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A long lost tape shows the artist Prince back when he was another kid in Minneapolis


When he was a global superstar, Prince was kind of a mystery. Back in 1970, he was just a kid.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are most of the kids in favor of the picketing?



That young voice you hear is 11-year-old Prince Rogers Nelson.


PRINCE: I think they should get a better education too because - and I think they should get some more money because they be working extra hours for us and all that stuff.

CHANG: That came from a local news story that year about a minneapolis teachers strike. And after the story, that reel of tape languished in the archives of TV station WCCO for more than 50 years. Nobody suspected that kid formerly known around the neighborhood as Skipper would turn into Prince.

DETROW: It wasn't until this February that the tape was uncovered. But confirming it was Prince - that was going to take some work.

JEFF WAGNER: It was exactly two weeks ago that I was made aware of it.

CHANG: WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner was shown the tape. He pored through yearbooks. He called old neighbors and Prince experts. And he showed the tape to childhood friend Terrance Jackson.

TERRANCE JACKSON: Running - that is Prince. Standing right through the headline, right?

WAGNER: Yeah, keep watching. Keep watching.

JACKSON: That's Skipper. Oh, my God. Ha.

DETROW: Jackson's reaction has been the norm, says Jeff Wagner.

WAGNER: It brought upon so much nostalgia for the deep fans, especially. Like, people saying, I don't know why I'm in tears watching this, but I am.

CHANG: And Wagner found that for Minneapolis residents, the tape turned a larger-than-life hero into someone just like them.

WAGNER: Look. He was just a kid on the north side of Minneapolis at one point. He was just like all the other kids.

DETROW: Wagner says he reached out to Prince's estate, which acknowledged the find, but just like Prince when he was alive, wouldn't say much more.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN JORGENSON QUINTET'S "G-FUNK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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