Prince’s Blue Angel Cloud 2 guitar, which he played frequently between 1984 to 1993, was sold for $563,500 at a charity auction on Friday.
The instrument was Prince’s go-to performance guitar throughout the late 1980s and early ’90s. He took it on the “Purple Rain”, “Parade”, “Sign o’ the Times”, “Lovesexy”, and “Diamonds and Pearls” tours; used it to play “Electric Chair” during the Saturday Night Live 15th anniversary special on September 24th, 1989; brought it out for the infamous 1991 MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Get Off”; held it on the cover of SPIN in September 1991; opened his September 9th, 1991 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show by using it for “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Cream”, and “Purple Rain”; and featured it in the music videos for “Cream” and “Get Off”.
The history of Prince’s Cloud guitars is a fascinating one. Prince had asked Minneapolis’ Knut Koupeé Music shop to help design a guitar that would catch The Kid’s eye in Purple Rain. He presented the team with a Sardonyx bass as a starting point, and Knut Koupeé’s Karl Dedolph and Jeff Hill set to work. They “Frankensteined” an O’Hagan Shark model into the white instrument used in the film, which now sits in the Smithsonian. Prince was happy with the result, as he once again commissioned Knut Koupeé for Cloud 2, what became known as Blue Angel, this time based on an O’Hagan Nightwatch model.
Over the years, the guitar has been repainted and refinished in white, peach, a light blue, and yellow before settling on its present color of electric blue. The guitar neck is also cracked from between the 6th and 7th frets to the headstock.
“It’s the most significant Prince guitar that’ll ever come up for auction,” said Julien’s Auctions founder and president Darren Julien.
Prince’s Cloud 2 isn’t the only significant guitar up for auction this weekend: Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E, which he used for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance, will be sold on Saturday.