The Purple Hour: Prince And The Minneapolis Sound

Oct 23, 2017

If Prince had been the only musician to have come out of Minneapolis, the city’s musical reputation would already be at legendary status.

The late, legendary Prince wasn’t just from Minnesota. He was of Minnesota. Even after achieving global stardom, Prince kept a presence in his hometown, establishing Paisley Park, a studio, creative space and musical mecca outside of Minneapolis.

And as Minnesotans know, Prince is one of many Twin Cities musicians to have made a mark on the world. Bobby Lyle, Jackie Harris and a host of other funk and soul musicians helped establish the Minneapolis Sound. Bands like The Time and Mint Condition diversified R&B offerings. The Replacements, Hüsker Dü and Soul Asylum steered new trends in alternative rock before the Seattle sound came to dominate MTV. And today, Lizzo, PHO and a handful of other artists are bringing more attention to a music scene that shows no signs of fading away. (Check out the playlist below for some samples.)

In a special episode from the studios of Minnesota Public Radio, we hear stories of Prince from people who were close to him, and we explore the musical landscape he grew up in and helped shape for the next generation.


Afshin Shahidi, Photographer; collaborator with Prince; author, “Prince: A Private View” ; @AfshinShahidi

Andrea Swensson, Host and music writer, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current; author, “Got To Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound”; @slingshotannie

Donna Grantis, Guitarist, Donna Grantis Electric Band; former lead guitarist for Prince’s band 3RDEYEGIRL; @DonnaGrantis

For more, visit

© 2017 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2017 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.