Prince, One Year On: Rockaway Remembers 04/21/2017
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Prince. In marking this solemn occasion, fans and peers alike are speaking out to detail memorable interactions or personal anecdotes. Rockaway's General Manager Dave Kent has offered to share his own interesting story of the time he crossed paths with Prince in Denver, Colorado in 1979.
"I was working in the warehouse of a Denver record store chain in 1979 and Prince was set to play at the now long-closed, 900 seat, legendary Rainbow Music Hall on November 28 of that year. He was on tour to promote his self-titled 2nd album. In an agreement between my employer, Prince's management and Prince's record label (Warner Bros.), he was to do an in-store autograph signing appearance at our downtown store the same day as his performance.
"I was instructed to go to the store and make sure things went smoothly in a security capacity. It should be noted that at this point in time Prince had not yet crossed over in popularity to the Rock market - that was still 2 or 3 years off - but he had achieved a significant level of success within the R&B market... but I didn't know that. Honestly, I don't think I'd even heard of him yet! Anyway, by the time I arrived at the store, well in advance of Prince's scheduled appearance time, there was already a growing mob of fans. The small store only held about 75 people and there was at least 200 there already. I immediately called the warehouse for more help. By the time Prince arrived, there were several hundred fans packed in and outside the store. He arrived in a brand new, chauffeured, 1980 baby blue sloped-back Cadillac. I was first struck by how small he was - just a little over 5ft. tall. With his massive chauffeur/bodyguard in the lead, we plowed through the excited crowd into the store, where we directed Prince to a stool behind the counter. He signed albums and items as the fans filed past him for about 30-40 minutes. Then, he looked at his bodyguard and spoke the only 2 words I heard him say the entire time - 'Let's go.'
"So we plowed back through the crowd and out the back door, at which point Prince got into the car. As the car pulled away, there were several screaming girls draped across the back of it, holding on for dear life. After a couple blocks and a series of gentle, yet effective, stop-starts, the ladies were shed and Prince road off into the afternoon.
"I returned to the warehouse and shared what had happened with my co-workers, baffled. The head buyer gave me 1 free ticket to the show that night (pictured here), but for some reason - lost to the fog of time - I opted not to go! Even after what I had witnessed that day, nothing in my brain said, 'You should probably go see what he's all about.' Nope, didn't happen. But I have 1 intact, unused ticket to show for it."
PS - Dave did eventually come around - becoming an enthusiastic Prince fan and going on to see him perform many times over the years.
Do you have a Prince-related story of your own? Have any thoughts on what the artist and/or his music meant to you? Please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.
To see what Prince collectibles we currently have in stock, click here.