Memories Of Selling Prince’s Music At The Beginning Of His Career

Author: Bill Dudley

Some listeners may not know this, but I used to own something that is nearly extinct today, record stores.  I had six different  locations in Portland, Oregon.

Prince’s career was just bursting thru from night club play to Pop Radio in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. My first store arrived on the scene at the same time Prince did.  At first he was strictly an underground sensation getting played in many after hours clubs.  By 1980, he had his first mass appeal hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover.”

His dynamic musicianship, provocative lyrics, and androgynous sexuality hit America like a storm. Before long, I was selling Prince in every way to buy music at that time, 45’s, albums, 12 inch long play singles, even  posters, t-shirts, buttons and eventually Cd’s. Prince stayed hot all thru the 1980’s and 1990’s, never compromising his artistic integrity. Prince also was associated with many other big names in music including Sheila E, Vanity, Apollonia 6, Morris Day, Andre Cymone, Tevin Campbell, Chaka khan, Patti LaBelle, Mavis Staples, The Time, Larry Graham, and many more.

Along with Madonna and U2,  Prince was a mainstay of my stores all the way to (ironically) 1999, when I sold them and came to Los Angeles. There was no-one quite like Prince. He was an original!

We have lost many great talents from the music world that we all grew up with, Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and now Prince. We will all think of him when we see a “Little Red Corvette,” a “Raspberry Beret,” and especially “When Doves Cry,” which they are doing on this very sad day.

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