True...and don’t forget The Time, Sheila E, Vanity 6 which are almost exclusively Prince albums. Anaylsis of Prince’s record sales really illustrate his artistic independence and integrity. He truly is a “cult” artist who occasionally got commercially lucky.
Yup, let's add a million or so between "Manic Monday", "Nothing Compares 2 U", and "I Feel For You".
[Edited 10/5/18 7:25am]
I see what you mean but I won't put it that way. "Occasionally"? "Lucky"?
Nope. When Prince rearranges one last time the Sign O' The Times tracklist,
it's like Michael coming with Beat It at the last minute. Prince knew he had a top ten
and decided to put it in a very dry, sparse, lo-fi sounding album. But the boombastic effect is welcome,
it's like Parade, "Kiss" comes as a 60's UFO across Clare Fischer's lush landscapes. And so does SISIA.
It's more like: Prince could have written a dozen TMBGITW over thirty years and sell a minimum of a million every time, but he chose not to do so. When he could have milked all the eighties with slight variations of the Kid, he spitted it all out in a single tour (dressed in black, in white, in red, in green, in your granma's curtains) and then all of the sudden there was a love letter to the sixties and the hippies (before turning into soldiers, purple fa.n.m.s were often knicknamed "hippies").
Some go full fire over Prince's behaviour in the nineties from a business standpoint,
but hey, he did it every decade.
First of all, Dirty Mind. It was deemed "the most dramatic U-turn in pop's history", with good reasons. The impact of this album on the intelligentsias on both coasts and european capitals was immense, But it's also the very first, total, suicidal career move, and thank God WB was still in good, clever, hands. When you got such a stallion in your pack, you give him free reins. Here's a pop musician that had already built a comfortable niche for himself in the romantic-soft-porn slow jams and bubble-gum pop, already tickling the top tens by the second album, and yes, he throws it all away. He rips it in half under the shower and pisses on it (but purely for saving water), thighs all hairy. Suddenly, trash porn!
Second, ATWIAD. It's even more incredible. Springsteen waited 3 years between Born in the U.S.A. and Tunnel Of Love. Michael Jackson waited 5 years between Thriller and Bad. Madonna waited... OK, Madge worked her ass off too, but "True Blue" is the embourgeoisement of the brat, all of a sudden it's very catholic, nipples as weapons, the character grows in time with her fans (By Erotica, they're in their twenties). But Prince, after capturing the show-business mothership with his rebels in a blazing nine months, Prince, no, he doesn't wrap himself in the mystique of absence alibi, he delivers a bastard child, intellectual, sophisiticated, calling Brian Wilson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Devo, Springsteen, gospel, jazz, scat, Hendrix, and closing with Elvis doing Iggy on "Temptation", but maybe it's the other way. Masses don't get it, except for the beret, you know what a beret is, don't you you popcorn eating yelling live concerts nuisance.
NC2U being the poster child of what I'm talking about. A left-over that probably adds more than a million to the count.
Prince could have played Joey Coco and Christopher all his life.
Just cashing in. "Manic Monday" is a leftover too. I think this temptation of taking it easy is in great part what the Spooky Electric concept was about. Wherever he turned, most of the L.A. and N.Y. scene in the eighties was doing a ton of coke,
just look at some of the music videos in the eighties. And no one would work as much as him, so suddenly, loneliness.
Like sipping cocktails one year and going into the studio the other was the expected behaviour in the industry. Curious, Prince tries drugs, but whatever happens to him eventually turns into a song, he just can't help it. And here's the difference between a SKipper and your regular seaman (no, not semen).
So to me the story goes: he could have lived like a nabab doing what is expected of pop stars (3 records a decade for the most prestigious ones, everything has to be an event, oh, look, a stalin-like effigy floating on a river, oh, a soft-porn tetanos-inducing overpriced "art" book), such was his talent. And such was his respect for what he had been given that he crossed the line, and went the difficult path. It would have been such a waste for Pop Music to have Prince staying in the comfort zone. Say what you will about the nineties, but at least they're exciting, off limits, economically self-sufficient and with a smart eye focused on the future of music distribution, and his wallet. Also, imagine PP going totally bankrupt, building in ruins or Prince forced to sell it... Now it's obvious why it didn't happen. With airplays alone, Prince had enough to indulge in his craziest male/female series of love fantasies for a decade. His eighties records were ageing like fine wine. The moment he ended this "hardcore fans" decade, he was back, slick as ever, outsmarting Nielsen ratings with just a catalogue tour (I my seem to blabber like an old fart, but I can't help of thinking about it) and adding close to 3 millions physical(!) units to the above list. With the same truck fuel transporting the tour stage AND the record in the hand of the public. One seldom thinks about it, but transporting a blockbuster from fabric to shelves is no small feat, even if nowadays the physical has (almost entirely) transcended in favour of the digital.
[Edited 10/6/18 10:41am]
The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams