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Thread started 04/28/16 10:28am

purplethunder3
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That Time I Opened Tower Records Early So Prince Could Shop

APR 24 2016, 2:50 PM ET

That Time I Opened Tower Records Early So Prince Could Shop

Prince

Prince messing about in front of the media in 1986. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

It was 1986 and I was working at Tower Sunset in West Hollywood.

I first started at Tower Video (which was across the street from the main store), then I worked on the floor in the record store, and then I reached my ultimate goal — working in the art department at Tower Records.

/

It was a very cool job. I created the "wallboards" that hung all over all three stores (there was Tower Classical too!) We were stationed in the basement of the video store. Surrounded by all kinds of machines that manipulated foamcore, paper, cardboard, and oh yeah - TONS of spray paint.

(To this day, I am totally amazed that I never lost a lung from inhaling all of those fumes - between the wire machine cutting through the foamcore and making the most acrid and toxic fumes ever in life, and the fumes from all that spray paint… It was just nuts.)

.

Anyway, my stint at the video store was pretty epic. Everybody came through Tower.

I babysat for Whoopi Goldberg, I met Michael Jackson and got his autograph, I met Dick Van Dyke and John Forsythe and they let me run my fingers through their beautiful hair.

I hung out with David Lee Roth, played cards with Peter Gabriel. I met Christopher Lee (who bit my neck and French kissed me).

Then, one fateful day I was called into the office by the video store assistant manager Michael Dampierre.

"Crystal, GUESS WHO CALLED AND WANTS TO COME IN EARLY TOMORROW TO SHOP?"

"Ummmm..."

"PRINCE!"

"NO F**KING WAY!"

"Oh Honey, YES WAY. You'd better have your ass here at 5 am — he's gonna be here at 6 am SHARP!"

Dane Cook DVD Signing
.
Fans line up in the parking lot to attend a signing at Tower Records on July 27, 2005 in Hollywood, California. Matthew Simmons / Getty Images

So I worked the rest of the day with a crazy cosmic nervous energy. Holy sh*t, I'm actually going to meet one of my idols. Prince is really coming here? I was totally beside myself.

Even though celebrities came through all of the time and we at Tower were so ridiculously jaded ("Oh, who was in today... Paul McCartney? YAWN, he was here last week") this time I was far from it.

.

So I got home, set my alarm for 3:30 am, and tried to go to sleep. I don't think I slept at all, maybe about 45 minutes.

I woke up at 3 am, took a shower and got dressed, and drove from Hollywood out to West Hollywood. Fortunately, Michael lived a couple of blocks and up the street away from Tower, so I drove there and picked him up.

.

Now remember kids. This was the '80s. No cell phone, no texting, none of that. I called Mike before I left my apartment and left a message on his answering machine to let him know that I was leaving. When I got to his place, he was making breakfast.

.

We looked at each other like we were going to outer space... "HOLY SH*T, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? PRINCE!"

We were super giddy, a little out of it from lack of sleep, and just plain old ridiculous. At 5 o'clock on the dot, we got in my car and I drove a few blocks to work. Mike unlocked the door and we went inside to get situated.

.

Prince was coming to shop. We had to make sure that the store was ready for that, and we had no idea if or how many people he would be bringing with him.

THEN, WE WAITED.

5:15... 5:30... 5:45... 6:00

We stood at the door with our faces pressed up against the glass like we were waiting for Santa Claus or something.

At about 6:10 am we saw a car coming towards the parking lot.

.

We saw the turn signal come on.

Then we looked at each other and started laughing hysterically because, no joke, it was a RED CORVETTE.

WE WERE CRYING!

.

In front of the store there was a tiny parking space that can only fit one car, underneath an overhang - V.I.P.'s (and David Lee Roth) parked there ALL of the time.

We stood there and hold each other's hands while holding our breath… The driver side door opens and Jerome Benton appears. Jerome walks around to the passenger side and opens the door.

.

We saw a foot poke out. A white high-heeled boot. Mike SQUEEZED MY HAND SO DAMNED TIGHT.

Then came the legs. White pants with iridescent paisley print, Swarovski crystals and sequins. He stepped out of his Little Red Corvette and looked around.

He wore a matching motorcycle styled jacket with huge shoulder pads… so tiny, he was sooooooooo damned tiny. He looked at us through the door, Mike and I just melted. Jerome came and waved, we let them in.

.

Mike: "Hey guys, welcome to Tower, I'm Mike, this is Crystal."

Jerome: "Hey y'all, thanks for opening early."

Prince: "Yes, thank you." (while bowing his head)

.

They walked in and wandered around. Mike and I just stood by the register, waiting.

The store opened at 9 am every day, so they needed to leave by 8 at the latest to avoid everyone else coming in to start their shifts (like Bill Bailey and Saul Hudson), so they couldn't really putz around.

Prince In Hollywood
Prince attends an event in Hollywood, California, January 12, 1986. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
.

Jerome brought bags with him, and they wandered the aisles grabbing up any and everything - Disney laserdiscs, VHS tapes of ALL kinds of movies, three HUGE bags FILLED to the top.

They didn't finish until around 7:45.

Jerome brought three gigantic shopping bags up to the counter, Prince walked slowly behind him.

/

Jerome: "Yeah, we'll take all these. Please have them delivered to this address at Warner's." (Hands me a piece of paper with the label's address)

Mike: "How do you want to pay for this? Would you like us to ring it up now?"

Prince: (smiles)

Jerome: "Yeah, talk to THIS dude, here's his number, he'll handle it." (hands us digits for the President of Warner Bros. Records)

Mike: "Okay, cool."

Me: "Mr. Nelson, may I ask you a question?"

Prince: "Mr. Nelson? I don't see my father in here, HAHAHA! What is it dear?"

Me: "What is that scent you're wearing, it's amazing!"

Prince: "Magic."

And with that, they both turned and walked out of the store while Mike and I followed them out and said thank you and goodbye.

Right after they walked out of the door Prince turned around and said, "Thank you again you two, Crystal and Mike, right? I really appreciate you being here so early, I know it's a pain in the ass."

.

He extended his hand and shook Mike's, then he shook mine, pulled me in for a hug, and walked away.

He was truly magical.

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." --Plato
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Reply #1 posted 04/28/16 10:48am

purplediamonds

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!

"ME: What's that scent you're wearing, it's amazing!

Prince: Magic"

LOL

THIS MAN IS THE MOST MAGICALLY BEAUTIFUL MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WIDE WORLD!!!!

I LOVE THIS STORY!! Thanks soooooooo much for sharing!!

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Reply #2 posted 04/28/16 10:50am

RodeoSchro

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AWESOME!

Second Funkiest White Man in America

P&R's Palladin
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Reply #3 posted 04/28/16 11:02am

Doozer

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cool cool cool cool

Check out The Mountains and the Sea, a Prince podcast by yours truly and my wife. More info at https://www.facebook.com/TMATSPodcast/
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Reply #4 posted 04/28/16 11:30am

36C22W37H

Very cool!!! I wonder how many times Warner Bros. got calls for purchases for Prince lol

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Reply #5 posted 04/28/16 12:33pm

just1lousydime

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Great story.

time flies.
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Reply #6 posted 04/28/16 1:45pm

NinaB

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biggrin
"We just let people talk & say whatever they want 2 say. 9 times out of 10, trust me, what's out there now, I wouldn't give nary one of these folks the time of day. That's why I don't say anything back, because there's so much that's wrong" - P, Dec '15
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Reply #7 posted 04/28/16 2:19pm

mynameisnotsus
an

That's my favourite description of him - "He was truly magical"

heart
[Edited 4/28/16 14:30pm]
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Reply #8 posted 04/28/16 2:19pm

perfume

Wow. Just. Wow. Thanks for sharing.
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Reply #9 posted 06/10/16 12:05pm

journalism16

So nice, thanks for sharing!!!
Erin Smith
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Reply #10 posted 06/10/16 1:38pm

Krystalkisses

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Thanks for posting. I think this same girl also wrote about Vanity coming into Tower records and wrote about it. smile
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Reply #11 posted 06/10/16 1:55pm

onediva

Great story! I was there the night he performed inside of that Tower records for the 3121 CD promotion. So cool and funny at the same time. Prince playing in the middle of the CDs.
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Reply #12 posted 06/10/16 2:06pm

PurpleDiamonds
1

Love that his answer to his scent Magic, he was biggrin what a great story. Thanks for sharing!
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Reply #13 posted 06/10/16 2:35pm

anangellooksdo
wn

Great story!
[Edited 6/11/16 10:10am]
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Reply #14 posted 06/10/16 3:00pm

GeniusLuv

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You all know that Bill Bailey and Saul Hudson are Axl Rose and Slashe's real names right???

.

William Bailey (his bio dad was Rose) and Saul Hudson were their given legal names. Look it up on wikipedia..lol..is this true??? They were working at TOWER RECORDS in 1986 eek lol

''The beautiful ones they hurt you every tiiiiime....''

yes RIP BEAUTIFUL ONES: Prince & Denise 2016
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Reply #15 posted 06/10/16 4:17pm

amerigoldusa

Wow! Amazing! Thank you for sharing this story! If I was around Prince, I would have forgotten how to communicate altogether! Glad you both held it together! He was the definition of cool! music headbang

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Reply #16 posted 06/10/16 6:54pm

Vashtix

GeniusLuv said:

You all know that Bill Bailey and Saul Hudson are Axl Rose and Slashe's real names right???

.

William Bailey (his bio dad was Rose) and Saul Hudson were their given legal names. Look it up on wikipedia..lol..is this true??? They were working at TOWER RECORDS in 1986 eek lol

NO way ! eek

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Reply #17 posted 06/10/16 8:48pm

UncleJam

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One of the most awesome Prince stories I ever heard. nod

Make it so, Number One...
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Reply #18 posted 06/10/16 10:44pm

wildgoldenhone
y

Whoopi has kids?
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Reply #19 posted 06/11/16 3:19am

ReddishBrownOn
e

Vashtix said:



GeniusLuv said:


You all know that Bill Bailey and Saul Hudson are Axl Rose and Slashe's real names right???


.


William Bailey (his bio dad was Rose) and Saul Hudson were their given legal names. Look it up on wikipedia..lol..is this true??? They were working at TOWER RECORDS in 1986 eek lol



NO way ! eek



Yup, Axl and Slash worked for Tower in LA in the mid 80s. One or the other was even a shift manager.
It's been too long since you've had your ass kicked properly:


http://www.facebook.com/p...9196044697

My band - listen and 'like' us, if you please
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Reply #20 posted 06/11/16 4:33am

DoItAllNight4U

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I thought that photo of him was how he looked that day! Well at least it's nice to he must've looked that good since it was 1986 aka one of the best Prince eras visually and musically cool heart

"I was here in the beginning and I'll be here forever more"
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