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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  July 25, 2021 7:00pm-7:59pm PDT

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and ford. we go further, so you can. >> this case is unprecedented in the history of the american legal system. >> curtis flowers, a black man from mississippi, was tried six times for the same crime, by the same prosecutor. mr. flowers might still be on death row if it wasn't for an investigation led by these two women... >> it's been more than three years since i got an email from a woman telling me about a man named curtis flowers. >> ...and their relentless reporting. ( ticking ) >> do cowboys still exist? we found generations of them ranching and riding in utah. the wright family is the first family of american rodeo.
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world champions who can make the roughest rides look like a ballet. are you kind of dancing with the horse? >> i like to think you are. i dance a lot better with a horse than i do with my wife. ( laughter ) i ain't got no rhythm. ( ticking ) (♪ "purple rain" ♪) >> a few artists are recognized by one name. but with prince, you only needed a few notes. (♪ "purple rain" ♪) so we were surprised to get an invitation to paisley park to hear unreleased music from the late icon's vault. (♪ "born 2 die" ♪) >> i think that the world is ready to absorb what he's saying on this album. i mean, it's right on time. ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes."
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more time is possible. ask your doctor about verzenio. >> sharyn alfonsi: "60 minutes" has covered a lot of stories about flaws in our criminal justice system over the years, but we'd never heard anything like the case against curtis flowers. as we first reported in january, flowers, a black man from mississippi, was tried six times for the same crime, by the same prosecutor. he might still be on death row if not for the work of a team of reporters from an investigative podcast. tonight, you will hear from curtis flowers, the journalists who helped free him, and the
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prosecutor who relentlessly pursued him for more than two decades. it began in winona, mississippi, on a july morning in 1996. shortly after tardy furniture opened for the day, the store's owner, book-keeper, delivery man and a 16-year-old were shot in the head, execution style. no one saw it happen. when you heard about the crime and the way they were murdered, what was your reaction? >> curtis flowers: well, my heart dropped. the, the first thing, you know, i-- i felt sorry for them. then i thought, well, i could've been there. >> alfonsi: curtis flowers had worked at tardy that summer for three days, delivering and fixing furniture, but he was let go after he stopped showing up. almost immediately after the murders, some victims' families suspected flowers. the police questioned him, but made no arrest. months passed. flowers moved to texas to live with his sister. and there's a knock at the door. >> flowers: and i answered it. and the next thing you know i
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was all up against the wall, being handcuffed. and he explained to me that, "we just have a warrant for your arrest back in mississippi." i said, "for what?" and he said, "four counts of capital murder." man, i said, "me? are you sure you got the right guy?" ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: flowers had no criminal record, and was more likely to be on stage with a gospel group than in handcuffs. there was no murder weapon, no d.n.a. or fingerprints linking him to the crime. but it took an all-white jury just an hour to deliberate and convict him. at age 27, curtis flowers was sentenced to death, and put in the mississippi state penitentiary known as parchman prison. were you scared? >> flowers: oh, yes. >> alfonsi: what's parchman like? >>wetesthing ev dreamed a., li a nightmareca, you know, you hear all kinds of noise at night, you know. there are inmates who have just snapped. some who have lost it.
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they act up all night. >> alfonsi: and you were sitting on death row. i imagine other death row inmates were being executed. >> flowers: yes. yes. and that-- that was nerve- wracking itself. >> alfonsi: his conviction was appealed and overturned, but there would be five more trials for curtis flowers, for the same crime, by the same prosecutor. how can a person be tried for the same crime six times? >> rob mcduff: this case is unprecedented in the history of the american legal system. >> alfonsi: attorney rob mcduff of the mississippi center for justice joined curtis flowers' legal team in 2019. in the first three trials, flowers was found guilty, but each conviction was overturned for prosecutorial misconduct. and when we talk about prosecutorial misconduct, were these simple missteps? or was it something bigger going on here? >> mcduff: no, these convictions were reversed because of the prosecutor's misrepresentation of the evidence to the jury, and
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because of his discrimination in the-- in selection of the jury. >> alfonsi: but the same prosecutor goes after curtis flowers again, time after time. there's nothing in our system that stops that from happening? >> mcduff: unfortunately, there is not. this prosecutor was like captain ahab hunting the whale. >> alfonsi: the prosecutor was district attorney doug evans, who, even after hung juries in trials four and five, kept going. in 2010, evans finally got a conviction to stick in trial six. flowers returned to death row. then an email changed his fortunes. >> madeleine baran: it's been more than three years since i got an email from a woman telling me about a man named curtis flowers. >> alfonsi: madeleine baran is the lead reporter for american public media's podcast "in the dark." samara freemark is the podcast's managing producer. >> baran: right away, it was like, "is this possible that someone would be tried six times?"
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>> alfonsi: to investigate how that happened, the "in the dark" team descended on winona, a town of 5,000. most of downtown, like tardy furniture, had faded away. the podcast reporters planned to stay a few months. they stayed a year, knocking on doors and interviewing hundreds of people. was there anything that anybody said early on that made you think, "oh, well, maybe he was the guy who did this?" >> baran: yeah. i mean, of course we have to assume that somebody has been convicted four times, there's a chance he's guilty, of course. but the more we looked into the evidence, there wasn't a single piece of evidence that actually held up. >> alfonsi: the first piece of evidence to crumble was the winding route doug evans told jurors that curtis flowers walked that july morning. >> baran: that, you know, curtis woke up that morning, he was angry, he no longer worked at the furniture store. he wanted to kill the people there, but he didn't have a gun. so he walked across town, stole a gun from a car, walked home,
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still angry. left his house, walked with the gun to the furniture store, shot four people in the head, walked home. >> alfonsi: it seemed far- fetched flowers would brazenly walk so far in broad daylight. when the podcast reporters started talking to route witnesses who claimed they saw flowers, a pattern emerged. >> baran: it was clear they did not, for example, pick up the phone and call the police and say, "i saw something suspicious." that they were sought out, like, months later, in a lot of cases. and it turned out that they felt like they needed to tell law enforcement that this happened. or, as one guy said, "they already told me that they knew i saw curtis." >> samara freemark: they had the whole story laid out for me, and all i had to do was say yes. >> alfonsi: who was the most important route witness? >> baran: clemmie fleming. clemmie testified that curtis flowers was running away from the furniture store shortly after the murders. this is, of course, incredibly damning testimony, if it's true. and she testified to it six times. >> alfonsi: and what did you learn? >> baran: that clemmie was not
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telling the truth. >> alfonsi: clemmie fleming admitted to the podcast that she didn't remember when she saw flowers running. in november, we spoke to her in winona, where she still lives. you saw curtis running through town? >> fleming: yeah. >> alfonsi: but you weren't sure. >> fleming: i wasn't sure what day it was. i really-- it happened, but i don't know what day it was. >> alfonsi: did you ever tell the prosecutors, "hey, i'm not sure about the day that i saw"? >> fleming: yeah. >> alfonsi: and what did they say? >> fleming: they ain't want to hear that. they just wanted me to tell what i seen. they don't want to worry about what day i seen it. >> alfonsi: another key witness also recanted to "in the dark." odell "cookie" hallmon, a career criminal, had testified that curtis flowers confessed to him in prison. producer samara freemark tracked down hallmon in parchman prison. and how were you talking to him? >> freemark: well, it turns out he had an illicit cell phone. he would set up a blanket fort to talk so the guards wouldn't-- wouldn't be able to see him. so he would sort of hang blankets up over his bunk, and hide in there.
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>> alfonsi: eventually, he admitted to freemark that he made the story up about curtis confessing. this is hallmon on the phone from prison. >> hallmon: as far as him telling me he killed some people, hell, naw, he ain't never told me that. that was a lie. >> alfonsi: the podcast reported that after hallmon came forward with the phony confession, he cut generous deals with prosecutors for years and avoided punishment for multiple felony charges. while he was free, in 2016, he murdered three people and was finally sentenced to life in prison. >> freemark: remember this is that-- that really beautiful music. >> alfonsi: the revelations turned "in the dark" into a sensation. the podcast was downloaded 42 million times. but curtis flowers could not listen to it. he was on death row in parchman prison, reading transcripts of the podcast. and you're reading about these witnesses finally recanting their stories. >> flowers: i think my first
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reaction was, it's about time. ( laughs ) and i was just ready to go home. >> alfonsi: as flowers waited on death row, the podcast team continued unraveling his case by scouring closed jails and abandoned factories for clues and documents. >> freemark: we had to go and search them out like we were on a treasure hunt. >> baran: and you're, like, "what are those mounds in the corner," you know? and you're like, "oh, those are public records for this county." and then you go through it and you're like, "these are covered in mouse droppings. they're covered in mold." >> alfonsi: they also analyzed decades of court data that revealed prosecutor doug evans had a history of excluding black people from juries at a disproportionate rate. across all of curtis flowers' trials, 61 of the 72 jurors were white. all 61 voted to convict. those numbers reverberated far beyond mississippi. in 2019, the u.s. supreme court ruled that evans and the state of mississippi had violated
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curtis flowers' constitutional rights, and overturned his conviction. justice brett kavanaugh wrote that there was a "relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals." six months later, curtis flowers was released on bail. he walked out of jail with a monitor on his ankle, and his sisters on his arms. >> how are you feeling right now? >> flowers: i feel good. i'm happy i'm out. >> alfonsi: for the first time in 23 years, he was out. >> flowers: and i'm telling you, i felt like i was floating. i was just ready to go. >> alfonsi: in september, the ankle monitor came off. the mississippi attorney general's office dismissed all charges against curtis flowers. it wrote that, "it is in the interest of justice that the state will not seek an unprecedented seventh trial of mr. flowers." in november, doug evans, the man who prosecuted curtis flowers six times, sat down with us in his office for a rare interview.
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why did you prosecute him again and again? >> doug evans: because i knew he was guilty. and the families knew he was guilty. and the families deserve justice. >> alfonsi: but what about now that those witnesses have changed their stories? >> evans: i don't think-- know, that any of them have changed their stories. >> alfonsi: well, clemmie, odell. >> evans: but that's not in court, under oath. >> alfonsi: do you think that curtis could get a fair trial when the jury is predominately white? >> evans: yes. race has nothing to do with our part of what we do. a lot of times, race gets thrown in as an excuse, if there is no defense. >> alfonsi: justice brett kavanaugh wrote there seemed to be a "relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals." that's from the supreme court. >> evans: and i can't understand that. basically, what he is doing is accusing me, like he was accused, before he was put on
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the supreme court. >> alfonsi: evans says he never listened to the podcast, but is nvince"in the dark" set out to discredit his case. the way this is being presented now was that it was a weak case, that there were no fingerprints, there was no d.n.a., there was no witness that puts him at the crime scene. there's these string of witnesses that say they saw him on the street. >> evans: oh, you've got a witness that sees him walk in the front door. that's about as close as you can get. >> alfonsi: but over six trials, no witness ever testified to seeing curtis flowers walk in the front door at tardy furniture. evans then made another startling claim. you would think that because the murders were so gruesome, you know, nobody saw him covered in blood or anything like that? >> evans: well, there were people that saw him burning clothes after that, but we weren't able to introduce that either. supposedly, they saw him burning clothes and a pair of tennis shoes. >> alfonsi: where did that happen?
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>> evans: it was outside his house, in that area over there. >> alfonsi: but in 12,000 pages of pre-trial hearings and trial proceedings that we reviewed, we couldn't find any mention of that story. rob mcduff, curtis flowers' lawyer, said that's because it never happened. >> mcduff: ( laughs ) you know, it is just preposterous that doug evans continues to say these things. but he's been called out on his deceptions, he's been called out on his misconduct time and time and time again. >> flowers: i believe every case doug evans ever handled should be looked into. i truly do. i-- i-- lord knows i would hate s haen to someone else. >> alfonsi: curtis flowers is now 51 years old. he spent nearly half his life in prison. but somehow, after 23 years, the
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>> bill whitaker: rodeo might just be america's original pastime. it started with an event called saddle bronc in the old west. today, there's one name that dominates saddle bronc: the wrights. like every sport in america, rodeo has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but when we first brought you this story in 2019, there were nine members of the wright family riding the circuit, and they ranked among
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the best in the world. in a sport with plenty of wannabe cowboys, as you'll see and hear, the wrights are the real deal, vestiges of the american frontier. their lifestyle has prepared them for what's been called one of the last blue collar sports in america. in saddle bronc, there are no tom brady salaries and there are regular injuries that would make runningbacks flinch. and yet, none of that discourages the wrights. each generation seems to be better than the last. tonight, you'll meet america's first family of rodeo, competing for glory on horseback, the wright way. >> announcer: anybody heard of the wrights, in the bronc riding? >> whitaker: you may not >> announcer: they are a utah sensation! >> whitaker: ...but at rodeos bi country, like this one in utah, that last name is as famous as manning or montana. and there are just about enough wrights to field their own
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football team. >> announcer: it is the wright night at the rodeo! >> whitaker: when we met them, there were nine professional cowboys, with five world titles among them. there's ryder wright... >> announcer: ryder! come on, ryder! >> whitaker: ...the youngest world champion of all time, and at 21, he was sitting in first place. >> announcer: hey, we've been watching all of the wrights. >> whitaker: his uncle is this guy. spencer wright, another world champion. that was incredible! >> cody wright: yah, he did awesome. >> whitaker: and in a league of his own, cody wright, the one who started the family dynasty 20 years ago. >> announcer: and street smart! >> whitaker: at 42, cody was a two-time world champion and one of the best bronc riders ever. what's that feel like? >> cody wright: adrenaline. a little bit of fear. and you got to learn how to control it. you know, otherwise, you know,
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it'll go to heck pretty quick. >> announcer: there's stetson wright. >> whitaker: in saddle bronc... >> lift. >> whitaker: ...the goal is to hang on with style for eight seconds... >> yeah! >> whitaker: ...to a horse specially bred to buck you off. can you explain to us what's going on in that eight seconds? >> announcer: let's go to cody wright. >> yeah, go on! >> cody wright: you've got a rein you hang on to. you need to lift on it, because that's what holds you down in the saddle. when they jump and kick, you know, they're stretched out, their feet are off the ground, you want to be stretched out, you know, your free arm straight back, and your feet set as high in the neck as you can get them. >> whitaker: it's like one hell of a rocking horse. >> cody wright: it can be the roughest ride in the world if you're out of time, or it can be the smoothest ride in the world. >> whitaker: so are you-- are you kind of dancing with the horse? >> cody wright: i like to think
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you are. i dance a lot better with a horse than i do with my wife. ( laughter ) i ain't got no rhythm. >> whitaker: the wrights, and at a good score from the judges. but when it's go-time, the wrights, the sons and brothers, crowd around the chute like a nascar pit crew, helping each other saddle up. this is a team sport for you guys. >> cody wright: i think so. i love it. there's nobody i'd rather see do better. but don't-- don't think that i ain't trying to beat them. >> jake wright: we all show up to the rodeo wanting to win first, but, and, but we're going to help each other do it too. >> whitaker: that's jake wright, cody's younger brother and one of his toughest competitors. and yes, there are mor brothers: jake's twin jesse. a brother-in-law, coburn bradshaw. plus, alex, calvin, stuart and
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spencer wright. >> spencer wright: we're like a big support group. you know, there's ten of the best bronc riders right in the world right here. we all get together and practice. erybody focused? >> spencer wright: and i know that's why we all have been so successful at what we do. >> whitaker: all that practice has propelled them to the national finals rodeo in las vegas. it's the cowboy superbowl... >> announcer: spencer wright, he's got a great ride going! >> whitaker: ...and team wright has made it every year for nearly the last two decades. cody has won the champion's gold buckle twice. >> jake wright: he showed us that we could do it with a little hard work and a lot of try. >> spencer wright: if he would've never even pursued rodeo, i wonder what the rest of us would even be doing. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: what they're doing comes at a steep cost. while these horses are rarely injured, that can't be said for the wrights. they all have the same orthopedic surgeon on speed
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dial. can i see a show of hands of how many of you've been injured? so all of you've been injured? and two of you came into this interview on crutches. ( laughter ) >> jake wright: three of us. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: tell me some of the injuries. >> jesse wright: i think the worst was my back, when i broke my back in omaha. >> alex wright: fractured my skull. >> jake wright: i broke my nose about ten times >> spencer wright: i broke all the sinuses on this-- right side of my face one time and had a brain bleed. as far as injuries goes, i think i'm one of the lucky ones sitting here. >> whitaker: do you hear yourself? brain bleed? ( laughs ) and you call that lucky? >> calvin wright: hurts a lot less than heartache, bill. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: but heartache won't land you in the hospital. the wright boys are well aware every ride could be their last. stuart came close. >> stuart wright: i said, "let't my head. kind of knocked me a little senseless. and i fell off, into the arena. he just jumped straight up and
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fell completely on me. thought it broke my back, because i just felt my ribs pop as he landed on me. i was like, "oh my gosh!" >> whitaker: as awful as that may sound, the wrights say the hardest part of the job is being away from home. >> cody wright: what'd they tell alex last time he went to the doctor? >> whitaker: they're on the road around 250 days a year, clocking 100,000 miles in these... what they call "rodeo motels." >> cody wright: this weekend you're going to heridan and fort pierre, or vice versa? >> whitaker: where they eat, sleep, and drive from canada to the mexican border, chasing eight second dreams. do you sometimes feel like you're on the road more times than you're on a horse? >> jesse wright: you drive 22, 24 hours from home to there. and we're there an hour, turn around and driving back. >> coburn bradshaw: we drive for a living, and ride bucking horses for fun. ( laughs ) >> everyone: yeah. ( laughter )
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>> whitaker: when they aren't on the road, home is southern utah. they mostly grew up in milford, a no-stoplight town where the wrights are the main attraction. they're a family of 13 kids, kept in line by their parents, bill and evelyn. that's a huge family. >> evelyn wright: it's a good- sized family. kids are kind of "more-ish," you know-- the more you get, the more you want. >> bill wright: she trained the older ones to help the younger ones. >> evelyn wright: i had to organize them. >> bill wright: but she-- >> evelyn wright: i'm like, "i cannot do this on my own. or else it's going to be bad, because mom's going to grow bear hair and you're not going to like it." >> home video: all right, quit it. >> whitaker: the wright kids were cowboys playing cowboys and were natural ranch hands. it kept them out of evelyn's hair, and out of trouble. the seven boys and six girls knew how to ride a horse before they could peddle a bike. some of the girls rodeod, too,
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but never went pro. >> evelyn wright: they learned how to break horses early, how to ride and tame horses and train them. i think you have to be a cowboy before you can be a rodeo cowboy. whitaker: thech washe training ground.he edge of zion national park for more than a century and a half. >> bill wright: i'm five generations, cody's six, rusty's seven, and his boy is eight. ( laughs ) generations. >> whitaker: bill, do you think the wright family will be ranching this land in another 150 years? >> bill wright: well, i hope so, i really do. when you work as hard on something as i have at this, you don't want to see it just go away. >> whitaker: what keeps their way of life going are rituals
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like this: branding day. >> hee-oh! hee-oh! >> whitaker: bill and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather every year to round up, vaccinate, and brand their cattle. the hard work brings them together. it defines them on the ranch and in the arena. >> cody wright: dad's the first one to preach that you get out of it what you put into it. and if he's seen you putting something into it, they were both behind you. and it didn't matter if they had to sell the-- the farm. they was going to get you there. >> whitaker: they sacrificed a lot for you to reach your dream. >> cody wright: i think so. um... >> whitaker: this cowboy gets emotional because he knows exactly how much his parents gave up when he was starting out, in a family where money was tight. >> evelyn wright: we went to gillette, wyoming, to the national finals. and i had like ten kids. he comes back from the expo and
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he said, "i bought cody a saddle." i'm like, "what?" "yeah, it was only $1,100." i'm like, "what? ( laughter ) you did what?" i was so-- i started crying. i'm like-- he's like, "we got to help him. we got to support him. he's going to lose his dream if we don't." >> whitaker: these days, cody may be living his dream, but it hasn't exactly made him rich, considering cowboys have to foot the bill for just about everything. >> i really like rodeos. >> cody wright: if you're rodeoing full time, and going to, you know, 100 rodeos, you've got to make over $60,000 or $70,000 just to break even. >> whitaker: so you could go through all this and go to a rodeo and walk away with nothing. >> cody wright: yeah. you could walk away in the red. >> whitaker: less than nothing. >> cody wright: less than nothing. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: so surely there are easier ways to make a living. >> cody wright: you'd think so. ( laughs )
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but, better? >> whitaker: still, the sport has taken a toll on cody's body and his family. he's spending less time in the arena now, and more time on the ranch. >> cody wright: reach back... >> whitaker: and in the practice pen, leading the next generation to carry on the wright legacy, sons ryder, rusty, stetson, who are already rising stars, and the youngest, statler. we were there the day cody coached his then-16-year-old on his very first bronc ride. >> cody wright: statler, right there, lift hard and take ahold of him. >> statler wright: well, i was, like, super nervous, until i got in there. and then i just pretty much forgot about everything else but what my dad's taught me. >> cody wright: go on! go on! >> whitaker: that ride, how'd that feel? >> statler wright: i hurt my butt, actually. ( laughs ) a lot. but as soon as i hit the ground, i wanted to do it again.
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>> whitaker: one hall of famer told us that you guys have the potential to be the best there ever was. >> rusty wright: i think we could do it. but really, that's kind of humbling and, it lights a fire. >> whitaker: a fire, they say, to win those gold buckles, just like their dad, cody. >> cody wright: you know, i wanted a gold buckle. but to ride every horse the best i could was always-- what did it for me, you know. sure, i want money. who don't? you need it to go along. but i always just wanted to ride broncs. it was striving to me at perfect ride. and you know, the feeling that you feel when you're in time with a horse that's trying to get you off their back as hard as they can. >> whitaker: have you ever had a perfect ride? >> cody wright: no. i've never had a perfect ride. ( laughs ) when i make that perfect ride, i'm going to be done. >> whitaker: since our story
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first aired, cody wright's sons have added four more gold buckles to the family collection. ( ticking ) >> cbs sports hq is presented by progressive insurance. in minnesota, cameron champ wins the open. >> and winning the basketball team, and loses to france. the first in 2004. and the red sox come back to beat the yankees. and hit his 35th home run for the angels. for highlights visit cbs hq sports.com. we thought people could use a break. we've all been through a lot this year. -that makes sense. -yeah.
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( ticking ) >> jon wertheim: dig, if you will, the picture: it was 2010, and prince set out on his "welcome 2 america" tour, threading the world and playing sold-out venues. he delivered a mix of anthems and pop hits drawn from his 39 studio albums. and yet, as we first reported this april, there was something curiously missing from that
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"welcome 2 america" tour: songs from the album "welcome 2 america," an album prince wrote and recorded right before the tour, but then never released or performed in public. that music, which will be released later this week, went into prince's vault, a trove of material this blazingly prolific artist secreted away. five years after prince's death, administrators of his estate are cracking open the vault. "welcome 2 america," and welcome to the singular ways of prince. >> prince: dearly beloved... >> wertheim: here he is on that 2010 tour. the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in gold lameé. "let's go crazy" was one of five number one hits. when prince died, he was still selling more albums than any other living musician. to unravel the prince paradox,
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we started here: paisley park in chanhassen, minnesota, a suburb of minneapolis, his hometown. from the outside, there's ley abt it. dreamscape. oz, accented in purple, not green-- though a pair of doves overhead is still white. >> there you go, enjoy your tour. >> this is where the parties would happen... >> wertheim: now a museum, paisley park wasn't just where prince worked. he lived above the shop, so he could make music anytime inspiration struck-- which was basically always. >> morris hayes: this is my favorite room. >> wertheim: the prince estate invited us inside studio b. we sat at prince's soundboard with his longtime keyboardist and musical director morris hayes. >> hayes: have to ease into it, you know. ♪ welcome... ♪ >> wertheim: he gave us a preview of that missing album, "welcome 2 america." >> ♪ land of the free home of the brave ♪s, i mn land of the free
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home of the slave get down on your knees ♪ hit me welcome to america. ♪ >> wertheim: deliriously versatile, prince wrote the songs, sang the songs, and played most instruments. he asked hayes to add production value. >> hayes: like he said, "man, here's the record. i want you to overproduce it. anything i don't want, i'll take it away." >> wertheim: is there another song from the album? >> hayes: sure. this one's called "check the record." >> ♪ let's check the record see what it said ♪ seems like your girlfriend was in my bed ♪ >> wertheim: typical prince, the album resists genres. lyrically, it is, by turns, sly, suggestive and subversive. >> ♪ let's check the record see what it said ♪ seems like your girlfriend was in my bed ♪ >> wertheim: did he ever say why he didn't put this out there? >> hayes: no. and i remember asking him about it, and he says, "well, we'll just have to revisit that down
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the line." because he was just onto the next project. >> wertheim: you think that's what it was, he's just-- >> hayes: just, i'd never seen anybody that had that much work inside of them. of, st, music. >> ♪ i want to be ur ler ♪ >> wertheim: hayes isn't exaggerating. for four decades, prince worked to a furious beat, releasing an album roughly every year. yet most of the music prince created and recorded was never released. by one estimate, 8,000 songs-- that's hundreds of albums-- never left paisley park. >> shelby j.: well, music, you know, it ain't milk. it don't expire. you know. >> wertheim: prince vocalist shelby j. recalls, the music factory was open 24/7. >> shelby j.: it was nothing strange about getting that call at 2:00 a.m., and he got inspired, and he wants to record something. >> hayes: yeah. >> shelby j.: so it's, like, what-- he'd say, "what are you doin', shelby?" i'm, like, "i'm asleep. it's 2:30 in the morning." ( laughs ) "what--" he's, like, "you want to sing? feel like singing?" and i'm, like, "y-- you-- yeah,
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prince, i feel like singing." he's like, "how soon can you get here?" >> wertheim: how often would you guys record something that was great, that wasn't released? >> hayes: that was all the time. >> shelby j.: ooh, all the time. and i asked him about that. ke, wh's going to happen to this music?" and he's, like, "oh, somebody will-- somebody will do something with it." very cavalier. like, i won't be here, but he knew it would see the light of day. >> wertheim: prince warehoused all this music one floor below the studios, in what he called the vault. our cameras weren't allowed beyond this door to the vault's exterior, but the carver county sheriff's office got inside during a 2016 investigation into prince's death at paisley park, eventually ruled an accidental overdose of painkillers. at age 57, prince died with no spouse, no children and, crucially, no will. his sister and his five half- siblings have been named heirs, but, five years on, are locked in a legal dispute over the estate. meanwhile, the bank overseeing the estate called in troy carter, one-time lady gaga
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manager and spotify executive, to sort out the music collection and unlock its value. >> troy carter: the prince vault is this legendary thing. so, my first visit to paisley, of course the first place that i wanted to go was to-- to see the vault. it's literally a vault. ( laughs ) it's a room full of shelves, floor to ceiling, with tapes. you have recorded music. a video archive. then you have a written archive. you know, just looking at the penmanship, the drawings that he would do. >> carter: you know, "little red corvette," there's a picture of a little red corvette in the lyrics. i have-- literally have chills on my arm right now, because i remember the first time seeing the lyrics. >> ♪ little red corvette ♪ >> wertheim: do you have favorite songs that are down there? >> shelby j.: wow. "same page but a different book so much more in common if we only look." yeah. >> wertheim: on the rare
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occasions he mentioned it at all, prince downplayed the music he didn't release. ere he is in 2014. >> arsenio hall: is there a huge vault of material? >> prince: i don't go back in time and listen to it. i worked on it and brought it as far as i could right then. a lot of it, i didn't even finish. >> wertheim: maybe so, but we learned that for all its-- and his-- mystique, prince stayed out of the vault for the most mundane of reasons. >> carter: when they told me that he hadn't been in the vault in years, i thought there was going to be this story about how he left behind his old materials to focus on new artistic endeavors. and they said, "no, he just forgot the password to the vault, and so he started putting stuff in his pre-vault." and then that turned into more and more rooms. >> wertheim: carter had the contents moved here to be digitized. iron mountain is a secure repository in california. a team of archivists bears the responsibility of listening to the music and proposing new releases. the estate has kept pace with
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prince, putting out roughly an album a year since his death, a mix of re-releases and newly- mined gems. >> carter: sometimes, when we think we have the plan, we'll come across something that blows our mind. >> ♪ is that my echo? can you turn the lights down for me? ♪ >> wertheim: here's an example: in 1983, one year before the release of "purple rain," the album that cemented prince as a star, he recorded this rehearsal session. just him at the piano, working out new arrangements. >> carter: and there's a piece on that project of him crafting "purple rain." (♪ "purple rain" ♪) >> to hear the s, and to see hog was sort of formed, and then to finally get to, you know, that so
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really special. >> wertheim: fast forward 25 years: that little tune prince worked out at the piano? he played it on one of the world's largest stages-- the 2007 super bowl halftime show. (♪ "purple rain" ♪) >> morris and shelby backed him that night. (♪ "purple rain" ♪) >> wertheim: a little wet that night. >> shelby j.: a little wet. >> hayes: a little bit. >> shelby j.: just a little. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: was he worried about that? >> hayes: no. >> shelby j.: not at all. not at all. he was un-bothered. >> hayes: he even asked for more rain-- rain?rtheim: he asked for more >> shelby j.: yeah. >> shelby j.: "can you make it rain harder?" (♪ "purple rain" ♪) >> hayes: listen, when you get "purple rain" in the rain-- it don't get no better than that. >> prince: can i play this guitar? (♪ guitar ♪) >> wertheim: the ultimate showman, prince was at his most meticulous on guitar. he could deliver searing solos
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on stage that sounded, unmistakably, like they do on his album. what did prince tell you about his approach to playing a guitar solo? >> hayes: he said, "morris, if you want to do a great solo, like, write it out, think it out, so that, when you go to play it, you can play it again." >> shelby j.: and he would make that ugly face-- you know, the face. >> hayes: got to make the ugly face. >> shelby j.: got to make the ugly face. >> hayes: you had to get some contortion face, or the note won't even get out right, unless you make a ugly face. >> shelby j.: and i would watch him play guitar and sound out whate'isth and i could see that connection. >> wertheim: for all the music he churned out, prince performed with the spontaneity of a human jukebox, rearranging songs and set lists on the spot, and zinging his band members when they hit sour notes. >> hayes: and he'd just say, "well, looks like morris just bought me a new pair a boots this week." ( laughs ) >> wertheim: what does that
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mean? >> hayes: that means you just got fined. you just got docked because you messed up. and now he's going to take your money and go buy some new boots with it. >> wertheim: was there a flipside to that, though? but could he be too controlling? >> hayes: well, he micromanaged. i think, you know, the-- the-- the key to prince is that you always knew who was running the ship. >> wertheim: the seas weren't always smooth. prince famously chafed against a music business he said didn't treat artists fairly. in 1993, he changed his name to a symbol and splayed the word "slave" across his face, part of an ongoing battle with his record label to control his own output. >> ♪ i just want your extra time and your kiss ♪ >> wertheim: prince eventually won ownership of his master recordings, and his estate now controls the music. the challenge? monetizing the catalog, while trying to do right by prince. do you sort of have this, "what would prince do," echoing? >> carter: i want to make sure that prince isn't somewhere in heaven giving me the side-eye.
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you know, that-- that famous prince side-eye. >> wertheim: "carter, why'd you put that out there?" >> carter: exactly. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: hard to fathom prince's final act of ambiguity, not leaving behind a will. as his heirs wrangle over his estate, and try to put a value on something awfully hard to quantify, prince fans remain loyal, making the pilgrimage to paisley park, and awaiting the next musical mother-lode from his vault. >> carter: you know, the fans think they've heard everything. so whenever we can find things that the fans haven't heard is like a victory. >> hayes: this one's called "born 2 die." >> ♪ here she comes ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> wertheim: this summer marks the release of "welcome 2 america," an album about racial inequality and social injustice. recorded more than a decade ago just outside minneapolis, it crackles with relevance today. >> ♪ born to die born to die ♪ >> shelby j.: the injustice,
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inequality, prince knew about that firsthand, you know, growing up as a black man. he knew what that was. and he could-- he could write about it, and he could sing about it. when you got breonna taylor, you got ahmaud arbery, you got the george floyd going on, it's like we are/the movement is happening. and i think that the world is ready to absorb what he's saying on this album. i mean it's right on time. you know, right on time. >> ♪ getcha, getcha >> wertheim: prince will stay right on time for years, even decaes. we've done the math. and with so many songs in a vault now cracked open, we could get a prince album every year for the rest of the millennium. or as the artist himself might put it, until 3,000-zero-zero. ( ticking ) >> hear how a prince song is made. >> i mean, he took me by the shoulders and just shook me like this: "you're duke ellington!" you know? >> at 60minutesovertime.com.
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>> alfonsi: i'm sharyn alfonsi. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
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