When Prince changed his name to a symbol


Noah Norville

Prince Rogers Nelson was one of the most celebrated and beloved artists during his lifetime. He dominated the 1980s with albums such as 1999, Purple Rain, Parade, and Sign ‘O’ the Times. Although he made these great albums under the Warner Brothers record company, Prince had begun to feud with the company during the Sign ‘O’ the Times era. 

During the beginning stages of the album, Prince originally wanted to make it a triple album under the title Crystal Ball. However, Warner Brothers told Prince to cut the album into a double album, eventually becoming the album Sign ‘O’ the Times. This dispute between Warner Brothers and Prince would foreshadow events soon to come. In the early 1990s, Prince made a ton of material that Warner Brothers was not released quickly enough. And so, in 1993, Prince changed his name to the symbol dubbed “Love Symbol #2.” 

The symbol had no proper pronunciation, which made it difficult for radio hosts and news outlets to reference Prince. With this, the title “the artist formally known as Prince,” or simply “the artist,” was used as his name. All of this resulted in the breakup between Prince and his relationship with Warner Brothers. Prince’s first album released after changing his name was The Gold Experience, a commercial success. 

On May 16, 2000, Prince changed his name back to Prince. After all the trials and tribulations of Prince’s relationship with Warner Brothers and changing his name, Prince decided to revert to his name but still use the Love Symbol as part of his image. He even modeled a guitar after the symbol, most famously seen and used during his appearance at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show.