Journalist, talk show host, and inquisitive everyman, Larry King died on Saturday morning at the age of 87. Known for his candid questioning, broad interests, and an unbridled fandom of his guests, King found a slot for himself in every news cycle iteration since the mid-50s.
During his first 30 years in years in journalism, King jumped from radio to print to a primetime slot on CNN with Larry King Live in 1985, quickly establishing himself as the face of the network. King’s namesake program ran for 25 years and featured over 6,000 interviews with everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to The Dalia Lama to Amber Rose to Mike Tyson (several times over,) to every US president since Ford. And somewhere in the mix, King managed to fit in a UFO truther (or twelve), making for some stellar conspiracy theory fodder over the years.
After retiring from CNN in 2010, King went on to found his own digital media company, Ora TV, where he continued to interview some of the most notable names in entertainment, sports, and politics, on Larry King Now. It was on Ora that King finally began to dig deeper into contemporary music after years of only peppering his schedule with musicians. That said, he did sit with some of the most impactful singers and musicians of any generation between his two shows. And most of them made for riveting and occasionally outright adorable TV moments. As we celebrate King’s legacy, there’s no better time to revisit some of his chats with music icons.
Weeks out from the close of the 20th century (in the year he named an album after,) Prince addressed his feud with Warner Bros., why he chose to change his name to a mere symbol, and the ways spirituality was informing his life, in the calmest and most collected of tones sitting beside King on his nightly CNN program.
An early guest on King’s Ora TV program, Stevie Wonder stopped by Larry King Now in 2013 for a career-spanning chat, touching on his musical inspirations, his life-long relationship with Quincy Jones, and the sentiments behind some of his biggest hits. They even join forces for a brief duet of “For Once In My Life.”
“I’m as big as Madonna in Europe,” Tina Turner tells King in this 1997 interview, discussing her cross-pond relocation and the peace she’s found since divorcing Ike Turner and falling out of public life.
In another throwback to the late-90s, Janet Jackson hops into the guest chair, running through the tedious nature of being integrally involved in the structuring of her Velvet Rope tour. At one point, Colin Powell calls in to thank Jackson for donating a portion of proceeds from the tour to a charity organization he was heading at the time.
Finally, the late Mac Miller joined King to discuss his 2015 album, GO:OD AM, his struggles with depression, how well he’s coping with fame, and what success means to him.
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