JOSEPH RUFFALO, PRINCE'S FORMER MANAGER: Well, shocked. You know, it's been a tough day thinking back to, you know, the very beginning meeting him and managing him. He was my partner through five albums and breaking as big as he did and then making "Purple Rain".
It was a tremendous experience and I could never thank him enough for the opportunity that he afforded me and my partner.
LEMON: How did the movie, "Purple Rain" come about and why was it so important to Prince to make it and star in it as a kid, as a big kid, I should say?
RUFFALO: Well, you know, it goes back to -- I guess the best way to approach would be, Prince was the type of artist. He pretty much set the criteria of what he wanted. He would listen, but in the bottom line, he would just think about how he saw his life, how he saw his development, and then he would pretty much come up with what he wanted to do.
And the development that went on over the four albums leading up to "Purple Rain", a lot of that had to do with the fact that my partner and I had managed, "Earth Wind & Fire" and developed them into a major, major act.
And we had the tools that could be brought to Prince to take him further along in the process, because, basically, at that time in the music business, I mean, bottom line, "Earth, Wind & Fire" was really the first black artists that were paid like white artists. And it was a process to get them to that point and to be blessed to have Prince come into our management company.
It afforded us a tremendous opportunity, because he was such a major, major talent and you could see that he was going have control of all of the tools going forward, and he demanded that the management that was going to take him as far as he wanted to go, the demands were quite high. And when he decided that it was time to make a movie, I mean, knowing a little bit about the movie business, you'd understand that that almost sounds like let's go build a barn and put on a show. It's not easily done.
RUFFALO: And how it came about, basically, he demanded it. And my partner and I, who I wish he was here, because, you know, we did it together and we worked very hard in different areas. We basically went around to try to get that movie made and there wasn't much enthusiasm for it.
LEMON: Why not?
RUFFALO: So, well, they just didn't want to make it at that time in the business, now there's more of a synergy between music and film. But, back at that time, even though he was at Warner Brothers and we went there first to try to pitch it, there wasn't that strong connection between the music side of the business and the film side of the business.
So, you know, meetings were held but, you know, the bottom line, people just could not see, you know, putting up the money for it.
And so, we're going along the process, trying to get this movie made and I remember one time, my partners and I was sitting down talking. So, well, we better discuss this with Prince, because winter's coming. You know, he feels, we're going to go out and make a movie this winter, but it sure looks it's going to be a problem. So, we have a meeting, we're sitting down and talking about the plusses and the minuses and maybe we should wait until spring and, you know, maybe the market will open up a little more. And Prince, he just got up at the time in the meeting and he looked at us and he said "We start shooting thanksgiving." And he walked out of the room.
Now, what kind of a guy was Prince? Like, when Prince said that, "We were shooting thanksgiving", it meant we better start shooting thanksgiving. And that started a process to make a movie outside the studio system. And, in fact, we did it independently. And it started a rather remarkable process, you know, that, you know, we don't have the time to talk about it, but the script was being developed, obviously, the music had to be rehearsed, we had to find people to make the movie. I look back and I laugh at it ...
LEMON: It was extraordinary, because, you know, he won an Oscar for best original score songs that -- who offered that film, his acceptance speech he said he had never imagined winning in his wildest dream.
[23:20:07] I think he did realize in some way the depth of his talent but, you know, he realized also that he had to stand up for himself or no one else was going to do it. "We start shooting at thanksgiving."
RUFFALO: That's true. And that applied to pretty much his art across the board.
It's looking back, it's remarkable. My partners and I had never made a movie. The director was right out of USC film school. He had never made a movie. And I was tasked with putting the production together, so I had to go buy, picked up some books at French's book store and studio city on film production, cinematography and breaking down a script. And then I found a T.V. producer who had never made a movie and in effect with cast, with only two actors, professional actors, Clarence Williams and Olga Karlatos. And in effect, we managed to put together the financing internally, which it was so difficult to do and I wish my partner was here to talk to certain side of it.
LEMON: I have to ...
RUFFALO: But we actually went out and made that movie.
LEMON: Yeah. And I was going to say ...
RUFFALO: And brought it in pretty much on budget.
LEMON: The rest is history, the rest is history. It's a fascinating story ...
LEMON: ... Mr. Ruffalo and I thank you for coming on, especially dealing with what you're dealing with today. Thank you so much.
RUFFALO: Yeah, it's a shock. Thank you. LEMON: We'll be right back, but first, Prince's song "Kiss". It made it to number one on the Billboard top 100, and in 2004, the song appeared in "Rolling Stone Magazine" top 500 of all time.
[23:25:54] LEMON: Prince wrote music and performed for decades, but he'll always be remembered for the decade that was his breakthrough, and that was the 1980s.
I want to bring in now, Downtown Julie Brown, an MTV VJ and host of "Club MTV" back in the '80s.
Julie, I love you so much, you know that.
'DOWNTOWN' JULIE BROWN, MTV VJ AND HOST OF "CLUB MTV": I love you too. I mean, the work you've been doing today is just being remarkable on somebody that really deserves all the love today.
LEMON: Thank you for that.
BROWN: I mean, he really was an unbelievably special man. Even if you had never met him, he's one of those personalities and artists that you go, "Gosh, if I met him, I don't know what I would do." But, the thing is, he was so lovely, he was so lovely and, you know, professional.
And I'm just a speck of a long sparkle, you know, in the world that he made shine. I was just so happened to -- in London, he was already big on the scene, he was always, you know, the fashion was going crazy, because of Prince, the dances were going crazy.
So, when I got to MTV in 1986 and I just happened to be on the stage where I could just talk about him all day long, it was a wonderful thing to do. And then now, something like this happens and you find yourself not being able to say too much.
LEMON: Yeah. So, let's talk about MTV in the '80s. I mean, didn't have a great reputation with playing artists at color, so how did Prince break through?
BROWN: Yeah. At that time, when I came to MTV, it was very few. I mean, it was, you know, Michael Jackson, of course, was on there and the group Cameo.
And Prince was such -- he was such an undeniable force, because he didn't really have a color. And I know that sounds strange coming from me, but it was just -- people were just so interested in his music and his vibe that it kind of like blew it away.
I would never sit there and go, oh, Prince was -- and I don't want to offend anybody by saying this at all, that Prince was a black artist, because to me, he was an artist across the board, and any other artist loved to be like Prince. I mean, rock and rollers, you know, would just like be captivated by this man. We were sitting at a concert in Los Angeles and I was sitting right next to Paul Stanley of Kiss. And Paul Stanley hit me and he goes, "Are you seeing this? Are you hearing this? Not one note wrong."
And the greatest thing about watching Prince is that, it looks like everything is to the book, but sometimes, he's go often, it would be fun to watch the band have to try and keep up with him when he kind of went off the cuff a little bit. It'd be really cute and he'd give these little winks and smiles.
BROWN: You know, keep saying, "You better catch up."
LEMON: But, you know, you talked about the kind of artist he was. He was, when you look at him, right, his look, right, with the hair, you know ...
BROWN: With the hair.
LEMON: ... you see little Richard, you see Jimi Hendrix, I say James Brown all rolled into one.
BROWN: Yeah. Well, he was the soul. I mean, he was the soul of that music. If it wasn't for Prince in our decade, I think those artists wouldn't be as sort of like balanced as they are. They'd be in their own genre, whereas Prince put them into all of this music. I mean, he was just -- and not to take that away from him, because he was no way, no way, a copycat. The man was just a man on his own feet.
And just seeing him -- seeing the artist today that loved Prince and love his music, I mean, that's a testament to how great the guy was. And not only that, as a woman, you know, just he was such a man, you know?
LEMON: Even with the straightened hair and the make-up and the eyeliner, he was still a man, right?
BROWN: It didn't matter (inaudible).
LEMON: That's what every woman is saying.
BROWN: It is. He -- I mean he was such a man. I can remember being backstage at the MTV music awards, walking around knowing he was going to perform and I was just like, "Oh, my gosh, I'm going to wear, and I was dressed head to toe in purple.'' Even purple underwear have no idea why I did that.
[23:30:09] But just to be in the same building as him, I was in same room. And on the other side of Prince, you know, when he wasn't working, the man was an amazing student of life.
I mean, on the other side, you see him would go out in New York City and you'd see him either at the China Club or at any club and he'd be sitting back in the corner and he'd just be watching people. He'd be watching people dance. He'd be watching people how they reacted to a certain sound in a song or what beat they were listening to. And he was constantly, constantly watching and learning, you know. He had never given up that.
He didn't think he was, you know, he knew everything at all. And I think that's the one thing about him. He was so humbled. And it was really humbling to be even, you know, sitting in a corner, you know, maybe a foot away.
LEMON: Watching, observing.
BROWN: You know that was a special moment. Yeah, watching him, observing him, unbelievably great.
LEMON: Julie, I know it's tough because there are so many. What's your favorite song?
BROWN: Oh my gosh. Well, I'm a girl's girl and he was a girl's girl. He loved them. And his love for vanity was undeniable. And the loss of her I think -- excuse me, Don. The loss of her I think ricochet a lot into, you know, what transpired after.
Love my Sheila E. and my girls, so it's going to be "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." I'm going to send that one out to all the ladies in the world
LEMON: Yeah. There are people who would say that vanity may have been the love of his life and he was really ...
LEMON: ... dealing with the death -- her death recently.
LEMON: Julie ...
BROWN: And Sheila E. and all the girls, I mean, I know that they're struggling right now as long as the rest of the world, you know, and at this moment we are just among the rest of the fans that are really feeling the pain tonight of the loss of Prince.
And I know that the fans are so true to him that it will be an unbelievable celebration of his life. That's what we're going to look forward to.
LEMON: A beautiful girl, Julie Brown.
BROWN: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. And now ...
BROWN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you so much. BROWN: Thank you for all the Prince love.
LEMON: Thank you. You're welcome. Thanks for coming on. And this is Prince "Beautiful Girl."
[23:31:50] LEMON: You can't help but bob your head, right, with that.
As the world mourns to the sudden death of Prince, we're remembering all the ways he surprised us in his long career.
So joining now is Christopher John Farley, Senior Editor -- Editorial Director of the "Wall Street Journal" and Clay Cane, Entertainment Editor at the BET.com.
Good evening gentlemen. I wish we could have seen each other on the better circumstances, but it's good to have you on.
Christopher, I want to read something that you wrote about Prince. This is back in 1999. You wrote, "Truth is, he puts on his bell- bottom, glittery blue stretch pants one leg at a time, just like the rest of us." If you have those bell-bottom, glittery blue pants.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, SENIOR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: They ended on my classes (ph) somewhere, yeah.
LEMON: "But his perspective on the world is like his music, constantly surprising."
He really was one of those artists that really kept you guessing. He never became stale. He kept trying and doing new thing.
FARLEY: Yeah, he's a rebel in his music. He's also a rebel in his dealing with the record companies. And what I find interesting is what a trail blazer he was.
You know, what was he fighting Warner Brothers about? He's fighting about the right to release his albums, when he wanted to release them, the timing he wanted to release them at.
And what are we seeing now? Artists like Beyonce, and Future, and Drake, and Kanye West trying to release the albums whenever they want. We got a whole lot of big build up. They released as many albums as they want. The timing they want them to release them at without a whole lot of fence there, kind of the world that he envisioned for himself is a kind of world that a lot of people have embraced now with -- now that technologies that have caught up.
LEMON: He was instrumental in that.
FARLEY: I mean he led the way for artists to feel like they could speak back to record companies and say what they wanted.
When he was writing "slave" on his cheek, people made fun of him. Like, is he crazy? Why is he doing this? Is it about money? But it wasn't so much about money as it was that he wanted to be -- he wanted to speak out as an artist that control over his own work.
LEMON: It's about autonomy.
LEMON: He wants to own his own -- himself. He wanted to be emancipated. But here's the thing, you got a chance to speak to -- to interview him and his wife. I mean, we don't hear that much about his wife.
FARLEY: Yeah. When I interviewed him in 1989 and this is back when I was at "Wall Street Journal", now I'm back with the "Time Magazine". Some reason, Mayte was there. I know she's going to be there.
Prince had her on his lap the entire time. He didn't want to move. He didn't want her to move, so it's kind of a two-for interview. And it was a very strange kind of interview. He wants me to tape his voice because he didn't want -- he was afraid maybe I would sample his voice. He talked a bit about "The Matrix" and how the matrix maybe it was real in certain kinds of way, you know, the movie, "The Matrix."
So, he had a lot of crazy ideas, but that he made a lot of sense when you sort sat back and thought about them.
FARLEY: And he had a lot of fun. I mean, this was all done in the sense of fun, with a sort of a wink. He's just a great guy to talk about.
LEMON: But I bet you're glad you did that interview.
Joe, this is for you. Prince spoke with Larry King back in 1989. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: How would you describe your music? What idiom would you put it in?
PRINCE ROGER NELSON, AMERICAN SINGER: 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. And ultimately, all music is or can be inspirational and that's why it's so important to let your gift be guided by something more clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:40:11] LEMON: Sorry. Clay, (inaudible) quote your show. Inspirational, what set his music apart?
CLAY CANE, ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, BET.COM: You know, when I think about Prince, I think about liberation. I think about freedom. And in many ways, Prince liberated me and so many other people. I think of his song "Controversy," when he said, "Am I black, am I white, am I straight, am I gay, do I believe in God, do I believe in me?" That was my story. And Prince managed for a little kid like me to take my story and manifest it in a five-minute song. That is the true personification of art. And Prince was able to do that. It was -- it's funny when you think of a Prince fan, you really can't pinpoint who it is.
CANE: There are some artists you kind of know who their fans are. When you go to a Prince concert, it's black, it's white, it's young, it's old, it's male and female. He was a true transcendental artist and he's -- that song "Controversy".
LEMON: Great telling my story, so that's, "Am I black, am I white, am I straight or gay" "Controversy".
So, here's what you said. Here's what you tweeted. OK, you said, "Prince challenged gender constructs, saying things that were taboo for male artists. I thought Prince was immortal, that he'd live into his 100s."
He did challenge everything about sex, religion, and we have to remember and about race. We have to remember during that time, R & B was -- especially when it came to an artist of color, that was omnipresent, right, that you're an R & B artist, you know, like Teddy Pendergrass when he sang about conquering women and conquest and those sorts of things, turn off the lights, whatever.
And then Prince came along in his falsetto voice with sometimes an afro, sometimes his hair feather-like (inaudible) or whatever, and you never knew what he was going to be like. What -- I said earlier, Michael Jackson gave us pop. Prince, we didn't know what it was but we knew it was good.
CANE: He loved all the constructs. I mean, really, there's a formula for most R & B, POP musicians. He bucked every -- I mean, here you have a guy in heels, lace underwear on his face, makeup on and women still love him.
I mean, he's the kind of guy that, you know, could steal your girl in heels. Like, oh my gosh, Prince did this. I mean, he was that powerful of a artist. And the fact he was able to buck masculine and fem and still make people love him and be attracted to him, that's very unconventional. I don't think anybody could do that today.
FARLEY: I mean, it's part of the reason why it works is because he came of age before the whole social media age, where people have to tell everything about what they're about. They're tweeting every day about what they're eating for breakfast, what they're doing.
With Prince, he gave interviews but not too many interviews. And so those are sense of mystery and people could project themselves into that void and say, "Oh, he represents me because I don't know everything about him. Maybe he's just like me." LEMON: Yeah, and it was -- you're so right because so many people put so much into social media, right, that they become paranoid. And it's like, why do you care? He didn't have that and he probably didn't really care about it. They put so much stock in social media. An artist like Prince didn't care what the criticism was. He was doing it for the art of it.
FARLEY: But he was someone who's on the cutting edge when it came to music online. He sold his music online. He actually told me once and I don't know if this was true, but this is what he told me, that he made more money selling his album "Crystal Ball" online than he made from "Purple Rain." It was his biggest blockbuster hit.
LEMON: I want you two to standby because I want to get to this next scene and then I'll come back to you.
In Prince's hometown of Minneapolis, there are all-night dance party and all-night dance party in his honor going on. CNN's Kyung Lah is there for us.
Good evening Kyung. You know, what's the scene? Set the scene for us tonight.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that all night dance party that you're talking about hasn't quite begun yet. They're still trying to clear out the space.
This is First Avenue Club. This is the place that -- if you saw "Purple Rain", this is where the movie was shot. It is the club that was brought to fame because of Prince and he was known here as its patron saint.
So look at the crowd. There are so many people here. This entire intersection is packed with his fans, people who are stopping here to drop flowers and to say farewell, just outside the club here and it is been happening throughout the afternoon.
People stopping by with flowers, some of these messages say "Rock on, Prince." He is their hometown hero. And that star that you see on the corner, what we've seen throughout the night, people stopping by to take pictures.
And Don, when you think about the number of people in this crowd, this entire downtown area is practically shut down, immobilized with people who are mourning, who are sad.
It is a festive atmosphere but they're all collaborating. We actually found a parking space because people were helping us to park. So people are here to mourn, but they're also here to celebrate.
What we are expecting tonight is that in just a short time, they're going to be opening the doors here. They're going to ask everyone to come in and remember Prince in the way he would want to be remembered, through playing his song and through dancing throughout the night. Everyone 18 and older will be allowed to come in and dance the night away, Don. [32:45:04] LEMON: Kyung, look at the size of that crowd. I'm not sure, Danny (ph), the director, do we -- is it live shot or is it just pictures of the -- let's look at the -- get a tape of the crowd above. It is unbelievable where Kyung is.
Kyung, how many people do you think we're looking at there? Do you know?
LAH: What I do know is that the club has a capacity for 1,550 people. But, I mean, just looking over my shoulder here, it's going to far exceed that. So I don't know if everyone is going to get in, you know.
We're seeing peoples kind of make room for new people to come in and take pictures with the star and drop their flowers. So certainly, I can say just from looking, it looks like well over 1,500 people, the capacity of this place.
You know, the people we're talking to out here say they're going to try to get in. They want to be a part of the celebration. They want to be here tonight. But they may have to spill this into the streets.
LEMON: All right, Kyung thank you very much. We'll check back in with you.
We'll be right back. But before we go, one of the most iconic songs Prince ever recorded was "Let's Go Crazy." Today in tribute, Lin- Manuel Miranda, the composer and star of the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton" tweeted the famous first few words of the song. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life." Here it is.
[23:50:27] LEMON: The sudden death of Prince, his fans and celebrities alike, remembering the purple one. So back with me now, Christopher John Farley and Clay Cane. Thank you very much.
So let's -- can I read this Clay to you. This is from Justin Timberlake. He wrote a touching tribute to Prince online saying, "From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy, meaning are we worthy? Laughable. 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 the moments that I spent with him.
It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music. It's beyond that. He is somewhere within every song I've ever written. I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company.
We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, nothing compares."
Now that is a tribute. He influenced -- his influence spanned generations. CANE: I mean, you really can hear so many Prince clones, if you will, but in a good way.
Justin's song "Gone", for example, it's a Prince song, right? I mean, it goes on and on. And he used the word prolific there.
One thing I think of when I think about Prince politically. You think of a song like "Sign 'o' the Times" where he was talking about HIV and AIDS in '87. When Reagan wouldn't even say the word ...
LEMON: I forgot about that. I forgot about that. Yeah.
CANE: ... in '87. When you think of songs like "America" and "Pop Life" where he was talking about structural underpinnings of poverty in the era of the trac (ph) epidemic, in the of Reagan economics, right, ruining our country. He really had his ear to the streets.
I mean, in some ways Prince kind of was our black Twitter to some degree. He was political in a way that was accessible, but it was smart and it was on those tracks that you might have skipped over. And I encourage folks to go back and listen to those.
LEMON: What is it, "Pop Life", "Everybody needs a thrill, Pop life. We all have a space to fill, Pop life. Everybody can't be on top, get your million dollar checked in somebody else's box."
CANE: Yeah, amazing. Amazing.
FARLEY: Yeah, when you think of, you know, acts like, "The Weekend", you think of Frank Ocean, and you think of the influence you can clearly hear in their voices and in their songs that comes from Prince.
And, you know, that tweet is right that you read from Justin Timberlake. It's not just the individual artist you can pick out. It really is the whole structure of music he changed, not just with his lyrical content, but with his songs and also with his persona.
You know, people copied his persona again and again. Of course, he borrowed some of his persona from people that came before him, that Little Richard, that Chuck Berry, but he transformed it in his own way.
LEMON: Absolutely, so why did people or some people get, like most people if you are a thinking person, you realized you look at Prince and that hair and that eyeliner and you go, all right, that's Little Richard and -- but that's fine.
FARLEY: And James Brown is in there.
LEMON: And James Brown and Jimi Hendrix and that's OK. Why do people get upset about that?
FARLEY: Well, here's the thing. If you steal from enough people and make it your own, then it's not plagiarism. It's something different. You transform it and he ... LEMON: The best form of flattery is what? It's when somebody copies you.
FARLEY: Right. But, he featured (ph) from so many sources, then at the end, he clearly wasn't just copying any one person. He wasn't copying James Brown. He wasn't just copying Little Richard or Chuck Berry. He turned into something different. He added more sex to it. He added rock 'n' roll to it and it became something identifiable as only Prince.
LEMON: I want to play something that he said to Tavis Smiley. This is back in 2013. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: The fan base I have now, they're so sophisticated. They almost expect me to do the unexpected. And that gives me a lot of room to challenge myself as well ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Challenge himself. He wanted to challenge the audience. It's was part of what -- is that part of what made, what he did so ground breaking?
FARLEY: I think so. I mean, he was continually challenging himself. You know, releasing albums that were sometimes very long, five CD's long, albums like some of the times are two CD -- two -- double album set, almost every song really worked, you know. From Adore to all the rest, I mean he was a guy that really set the bar high and that's why people are still trying to match what he did.
LEMON: For people who have never gone to a Prince concert, take us there.
CANE: Oh my gosh. I saw Prince at giant stadium in New Jersey.
LEMON: Look at your face light up.
CANE: I know. It was amazing. I never forget. I was in the ninth row and just speaking of how revolutionary he was.
I was a part of the NPG Music Club. This is before title. This is before streaming, where you signed up for this club, you got access to music. You got close concert ticket and it was amazing.
And when folks -- when he was singing the "Purple Rain," people pulled out purple umbrellas. And so these Prince fans are so incredible. And quickly, one thing one about Prince is his mystique.
[23:55:05] His entire career, he never really had a scandal.
CANE: Really, never really had it. He wasn't tabloid. That's why it is so shocking that he's gone because for some people, you know, we saw it coming. For Prince, we just didn't see this coming.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: So it was the summer of 1984 and I was just driving back from my senior trip from high school from Florida, and this song came on the radio "When Doves Cry." And we had never heard anything like this before. What is this song? And we went and immediately bought it and kept playing it over and over and over.
So I say to Prince, thank you, though, for challenging what it's like to be a man and what a man looks like. I appreciate that. And to not let people put you in a box.
So that song, "When Doves Cry", it prompted Twitter tributes today from some of his celebrity fans.
Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid twitting a field of purple with the words, "This is what it sounds like when the world cries."
Oprah, twitting, "Prince, the doves really are crying now."
And Whoopi Goldberg simply quoting Prince's lyrics.