May 27, 2021 Rock & Roll, Entertainment, Sports and Americana
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/27/2021

Offered is Prince's personal 1984 Purple Rain concert tour jacket! The purple, letterman-style jacket was left on his tour bus at the end of the tour, and it has remained with the owner of the company until now. The jacket is embroidered with gold thread on the right breast with "Prince" and on the left breast with "Purple Rain World Tour 84-85." The original tagging is still intact including the care tag and the "Delong Sportswear" tag which has the size "36" on the lower right corner. The very small size "36" jacket is appropriate for Prince's 5 foot 3 inch frame. The Purple Rain tour lasted from November 1984 to March 1985 and sold more than 1.7 million tickets on the strength of the Purple Rain album and film that were released in the summer of 1984. This is one of the finest, most historic of Prince's garments to ever become available, related to the tour for one of his most beloved albums and the film it inspired.

The jacket is owned by the owner of "Smooth Ride" Custom Coach Leasing, who brings us the entire "Smooth Ride Rock & Roll Tour Bus Collection" in this auction. The accompanying letter from Smooth Ride owner Sandra Placco details the company's time working with Prince and the circumstances behind ending up with the jacket. It reads in part:

We did the Controversy and 1999 tours for Prince, and Prince was so impressed that he asked Smooth Ride to do the coaches and build him two special vans for the Purple Rain tour. We again worked with Florida Coach, and we put 13 coaches on the tour, built his special vans in Tennessee (where we lived then). When we drove the vans up to Minneapolis in 1984, my then-husband Dominick introduced me to Prince for the first time. The band was at a large hall rehearsing for the Purple Rain tour. Prince was at the sound board, and when the lights came back up, Dominick took me over to meet him. I was taken by how small he was, and when I extended my hand for a shake his little tender hand came out for a light grasp. I always looked into others' eyes when meeting, but Prince was famously shy-we had no eye contact. He was polite, though, and returned back to his work. 

Normally I would be focused on tour bookings and contracts, but I ended joining the Purple Rain tour because we had 13 coaches, drivers, security and two vans. When I met up with the tour, I had to bring the children, with me. Chris was 3 and 1/2  years old and Little Dominick was about 8 years old. Right away Prince and the group took to Little Dominick! One night I had the kids sitting with me back stage on a trap case, right near Prince’s dressing room, and a member of  The Time (Prince's opening band) started dancing to some of the prep music played while the audience got seated. Little D joined in and wow! Soon other members of the band were watching, and before you know it - they were all dancing! Prince came out and caught sight of it, put his hands on his hips and just started laughing.  Later in the show, when it was almost time for “Baby I’m a Star” to get started, Jerome grabbed little D and next thing I know he’s on stage dancing with Prince! The crowd loved it. So every night from then on, while we were out there, Little D danced on stage!  There were many great moments with Prince as he got to trust me--his love of mothers influenced him with our relationship. 

That's why I think Prince stood at the closet on his private coach and looked at his tour jacket, knowing who would end up with it--the trophy of the Purple Rain Tour. He also left behind a stage-played tambourine, two stage-worn headbands and the satin canopy that covered the bed on his coach. (These items are available as other lots in this auction.)

The jacket is accompanied by correspondence between Prince's management lawyers and the tour bus company in the form of a March 18, 1985, letter discussing payment for services rendered during the tour. Additionally, a “Purple Rain” tour official luggage tag is also included. The tag is number “30,” and Prince's management company address and phone number is listed on the reverse. Additionally there is a February 19, 1985, "Daily Memo" from the Purple Rain tour detailing Prince's show at the Los Angeles Forum that night, one of six consecutive nights he played the venue. The wool jacket and its purple leather arms present with minimal wear. Near Mint condition.

Smooth Ride Rock & Roll Tour Bus Collection

Each item in the collection is accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from owner Sandra Placco. Her letters read in part:

Smooth Ride Custom Coach Leasing operated for over 40 years providing tour bus services to rock & roll bands. We began building coaches in our driveway in Red Hook, New York back in 1974. The first tour was with a band called Orleans (their big hit was “Still the One”), and we operated until 2014. We went on to provide tour bus services to dozens and dozens of different acts, including Prince, KISS, Phish, Trey Anastasio, Bob Dylan's “Rolling Thunder Revue”, Janet Jackson, Alice Cooper, TOTO, Bruce Hornsby, Don Henley, Steve Miller, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Neil Young, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Arcade Fire, to name just a few!

The business originally started as “Land Yacht” and gained the trusted name of “Smooth Ride” in the early 80s. Our reputation grew, and tours just came in as entertainers found that we provided a better way to get from point A to point B. I personally handled the tour booking, tour contracts with the bands and management companies and our company financials. Around 1984, we started working with Florida Coach, who built custom coaches for us, and later we worked with Night Train Coach of Nashville, Tennessee, as well as many other custom coach companies, over the years. We stopped operating in 2014, as I was preparing for retirement. 

Princes Personal <em>Purple Rain</em> 1984 Tour Jacket – Left on His Tour Bus!
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $11,500
Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
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