MINNEAPOLIS -- It never became a hit. It never was made a staple at Minnesota Vikings games. And in Prince's labyrinthine discography, it's not even close to the best song with "purple" in its title.
But in 2010, Prince recorded a fight song for the Vikings, after what turned out to be the last playoff game the legend's hometown team would win in his lifetime.
Prince's offering to the Vikings, a three-minute, 41-second anthem titled "Purple and Gold," was penned at Paisley Park Studios in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen shortly after the Vikings' 34-3 win against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2010 NFC divisional playoffs. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who was in a suite at the Metrodome that day watching his first Vikings game "in a very long time," returned to his studio to record the tune, which was released before the Vikings traveled to New Orleans for the NFC Championship Game.
The song, which opened with the fife-and-drum sound of a military band, was perfectly unusual for Prince, in the ways it flouted the testosterone-charged norms of the music that throbbed at headache-inducing levels in the Metrodome. Prince's signature guitar isn't heard until a minute into the song, and it never had the feel of something that would become a fixture at Vikings games. In fact, it was mostly panned after it was released.
But in what appeared to be a charmed season for the Vikings with Brett Favre at quarterback, Minnesota's foremost musical icon put his stamp on the run. And since then, Prince's interaction with Minnesota's sports scene has been more common.
His 1984 hit "Let's Go Crazy" rings out at Target Field after a Minnesota Twins home run. And after the Minnesota Lynx won their third WNBA championship in five years last fall, Prince treated the team to a three-hour concert at Paisley Park that began after midnight with "Purple Rain."
The Vikings joined the Twins, Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves in offering their condolences Thursday. The Vikings said in a statement, "Like the rest of the world, we are shocked and saddened today by Prince’s death. As one of the most influential music icons, Prince was an incredible representative of Minnesota who helped put Minneapolis-St. Paul on the map. He was a brilliant performer and a better person. We will forever be proud and grateful that he considered himself a Vikings fan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Prince’s family at this time."
After Minneapolis was chosen in 2014 to host Super Bowl LII, there was some hope locally that Prince would return to the halftime stage in his hometown, 11 years after his iconic performance at Super Bowl XLI in Miami. That hope won't come to fruition now, but no matter who takes the stage at U.S. Bank Stadium in February 2018, there's little doubt Prince's legacy will be felt.