On January 26, 1980 Prince appeared on American Bandstand lip-synching “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” After Prince’s performance, Dick Clark made a game attempt at interviewing his Purple Majesty but Prince, even then, was tight-lipped.
“They wouldn’t let me produce myself,” Prince explains why he waited so long to release his first record.
“Do you think they didn’t know what you were doing?” Clark asks.
Clark asks Prince how many instruments he played. Prince responds “thousands.”
When asked how many years he’d been playing, Prince raised four fingers.
From the very beginning, Prince knew how to create an aura of mystery around himself. Even in a semi-autobiographical film like Purple Rain, he managed to blur the line between reality and mythos. It is part of what made him one of the most compelling artists in the history of music.
Here’s Prince on American Bandstand. The clip unfortunately does not include the interview.
I advise you to watch it now. Even from beyond the grave, Prince is likely controlling what the ‘net gives and what the ‘net taketh away.
Update: Okay the ‘net tooketh away. Can we please have a week long grace period in which Prince’s videos can be enjoyed in an International visual love fest? Huh? How about that?
Anyway, here’s a consolation prize: Prince’s first TV appearance on Midnight Special in January 1980. Let’s see how long this one lasts. Enjoy.
I first saw Prince at New York City’s Ritz in 1980. He wasn’t a superstar yet and hadn’t been embraced by New York’s post-punk or new wave scene (he would appear on the cover of New York Rocker year later) so it was a relatively small audience. I had shown up to attend an Interview magazine party earlier and stayed for Prince. I wasn’t that familiar with his music but it was free. Staying was a smart move.The show was astoundingly good and ultrasexy. His carnal relationship with his guitar, as documented in this clip, is nothing short of jaw-dropping.