Born in Saint Paul in 1948, Mary MacGregor trained to be a musician from age six. Her talent as a country-folk singer quickly captured the attention of Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary—and she soon joined him as a backup singer. However, it wasn’t until 1976 that she released her debut single, “Torn Between Two Lovers.” This song topped the pop and adult contemporary charts in 1977, selling over a million copies.
Just a few years later, Prince appeared on the scene. Arguably one of Minnesota’s most famous musical artists, Prince was a singer, songwriter, producer, and performer on keyboard, drums, and bass. As a minority artist, he paved the way for other local musicians of the time, including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. His recording career began in 1978 with a focus on funk and soul sounds. As he grew in his craft, his music began to incorporate jazz, punk, metal, and hip-hop influences as well—a truly one-of-a-kind genre. His best-selling album to date is Purple Rain, an iconic cultural staple that influenced the fashion and sound of the 1980s. The first performance for the album was at First Avenue in Minneapolis, kicking off a five-month tour that led to two Grammys, three American Music Awards, two Brit Awards, and an Academy Award. Prince passed in 2016, but his legacy lives on today.