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Prince charming: Fans reveal songs that inspired them in iconic career

Published 23/04/2016

Prince performing
Prince performing

Stuart Bailie (53) is a broadcaster, DJ and founder member of Belfast's Oh Yeah Centre. He says:

Purple Rain is my favourite Prince song - it is rapturous. Prince often sang about lust and the baser side of human nature, but when he took it to church there was nothing like it. That's one of the holiest songs I've ever heard in pop music. A friend of mine even walked down the aisle to that song at his wedding and I thought that was the most incredible idea.

I saw Prince live in London which was incredible, but in the late 1980s when he was at his peak I worked at Warner Bros - his record label. It was just mayhem because you never knew what he was up to next. It was around the time he made the Black Album which he never released and actually ended up apologising for it.

He was the golden goose of the record label along with Madonna. He was so mercurial - always two or three steps ahead of everyone else. I never did meet him, but it was always amazing to be in his wake."

Harry Hamilton (49) is part of Queen tribute act Flash Harry and lives in Lurgan with his wife Heather and their daughters, Brooke (18), Lucy (17) and Tianna (13). He says:

I'm certainly of the generation that loved Prince and I saw him in concert in 1983. It was at the RDS showgrounds in Dublin and it was just a brilliant performance. I had just recently taken to the stage so I was mesmerised - he had so much energy. He was a wonderful entertainer.

I love the song 1999. When it first came out in 1982 the millennium was so far away it felt like it would never happen.

He wasn't just a good musician technically, he always tried to be innovative. Some of his albums may not have made it into the top 20, but that's because he was pushing the boundaries.

He was an all-round performer who was very demanding, even of himself.

That's what made him so significant."

Leesa Harker (36) is a playwright and lives in Belfast with her two daughters, Lola (8) and Lexi (5). She says:

while I wouldn't have been a Prince fanatic, I always did like him. My favourite song is Cream. I had great respect for him for what he did for animal welfare which people might not be aware of. He never wore leather or fur and was a strict vegan.

I certainly appreciate the genius that was Prince - there are so many musicians who have Prince as one of their major influences. A lot of big stars have always looked up to him. I'm a big Lenny Kravitz fan and you can hear Prince's influence in his music.

I still can't believe Prince had his first record deal back in 1978 and that he had been around for such a long time."

Paula McIntyre (49) is a food writer and broadcaster and lives in Portstewart. She says:

I'm a big Prince fan. I always loved him and my favourite song is Raspberry Beret. It's a real earworm, so if you hear it once you'll be singing it for the rest of the day. I've been hearing it a lot since the sad news that Prince died.

For me Prince reminds me of my days at university in the United States. In the late '80s, I was in Providence, Rhode Island and Prince's music was a big part of that soundtrack. I always remember being in the dorm room dancing to one of his tracks with big hair and shoulder pads while drinking a white wine cooler."

Stephen Clements (43) presents the breakfast show on Citybeat and lives in Carrickfergus with his wife Natasha and their children, Poppy (5) and Robbie (18 months). He says:

Gold by Prince is one I love. It's an anthemic song and the lyrics to it are so powerful. We played it the morning after the news broke about Prince's death and we got a lot of texts and messages from people saying they were crying because they were so moved by the song.

I was a huge Prince fan in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was one of those artists that when he brought a record out you just bought it - you didn't need to hear it first or have a think about it as you know it was going to be good.

Prince was one of the holy trinity of megastars along with Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Sadly I never did get to see him live.

I think it was his innovation that made him so popular. If you listen to his music now it hasn't dated because it was so out there at the time it was recorded.

He also never spoke down to his fans and I think people appreciated that.

He did everything himself. On some albums you would have an army of musicians and producers, but on a Prince album there was one singer, one songwriter, one guitarist and that person was Prince."

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