Radio stations mourn Prince with song simulcast
New York (AFP) – Leading US radio stations Wednesday simultaneously played Prince’s ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U” in a memorial over the airwaves to the late pop legend.
The Current, a Minnesota public radio station that has long been a leading news source on the music star and hometown hero, spearheaded the simulcast at 5:07 pm local time (2207 GMT).
The timing comes from the opening lyric to the 1985 heartache song — “It’s been seven hours and 13 days since you took your love away” — corresponding to the period since the 57-year-old superstar unexpectedly died on April 21.
The Current, also known by its call letters KCMP, encouraged fans to share tributes over social media at the time with the hashtag #NothingCompares2U.
Radio host Mary Lucia introduced the song by saying that Prince’s death had devastated Minnesota but that the Purple One spoke to people across races, ages and geography.
The Current followed the ballad immediately with one of the Purple One’s funkier tracks — “My Name is Prince.”
“I know that wasn’t the biggest, uplifting, get-your-jam-on kind of tune, so I want you to turn it up and dance no matter where you are,” Lucia said.
“Do it because you know that’s what he would be doing,” she said.
Other major radio stations that joined in playing “Nothing Compares 2 U” included New York’s WFUV and Seattle’s KEXP-FM, a top taste-maker in indie rock circles.
KEXP-FM plans a full four-hour Prince broadcast Friday led by its host Kevin Cole, who was close to Prince during his rise to fame and served as the DJ at many of his parties around Minneapolis and adjacent St. Paul.
Cole has said that Prince, who was famously prolific and left vaults worth of unreleased material, would sometimes give him new songs to test out on unsuspecting audiences at parties.
The timing of the KEXP-FM tribute is also linked to “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
The song is better known through its 1990 version by Sinead O’Connor, who changed the first line to “seven hours and 15 days.”
Prince, whose death is being investigated and may be linked to painkillers, was mourned in a private ceremony by family and friends who plan a memorial concert at a latter date.
In the latest tribute, the Apollo Theater, the iconic jazz venue in New York’s Harlem, announced Wednesday that it would dedicate a star to Prince as part of its Hollywood-style Walk of Fame outside the entrance.
The star dedication will come ahead of a June 13 annual gala at the Apollo featuring Philadelphia-school soul greats The O’Jays as well as younger stars Andra Day and Leon Bridges.