By Scott Stenholm, Paul Raphel & Bronte Price
Larry called into the Larry King Now offices Thursday to share his reaction to Prince's death and reflect on his rare interview with the iconic singer in 1999.
LARRY KING NOW PRODUCER: What was your impression of Prince when you interviewed him? I looked it up, it was December 10, 1999. What was it like talking to him?
LARRY KING: I was told that he was very difficult and I did not find that at all. He was shy, but he was responsive, he was funny, he was cordial, he was very, very bright. He really knew how to talk about music. He was kidding about the fact that his name... How instead of using the name Prince, he was using a symbol; so you would know it was Prince without saying the word prince.
PRODUCER: Right, I heard that question: "What do you say when you call someone when you can’t say it's Prince?" What did you think about his response to that?
KING: What did he say?
PRODUCER: He said he rarely calls anybody and you just kind of laughed it off.
KING: Oh yeah, he said, “Why don’t I change my name to just King?”
PRODUCER: Obviously you had a first impression, other than "shy." Did you think that he was kind of mad at the record labels for withholding some of his music?
KING: I’d say he was disappointed. But people had told me that he was terrible to interview and that he would be withdrawn and I wouldn’t like him or he was too shy. And I found that while he was shy, and I’ve interviewed a lot of shy people, I found the opposite. I was delighted. I met him a few times after that. I never interviewed him again. He was always very nice. I found him to be extraordinarily nice, funny, a little ironic and very, very, very bright.
PRODUCER: What would you say his place in music history would be?
KING: I’d put him right there with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and all the greats that he mentioned [during our interview]. He had that effect on [those artists as well]. I think that he was, out of five stars, he was all of the stars. He had tremendous following all around the world. I’m sure there is an international mourning today.
PRODUCER: You’ve interviewed so many musicians. How often would musicians cite Prince as an inspiration to them or an influence for their music?
KING: I think most of the people followed him. I would say that he was an inspiration... In the music culture, if you’re under forty, Prince had a great effect on you.
During their appearances on Larry King Now, famed music producer, LA Reid, named Prince as the most influential musician in his life -- and iconic musician, Linda Perry, spoke about touring with the 'Purple Rain' singer:
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