Prince Pays Homage to Vanity on First Australian Tour Stop [UPDATED WITH VIDEO]


Like most of the Purple Music World, we were intensely stunned by the news of Denise “Vanity” Matthews’ passing during the Grammy Awards last night. Not only was Vanity a 1980’s beauty and fashion icon, she was one of the earliest proteges of our favorite, Prince.   They met at the 1980 American Music Awards, locked eyes and the rest is history.  Although Prince has initially wanted to rename her “Vagina,” they both agreed “Vanity” would be much better and ultimately would represent  a reflection of himself as a female.  Indeed, this were was an intense bond that would also several years and culminate in the classic “Nasty Girl” which would become her trademark as the lead singer of Vanity 6.  Although she would later go solo and produce two additional albums and co-star in cult classics like The Last Dragon, Action Jackson and 52 Pickup, she will always be remembered as one of the most beautiful women in Prince’s long string of girlfriends.  

Although her post music career was marred with drug abuse and health issues, she turned her life around and become an renowned evangelist in California and toured extensively preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many of her fellow church goers recall that she said she would was “ready to go home” at her last visit in church.  She ultimately died of complications relating to kidney disease on Monday, February 15, 2016 at the age of 57.

We recently learned that Prince was on the first leg of his Piano and Microphone Tour in Australia when he heard the news.  Apparently, he was hit rather hard by the news although they had not been in a romantic relationship for decades.

Here is more from

Prince may be the last of his kind.

Australia is the surprise first global leg of his Piano and a Microphone solo tour, a tour which didn’t exist a month ago but will be talked about for years.

Armed just with a piano and that immense talent, Prince put on the kind of concert you just don’t expect to see from a superstar. It was spontaneous and intimate. It was like a private piano party, just with 2000 people watching. It was pure Prince.

His first Melbourne show at the State Theatre was particularly emotionally charged — Prince admitting he’d just found out about the death of Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, his ex-girlfriend from the early ‘80s and protoge when she fronted the band Vanity 6.

“Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her,” Prince said before playing a touching version of Little Red Corvette with a touch of Dirty Mind — songs from the era when they were together.

Prince reworked his classic The Ladder to replace the name ‘Electra’ with ‘Vanity’ — so the lyrics ran “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.”

After an encore Prince returned to the stage noting “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one.” That introduced a truly incredible version of The Beautiful Ones, another song from the Vanity era (she was the original choice for lead in the Purple Rain movie), the song ending with Prince changing “my knees” for “Denise … Denise”.

Unusually chatty and candid, he continued going off script. “Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

Prince then opened up about a fight where he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. She said “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little”. He then asked his six foot bodyguard Chick to do the dirty work for him.

“I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,“ he said, “but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”


Note: Although the original video was removed, please check out this really amazing review of the show by one of our favorite podcasts: Peach and Black podcast.

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