John L. Nelson

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John L. Nelson
Birth name John Lewis Nelson
Born (1916-06-29)June 29, 1916
Louisiana, U.S.
Died August 25, 2001(2001-08-25) (aged 85)
Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.
Years active 1948—1966
Associated acts Prince, The Prince Rogers Trio

John Lewis Nelson (June 29, 1916 – August 25, 2001), also known as Prince Rogers, was an American jazz musician. He was the father of musician Prince and a credited co-writer of some of his songs.

Life and career[edit]

Nelson was born in Louisiana, the son of Carrie (Jenkins) and Clarence Nelson. The Nelsons had four other children. He traveled to Minneapolis to become a musician in 1948. Playing the piano, he used "Prince Rogers" as a stage name and started a band called The Prince Rogers Trio with local musicians.

Nelson maintained an on-off relationship with Vivian Nelson. With her, he had five children: Sharon (born 1940), Norrine (born 1942), Lorna (1943–2006), John (born 1944),[1] and Duane (1959–2011).[2][3]

In 1956, he met Mattie Della Shaw (1933–2002), at a show on the north side of Minneapolis. Shaw was an aspiring jazz musician who became the musical group's singer. Nelson married Shaw and the couple had two more children, musician Prince[4] (1958–2016) (who was named after his father's stage name) and daughter Tika Evene (born 1960) (usually known as Tyka). When Nelson's career failed in late 1960, the couple became estranged and formally separated in 1966.

Nelson died on August 25, 2001, aged 85, in his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. That year Prince dedicated Joni Mitchell's song "A Case of U", on his One Nite Alone... album, to his father.


Work with Prince[edit]

John L. Nelson wrote (or co-wrote) some music which was released by Prince in the 1980s.[5]

ASCAP credits, or co-credits, him with the following:


  1. ^ "Obituary Lorna L. Nelson". Star Tribune. October 26, 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  2. ^ J., C. (March 10, 2011). "Funeral for Prince's half-brother, Duane Nelson, is Saturday". Star Tribune. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Obituary Duane Joseph Nelson". Star Tribune. March 10, 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Pierre Perrone, "John Nelson". The Independent. London. September 1, 2001. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Perrone (2001)
  6. ^ Credits in album booklet.
  7. ^ Credits in album booklet.