THE STORIES HIGHLIGHTED IN RED ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE MOST RECENTLY BEEN ADDED.
As close to a picture of Mike and Prince as we’ll ever get:
In a hotel during the 1984 Victory Tour, Michael reading a story about “Purple Rain” (“Will Prince’s Purple, Reign?”)
Having grown up surrounded by so many brothers, I liked men as friends but was totally unversed in deciphering the nonverbal cues between men and women.
Shortly after Prince released, “Soft and Wet,” he shyly introduced himself to me at a roller skating party. “Hi.”
“Hi,” I said nonchalently.
“Yes, I know.” There was no mistaking the large brown eyes, downy moustache, and straight black hair. Although I was sitting down to put on my my skates, he was barely my height.
“I just want you to know that I’m madly in love with you,” he whispered passionately.
“Oh.” I thought this was his way of complimenting someone. I had no idea of his real intentions until he said, “I have all your pictures and everything, and I like everything about you.” His voice trailed off as if he had run out of words.
“Oh… that’s nice.”
Most girls would have kissed him or slapped him. Me? I stood up, offered a cheery “Well, hope you have a nice time tonight!” and skated off.
Byron Moore, a former associate of Michael, The Magic and Madness, 1981
“In 1981 Prince had a song about mutual masturbation on his ‘Controversy’ album called ‘Jack U Off’.” Byron goes on to say that Michael made comments and asked questions like “What does that mean, exactly? What kind of person writes a song about that? I mean, that’s so private, isn’t it? Maybe I should write a song about something like that,” Michael said, teasing him. “Can’t you just see that?” Byron said, “no.”
Brian Banks: It was late in the evening one night when we were working, and Quincy came to us. We all knew how Thriller was going, they were trying to get Vincent Price, they were doing all this stuff, but he wanted this huge chord sequence – he said, ‘There’s this sound that I’ve got in my head, there’s this underground, this new artist, that nobody’s ever really heard of but he’s great, he’s hot, he’s got this great song.’ And he pulled out the album and it was Prince, ‘1999’. And you know the opening sound on that? Duh-da da, Dur-duh-duh? Well that was the sound – that big, bitey chord sound at the opening of ‘1999’ – he wanted that, but bigger, for Thriller.”
Little Red Corvette Wiki, 1983
“Little Red Corvette” (directed by Bryan Greenberg and released in February 1983) was one of the first music videos by a black artist to get regular airplay on MTV. Michael Jackson was the first to break the color barrier with “Billie Jean” in January, and Prince’s hit soon followed. Michael reportedly was a fan of the song.
The Premiere of Thriller, November 1983
John Landis: We had a première [for Thriller]- which was a riot – because Michael wanted a première. I’ve been to the Oscars and I’ve been to the Baftas, I’ve been to the Emmys, I’ve been to the Golden Globes, and I’ve never been anywhere like this première. It was incredible. There was everyone from Diana Ross and Warren Beatty to Prince. It was nuts. Amazing… got a standing ovation and all that stuff and they’re shouting, ‘Encore, encore,’ and I said ‘Encore? There is no f—ing encore!’
Then Eddie Murphy got up and shouted, ‘Show the goddamn thing again!’ So they sat and they watched Thriller again. Why not? It was just amazing, it was just amazing…
Prince visits Michael, 1984
Soon after viewing “Purple Rain”, Michael invited Prince over to his home for dinner with Janet and La Toya. Prince is said to have made a few unsuccessful passes at La Toya. At the end of the evening, Prince gave Michael a gift – a box containing leaves, twigs and a cassette of some satanic like chants. “Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness” reported a similar event. “At another encounter with Michael, Prince brought him a present in a small box. Inside there were some colorful metal charms and some feathers. Michael closed the box quickly and shot a look at Quincy Jones, who was present. Then Prince left.”
According to Dance Music Sex Romance:
While Prince was in Los Angeles, Quincy Jones arranged for him to meet Michael Jackson over dinner at Jackson’s Encino family home. Jones felt the two creative forces should know one another. “It was a strange summit,” according to writer Quincy Troupe. They’re so competitive with each other that neither would give anything up. They kind of sat there checking each other out, but saying very little. It was a fascinating stalemate between two very powerful dudes.”
We Are The World, 1985
After a show Prince was scheduled to participate in an event that threatened to overshadow the awards itself. He along with more than forty other music stars had been invited to A&M Studios to record…”We Are The World.” The main creative forces behind the song was Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. A line had been written for Prince to sing and a space in the studio blocked out for him to stand next to Michael Jackson. But at some point during the course of the evening, he decided not to show up. Prince later said in interviews that he would have felt uncomfortable around so many entertainment luminaries.
Prince in any situation needed to feel in control, something that would have been impossible as a session dominated by his arch rival Michael Jackson. Prince agreed to contribute a song to the We Are The World album, “4 The Tears In Your Eyes.”
On the other side of Michael Jackson – between him and Paul Simon – is a space marked ‘Prince’. He never shows. He’d offered to play a steaming guitar part, but was asked to do the same as everybody else. (“Fuck him. What is he? A creep” – Bob Geldof.)
Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: The First Decade
While working at the Samuel Goldwyn Soundstage, Prince received a visit from Michael Jackson, whom he promptly challenged to a game of table tennis, using a table that had been set up in the middle of the sound stage room. “Michael said, ‘I don’t know how to play ping-pong!’” Rogers remembers. “But Prince took one pad and gave Michael the other, and they started very politely volleying the ball back and forth. Suddenly, Prince said, ‘C’mon, Michael, get into it,’ and he slammed the ball into Michael’s crotch. I was rolling my eyes!’ ‘Oh God, he’s embarressing himself.’ But Michael knows how to handle himself and he didn’t seem to care. Then Michael started flirting with Sherilyn Fenn who was visiting Prince in the studio. Prince was pacing, but he wasn’t going to get into the game of flirting back. They said their hasty goodbyes.’”
Another version of this meeting
Jackson showed up backstage at a couple Prince shows in 1984. The two icons, whose “Thriller” and “Purple Rain” defined the 1980s, never did work together. Later that decade, when both were recording at the same Los Angeles studio, Prince invited Jackson to play ping-pong. Michael, a star since age 8 who had lived a sheltered life, didn’t know how.
“You want me to slam it?” Prince asked, according to engineer David Z, who was there. “Michael drops his paddle and holds his hands up in front of his face so the ball won’t hit him. Michael walks out with his bodyguard, and Prince starts strutting around like a rooster. ‘Did you see that? He played like Helen Keller.’”
But Bland insists the two icons got along fine: “They’d shoot hoops at Paisley Park,” Prince’s studio/home in Chanhassen. “We used to get packages from MJJ Productions [with] footage of Sly Stone performing in Europe. Prince would pop it in the VCR, and we’d watch it.”
On Getting Together to Record Bad, 1987
Reports said that Michael Jackson was still bugged by the success of “Purple Rain”. He wanted more than just his goody, wholesome image. He wanted to show a “badder” side. The plan was to plant false stories in the tabloids (as many celebreties do) that there was a heated rivalry between the two. The plan would continue by having Michael’s manger making a statement in Rolling Stone magazine claiming that the rumors were untrue and that the two were actually good friends. With the controversy in full swing, the musical showdown of the century would begin. The two would finally meet on the single and video of “Bad”. Prince was actually willing to listen to Michael’s offer. But as it turned out, Prince was not satisfied. The “Bad” video ended up with Michael singing alone, facing off against a then little known Wesley Snipes in 1987. In a recent interview by Chris Rock, Prince said, “Well, that Wesley Snipes character, that would’ve been me (laughs). You run that video in your mind. The first line of that song is ‘Your butt is mine’. Now I said ‘Who gonna sing that to who? Cause you sure ain’t singin’ it to me. And I sure ain’t singin’ it to you’. So right there we got, y’know, right there we got a problem.”
Quincy Jones on this meeting,
“Michael Jackson – Bad” was originally supposed to be a duet with Prince and Michael, but Quincy says on the 25th Anniversary Release of Bad that Prince turned it down because he “felt it was a hit without him.”
Isn’t it terrible how the press just can’t tell the whole story???
I was there for a couple of the meetings with Prince and Michael, Quincy and all. Personaly I think that after meeting with Michael, Quincy, Fredy DeMann and his team, Prince realized that he couldn’t win this duet/duel with MJ, artistically or other wise… And pulled out… He left the building, so to speak…
As far as I am concerned. I want to say that I love Prince’s music…
How aware was Michael of Prince, and of his rise to prominence?
“Prince was making the biggest thrust right at the peak of Thriller, and Michael’s success had gotten so far out of control, at one point you could just feel it breaking that barrier, in almost a scary fashion. And right after that I think the public freaked out because all the hoopla was going on and here comes Prince with Purple Rain and in my opinion when the backlash started they used Prince to whip Michael with: it’s time for you to get pulled down and Prince is gonna be the one to do it.”
(Jones confirms that the two superstars did meet on one occasion: “a social call.” Nobody is claiming that the pair got along famously. There was, it seems, some polite conversation about vegetarianism.)
“He’s been in here a few times,” he says of Jackson. “He won’t look you straight in the eye. He’s a shy guy, I guess, but he will sign autographs, which is more than Prince does. If people knew how Prince treated his fans, he wouldn’t be so popular. Michael used to sign with whatever date it was. Now he signs 1998, I don’t know what means. Maybe it’s when he thinks the world is going to end or something.”
Marva King was initially going to sing duet with Michael in IJCSLY, but was replaced by Siedah Garrett, however her vocals remain in the background. She then performed on tour with Prince from 1997-1999.
During the taping of the Grammys, March 1988
During a short break, Quincy Jones played a practical joke on Michael. He placed a photo of Prince on the seat next to him. Michael nodded his head as to say, “No Way!”
– Tatiana Thumbtzen’s bio
Bad Tour, Mike’s guitarist Jennifer Batten, 1988
Somebody we know wanted us to ask you if you have ever met Prince.
Yeah, I didn’t actually officially meet him. He came backstage at one of the Jackson shows on the Bad tour, he had Shelia E and Cat with him. I had some friends who were sitting behind him at the show, they said he went nuts when I did my solo on Beat It! [chuckles] But I never met him personally.
Story on “Bad,” Glasgow Herald, 19 July 1988
“The attitude, the feeling of that song was all about a confrontation with Prince,” says Quincy Jones, who has produced Jackson’s last three albums. “Prince didn’t want to do it. He said it would be a hit with or without him, and he was right.”
“Just don’t compare me to Michael Jackson,” said the Prince of Minneapolis in 1981.
During the Purple Rain tour of America, Prince repeatedly threw down a single glove in mockery of the other’s trademark.
Prince, FUCK IT UP JAM / 80s MEDLEY (Edit)** [2:20], Rehearsal from 1988
Performed sporadically during a number of Lovesexy Tour concerts, this is a tribute to some of the most prominent songs of the decade, featuring bits from ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Born In The USA’, ‘Wishing Well’, ‘The Glamorous Life’ and others -even horn lines from Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Wish’ and James Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’. Sourced from ‘T’s Lovesexy Rehearsal’.
This is a cool aftershow from the Lovesexy era. Here’s what Databank had 2 say…
“Quality wise this is slightly better than one would expect. The audience level is pretty minimal, and the performance is clear and upfront. The show opens with an excellent full length version of ‘Positivity’ which is almost note for note the same as the album version. ‘Housequake’ is performed very similar to the tour version with the extended part from the Mountains 12″ (Hey you, get out on this dance floor) and ‘Take The A-Train’. Next up Prince grabs his guitar for a stunning version of ‘Just My Imagination’ which rivals the Camden Palace July 88 version in terms of greatness. Boni grabs the mic and proceeds to scream the house down for the next few numbers (gotta love the girl) before both Prince and Sheila E deliver 2 drum solo’s. There’s an unusual performance of the horn 80’s medley, with Prince delivering some lines from both ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ and ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ in a ridiculously hilarious drawn out voice – very funny. Overall this is an astoundingly good aftershow, and in decent very enjoyable quality. If it were to surface in any better quality it would make my Top 5 list – stunning stuff.”
In 1989, while still enjoying the success of his “Bad” album, Michael released a home video called “Moonwalker”. In it, a group of kids reenact his “Bad” video, with the Wesley Snipes character played by a member of the group The Boys. At the end of the act, the little Michael is escorted off of the “Bad” subway set by a little entourage member. Little Michael asks about Bubbles the chimp, then asks what he is wearing. “He’s wearing a Prince t-shirt and red sneakers,” he is told. “PRINCE t-shirt?” little Michael asks.
Prince Hires Branca, 29th March, 1989
Will the next big battle between the “Bad” manchild and the Purple One be on the big screen instead of the pop charts?
Another interesting coincidence is the fact that Prince’s new law firm is Ziffren, Brittenham and Branca. John Branca is Jackson’s attorney and is said to be handling the superstar while he searches for a new manager.
“The Way He Made Me Feel,” Tatiana Thumbtzen, video girl from TWYMMF on Dating Prince, 1989
My 29th birthday was on April 22nd, 1989. I celebrated it with a group of friends at Club 20-20 in Century City.
Someone at my party told me that Prince just arrived. I figured since it was my birthday, I was going to ask him to dance with me which is how I met and danced with the artist formely known as Prince.
It was like the parting of the Red Sea. We were all having a great time but I think my friends were amazed when I walked over to Prince’s table and I politely said to his bodyguards that I wanted to ask Prince for a dance.
I had to go through them first because there were several of them blocking me the front of his table. Prince was sitting down and his bodyguards parted and let me enter.
I told Prince that it was my birthday. I said to him, “If I could have one birthday wish it would be to dance with you. ” He nodded his head yes. He is a man of few words. We tore up the dance floor to Madonna’s song, Like A Prayer. The entire club was gawking at us.
To back up a bit, my friend Craig astounded all of us with his Michael Jackson moves. He had them down and it was like watching the ”Bad One”.
I caught my friend Kookie, trying to take snapshot as we danced. Prince’s bodyguards stepped in front of her and stopped her dead in her tracks. I was so disappointed because she was not quick enough.
Prince walked me back to my table. He said that I had an open invitation to join him at his table. I quietly agreed to meet him there in a
few minutes. After all it was my birthday! Friends and guests gathered around me. They started asking me if I knew Prince. I replied ” No, I just met him.” They were all so surprised because I casually walked over to him and asked him if he would dance with me.
I did it as if we already knew each other. Kookie kept saying how disappointed she was because they would not let her take a picture of Prince.
My girlfriend Audra was so mad at herself because she had not made it to my birthday party. She was a huge Prince fan. After blowing out my candles and opening my gifts. I excused myself and went to Prince’s table to join him. When our drink arrived, he offered me a taste of his drink.
He had a Virgin Pina’ Colada. I said, “No thank you, but can I have your cherry?” Prince gave me this wide-eyed, shocked expression. He took it as a sexual innuendo. I said it was not my intention and we started cracking up.
Prince liked innuendos and double meanings, so he enjoyed that. As this exciting evening progressed, Prince asked me to join him in his limo. He wanted to take me for a ride.
When I walked up to the long, white stretch limo, I stopped in my tracks. I wanted to make a mental note of this magical moment. The glow on the evening light bounced off the limo’s frame.
It looked like something from a fairy tale or a Hollywood movie. I felt like Cinderella and this was the most wonderful birthday I have ever had in my life.
TR: So where did you and Prince go’?
TT: We just rode around Westwood all night.
We were listening to some of his new music on his demo. He asked me what I thought about his new stuff. One of the songs was a demo of Sheena Easto singing a song that Prince had produced. I told him that I met her once and said hello but she ignored me and that I hated that crap!
I added I couldn’t stand snobs. Anyway, I loved his new stuff.
TR: So what did you do at the end of the night’?
TT: I was not ready for this night to end, but we had been driving
around for a few hours. He invited me to his hotel-the Sunset Marquee in Westwood. I questioned the thought of going there with him. After all, we had just met. But we were both having such a wonderful time together and neither one of us was tired.
When I entered his room, I took a mental picture of everything. How neat he was, the artwork, even the smell of the air. Although this was a hotel, Prince was living there: making it his home.
He showed me around and we walked down a short hallway that led to the bedroom. I recall staring at a painting that hung above the bed. The detail was so small and faint that from a distance I could not make sense of it. As I got closer I saw that it wall all nude women intertwined together.
He told me, “Don’t get too close it might damage your eyes.” I told him that it did not frighten or faze me. Prince was a musical genius and he intrigued me. He walked me towards his closet and it was amazing! It was just awesome beyond words.
Before me hung dozens and dozens of outfits. I was dazzled by the colors, textures,bold prints, and designs. For every outfit, there was a matching pair of boots. His closet was the bomb! It was unlike anything I have ever laid my eyes on.
He told me, ”Curiosity killed the cat.” I stepped in his closet further and said, ”Yeah, well the cat had nine lives.’He got a kick out of my quick come back. He asked me, ”Would you like it if I dressed you in my clothes sometime”
I told him him that would be cool, but I thought his pants would be excessively too short for me. He is only 5’4″ and I am 5’7”. However, I tried on one of his boots, and it was a perfect fit. He started it out by saying ”You know, when I was little… Well, I’m still little…” Before he could finish, I started laughing so hard. I thought I was going to bust a gut from laughing so hard. I thought it was great that he could joke and laugh at himself and make light of his small frame.
I thought it was cool for a few seconds anyway. Suddenly, I stopped laughing because of this expression on his face. There was immediate silence. He had this look on his face as to say” I can make fun of myself but you cannot.”
Prince is a Gemini and I soon learned that his moods switched on and off like a light switch.
His bathroom bewildered me. Laid out were an endless amount of make-up and toiletries: Any girl would have been jealous. The vanity’s
layout was so beautiful arranged. You could view every piece of lip liner, mascara, and eyeliner. He had more make-up and perfume than any woman I knew. We went back into the living room and he asked me if I was hungry.
I was and minutes later everything I ordered was in double amounts. Prince did not touch any of it. I thought it was odd that he did not have anything to eat, especially since he ordered so much. Why did he order so much if he was not going to eat?
Did he think I was a pig? After I ate. Prince and I sat Indian style on the living room. We just sat and talked. I had a top on that was strapless and out of nowhere Prince yanked my top down. He did it in a playful manner as if he was still a little kid. A spoiled brat was more like it.
I did not flinch when he did it and he asked, “I thought you said you were shy?” That was the last topic of our conversation. It was his playful test for me.He wanted to see how I would react and see how I would respond to it. He asked me inquisitively ”Do you ever caress them or play with them?” I could not believe that he was asking me this and I quickly answered ”No!” I know I started blushing and I laughed it off.
He then asked me, ”Well why not? They’re beautiful.” The conversation quickly switched from my beautiful boobs, to Vanity. She was the lead singer of his girl group Vanity 6. I told him that I knew Vanity and knew her real name was Denise Matthews.
We met in Tokyo when we both were signed with Zoli. It was during that time she was working with Prince in the studio. They were working on a demo for the single Nasty Girls. I was staying in her New York apartment and she had given me strict instructions not to answer a red phone. She was the only person that could answer it so I assumed that Prince called her on that phone.
After I told Prince that story he said, ”Oh, that Vanity!”
It was already 5:00 and and we were still talking. We were like two kids defying the limits and boundaries of time. We did not want to go to sleep. I felt comfortable with him and I was having a ball. He asked me if I wanted to sleep over.
Before I knew it, Prince handed me a beautiful pair of silk pajamas. The entire scenario was out of the ordinary for me but we were having fun and there was such trust and comfort that I reasoned with a myself it was okay to spend the night with him
I changed into the pajamas and I asked him what he was going to put on. He told me, “These are my pajamas,” —telling me the black lycra cat suit with the half of the waist missing were his pajamas for the evening.
There was a chain attached to the cat suit that dangled from his waist from one side of his body to the other. I thought ” Well you go ahead with your bad self, Do your thing!” Geniuses are odd. He is a genius and he is odd. We curled up in bed like kittens and simply fell asleep, sweet and innocent as that. It took me forever to fall asleep though. I couldn’t believe that I was snuggled up in bed with one of the greatest artists of that time.
In a way, Prince was viewed as Michael’s musical rival.
TR:How are the two of them different?
TT: Michael was the Peter Pan squeaky clean one, and Prince was the sexually overt one. They were like night and day but they were both geniuses and incredible to observe.
Prince admired and respected Michael
Did you talk to Prince again after your birthday night?
A few days later Prince called me and invited me to a concert. The group Guy was performing at the Universal Amphitheater.
Prince asked me if I would mind if the press took a few pictures of us together. I said that it would not bother me in the least that it was part of the deal. I felt that Prince was concerned about media putting their own twisted spin on us and it was also out of concern and respect for Michael.
He believed, like most there was something between us.
The show was incredible and Teddy Riley was awesome! Prince admired his work. After the show, we rode around the lot of Universal and Prince asked if I wanted to drive the limo for fun. I passed because I did not have my license yet. I didn’t admit to him I did not want to crash the limo or be responsible for it.
That night I wore a silver belt buckle spelled out LOVE in bold letters. It was similar to a belt Madonna worn in the early 80′s that read Boy Toy. Several times during the night Prince complimented me on it. He told me that he wanted one that spelled out Gemini. He wanted his in gold and mine was in silver.
Prince and I spoke several times by phone and at odd hours. It seemed we both had a late night schedule. We spoke many times at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Once he called me and when I answered he said,
“I bet you’re sorry you gave me your number huh?” I reassured him and said, ”Not at all. I’m a night owl ”
A few weeks went by and I ran into him at Vertigo, a popular nightclub. Prince asked me to join him as he sat surrounded by three other women. Sometime during the evening, I asked him if he was dating or seeing anyone.
He replied something like ”I don’t have any! I have many. ” Suddenly, he turned into Dr.Jekyll and his mood changed.
He left me standing on the dance floor alone.
At the time I was working on a special surprise gift for him. I had called a friend in New York and asked him to make a gold belt buckle that spelled GEMINI, This is what Prince said he wanted. I did all this for someone who left me on a dance floor alone.
Gemini’s are strange. They do have two sides to their personalities. Prince did show me his gratitude by wearing the buckle in his video Batdance. In the video, he plays a character named Gemini. The video was for the movie Batman.
Prince and I lost touch for about four years. We met by chance one night at a club and started talking about an interview I had given to the Star tabloid during the scandal involving Michael Jackson and the underage boy. Prince was upset that I had spoken to the tabloid; he attacked me for my comments and he was especially bothered by a line that quoted me as saying that Michael would never get married. He shouted, “Did you need the money that bad?” Are you that poor-that broke, that you sell your story to the tabloids?
Update To Tatiana’s Book,
[Page 148] Prince’s Palace: (This was when Tati met Prince on her birthday-at a club with MJ’s stand-in Craig & some of her friends were with her. To make a long story short, she ended the evening with going to his hotel. She now does claim they “dated”.) We went into his living room then he asked if I was hungry. I told him I was. Next thing I know minutes later everything I asked for was ordered in doubles. Prince didn’t eat anything. I don’t get why he ordered tons of stuff then?
Maybe he thought I was a pig. Then we evenually were ready for bed. He game me his pjs to wear & he was wearing a black cat suit with half of the waist missing. With a chain attached to the cat suit that dangled from his waist on one side of him to the other. Then we both curled up like little kittens, & went stragiht to sleep. I know that’s hard to believe, but truly was as simple & as innocent as that. From what I gathered, Prince didn’t make much sexual overt moves on Madonna either. They dated like in 1985 & she had been quoted of saying, ‘He was just sipping tea, very daintly. I have this theory about people who don’t eat. They annoy me.’ This may have been meant to be a kind comment because in 2007, the two were caught on camera having a hug at an Oscar party. Either way, that night I really wasn’t able to fall asleep. I just couldn’t get over who I was curled in bed with-one of the greatest artist of all times. The public viewed Prince & Michael as musical rivals. To them, Michael was squeaky clean-Peter Pan & Prince being the sexually overt one. They were different as night & day, both geniuses who were interesting to observe. Prince in truth, actually admired & respected Michael. They were friends. Prince only spoke highly of Michael. Few days after I spent the night Prince invited me to a Teddy Riley concert.
[Page 151] Prince seemed to be concerned with the media & how they were going to put their twist on us. He really wanted to show respect for Michael. He even like many, believed there was something going on between me & Michael. In my heart, I wished it would be, but by this time I was hearing negative reports coming from his camp about me. While at the same time, people were still reminding me that if Michael really cared why hasn’t he called? David Banks on several occasions when we would have long conversations about what happened to me. David would say, ‘I’m sure he (Michael) has your number. If he really cared, he would call.’ David wasn’t only the co-writer for TWYMMF, but he played the store owner in the video. Now on the show, it was incredible & Teddy Riley did an amazing job! Prince admired his work as well. After the show, Prince & I rode around Universal’s very large parking lot. Then he asked if I wanted to drive this limo for fun. I passed on this because I did not have my license at the time. I didn’t want to admit that to him, & I didn’t want to be responsible if the limo had crashed.
RE: Her Star magazine interview: It’s so obvious that the media never really treated Michael right-or even those assiocated to him. They wanted me to be against him & was using me for it. I was their scapegoat-that’s what they wanted from any female connected to Michael. It would help keep him in their “image” of Michael as gay, pedophile & asexual. Some people even asked me why even do that story with the Star? It helped me to feel guilty about it. Even Prince-the man I dated, was one of them.
Michael Jackson: Prince Using ESP to Drive My Chimp Crazy, National Enquirer Article From the Late 80s,
Michael Jackson is furious at Prince because he’s convinced the rival rock superstar is using ESP to communicate with Michael’s pet chimp Bubbles — and that’s why the mild-mannered monkey has gone on a reign of terror!
The trouble with Bubbles is the latest and wackiest chapter in a long-standing feud between the two bizarre singers.
“Bubbles has been acting strangely the past few weeks. He bared his teeth and acted like he was going to bite Michael,” revealed a mutual friend of the two singers.
“Next, the chimp went on rampages around Michael’s home for three straight days, knocking things over and terrorizing everyone.
“Then Michael heard Prince had mentioned to a friend that he’s been dabbling in extrasensory perception — ESP — lately and can communicate with animals. Prince told the friend, ‘I can even communicate with Michael Jackson’s monkey if I want to.’
“When Michael heard about Prince’s comment, he freaked out! He immediately said it was Prince who was causing Bubbles’ erratic behavior. Michael screamed: ‘Prince has gone too far this time!’ “
Convinced Prince is monkeying with his monkey, Michael ordered his staff to scour the world for an ESP expert who can block Prince’s mental messages to Bubbles — and told them price is no object, say sources.
He told friends: “I don’t care how much it costs or how long it takes, I’m going to stop Prince from messing with Bubbles. It’s sick. Bubbles is defenseless and Prince is turning him against me. “What kind of sicko would mess with a monkey? This is the final straw!”
The feud between the two singers began in the early 1980s when Michael, an avid Jehovah’s Witness at the time, asked Prince to join the church — and Prince just laughed in his face, say insiders. Then in 1985, when a group of top singers recorded the song “We Are the World,” Prince didn’t show up for the recording session. Prince called the song, which Jackson co-wrote, “trash.”
Michael tried to ease the tensions by penning a duet for himself and Prince. But Prince turned him down. Although the song, “Bad,” was a smash solo hit for Jackson, he never forgave Prince for rejecting him. And bad blood really began flowing between the two when Prince, who’s had a few career setbacks over the past year, recently fired his attorney and advisers — and hired Michael’s lawyers.
“When Michael heard about this, he called the firm and made every lawyer get on the phone and personally pledge their loyalty to him,” said a source close to Jackson. “This phone call lasted for more than an hour!”
Jackson also was livid when he heard through mutual friends that Prince is planning to found his own religion, say sources.
In recent months, Prince has become obsessed with religion. He’s stopped in the middle of some of his concerts to deliver long, rambling sermons.
He thinks he is the Messiah, sent here to bring a message to man. And he has told his attorneys he is starting a new religion — with himself as the head, confided sources close to the singer. Prince plans to build a church and preach there. He’s ordered his staff to buy land and have the building plans drawn up, insiders say.
When Jackson learned about Prince’s plans, he angrily told the source: “It’s sacrilegious! He’s going to burn for this one!”
Confided the source: “Michael thinks Prince is trying to elevate himself to a God.”
But when Prince heard about Jackson’s reaction, he told a pal: “I don’t care what he thinks. He’s a fossil.”
Said a pal of Jackson: “Nobody knows what to expect next from these guys. Both are talented — but boy are they weird!”
Prince Hires Mike’s ex-manager, Frank Dileo, 1991
But Prince isn’t taking any chances: He recently announced that he has hired a new business consultant: Frank Dileo, the management muscle behind Michael Jackson’s successful Thriller and Bad albums.
Lori Werner Works With Prince then Michael, 1992
Lori Werner was a dancer on Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls,” in 1992 and then was later a TWYMMF dancer for Michael during the 1996 Brunei concert and the 1996/7 History tour.
Prince Releases “Love Symbol,” October 13, 1992
Prince releases the album “Love Symbol” which includes the song “My Name Is Prince” and the lyric: “You got to be a Prince befo’ yo’ King anyway” a possible reference to Michael’s “King of Pop” status.
Bruce Swedien, Black&White Magazine, 1994
BLACK&WHITE : Bob Jones told us Prince stopped by awhile ago, what’s up with that?!?
Bruce Swedien : This is true, Prince came to the studio. He was passing by, stopped in and wanted to see Michael…he hung around and heard a few songs…
BLACK&WHITE : Did he like them?
Bruce Swedien : He said they were good.
For what it’s worth, MJ and Prince did have a meeting during HIStory as well. We were all kicked out of the room however (Prince’s wishes, not MJ’s), so I don’t know what was said.
Ten Year Anniversary of We Are The World, 1995
1995 was also the ten year anniversary of “We Are The World”. At another televised awards program, Quincy Jones had a group of artists join him up on stage to help sing it. Quincy’s good friend Michael was not there that evening, but his other friend Prince was. It was during Prince’s phaze of always being seen with a lollipop in his mouth. Prince joined Quincy as well as various other artists on stage to sing “We Are The World”. Prince, however was not singing. His mouth was too busy with his lollipop. Quincy placed a microphone towards Prince’s mouth so he would sing. But Prince just playfully placed his lollipop towards Quincy’s mouth. Quincy pretended like he was about to eat it.
“Do you think I should do interviews again?” he asks. though in his mind he has decided the answer is yes. His publicist sayshe should talk, explaining that being remote is an ’80s thing and the public expect to hear from their heroes. “Even Michael Jackson has done a TV interview,” the publicist adds. “I think you should.”
Fast forward to February 20, 1995, and Prince and his publicist are sharing a table at the UK Brit Awards. Their £350-a-head seats are just a few feet from the official Warner Bros table, which both men snub, and TAFKAP/ Symbol has written ‘SLAVE’ on his right cheek. The word is an apparent protest at his record company’s refusal to issue a backlog of albums which he has made.
“What did you say?” I said a lot of people see you as an icon. There’s only a handful of people in the world in yourposition. “I don’t see myself as an icon. I don’t see that. Do people care if I take drugs? People aren’t interested in me. I didn’t put myself on a pedestal. If I’m on a pedestal it’s because other people have put me there.”
Do you feel anything for a person like Michael Jackson? “I could talk to you about Michael Jackson but I would just be doing the job that a journalist does so there’s no point. I met Michael. If other people talked then he’d say something that would tear the house down from what everyone else would say anyway. ”
Prince releases “The Truth” in 1998
The song “Fascination” includes the lyrics: “So called King gives birth to so called Prince.” Michael named his son Prince (a nickname after his grandfather who had recently passed, but I’m sure Prince got the irony).
Barry Gibs Interview March 24th, 2000
“I have a huge ego and a huge inferiority complex at the same time,” he says. “I’ve worked with a lot of people who are more famous than myself who are terribly insecure. Michael Jackson once asked me, `Do you think Prince is better than me?’ Can you imagine that, after all he has achieved?
Prince Press Conference, 16th of May 2000
Link to an interiew (it won’t embed!) where Prince talks about who would win in an arm wrestling match (“Michael’s a lover not a fighter”) and where he tells people to chill out on Michael, “because we don’t really know what’s going on with him and we need to chill on that.”
During a press conference held on May 16th, the Artist announced that he will now be known as Prince again because his last contractual agreement with Warner Brothers (concerning his publishing rights) has expired.
During the press conference that followed this statement, a reporter asked Prince the following question:
“Who would win a fistfight between you and Michael Jackson?”
Prince was not amused by the question and simply answered the following:
“I’ve never said anything bad about Michael. Perhaps he knows more than what we do and we should let him do what he wants to do and just wait to see what happens. [Pause] Besides, he’s a plant… And I was the one who planted him.” [laughs]
Note: a “plant” is a spy who secretely participates in criminal activities in order to inform on the criminals.
Prince Radio Interview 2000,
During the early 2000s, Prince was being interviewed (radio, I think) and the interviewer played a game with him. He said that he would hold up cards with names on them and Prince had to say the first thing that came to mind. The interviewer held up a card that said ‘Michael Jackson’ and Prince responded ‘Genius’. Later on, the interviewer held up a card that said ‘Janet Jackson’ and Prince responded ‘The genuis’ sister.”
Michael Jackson “Invincible” October 30, 2001
On the song “Invincible” Michael sings, “He’s buying diamonds and pearls, but he can’t do it like me.” Prince released the album, “Diamonds and Pearls” back in 1991.
Michael, KIIS FM Radio, September 10, 2003
Rick: Michael, it’s Rick Dees!
Michael: Rick, how are you?
Rick: How are you?
Michael: How’ve you been doin’?
Rick: Couldn’t be better, sir. And you’re in Toronto now?
Michael: Yes, I’m in Toronto. I just decided to come up here and write music.
Rick: You know who else is living in Toronto now? Prince. Prince decided to move from Minneapolis to Toronto.
Michael: The singer?
Rick: Yes, Prince the singer.
Michael: You’re kidding!
Rick: And he and his wife…in fact, Jimmy Jam told me they’re living there now.
Michael: Jimmy Jam is so nice.
Rick: Isn’t he the best?
Prince Releases Musicology, 2004
On his 2004 album Musicology, Prince had a lyric that went, “My voice is getting higher/And Eye ain’t never had my nose done/That’s the other guy.”
There is also rumoured to be another song on his album relating to an ex-girlfriend of Michael’s…
Will.i.am: I don’t know but I know that one time I was in Vegas and [Michael Jackson’s] like, “Oh, I heard you’re in Vegas.”
I was like, “Yeah, we have a show tonight. Can you come?”
“What time you guys go on?”
We go on at 9 o’clock. I swear to God, “Oh, rats.” He said rats. “Oh, rats, I can’t. I’ve got to put the kids to sleep.”
All right, well after we perform with the Peas, I’m performing with Prince. You should come to the show. So Prince invited me to perform with him at the Palms. Maybe you can come see me perform with Prince.
So Michael Jackson says, “Oh really? I’d love to. Call Prince and see if it’s cool.” I call Prince’s assistant. She’s like sure. So I’m like, “Yo, Mike, it’s great.”
Come on, dude. This sh*t ain’t real. To me, that that happened, it sounds like a big ass lie, right? Yeah, I’ll just call Prince and then bring Michael Jackson but it’s the realest sh*t. So, I’m late. I’m late. I’m in the cab, like aw, man, what a time to be f*ckin’ late. I’m always late and I’m late for Michael Jackson to see me perform with Prince.
So I hop off the cab and I’m running in Las Vegas. I’m running and people are like, “Wyclef!”
I’m like f*ck you, right? Then I run and I get to the place and I perform for Prince and I walk off stage and Michael’s there.
He’s like, “That was awesome. I didn’t know you rapped.” I was like, “What? You don’t know I rap? I’m in the Black Eyed Peas.”
“I didn’t think it was you that was the rapper. I thought it was the other guy.”
I was like, “No, that’s me, dude.”
“You’re awesome, that was awesome. We need to do something like that on my record where you rap and I sing.” Yeah, but that was a great experience to have Mike see me perform with Prince. It was nuts. That’s great, cool.
German interview with Will.I.Am, 2007
Sp: You’ve also worked with Prince? The man has shocked the recording industry, by giving away his new CD in Great Britain for free with a newspaper.
Will.i.am: A visionaire. I performed with him. A few months ago,I was with the Black Eyed Peas in Las Vegas. Prince calls me, he played in a Casino and asks, “You want to perform with me tonight?” Sure, I say, of course! The next day his assistant called me and said: “Prince would like to know if you want to come along this evening too.” Want to? What’s more cool than to play with Prince? Right, to play with him two days in a row! A few minutes later I get a further call: “Hey, it’s Mike, wat are you doing?” Mike? Michael Jackson? Wow! He had changed studios at that time, from Ireland to Las Vegas. I say: “Hey, I’m playing with Prince here tonight.”
“Prince? That is great!”
“You should come!”
“Really? That would be cool!”
“That would be really cool!”
“Okay, I’ll come.” Imagine that: I’m playing with Prince, and Michael Jackson sits in the audience! Holy ish! What chance is there to get a call from Prince and then one from Michael Jackson within ten minutes?
Sp: that chance is zero.
Will.i.am: Right. Okay, I head for the concert in the early evening and – get stuck in traffic! I think by myself, @#$%, this is the worst time to be stuck ! So I jump out of the car and start to run. I make it at the last second into the club. Everything goes smoothly, after three minutes I ‘m back from the stage, Prince still yells in the microphone “Give it up for Will.i.am!” I creep into the hall and sit down to the table of – Michael Jackson. So he really came!
“What did you think of me?”, I ask him.
He answers: “I did not know you rapped.”
Now I ask you? The man lets me fly to bloody Ireland for a few photographs, and he doesn’t even know that I am not only a producer, but also a rapper!
I say: “Have you never heard my music, or looked at my videos? I @#$#%’ am the main rapper of the Black Eyed Peas!” Anyways. Besides Michael Jackson sits the actor Chris Tucker, and then Prince comes down from the stage to us…
Sp: … and sees Michael Jackson sitting at the table with you?
Will.i.am: Yo. He had his bass still strapped on and stops at our table. So there we sit : Michael Jackson, Chris Tucker and I. Prince stands directly before Michael Jackson and improvises on the bass: Slap! He does nothing- nothing! – and says nothing! Simply plays . What a scene! When Prince is again back on stage, Michael Jackson says to me: “Prince played his bass in the middle of my face! What’s up with that?” Now now, I say: “you are finally incognito here! Imagine that Prince would have said: ‘and by the way Michael Jackson is sitting here.’ The people are already excited because of Prince, let alone knowing you’re also here!” Yep, that was it then, the craziest night of my life.
Sp: And when you tell this story, nobody believes you.
Will.i.am: I would not even believe it! But I have to say: It is true. Each word. The next morning I had breakfast with Michael Jackson, we worked a bit on songs together – and that was the last time that I saw him.
Michael Jackson is being advised on how to save his career by former chart rival Prince.
The eccentric star has reportedly turned to Prince, who he battled for pop supremacy in the 80s, for help with his comeback.
The ‘Purple Rain’ singer is said to have told Michael to play a series of acoustic shows in Las Vegas to prove to the world he is still an amazing talent.
A source told the New York Post newspaper: “Prince has been suggesting that Michael play a sequence of unplugged concerts in Las Vegas – just Michael and the microphone. No gimmicks, no costume changes, no smoke or mirrors, just his voice.”
It seems Prince has had a change of heart towards his one-time rival.
Earlier this year, the diminutive star snubbed Michael’s offer of a joint tour to help him re-launch himself on the world stage.
Prince was said to be concerned that the hype surrounding Michael’s comeback would over-shadow the concerts, and he wasn’t prepared to be the ‘Beat It’ singer’s support act.
Prince during a concert, September 29th 2007
He jokes about a photographer begging him, “Prince please, if I could just get a picture of you and Michael Jackson together, I could retire!”
Michael, Ebony, December 2007
“Billie Jean, you know, they said, we don’t – we won’t play it. And when they played it, it set the all-time record. And they were asking for everything we had. They were knocking our door down because it brought the audience. Then they – then Prince came, it opened a door for Prince and all the other black artists.”
Kenny Ortega, 30th June 2009
Michael’s choreographer Kenny Ortega was concerned about Michael’s insomnia because he knew he’d need a lot of stamina for the upcoming O2 concerts. Apparently Michael told Kenny that he’d wake up in the middle of the night with song ideas that were being given to him “from a higher power” and that he just had to write them down. Ortega wondered if Michael couldn’t make a deal with his “higher power” to give him these ideas at another time (instead of in the middle of the night). Michael responded, “no, I can’t ignore the ideas. Because then He might give them to Prince.”
A report in the Startribune, Bobby Z., Prince’s drummer for the Revolution, remembers watching the 1984 Grammys with Prince as Michael Jackson swept the Grammys.
“We were watching rough cuts of [the movie] ‘Purple Rain,’ and we knew that’s where Prince wanted to be the next year,” Z said Thursday.
Michael Jackson even showed up to 2 Purple Rain shows backstage. Although Michael Jackson did want to work with Prince a few years later, Prince declined due to lyrical differences.
Michael Bland insisted they got along fine. “They’d shoot hoops at Paisley Park,” Prince’s studio/home in Chanhassen. “We used to get packages from MJJ Productions [with] footage of Sly Stone performing in Europe. Prince would pop it in the VCR, and we’d watch it.”
Prince even defended Michael at a press conference in 2000 where he said something along the lines of “we don’t really know what is going on with him and maybe we need to chill on that.” (I can’t find the original transcript so paraphrasing people.)
Personally speaking, I did see Michael Jackson attend one of Prince’s shows at 3121 Las Vegas in 2006 with Wil I Am of the Black Eyed Peas and Chris Tucker. Michael did not make the after show as planned where he was to be seated with Michael Jordan.
Recently, Prince has been performing Michael Jackson songs in his sets, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and recently “Dancing Machine” by the Jackson 5
It’s nice to know my favorite artist Prince had an interesting connection with Michael that many of us did not know, beating him in hoops I am sure. -Dr.FB
At your concert at the Grand Palais, you’ve performed a song the Jackson 5 Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground). Was it a tribute?
My singer Elisa has the same timbre as Michael when he was young. And a good song is a good song.
How did you feel at the death of Michael Jackson?
(Prince, obviously reluctant, does not want to dwell on the subject.) It is always sad to lose someone you loved.
“I heard you were looking for me,” said a deep voice on the other end of the phone. It was the fall of 1996, and Michael Jackson was holding court in a posh suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. The King of Pop had instructed his handlers to contact his old peer and rival Prince for a planned collaboration. The prospect for such a headline-making union was indeed intriguing. For much of the ‘80s, Michael Joseph Jackson and Prince Rogers Nelson took turns ruling the musical landscape. MJ, the gifted Motown child prodigy who made good on his ambition to become the biggest pop star to ever walk the earth with the release of the record-breaking landmark Thriller. Prince, the at times outrageous, androgynous, one-man-band performer and producer who backed up his genius rep by pulling off one of the most unlikely coups in rock history after unleashing the multi-platinum 1984 Purple Rain soundtrack and Oscar winning film. A rivalry was born.
But more than a decade later, both had found themselves in a battle to save their respective careers. MJ struggled mightily to fight unproven child molestation accusations as the tabloid brigade hounded him relentlessly. Prince declared war against his longtime label Warner Bros. and changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol as he headed deeper into obscurity. Indeed, a team-up between the two icons would be perceived as a brilliant masterstroke. “I think it would be just great,” MJ told Prince. Yet, the collaboration to end all collaborations would never happen. Both aging legends would achieve comebacks on their own terms. With the untimely June 25, 2009 death of Jackson, their connection grows even more profound. The fact that the public is still enamored with MJ and Prince speaks volumes for their cultural impact and influential contributions to music. But what did these two titans really think of one another? Was there a true rivalry or deep respect? VIBE presents the Oral History of a King and a Prince. —Keith Murphy
A KING AND A PRINCE (1970-1982)
AHMIR “QUESTLOVE” THOMPSON (Leader, producer and drummer for the Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots): I have an actual theory on why we started connecting Michael and Prince together early on. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both were born in the summer of 1958 in the Midwest and both basically represent different phases of the coming-of-age life of black youth. Michael captured the imagination of post civil-rights America as a youth and he was their guiding light. And Prince captured the same post-civil rights America when they became teenagers and helped them mature into adulthood.
ALAN LEEDS (Former tour manager for Prince and James Brown; Co-editor of the book The James Brown Reader): I remember seeing Michael’s first big tour with the Jackson 5 in 1970. When I was out with James Brown we crossed paths in Dayton, Ohio. They were playing the O’Hare Arena in Dayton the night before we were scheduled to perform. Onstage he had a charismatic presence that very few people had. I remember we were staying at the same hotel. And before the gig, I happened to be in the hotel lobby when the J5 left to go to sound check. I saw them come through with their security; screaming kids were outside the hotel and I recall seeing Michael and he looked like a little pimp [laughs]. He had that confident walk and he was only 10 years old! He totally understood, “Hey, I’m the star. I’m the reason these kids are out here.”
CYNTHIA HORNER (Former editor of Right On! Magazine from 1976-2005; Currently writes and edits for Hip-Hop Weekly): I met Michael back in 1976 and he was one of the shyest people that I’ve ever dealt with. It was a little difficult to interview him because even though as a professional entertainer he realized he needed the press, he wasn’t somebody that knew how to relate to the media in terms of being open with information. He was just super shy unless he was around his family. But he picked up the fact I was shy as well, so he kind of embraced me and we became friends. He and Prince were quite similar because Prince was shy as well. If you were a journalist he would give you the same monosyllabic answers that Michael did. But Prince would also speak in riddles a lot of the time; he was very evasive. He would never answer any of my questions [laughs]. He wanted to keep his privacy protected at all cost.
BRUCE SWEDIEN (Michael Jackson’s studio engineer for Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous): It was very obvious to both me and Quincy [Jones] how great Michael was. He was somebody really special… the ultimate talent. We did a bunch of demos after listening to Rod Temperton’s music for Off The Wall. And Michael, in his typical fashion, went home, stayed up all night, and memorized the lyrics and we recorded those demos without a piece of paper in front of him. You tell me one other singer that could do that.
CYNTHIA HORNER: The first time I encountered Prince was in 1978. He kept calling me over and over again and I really wasn’t returning his phone calls because I didn’t know who he was and I really didn’t care. But he called me so much that I just wanted to get rid of him, so I agreed to meet with him down the street from my office, which was in Hollywood near the recording studio he was at. He wanted me to go to the studio to see a jam session. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that the jam session consisted of just one person: Prince! He played all of these different instruments. Prince was trying to prove to me that he was worthy of coverage and that he was more talented than probably a majority of the people who was appearing in [Right On!]. At that moment, Prince let me know that he was a songwriter that could produce, sing, and play all these different instruments. This was an once-in-a-lifetime talent. Once I saw that, I agreed to interview him.
ALAN LEEDS: Michael wasn’t a musician in the classic sense. He approached his music differently from the way Prince did although Michael could write a great song as well. But Prince was arguably a musician first. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Prince saw Michael as a symbol of where he wanted to go in terms [of notoriety]. Michael was one of the few artists on the planet that Prince did respect in that sense. Once we realized that he was in the process of writing what was the original idea for the film Purple Rain as he was scribbling in notebooks during the 1979 tour, we knew he wanted more. The word was beginning to spread: “Hey, Prince really thinks he’s writing a movie.” I don’t think any of us took it that seriously because it didn’t make sense that somebody who at that point only had a few pop hits was going to be able to get the funding for a film. But it certainly revealed an ambition he had and to his credit Prince would go on to pull it off.
CYNTHIA HORNER: I would give Michael copies of the magazines and he would see certain people in the book and ask me lots of questions about the artists he was interested in. And that’s how he was introduced to Prince. After that, I started to let Michael listen to some of the Prince music I had and he was intrigued. At that point, I realized that there was somewhat of a rivalry developing. Michael had been in the business longer, so naturally he didn’t want to get replaced by the newcomer.
BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY (1983-1993)
ALAN LEEDS: Prince went to a James Brown gig [in 1983] with Bobby Z, his drummer at the time, Big Chick, who was his security guard, and I think Jill Jones, who was one of his protégés. By now, everybody knows what happened at that gig. I don’t think Prince realized that Michael was going to be there. James looked a little puzzled in that video when Michael whispered in his ear, “Hey, bring Prince up.” And of course Prince didn’t really know what to do either. He went to the guitar first but he fumbles with that because it was left-handed. He played a few licks, did some dancing and knocked over a prop by accident. Now I always wondered if Michael intentionally brought Prince up to put him in that position just to say, “Hey, you think you’re on my ass? Well follow this, mother****er [laughs].” Bobby Z called me and said, “Oh boy…he made an ass of himself tonight.” He said Prince didn’t say a word the whole way to the hotel.
TITO JACKSON (founding member and guitarist of the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons): Sure, my brothers and I listened to Prince…“1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry.” Thriller and Purple Rain were part of our times. That was a great era, wasn’t it? You had two great artists both doing incredible music at the same time. And then you had the fact that they both were exceptional live performers. Some people feel as though Prince is the greatest thing since sliced bread and some people feel like my brother is the greatest. To me, that’s what made that era so special.
ALAN LEEDS: Before we set out on the Purple Rain tour, it was a case of Prince wanting to see what Michael and the Jacksons were doing in terms of production, lighting, staging and everything with the Victory tour. We charted a jet with a couple of his bodyguards and Jerome Benton from the Time and Leroy Bennett, who was Prince’s lighting and production designer for his tours. We flew to Dallas to the old stadium where the Cowboys played. There was a feeling in our camp that while what they were doing was a very solid stadium production, there was nothing really cutting edge about the technology. The Varilites, which was a brand name for a type of computerized lighting, was the gold standard in the industry at that time. And we made sure we had all that ****. But the Jackson’s production didn’t. Prince had a lot of respect for Michael, but he was mildly impressed with the show.
QUESTLOVE: Michael attended many of the Purple Rain concerts. I have the four Purple Rain shows that were in Los Angeles in ’84. And now that I realize that Mike was in the audience, I often watch it to see if I can spot him [laughs]. But it makes you think. Why was Mike there four nights in a row? You have already created Thriller, you’ve done the Moonwalk, you’ve done the groundbreaking videos and you’ve sold a million a week. You are officially in the Guinness Book of World Records. For all intents and purposes, Purple Rain sold 15 million units, but it was hardly the 33 million that Thriller went on to sell. So why are you this curious to who is behind you? Then I realized that you can’t be that successful without being competitive. Michael knew Prince was a serious threat.
ALAN LEEDS: Quincy Jones organized a lunch that brought Michael and Prince together. At one point, they asked him to be a part of We All The World, but Prince respectfully declined and offered to give them a song [“4 The Tears In Your Eyes”]. All I remember Prince talking about afterwards is that he thought Michael was a little bit weird. And this is coming from a guy who wore high heels and pajamas to nightclubs [laughs].
QUESTLOVE: There’s the now-infamous story about a ping-pong match between Mike and Prince in 1986 while Prince was overdubbing Under The Cherry Moon and Mike was working on Captain Eo. And they were both vying for the attentions of Prince’s girl Sherilyn Fenn, who back then was the hot ****. It was a ping-pong game gone bonkers. He said that MJ played like Helen Keller. [Editors note: Prince’s drummer Bobby Z has gone on record about MJ’s and Prince’s good-natured showdowns in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “They’d shoot hoops at [Prince’s] Paisley Park,” Bobby Z said of the unlikely pair. “Prince had a deep-seeded competitive nature, so it’s easy to see where he would measure himself against Jackson’s success.”]
BRUCE SWEDIEN: Prince is wonderful…just an incredible talent. Both he and Michael had a cordial relationship. They even hung out a few times. It’s common knowledge that the song “Bad” was written to be a duet between Michael and Prince. But as you know it never came together. When Prince left the studio after we were working on “Bad” he decided to pull out of it. He left the control room and as he turned around to go he said to us all, “Don’t worry, this record will be a big hit even if I’m not on it.”
ALAN LEEDS: But the thing about Michael coming to Prince and wanting him to do “Bad,” that really ****ed him off. Prince was like, “Oh, he wants to punk me out on record. Who does he think I am, crazy?” He couldn’t get outside himself enough to realize that it was the kind of thing that probably could have benefited both of them. Still, it would have forever been Michael’s video with Prince as just a guest. So that captured what the relationship couldn’t be. They were like Ali vs. Frazier. And the media couldn’t get enough of pitting these guys against each other.
CYNTHIA HORNER: I take credit for that [laughs]. Right On! was a fan magazine, so I could get away with some of the things that I did. Michael and Prince were not actually battling each other on a serious level. But because I knew that was something the public found fascinating and everybody always talked about it, I wanted to have both of them on the cover together to project that element of Prince vs. Michael.
TEDDY RILEY (Longtime Michael Jackson producer): We looked at Michael and Prince as Gods. I still remember getting the first call from Michael to work on the Dangerous album. I was trying to get Q-Tip to let me use his studio in Sound Works on 21st St. I had the whole floor booked out. In one room, I was working on Jane Child’s “Don’t Want To Fall In Love,” the other room was Keith Sweat’s “Make You Sweat” and the other one was Guy’s “Why You Wanna DOG Me Out.” And I went into the other room and created “Remember The Time.” I brought Michael back to our world—the young, black, New Jack Swing world. That was the moment that people said “Michael is R&B again.” He wasn’t just the King of Pop. He was the King of R&B. And Prince was the king of funk-rock.
QUESTLOVE: You recall that ill-fated duet Eddie Murphy did with Michael called “Whatzupwitu?” I have five hours of raw footage during filming for that video. Michael and Eddie had a green screen behind them, so somewhere in that second hour, the conversation turns to Prince. And Eddie is like, “Yeah man…Prince is a bad mother****er. I’m glad I’m working with you, but another dream I have is working with him too.” And I don’t even think that Mike knew the camera was on him and he goes, “Yes, he’s a natural genius.” And then four beats later, Michael says, “But I can beat him [laughs].”
FALLS & COMEBACKS (1994-2010)
ALAN LEEDS: Michael wanted to be dangerous but no one ever took that side of him seriously. But Prince was always dangerous because he wasn’t afraid to push the envelope. But then Prince tried to upstage hip-hop by singing in a microphone shaped like a gun. He was trying to relate to the rap audience by having those wack rappers in his band.
CYNTHIA HORNER: Both Michael and Prince had their problems later in the ‘90s. I used to see and talk to Michael a lot, but he started to change. I didn’t have very much contact with him; my contact was with all of his relatives. Michael had all these people that surrounded him that kind of prevented his old friends and business peers from having any contact with him because they wanted to control what was going on with him. His own family didn’t really have a lot of contact with him. And Prince was dealing with his own issues. He woke up one day and realized that some of his business decisions with Warner Bros. had not worked out in his favor. He began to protest the music industry. Everyone remembers when he wrote the word slave across his face. He didn’t feel like he got his just due financially and artistically. Both Prince and Michael became very inaccessible.
MICHAEL BEARDEN (Keyboardist for Jackson’s 2001 30th Anniversary Show and music director for This Is It): The idea was to do a 30th anniversary show at Madison Square Garden to celebrate Michael’s years in the business. But once people found out that it was going to be a big deal everybody wanted to be there! Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and tons of people were coming out. Michael didn’t want to do much on his own. He had just dropped his album Invincible. It wasn’t that people was upset with Michael. They were upset that other artists were onstage with him. They wanted to see more of Michael. People were not to cool with seeing all those other acts and Whitney [Houston] looking crazy [laughs].
DJ SPINNA (DJ, producer, musicologist and co-founder of Soul Slam’s MJ vs. Prince parties): We started the MJ vs. Prince parties in 2002. The whole idea came about after the success of doing Stevie Wonder tribute parties, which we started in 1999. And we thought who were the other two iconic music figures in the pop world but also made a major impact on black culture? And that was definitely Michael and Prince. I remember we did the first party at a venue in Lower Manhattan called Peppers and the crowd was overwhelming. During the parties, I play music from both camps—Michael and Prince catalogues—as well as artists that they have influenced and worked with. So you have the whole Minneapolis vibe going on with Prince, Sheila E, The Time, Vanity 6, Alexander O’Neal and you have Michael with Jermaine Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the Jackson 5. But at the end of the night, it’s really a party that reminds people of the best times of their lives.
WILL.I.AM (Leader of the Black Eye Peas; Has performed live with Prince and produced several tracks for Michael Jackson): I had a show with the Black Eyed Peas in 2008 and then late that night I performed with Prince at the Palms Hotel. I called Michael just before the show and I was like, “Hey Mike, I’m in Vegas.” I told him about the performance at the Palms with Prince and asked him if he wanted to come. He was a bit apprehensive at first, but I told him, “Let me call Prince to see if everything is OK.” I sat down with Mike after I finished a song with Prince and he comes down off the stage playing his bass and comes right to our table… ripping the bass in half! It was the coolest experience I’ve ever had. I was with both of my heroes. While we were working on new material for his album, MJ asked me why people didn’t think of him in the same way they thought of Prince as a serious songwriter. It was a shock to hear that coming from such an iconic artist.
KENNY ORTEGA (This Is It director): It was less about competing with Prince and more about respect. Michael felt God was going to give ideas to the next deserving artist who he felt was Prince. That’s a true respect, true admiration for Prince. He mentioned several times how he loved the song “Purple Rain.”
TRAVIS PAYNE (Choreographer and associate producer of This Is It): The huge success Prince was able to have at London’s O2 [with 2007’s 21 Nights concerts] was important when Michael was putting together This Is It. The desire for Michael’s contemporaries to still be seen by their audiences gave him further confirmation that his ideas were right. It wasn’t about just competing with Prince. It was about him competing with himself. He wanted to hold the Guinness Book of Worlds Record for the most shows. He wanted to show he was the greatest. And he was.
DJ SPINNA: I met Prince last year in February in L.A. through Rashida who is his personal DJ. It was quite surreal, but he couldn’t quite comprehend the concept of “vs.” Both Rashida and myself tried to explain to him that it wasn’t really a battle between MJ and himself. It’s more of a tribute to their music. But Prince had issues about being pitted against Michael like that. You could sense there was a real respect between the two. That was one of the things that made me change the theme of the MJ/Prince parties. And the other reason that made me change it was of course Michael’s passing. I felt like he left such a great legacy behind and it was unfair to label it MJ vs. Prince because Michael is not here anymore. Its’ a celebration of Michael’s and Prince’s music.
KENNY ORTEGA: You know how rumors followed Michael… like a bad shadow and it wasn’t something that he could escape. But the phones started ringing in our pockets the night we were finishing up rehearsals for the London shows. It was so vague that most of us had become so used to the crazy rumors that we wanted to believe the news of Michael’s death as just another story. A short time after, we discovered he died. And to this day it’s still difficult for me to explain what that felt like. I lost my balance. I couldn’t walk. I had to be helped to another room. I remember the place was spinning and feeling that the floor had fallen out. The only thing I could see as I walked around was this level of sorrow. It was a dark day.
TRAVIS PAYNE: I told Kenny after Michael died, “We’re not done. We can’t be finished.” Not only would Michael’s message get out there as he wanted it, people would get to see him creating the very show he was going to perform. He actually reached more fans than he would have with the concerts with [the This Is It] movie. So that made me very happy. But there’s not a day I don’t think about Michael.
CYNTHIA HORNER: One of the reasons why we still care about Michael and Prince is because we will never know everything we want to know about them. They both understood the power of mystique. They realized that was part of their power they had with their fans. And it’s always going to be that way because there will never be another like those two. When people talk about someone is the next Michael and Prince, I just laugh.
WILL.I.AM: You think the really big people are going to be assholes. And those artists are really not even that big. Then you meet real big artists like Michael and Prince and you are like, “Damn, these guys don’t act like the ******* I just met last week.” The reason why the assholes act like that is because they aren’t really that big. Michael and Prince are as big as you can get.
Prince, The Mirror, 4th July 2010
Prince talks about his beliefs with missionary zeal, but ask him anything remotely personal and he’s brusque. Question him on his childhood and he says: “I don’t talk about the past.”
On his relationship with his stunning girlfriend Bria Valente, he says: “Self interest is on the back-burner now.”
And on late friend/foe Michael Jackson, he simply replies: “Next question.”
Austin Brown, Michael Jackson’s Newphew, “Michael and Prince Did Not Have A Feud!” US Magazine, October 27, 2010
US: You also knew Prince. That’s very interesting because Prince and your uncle didn’t get along so well, right?
AB: That’s actually not true! My uncle actually told me a couple years ago that they talked about doing stuff together again, but it just never happened. When I saw Prince a few years back he was giving my uncle props and saying how much he loved his voice. So I don’t know how true it is that they didn’t get along because that’s not what I saw.
LaToya Jackson on Twitter, 12th April 2011
Watching Prince on George Lopez right now, he’s such a great entertainer. Love him!
I’m at the Polo Lounge, just ran into Prince, I haven’t seen him in years and he looks INCREDIBLE! He’s such an INCREDIBLE artist.
Prince Gets Michael’s Sister Rebbie (Also a JW) To Dance With Him Onstage While Playing The Jacksons “Shake Your Body”, 23rd April 2011
Her Son and MJ’s Nephew on Twitter: AustinBrown
My mom and dad went to see Prince last night and ended up partying with him till 4am lol.. #jealous !
hahah look whats happens at 6 mins YouTube – PRINCE “Raspberry Beret” Forum 04.23.2011 .. So kind to play appleheads song
Yeah thats my mom dancing
(in response to a fan asking if he’s met Prince) Yeah a few times really cool person