Prince A Purple Reign (2011)
his insanely prolific career, Prince Rogers Nelson has released no less than 30 solo albums. By contrast, he's given so few public interviews that all throughout this documentary you'll sit up and strain to hear every word each time he opens his mouth and speaks. Which, I should warn you, is almost never. Advertisement >> On his very first TV appearance on American Bandstand which is shown here, he's stuck dumb by stage-fright so that he can't even answer the simplest question about how many instruments he plays. But when you do catch the odd utterance – for instance when he's giving notes to his band, or producing one of his idols, Mavis Staples, it's a shock to hear what a deep voice he has compared to the one we know from his records. Time and again during this hour-long documentary, narrated by Radio One's Trevor Nelson (no relation) it's genuinely quite shocking to be reminded of how much creative genius there is crammed inside this one, not especially large human being. Songwriter, musician, instrumentalist, lyricist, producer, dancer and wearer of trench-coats and bikinis – no other artist comes close. In the absence of any insights from the man himself, former band members and friends tell the story of his career, backed up by an almost embarrassing wealth of clips from his pop videos and electrifying live performances. An hour simply isn't long enough.