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Music Legend Prince Dead at 57; Prince's Cause of Death Unknown. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 21, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:12] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Prince dead at 57. A superstar, one of the bestselling recording artists of all time. The latest into the investigation into his sudden death today.

And a side of Prince that few people ever knew. I'm going to speak to a musician who played alongside prince for years. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. Erin Burnett. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world this evening. The breaking news, Prince, the legendary singer, songwriter, actor, dead at 57. The reason for his death a mystery tonight. You're looking at live pictures of Prince's estate. It was called Paisley Park in Minnesota. This is where the seven-time Grammy award winning musician was found this morning, unresponsive in an elevator. This was the scene earlier today.

Heavy traffic around Prince's compound. What exactly happened is still unknown tonight. Prince catapulted to fame with hits like "Purple Rain," "Little Red Corvette." President Obama released a statement today, saying, "Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly or touched quite so many people with their talent as one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time. Prince did it all, funk, R&B, rock and roll.

We begin our coverage tonight with Jean Casarez who is outfront at New York's historic Apollo Theatre.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after 9:30 this morning, Carver County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Prince's Paisley Park estate about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male down not breathing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten-4 CPR started at 9:49.

CASAREZ: Prince was found in an elevator, unresponsive. CPR failed to revive him. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. Outside, fans gathered as word spread. Many hugging one another, crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's still a shock. Just to hear the news this morning. Of what was going on. I had to come out here, because I'm like -- this can't be true. This can't be true.

CASAREZ: The news officially confirmed by his publicist. "It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57.


CASAREZ: Just last Thursday, Prince was still performing two shows in Atlanta, flying home Friday morning. His private plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. Hospitalized briefly, various reports that Prince suffered flu-like symptoms. Another that he was dehydrated. But the next day he showed up at Paisley Park for a short time. It was to be his last appearance on a stage. Showing off his new piano, and a guitar. Telling fans he was okay, and wait a few days before you waste any prayers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it. He was just here Saturday. He was just here Saturday.

CASAREZ: The next morning, this photo of Prince riding a bike near his home. But he had shown signs of ill health for weeks. In early April, complaining of flu-like symptoms, he postponed two shows in atlantad. Immediately after word of his death, social media exploded. An outpouring of grief from famous and his many fans, Madonna writing simply, "He changed the world. A true visionary. What a loss. I'm devastated." Speaking with Larry King almost two decades ago, the seven-time Grammy winner and one of the best-selling recording artists of all-time, knew what was always most important to him.

PRINCE ROGERS NELSON (JUNE 7, 1958 - APRIL 21, 2016), MUSICIAN: I kind of did what I wanted to do. I wanted my music as even now to speak loudest for me.


CASAREZ: And more and more people are gathering here outside the Apollo Theatre tonight, to pay their respects. As you can see, the marquis of the Apollo honoring Prince, the legend that they know he is. Now Prince was no stranger to the Apollo. Because in the 1990s, he filmed a special for VH1 and in 2010 he had a press conference right here announcing his welcome to America tour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jean Casarez.

And Larry King is going to be with me later in this hour. You'll going to hear much more of Prince in his own words. That very rare interview. And as Jean just said, it was only on Saturday that Prince made his last appearance, it was on stage at his home at that estate.

Mike Rendahl was there at that event, he's a fan, he is a neighbor of Prince. And Mike, thank you for being with me. I know that this is a shock for people around the world, fans of prince. You knew him, you were a neighbor of his. I'm very sorry to be talking to you under these circumstances. I know you just saw him days ago. What was he like? [19:05:05] MIKE RENDAHL, FAN AND NEIGHBOR OF PRINCE: Well, first of

all, I wasn't a neighbor. I lived about 20 miles -- 20 minutes away. So I wasn't a neighbor. But I met him once. And basically, I just started going to Paisley Park a year ago. I had kind of removed myself from the whole being a Prince freak when I was back in college. And so I only started going last year. And I've been -- I've been -- I went basically every time since then, because it was so incredible.

BURNETT: When you saw him this weekend, you know, I know he didn't sing, but he showed off a new guitar, a new piano, what did he say to the crowd?

RENDAHL: Well, basically, he came out and first thing about that crowd, it's a unique crowd. There's only a couple hundred people there. And you know, it was basically like he was checking in with us. He was saying, you know, hey. I appreciate all the support. And I'm feeling good, and everything is fine. And yes, he said save your prayers. You know, for another day or whatever. Let's see how this goes for a couple more days. And -- but he looked good. He sounded good. So -- yes.

BURNETT: He didn't seem ill or sick when he said that about the prayers.


BURNETT: It didn't connect with him seeming ill.

RENDAHL: No, not at all.

BURNETT: I know you said you've been going back and seeing him perform, and it does sound like it must be a pretty incredible experience with so few people in such an intimate setting and place for him. Did it surprise you? I know he didn't sing on Saturday night.

RENDAHL: Well, he played for five minutes. So -- he played "chopsticks" on the piano. It was hilarious.

BURNETT: He played "chopsticks."


BURNETT: All right. Well, Mike, I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you very much. As we said, Mike Rendell.

RENDAHL: You bet.

BURNETT: Was there this weekend. He said just a couple hundred people.

OUTFRONT now, Christopher John Farley, he is with me. The senior editorial director at the "Wall Street Journal" who has interviewed Prince.


BURNETT: And you heard what Mike has said, he was there this weekend, just a couple of hundred people and he said Prince was saying, you know, just save your prayers for a couple more days which seemed to be incongruous obviously to Mike because he didn't seem ill in any way.

FARLEY: You know, he's a kind of guy that kept his secrets. He doesn't reveal what was going on. I know when I talked to him from one of his past albums, you know, he -- he didn't want me to record his voice, because he was afraid that I would upload it to the internet. So no recording. I had to use a pencil and pad. His wife at the time, Mayte, he insisted for her sitting on his lap for the entire interview and wouldn't -- and then talked about the matrix. Because their matrix in some ways was kind of real and they really was maybe old in things we couldn't see that were influencing reality and it went into depth about that.

That's the kind of guy -- in a bizarre but smart and I kind of agreed with a lot of stuff he was saying. So he was that kind of guy where maybe it was bizarre, but maybe he was making some good points. Because, you know, maybe I would have uploaded his voice. Who knows? He probably had a good point about not letting people tape his voice and now that we see the way people sample things and upload them so he kept his own image and persona of his voice to himself. So he was kind of crazy like a fox that way.

BURNETT: And of course that was on obsession of his, was to control his music, which is why he changed his name for a while because he needed to control -- he wanted to control his music and all of the money that comes with that.

FARLEY: And he's a pioneer in that too. Because I remember one thing he told me that I never forgot and it's very interesting.


FARLEY: He released his five CD set called "Crystal Ball" through his own website. It's kind of a pioneer in terms of releasing on music on the web so people could buy it. And then he told me that he made more money off of "Crystal Ball" his crazy product that people were laughing at him about, than he made off of "Purple Rain." And I couldn't confirm that, I couldn't break down the numbers.


FARLEY: But the fact that he even say that, tells me something about the way music industry works and the way his mind works.

BURNETT: Now, this party on Saturday night, this concert that Mike attended at Paisley Park, at Prince's estate, just a couple hundred people, it came right after the Atlanta concert that he had. The concert though in Atlanta on the way home is when he had to make an emergency stop, his private plane had to land, he went to the hospital. Does anyone have any sense -- do you have any sense as to what could have been wrong? Clearly there was something deeply wrong, because he even referred to it at this private concert this weekend when he talked about I'm doing okay.

FARLEY: I had not heard anything. We had not reported anything at the "Wall Street Journal" yet about what might have been going on health wise. This is one of those things where usually a celebrity of this magnitude dies, and a very few of his magnitude that you're going to see speculation. People want to get out ahead of what we know. But right now we don't know a whole lot.


FARLEY: And especially with a guy like Prince, who --

BURNETT: Still such a mystery. I mean, it's a mystery.

FARLEY: Kept all his secrets so tight to him.


FARLEY: I can't imagine we're going to find out anything right now. It's going to take a while to figure out what the facts are. And exactly why he did pass away so so quickly at 57.

[19:10:16] BURNETT: Right. And, of course, so young. And the medical examiner is saying they're looking at this, doing an autopsy, it could take a few days to get even more information on this. Chris, thank you very much.

And next, the breaking news continues with the sudden death of Prince. More on that emergency landing just over a week ago. Why he was rushed to the hospital. And Prince the music superstar. My next guests are two co-workers who knew him very well. One who actually was on the stage with prince for years. And then prince in his own words. You've now heard how rare it is to hear his voice outside a song. His own words on how Stevie Wonder inspired him.


PRINCE: Boy. Back then I used him as a role model, and trying to play all the instruments. And be very self-contained and keep my vision clear.


BURNETT: You're going to hear more of that interview, and my guest, the interviewer, Larry King.


[19:15:02] BURNETT: Tonight, generations of music lovers mourning the loss of the icon, Prince. His accolades, abilities, hard to match. Seven Grammy awards, and Oscar, Golden Globe award, more than 100 million albums and the first ballot entry into the rock and roll hall of fame.

OUTFRONT now, Polo Sandoval outside the Fox Theater in Atlanta, that is the last place that Prince performed before that flight home that was interrupted. And Polo, you've been talking to fans there. They are all gathering to mourn and pay their respects to Prince.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Erin. It's important to remember that Prince performed in this theatre seven days ago tonight. In fact, it's been about 15 minutes into his first of two performances that were held a week ago here at the historic Fox Theatre in midtown Atlanta. And I can tell you, you have to inside after moments ago in seeing that stage, which is now known as the last public stage that, the performance -- that Prince would perform on, there is a unique mood there. There is a lone -- that familiar ghost life that's illuminated there.

And speaking at -- just a few people who stopped by, many people who actually had the opportunity to be in attendance there during that last performance, many of them reflecting on Prince as a pioneer and innovator and, of course, a cultural icon. In fact, earlier today, the President and CEO of Atlanta's historic Fox Theatre, did release a statement, saying that beginning in 1982, Prince performed 12 shows here at the Fox Theatre, and, of course, the most one, the most recent one, April 14th, which is now going to be known as one of his final public performances.

There is a very small makeshift memorial that is growing in the front portion of the theatre. Of course many people reflecting on that final performance. Many people feeling lucky that they were able to share in that moment. Of course, unaware that this would be his last. For those, myself included, who did not have the opportunity to be there, well, obviously many folks wishing they were there for what will now be remembered as that last time that Prince would perform before a crowd -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. And of course, the shock of a death today. Thank you very much, Polo.

OUTFRONT now, the former senior vice president of IHeartradio, Zena Burns. She worked with Prince on several projects. Chris Farley is also back with me.

Zena, let me just start with you. You know, 1999, considered Prince's breakthrough album. Right? I mean, so many people now -- everyone knows that, right? Of course, it was actually recorded back in 1982. "Rolling Stone" said it could be his most influential album and in an interview with Larry King, one of the things that shows, you know, Prince knew that his power, he said he knew that that song, "1999" was going to be a hit long before anyone else did. Here he is.


PRINCE: We all -- we all got together and started singing it and it wasn't really working. So what I did was say, you sing your harmony for the first part and you sing your harmony for the second part and I'll sing my harmony for the third and when that breakup happened like that and everybody got their parts separated, I knew we had something real special.


BURNETT: He knew, Zena, that that was just that innate talent and ability that he had. That he just knew that was going to be the hit.

ZENA BURNS, FORMER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, IHEARTRADIO: Yes. I think oftentimes that Prince who never really got the credit, the wide credit he deserved for being the total package when it comes to being an artist. Everybody knows he's an unbelievable performer on stage. Never any doubt about that. He left everything on stage every time. But as a musician, as a songwriter, as an arranger, as an instrumentalist. I mean, he truly is one of the greatest guitar players of all time, which is not something that is -- that is always talked about in the same breath as Prince when he's discussed. So you're absolutely right. He was incredible and he just knew what worked.

BURNETT: Yes. It's amazing. You know, of course, that private concert at his home this weekend, you know, for people nearby, $10 a ticket. He brought out his new piano and his new guitar even though he didn't actually sing. And you point out his talent with the guitar. You know, it was clear from the beginning, a larger than life personality. In 1980, in "American Bandstand," he talks about this ability that you mentioned to do so many things. Here he is with Dick Clark.


DICK CLARK, LEGENDARY TV PERSONALITY: How many instruments do you play?

PRINCE: Thousands.

CLARK: Moments will be -- thousands? No, literally, do you play all of the instruments?

PRINCE: A lot.


BURNETT: I mean, he played 27 different instruments for his first album. You know -- I mean, Zena, it's pretty stunning. He wrote his songs, he wrote "Purple Rain." I mean, has anybody ever been so talented at so many things in music?

BURNS: I personally don't -- I can't name anyone who is so talented at so many different and important things. And the loss today is just immeasurable to the community.

BURNETT: I mean, Chris, it's incredible that he could do so many things. I mean, you know, thousands, I mean, one can assume that was a bit of hyperbole, but perhaps not. But certainly in his first album, 27 different instruments.

FARLEY: Yes. And the fact he can play so many instruments, that he influenced people came after him. Lenny Kravitz, another guy like that plays the guitar, plays a lot of instruments. Look at the credits for his albums, he's listed as doing a lot of things, including playing drums and he got that from Prince. The influence. You can hear it in his voice, you can see it is in demeanor on stage. So influenced a lot of people that came after him. People like the weekend. People like the weekend wouldn't exist if Prince hadn't been there first. He really brought a lot of things together with his music. Sex and salvation instead -- that were not incompatible in music and bringing the visual aspect to it with "Purple Rain" and with the videos along with the actual song-making craft. It was just a lot to bring together and all it came together in his package.

[19:20:43] BURNETT: Sex and salvation, Zena. You know, Tipper Gore, it was a song by Prince that led her to go on the crusade for labelling on songs, right? But yet it was not all about that. He had songs that talked about nuclear proliferation. Songs that tackled the AIDS crisis back in 1987, his sign of the times album. And, of course, even last year, a song about the Baltimore riots. So how important was social activism, being an activist to prince? This man that we keep hearing was so introverted in many ways and so private?

BURNS: Yes, well, I think you said it earlier up front when you were talking about 1999, really being a breakthrough for him. Think about "1999." I mean, he's had a social conscious and a social aspect to his music since just about the beginning. And eye for caring for social justice. They're not mutually exclusive. He certainly has kind of changed his tune, truly no pun-intended on that over the years. You wouldn't, you know -- I know that he found God in recent years and you wouldn't hear him necessarily sing the words to some of his more sexual songs in concert, but you were -- usually good to at least hear him -- hear him play a hook.

BURNETT: And you know, one of the things Zena also that is amazing is so many of us -- that grew up at a certain time that you know, grew up in the '80s and went to school in the late '90s, right? So you hit when "1999" came back. You know, Prince was a sound track of our lives in a way that really no one else was.

BURNS: Oh, my gosh! I mean, I'm trying to think of time in my life -- I just turned 40. I'm trying to think of a time in my life where Prince wasn't kind of like my north star. You know, when it came to everything pop culture and music and -- there aren't many.

BURNETT: So let me just play this song that I think we all -- many of us know the most. And I don't know. You're someone who knows so many songs, Chris. But let me just play one that at least was a sound track part of my college experience. Here it is.


BURNETT: Something that we all -- I mean, this was, this was I mean, say of every single part in a way, you know, when you think of people like Michael Jackson.

FARLEY: Right. You know, it's not just the music. It's also the image, it's the clothing, it's the dancing --

BURNETT: The dancing.

FARLEY: Really, he's a total entertainer. And part of that, all cylinders in some of those clips. And also I think the reason we care about him, is because the music mattered. He had instant messages in it. And also he lived his life in a way that really showed he cared passionately about his music with his big ongoing war against Warner Brothers about this contract. He really kind of helped pioneer some of the fights that some musicians are still having about their compensation or their craft and their songs. Something that's come to a head now with downloading where a lot of artists feel they're not paid enough. Well, Prince back in the '80s and '90s was saying, hey, we need to get paid more for our work.


FARLEY: This needs to happen. And he didn't succeed, but he certainly got people thinking about it.


FARLEY: And that's why he changed his name to a symbol, became the artist formerly known as Prince. That's how you can get out of a contract showed, as you say Wylie as a fox in that way. Thank you both very much.

Next, more on the breaking news. Less than a week ago, Prince's plane made that emergency landing, he was rushed to a hospital. So, what was wrong? My next guest with some news on that, Harvey Levin, he's breaking the story for the day. And the lighter moment with the very serious musician.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: You're a big fan of Michael Jordan.

PRINCE: Big fan of Michael Jordan.

KING: Are you interested in how his marriage goes?


KING: Interested in how he gets along with his children?

PRINCE: No. I'm only interested in how he gets along with that rim.



BURNETT: My next guest is Larry King.


[19:28:50] BURNETT: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight we are following the breaking news, the death of multitalented musical genius Prince, who was only 57-years- old. The cause of his death right now unknown. A mystery. Police saying the iconic musician was found unresponsive in an elevator inside his home this morning. Prince, whose mix of funk, R&B, rock and roll made him a global superstar, selling 100 million albums, winning seven Grammys. Now he was hospitalized last week with flu- like symptoms but then he appeared at a dance party this past Saturday at his estate. He came out with a new guitar and a new piano, quieting speculation that he was sick.

TMZ Founder Harvey Levin is OUTFRONT. And Harvey, I know that you have been on this, breaking every part of this story. What are you able to tell us now?

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ FOUNDER: Okay, Erin. I will tell you as much as I can right now. We are ten minutes from putting I believe something up on the website that I think is going to give this a lot of context. But I can only tell you up to this point. So, here's what I can tell you. I don't believe the flu story at all. We broke that story last Friday. What happened was Prince was just performed in Atlanta. And had done a concert there.

[19:30:03] He was flying back to his home in Minnesota. And the plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, 48 minutes from landing in Minnesota at his home. And he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Three hours later, released, put back on the airplane, and then went back home.

Now, his people told us that he had the flu and he had been battling the flu. The reason I'm not buying it is for all sorts of reasons now. One of them is it never made sense to me that he was fine when he was in Atlanta. He sounded great. Everybody said he looked great.

And then, all of a sudden, there is this dire emergency where he can't go another 48 minutes if he had the flu, which never quite made sense. We are hearing something very different. And, again, this is something that we're going to put up on the website, and it could explain what happened in the subsequent six days. But that was their story.

I will tell you the next day, Friday, he went to the hospital in Moline. On Saturday, he organized a dance party in Paisley Park where his home is. And he wanted to do that, because he had seen the TMZ story, wanted people to know that he was OK.

But when he addressed the crowd, what he said was, "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers." That's a weird way of saying it, almost like a premonition. Wait a few days before you waste any prayers. And he seemed fine that day.

So, a day later if he had the flu, he's fine when he's on stage there. And then a few days after that, he ends up dead in an elevator. Now in between all of this time, he kept making trips to Walgreens. And what's odd about that is that he had somebody go inside so he really didn't have to go himself.

But he was in the parking lot at least -- we know last night, because we have a picture in the parking lot. And he was pacing back and forth, we're told, looking very agitated and sweating.

So there is just a lot -- a lot here that doesn't square with the flu. ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: A lot that doesn't square with the flu.

And obviously, I know -- I know you're working -- I'm getting your sourcing here and breaking that and we'll have that in a few moments as you get it.

But when you talk about him last night that you say you have a picture of him in that parking lot, sweaty and pacing, the other thing we keep hearing, though, Harvey, as you know, he was a vegan, he was obsessed with his health. He was a Jehovah's Witness. He was religious.

What can you tell us about that? I mean, he sounds like someone who was very obsessed with his health and well-being.

LEVIN: Well, he -- you know, look. People are multidimensional, you know, Erin. And people can, you know, have strong religious views and that doesn't necessarily mean they subscribe to every single tenet. And Prince did have a lot of the views you mention, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. And he was a Jehovah's Witness. And that's about as much as I can say.

There are very few people who live by that book line and verse. And it may be that he lived that way in some respects and not others.

BURNETT: In some respects and not others. But what you're saying is, you believe that something did pretty dramatically change really in that six-day period. The six days from that Atlanta concert, where you say by all accounts he appeared fine, and, of course, today, when he was found on responsive in the elevator.

LEVIN: Yes. But I mean, even more than that, Erin, I think you've got a situation where he's in dire shape, and then he's fine. H's in dire shape and then he's fine. And then he's dead.

And so, you know, he was bouncing back and forth that, you know, he had cancelled an Atlanta performance two weeks ago, because they said it was the flu. And he just didn't show. Then he shows and he's fine.

Two hours later, he's in a hospital. Then the next day, he's fine. And now, he's dead.

So, it's not like somebody with consistent problems of flu-like symptoms, because he kept, you know -- one day fine, one day not. And that's not really consistent with flu.

BURNETT: And in terms of obviously we don't know there's an autopsy going on now over the next few days. But you believe it could be a lot sooner than that. And I know you're working on something right now.

LEVIN: Well, I'm told that they are going to do a toxicology on him, so we're not going to know anything definitively, at least - on the toxicology side for two weeks. I do know that authorities in Minnesota are trying to get the hospital records in Moline to help them put some context to what happened in Minnesota today.

And they are not sure whether they're going to be able to get that. But they are trying.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Harvey, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. I always do.

We're going to keep watching that as Harvey has that information. He's trying to break in the next few minutes. We're going to bring that to you.

And as news continues to spread, there has been an outpouring of grief and disbelief truly around the world. Now, Prince has a very American story.

[19:35:00] Fifty-seven years old, he was born and raised in the state of Minnesota, in the Midwest. His parents also were talented musicians.

By age 19, Prince had produced and recorded his first album, and in the years that followed, he would go on to develop a unique sound and style that earned him millions and millions of fans around the world.

Here's Jeanne Moos with the story of Prince.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He took us for a spin, with his music.


MOOS: And with his style.

When word came --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prince has left us.

MOOS: Aretha Franklin put it like this.

ARETHA FRANKLIN, SINGER: It's such a blow.


MOOS: And the purple tributes started to rain down. Rest in purple, from the unknown and the famous. Madonna instagramed this photo. Katy Perry tweeted, and just like that, the world lost a lot of magic.

The Apollo Theatre changed its marquee, "in honor of the beautiful one". Or as the media used to call him --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The artist formerly known as Prince.

MOOS: Those were the days when he surrendered his name for a symbol.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Can you tell us what it signifies?


MOOS: CNN identified him on screen for the symbol morphing between male and female.

KING: Let's say you're different.

PRINCE: As compared to what?

MOOS: Nothing compared to Prince.


MOOS: He wore his fame lightly.

PRINCE: I'm Prince. How rude of me. I haven't given you enough time to freak out. You may do so now.


MOOS: His interviews were rare.

PRINCE: I don't look back much at all. I try to stay in the now and live in the now. I think it keeps you young.

MOOS: And now he's died, relatively young.


MOOS: He played the guitar as if it were a woman, and a woman as if she were a guitar. Even rode his instrument.

One of the more touching tweeted tributes was simply captioned, "when my teacher found out Prince died."

It's one of those days to just hold your head in your hands.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And next, few knew Prince better than his fellow musicians. My next guest played alongside the superstar for years.

And it may be the most in depth televised interview Prince ever gave.


PRINCE: I kind of did what I wanted to do. I wanted my music as -- even no now -- to speak loudest for me.


BURNETT: Larry King is next.


[19:41:50] BURNETT: Breaking news. Tributes pouring in tonight for music legend Prince. The superstar passing away today at the age of 57. Hits, though, like this one will live on for a long, long time. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Dez Dickerson, who was a member of Prince's band, "The Revolution".

And, Dez, thank you so much for being on tonight -- a night that no one expected would happen now, losing your friend, someone that you had worked with. I'm so sorry for your loss. And I know you were still close to him. You spoke to him just a few weeks ago.

How was he when you spoke to him?

DEZ DICKERSON, FORMER MEMBER OF PRINCE'S BAND, "THE REVOLUTION": He was fine. Sounded good. Our conversation will remain private. But -- there was no indication there was any problem of any kind.

BURNETT: And what was he like? What was he working on? Was he looking towards the future, still recording? Could there still be Prince songs out there?

DICKERSON: You know, the thing that he spoke about most is the fact that he was working on his memoirs. And that that was something he planned to come out with next year. But as always, very focused, very much on task and on point. And, again, sounded great when I spoke with him.

BURNETT: And I know that memoir called "The Beautiful Ones" of course that he's been working on about his life.

Now, you -- Dez, were famous for this incredible solo that you played in "Little Red Corvette" with Prince. And I just wanted to play it for our viewers. This is you.


BURNETT: You liked working with him, Dez.

DICKERSON: It was an incredible experience. And, of course, like anything, especially when you're young in the midst of it, you don't have perspective. And it's -- it's in the later years as you kind of have the luxury of looking back in the rearview that you get perspective. You gain perspective on it.

BURNETT: I know that you took part in a recording session. In fact, the first one at Prince's compound after it was built. You know, our viewers have seen it. We were talking to a man earlier in the show who was there on Saturday when he gave that little concert for about 200 people from nearby.

What was it like to -- inside Paisley Park, inside that estate? What was it like inside?

DICKERSON: It was a pretty amazing -- is a pretty amazing building. He, obviously, was able to exercise his desire to create the perfect environment for recording and for rehearsing and -- it definitely reflected who he was. But in terms of the studio itself, it was purpose-built to make great music.

[19:45:02] BURNETT: Purpose-built to make great music. Speaking of great music, I know you said one of your favorite songs to play with him is "Purple Rain." Here is a bit of it.


BURNETT: Dez, how was he able to be so prolific, to come up with so many hits, 100 million records sold worldwide?

DICKERSON: You know, one of the things that I mentioned with someone earlier today in a conversation is that he didn't make music. He didn't do music. Music was just part of who he was. And really was the essence of who he was. So he was someone who walked music on the inside all of the time. His focus in life was bringing that music out and sharing it with other people.

BURNETT: What a beautiful and poetic way of putting it. Thank you very much, Dez.

DICKERSON: My pleasure.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Larry King remembering Prince, gone today, just 57 years old, and a very rare interview with the star.


[19:50:21] BURNETT: We continue our breaking news coverage on the shocking death of a music legend Prince. The seven-time Grammy Award winning artist was found unresponsive at his Minnesota estate this morning. He was 57 years old. Prince's career spans decades, genres.

He told Larry King he couldn't categorize his own sound.


KING: How would you describe your music? What idiom would you put it in?

PRINCE: The only thing I could think because I really don't like categories, but the only thing I could think of is inspirational, and I think music from the heart falls into that category. People really feel what it is that they're doing.

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


BURNETT: Larry King joins me on the phone.

Larry, that interview was so rare. We were talking to a reporter earlier in the show saying when he was interviewing Prince, he made him take all of his notes down for the interview on paper, wouldn't let him record it, he was so worried someone would take a clip of his voice and put it out there. This was not just in the couple of years. What was it like to sit down with him and talk face to face?

KING: I'll tell you, Erin, a lot of people told me I am going to have a rough time, that he was very shy and he wasn't very talkative. I found that yes, he was shy, but it's completely opposite. He was very responsive, answered every questions. He was very bright. I liked him immediately. I like him right away.

He had that dispute with the record company, he changed his thing to formerly known, which was brilliant I thought. He drew that symbol, instead of the word prince. He was smart as a whip, a great artist, and a very, very good conversationalist. I enjoyed every minute of it.

BURNETT: And you mention how he changed his name to a symbol from the artist formerly known as Prince. People were like what was that, that's something music superstars do. No, as you point out, it had to do with keeping control of his music and the money flow that came from it, you asked him about it, and here's what he said.


KING: You're an unusual person. Most people don't get famous with one name and change it, right? What's the story of that, by the way?

PRINCE: Well, I -- 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. One way to do that was to change my name, sort of divorced me from the past and all of the hang-ups that go along with it.


BURNETT: I mean, that's incredible, right? Then journalists called him the artist formerly known as Prince. What did he tell you about that?

KING: Well, the previous company owned the music, and they were publicizing him as Prince. Then he went with another company, so he changed his name, which is brilliant, artist formerly known as Prince, kind of a genius to that.

I really enjoyed that. Off the air he said why don't you change your name to just King.

BURNETT: That's a good one. You talk about how people warned you, said he is going to be shy. He isn't going to want to talk. You felt a connection with him that you liked him right away.

But you asked him why he shied away from publicity overall, even now, living in this compound, walled off in the middle of Minnesota. Here is how he explained to you how he was so press shy.


KING: Where did this reputation begin that you are difficult, do you think? You're not hearing it here for the first time. PRINCE: Probably where all reputations begin, I think the media plays

a big part in one's perception of me, until one sits down and actually talks to me, they can't really know me.

KING: Well, should you have been more public? Should you have done more things like this?

PRINCE: No. I kind of did what I wanted to do. I wanted my music as even now to speak loudest for me.


BURNETT: Which I guess, Larry, would mean you're not surprised at all he chose to live in Minnesota, not to live in Los Angeles or something like that.

KING: And I was proud he wanted to do my show. He had watched the show. He was very particular about what he did, very particular about all his music.

[19:55:02] He admitted he was very much a perfectionist. He cared about what he did. I love the answer when he said he was inspirational. Music to him was inspirational, couldn't put himself in any genre.

I'm so sad over this because 57, Erin, is too young. We don't know the circumstances, all we know is he had the flu, right? We don't know anything but that. Have we learned anything more?

BURNETT: No, we haven't, we haven't. TMZ is saying they don't think it was the flu but we don't know. All we know is they say it was the flu.

KING: Well, I know there's some cases you can die from the flu, usually older people die from it or very young people. I guess there will be an autopsy and we'll know then, but this is really sad, and the world is mourning an incredible artist.

I liked him very much. I must say, I was a Sinatra-phile and Ella Fitzgerald and all that kind of music and the big band era, but I appreciated Prince a lot. Didn't you?

BURNETT: I did, I did. It was the soundtrack of my formative years. You know, all the dancing and partying in high school and college. Prince was the center of that.

Larry --

KING: Erin, you must have been a cut up.

BURNETT: Larry, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

KING: Thank you.

BURNETT: Thank you for sharing that special interview with us tonight. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Thank so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.