Michigan Was Prince’s Second Home
Before we get into that, let me tell you a quick story about a skinny 20 year old Prince fanatic. It was April 1st, 1993 and I was seeing Prince for the first of what would be 7 times in concert. It was a cold, snowy day as I floated through the doors of the Fox Theatre Detroit to experience the best concert of my life. There was no opening act. In fact, I could see the Purple Badness doing a sound check from the curtain. I couldn’t believe I was in the same building as Prince. Little did I know he would play 4 straight hours and multiple encores. The crowd was showing him mad love and he was giving it right back.
The love affair between Prince and the city of Detroit began before this 1993 “Act I” tour. In fact, it started before Purple Rain. Prince owes much of his success to one Detroit radio personality that played all of Prince’s early music on the radio.
According to TheCurrent,
“The Electrifying Mojo was the torch bearer for Prince,” Alan Freed says of a radio DJ colleague. “He’s a big reason Detroit played the role it did.” The enigmatic radio DJ known on air as the Electrifying Mojo (real name: Charles Johnson) had complete control over his show, since he paid directly for his own FM air-time. He was very forward-thinking when it came to music programming. He’s perhaps most often remembered as being the man who first broke techno music to the world in the mid-80s, but he was also a very early adopter of Prince.
Prince went from packing motor city nightclubs to selling out 20,000 seats at The Joe in 1981. That’s 3 years before Purple Rain. He never forgot people in his life that helped him succeed. In fact, he called the Electrifying Mojo one night after a Detroit show in 1986 to show his appreciation. Keep in mind, Prince did NOT do interviews back then.
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