(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 20th, 2016, and titled, “Prince Stirs Up Controversy”. However, on the one-year anniversary of Prince’s passing, I wanted to tribute The Purple Man and re-post one of my favorite blogs from last year. If you missed it the first time, hope you enjoy!)
For many, 2016 will be known as a throwaway year that seemingly kept taking all the good things in life from us. We lost true heroes and pioneers in nearly every form of business. From entertainment, to music, to public office, to journalism, to sport…it’s been a forgettable year. One of the toughest losses in the mainstream was the sudden passing of The Purple One, aka Prince Rodgers Nelson. you may know him simply as Prince. The sometimes controversial and always entertaining musician was even the focal point of this summer’s Three Rivers Regatta fireworks show.
However, 35 years ago today marked the beginning of one of the most controversial and turbulent tours for Prince. Pretty incredible for a man who was forever surrounded by controversy. Notice I keep bringing up “Controversy”. Well, that’s because on this date back in 1981, Prince began his infamous “Controversy” tour, with support from Morris Day & The Time (Known simply as The Time…Oh, wee, oh, wee, oh!). The Controversy Tour was a mixture of greatest hits from the Prince and Dirty Mind, albums, mixed with new tracks from the Controversy album.
On November 20th, 1981, Prince launced his “Controversy” tour at Pittsburgh’s historical Stanley Theater. From the beginning the tour was marred in turmoil, as Prince almost began the tour by firing his bodyguard. Add on increasing tensions over Prince’s androgynous style and act, and personal differences with The Time, “Controversy” became one of the most talked about tours in Prince’s career. The tour would run through the spring of 1982, where Prince and The Time’s differences came to a head in Cincinnati at the finale, where the two musical acts engaged in banter, physical altercations, and even an on (and off stage) food fight. At times, during the show! Knowing The Purple One, I’m sure there were pancakes involved.
In tribute to the man and the moment in time, here’s one of Prince’s most unforgettable performances, taken from George Harrison’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
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