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Prince

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The Hits/the B-Sides by Price CD

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Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is an American musician. He performs under the mononymous name of Prince, but has also been known by various other names, among them an unpronounceable symbol, leading fans and critics to dub him The Artist Formerly Known As Prince or simply The Artist.

Prince is a prolific artist, having released several hundred songs both under his own name and with other artists. He has won six Grammy Awards and an Academy Award, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2004, he was named as the top male pop artist of the past 25 years by ARC Rock on the Net,[1] and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Prince #28 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[2]

From his early material, rooted in R&B, soul and funk, Prince has expanded his musical palette throughout his career, absorbing many other genres including pop, rock, jazz, new wave, psychedelia and hip hop. Some of his primary influences include Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and Carlos Santana. The distinctive characteristics of his early-to-mid 1980s work, such as sparse and industrial-sounding drum machine arrangements and the use of synthesizer riffs to serve the role traditionally occupied by horn riffs in earlier R&B, funk and soul music, were called the "Minneapolis sound" and have proved very influential.

Biography

Uptown: Early years

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 7 June 1958, to John L. Nelson and Matti Shaw.[3] John was a pianist and songwriter, and Mattie was a singer. He is named after the Prince Rogers Trio, his father's jazz band, and as a boy he was called Skipper.

There are a number of myths regarding Prince's ethnicity. In fact, both his parents were African-American.' Prince, like many African-Americans is an amalgam of different ethnicities.' According to a 12 September 1985 Rolling Stone magazine article, it affirms Shaw as "a singer sixteen years John's junior, Mattie bore traces of Billie Holiday in her pipes and more than a trace Indian." His mother, is African-American, Italian American and Jewish. After the birth of his sister Tyka in 1960, Prince's parents gradually drifted apart. After they formally separated, he had a troubled relationship with his stepfather that resulted in his running away from home. Prince lived briefly with his father, who bought him his first guitar, and later he moved in with a neighbourhood family, the Andersons, befriending their son, Andre Anderson (later called André Cymone).

Prince and Anderson joined Prince's cousin Charles Smith in a band called Grand Central that they formed in junior high school. His initial contributions were as an instrumentalist in what was a mainly instrumental band that played clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area. As time went by and Prince's musical interests broadened, he found himself producing the arrangements for the band. Before long he became the band's front man. By the time Prince entered high school, Grand Central evolved into Champagne and started playing original music already drawing on a range of influences including Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, Parliament-Funkadelic, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. At one point Prince was a student at the Minnesota Dance Theatre.

In 1976, he started work on a demo tape with producer Chris Moon in a Minneapolis studio. Prince also had the patronage of Owen Husney (of The High Spirits), to whom Moon introduced him, a connection that helped him produce a high-quality demo recording. Husney started contacting major labels and ran a campaign promoting Prince as a star of the future, resulting in a bidding war eventually won by Warner Bros. Records. They offered him a contract and were the only label to give Prince creative control of his songs.

First steps: 1977—1980

Pepe Willie, husband of Prince's cousin, Shantel, was an influence in Prince's early career. Along with Husney, Willie acted as mentor and manager for Prince in the Grand Central days, and he employed Prince in the studio for his own recordings. In 1977, Willie formed 94 East, a band with Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry. 94 East comprised a group of singers and musicians that included Andre Cymone and Prince. Prince composed the music for Willie's lyrics and typically played guitar and keyboards in the studio. He wrote many songs for the group, including "Just Another Sucker." The band recorded an album, Minneapolis Genius – The Historic 1977 Recordings. Although it was not a solo album and was not commercially released until many years later, it is considered Prince's first professional album. For unknown reasons, Prince does not acknowledge the existence of this album. In 1995, the original recordings with Prince and Cymone were released by Willie as 94 East featuring Prince, Symbolic Beginning.

Prince released his first album, For You, on 7 April 1978. For You was the first major-label album released by Prince, his first of many for Warner Bros. Tommy Vicari was the executive producer. This album, like most of his career, was not recorded with a band; Prince purportedly played all 27 instruments on the album though they were different types of string, percussion, and keyboard instruments.

The majority of For You was written and performed by Prince, except for the song "Soft and Wet" (lyrics co-written by Moon). This was the first of Prince's albums containing the now ubiquitous legend: "Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince." Prince spent twice his initial advance recording the album, which sold modestly and made the bottom reaches of the Billboard 200, while the single "Soft and Wet" performed well on the R&B charts. Prince used Prince's Music Co. for publishing the songs from this album. The single reached #12 on the Soul chart and #92 on the pop chart. "Just as Long as We're Together" flopped at #91 on the soul chart.

By 1979, Prince had recruited his first backing band featuring Andre Cymone (Anderson) on bass, Gayle Chapman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, Bobby Z on drums, and Dez Dickerson on guitar. Prince intentionally enlisted a multi-racial, mixed-gender group, much like the backing band of one of his greatest influences, Sly Stone. They had their first shows at the Capri Theatre on 5 and 6 January, 1979. Reportedly, Prince mostly mumbled into the microphone, whilst Dez and Andre ran back and forth into the audience. Warner executives were at the second show, which was plagued with electrical difficulties and a snowstorm, and decided Prince had promise but the band needed more time to gel before it could tour. This was just after their gear was stolen from their rehearsal base at Dels Tyre Mart.[4]

In October 1979, Prince released his self-titled second album Prince, which reached #4 on the Billboard R&B charts, and contained two R&B hits: "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover." These two R&B hits were performed on 26 January 1980, on the TV show American Bandstand with this first backing band. Legend has it that Prince became annoyed when, during the interview segment, Dick Clark expressed surprise that Prince and his band mates hailed from Minneapolis "of all places." At first Prince refused to speak, instead answering a question by gesturing with his hand. It was later admitted by Dez Dickerson that it was planned from the beginning as a way to throw Dick Clark off his game. Dickerson was quoted as saying, "Great. We're illiterate, but we play well." For his second album, Prince used Ecnirp Music – BMI[5] for publishing his songs, which he would also use for the album Dirty Mind. Prince has been certified gold status; the single "I Wanna Be Your Lover" reached #1 on the R&B charts, also hitting #11 on the Billboard Top 100 American pop charts. This became known as one of his greatest hits.

Birth name Prince Rogers Nelson
Born 7 June 1958 (1958-06-07) (age 50)
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Genre(s) Pop, rock, R&B, funk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, actor, multi-instrumentalist
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, percussion, Linn Drum
Years active 1978—present
Label(s) NPG, Columbia, Universal, Arista, Paisley Park, Warner Bros.
Associated acts The Revolution; Wendy and Lisa
New Power Generation
The Time; Morris Day
Sheila E.
Kate Bush
Vanity 6; Apollonia 6
Mazarati
The Family
94 East
Madhouse
Jill Jones
Candy Dulfer
Támar
 

Controversy era: 1980—1984

In 1980, Prince released Dirty Mind, again entirely self-recorded and released using the demos of the songs. On tour, Lisa Coleman replaced Chapman in the band, who felt the sexually explicit lyrics and stage antics of Prince's concerts conflicted with her religious beliefs. Dirty Mind is particularly notable for its sexually explicit material.

Prince opened for Rick James in a 1980 tour with the label "punk funk" being applied to both artists, although it reportedly didn't sit comfortably with Prince. He released the album Controversy in 1981, with the single of the same name charting internationally for the first time. In February of 1981, Prince performed "Partyup" on the now-infamous season six episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Charlene Tilton that brought Jean Doumanian's lackluster tenure as executive producer down when cast member Charles Rocket uttered the word "fuck" at the end of the program. Starting with the album Controversy, Prince used Controversy Music[6]ASCAP for publishing his songs, which he would use for his following sixteen records until Emancipation in 1996.

During this period, Prince began to attract attention for the clothes he wore onstage. He wore high-heeled shoes and boots and tended to flaunt and express an intense sexuality onstage in addition to in his music, using symbols associated with androgyny and as a result, people began questioning his sexual orientation. His stylistic choices brought him trouble as an opening act for The Rolling Stones' two Los Angeles Coliseum shows in 1981, where he was infamously pelted with garbage while wearing bikini briefs, leg warmers, high-heeled boots, and a trench coat, in addition to being booed off the stage for his wardrobe. These shows occurred just before the release of Controversy and also when he was breaking in his new bassist Mark Brown (later BrownMark), who was then just 18 and out of high school.

In 1981, Prince formed a "side project"(a problematic label given that his band was only used for performance, not recording sessions) band called The Time. Prince was able to do this thanks to a clause in his contract with Warner Bros. The Time released four albums between 1981 and 1990, with Prince writing and performing all instruments and backing vocals throughout. The band's vocals were led by Morris Day.

In the coming decade, Prince would also collaborate with Vanity (of Vanity 6), Apollonia (of Apollonia 6) and Sheila E. He also wrote hits for artists such as Sheena Easton ("Sugar Walls"), Celine Dion (as she talked about in an interview with Arsenio Hall in 1993), and The Bangles ("Manic Monday"). Prince's own recordings would be covered in hit versions by artists as diverse as Chaka Khan ("I Feel For You"), Sheena Easton ("Eternity"), Mariah Carey, Art of Noise with Tom Jones, and Sinéad O'Connor ("Nothing Compares 2 U"). O'Connor's cover, originally written by Prince for The Family, was a huge commercial success in 1990.

In 1982, Prince released the 1999 double-album which "broke" Prince into the mainstream in the US and internationally, selling over three million copies.[7] The title track was a protest against nuclear proliferation and became his first top ten hit internationally. With his video for "Little Red Corvette" he joined Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie as part of the first wave of African American artists on MTV. The song "Delirious" also went top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was placed at number six in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1983.

Around this time Prince began crediting his band as The Revolution, which consisted of Dez Dickerson on guitar, Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, Bobby Z. on drums, and Brown Mark on bass. The band's name was printed in reverse on the cover of 1999; Prince refrained using the name "The Revolution" until Dickerson left the band for personal reasons. Dickerson was replaced by Wendy Melvoin, a childhood friend of Lisa. The band members were known for being solid musicians and a strong live act, but their talents would be used sparsely in the studio. Their presence in Prince's recordings, however, would increase through the mid-1980s.

During this period, Prince recorded many acclaimed b-sides—songs that were previously released on the b-side of a single that were, at times, "throwaway" songs—becoming popular songs in their own right. Some greats and fan favorites include "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore," b-side for "1999"; "Erotic City," b-side for "Let's Go Crazy"; and "17 Days," b-side for "When Doves Cry." Several of these b-sides were covered by mainstream artists, including Alicia Keys and Living Colour.

1984—1987

Prince's 1984 album, Purple Rain (concurrent with the film of the same name) sold more than thirteen million copies in the US and spent twenty-four consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200. The Academy Award-winning film grossed more than $80 million in the US alone, and has proved to be Prince's biggest cinematic success to date.

Two songs from Purple Rain, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy," topped the US pop singles charts and were hits around the world, while the title track reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Prince simultaneously held the spots #1 film, #1 single, and #1 album in the US. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for "Purple Rain," and the album ranks at 72 in the top 100 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list;[8] the album is also listed in The All-TIME 100 Albums[9] of TIME Magazine.

It was the album's song "Darling Nikki" to which Tipper Gore overheard her twelve-year-old daughter, Karenna, listening that inspired her to found the Parents Music Resource Center[10][11]. The centre has enacted the mandatory use of a warning label ("Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics") on the covers of records that have been judged to contain language or lyrical content unsuitable for minors.

In 1985, after the U.S. Purple Rain Tour, which was a smash hit in the US and Canada, Prince announced that he would discontinue both live performances and music videos after the release of Around the World in a Day, which held the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart for three weeks. Prince's ban on music videos supposedly ended when the album stalled in the charts and, after a video for "Raspberry Beret," then reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1986, Prince released the album Parade. The album went to #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #2 on the R&B album charts. The first single, "Kiss," would top the Billboard Hot 100. At the same time, "Manic Monday" by The Bangles, which Prince had written under the pseudonym "Christopher Tracy," reached #2 on the Hot 100.

Christopher Tracy was the name of Prince's character in the movie "Under The Cherry Moon," for which Parade served as a soundtrack. Prince both directed and starred in the movie, and it also featured Kristen Scott Thomas as Mary Sharon in her first movie role. She would go on to star in such films as "The English Patient." Following the film and album, Prince returned to touring with a stripped-down show. After a few isolated dates (dubbed "the Hit and Run Tour") in the United States, he embarked on his first full scale European Tour in the summer of 1986. He closed the tour in September in Japan, his first appearances in the country.

At the end of the tour, Prince disbanded The Revolution, although retaining band member Matt Fink on keyboard. Added to the backing band was Boni Boyer on keyboards, Sheila E on drums, Levi Seacer, Jr. on bass, and Miko Weaver on guitar.

1987—1991

Sign o' the Times, released in 1987 as a double album, reached the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 and achieved the greatest critical acclaim of his career, topping the annual and highly reputable Pazz & Jop critics poll, reaching the top 100 of Rolling Stone's list[8] and The All-TIME 100 Albums[9] of TIME Magazine, which declared it was the best album of the 1980s. Following the album's release, Prince launched the Sign o' the Times Tour in Europe. 1987 saw the potential for two of pop's biggest stars coming together to perform a duet. Michael Jackson talked with Prince about performing a duet together for the title track of his new album Bad. Jackson and Prince ended up having creative differences, however, and Jackson recorded the title track for the album alone.[12]

In 1987, Prince planned to release The Black Album, a funk-oriented album whose erotically-charged lyrics and club-focused beats were perceived by many as his attempt to woo back the black audience he was supposed to have lost as a result of his mid-80s forays into pop, hard rock, and psychedelic rock. In reality, the album was a collection of tracks recorded during the previous few years, some of which had initially been recorded for Sheila E's birthday party in 1986.[13]

The album remains legendary in Prince's career after its release was cancelled at the artist's behest mere days before its release date. Though many already manufactured copies were supposed to be destroyed, several escaped and became the source for numerous bootleg editions. The album circulated through the bootleg underground music world and was not given an official release until 1994. Prince later attributed his eleventh-hour request for the album to be pulled from release to "a spiritual epiphany," but there are rumours that this epiphany was actually the result of a bad experience with the drug Ecstasy.

The 1988 album Lovesexy is considered Prince's "spiritual" answer to the "dark" The Black Album. Lovesexy performed disappointingly on the US charts, reaching only #11 on the Billboard 200, but it reached #1 in the UK. (One track from The Black Album, "When 2 R in Love," also appeared on Lovesexy.) The US leg of the Lovesexy World Tour also proved to be commercial disappointment: Prince lost money as dates failed to sell out. He did balance this poor performance with the European and Japanese legs of the tour.

In 1989, Prince provided and released the soundtrack for Batman, which returned him to #1 on the US album charts. The worldwide hit-single "Batdance" reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, while another track, "Partyman," featuring the vocals of his then girlfriend "Anna Garcia"[14] became a popular song with the film's audiences.

In 1990, Prince released the film Graffiti Bridge, a sequel to Purple Rain that performed poorly at the box office. The soundtrack to "Graffiti Bridge" featured Prince along with artists such as Tevin Campbell, Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers, and Morris Day with his other band and project, The Time. It would peak at #6 in the US and reach #1 in the UK. He also collaborated with Madonna on her Like a Prayer album for the song entitled "Love Song."

1991—1994

The release of Diamonds and Pearls 1991 gave Prince his fifth US number one single with the song "Cream." Diamonds and Pearls debuted Prince's new band, the New Power Generation, that featured rapper Tony M., Rosie Gaines on vocals, Michael Bland on drums, Levi Seacer on guitar, Sonny T on bass, and Tommy Barbarella on keyboards.

1993 found Prince working significantly on Kate Bush's 1993 album, The Red Shoes; her name appears in the credits of his Diamonds and Pearls album. Prince chiefly contributed on the song "Why Should I Love You," playing bass, guitar, and keyboards, singing vocals, and arranging music for the mix. This would be the final "Prince" credit, until 2000. Kate Bush reciprocated in 1996 and is featured on background vocals on the Emancipation track, "My Computer."

Prince's twelfth album was titled with an unpronounceable symbol (later copyrighted as Love Symbol #2).[15] It reached the top ten of the U.S. album charts. In 1993, he also changed his stage name to the Love Symbol, which is a combination of the symbols for male (♂) and female (♀). Because the symbol was/is unpronounceable, he was often referred to as "Symbol," "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince," or simply "The Artist." In 1993, at the request of Warner Brothers, Prince released a 3-CD greatest hits compilation entitled The Hits/The B-Sides. The first two discs were also sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. In addition to featuring the majority of Prince's hit singles (with the exception of "Batdance," which was omitted), The Hits includes an array of previously hard-to-find recordings, notably B-sides spanning the majority of Prince's career, as well as a handful of previously unreleased tracks such as the Revolution-recorded "Power Fantastic." Two new songs, first "Pink Cashmere" and then "Peach," were chosen as promotional singles to accompany the compilation album. Unfortunately, neither the album nor singles performed as well in sales as Warner Bros. had hoped, however, The Hits offers arguably the most thorough overview of Prince's musical output from 1978–1993.

1994—2000

In 1994, Prince's attitude towards his artistic output underwent a notable shift. He began to view releasing albums in quick succession as a means of ejecting himself from his contractual obligations to Warner Bros. The label, he believed, was intent on limiting his artistic freedom by insisting that he release albums more sporadically. He also blamed Warner Bros. for the poor commercial performance of the Love Symbol album, claiming that it was insufficiently marketed by Warner. It was out of these developments that the aborted The Black Album was officially released, approximately seven years after its initial recording and near-release. The "new" release, which was already in wide circulation as a bootleg, sold relatively poorly.

Following that disappointing venture, Warner Bros. succumbed to Prince's wishes to release an album of new material, to be entitled Come. When Come was eventually released, it confirmed all of Warner's fears. It became Prince's poorest-selling album to date, struggling to even shift 500,000 copies. Even more frustrating was the fact that Prince insisted on crediting the album to "Prince 1958–1993."

Prince pushed to have his next album The Gold Experience released simultaneously with Love Symbol era material. Warner Bros. allowed the single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" to be released via a small, independent distributor, Bellmark Records, in February 1994. The release was successful, reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in many other countries, but it would not prove to be a model for subsequent releases. Warner Bros. still resisted releasing The Gold Experience, fearing poor sales and citing "market saturation" as a defense. When eventually released in September 1995, The Gold Experience failed to sell well, although it reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 initially, and many reviewed it as Prince's best effort since Sign o' the Times. The album is now out-of-print.

Chaos and Disorder, released in 1996, was Prince's final album of new material for Warner Bros., as well as one of his least commercially successful releases. Prince attempted a major comeback later that year when, free of any further contractual obligations to Warner Bros., he released Emancipation. The album was released via his own NPG Records with distribution through EMI. To publish his songs in Emancipation, Prince did not use Controversy MusicASCAP, which he had used for all his records since 1981, but rather used Emancipated Music Inc.[16]ASCAP.

While certified platinum by the RIAA, some critics felt that the sprawling 36-song, 3-CD set (each disk was exactly 60 minutes long) lacked focus, and might have worked better as a single or double disc.[17][18] Emancipation is the first record featuring covers by Prince of songs of other artists: Joan Osborne's Top Ten hit song of 1995 "One of Us."[19] "Betcha By Golly Wow!" (written by Thomas Randolf Bell and Linda Creed);[20] "I Can't Make You Love Me" (written by James Allen Shamblin II and Michael Barry Reid);[21] and "La-La Means I Love You" (written by Thomas Randolf Bell and William Hart).[22]

Prince released Crystal Ball, a 4-CD collection of unreleased material, in 1998. The distribution of this album was disorderly, with some fans pre-ordering the album on his website up to a year before it was eventually shipped to them, and months after the record had gone on sale in retail stores. The Newpower Soul album released three months later failed to make much of an impression on the charts. His collaboration with Chaka Khan, Come 2 My House released on the NPG Records label, met with the same fate.

In 1999, Prince once again signed with a major label Arista Records to release a new record, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. In an attempt to make his new album a success, Prince gave more interviews than at any other point in his career. Nevertheless Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic failed to perform commercially. A few months earlier, Warner Bros. had also released The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, a collection of unreleased material recorded by Prince throughout his career, and his final recording commitment on his contract with Warner Bros. The greatest success he had during the year was with the EP 1999: The New Master, released in time for Prince to collect a small portion of the sales dollars Warner Bros. had been seeing for the album and singles of the original 1999. Both critics and fans panned The New Master, declaring it unimaginative.

The pay-per-view concert, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, was broadcast on 31 December 1999 and consisted of footage from the 17 December and 18 December concerts of his 1999 tour. The concert featured appearances by many guest musicians including Lenny Kravitz, George Clinton, and The Time. It was released to home video the following year. A remix album, Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (as opposed to "Un2") was released exclusively through Prince's NPG Music Club in April 2000.

2000—2005

On 16 May 2000, Prince ceased using the Love Symbol moniker and returned to using "Prince" again, after his publishing contract with Warner-Chappell expired. In a press conference, he stated that, after being freed from undesirable relationships associated with the name "Prince," he would formally revert to using his real name. Prince still frequently uses the symbol as a logo and on album artwork and continues to play a Love Symbol-shaped guitar.

For several years following the release of Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, Prince primarily released new music through his Internet subscription service, NPGOnlineLtd.com (later NPGMusicClub.com). Two albums that show substantive jazz influence were available commercially at record stores: 2001's The Rainbow Children and, later, the 2003 instrumental record N.E.W.S which was nominated for a Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy. Another album of largely jazz-influenced music, "Xpectation," was released via download in 2003 to members of the NPGMusicClub.

In 2002, Prince released his first live album, One Nite Alone... Live!, which features performances from the One Nite Alone tour. The 3-CD box set, which also includes a disc of "aftershow" music entitled It Ain't Over!, failed to chart. During this time, Prince sought to engage more effectively with his fan base via the NPG Music Club, pre-concert sound checks, and at yearly "celebrations" at Paisley Park, his music studios. Fans were invited into the studio for tours, interviews, discussions and music-listening sessions. Some of these fan discussions were filmed for an unreleased documentary, directed by Kevin Smith. Smith discusses what happened during those days at length in his An Evening with Kevin Smith DVD.[23] Performances were also arranged to showcase Prince's talents, as well as to collaborate with popular and well-established artists and guests including Alicia Keys, The Time, Erykah Badu, Nikka Costa, George Clinton, Norah Jones.

On 8 February 2004, Prince appeared at the Grammy Awards with Beyoncé Knowles. In a performance that opened the show, Prince and Beyoncé performed a medley of "Purple Rain," "Let's Go Crazy," "Baby I'm a Star," and Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" to positive reviews (video). The following month, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The award was presented to him by Alicia Keys along with Big Boi and André 3000 of OutKast. As well as performing a trio of his own hits during the ceremony, Prince also participated in a tribute to fellow inductee George Harrison in a rendition of the deceased artist's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," playing a long guitar solo that ended the song (video).

Reflections 2.19.2004 Prince appeared on the Tavis Smiley Show for an interview and performed Reflections from his Musicology album-acoustic with Wendy Melvoin of the Revolution.

In April 2004, Prince released Musicology through a one-album agreement with Columbia Records. This deal gave Prince most of the royalties. The album rose as high as the top five on a number of international charts (including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia).' That same year, Pollstar named Prince the top concert draw among musicians in USA.

Grossing an estimated $87.4 million, Prince's Musicology Tour was the most profitable tour in the music industry for 2004. The artist played an impressive run of 96 concerts; the average ticket price for a show was US$61. In Dallas, Texas, Prince was surprised by a female audience member jumping out of her front row seat, getting onto the stage while he was singing, and kissing him. The woman had to be escorted out by security.[24] Further highlighting the success of the album, Prince's Musicology went on to receive two Grammy wins, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Call My Name" and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the title track. Musicology was also nominated for Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, while "Cinnamon Girl was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[25] The album became the artist's most commercially successful since Diamonds and Pearls, partly due to a radical scheme devised which included in Billboard's sales figures those that were distributed to each customer during ticket sales for the Musicology tour.

Prince was ranked 7th Greatest Artist of All Time in Acclaimed Music's list of The 1000 Greatest Artist of All Time. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Prince #28 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[2] In December 2004, Rolling Stone's readers named Prince Best Male Performer and Most Welcome Comeback, though he says he "never went anywhere"'. Also in December 2004, Prince was ranked #5 on the Top Pop Artists Of The Past 25 Years list by www.rockonthenet.com.[26] He was the highest-ranked male performer on the list.

In April 2005, Prince played guitar (along with En Vogue singing backing vocals) on Stevie Wonder's single "So What The Fuss," Wonder's first since 1999.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city of New Orleans on 29 August 2005, Prince offered a personal response by recording two new songs, "S.S.T." and the instrumental "Brand New Orleans," at Paisley Park in the early hours of 2 September. Prince again performed all instrumental and vocal parts. These recordings were quickly dispersed to the public via Prince's NPG Music Club, and "S.S.T." was later picked up by iTunes, where it reached #1 on the store's R&B chart. On 25 October, Sony Records released a version of the single on CD.

2005—2006

In late 2005 Prince signed with Universal Records to release his album, 3121, on 21 March 2006, (3/21). The first single was the Latin-tinged "Te Amo Corazón", the video for which was directed by actress Salma Hayek and filmed in Marrakesh, Morocco, featuring Argentine actress and singer Mía Maestro. The song was covered by Viktoria Tolstoy on her album Pictures of Me, along with another Prince song, "Strollin'". The video for the second single, "Black Sweat", was nominated at the MTV VMAs for Best Cinematography. The immediate success of 3121 gave his first #1 debut on the Billboard 200 with the album.

To promote the new album, Prince was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on 4 February 2006, seventeen years after his last SNL appearance. He performed two songs from the album, "Fury" and "Beautiful, Loved & Blessed", with Támar. Prince also held a contest to win a trip to see a 'Purple Ticket Concert' at his private residence in Hollywood, California. Seven winning tickets were placed inside 3121 CD packages in the US, and other tickets were given away in various contests on the internet and around the world. On 6 May 2006, twenty-four prize winners (with a guest each) attended a star-studded private party and performance at Prince's home. The "Purple Ticket Concert" marked the end of a long run of private performances for the Hollywood elite that began in 2005'.

On 12 June 2006, Prince received a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his "visionary" use of the Internet; Prince was the first major artist to release an entire album, 1997's Crystal Ball, exclusively on the internet. Ironically, many orders for Crystal Ball that were made on Prince's then-website, 1800newfunk.com, were not received by mail until long after the album was released to record stores'.

Only weeks after winning a Webby Award, Prince abruptly shut down his official NPGMC website at 12:00 AM on 4 July 2006 after over five years of operation. The NPGMC sent out an email, claiming that "in its current 4m there is a feeling that the NPGMC gone as far as it can go. In a world without limitations and infinite possibilities, has the time come 2 once again make a leap of faith and begin anew? These r ?s we in the NPG need 2 answer. In doing so, we have decided 2 put the club on hiatus until further notice." On the day of the music club's shutdown, a lawsuit was filed against Prince by the British company HM Publishing (owners of the Nature Publishing Group, also NPG). Despite these events occurring on the same day, Prince's attorney has called it pure coincidence and stated that the site did not close due to the trademark dispute.[27]

Prince appeared at multiple award ceremonies in 2006. On 15 February 2006, Prince performed at the BRIT Awards along with Wendy and Lisa and Sheila E. He played "Te Amo Corazón" and "Fury" from 3121 and "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain, in a performance which was generally regarded as the best of the night.'. On 27 June 2006, Prince appeared at the BET awards, where he was awarded Best Male R&B Artist. In addition to receiving his award, Prince performed a medley of Chaka Khan songs for Khan's BET Lifetime Award. Prince had previously written and performed several songs with the singer. On 14 November 2006, Prince was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, appearing to collect his award but not performing. Also in November 2006, Prince opened a nightclub named 3121 in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. He performed weekly on Friday and Saturday nights until April 2007 His contract with the Rio ended.

On 22 August 2006, Prince released Ultimate. The double disc set contains one CD of previous hits, the another of extended versions and mixes of old material that were largely previously unavailable.

Prince wrote and performed a song for the hit 2006 animated film Happy Feet. The song, entitled "Song of the Heart", appears on the film's soundtrack, which also features a cover of Prince's early hit "Kiss", sung by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. In January 2007, "Song of the Heart" won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Prince arrived late supposedly due to traffic problems and thus was unable to make an acceptance speech, but actor Hugh Grant prompted him later in the ceremony to take a bow.

2007—present

On 2 February 2007, Prince played at the Super Bowl XLI press conference. He and the band played a set of Chuck Berry's hit: Johnny B. Goode," "Anotherloverholenyohead" from Parade and "Get On the Boat" from 3121. Prince performed at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show in Miami, Florida on 4 February 2007. The performance consisted of three Purple Rain tracks ("Let's Go Crazy," "Baby I'm a Star" and the title track), along with cover versions of "We Will Rock You," "All Along the Watchtower," the Foo Fighters song "Best of You" and "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Coincidentally, Miami had rain on the day of the Super Bowl, which was lit purple during the performance of "Purple Rain." He played on a large stage shaped as his famous symbol. The event was carried to 140 million television viewers, the largest audience of his life.[28]

On 8 May 2007, Prince announced that he would play 21 concerts in London over the summer. The "Earth Tour" included 21 nights at the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena. Tickets for the O2 Arena were priced at £31.21 (including a free copy of Prince's latest album), in order to make the concerts "affordable for everybody." The residency at The O2 Arena was increased to 15 nights after all 140,000 tickets for the original seven sold out in just 20 minutes[29] and then further extended to 21 nights.[30]

On 10 May 2007, Prince performed a 'secret' gig at London's Koko in front of a small crowd (between) fans and celebrities. Tickets went on sale that morning on a first-come-first-served basis (again at £31.21). A prelude to the forthcoming summer gigs in London, Prince played a relaxed set of classic hits ("Kiss," changing the lyric from "You don't have to watch Dynasty" to Desperate Housewives; "Girls & Boys"; and "Nothing Compares 2 U") alongside more recent tracks, plus a well-received cover version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."

On 5 June 2007, Prince made an appearance at the 2007 ALMA Awards, performing with Sheila E. On 28 June 2007, the UK national newspaper The Mail on Sunday revealed that it had made a deal to give Prince's new album, Planet Earth, away for free with an "imminent" edition of the paper, making it the first place in the world to get the album. The date chosen was 15 July 2007. This move has sparked controversy among music distributors and has also led the UK arm of Prince's distributor, Sony BMG, to withdraw from distributing the album in UK stores.[31] The UK's largest high street music retailer, HMV decided to stock the paper on release day due to the giveaway.

In October 2008 Prince released a live album entitled "Indigo Nights," as well as "21 Nights," an accompanying book of poems, lyrics and photos. The book chronicles his record-breaking tenure at London's O2 Arena in 2007, while the album is a collection of songs performed live in London's Club Indigo, where he performed his post-show gigs.

Stance on copyright ownership

On 14 September 2007, Prince announced that he was going to sue YouTube and eBay because they "appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success." A representative told Reuters, "The problem is that one can reduce it to zero and then the next day there will be 100 or 500 or whatever. This carries on ad nauseam at Prince's expense."[32][33]

In October 2007, Stephanie Lenz filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Publishing Group, claiming they were abusing copyright law, after the music publisher had YouTube take down Lenz's home movie in which the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" played faintly in the background.[34]

On 5 November 2007, several fan sites of Prince formed Prince Fans United to fight back against legal requests made by Prince to cease and desist all use of photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to Prince's likeness.[35] While Prince's lawyers claimed that the use of such representations constituted copyright infringement, the Prince Fans United claimed that the legal actions were "attempts to stifle all critical commentary about Prince." On 8 November 2007, Prince Fans United received a song named "PFUnk" providing a kind of "unofficial answer" to their movement. The song, originally debuted on the PFU main site,[36] was retitled "F.U.N.K.," and is available on iTunes.

On 14 November 2007, it was reported that the satirical website b3ta.com had pulled their "image challenge of the week" devoted to Prince after legal threats from the star under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). b3ta co-founder Rob Manuel wrote on the site: "Under threat of legal action from Princes legal team of "potential closure of your web site" - We have removed the Prince image challenge and B3ta apologises unreservedly to AEG / NPG and Prince for any offence caused. We also ask our members to avoid photoshoping Prince and posting them on our boards."

At the 2008 Coachella Music Festival, Prince performed a cover of Radiohead's "Creep" but immediately after, he forced YouTube and other sites to remove footage that fans had taken of the performance.[37]

On 18 October 2008, Ruth Lorenzo from British talent show The X Factor performed 'Purple Rain'. Prince pushed for this to be removed from youtube, much to the disappointment of many fans [38].

Personal life

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Prince was romantically linked with many celebrities, including Vanity (also known as Denise Matthews), Madonna, Anna Fantastic[13] Carmen Electra,[39] Jill Jones, Apollonia Kotero, Kim Basinger, Stevie Nicks, Sheena Easton, Robin Arcuri, Troy Beyer, Susanna Hoffs, Nona Gaye and Crissy Manley.

He dated Susannah Melvoin for a period in the mid-80's (Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin's sister). Susannah was a member of the Prince-formed band The Family, sang backup during the Parade tour and sang on the Around the World in a Day, Parade and Sign o' the Times albums.

He married his backup singer and dancer, Mayte Garcia, on Valentine's Day, 1996. They had one son named Gregory, who was born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died shortly after birth. They were divorced in 1999.[40]

In 1997, Prince approached funk bassist Larry Graham, one of his childhood idols, with questions about his Jehovah's Witness faith. In a later interview, Graham stated that Prince was in need of Biblical answers and advice and that Graham was glad to answer. Prince apparently became very interested in the religion: around this time he began censoring some of his more provocative song lyrics in concerts, as well as editing various religious references in his songs that he had come to believe were Biblically inaccurate.' He was baptized by Jehovah's Witnesses in 2001, marking his formal conversion to the faith. It was at this time that he released the album The Rainbow Children, which relied heavily upon Jehovah's Witness religious themes.

In 2001 Prince married Manuela Testolini in a private ceremony, but she filed for divorce in May 2006.[41]

Prince is a vegan.[42] In 2006 he was voted the "world's sexiest vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll.[42]

Stage names

In 1993, during negotiations regarding the release of Prince's album The Gold Experience, a legal battle ensued between Warner Bros. and Prince over the artistic and financial control of Prince's output. During the lawsuit, Prince appeared in public with the word "slave" written on his cheek. Prince explained his name change as follows:

The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol. Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros... I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name.

"Prince" is a trademark owned by Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc. It was initially filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2005 in the categories of printed materials, clothing, electronic commerce, and entertainment services based on first commercial in 1978[43] Various searches to the USPTO did not find any registrations or transfers of "Prince" or related names by Warner Bros. In 1991, PRN Music Corporation assigned the trademarks "Prince," "The Time," "Paisley Park," "New Power Generation," and "Prince and the Revolution" to Paisley Park Enterprises. [44]

Critics have argued Prince's name change as an attempt by the artist to reinvent himself, providing an opportunity to redevelop his style. One commentator noted:

Prince started his career as a big R&B star with limited mainstream success. At that point, he left the middle of the road and headed for the ditch. In 1980, it was risky to record new wave songs with lusty lyrics that assured no radio airplay (the classic Dirty Mind), but it paid off. Critics took notice and he became an underground favorite. This paved the way for his huge success with 1999 and Purple Rain. Certainly that was the pinnacle of his career, as far as worldwide earnings and universal adulation are concerned. But by heading for the ditch again, by changing his name and experimenting with his style, by lowering his stock value and escaping his record contract, Prince has become an underground artist again. In late 1996, the first collection of Prince music since his break with Warner Bros. appeared in record stores, a sprawling three-hour extravaganza integrating great dance grooves and slow-burning ballads. Critical response has been overwhelmingly positive, and sales have been brisk despite the high price of a 3-CD set. It's no coincidence that he titled this album Emancipation.[45]

Prince often uses pseudonyms and monikers to separate himself from the music (either his own or that of others) he has had input in; he has said that he was tired of seeing his name everywhere, and that only egotistical people take credit for everything they do.[46] He is also recognized by the names of various characters he has played on film, the most well-known of which is The Kid, protagonist of Purple Rain.

  • Camille — Significant alter ego character and vocalist on tracks between 1986 and 1988. A Camille-like character also makes an appearance in the song "F.U.N.K.," released in 2007.
  • Mr. Goodnight — on the track of the same name on Planet Earth in 2007
  • Jamie Starr / The Starr Company — early producer of The Time, Vanity 6, Sheila E, etc.
  • The Revolution — Though the band had other members, several songs credited to Prince and The Revolution were performed by Prince alone
  • The Kid — Prince's semi-autobiographical persona in Purple Rain; the character was revisited in the film Graffiti Bridge
  • Joey Coco — producer/writer of songs for Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, etc.
  • Christopher Tracy — lead character of Under the Cherry Moon , wrote "Manic Monday," made popular by The Bangles
  • Alexander Nevermind — writer of "Sugar Walls" for Sheena Easton, also, writer on "Telepathy," by Deborah Allen.
  • Paisley Park — writer of songs for Ingrid Chavez, El DeBarge, Paula Abdul, Patti LaBelle, Tevin Campbell, and Louie Louie.
  • Madhouse — writer and performer (except saxophone and flute by Eric Leeds) of all tracks on the first Madhouse album. Though credited to the "band," which did not exist at that time, Prince draws royalties for this work. On Madhouse's second album, some tunes were specified as being written by Prince, Sheila E., Eric Leeds, and Levi Seacer, Jr., while other compositions were attributed to Madhouse, i.e., Prince
  • Austra Chanel — name of the "mentor" under which Madhouse was assembled; said to be the creator of the Madhouse concept
  • Gemini — Co-lead vocal "character" throughout the Batman project in 1989
  • Partyman — Prince plays the titular character in said music video
  • Tora Tora — on the NPG's Exodus album
  • Azifwekaré — "homeless pothead" on the song "Style" and director credit to the "Face Down" video
  • The unpronounceable symbol (Love Symbol) — adopted as official name from 1993 to 2000
  • The Artist Formerly Known As Prince aka TAFKAP — offered by journalists as an alternative to the Love Symbol
  • The Artist — emerged from "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince," and usually accredited to his then lawyer L. Londel McMillan and became the most common alias in the media in the late 1990s
  • Taffy - by the British media, this derives from TAFKAP.
  • Minneapolis Midget - Derived from his hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Also, his small stature

Discography

  • 1978: For You
  • 1979: Prince
  • 1980: Dirty Mind
  • 1981: Controversy
  • 1982: 1999
  • 1984: Purple Rain
  • 1985: Around the World in a Day
  • 1986: Parade
  • 1987: Sign O' The Times
  • 1988: Lovesexy
  • 1989: Batman
  • 1990: Graffiti Bridge
  • 1991: Diamonds and Pearls
  • 1992: Love Symbol
  • 1993: The Hits/The B-Sides
  • 1994: Come, The Black Album
  • 1995: The Gold Experience
  • 1996: Chaos And Disorder, Emancipation
  • 1997: The Truth
  • 1998: Crystal Ball, New Power Soul
  • 1999: Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale
  • 2000: Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic
  • 2001: The Rainbow Children
  • 2002: One Nite Alone..., One Nite Alone...Live!
  • 2003: N.E.W.S, The Chocolate Invasion, The Slaughterhouse
  • 2004: Musicology
  • 2006: 3121
  • 2007: Planet Earth
  • 2008: Indigo Nights Live Album released with the book 21 Nights

Filmography

Prince's music has been featured in many films. This list includes films and videos releases in which Prince has either acted or performed, or to which he has actively contributed songs. Films that license preexisting Prince songs are not listed.

  • Purple Rain (1984): actor, composer
  • Prince and the Revolution LIVE! (1985): composer, performer
  • Under the Cherry Moon (1986): actor, writer, composer, director
  • Sign o' the Times (1987): composer, performer, director
  • Bright Lights, Big City (1988): composer (song): "Good Love"
  • Lovesexy LIVE (1988): composer, performer
  • Batman (1989): composer (songs)
  • Graffiti Bridge (1990): actor, composer, writer, director
  • Prince Unauthorized (1991) (archive footage)
  • Oscar's Greatest Moments (1992) (archive footage)
  • Diamonds and Pearls (Video Collection) (1992): actor, composer, writer, director
  • The Hits Collection (Prince) (1993): actor, composer, writer, director
  • The Undertaker (1994): actor, composer, writer
  • 3 Chains o' Gold (1994): actor, composer, writer, director
  • "Glam Slam Ulysses" (1994): actor, composer, director
  • Prince Interactive (1994) (video game): composer, performer
  • Blankman (1994): composer (song) "Super Hero"
  • Showgirls (1995): composer (songs): "Ripopgodazippa," "319"
  • Fargo (1996): appears in end credits, not featured in movie
  • Girl 6 (1996): composer (songs)
  • Rave Un2 the Year 2000 (2000): performer, composer (songs)
  • Bamboozled (2000): composer, performer (song) "2045 Radical Man"
  • Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas (2003): performer, composer (songs)
  • Happy Feet (2006): composer (songs): "Song of the Heart"

Awards

  • 2008 Grammy Award Won Best R&B Male Vocal Performance,"Future Baby Mama"
  • 2007: Won NAACP Image Award

category Outstanding Male Artist

  • 2007: Won Golden Globe

category Best Original Song – Motion Picture (from movie "Happy Feet" (2006)) for "The Song of the Heart"

  • 2006: Won BET Award

category Best Male R&B Artist

  • 2005: Won Grammy Award

category Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Musicology"

  • 2005: Won Grammy Award
  • 2005: Won Myranda's Heart

category Best R&B Vocal Performance – Male for "Call My Name"

  • 2005: Won NAACP Vanguard Award
  • 2005: Won NAACP Image Award

category Outstanding Album for "Musicology"

  • 2004: Won World Soundtrack Special Award

for Purple Rain (1984) shared with Wendy Melvoin; Lisa Coleman; Bobby Z.

  • 2004: Won Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

category Performer

  • 2000: Won Soul Train Music Award

category Artist of the Decade – Male

  • 1995: Won Award of Merit
  • 1993: Won Brit Award

category Best International Solo Artist

  • 1992: Won Soul Train Heritage Award

category Career Achievement

  • 1992: Won Brit Award

category Best International Solo Artist

  • 1991: Won ASCAP Award

category Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (from movie "Graffiti Bridge" (1990)) for "Thieves in the Temple"

  • 1990: Won ASCAP Award

category Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (from movie "Batman" (1989)) for "Partyman"

  • 1990: Won AMA Award of Achievement
  • 1988: Won MTV Video Music Award

category Best Male Video for "U Got The Look"

  • 1988: Won MTV Video Music Award

category Best Stage Performance Video for "U Got The Look"

  • 1987: Won Grammy Award

category Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for "Kiss" shared with The Revolution

  • 1987: Won Razzie Award

category Worst Director for Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

  • 1987: Won Razzie Award

category Worst Original Song (from movie "Under the Cherry Moon" (1986)) for "Love or Money"

  • 1987: Won Razzie Award

category Worst Actor for Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

  • 1986: Won MTV Video Music Award

category Best Choreography for "Raspberry Beret"

  • 1985: Won Brit Award

category Best International Artist shared with The Revolutions

  • 1985: Won Academy Award

category Best Music, Original Song Score for Purple Rain (1984)

  • 1985: Won Grammy Award

category Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special for Purple Rain (1984) shared with Lisa Coleman; Wendy Melvoin; John L. Nelson

  • 1985: Won American Music Award

category Favorite Soul/R&B Single for "When Doves Cry"

  • 1985: Won American Music Award

category Favorite Soul/R&B Album for "Purple Rain"

  • 1985: Won American Music Award

category Favorite Pop/Rock Album for "Purple Rain"

  • 1985: Won Grammy Award

category Best R&B Song for "I Feel For You"

  • 1985: Won Grammy Award

category Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for "Purple Rain" shared with The Revolution

References and Notes

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