How Prince Politely Dodged a ‘Big Sweaty Hug’ From Joan Osborne
Even though Joan Osborne sang one of the first songs Prince ever covered on record, she was unable to get a hug from her musical hero the first time they met.
Osborne's Eric Bazilian-penned 1995 hit "One of Us" was one of four covers Prince included on his 1996 triple-CD Emancipation, and he'd frequently perform the song live while touring in support of the record. However, he made a slight lyrical change in the chorus, singing "just a slave like one of us" instead of Bazilian's original "just a slob like one of us."
"It was really like a dream," Osbourne said of Prince's praise for her work during an interview on the My Prince Story podcast. "He had said some very nice things about me and about the record. So my management company got a message from him that he was throwing a party in New York City and wanted to know if I wanted to come."
After a quick yes, Osbourne found herself rubbing elbows with Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, LL Cool J and other celebrities at a club in the West Village. She was also busting some moves ... and then things got amusing.
"I was dancing like mad," she recalled. "When I dance, my face gets kind of red, and, you know, I got a little sweaty, and I was not looking super-polished. [Then] someone came up to me and said, 'Prince is in this room. Would you like to come and say hello?' So I walk into this room and here’s Prince. He’s very diminutive, he’s like maybe five feet. I was still all sweaty and red-faced, and had been dancing like crazy."
As the two artists exchanged kind words, Osbourne declared, "Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to meet you, I just want to give you a big hug!" But Prince denied that hug, albeit very politely: "He just sort of looked at me in all my sweatiness, and he said, ‘Well, words can do a lot.’
Osborne took the small rejection -- from somebody who's known to spend a lot of time and money on his appearance -- in stride and with good humor. "He was not wanting to get a big sweaty hug from me," she said. "And I was like, 'Okay, I get it. It was such a thrill to meet you.' ... He was just so talented and did so much for music and for the culture, and he’s just a brilliant, brilliant, genius person. I was in awe of him, and I still am."