This Mix Six originally posted in 2008 is being reposted in light of the death of Prince on April 21, 2016. The Kid was only 57, yet his musical output was seemingly endless. I became a fan of his music in the early ’80s when it was clear he was on his way to being a superstar. Through the ’90s and 2000s, he was always trying to push himself into new musical territory that sometimes left his fans scratching their heads. When I did this Mix Six, I wanted to feature songs that were both familiar and not-so-familiar. I think I got the right balance. Though most will have their favorites, these are just a sampling of mine. — Ted
The other day I was purifying myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka and I started thinking about all the cruel, I mean, cool things Prince has done to me over the years. You know, when I covered “Nothing Compares 2 U,” I did so without his permission, and he invited me over to his house and started punching me. Because I’m a pacifist, all I could do was spit on him. And then there was this one time when I was hangin’ at Club 3121, and Prince walks up to me and says the club is only for “the select.” I replied that I wish he hadn’t disbanded the Revolution, and then he just went off on me. He took off his purple bandanna, put it around my neck, and said, “Don’t you make me ruin my favorite bandanna by chokin’ the life outta you, sucka.” I said “It’s coo’ … it’s coo’,” and Jerome personally threw me out of the club.
I love Prince!
Seriously, I do love Prince’s music, and have since I first heard him in high school. The album was Controversy, and while my high school soundtrack consisted of a lot of new wave, hard rock, and pop, soul music (which Prince’s music was considered prior to the release of 1999) was not a big genre in my record collection. I remember showing my older brother the Controversy album cover and asking him, “Hey, have you heard this guy?” He pulled out a copy of Dirty Mind from his record collection and said, “Yeah.” Stuck to the cover of his copy was a news story from the Associated Press wire (yellow paper and all) that basically recounted how shocked people were when they heard all the sexual references and noises on Prince’s records. Considering how sexually open many songs are nowadays, it seems kind of quaint to read stories like that. But the early ’80s were another time.
Right now, however, let’s take a little journey and sample some of the lesser known tracks from Prince’s 30 years in the music biz, without even one song from Controversy. Oh, and since this week’s Republican convention is in Minnesota, I thought I’d spotlight something great “the Land of 10,000 Lakes” produced instead of, you now, that restroom stall in the Minneapolis airport where the term “wide stance” took on a new meaning.
Probably one of the best B-sides of the ’80s. “Erotic City” got a lot of radio play in my neck of the woods, and it surprised me that it didn’t make the final cut on the Purple Rain soundtrack, even on cassette, where you could tack on at least one more song. I mean, the Police did it with “Murder by Numbers” on Synchronicity, but Prince made most of us fans buy the 45 of “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Gee, with an album cover like that, it’s hard to believe Prince was booed and pelted with garbage when he opened for the Rolling Stones in 1981.
I had a bootleg cassette dub of “The Black Album” shortly after its release was canceled by Prince and Warner Bros. in November of 1987. I thought I’d struck gold! I mean, this was the album that was essentially “pulled” from stores, with Lovesexy being released instead six months later. So having “The Black Album” was a pretty novel thing, right? It was — until the CD was released in the fall of ’94.
In the mid-’90s Prince decided to battle Warner Bros. by dropping his name and substituting it with that strange symbol that was later revealed to be “Love Symbol #2.” But that’s not what Prince was calling himself. I don’t think even Prince knew what to call himself. Sure, there were labels like “the Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (“TAFKAP,” for short) or just “the Artist,” which Prince kinda sorta settled on. Whatever. It’s not about the name, it’s about the music, right? And speaking of the music, my favorite part of this tune from 1995’s The Gold Experience is at the end, where Prince just lets loose on what is probably the best scream he’s ever recorded.
Maybe it’s the James Brown feel of this song, but I find “Musicology” to be one of the most satisfying of Prince’s 21st-century releases.
Because I pretty much buy anything Prince releases, I picked up the iffy Planet Earth album (2007), which is all over the map in terms of musical styles. “Resolution,” however, is probably the most overtly “pop” of ’em all, and one I’ve grown to like quite a lot.