John L. Nelson

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John L. Nelson
Birth nameJohn Lewis Nelson
Born(1916-06-29)June 29, 1916
Webster Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedAugust 25, 2001(2001-08-25) (aged 85)
Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.
Years active1948–1966
Associated acts

John Lewis Nelson (June 29, 1916 – August 25, 2001),[1] also known as his stage name Prince Rogers, was an American jazz musician and songwriter. He was the father of musicians Prince and Tyka Nelson and a credited co-writer on some of his son's songs.

Personal life[edit]

Nelson was born in Webster Parish, 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.

In 1956, he met Mattie Della Shaw (November 11, 1933 – February 15, 2002) at a show on the north side of Minneapolis. Shaw was an aspiring jazz musician who became the musical group’s singer. She had one son, Alfred Frank Alonzo Jackson (born July 6, 1953).[2] Nelson married Shaw on August 31, 1957,[3] and the couple had two more children, musician Prince[4] (1958–2016) (who was named after his father’s stage name) and daughter singer Tyka Nelson (born 1960). When Nelson’s career failed in late 1960, the couple became estranged and formally separated in 1965 and were divorced on September 24, 1968.[3]


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.

Collaboration with Prince[edit]

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

ASCAP credits[edit]

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


  1. ^ "John Lewis Nelson (1916- 2001) - Genealogy". Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Word - 126883449_1.docx" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  3. ^ a b "Microsoft Word - 126883449_1.docx" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  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. ^ a b Credits in album booklet.