On this day in music history: May 15, 1985 – “Raspberry Beret” by Prince & The Revolution is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the twenty second single release for the R&B and pop music icon from Minneapolis, MN. With many of the songs on “Around The World In A Day” written and recorded during a hugely prolific period in Prince’s career, the musician would often reach back to unreleased songs to “re-imagine them”. “Raspberry Beret” is one of those compositions. It is originally recorded in April of 1982, during the sessions for the “1999” album. Unsatisfied with it, it is set aside. The narrative of “Raspberry Beret” follows a young man “working part time in a five and dime”, when he encounters a woman (wearing the title apparel) he is instantly attracted to. The basic track is re-cut with The Revolution in September 7, 1984, at their rehearsal space on Flying Cloud Drive in Eden Prairie, MN. Prince revamps “Beret”, coming up with a new arrangement. A stand out from the outset when “Around The World In A Day” is released, it is not the musicians’ first choice as a single. He tells his label Warner Bros Records that he wants “Paisley Park” to be the single. Many US stations favor “Raspberry Beret” from the beginning, giving it heavy play as an LP cut. A compromise between Prince and Warner Bros is reached, with “Paisley Park” being issued outside the US, and “Raspberry Beret” in North America. The decision proves to be a wise one, as the catchy song quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #37 on May 18, 1985, and #52 on the R&B singles chart on May 25, 1985, it peaks at #2 on the Hot 100 on July 13, 1985, and #3 on the R&B chart on July 6, 1985. A 12" single featuring extended versions are released on June 19, 1985, peaking at #4 on the Club Play chart on August 10, 1985. “Beret” is accompanied by a colorful video directed by Prince, with animation by Colossal Pictures co-founder Drew Takahashi. The B-side of “Raspberry Beret” features the non-LP cut “She’s Always In My Hair”. The funky, rock influenced track, is inspired by singer and actress Jill Jones, with whom the musician had shared a long relationship with. The basic track for “Hair” is originally recorded at Sunset Sound on December 29, 1983, during the sessions for “Erotic City” and “We Can Funk”. Additional overdubs are recorded on January 8, 1984 at Sunset, and another version (left unreleased) is recorded on August 15, 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive warehouse. The song becomes a fan favorite, and is performed live by Prince frequently, on tours between 1993 and 2015. Also issued as the B-sides of “Paisley Park” and “Girls And Boys”, “She’s Always In My Hair” makes its CD debut on the compilation “The Hits / The B-sides” in 1993.12" extended versions of it and “Raspberry Beret” are issued on CD on “Ultimate Prince” in 2006.
On this day in music history: April 22, 1985 – “Around The World In A Day”, the seventh studio album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at the Flying Cloud Warehouse in Eden Prairie, MN, Mobile Audio Studio, St. Paul, MN, Sunset Sound and Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA from January – December 1984. The second album credited to Prince & The Revolution, it is issued only ten months after “Purple Rain”. Though Warner Bros wants Prince to continue to tour in support of his hugely successful album, to maximize its sales worldwide, Prince has other ideas. Bored with touring, the musician insists that his next album be released as soon as the last single from the previous album falls from the charts. The new album is the first in a number of musical departures that Prince takes in his career. Much of the albums first half has a distinctively psychedelic influence, with the rest being balanced out with funk, pop and gospel sounds. Initially it is released with minimal publicity and without a single until nearly a month later. Prince suggests that “Paisley Park” be the first single (which is released in the UK), but with US radio already giving “Raspberry Beret” heavy airplay as an LP cut, Warner Bros in the US insists that it be issued instead. The album receives favorable reviews, and a positive reaction from fans. It spins off three singles including “Raspberry Beret” (#2 Pop) and “Pop Life” (#7 Pop). The initial CD packaging of the album comes in a three panel cardboard long box that unfolds (showing the song lyrics, like the LP’s inner gatefold) with the actual CD inside of a mini cardboard sleeve (of the album cover artwork), inserted into a slot inside the longbox. This packaging is discontinued after the initial press run, and the CD comes in a regular jewel case on subsequent re-pressings. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued in September of 2016, replicating the original LP packaging and the “Balloon Boy” hype sticker. “Around The World In A Day” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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On this day in music history: April 5, 1986 – “Kiss” by Prince And The Revolution hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on April 19, 1986, and also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on April 12, 1986. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fourth R&B and third pop chart topper for the Minneapolis, MN born singer and musician. The song is initially written for the band Mazarati in the Spring of 1985 when they ask him for material for their first album. Prince quickly writes the song on an acoustic guitar, and recording a demo in equally fast time. Working with producer David Z., they shape the skeletal demo into a fully formed track. Prince likes what they’ve done so much, that he sheepishly takes the track back, adding his lead vocals and guitar to it, but keeping Mazarati’s background vocals on the finished record. Added to the album “Parade” (the soundtrack for Prince’s second film “Under The Cherry Moon”), Warner Bros initially has doubts about the minimalist and unusually structured songs commercial potential. Their fears are unfounded when it is released as the albums first single (b/w the non LP B-side “<3 Or $”) on February 5, 1986, quickly becoming a smash. The song is also accompanied by a music video directed by Belgian born photographer and filmmaker Rebecca Blake. Following “Kiss”, Blake works with Prince again on the clips for “Cream” and “Diamond And Pearls”. Also issued as an extended 12" single, the longer version features dialogue between Prince and singer Jill Jones, as a husband and wife watching Prince on television. Out of print for many years, the 12" is reissued in 2016, having previously made its CD debut on the compilation “Ultimate Prince” in 2006. “Kiss” wins the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1987, also being nominated for Best R&B Song. The song is also covered by UK pop band Age Of Chance later in 1986, and by The Art Of Noise w/ Tom Jones in 1988. “Kiss” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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On this day in music history: March 31, 1986 – “Parade”, the eighth album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, MN, Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA and Monterey Sound Studios in Glendale, CA from April 1985 – January 1986. Issued just eleven months after “Around The World In A Day”, “Parade” serves as the soundtrack to Prince’s second film “Under The Cherry Moon”. Again refusing to stay in one place musically, the artist moves away from the psychedelic tinged pop of the previous album, with less emphasis on guitar and more funk and jazz elements. Prince also implements his sound with horn and strings (arranged by veteran composer and arranger Claire Fischer), utilizing horn players Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss. Though it is credited to “Prince And The Revolution”, most of the tracks feature Prince playing all of the instruments, though part of or all of The Revolution play on four tracks. The lead single “Kiss” (#1 Pop and R&B) is a last minute addition, originally intended for proteges Mazarati. Prince ends up taking the track back from the group when he realizes the songs hit potential, adding his own lead vocal and rhythm guitar, and leaving Mazarati’s background vocals on the song. The album is far better received than “Under The Cherry Moon” which is released three months later, opening to poor reviews and box office. “Parade” spins off three singles including “Mountains” (#23 Pop, #15 R&B) and “Anotherloverholenyohead” (#63 Pop, #18 R&B). “Girls & Boys”, issued in the US as the B-side of “Anotherlover” is released as an A-side in Europe, peaking at #11 on the UK singles chart. The album is remastered and reissued on vinyl on August 23, 2016, making it available in that format for the first time in over twenty years. The reissue reproduces the original gatefold sleeve, custom Paisley Park LP labels, custom inner sleeve with the photo collage and album credits and the hype sticker included on the original vinyl release. “Parade” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the R&B album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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On this day in music history: November 4, 1984 – Prince & The Revolution kick off the “Purple Rain Tour” at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI, playing the first of seven sold out nights at the venue. Supported on the tour by opening acts Sheila E. and Apollonia 6, the tour is a massive success and plays thirty three cities, performing a total of eighty seven shows to a combined audience of over 1.7 million people. Though the set list for the show remains largely consistent throughout the tour, Prince also debuts new songs during the shows such as “Raspberry Beret”, “America” (from the forthcoming “Around The World In A Day”), and “4 The Tears In Your Eyes” (released on the “We Are The World” benefit album in April 1985). The March 30, 1985 show at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY is videotaped and released on home video as “Prince & The Revolution Live!” (nominated for a Grammy for Best Longform Video) later in the year. The tour concludes on April 7, 1985 at the Orange Bowl (re-dubbed “The Purple Bowl” for that night’s performance) in Miami, FL.
On this day in music history: September 29, 1984 – “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince & The Revolution hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on October 6, 1984. Written and produced by Prince, it is second consecutive chart topping single for the Minneapolis, MN born artist. Issued as the second single from the “Purple Rain” soundtrack, the song is heard over the opening sequence of the film. The basic track is recorded live at Prince’s rehearsal space “The Warehouse” in St. Louis Park, MN in the Summer of 1983, after Prince asks recording engineer Susan Rogers to pull out all of the recording equipment out of his home studio, and install it in the bands rehearsal space. Recorded in the large open space without any separation between instruments and electrical interference from other sources in the building, the band get the master take of “Crazy” on tape. Additional overdubs and final mixing for “Let’s Go Crazy” are completed at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA. Both the 45 and 12" single versions of “Let’s Go Crazy” are backed with the non-LP B-side “Erotic City (Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive)” featuring Sheila E.. Prince is inspired to write and record “Erotic City” after seeing Parliament/Funkadelic perform live at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles. Going right to Sunset Sound after the show, he lays down all of the instrumental tracks by himself, then inviting Sheila to sing with him on the song. The track quickly becomes a fan favorite and receive substantial radio airplay, in spite of the fact that the word “f*** is heard throughout. Though Warner Bros. claims that "funk” is what is being said, which later turns out not to be true. Stations now playing the record air a censored version deleting the expletive from the song. Issued as the follow up to the mega smash “When Doves Cry” on July 18, 1984, nine days before the opening of “Purple Rain” in US theaters, it quickly surges up the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #45 on August 8, 1984, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The original 12" single featuring the extended versions of “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Erotic City”, out of print since the mid 80’s, is reissued along with several other classic Prince maxi-singles in June of 2017. “Let’s Go Crazy” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 26, 1984 – “Purple Rain” by Prince & The Revolution is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fifteenth single release for the singer, songwriter, musician and producer from Minneapolis, MN. Written in early 1983, “Purple Rain” is one of three songs recorded live at First Avenue in Minneapolis on August 3, 1983, along with “I Would Die 4 U” and “Baby I’m A Star”, for the films soundtrack. The show is benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater, and also marks then nineteen year old guitarist Wendy Melvoin’s first live performance with the band. After the initial live recording, a string section is overdubbed on to the end of the track in late August/early September of 1983 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA. It is also edited down significantly from its original length clocking in at over thirteen minutes, removing one entire verse and guitar solo from the song. Before including the song on the album, Prince contacts Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, concerned that “Purple Rain” bares some similarities to their recent hit “Faithfully”. During the call Prince tells Cain, “I want to play something for you, and I want you to check it out”. “The chord changes are close to "Faithfully” and “and I don’t want you to sue me.” Appreciative of the phone call, Cain gives Prince his blessing, telling him “I thought it was an amazing tune”, and “Man, I’m just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you’re that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it’s gonna be a hit”. Released as the third single from the soundtrack, it is backed with the non-LP B-side “GOD”. Featured in the film as a brief instrumental interlude, the single features vocals by Prince. The extended instrumental version is only released on the European 12" pressing of the single. In the US and many other countries, the 7" and 12" pressings of the single are pressed on purple vinyl, with the 7" edition coming packaged in a translucent plastic sleeve with a still image of Prince from the film on the front. “Purple Rain” peaks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B singles chart on November 17, 1984. On January 28, 1985, Prince & The Revolution turn in a show stopping performance of the song on the 12th Annual American Music Awards, where the band take home three awards that evening. Prince performs the song as the finale to his half time show performance at Super Bowl XLI in 2007, with the additional and unplanned dramatic effect of it raining while the musician plays. “Purple Rain” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 4, 1984 – “Purple Rain” by Prince & The Revolution hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 24 weeks, also topping the R&B album chart for 19 weeks on July 28, 1984. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA, and The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, MN from August 1983 – March 1984. The recording of the soundtrack album to the highly successful film begins with the recording of the tracks “I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m A Star” and the title track, which are all recorded at a live benefit performance at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, also marking guitarist Wendy Melvoin’s live debut appearance with the band. “Let’s Go Crazy” is cut in The Revolution’s rehearsal space after Prince asks engineer Susan Rogers to take his home recording studio equipment out of his private residence and install it at The Warehouse. The remaining tracks are recorded in regular studios over the next couple of months, with the live recordings receiving some overdubbing and sweetening. Like the film, the soundtrack album is an enormous success, spinning off five hit singles including “When Doves Cry” (#1 Pop and R&B), “Let’s Go Crazy” (#1 Pop and R&B) and the title track (#2 Pop, #4 R&B). It wins two Grammy Awards (Best Rock Vocal Performance By Duo Or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special), and an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score in 1985. The album is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011, and into the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress in 2012. “Purple Rain” is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and receives a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: July 10, 1985 – “Pop Life” by Prince & The Revolution is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is released as the second single issued from “Around The World In A Day”. With the “Purple Rain” film and soundtrack all but complete by early 1984, Prince does not rest on his laurels as he continues his prolific streak of writing and recording new material. “Pop Life” is written during this period, recording it at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA on February 19, 1984. The track features Prince playing most of the instruments with Sheila E. on drums, and Wendy and Lisa providing background vocals. The end of the song features a sample of a hostile audience yelling “throw the bum out” at Prince while opening for The Rolling Stones in 1981. The single is backed with the non LP B-side “Hello”, which is written in response to the criticism leveled at Prince due to him not participating in the recording of “We Are The World”, as well as the intrusiveness of the press in the wake of his huge mainstream success. The track is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders on May 24, 1985. “Hello” also features background vocals by Jill Jones. Both “Pop Life” and “Hello” are released with significantly longer versions on a 12" single simultaneously with the 7". The US 12" of “Pop” features a remix of that track by Sheila E., with the UK release including a different and much longer remix. The US 12" mix makes its CD debut on the compilation “Ultimate Prince” in 2006. “Pop Life” peaks at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 21, 1985, and #8 on the R&B singles chart on September 14, 1985.
On this day in music history: June 25, 1984 – “Purple Rain”, the sixth album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at First Avenue (w/ mobile recording truck) in Minneapolis, MN, The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, MN, The Record Plant in New York, NY, and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from August 1983 – March 1984. Serving as the soundtrack to Prince’s motion picture debut, it is the first album officially credited to Prince & The Revolution. Recording of the music for the film begins on August 3, 1983 when the band perform a live benefit show at First Avenue in Minneapolis. The performance marks the debut of new guitarist Wendy Melvoin, with the master versions of “I Would Die 4 U” (#8 Pop, #11 R&B), “Baby I’m A Star” and the title track being recorded at this show. These performances appear on the finished album with only minimal post production. The film and albums rousing opener “Let’s Go Crazy” (#1 Pop and R&B) is recorded at Prince’s rehearsal space “The Warehouse”, after he asks recording engineer Susan Rogers to pull the equipment out of his home studio. The basic track is cut live in spite of having no isolation between the musicians, and electrical interference from various appliances in the building. The track “Take Me With U” (#25 Pop, #40 R&B), the artists duet with Apollonia Kotero is originally slated to appear on Apollonia 6’s album, but Prince changes his mind and includes it on “Purple Rain”. Original LP copies are packaged with a poster of the band (taken during the video shoot for “When Doves Cry”), with a limited number of US promo copies (some stock copies in foreign territories) pressed on purple vinyl. Released four weeks ahead of the film, the soundtrack is an instant critical and commercial smash, launching Prince into worldwide super stardom. It spins off five singles including “When Doves Cry” (#1 Pop and R&B), and the title track (#2 Pop and #4 R&B), becoming the sixth best selling soundtrack of all time. It also wins two Grammy Awards in 1985. “Purple Rain” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011, and in 2012 is added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress. On June 23, 2017, remastered editions of the album are reissued on CD, including a Deluxe Edition three CD + DVD set. The deluxe version includes the original album on disc one, with disc two featuring eleven bonus tracks of previously unreleased material. Disc three contains the 7" edits and 12" extended versions. The DVD features the “Prince & The Revolution Live!” concert video originally released in 1985. It is also issued with the new remaster on standard black vinyl, and as a picture disc. “Purple Rain” spends twenty four consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, nineteen consecutive weeks at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.