For the seventh playlist in The Legend Slot I’m continuing on with the theme of royalty. We had Queen last month but now it’s time for funk legend Prince.
Prince: A Brief History
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1958, Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson) was a singer-songwriter, producer, actor and filmmaker who was regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. A guitar virtuoso and a talented player of other instruments including piano, bass, drums and plenty more, Prince worked across the funk, soul, synth-pop, R&B and psych genres amongst others too.
He was known for his flamboyant and androgynous persona as well as his highly skilled falsetto across so many of his tracks. He also pioneered the ‘Minneapolis sound’, which was a funk-rock genre that began in the late ‘70s and used synthesisers along with elements of new wave in its sound.
‘For You’ (1978), Prince.
In his 4-decade career he sold over 130 million records worldwide which makes him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He received critical acclaim including AMAs, Billboard awards, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe too. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2006 the UK Music Hall of Fame and in 2016 he was posthumously made a part of the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame as well.
In April 2016, Prince died of an accidental fentanyl (opioid used as pain medication) overdose at his home in Paisley Park.
The Legend Slot: Prince
There were almost 500 songs to listen to this month so can we all just take a second to wonder how the hell I did it. Honestly I was behind for the entire month and have absolutely no idea how I managed to do it. 39 albums and 496 songs later we’ve got a cut-down 57 track playlist of what I thought were the best Prince songs.
A Few of My Favourites…
So, onto the favourites. In my family we actually have a whole thing going where we’ve been trying to think of a greater song than Purple Rain. Which is obviously my first favourite. Pretty bloody hard isn’t it? It’s just got absolutely everything going for it hasn’t it? The build up is insane, the guitar solo slaps and by the time you’re 5 minutes in you’re so ready to try and hit those high notes and just sway along to the music.
If you’ve got a song that you think can rival it then send it my way. I’m genuinely so interested to find out what tracks you think come close. And it doesn’t have to be by Prince by the way, any song and any artist. Come at me!
‘Purple Rain’ (1984), Prince and The Revolution.
Despite Purple Rain being arguably the best song ever, overall I think I’m going to have to say that I Would Die 4 U is my all-round favourite Prince track. Purple Rain is a whole 8 minutes and 41 seconds long so it hasn’t quite got the ‘could listen to whenever, wherever’ factor that the 2 minute and 59 second I Would Die 4 U has. Also whenever I hear the beat for I Would Die 4 U I automatically start striking power poses and forming my own little dance routine. It gets me so hyped up.
Other favourites are 1999 and Little Red Corvette (both from the 1999 (1982) album), then there’s Raspberry Beret from Around The World In A Day (1985), Kiss from Parade (1986) and When Doves Cry from Purple Rain (1984). All of which are huge hits that I’m sure you’ll be familiar with. I’m also a huge fan of Stare from his final album HITNRUN Phase Two (2015). It samples his earlier hit Kiss and is pretty much funky Prince at his finest. A real party tune made for Saturday nights out dancing.
‘HITNRUN Phase Two’ (2015), Prince.
If I’m completely honest I reckon I only knew about 10 Prince songs prior to making this playlist (shameful!). So almost every single song on the playlist is a new discovery for me. Kicking them off is I Wanna Be Your Lover from Prince (1979). You know how much I love a good groove. I mean, my newsletter is literally called groovin’ after all. And there’s no groovier a time than the ’70s. I Wanna Be Your Lover just about makes it into the decade and it brings with it all of the hip-shimmying vibes that we associate so strongly with the ’70s.
Also, can we take a second to appreciate how majestic Prince looks on the album cover. THAT HAIR, THAT MOUSTACHE, THOSE BROWS.
‘Prince’ (1979), Prince.
So, there’s a little story for you before this next pick. I was 19 albums deep into the Prince archives and it’s at this point that I usually start to think ‘I can’t take anymore of X artists music’. I’d gone past the hits and was at the mid-point with both the number of albums and also the general quality of music. It happened with Elton John, Kylie and even Aretha Franklin too. When they’ve got so many albums you’re going to find some real duds in there.
Anyway when I saw that Emancipation (1996) was THREE HOURS LONG I was really feeling the stress. But amongst the 36 track album I found an absolute gem in the form of Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife. It’s the ultimate love ballad and, although it’s over 7 minutes long, it never feels like it’s dragging. Amazing.
A Little Extra For You
I have to say I was seriously annoyed that Nothing Compares 2 U wasn’t on any of his studio albums because it’s one of my favourite Prince songs. It was a big hit for Sinead O’Connor back in 1990 but what you might not know is that Prince actually wrote it. He recorded his version of the track too. I’m not the biggest fan of Sinead’s version, but the Prince original…DAMN!! It’s incredible. Even though it isn’t on a studio album I just couldn’t miss it out so I’ve added it below (not technically in the playlist) for anyone who wants to give it a listen.
I’m thinking I’ll cool it down for next months playlist and opt for an artist/band with a smaller discography. ‘Cos ya girl is absolutely shattered from this months listening. What’re some of your favourite Prince tracks? Are you familiar with his music or is this all new to you? Let me know. Who else do you want to see featured in The Legend Slot? And also make sure to comment a song that you think could rival Purple Rain for the title of greatest song ever. I’m waiting!
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Read next: The Legend Slot: Queen.
*Photography taken from Discogs.