Category: prince

On this day in music history: July 10, 1985 – …

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.

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On this day in music history: July 7, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: July 7, 1984 – “When Doves Cry” by Prince hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, topping the R&B singles chart for 8 weeks on June 30, 1984, and also topping the Club Play chart for 6 weeks on June 30, 1984. Written and produced by Prince, it is the first pop and second R&B chart topper for the virtuoso singer, songwriter and musician from Minneapolis, MN. After principal photography on his first film “Purple Rain” is completed, director Albert Magnoli asks Prince to write another song for the film to underscore a montage sequence describing the vibe that he’s looking for. Stating “that it’s about your parents and about loss and redemption”. Prince tells Magnoli “OK”, and comes back the next day with not one but two songs that he feels will suit the director’s request. The two settle on “When Doves Cry”, and Prince goes off to work on it immediately. Prince enters Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA on March 1, 1984, with the assistance of engineer Peggy McCreary (aka “Peggy Mac”) recording and mixing the track in a single thirty six hour long session. Released on May 16, 1984, ten weeks ahead of the films July 27, 1984 opening date, the record is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #57 on June 2, 1984, it streaks to the top of the chart five weeks later. By the time the single drops off the charts it has sold over three million copies in the US alone, making “When Doves Cry” the top selling single of 1984. The single is backed with the non-LP B-side “17 Days” (full title: “17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose.)”). Originally intended for Apollonia 6’s album, Prince keeps the track for himself, becoming a firm fan favorite. “When Doves Cry” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 25, 1984 …

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. 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. 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.

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On this day in music history: June 20, 1989 …

On this day in music history: June 20, 1989 – “Batman (Motion Picture Soundtrack)”, the eleventh album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, MN from June, October, December 1988 and February – March 1989. In December of 1988, Prince receives a call from director Tim Burton from the set of “Batman” in London. The director tells him that he is using “1999” and “Baby I’m A Star” as temporary tracks in a rough cut of the film. Burton asks if he would write some new music. At first, Prince is hesitant to make a commitment due to his busy schedule, but accepts an invitation to come to London in January of 1989. Prince’s enthusiasm is sparked by seeing a rough cut and agrees to participate. The first two songs presented are “Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic” and “200 Balloons”. When Burton tells Prince that they aren’t what he had in mind, they’re substituted with “Partyman” and “Trust”. The majority of Prince’s music is recorded in only six weeks, with the previously recorded “Scandalous”, “Electric Chair” and “Vicki Waiting” (originally titled “Anna Waiting”) also being included. Another song titled “Dance With The Devil” is discarded when Prince feels that it is “too dark”. He replaces it with another that he writes virtually overnight. Sampling parts of “200 Balloons”, “The Future”, “Electric Chair” and “Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic” along with dialogue from actors Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger and Jack Nicholson, Prince creates “Batdance” (#1 Pop and R&B). Mashed up along with dialogue cleverly inserted throughout, it’s selected as the lead single. Like the film itself, Prince’s “Batman” album is also a runaway hit. It spins off five singles including “Partyman” (#18 Pop, #5 R&B), “The Arms Of Orion” (Featuring Sheena Easton) (#36 Pop), “Scandalous” (#5 R&B) also issued in extended form as “Scandalous Sex Suite” with additional vocals by Kim Basinger. Prince’s album is also released as a limited edition CD. It comes packaged in a five inch circular black metal film can embossed with the Batman logo, and a twenty page booklet featuring still photos and song lyrics. Fans excitement for the release creates an instant demand for it, and quickly sells out. However, its collectability is greatly diminished when Warner Bros floods the market with more copies as the demand quickly tapers off. Due to the complex licensing issues for Batman, Prince has to agree to sign over his song publishing rights, meaning they are not permitted to appear on any Prince hit compilations for many years. Though “Batdance” finally appears on the compilation “Prince 4Ever” in November of 2016. “Batman” spends six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number five 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: June 19, 1990 – …

On this day in music history: June 19, 1990 – Prince begins the first of twelve sold out shows at the Wembley Arena in London. The eleventh stop on the “Nude Tour”, the Wembley shows set list consists primarily of hits only going as far back as the “1999” album. However, at some shows he previews the as yet to be released “Thieves In The Temple” from the “Graffiti Bridge” soundtrack. The dates are broken up into three residencies, with the first run of shows on consecutive nights from June 19 – 27 (with two nights off in between on the 21st and 24th), then on July 3rd and 4th, and finally from July 9 – 11, 1990. The tour plays fifty six shows in Europe and Asia only, with Prince opting not to tour the US again until 1993. The shows are also professionally filmed, but to date have not been commercially released, though high quality copies are in the hands of collectors.

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Born on this day: June 7, 1958 – Singer, songw…

Born on this day: June 7, 1958 – Singer, songwriter, producer and musician Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, MN). Happy Birthday to this musical icon on what would have been his 61st Birthday. We love and miss U, P!!!

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On this day in music history: June 7, 1978 – &…

On this day in music history: June 7, 1978 – “Soft And Wet” by Prince is released. Written by Prince and Chris Moon, it is the debut single release by the singer, songwriter, producer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. Written while making a reputation around Minneapolis as a teenage musical prodigy, “Soft And Wet” is one of the first professional recordings he makes. Local producer and Moonsounds recording studio owner Chris Moon invites the young musician to his studio to see him play. Watching Prince go from one instrument to the next with great ease, Moon offers him the opportunity to use his studio for free and help him record a demo tape. In the Summer of 1976, Prince records several songs for the demo, besides “Soft And Wet” (with lyrics co-written by Moon) also include early versions of “Baby”, “My Love Is Forever” (originally titled Love Is Forever), and “I’m Yours”. When the first demo does not attract any record label interest, Moon sends a copy of the tape to local businessman Owen Husney. Initially not believing that teen aged Prince is the musician playing and singing on the demo, Husney is invited to Moon’s studio to see for himself. Completely blown away by Prince’s talent, Husney offers to become his manager and help him get a record record deal with a major label. In late 1976, they go into Studio 80 in Minneapolis to record a more polished demo to shop to record labels. In 1977, a number of record labels express interest in Prince, but the young artist signs a three album deal with Warner Bros, who are the only label that offer him full creative control. Recording at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA from October to December of 1977, Prince records his debut album “For You”, playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals. Released on April 7, 1978, Warner Bros initially releases the album without a lead single. The funky and provocative “Soft And Wet” (b/w “So Blue”) is released two months later on June 7th, Prince’s twentieth birthday. Loaded with double entendres and sexual metaphors, the record meets with some resistance from radio programmers at first, but begins receiving play in discos and clubs, which eventually pushes the record on to R&B radio. Entering the Billboard R&B singles chart at #98 on July 29, 1978, “Soft And Wet” peaks at #12 on the R&B chart on September 23, 1978, selling modest but respectable 350,000 copies. The single also Bubbles Under the Hot 100 at #101 on October 14, 1978, before peaking at #92 on November 25, 1978. Both “Soft And Wet” and the follow up single “Just As Long As We’re Together” are remixed by legendary club DJ and remixer Jim Burgess, being released as a promo only 12" release. To date, neither remix has been released in digital form, with the original promo becoming a highly desired collector’s item among Prince fans.

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On this day in music history: May 16, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1984 – “When Doves Cry” by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fifteenth single release for the singer, songwriter and musician from Minneapolis, MN. With principal photography having wrapped on Prince’s first feature film “Purple Rain” by early 1984, the film quickly goes into post production to make its projected late July release date. As the film is being edited, director Albert Magnoli requests an additional song to underscore a montage sequence he is cutting together. The director gives the artist an idea of the type of song he’s looking for, stating that “it’s about your parents, and about love and loss”. Prince says “OK” to Magnoli, then returns the next day with two complete song demos. Upon hearing the one titled “When Doves Cry”, the director likes it immediately. Prince enters Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood on March 1, 1984, recording and mixing the song in a single thirty six hour session. During the mixing stage, Prince comes up with the idea of removing the bass line from the already spare track. Warner Bros. is initially hesitant to the release the song, but the artist insists that it be issued as is. Issued five weeks ahead as the first taste of the landmark “Purple Rain” soundtrack, it is an instant smash upon its release. “When Doves Cry” becomes the fastest selling single in the history of the label, selling over a million copies in its first five days. Part of the initial press run of 45’s are pressed on purple vinyl, with a 12" single featuring the full unedited version being released commercially a month later on June 13, 1984. The 7" and 12" singles are backed by the non LP B-side “17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose, if U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose)” which is originally intended for Apollonia 6, but Prince changes his mind, and re-records the song at Sunset Sound on January 8, 1984. “17 Days” also receives significant airplay and becomes a fan favorite. “When Doves Cry” hits number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart on June 30, 1984 (spending 8 weeks at the top) and top the Hot 100 on July 7, 1984 (spending 5 weeks at the top), selling more than two million copies (certified Platinum by the RIAA) in the US alone and is ranked the top single of 1984.

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On this day in music history: May 15, 1985 -…

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.

  

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