Prince’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 is regarded as one of the sporting event’s most legendary performances, both for the music as well as the ambiance — the Purple One played an epic 12-minute medley of originals and covers in the pouring rain. Now, one month after his untimely death, we’re getting the story of how the whole thing came to be. Charles Coplin, who served as Head of Programming for the NFL when the performance took place, recounted the events that surrounded the gig in an essay for The Daily Beast. He and his associates met Prince at a hotel in Los Angeles for a meeting, and were immediately taken aback by his remarkable aura and excellent footwear:
There he was… Prince! Petite and adorned in a canary-colored suit and full makeup. When he opened the hotel room door, it was as if he was backlit—he was luminous, phosphorescent, literally glowing. He opened the door and greeted us with a warm smile. As he led us into his suite you couldn’t help notice he was wearing wheelie sneakers with blinking lights on the back, in vogue for kids at the time. He asked us to sit down and began to explain his thought process behind what we were about to hear.
Prince created a special recording just for the halftime show, which he hoped would create a “global, spiritual” moment for everyone who watched:
After a few sentences he broke off his thought and said, “Rather than me continuing to talk why don’t we experience what I am referring to in the fifth dimension.” When we noticed a mixing board and concert-sized speakers at one end of the room we knew the fifth dimension was going to be loud. We were not wrong. He pressed a button and off we went. There were two cracks of thunder followed by clapping and girls’ voices singing, “We will rock you.” We sat there for the next eleven minutes and fifty seconds taking it all in. Audio only. While we were listening, he wheeled around the suite doing this or that. Towards the end—when “Purple Rain” was playing—he wheeled back in carrying a box of tissues and, without a word or explanation, gave each of us one from the box. Taking our cues from him we all held our tissues aloft in our hands wondering what exactly was coming next.
So, what exactly came next?
The music ended and there was an awkward silence as no one was sure what to say. We looked at him and he stared back at us holding his own tissue, with a penetrating expression on his face. He placed the tissue up to his eye and it appeared he was starting to cry. Just as things couldn’t get more uncomfortable, he broke out in a very big smile and started to laugh. “It brings a tear to your eye,” he said.
And the rest, as we know, is history.