Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958) is one of the most famous musicians to emerge from the Minnesota music scene. He changed his name to the unpronounceable "" from 1993 until 2000. During this time associates and journalists referred to him as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" or simply "The Artist."
Prince Roger(s) Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Mount Sinai Hospital on June 7, 1958, to John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw. John L. Nelson played in a jazz trio The Prince Rogers Trio, hence Prince's birth name. There are a number of myths regarding Prince's ethnicity and gender, some spread by Prince himself. The most pervasive is that he is the child of a black father and white mother, a myth later bolstered by the cult film Purple Rain starring Prince, Morris Day of The Time, and pop singer Apollonia. However, both Prince's parents are African-American, and, like many Black Americans, their lineage is an amalgam of ethnicities.
Prince's parents separated and he had a troubled relationship with his stepfather causing him to run away from home. He lived briefly with his father, who bought him his first guitar. Later, Prince moved in with a neighborhood family, the Andersons, and became friends with their son, Andre Anderson (later called Andre Cymone).
Prince and Anderson joined Prince's cousin Charles Smith in a band called Grand Central, formed in junior high school. By the time Prince had entered high school, Grand Central evolved into Champagne and started playing original music already drawing on a range of influences including Sun Ra, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell.
Prince became a central figure of "Uptown", a 1970s underground funk scene in Minneapolis which also spawned Flyte Tyme, Jellybean Johnson, Terry Lewis and Alexander O'Neal. In 1976, he started working on a demo with producer Chris Moon in a Minneapolis studio. He also had the patronage of Owen Husney who Moon introduced him to allowing him to produce an excellent quality demo. Husney started contacting major labels and ran a clever campaign promoting Prince as a star of the future, resulting in a bidding war eventually won by Warner Bros., who offered him a long-term contract.
- For You  (1978)
- Prince (1979)
- Dirty Mind (1980)
- Controversy (1981)
- 1999 (1983)
- Purple Rain (1984)
- Around the World in a Day (1985)
- Parade: Music from the Motion Picture 'Under the Cherry Moon' (1986)
- Sign 'O' the Times (1987)
- The Black Album (recorded 1987, released 1994)
- Lovesexy (1988)
- Batman (1989)
- Graffiti Bridge (1990)
- Diamonds & Pearls (1991)
- (Symbol Album) (1991)
- The Hits 1 & 2 / The B-Sides (1993)
- Come (1994)
- The Gold Experience (1995)
- Girl 6 (Soundtrack) (1996)
- Choas And Disorder (1996)
- Emancipation (1996)
- Crystal Ball (1997)
- The Truth (1997)
- Exodus (credited to The New Power Generation) (1997)
- New Power Soul (credited to The New Power Generation) (1998)
- Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999)
- Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic (Remix Album) (released only to NPG Music club Members (])
- The Rainbow Children (2001)
- The Very Best Of Prince (2001)
- One Nite Alone (released only to NPG Music Club members (2001)
- One Nite Alone . . . Live (2002)
- Xpectation (released as a download on the Internet only to NPG Music Club members (2003)
- N.E.W.S. (2003)
- Musicology (2004)
- 3121 (2006)
- Ultimate (2006)
Related Web sites
- Wikipedia entry
- The Vault. A very comprehensive book.