Though he was known for legal battles with record labels, there was one suit Prince wanted to avoid.
Journey‘s Jonathan Cain tells Billboard that in 1984, Prince asked him to listen to an unreleased song that the Purple One feared bore too close a resemblance to “Faithfully.” Prince was up front: He wanted to be sure Journey wouldn’t sue for plagiarism.
The keyboardist said not only wouldn’t there be a lawsuit, he considered it “an amazing tune, and I told him, ‘Man, I’m just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you’re that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it’s gonna be a hit.’ The song was “Purple Rain.”
Cain feels there’ve been much bigger rip-offs of Journey’s music. “There was a One Direction song I was upset about and I just let it roll. But that particular phone call [from Prince] was amazing.” He did get one perk for giving his blessing — Prince got him “amazing seats” when the Purple Rain tour played San Francisco’s Cow Palace Arena More recently, Jonathan learned from a Minneapolis-based friend that Prince was a big fan of and “studied” the work of guitarist Neal Schon “for so many years, learned his licks and made them his own. You can hear it on [‘Purple Rain’] for real.”