Walk an exhibit of early publicity materials, records, clothing, and musical instruments.
Prince’s handlers don’t just have a plan for his breakthrough, they target crossover success. They have Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, and Michael Jackson to follow for best practices. While their man is extraordinarily talented, he’s also damaged goods.
The artist we come to know as a flamboyant, confident showman is anything but that in the beginning. Our first glimpses of Prince reveal a shy young man with a massive afro. He’s a hippie, then a punk, and then a new waver — before it all falls into place in time for the rise of Music Television (MTV).
The show covers 1977-1983, from his debut until planning for Purple Rain.
A sampling from just the year 1978:
• First publicity kit as produced by manager Owen Husney
• Series of newsprint ads, including “Soft and Wet” promotion as first single
• Magazine ad and slip sheet promoting debut record For You
• For You record store poster
• wall poster of just the artist
• series of magazine photos from a 1977 photoshoot
A small sampling from 1978-1981:
• For You, DJ promotional album
• Soft and Wet, DJ promotional single
• Just as Long As We’re Together, DJ promotional single
• Dirty Mind, DJ promotional album (with early caution sticker for explicit content)
• The Time, debut by group (signed by lead singer Morris Day)
• afro pick
• costume jewelry, arrow necklace
• red bandana, Dirty Mind era
• assorted punk pins, Dirty Mind era
• “Rude Boy” pins
• shirt, chiffon, tied at neck
• shirt, ruffles down front
• Hohner “MadCat” guitar, Dirty Mind era forward (1980-)
• tambourine, concert-used, Controversy tour (1981)
• Sennheiser 431MD vocal microphone, Dirty Mind era forward (1980-)
Most items are obtained at auction, directly from Prince insiders.