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Thread started 07/14/07 3:15pm

cream72

Daily Mails Website updated with some cool insights into Prince

My Way may have been the signature tune of another giant of popular music but no artist has so enthusiastically embraced the philosophy of that song as Prince.

The maverick from Minneapolis has been doing things his way since 1977 when, at the age of 19, he signed a three-album deal and blew the budget for all three albums on the first one, and this after insisting that he play all the instruments himself, record all the vocals himself – and produce it himself. He had assumed full artistic control from the off and he has never relinquished it.

He was doing it his way when he surprised the largely black audiences on his first tour by performing in Y-fronts and fishnet stockings, and when, on his first British appearance at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, in 1981, he took to the stage wearing a violet mackintosh, black pants and stockings and stiletto ankle boots.

And he is still doing it his way today as he releases Planet Earth, his brilliant new ten-track album, exclusively through The Mail on Sunday, a move that has sparked controversy across the music industry.

A spokesman for Prince said: 'Prince feels that charts are just music industry constructions and have little or no relevance to fans or even artists today. Prince's only aim is to get music direct to those what want to hear it. Prince famously took a stand against Warner Records in the Nineties when he went on strike and appeared with the world "slave" drawn on his cheek. Subsequently, he regained control of the publishing right to his work and broke down the existing system through his innovation.'

Planet Earth, which is not due to go on sale until July 24, will also be given away free to holders of tickets to Prince's London 02 concerts in August and September. When asked recently why he had decided to do this, Prince replied: 'It's directing marketing as well, and I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now.'

So much has been written about Prince's remarkable talents, his genius for songwriting, playing and arranging and his battles with the industry. Yet relatively little is known about the man behind the music. He gives interviews infrequently and reluctantly and, when he does, is just as likely to provide cryptic answers to questions as he is to speak freely. Some have speculated that his elusiveness stems from lifelong insecurity.

Certainly Prince Rogers Nelson had a difficult childhood. Born on June 7, 1958, he was the painfully introverted son of a singer mother and a troubled jazz-musician father who left his Minneapolis home when Prince was still a toddler.

Prince was his father's stage name and his father's choice for his son. John Nelson was also responsible for his son's first faltering musical steps by virtue of the fact that when he moved out, he left a grand piano in the house. Prince would pick out the theme tunes from television shows such as Batman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Dragnet.

'He could hear music even from a very early age,' his late mother, Mattie, once said. 'When he was three or four, we'd go to the department store and he'd jump on the organ, any type of instrument there was. Mostly the piano and organ. I'd have to hunt for him, and that's where he'd be – in the music department.'

'I had a pretty good idea of what the piano was all about by the time I was eight,' Prince has said, despite never having lessons.

It was also at the age of eight that he had his first encounter with what was to become another lifelong obsession: women. He has claimed, although his mother has denied the story, that this stemmed from his discovery of a stash of pornographic novels in his mother's bedroom. According to Prince he even tried writing his own stories when he became bored with those he had found.



Bizarre: Prince on stage
School was a pretty miserable experience. He was teased about his height – he is only 5ft 2in without his trademark heels – and was continually the butt of jokes. He was given various nicknames, the cruellest of which was 'Butcher Dog' because his peers decreed that he looked like an alsatian. 'Princess' was another taunt.

Life at home was not much better. Not only was the family worse off after the departure of John Nelson, but his mother remarried and Prince took an instant dislike to his stepfather, Hayward Barker, whom he saw as 'materialistic'.

'He would bring us presents all the time rather than sit down and talk with us or give us companionship,' Prince has said. 'I would say all the things I disliked about him rather than tell him what I really needed which was a mistake, and kind of hurt our relationship.'

However, his stepfather did take him to see James Brown in Minneapolis when he was ten. It was a turning point. Prince was hugely impressed by the performance, and, he later admitted, even more impressed by the 'fine' girls he saw at the gig.

Music became both a solace and a way to attract the attention of his peers and, no doubt, the opposite sex. His talent was so prodigious that by puberty he'd mastered keyboards, guitar and drums.

Whether or not he actually witnessed the domestic violence depicted in the semi-autobiographical film Purple Rain, in which he plays a Minneapolis musician struggling to overcome a difficult home life, he undoubtedly felt rejected by his parents.

His father was barely around and his mother found him so difficult she turfed him out, though it is unclear exactly why. Had it not been for his best friend André Cymone's mother allowing him to live in her basement, the teenage Prince might have been homeless.

Prince and André competed for girls, trying to get them to 'participate in some lewd activity', as André put it. At high school, Prince took a three-year class in 'The Business Of Music'. He was determined to make it and Warner Brothers in Los Angeles quickly saw that Prince was the real thing, a prodigy who could play any instrument and had already synthesized his own style from diverse black and white influences.

In 1979 he scored his first hit, I Wanna Be Your Lover, and was on his way to the top. His drive was relentless and culminated in the staggering success of 1984's Purple Rain – the album that sold ten million copies and the accompanying movie. But for many fans even that was topped by 1987's dazzlingly eclectic Sign O' The Times.

He ploughed some of the proceeds into the vast Paisley Park studio complex outside his hometown of Minneapolis, for use by himself and other artists. It includes a 12,500 sq ft sound stage for filming and four state-of-the-art recording studios. Some have dubbed it Prince's Xanadu.

He is still believed to own a home close by, together with property in Toronto, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and more recently, Las Vegas. And always, Prince did it his own way, exercising complete control over his artistic output. He never really took to the traditional label-artist relationship.

With remarkable prescience, as far back as 1995 he told an interviewer: 'Once the internet is a reality the music business is finished. There won't be any need for record companies. If I can send you my record direct, what's the point of having the business? I don't even have a manager any more. Would you want somebody living off your work?'

When record company executives warned him against releasing Sign O' The Times as a double album, he ignored their wishes and it became his most critically acclaimed work.

'These are the same people who would tell Mozart he writes too many notes or say that Citizen Kane is a long movie,' he said at the time.

Later, as the result of a complicated dispute with Warner over a six-album deal signed in 1992, he announced that he was changing his name to a symbol and took to wearing a scarf over his face in public. When he ditched the scarf he started writing 'slave' on his right cheek, just in case anyone had failed to get the point.

When the son of a Warner executive suggested to Prince that he didn't have another hit record in him, he wrote The Most Beautiful Girl In The World the very next day and in 1994 it became his first No 1.

But throughout his 30-year career he has pursued the opposite sex just as energetically as he has his musical goals. Prince has been romantically connected with a string of beautiful women including Madonna, whose underwear he would flaunt on stage, Kim Basinger, Carmen Electra, Kirstie Alley, the singers Vanity, Apollonia, Sheila E and even the squeaky-clean Scottish songstress Sheena Easton.

On Valentine's Day, 1996, aged 37, he married for the first time. His wife, Mayte Garcia, was a 23-year-old belly-dancer in his band. 'She looked at me for what I was,' he said of their relationship. 'If I was being a jerk, she'd say so. She mothered me. She was my friend for years before everything started going click, click, click.'

He bought his young wife a hacienda overlooking the sea, in Marbella, Spain. They added their own eccentric brand of decor in Prince's trademark pinks, purples and peaches.

In the rare interviews he has granted, Prince has proved himself adept at disarming journalists. One interviewer who talked to him during his marriage to Mayte, a Puerto Rican beauty, recalled her entering the room wearing a clingy, floaty frock. Prince asked her, with a completely straight face: 'Is that my dress or yours?'

Their son Gregory was born on October 16, 1996 with Pfeiffer syndrome – craniosynostosis – a rare condition in which the skull hardens prematurely. Tragically, he died at less than two weeks old. Barely a week later the couple went on the Oprah Winfrey TV show. 'We believed he was going to come back, that souls come back,' said Mayte. 'We didn't want to acknowledge that he was gone.'

Mayte and Prince drifted apart, separating after two years and divorcing in 2000, though Mayte has said that there was no great falling out. Prince's response to grief and bereavement was simply to bury himself in his work.

The following year Prince married for a second time in Hawaii, this time to former Paisley Park assistant Manuela Testolini, another stunning beauty. Last year Prince's lawyer confirmed the star's second wife had filed for divorce. As ever, there was no comment from Prince.

Indeed, the singer has always preferred to let his music do the talking.

However, in recent years it has been his determination to challenge the music industry that has had everyone in the business talking – and not always favourably. His decision earlier this year to offer a track from his new Planet Earth album, Guitar, as a free download as part of a deal with American mobile phone giant Verizon prompted anger from the record industry. But antipathy towards Prince for embracing new ways of getting his music to fans reached a crescendo when he decided to release Planet Earth, not in record shops or even online, but free inside The Mail on Sunday. It was another clear signal that Prince intends to keep control of his music. And with Planet Earth he is undoubtedly back to his very best.

As one of his famous contemporaries, Madonna, has said: 'He reeks of lavender, but apart from that you can't fault him.'

Outrage and delight – the verdicts on our CD coup

'Here at Time Out Towers, never in a million years did we imagine that we would print the words “The Mail on Sunday is right!” but, on this occasion, it is.' Time Out

'He's made his millions so all he cares about now is getting his music out to as many people as possible.' Stuart Williams, managing director of Q magazine, on Prince

'He's not an official Royal, but Prince is generating more ink in the UK than anyone named William or Harry.' Rolling Stone

'It devalues the music and the losers will be new artists who are trying to come through . . . Consumers only have so much listening time in the week and if they receive the new album from Prince then they don't need to buy new music and will spend their money on something else.' Kim Bayley, director general, Entertainment Retailers Association

'It has been roundly criticised as a major blow for an industry already facing rapidly declining CD sales.' Los Angeles Times

'Already news of the alliance between the paper and Prince has featured on the BBC Six O'Clock News and in The New York Times.' The Guardian

'Sony BMG UK said it decided it was “ridiculous” to go ahead with its own sales launch in light of the newspaper deal, but stood by their star singer, adding they remained “delighted” to be working with him.' International Herald Tribune

'After initially criticising Prince and the deal, music and books retailer HMV, which doesn't normally sell newspapers, decided to sell The Mail on Sunday in its 400-plus stores. Rival retailers were outraged.' The Post And Courier, Charleston, USA

'Like it or not, selling the newspaper is the only way to make the Prince album available to our customers.' HMV spokesman

'Could this be the way of the future? Last year, fans acquired more than half their music from unpaid sources. So why keep charging for it?' Newsday, New York

'As Prince might say, a sign of the times.' BBC News Magazine


I like the bit of a Son of a Warner Exec said he didnt have another hit in him so he went and written TMBGITW the next Day biggrin
[Edited 7/14/07 15:24pm]
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Reply #1 posted 07/14/07 3:42pm

Anxiety

ya got a URL for that? biggrin
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Reply #2 posted 07/14/07 3:46pm

Serena

I like this quote, wish we could've seen this take place! lol

"In the rare interviews he has granted, Prince has proved himself adept at disarming journalists. One interviewer who talked to him during his marriage to Mayte, a Puerto Rican beauty, recalled her entering the room wearing a clingy, floaty frock. Prince asked her, with a completely straight face: 'Is that my dress or yours?'"
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Reply #3 posted 07/14/07 3:49pm

cream72

Anxiety said:

ya got a URL for that? biggrin



http://www.dailymail.co.u...ge_id=1773

Sorry forgot to include it
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Reply #4 posted 07/14/07 4:19pm

pennylover

avatar

cream72 said:

Anxiety said:

ya got a URL for that? biggrin



http://www.dailymail.co.u...ge_id=1773

Sorry forgot to include it


Very nice read, thanks 4 sharing cream72. I see they have the infamous picture from club 3121 with the towel on his head after the attack on stage lol
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Reply #5 posted 07/14/07 5:17pm

cream72

pennylover said:

cream72 said:




http://www.dailymail.co.u...ge_id=1773

Sorry forgot to include it


Very nice read, thanks 4 sharing cream72. I see they have the infamous picture from club 3121 with the towel on his head after the attack on stage lol


wasnt that the Koko Club in London
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Reply #6 posted 07/14/07 5:55pm

BlackAdder7

Prince replied: 'It's directing marketing as well, and I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now.'



im not sure what he means by that. do you?
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Reply #7 posted 07/14/07 6:22pm

Snap

BlackAdder7 said:

Prince replied: 'It's directing marketing as well, and I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now.'



im not sure what he means by that. do you?


he doesn't have to wonder whether some rec execs will promote his product or not
this time, he's doing his own "direct marketing" -- straight into the consumer's hands
won't even cost him a dime, and the industry can't say he owes them anything for it
i don't know of anyone who can rely on the music industry right now
outside some of the smaller family-like indie labels who tell you everything upfront
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Reply #8 posted 07/14/07 6:29pm

BlackAdder7

Snap said:

BlackAdder7 said:

Prince replied: 'It's directing marketing as well, and I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now.'



im not sure what he means by that. do you?


he doesn't have to wonder whether some rec execs will promote his product or not
this time, he's doing his own "direct marketing" -- straight into the consumer's hands
won't even cost him a dime, and the industry can't say he owes them anything for it
i don't know of anyone who can rely on the music industry right now
outside some of the smaller family-like indie labels who tell you everything upfront


indie labels and people like Rhiannon, JayZ, FalloutBoy, etc.
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Reply #9 posted 07/14/07 6:38pm

uptown26

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Interesting read. Thank you. smile
To GOD be the Glory!
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Reply #10 posted 07/14/07 8:31pm

KidaDynamite

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He was doing it his way when he surprised the largely black audiences on his first tour by performing in Y-fronts and fishnet stockings


eek When in the hell did Prince ever wear "Fishnet Stockings"? confused
surviving on the thought of loving you, it's just like the water
I ain't felt this way in years...
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Reply #11 posted 07/14/07 9:27pm

blackwell1

The writer forgot to mention the genius of the Musicology CD giveaway at tour shows that vaulted him up the charts.
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Reply #12 posted 07/14/07 9:53pm

pennylover

avatar

cream72 said:

pennylover said:



Very nice read, thanks 4 sharing cream72. I see they have the infamous picture from club 3121 with the towel on his head after the attack on stage lol


wasnt that the Koko Club in London

yep lol my bad
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Reply #13 posted 07/15/07 12:17am

Haystack

And this article is also in a nice double page spread with today's Mail On Sunday too.

I just went to buy my copies and whilst I was in the shop, four other people bought the paper in those few minutes I was in there.
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Reply #14 posted 07/15/07 1:53am

OmManiPadmeHum

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I have to say - for all the discussions that have one about Prince's decision to do it this way, the reality this morning as i got up and walked 10 minutes to my nearest newsagent it dawned... What a genius idea this is - apart from utilities and the internet newspapers have the best distribution network there is - most people can get to a newspaper shop pretty easily.

It's also a bit of extra revenue for him - as he knows most of his fanbase in the UK and alot of other european countries will be getting the album "as part of the ticket price" for the concerts in Greenwich. I know i wouldn't have bout the album at full price, as i'll have it in a couple of weeks, several times over! But £1.20 or whatever the paper was - no problemo!

Just started listening and so far it sounds great - Planet Earth is a cool song, that may well hook in the casual newspaper buyer who slings this in their CD player to see what it likes. Guitar is a bit cheesy but catchy. Here on Earth is quite a beautiful ballad - didn't like it too much at the start, but by the end thought it was cool. Funnily enough this sounds like quite a commercial record!

Nice one Prince!

lol
[Edited 7/15/07 2:06am]
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Reply #15 posted 07/15/07 2:13am

FlexiTime

For the first time ever I actually reserved my copies of the paper. Still haven't listened to it yet but i'll wait till later today.

On the radio they were suggesting that Prince was being selfish for doing this as it will affect up and coming artists and their relationship with the record execs. Load of rubbish of course. As we all know it's quite a selfless act to give the album away today. Only downside is I have 2 copies of the paper....now where is the nearest recycling bin?
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Reply #16 posted 07/15/07 2:17am

Veronica

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I got my copy this morning. It is in the player at the moment. I love the album. Can not wait 4 the 02 Concert VIP on the 14th August and normal ticket on the 28th August, plus After Show 4 both concerts.

Nice one Prince, I love U.
Love & Peace. Get Wild. smile

Somewhere Here On Earth mushy
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Reply #17 posted 07/15/07 4:42am

maceoparker007

I like this bit of the artical:

When the son of a Warner executive suggested to Prince that he didn't have another hit record in him, he wrote The Most Beautiful Girl In The World the very next day and in 1994 it became his first No 1.


If that's true its friggin awesome !
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Reply #18 posted 07/15/07 5:31am

excessex

A thought occurred on the way to pick up mine. Prince could be buying up the (newspaper and) CD's to give away at the O2! I'm not sure what manufacturing costs for a CD and package are but it must be close to the wholesale price for the MOS!!
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Reply #19 posted 07/15/07 7:11am

fonkee

.
[Edited 12/19/12 18:38pm]
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Reply #20 posted 07/15/07 11:13am

UCantHavaDaMan
go

avatar

mad I WANT THAT NEWSPAPER!!!!!













(Yes, I am screaming.)
Wanna hear me sing? biggrin www.ChampagneHoneybee.com
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Reply #21 posted 07/15/07 11:26am

BlackAdder7

Add your comment | View all Comments (45)

45 people have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think below.

Here's a sample of the latest comments published. You can click view all to read all comments that readers have sent in.

Prince is a legend!
The album is fantastic. I've listened to it 3 times so far and it gets better and better.

Thank you.

- Suzy, Tewkesbury

An excellent album - all superb tracks and thanks to Prince and the Mail on Sunday for taking the initiative in bringing "free" music to the people. Great.

- Suekay, Cleveland, U.K.

I wholly agree with the view that music is becoming "worthless". A CD is still more "value" than downloading an album. I do not believe ANY music should be "free". Having said this, if it is Prince' decision to distribute his album in this manner, then who is anyone to criticize? The album is exceptional. My only worry now is for the music industry, and in particular retailers of physical product going forwards. The floodgates are open!

- Simon Peck, London
http://www.dailymail.co.u...ge_id=1773
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Reply #22 posted 07/15/07 11:28am

TheEnglishGent

avatar

UCantHavaDaMango said:

mad I WANT THAT NEWSPAPER!!!!!My local shope still had some at 19:20 this evening. Wonder how many will go left unsold at the end of the day.













(Yes, I am screaming.)
RIP sad
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Reply #23 posted 07/15/07 12:47pm

RUHip2TheJive

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In the rare interviews he has granted, Prince has proved himself adept at disarming journalists. One interviewer who talked to him during his marriage to Mayte, a Puerto Rican beauty, recalled her entering the room wearing a clingy, floaty frock. Prince asked her, with a completely straight face: 'Is that my dress or yours?'

LMAO
falloff
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Reply #24 posted 07/15/07 6:37pm

planetChar

avatar

KidaDynamite said:

He was doing it his way when he surprised the largely black audiences on his first tour by performing in Y-fronts and fishnet stockings


eek When in the hell did Prince ever wear "Fishnet Stockings"? confused



Prince wore fishnet stockings back in the "Dirty Mind" era- with the trench coat, i believe... glad to hear good things about the album! can't wait to get it!!
we're like two petals from the same flower, baby...
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Reply #25 posted 07/15/07 11:24pm

KidaDynamite

avatar

Out of all the old pics I've seen of Prince in the "Dirty Mind" era, I've never seen him in any way shape or form in a pair of fishnets. Maybe thigh high stockings but fishnets? confuse
surviving on the thought of loving you, it's just like the water
I ain't felt this way in years...
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Reply #26 posted 07/16/07 12:53am

Shhh747

maceoparker007 said:

I like this bit of the artical:

When the son of a Warner executive suggested to Prince that he didn't have another hit record in him, he wrote The Most Beautiful Girl In The World the very next day and in 1994 it became his first No 1.


If that's true its friggin awesome !



That's my favorite song!!! heart that's so cool!!!
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Reply #27 posted 07/16/07 10:16am

Handel

planetChar said:

KidaDynamite said:



eek When in the hell did Prince ever wear "Fishnet Stockings"? confused



Prince wore fishnet stockings back in the "Dirty Mind" era- with the trench coat, i believe... glad to hear good things about the album! can't wait to get it!!


You're both wrong. He did, however, wear a pair of fishnet stockings as gloves during the 7th June birthday gig at First Avenue back in 1984.
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