During his lengthy, many-chaptered career as a music business insider, Owen Husney has crossed paths with a host of big names, from Elvis Presley to Yanni. But much of Husney’s just-released memoir, Famous People Who’ve Met Me, concerns his management of Prince, the future music legend who Husney discovered back in 1976 when the singer was just 18. Here are the three best anecdotes from the book about the late superstar.
Prince and the Rubber Spider
One day, Prince told Husney’s wife Britt that she had just vacuumed up his new ring, prompting her to take out the machine’s bag and start sifting through its contents in search of the missing item of jewelry.
“After a minute or two she let out a blood-curdling scream and ran from the room,” Husney writes. “Sitting atop the mess was a spider — not a small spider, but a hairy one about half the size of my hand with legs the size of my fingers…By now Prince was laughing hysterically. It was then that I realized it was rubber. Prince had thrown it under the vacuum while we were all talking…Britt didn’t speak to us for two days.”
Prince and Chaka Khan
While recording his debut album, 1978’s For You, in a San Francisco studio, Prince took a call from the then already famous Chaka Khan who was looking for fellow music star Sly Stone. Prince pretended to be Stone and invited her down. When Khan arrived she asked “Who are the f— are you?” and departed. After Prince told this story to Husney, his manager asked, “So, how you gonna clean this up?” Prince responded, “I’ll write her a hit one day.” He would (sort of) make good on his word, when Khan found chart success with “I Feel For You,” a track which first appeared on Prince’s 1979 self-titled album.
Prince and the Annoying Nocturnal Habit
Husney shared hotel rooms with Prince during the singer’s first promotional tour and discovered that the superstar-in-the-making enjoyed listening to music at high volume when he slept. One night, the sleep-deprived manager turned the music off, assuming — incorrectly — that the unconscious Prince would not notice.
“Prince immediately sprang up,” Husney writes. “‘Owen, wake up!…Do not ever do that again, do you understand?…Music soothes the savage beast!’ Prince slammed the on button, laid his sleep-flattened fro back down on the pillow and instantly fell back into his peaceful slumber while ‘Disco Inferno’ urgently bounced off the walls of that dingy motel room.”