Prince’s guitars in Hard Rock venues

Hard Rock Cafes and Hotels have a dazzling array of Prince memorabilia on display in their venues around the world. In most of them, guitars take centre stage.

Because of its iconic status the Cloud guitar is on display most, and amazingly – no Madcats, Symbol guitars or Fenders as far as I can work out. It’s not clear if any of these Clouds were ever actually used by Prince. The plaques that accompany these instruments are usually pretty vague.

I’m using this post as a “work in progress” list of where guitars are on show, and I’ll add to it as I find more. You are welcome to provide more details on any of these (or any I haven’t listed) via comments.

  • USA
    • Atantic City Hotel and Casino – Dark Blue Cloud
    • Chicago Hotel, White Cloud and shirt (hotel now closed)
    • Hollywood – Yellow Cloud
    • Las Vegas Hotel and Casio – Blue Cloud 
      • Hotel due to close and reopen as a Virgin hotel in 2019
      • May have been built by a dutch builder – to be verified
    • Memphis – Yellow Cloud
    • Minneapolis – White Cloud (venue is now closed)
    • Sioux City – Model C
    • Tulsa, USA – Blue Cloud, Purple Rain sunglasses
  • Europe
    • Budapest, Hungary – Blue Cloud
    • Oslo, Norway – White Cloud
    • Prague, Czech Republic – Bass and jacket
    • Warsaw, Poland – Yellow Cloud
  • Asia
    • Tokyo, Japan – Yellow Cloud
  • South America
    • Caracas, Venezuela – White Cloud

Prince Pre-Fame: Gibson L-48

Way back in 1977 Prince was taking his first steps towards stardom. Armed with a demo tape, his manager Chris Moon was struggling to make any impression on prospective record companies. He needed assistance marketing and selling Prince and his music.
Chris Moon enlisted Owen Husney, a local advertising agent with a background in the music business. Chris Moon approached him with Prince’s demo, and Husney immediately paid an interest. He commissioned a local photographer, Robert Whitman, to provide some portraits for a press pack to be distributed to music industry executives.

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Prince pictured with the Gibson L-48 in Owen Husney’s home, and in the studio (Photos: Robert Whitman, see links)

Robert Whitman’s photos are iconic. They show a teenage Prince without the protective shell he created as he found fame. Whitman skillfully relaxed his subject enough to capture a natural smile – a rare occurance in photographs later in Prince’s career.

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