On top of being a mysterious, pansexual rock god, Prince was also a very classy guy. Billboard recently talked to Journey songwriter Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon about a time in 1984 when Prince reached out to show them "Purple Rain," concerned that it sounded too similar to Journey's "Faithfully." Over the call, Prince said to Cain, "I want to play something for you, and I want you to check it out. The chord changes are close to 'Faithfully, and I don't want you to sue me." Cain heard him out and gave the go-ahead.
I thought it was 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.'
And it was 'Purple Rain.'
After which, Prince probably thanked Cain by emptily staring into the cosmos like this.
Cain didn't even consider asking for a songwriting credit:
No, no, that'll just bring bad juju on you, and you don't want to do that. I just thought it seriously showed the kind of caring, classy guy Prince was. He wanted to check in with [me] and make sure I wasn't going to say, "That sounds like 'Faithfully.'" There's so many other things that have come down the pike that were more of a rip-off, that have stolen Journey songs. 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.
Here's the One Direction song in question. Yeah, these punks definitely ripped off "Faithfully."
Stepping up the class another notch, Prince threw Cain some concert tickets his way as a gesture meaning "thanks for not suing me."
He got me these amazing seats at the Purple Rain [Tour] show when he played the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and I thought it was ridiculous how cool it was.
Guitarist Neal Schon later learned that the similarities in both songs' guitar solos were a very intentional move on Prince's behalf:
There's a guy that Jonathan and I both know in Minneapolis who worked with Prince in the last few years and he told Jon to tell me that Prince was talking about my guitar playing, how it really moved him and how he liked my playing. It was just so cool.
Cain also spoke about Prince's Schon-fandom:
How much he loved Neal Schon is crazy. He studied Neal for so many years, learned his licks and made them his own. You can hear it on ('Purple Rain') for real.
Listen to both tracks below, and don't stop believing that Prince was as considerate as he was seemingly from outer space.