John L. Nelson & Mattie Shaw, Prince’s Parents: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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(Getty)

The legendary pop musician Prince came from a musical family. His father, John L. Nelson, and mother, Mattie Shaw, were both jazz musicians who played in Nelson’s band, Prince Rogers, for which Prince was named.

Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead at his Minnesota home Thursday morning. He was 57.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Nelson & Shaw Met at a Jazz Show in Minneapolis

Prince Dead Today at 57: Video Tribute: Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016 #PrincePrince Died Today at 57: April 21, 2016-Video Tribute: Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016. What was your favorite song? #Prince Text MYFAMILY to 24587 Prince, who pioneered "the Minneapolis sound" and took on the music industry in his fight for creative freedom, died Thursday at age 57. "It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," said his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure. Earlier Thursday, police said they were investigating a death at the Paisley Park studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Prince: The artist 42 photos: Prince: The artist Prince listens to the crowd during a 1991 concert. Prince performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles in 1991. He infamously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in the 1990s during a dispute with his record label, Warner Bros. He started to become known then as the "Artist Formerly Known as Prince." In 2000 when the singer's publishing contract with the company expired, he reclaimed the name Prince. Prince won seven Grammy Awards and earned 30 nominations. Five of his singles topped the charts and 14 other songs hit the Top 10. He won an Oscar for best original song score for "Purple Rain."2016-04-21T18:32:38.000Z

John L. Nelson and Mattie Della Shaw met in 1956 at a show in Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune. They were both jazz musicians, her a singer and him a keyboardist. Shaw would become the singer in Nelson’s band, The Prince Rogers Trio, until they married.

They had two children together, Prince, in 1958, and Tyka in 1960.


2. They Divorced in 1966 When Prince Was 8

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Nelson and Shaw divorced in 1966 when Prince was 8.

According to the Harvard Gazette, Prince was constantly moving during his childhood, changing addresses more than 30 times. The cultural critic Touré said in a talk at Harvard that Prince believed he had been abandoned by his mother.

“He kept a lot of feelings to himself,” Touré said. “He has been shaped by being functionally abandoned by his mother.”


3. Prince’s Father Had an Influence on His Music & Was Given a Co-Writer Credit on Some of His Songs

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(Getty)

Prince and his father also had a rocky relationship, but they had reconciled in the 1980s, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The pop legend followed his father’s footsteps into music.

They co-wrote several songs together, including “Father’s Song,” “Computer Blue,” “Around the World in a Day” and “Under the Cherry Moon.”


4. Shaw Worked as a Social Worker in the Minneapolis School System & Died in 2002

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(Getty)

Shaw remarried after divorcing Nelson and graduated from the University of Minnesota. According to her obituary in the Star Tribune, she was as a social worker in the Minneapolis school system for 20 years.

Shaw died at the age of 68 in 2002.


5. Nelson Lived Near Prince in Chanhassen & Died in 2001

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(Getty)

Nelson was living in Chanhassen at a home owned by Prince at the time of his death.

He died at the age of 85 in 2001.