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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Check this out: Prince and Ray Charles - careers compared
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Thread started 06/19/09 3:20pm


Check this out: Prince and Ray Charles - careers compared

Here’s something interesting:

Just for fun, I’ve compared the recording careers, year-by-year, of Prince and Ray Charles - possibly our two greatest geniuses in R&B and soul music.

Four years: 1949-52 (RC), 1978-81 (Prince)

First recordings; minor hits; growing reputation; although not yet perfected their styles

Seven years: 1953-59 (RC), 1982-88 (Prince)

Geniuses in their prime; intense and prolific period; artistically their most important work; large commercial success as well

Two years: 1960-61 (RC), 1989-90 (Prince)

Widening the horizon, moving into other areas
- RC leaving Atlantic for ABC, recording with strings and big band
- Prince doing Batman and Graffiti Bridge.
A setback, both artistically and commercially, according to some.

Three years: 1962-64 (RC), 1991-93 (Prince)

New artistic concepts; and the hits start coming again
- RC’s country albums
- Prince’s NPG band

Two years: 1965-66 (RC), 1994-95 (Prince)

- Drug bust and rehab (RC)
- Name change and battle with record company (Prince)
Still high quality music, though

Nine years: 1967-75 (RC), 1996-2004 (Prince)

Out of the spotlight; running their own record labels; few if any hits; forgotten by most people, but in fact working hard all the time;
maintaining a large, steady (and possibly underrated) output

Five+ years: 1976-80 (RC), 2005-09 (Prince)

Rediscovered through mainstream exposure (RC on Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers; Prince on Super Bowl, Jay Leno etc).
Working with major record companies again.
Still no hit records, despite flirting with latest trends.
_ _ _

Ok, so maybe all the years aren’t exactly right, but I still think it’s amazing how well they match up. If the similarities should continue, we can expect a duet album from Prince in 2013, and a Christmas album the next year...

Seriously, what I think we could learn from this comparison is that maybe we’re expecting too much of Prince. Even the great Ray Charles only had about seven years of real artistic and commercial success, the period that he’s famous for. He never reached those heights again, although he did maintain a pretty good level of musical output - probably better than most, seen over a long period of time. Same with Prince.

I don’t think anyone expected Ray Charles to have Top Ten hits in the 1980’s; neither can we blame Prince for not having them now.
[Edited 6/19/09 15:23pm]
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Reply #1 posted 06/19/09 4:58pm



What happened to Ray Charles after 1980??

Can we predict the future for Prince from this? biggrin
My name is Naz!!! and I have a windmill where my brain is supposed to be.....

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