In 1979, Earth, Wind and Fire’s manager Bob Cavallo travelled to Anaheim, California to see a young artist who’d approached him about the possibility of working together. Cavallo had with him his wife and 12 year-old daughter, so he was somewhat taken aback when the performer came onstage wearing a trenchcoat and pantyhose. Every time he span around the coat would lift and open, revealing the G-string he was wearing underneath. After the show, Cavallo made his way backstage. “Well, young man,” he began. “I thought your show was great and your band is great, but I don’t think it’s right for you to go onstage in your underwear.” Prince looked back at him. “Okay,” he said. “Next time, I’ll take it off.”
Cavallo, naturally, signed Prince on the spot and would go on to manage him for the next decade. As well as shepherding the wildly ambitious 1984 film Purple Rain into existence, in 1987 Cavallo also helped Prince build his 65,000 square-foot, $10 million home base Paisley Park in Chanhassen, just outside Minneapolis. Prince had gotten the idea when shooting pick-ups for Purple Rain at Earth, Wind and Fire’s own studio, The Complex. “Whenever he wanted something, he just pretty much told me I was doing it,” remembers Cavallo, sat inside Paisley Park’s own soundstage as part of Celebration 2019, a gathering of thousands of the world’s purplest Prince fans at their own, personal Mecca to mark the third anniversary of their hero’s death.