Prince audio documentaries from The Current: Complete collection


Prince on the iconic symbol guitar
Prince displaying his typical charisma. (Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images)
Prince, The Story of 1999, Episode 1: My Mind Says Prepare to Fight
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  • Prince, The Story of 1999, Episode 1: My Mind Says Prepare to Fight 29:00
  • Prince: The Story of 1999, Episode 2: Rearrange 32:37
  • Prince: The Story of 1999, Episode 3: The Idolmaker 30:35
  • Prince: The Story of 1999, Episode 4: Let's Work 34:16
  • Up All Nite With Prince: Episode One 34:20
  • Up All Nite With Prince: Episode Two 26:22
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 1 35:28
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 2 41:54
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 3 30:33
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 4 31:23
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 5 34:00
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 6 31:06
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 7 32:46
  • Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 8 35:48

In partnership with the Prince Estate, Paisley Park, and Warner Records, The Current has produced deep-dive audio documentaries exploring three of Prince's most creative career phases. Stream the complete audio above, and find episode-by-by episode descriptions below — with links to episode transcripts.

These audio documentaries are also available as a podcast on multiple platforms. For more Prince stories, check out the Prince Remembered podcast.

The Story of 1999

Episode 1: My Mind Says Prepare To Fight

The story of 1999 begins with one of the most legendary concert debacles in rock history. When an October 1981 crowd of Rolling Stones fans greeted opener Prince with scorn, it solidified his resolve to forge a new path. Hear the first tracks Prince recorded in that pivotal moment, which are included in the Super Deluxe Edition reissue of 1999, alongside stories from bandmates Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman, Dr. Fink and Bobby Z.; engineer Peggy McCreary; journalist Robert Hilburn; and vault archivist Michael Howe.

Episode 2: Rearrange

As Prince pulled away from the spotlight in the winter of 1981-1982, his creative drive began whirring faster than ever. Hear some of the never-before-released material recorded by Prince during this prolific era, alongside stories about his two early '80s workspaces: his home studio on Lake Riley in Chanhassen, Minnesota; and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. Host Andrea Swensson interviews Bobby Z., Lisa Coleman, Duane Tudahl, and Peggy McCreary.

Episode 3: The Idolmaker

With reams of material created over the winter of 1981-1982, Prince turned his attention toward refining his emerging double album and shaping the look and sound of proteges the Time and Vanity 6. Inspired by a 1980 movie called The Idolmaker, Prince aspired to create not just an album but a musical movement. Host Andrea Swensson interviews Dez Dickerson, Duane Tudahl, Jellybean Johnson, Brenda Bennett, Bobby Z, and Lisa Coleman.

Episode 4: Let's Work

The 1999 Tour was no routine trek: referred to as the "Triple Threat Tour," the Time and Vanity 6 toured as openers for the band starting to be known as Prince and the Revolution. By the summer of 1983, "Little Red Corvette" had become a top 10 hit and Prince was one of the first black artists to be placed into rotation on MTV. Host Andrea Swensson is joined by Brenda Bennett, Bobby Z, Tom Marzullo, Michael Howe, Matt Fink, Roy Bennett, Lisa Coleman, Jellybean Johnson, Dez Dickerson, Brittany Howard, Fred Armisen, and Nile Rodgers.

Up All Nite With Prince

Episode 1: The Atrium

In 2001, Prince was in the midst of a spiritual and musical evolution — and he was sharing that journey with his fans through his pioneering NPG Music Club and Paisley Park Celebration events. Host Andrea Swensson talks to musicians Common and Najee, Paisley Park staffer Sam Jennings, and fans Darling Nisi and Erica Thompson about this intriguing and reflective era.

Episode 2: It Ain't Over!

In 2002 Prince and his band embarked on the global One Nite Alone... Tour, capturing the shows and aftershows for Prince's first official live albums. Host Andrea Swensson talks to touring musicians Renato Neto and Najee, live engineer Scottie Baldwin, and Sam Jennings about these unforgettable live experiences.

The Story of Sign O' the Times

Episode 1: It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night

The story of Sign O' The Times involves many twists, turns, and abandoned projects. We begin with key collaborators Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman as they reflect on Prince's prolific Dream Factory period, with additional insights from engineer Susan Rogers and musicians Eric Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, Matt Fink and BrownMark.

Episode 2: The Dream Factory

In the winter of 1985-1986, Prince and his new fiancée Susannah Melvoin moved into a new property on Galpin Blvd. in Chanhassen, Minnesota, jumpstarting a spring and summer of nonstop creativity in Prince's new home studio. Learn more about this space from Susannah, engineer Susan Rogers, Eric Leeds, and Atlanta Bliss.

Episode 3: The Quake

An earthquake hits the California coastline while Prince is in L.A. recording at Sunset Sound, and has an unexpected influence on his classic song "Sign O' The Times." With insights from Warner Bros. Records president Lenny Waronker, engineer Susan Rogers, collaborators Susannah Melvoin, Wendy Melvoin, and Lisa Coleman, and scholars Duane Tudahl and Daphne A. Brooks.

Episode 4: Strict and Wild and Pretty

At the conclusion of their dazzling, grueling Parade Tour, the Revolution play their final show with Prince. Hear from Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin, Dr. Fink, BrownMark, Eric Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, and Levi Seacer, Jr.

Episode 5: It Be's Like That Sometimes

With news of the Revolution's breakup still fresh, Prince returned to Sunset Sound to finish his magnum opus: a sprawling three-disc set called Crystal Ball. Rather than release it, Warner Bros. Records offered a rare critique of his work, requesting that he edit it down. Hear from Warner executive Lenny Waronker, engineers Coke Johnson and Susan Rogers, and professor Daphne A. Brooks.

Episode 6: Pop Goes the Music

Prince rings in 1987 by assembling his new band, finishing the artwork for his new album, and beginning intense rehearsals for the Sign O' The Times Tour. With insights from Cat Glover, Levi Seacer Jr., Dr. Fink, Alan Leeds, Jeff Katz, Karen Krattinger, Atlanta Bliss, and Eric Leeds.

Episode 7: Peach and Black

Prince and his band embark on the European Sign O' The Times Tour, spending several consecutive nights in Holland before returning to Paisley Park to produce the Sign O' The Times film. Hear memories from LeRoy Bennett, Dr. Fink, Atlanta Bliss, Cat Glover, Levi Seacer, Alan Leeds, and Prince fams jooZt Mattheij, Roald Bakker, Pascal Comvalius, Patrick Jordens, Maya Rudolph, and Fred Armisen.

Episode 8: Can I Play With U?

Prince rings in the New Year of 1988 with his final Sign O' The Times stage show--which included a historic on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis. Hear from Duane Tudahl, Karen Krattinger, Cubby Colby, Alan Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, Eric Leeds, Levi Seacer Jr., Dr. Fink, and Cat Glover.

These audio documentaries were produced by The Current, supported by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and created in collaboration with The Prince Estate and Warner Records and with their support.

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