Prince’s Purple Rain and the Replacements’ Let It Be, two canonical albums, came out of the same city, Minneapolis, in the same year, 1984. How crazy is that? Prince and the Replacements occupied two parallel version of the same city, with the Mats playing shows at the 7th Street Entry, the tiny club attached to Prince’s First Avenue stomping grounds. In the wake of Prince’s passing, Rolling Stone spoke to Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg about growing up in the vicinity of the man, and it’s a great read. There’s a bit, for instance, about how Prince would sometimes walk into the Entry while the Replacements were playing:
We had our little thing, but occasionally, when we were playing, and he would come in the room for three seconds, walk out and the entire room would empty, following him. I hope he did it on purpose. I think maybe he did. Hey, he was a star. There was no doubt about it.
Later on, Westerberg would do some recording at Prince’s Paisley Park studio, and while they were never close, he got to know Prince a little better during those sessions. There’s a touching anecdote in there:
I was there making a solo record a few years later, and I got a message that said that my friend had just died. I was truly rattled, and the next time I went back into the studio, he had filled it up with balloons. Now I’m gonna cry.