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Prince Rodgers Nelson will celebrate his 56th birthday this Saturday. And although he’s been nothing less than a cultural icon and musical genius since before I was even born, back in ’86 he was just a twentysomething with a record smashing soundtrack, Purple Rain, trying to convince the rest of the world that he was still a smalltown son of Minnesota at heart. At 28 years old, in a banana crisp yellow suit and a fresh to death press and curl, Prince covered PEOPLE Magazine, doe eyes and arched brows next to the headline: “On A Blind Date With Prince: Would you let this man date your daughter?”

The story chronicles the frenzy his Royal Badness incited in Sheridan, Wyo. while promoting his second film, Under the Cherry Moon. Twenty-year-old Lisa Barber truly became the talk of the town, when she won a date with Prince and a private screening of the Purple Rain follow up with her closest friends. While excited residents assembled in pre-Beygency form to swarm for tickets, others could care less unless the Purple One was up for getting his hands dirty:  “I’m going to paint a fence. If Prince wants to help me, that’s fine.”

The throwback cover story details what was undoubtedly one of Barber’s most memorable dates, in which the young fan shared that Prince was a perfect gentleman, occasionally playing with her hair during the flick. He may not have stolen a kiss, but he clearly walked away with diamonds and pearls:

“I’ll have lots of memories, but I know I’ll probably never see him again,” she said of her beau, who gave her earrings and a gold necklace as keepsakes. “I’ll never take them off,” she vowed. Looking back, she says the only flaw in a perfect evening involved a misunderstanding over some costume jewelry Prince had impulsively asked to borrow. “He was a dream date,” says Lisa, “even if he didn’t give me back my pearls.” 

Read the full PEOPLE cover story from 1986 here.


Win A Date With Prince Rogers Nelson: That Time Prince Took A Fan On A Date In 1986  was originally published on