5 April 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the music mystery that’s captivated the country, and a reminder that “The Purple One” still reigns.
Sunday night, WCCO revealed a clip of Prince as a young child, discovered while we went through archive video of the 1970’s teachers strike. A local historian and a childhood friend of the music icon confirmed it was him.
In the 24 hours that followed, the story has gained international attention.
SEE FOR YOURSELF: Footage From 1970
A stop by Prince’s golden star outside First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis was a must Monday for fan Ana Bermudez.
“We were at Paisley Park and now we’re doing this [at First Avenue],” Bermudez said.
Visiting Minneapolis from Milwaukee, her family thought they might check out other tourist attractions first. They happened to have the television on in their hotel.
“And all of a sudden on the news there’s Prince, the little kid. And they were talking about him and I was just like, ‘We’re doing Prince today! That’s a sign.’ Minnesota welcomed us with a story of Prince,” she said. “It made him kind of like real, you know what I mean?”
Her amazement at seeing Prince as a bouncy, charismatic kid in 1970 was a sentiment Minnesotans felt deeply.
“Unique, cool, mind blowing, but at the same time it’s, well there’s just Prince,” said Aaron Meyerring, co-owner of the Electric Fetus record shop in Minneapolis.
Prince was a regular customer at the store for years and was beginning a partnership with Meyerring late in his life.
“He gave us exclusive rights to release his last album, ‘HITnRUN Phase 2,’” Meyerring said.
He, like so many others, had no doubt it was the “The Purple One” we found in our 52-year-old film.
“His kind of side-eye smile, just his demeanor kind of thing never really changed from even on stage,” he said.
Speaking of stage, First Avenue General Manager Nate Kranz couldn’t help but think of Prince not as a performer in our story, but as a neighbor in a way.
“It shows you that he grew up here. That it wasn’t just an act. That he really was, you know, one of us. He was a Minnesotan,” said Kranz.
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Uncovering And Authenticating Footage Of Young Prince
A kid from the northside of Minneapolis who stayed true to his city even as his talent sent him all across the world.
“It’s things like that that I miss the most,” said Meyerring. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the what ifs if he was still around today.”
April 21 marks seven years since Prince’s death, and this story is a reminder how beloved and popular he was.
WCCO’s archival discovery has been the subject of articles in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post. Our story has also been popular in Japan, throughout Europe, and in parts of Africa and Australia.