When the news broke that Madonna was going to do a very public tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Awards, the reaction was controversial. There was a Change.org petition with over 8,000 signatures decrying the choice. Billboard executive producer Mark Bracco defended the decision to have Madonna perform on Tuesday to the Associated Press.
I think Madonna could do a super cool tribute. But, I can understand the other side of it. He deserves a slew of musicians (even his musicians) paying tribute to him as he wore so many hats, crossed so many different genres, genders, and races. Especially since this tribute is so close to his passing (the day after the anniversary of his death). Billboard should intend to make it a large part of the show since there hasn’t been hardly any public musical tributes to or for Prince so far. Even if you agree or disagree with the decision of Billboard, here are some of the ways that Prince’s and Madonna’s professional and personal relationship has history.
Besides the fact that Prince and Madonna are the same age, Prince played the guitar on three songs on Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” album including “Like A Prayer,” “Keep It Together”, and “Act of Contrition”, though he remained uncredited. Prince and Madonna also worked together on the track “Love Song” that was recorded at Prince’s Paisley Park Studio.
“We were friends and talked about working together, so I went to Minneapolis to write some stuff with him, but the only thing I really dug was ‘Love Song’ […] We ended up writing it long-distance, because I had to be in L.A. and he couldn’t leave Minneapolis, and quite frankly I couldn’t stand Minneapolis. When I went there, it was like 20 degrees below zero, and it was really desolate. I was miserable and I couldn’t write or work under those circumstances”, Madonna recalled.
Prince and Madonna also briefly dated in the mid 80′s. J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book Madonna: An Intimate Biography claims that Madonna and Prince met backstage at the American Music Awards in January 1985.
Per Tarraborelli, their first date was a Prince concert at the Forum; the diminutive singer apparently had to literally fight Madonna off while they rode to the show so he could conserve his energy for the show. “I heard she was pretty aggressive,” Prince’s friend T.L. Ross told the biographer. “She was strong. He told me that she had the strength of 10 women.” (Which, frankly, is hilarious, and probably true.) Read more about their romance on People.com
For more on Prince from Breakaway Daily click here.