Minnesota lawmakers voted to rename a highway after the late pop icon Prince, in honor of his contributions to music and culture. The highway, which runs past Prince’s Paisley Park museum and studios, will be renamed the Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway. The bill passed the Senate with a 55-5 vote and the House unanimously, and now awaits Governor Tim Walz’s signature.
The seven-mile stretch of State Highway 5 in the Minneapolis suburbs of Chanhassen and Eden Prairie will soon be marked with purple signs, a nod to Prince’s signature color. The lead sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Julia Coleman of Waconia, said that Prince’s friends and fans are funding the signage.
Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was a “true genius, a visionary artist who pushed the boundaries of music and cultures in ways that will never be forgotten,” said Senator Coleman. Prince’s legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists, and his influence can be heard in the work of countless musicians who came after him.
Paisley Park, where Prince lived and recorded, is now a museum, event venue, and recording studio that draws visitors from around the world. Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at the age of 57 in the complex on April 21, 2016. His estate runs the museum, and his sister Sharon Nelson told reporters that his music will live forever.
The idea to name the highway after Prince came from Mark Webster, a longtime friend of the star who works security at Paisley Park, three years ago. He was among the fans who gathered at the Minnesota Capitol to celebrate the vote. Webster said that they will find a date that works for fans soon for the signs to go up.
Prince was a singer, songwriter, arranger, and instrumentalist who broke through in the late 1970s. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and created hits including “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “When Doves Cry,” selling over 100 million records worldwide. Several years ago, Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain” was added by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
After a six-year legal battle, the Internal Revenue Service and the estate administrator put the value of Prince’s estate at $156.4 million. Since Prince died without a will, his six surviving siblings at the time of his death were designated as his heirs. The three youngest eventually sold most of their interests to the music company Primary Wave.
The late pop icon’s impact on music and culture is immeasurable, and the renaming of the highway is a fitting tribute to his legacy. The Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway will remind all who drive past of the profound influence he had on the music industry and the world.