October 26, 2017 / 2:29 PM / a year ago

Purple reigns at London exhibition charting Prince's career

LONDON (Reuters) - Paisley, pop hits and of course purple are coming to London’s O2 arena in a new exhibition of personal memorabilia of the late singer Prince.

“My Name is Prince,” features over 200 items including customized guitars, award statuettes, notepads of handwritten lyrics and elaborate costumes that featured in his music videos and feature films.

The singer died of an accidental drug overdose in 2016. But organizers said he had a played a role in laying the foundations of the exhibition.

“Prince started planning back in the early 2000s to open Paisley Park up for tours – literally writing the first script,” said Angie Marchese, director of archives at the singer’s Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.

In addition to showcasing the highlights of Prince’s career, Marchese said that organizers hoped to give visitors a glimpse of the famously reclusive singer’s private side.

“Who he was as the friend, the bandmate, the brother. We hope to kind of tell a little bit of that story as well,” she said.

Among the highlights of the items on display are the purple suit that the singer wore on the cover of the “Purple Rain” album, his famous “cloud” guitar and a large collection of high-heeled shoes.

The exhibition is being held in a venue closely associated with the singer - London’s O2. In 2007, he performed a 21-night residency in the arena, playing to 450,000 fans.

It has the blessing of Prince’s surviving relatives, though for sister Tyka Nelson, visiting was an emotional experience.

Slideshow (12 Images)

“I didn’t make it 10-15 steps before I started crying and had to go back out,” she said of her first entrance into the exhibition. “It was hard.”

Prince sold over 100 million records during a 40-year career. He won seven Grammy awards, and an Oscar for the score of his 1984 film “Purple Rain”.

The exhibition runs until January 7, 2018.

Editing by Andrew Roche

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