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Thread started 08/20/10 12:17pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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Lovesexy / Black album era 1987-1989

No side effects, the feeling last 4ever

So come vibe with us
Welcome to the Funk Bible
The new testament

A 'rebirth' of Prince, the shadow of the Black Album, Madhouse 16, into of New Power Soul idea, Blue Cloud guitar, perfecting of the Aftershows, the pokadot suite, tasty Bsides & Outtakes, 2 muses Anna Fantastic & Ingrid Chavez,the beginning of Prince's cloistered Paisley Park existence.

Many in his band and camp did not know what Lovesexy meant, but they sure did interpret it well on stage.

Talk 2 me lover, come and tell me what U taste ????

[img:$uid]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/0a/f5/eb7662e89da0cad3aefe2110.L.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/838859881/name/17184_1.jpg[/img:$uid]
Released May 10, 1988

Eye No
Alphabet St
Glam Slam
Anna Stesia
Dance On
Lovesexy
When 2 R in Love
I Wish U Heaven
Positivity

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1670050915/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

Rain is wet and sugar is sweet
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Everybody, everybody knows
When Love calls, U gotta go

Welcome 2 the New Power Generation
The reason why my voice is so clear
Is there's no smack in my brain

[img:$uid]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/57/dc/7eb6c060ada02cd7030cd110.L.jpg[/img:$uid]

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #1 posted 08/20/10 12:19pm

OldFriends4Sal
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So Camille found a new color.

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1992464708/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

Le Grind
Cindy C
Dead On It
When 2 R in Love
Bob George
Superfunkicalifragisexy
2NigUnited4WestCompton
Rock Hard In A Funky Place

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1522597673/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

Time upon a once
There was a boy named Camille
Now this boy named Camille
didn't know how 2 feel.
Sometimes he was lonely
sometimes he was sad
but most times
he just took 4 granted
all the nice things
that he had.

Some people said they loved him
but Camille said
"Contempt!
Winter, Spring,
Summer, or Fall,
love is no good
unless it's felt by all
"

So, naive & terrifically in need
Camille started looking for answers
His paintbrush the questioner,
his canvas the arena,
Camille set out to silence his critics.
"No longer daring" - his enemies laughed.
"No longer glam, his funk is half-assed...
one leg is much shorter
than the other one is weak.
His strokes are tepid,
his colors are meek."

So Camille found a new color.
The color black:
strongest hue of them all.
He painted a picture
called Le Grind --
hittin' so tall.
And then Cindy C --
THE vogue fantasy.
Horns & vocals 2 die 4.
Lollipops -- in yours!

Stroke after stroke callin' all others a joke.
Superfunkycalifragisexi.

Camille rocked hard in a funky place. Stuck his long
funk in competition's face. Tuesday came. Blue Tuesday.
His canvas full, and lying on the table, Camille mustered
all the hate that he was able. Hate 4 the ones who ever
doubted his game. Hate 4 the ones who ever doubted his name.

"Tis nobody funkier -- let the Black Album fly." Spooky
Electric was talking, Camille started 2 cry. Tricked.
A fool he had been. In the lowest utmostest. He had allowed
the dark side of him 2 create something evil. 2 Nigs United
4 West Compton. Camille and his ego. Bob George. Why?
Spooky Electric must die. Die in the hearts of all who
want love. Die in the hearts of men who want change.
Die in the bodies of women who want babies that will grow up
with a New Power Soul. Love Life, Lovesexy -- the feeling
u get when u fall in love, not with a girl or boy but with the
heavens above. Lovesexy -- endorphin. Camille figured out
what 2 feel. Glam Slam Escape -- the Sexuality Real.
Tonight we make love with only words. Girls first. This
feeling's so good in every single way.
God is alive! Let Him touch u and He will quench
every thirst. Let him touch u and an aura of peace will adorn u.
God is alive!
Let Him touch u and your own Lovesexy will be born.
Let Him touch u, let Him touch u, and Heaven is yours.
Welcome 2 the New Power Generation.


[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1577259704/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #2 posted 08/20/10 12:19pm

MikeyB71

Musically, i love this era.

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Reply #3 posted 08/20/10 12:21pm

Efan

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OldFriends4Sale said:


[img:$uid]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/57/dc/7eb6c060ada02cd7030cd110.L.jpg[/img:$uid]

I have always loved this picture. I bought this poster at the concert and had it hanging in my dorm room.

I think I'm really going to enjoy this thread. nod

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Reply #4 posted 08/20/10 12:22pm

OldFriends4Sal
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Q
Prince
The Black Album

This is complicated. Attempting to follow Sign O' The Times, Prince recorded two LPs, one by his angelic side-Camille-the other by his diabolic alter-ego, Spooky Electric. The former produced Lovesexy, the latter Black Album; then he dropped the darker record. Its appearance now, seven years later, is, presumably, part of Prince attempt to work his ticket off WEA. It's a marvelous Prince album, alarmingly ahead of its time. Here is the basis of much of the recent Prince & the New Power Generation oeuvre; Rockhard In A Funky Place and Supercalifragicsexy are basic pneumatic funk workouts, while Le Grind and Nigs United 4 West Compton are sweary/grunty sheet-wetters. But the standout track -- until now, the great missing Prince song -- is the claustrophobic, sadistic, bleakly humorous Bob George. Of all the things he's done, Prince has rarely scared; Bob George changes that. For anyone who's ever had any interest in the strange little fellow, Black Album is a near essential requisite.

****

Danny Kelly

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #5 posted 08/20/10 12:24pm

OldFriends4Sal
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Efan said:

OldFriends4Sale said:


[img:$uid]http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/57/dc/7eb6c060ada02cd7030cd110.L.jpg[/img:$uid]

I have always loved this picture. I bought this poster at the concert and had it hanging in my dorm room.

I think I'm really going to enjoy this thread. nod

lol Me too, my favorite poster next to the Prince & the Revolution PP tour photo and the one were he is wearing all white holding the rose

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #6 posted 08/20/10 12:25pm

OldFriends4Sal
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March 2. 1988
Radio City Music Hall New York
1988 Grammy Awards

1988
Got nomination for Grammy Award
category Album of the Year for "Sign O' The Times"


1988:Got nomination for Grammy Award
category Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for "U Got The Look"
shared with Sheena Easton

1988:Got nomination for Grammy Award
category Best R&B Song for "U Got The Look"


[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1701229770/name/88hqgs.jpg[/img:$uid]

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #7 posted 08/20/10 12:27pm

thedance

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the Music is beautiful.... music

Lovesexy is a pop-funk masterpiece...... worship

I absolutely love all about this masterpiece.

[img:$uid]http://a.imageshack.us/img835/8024/alphabetstvideo.jpg[/img:$uid]

I remember the pleasure of seeing the excellent Alphabet Street video on a very small black & white tv set, when I was young, I was sooo excited.... excited and rushed to the record shop to buy the album.

and The Black Album is the ultimate underground funk experience - the most bootlegged album in history.

Both are very dear to me. heart heart heart

Credits: this pic is from housequake.com, thanks to the original poster... Thanks!

[Edited 8/20/10 12:29pm]

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #8 posted 08/20/10 12:30pm

squirrelgrease

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biggrin Excellent era.

Growing up with Prince

LOVESEXY
PRINCE
Paisley Park

BY DAVID BROWNE

"IT MAKES ME DANCE, it makes me cry," Prince purrs on the title track of his tenth album, "and when I touch it, race cars burn rubber in my pants." Longtime Prince fans (you know, the kind whose eyes mist over when recalling the Minneapolis Wunderkind's funk-infested pre-1999 era) have been waiting for him to sing these types of lyrics for years. And if you don't pay close attention at first, Lovesexy does indeed sound like old times. When he slyly sings, "Now come on and touch it, eye no U will love it," in the same song, the mind reels back to the days -- almost a decade ago -- when Prince pushed the barriers of racial and sexual expression as he sang of oral sex and of getting extremely chummy with his sister.

That is where the similarity to the salacious Dirty Mind-Controversy era ends, however. At the threshold of thirty, Prince may still be obsessed with the pleasures of the flesh -- the in-the-buff cover shot is more than ample evidence of that -- but the Prince of Lovesexy is a different man from the teenager whose first Top Forty hit, "I Wanna Be Your Lover," sneaked in lyrics like "I wanna be the only one you come for." Dense and murky even during it peppiest moments, Lovesexycatches Prince in moods we normally don't associate with him -- frisky but contemplative, sly yet introspective. "It's time 4 new education, the former rules don't apply," he announces at one point, and he spends the rest of Lovesexy demonstrating just what those new rules are.

Beyond anniversaries and personal matters, Lovesexy arrives at a pivotal moment in Prince's musical career. While he's spent the last few years broadening the musical palette with soul psychedelia, movie soundtracks and the inspired patchwork quilt of last year's Sign o' the Times, plenty of lesser lights have built on his early trademarks, to the point where even a relatively flaccid talent like George Michael can successfully out-Prince the originator on "I Want Your Sex." Prince's initial retort was to whip out the now infamous "black album," originally scheduled for release last winter. Crackling with James Brown horn licks, assorted grunts and groans, guitar leads that burned into your skull and enough expletives to make the PMRC open a new branch, the album was shelved at the last minute for unspecified reasons in favor of Lovesexy, a new record (save for one track) that's as complex and indecisive as the black album was locomotive and sexual.

Lovesexy can be playful, too, when it wants to be. "Come a butterfly straight on your skin/U go 4 me and I come again," he squeals in "Glam Slam," a paean to simple physical urges. "Lovesexy," which plops his deepening voice in a bedrock of plush funk, also romps in sexual bravado: "Dig me now/Anyone that's ever touched it -- they don't want nothing else." Fortunately, Prince still has enough of a sense of humor to mock his own bragging. In the spoken-word vamping that ends the song -- "You want me to walk right down your halls/You want me to swim in your love sea, don't you, baby?" -- he distorts his voice electronically, from a low growl to a squeal, as if mocking the sexual zeal with which he's become synonymous.

Those blatant allusions to the earlier, hornier Prince could have easily deteriorated into self-parody; indeed, Lovesexy could well have had the dubious honor of being the first Prince record to take its cue from his own past, becoming his first regressive album in a career characterized by large strides. But thanks in large part to the seven-piece band with which he recorded the album -- and which played on last year's European tour and in the Sign o' the Times movie -- Lovesexy reveals how intricate and complex Prince's concept of funk has grown since 1980's Dirty Mind. "Eye No" opens the album with a jumbled barrage of Sly Stone wails, fatback bass lines, a grinding sax, wah-wah guitar and swarming backup vocals that continually collide with each other.

Similarly, the album's first single, a self-confident blast of bragging called "Alphabet St.," starts with chunky guitars and percussion, takes in bassist Levi Seacer Jr.'s popping bass line and meanders into a rap and full-band vamp. The riveting "Dance On," a more urgent and nihilistic take on the party-till-the-apocalypse theme of "1999," is anchored by a machine-gun-like synth-bass part, squawking horns and Sheila E.'s jazzy, stuttering drums. By comparison, the linear grooves and near-disco rhythms of early classics like "Sexuality" and "Uptown" sound malnourished and underdeveloped.

Tracks like "Alphabet St." and "Eye No" are important in the context of Prince's recent work, for they show he hasn't his touch for inventive dance music; even the relatively uneventful "Glam Slam," which sports the album's blandest melody, puts every Prince clone of the last five years to shame. But a good chunk of Lovesexy isn't concerned so much with getting that special someone into bed as it is with making that elated feeling last. "When 2 R in Love" -- the lone holdover from the black album -- is a cushy R&B ballad tailor-made for the Stylistics. Couched in a warm bed of funk, Prince's wavering falsetto pleads, "Bathe with me/Let me touch your body 'til your river's an ocean....Can U hear me?" (The difference, though, is that a group like the Stylistics would probably never sing a line like "When 2 R in love -- their bodies shiver at the mere/Contemplation of penetration.") Likewise, the swirl of gorgeous harmonies in "I Wish U Heaven" may sound comforting, but it can't conceal the lyrics' nagging sense of uncertainty. "Doubts of our conviction/Follow where we go," he nearly whispers, and sure enough, by the end of the song, the relationship is over. "If I see 11, U can say it's 7," he concludes with more a sigh than a growl. "Still, I wish U heaven."

The new, humbled Prince singing these songs comes to a crux on "Anna Stesia," a slowly simmering ballad that bringsLovesexy's allusions to failure and a loss to a (pardon the pun) head. An exercise in controlled intensity, the song builds from its simple piano-and-voice intro ("Have U ever been so lonely that U felt like U were the only/One in this world?" he softly intones at the song's beginning) to its shattering finale of synth blasts and guitar bursts. But as the layers of instrumentation build, so does self-doubt. "Maybe I could learn 2 love, I mean the right way, I mean the only way," he exhorts before turning to God: "Save me Jesus, I've been a fool/How could I forget that U are the rule?" Ultimately, the answer to this vague sexuality-versus-God issue goes unresolved -- the song ends with the repeated lines "Love is God/God is love/Girls and boys love/God above" -- but the quest itself makes a captivating ride.

"Anna Stesia," as daring in its own way as "When Doves Cry" or "I Wanna Be Your Lover," would heave made a perfect finale for Lovesexy. Instead, that job goes to "Positivity," seven minutes of workmanlike grind on top of which Prince and band lay down a stream of positive advice: "Hold on 2 your soul/Don't kiss the beast, be superior at least.... We got a long, long way 2 go." Although the sentiments are certainly admirable, the somewhat dull melody and overlong arrangement are anything but, and Lovesexy ends on something of a stalled note. "Positivity" is too simplistic a finale for a work that can't begin to answer its questions of love, sex, God and morality, and it blunts the albums overall impact. Maybe Prince preferred to end the record on an upbeat note so as not to discourage those listeners introduced to him via the ejaculating guitar in Purple Rain or the powerful pop of "Little Red Corvette." But It wasn't necessary: the most successful moments on Lovesexy prove that the hardest questions may not lend themselves to easy answers but make for much better music.

(RS 528)


New Musical Express
May 14, 1988

Porn Cocktail
by Sean O'Hagan

The best pop music does not reflect events so much as it absorbs them". Greil Marcus on Sly Stone's 'There's A Riot Goin' On'.

Over a decade ago, in a attempt to place Sly Stone, Greil Marcus - the most scholarly of rock critics - evoked the myth of Staggerlee, "an archetype that speaks to fantasies of casual violence and violent sex, lust and hatred, ease and mastery, a fantasy of style and steppin' high". Sly's post-'Riot' life and work bore out Marcus's eerie prediction of a man at war with - and on the run from - himself. Since vintage Sly Stone, black American music has given us no one so spooked out, so momentarily in tune with events, so much a product of the times. Unitl Prince.

So, where do we place Prince? With one single 'Sign O' The Times', he compacted Sly's previous dread testament, tackling the terminal zone AIDS, crack culture, urban and global paranoia over a searing, strung out funk that made it the 80's apocalyptic dance anthem.Alongside the delicious teasedout creation that was 'Kiss' and the clipped and chunky clout of the current 'Alphabet Street'.

Prince has reigned supreme in the singles stakes. On album, it's been a different story. His work rate and willingness to experiment meant 'Parade' was patchy, 'Sign o' The times' too long and 'Black' too throwaway to make it into the marketplace. Hot on the latter's bootlegged heels comes 'Lovesexy' and the title alone should tell you this ain't the Purple One's most serious outing.

'Lovesexy' comes wrapped in a much publicised package: Prince in the altogether, posing tastefully in front of a gilded lily with nary a glimpse of the - if we're to believe his back catalogue - overworked purple pecker. Small percies ! The lily does have a pretty provocative stamen poking out in the general vicinity of Prince's nether regions. (Dictionary definition of stamen - "the male reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of a stalk bearing an anther in which pollen is produced").

Thankfully, for us hay fever sufferers, it is not a scratch 'n' sniff sleeve. Inside, 'Lovesexy' trails the usual prince signatures - sex, dirty talk, the weird (Catholic ?) spirituality (guilt ?) that slips in and out (sorry) of his work, some eclectic party funk and a smidgeon of social commentary. As usual, the ideas come so fast and furious they often overpower the songs. 'O No' begins with a girl's voice intoning lovers' doggerel and a male counterpart welcoming us "to the new power generation". "The reason my voice is so clear", he adds, "is 'cos there's no smack in my veins". Over a cluttered cyberfunk, God battles it out with the powers of darkness - narcotics and drink - as a drug free Prince adds his voice to the "just say no' brigade. Alongside Side Two's opener, the awesome 'Dance On', it's the only song here that fractures the 'Lovesexy' obsession with the dual pursuit of sacred and profane love.

By now, it should be clear that sex is Prince's sole narcotic, a drug habit that thrives on a constant fix of phallic funk and the physical purgation of much of this music. Where Sly/Staggerlee saw salvation in hedonism and self immolation, Prince views sex through purple tinted specs as the means and the end. Desire is both fuel for his fantasies and raw material for his art but, from 'Dirty Mind' on, you just gotta wonder about the credibility of such obsessive aural exhibitionism.

Prince's recreation of himself as some kind of sexual deviant, albeit with an attendant spiritual morality, often finds it's strongest representation in the miasma of effect that crowd around these songs like a chorus of Times Square pimps and voyeurs. Between 'Eye No' and 'Alphabet St.', we gatecrash a party, listen in to some disembodied coke babble, hang out with a gaggle of gig gatecrashers and drugheads whilst a preacher's voice implores us to "praise God with the fruit of the vine". Between the depraved and the divine, the shadow of Staggerlee is just visible. But in the ensuing physical playfulness, Prince pushes knowingness into the background preferring to indulge a (naughty) childlike glee in sins of the flesh.

'Glam Slam' hits the treble button, basks in the harsh glare of guitars, multi-layered, vaguely acid tinged, splintering a fragment of soft core titillation: "Heavy feathers flicka nipple/ Baby scam water ripple...Come a butterfly straight on your skin/ U go 4 me and I come again...This thing we got - it's alive !' Praise the lord and pass the Ecstasy.

'Anna Stesia' is more seriously provocative, sampled orchestral strings announcing a spartan groove that, alongside 'Alphabet St.', is the first side's strongest statement. This is spaced out, slow and sexy superfunk with a direct lineage that stretches back to Sly's primal prototype - say 'Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again'. Only, Prince splices up the funk with techno-overload and the now prerequisite carnal-spiritual contradication.

'Dance On' starts Side Two with a heavy duty slab of social realism a la 'Sign O' The Times'. Here, Prince's worldview is refracted through newsreel footage, inner city survival and a startling Madhouse stutter-funk that strafes the speakers. As a glimpse into His Majesty's political overview, 'Dance On' takes a revisionist line - " It's time for new education, the need a new power structure that breeds production instead of jacks who vandalize". From here on in, it's back to the heavy duty pleasure principle.

'Lovesexy' itself steals the '1999' riff outright for a sex-is-the-ultimate-drug song; the guys pump it up in the background and the girls go for telephone sex that has Prince "drppin', all over the floor". 'When 2 R In Love' wanders intact off the 'Black' sessions, a song of whispered secrets - "the brightest star pales next to your sex" !? - and the closest he comes to total immersion in the empire of the senses. The music is soft focus, the message is soft porn. For adults only.

Finally, 'I Wish You Heaven' - throwaway by Prince standards - and the elongated statement of intent that is 'Positivity'. In here, you can hear Sly/ Staggerlee, the roots and the death rattle, the sound of what Prince terms "Spooky Electric". Unlike the previous role model, Prince holds back from the edge of the darkness that enveloped Sly. "Don't kiss the beast," he drawls unconvincingly as the chorus your soul". The last words on the record are "We got a long long way to go" and the last sound is lapping water.

Submerged in some weird sin, Prince renounces the old myths and swims against the current tide. On this evidence he is in no hurry to get there, preferring to relish the fun of the journey.

'Lovesexy' finds new ways of saying the same things and only occasionally does it reflect life outside Prince's hermetically sealed world of fetishistic love and attendant guilt. playful and perverse, he remains a willing sinner whose Purple prose and indulgent pop still triumphs over the best of the rest. 'Lovesexy' may be a major rumpus but it's a long way short of a 'Riot'. (8/10)


ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS

Sunday, May 15, 1988
Section: Arts and Entertainment
Page: 5D

PRINCE SHOULD HAVE HAD A BETTER BLUEPRINT

Prince
"Lovesexy"
(Paisley Park)

Rating: **/****

Great musicianship and unlimited imagination aren't enough when you don't have a plan.

"Lovesexy" is another cluttered mess of a Prince album, remarkably similar in shape(lessness) and sound to "Parade," causing one to wonder just what Prince believes is the purpose of his own music. At times (""Dirty Mind," "1999," "Purple Rain," "Sign O' The Times"), Prince focuses on the traditional singer-songwriter's mandate: creating likable songs for public consumption.

But, like Bruce Springsteen, Prince apparently feels an occasional need to pull back from mass popularity with albums that concentrate more on his personal hang-ups than on pop-song craft. "Controversy," "Around the World in a Day," "Parade" and now "Lovesexy" all fit into that category. All are challenging, creative and bursting with ideas but hardly the sort of records that are played over and over again.

In the '60s and early '70s, a multilayered, thematically tangled album like this would have been assumed to be about (or inspired by) drugs, but Prince dispels that notion before singing a note: "Welcome to the new power generation," he coos. "The reason my voice is so clear is there's no smack in my brain."

What there is in his brain is another question. Prince's twin obsessions are God and sex, and they've never been so confusingly set against (or with) each other as on "Lovesexy."

Lyrically, the album is a psychiatrist's casebook. "Maybe I could learn 2 love if I was just closer 2 somethin', closer 2 God, save me Jesus, I've been a fool, how could I forget you are the rule," he sings in the droning piano ballad "Anna Stesia." And in the plodding, urgent guitar showcase "Positivity" that closes the album, Prince urges us to resist "Spooky" (the devil?): "Don't kiss the beast, We need love & honesty, peace & harmony, Positivity, Hold on 2 your soul."

He invokes the struggle between heaven and hell on the opening "No," a Madhouse-styled funk workout in which he urges, "Say no - If U want a drug other than the God above. No if U need a drink every single day."

Great music has been written about good vs. evil; gospel comes quickly to mind, but other forms of pop, from protest folk to soul music, also cover the same ground. Prince is a brilliant enough artist to transcend any and all genres with his music, but he's not brilliant enough to convince us that there's anything deeper to these songs than craving sex and feeling guilty about it.

"Lovesexy" has almost too many good musical ideas, distributed densely and haphazardly through a collection of nine songs mostly unworthy of the effort. Had Prince recorded this album a week later, I suspect the songs would have sounded quite differently - though not necessarily any better. Only "When 2 Are in Love" - a gorgeous ballad reportedly held over from the unreleased "Black Album" - and "I Wish You Heaven," a simple, hard-hitting midtempo benediction, seem to be clearly conceived, finished compositions. "Alphabet St." and "Dance On" feature exciting, original syncopation but never really go anywhere as songs.

The whole album plays like a quick blast from Prince's subconscious, a week in the life, a hasty note from a troubled soul. My advice would be to slow down and think things through before writing again.

- Rick Shefchik


DETROIT FREE PRESS

Published: Monday, May 9, 1988
Section: FTR
Page: 3C

pop: Prince comes up with another winner

LOVESEXY -- Prince (Paisley Park): After the mostly one- man approach of last year's "Sign O' the Times," Prince has taken most of his latest touring band into the studio and come up with another expansive, varied and thought-provoking record; like "Sign," it's long on artistic ambition, but it may end up short on hit singles. It certainly has a controversial angle; last December, Prince was supposed to release "The Black Album," a sexually explicit, hard funk record that would have carried a warning sticker because of lyrical content. Prince himself pulled the album back, but bootleg copies from England have been circulating in the states.

"Lovesexy," the Minneapolis prodigy's 10th release, is tamer by comparison, though there are still plenty of ear-catching sexual references and a nude shot of Prince on the cover (naughty bits hidden, thank you). But that's just one part of another lyrically enigmatic record -- something Prince specializes in -- that also includes religious overtones and anti-drug references; "The reason my voice is so clear is there's no smack in my brain," he raps at the start of the album. And during "Dance On," he urges teenage drug pushers to "get your money straight."

All this is laid atop another of Prince's musical pastiches, a mixture of styles he's taken a step further this time. A wide group of musical colors -- house-style funk, high-tech synthesizers, Eastern flavorings, hard rock guitar, late '60s psychedelia, rap, jazz saxophone lines and explosions of brass -- are splashed through each song, blurring and blending stylistic divisions. This sometimes leads to excess -- such as "Positivity," the record's long closing track -- but Prince uses it mostly to his benefit on songs like "I-No," "Alphabet Street," "Anna Stesia," "Dance On" and the title track. Due in stores Tuesday, "Lovesexy" may take some time for listeners to get a handle on, but the process is certainly enjoyable and worth the effort.

-- GARY GRAFF


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, May 10, 1988
Section: FEATURES TONIGHT
Page: 36

PUMPING PRINCE
WITH 'LOVESEXY,' ROCKER TURNS UP HEAT, AT THE CASH REGISTER & ON THE TURNTABLE

By JONATHAN TAKIFF, Daily News Staff Writer

He's always been a controversial figure, a brilliant media manipulator. But this spring, Prince has outdone himself, priming the promotion pump like it's never been primed before.

Much fuss has been made about the "unauthorized" release of his ''black" album, another set of dreamy songs in the neo-Beatles mode of Prince's 1985 "Paisley Park." Originally scheduled for late winter release, the "black" album was pressed, then pulled back by the artist - possibly because this fashion-watcher feared that the LP's psychedelic style was again becoming passe.

Still, advance copies of the "black" LP have been circulated, bootlegged, reviewed (favorably) by the trade press and in recent weeks even played on some California radio stations, teasing the heck out of Prince's fans.

Now, the heat gets turned up with the authorized release of his ''Lovesexy" album hitting record stores today. It's guaranteed to keep the Prince of rock and soul in the center of controversy all summer long.

Just get a gander at that cover shot! Wearing only his birthday suit and a faraway gaze, Prince is posing in the classic vamp style of a Vargas fantasy girl, with hands and knees discreetly covering his privates.

But unlike those Playboy magazine sex objects, the Prince of Purple Passion isn't just teasing. Hot-blooded lyrics and jack-hammer rhythms leave little to the imagination on this recording. "Jerk your body like a horny pony would," squeals Prince on the first single from the set, "Alphabet Street." "You want me to swim in your love seed," he murmurs in the title track. "Have U ever wanted 2 play with someone so much U'd take any one, boy or girl?" he asks leadingly in "Anna Stesia."

None of this stuff should shock longtime fans. Prince has been running around in his underwear, simulating sex acts on stage, for almost a decade. And he's always let it hang out in panting, lascivious lyrics that give the Parents Music Resource Center plenty of fuel for their anti-rock crusade.

"Lovesexy" is not without its redeeming sense of social consciousness, though. Prince's basic contention is that sexiness is next to godliness, when the act is an expression of love. Even when it's not heavenly, sex still beats a lot of other vices, such as war, alcohol and drugs.

"Welcome to the new power generation," he declares at the opening to ''No," the LP's leadoff track. "The reason my voice is so clear is there's no smack in my brain." Later, he sings, 'Say no, if U want a drug other than the God above . . . Say yes, if U want this feeling called love."

Musically speaking, it's easy to see why Prince has opted to market ''Lovesexy" over the "black" album. The frantic, fresh sonic soup he's swigging here is sure hip to what's happening in the street.

"Alphabet Soup," "Lovesexy" and "Dance On" woosh by on a bed of rap- style disc scratching and electronic drum rhythms, blended with the heartbeat of Prince's bright electro-pop keyboards and rock guitar.

"Lovesexy" and "No" are strong in the vogue of Chicago-style House music - arranged with bluesy horns riding high on a rubbery funk bottom. James Brown, look out!

And for them that dig the Prince of production at his most grandiose, the Indian-flavored raga rock of "Gran Slam," anthem glory of "Anna Stesia" and multi-layered changes of "Positivity" will slay 'ya and (kama) sutra.

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[Edited 9/26/10 14:15pm]

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TIME
December 12, 1994 Volume 144, No. 24

BORN AGAIN
Years after Prince suppressed it, his fabled Black Album appears

BY DAVID E. THIGPEN

In the 1980s Prince -- yes, he now goes by an incomprehensible glyph, but we're old-fashioned -- became a huge star by ingeniously weaving together two powerful strands of pop music: the guitar-based rock of Jimi Hendrix and the rhythm-heavy funk of George Clinton. With a great gift for melody and a protean instrumental talent, Prince released such commercial and artistic triumphs as Purple Rain and Sign o' the Times. In his persona, meanwhile, he presented himself as a sort of pansexual sprite. Tiny, mascara wearing, lubricious, he gave erotically charged performances and bestowed on his records titles like Lovesexy.

It comes as a great surprise, then, to finally hear the mysterious Black Album. In 1987 Prince ordered all the copies of the record destroyed just before they were to be shipped. It has now been released, and listening to it one learns that it was Prince -- of all people -- who anticipated the decidedly unlovesexy anger and violence in the gangster rap of the 1990s.

Extremely prolific, Prince would like to make three or four records each year, but his label, Warner Records, wants only one a year from him.

Out of pique, he has decided to fulfill his contract by dipping into his backlog of 500 songs. Black Album is the first of these releases, and it covers the same ground that multiplatinum rappers like Snoop Doggy Dog and Dr. Dre explored years after it was recorded. Densely rhythmic and riddled with violent imagery, obscenities and the sound of gunshots, the Black Album is a bleak tour through an American ghetto of fractured homes and misogynistic, rootless young men -- a Clockwork Orange-style landscape ruled by drug dealers and petty hoods. Two of its songs, Le Grind and Dead on It, are explicit, sometimes monotonous odes not to sexual pleasure but to sexual conquest. On Bob George, a well-armed drug dealer kills his girlfriend after learning she's cheating on him ("I'm the one who pays the bills," he says), then holes up in his apartment and shoots it out with the police. The album is not relentlessly dark, however. When 2 Are In Love ranks among the most gorgeous love songs Prince has ever written.

Rumors spread in 1987 that the Black Album was kept from release because it was too raunchy and violent for radio (true) and the distributor was squeamish about its content (probably also true). But the real reason for holding the record back, Prince later told some of his friends, was that after finishing it he had a dream in which he experienced a religious vision. "It was like a born-again thing," recalls a close associate. "He felt this music was way too dark and said if he died, he didn't want this being the last thing representing him." So instead, Prince released Lovesexy, a sin-and-redemption song cycle in which he placed God and sex on equal footing.

Since then Prince's career has faltered, and the '90s have been unkind to him. His risque sexuality no longer shocks pop sensibilities. His last album was a flop, and his decision to change his name has been greeted with snickers. The Black Album is far too stark and angry to restore him to his previous place on the charts -- no one buys a Prince record for scenes of social decay -- and it is not of the same quality as his best work. Nevertheless, it is a rich and complex record by one of pop's most talented, multifarious performers. And the CD may sell better now than it would have in 1987. In those days listeners probably wouldn't have known what to make of its bitter outlook; today it is almost conventional. Seven years is a couple of generations in pop music, and at his best, Prince has always been that far ahead of his time.


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Music

FADE TO 'BLACK'
SEVEN YEARS AFTER ITS CREATION, PRINCE'S MUCH-BOOTLEGGED 'BLACK ALBUM' MOVES OUT OF THE BLACK MARKET -- BUT SEEMS TO HAVE LOST SOME OF THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC.

Review by David Browne

The tapes started circulating almost immediately. It was the end of 1987, and Prince, then at the peak of his powers, had recorded an album supposedly so dark, lurid, and expletive-drenched that it would be sold with an all-black cover. But it never appeared. Two rumors surfaced: Either his label, Warner Bros., got nervous and shelved it (which Warner denies), or Prince had a dream in which God told him it was too offbeat to unleash on the public and Prince complied. A few months later, a rock-critic friend gave me a copy, which turned out to be a fuzzy, muffled dub of a dub of a dub. Of course, that only added to the mystique. What could be heard through the audio murk were layers of back-alley funk sleaze, the occasional line like "I just hate to see an erection go to waste," and a riveting song called "Bob George," in which Prince distorted his voice and seemed to be verbally abusing a woman (a prostitute?) over a Eurotrash beat.

Now, seven years later, The Black Album (Warner Bros.), one of pop's legendary unheard (and much bootlegged) albums, is finally being released. (For the moment, anyway, is disassociating himself from it and is only making it available for two months.) Releasing such a bound-to-be-discussed item certainly can't hurt, since Prince's latest album, Come, has become one of the biggest duds of his career. But now we face the tough questions: Does the album live up to its legend, and exactly how risque is it in 1994?

Hearing a clean, first-generation copy, it first becomes obvious that The Black Album isn't that dark. For all its mysterioso qualities, it's essentially party music. Sure, there are some expletives and references to a "bitch" and "ho." But the songs are mostly jumping-bean jams for Prince and his band, which at the time included percussionist Sheila E. The joint themes of spirituality and the flesh would be explored in a more complex way on his next album, Lovesexy. For Prince, The Black Album was merely a funky little strut, as when he salivates over a well-known fashion model in "Cindy C." ("Where'd you get that beauty mark?/You and I should be undressing") or leads the band through the cracking-whip rhythms of "2 Nigs United 4 West Compton." The one exception is the cushiony ballad "When 2 R in Love," the only song here that was eventually released (on Lovesexy).

But playtime is really all the songs are about; in fact, most of them aren't really songs, just jigsaw-puzzle jams. There's nothing wrong with funking out with your band, but in retrospect, this tendency to leave tight songwriting in the dust was the blueprint for most of Prince's lackluster music to follow. In that sense, The Black Album may well have been the beginning of the end. The sexual side of his music is here, too, but it's mostly goofy and one-dimensional, without the religious conflicts that gave his earlier come-ons their depth and shadings.

In the pre-gangsta days of 1987, The Black Album was jarring, but now that our ears have become jaded -- at times liberated -- it sounds downright average. (And how ironic is it that Prince mocks rap in the sarcastic "Dead On It" yet later used the genre to bolster his own music?) At least time hasn't diminished "Bob George," an experiment that's spooky, scary, and funny, sometimes all at once. The beat is stark, chilling; Prince, playing someone who sounds like a crackhead coming down from a high, barks out complaints and accuses his girlfriend of sleeping with Prince's manager ("Prince? That skinny motherf---er with the high voice? Please!"). Guns go off, the police arrive, and he shoots at them too. "Bob George" unmasks the black-humored side of Prince we rarely see, while the rest of the album shows what he would become-a fast-talking jive machine content to ride a groove. Hearing the now-modest Black Album all these years later, part of me wished it had remained a salacious mystery. B


ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS

Tuesday, November 22, 1994
Section: EXPRESS
Page: 8C

BLAST FROM THE PAST
SEVEN YEARS AFTER ITS RECORDING - AND MUCH TO THE CHAGRIN OF PRINCE - WARNER BROS. ISSUES HIS MUCH-MYTHOLOGIZED "THE BLACK ALBUM."

By Jim Walsh, Pop Music Critic


Today's official release of Prince's "The Black Album" ends the story of one of the most controversial albums in pop-music history and begins another chapter in the ongoing - and increasingly volatile - relationship between Prince and his label of 16 years, Warner Bros. Records.

Recorded in 1987, "The Black Album" was never released because Prince felt its tone was too dark. He pulled it from distribution at the last minute, but not before Warner Bros. had manufactured copies. Since its cancellation, the 10-song work has become one of the most widely bootlegged albums ever, rivaled only by another boot-turned-official release, Bob Dylan and the Band's 1975 "The Basement Tapes."

According to Musician magazine, more than 250,000 copies of "The Black Album" have been sold in CD and vinyl form, which doesn't include cassette duplications that have moved through the underground bootleg pipeline. Some copies have fetched as much as $1,000. The official version of the disc will be available today - Jan. 28 only and will feature all 10 original tracks and the original artwork.

But the timing of the release is curious, since Warners and Prince currently are arguing over the release of his new album, "The Gold Experience," which has been debut - ready for several months.

So what's going on?

"We are accommodating the artist's wishes," says Warners publicist Bob Merlis.

And why release it now?

Merlis says, "He signed an agreement to let us do it. We've wanted to put it out for years. We pressed the album in 1987 and destroyed vast quantities of it. If we didn't want to put it out, why did we make so many? The artist decided he would rather not have it on the market at that time."

That's still the case, according to Karen Lee, Prince's spokeswoman.

"He's thoroughly p----- off about it," Lee says. "He had to sign an agreement - I can't go into why - but contractually, he didn't have a choice.

"He feels like he wrote that album when he was a different person. He was angry, and it wasn't music he ever wanted to get out. How can you tell him, as an artist, what to do with his music? He's like, 'I'm in a whole different space now, the world is in a different space; the contribution I want to make doesn't sound like that.' And here we are back in the record-company politics again, and he doesn't have a choice."

The odd thing is, relatively dark though the tone of "The Black Album" may be, Prince was a happy camper when he recorded it in the fall of 1987.

"Paisley Park was freshly open, and much of the bulk of 'The Black Album' was among his first work done there," says Alan Leeds, the former Paisley Park vice president who was Prince's tour manager at the time.

"Actually, 'The Black Album' began with some tracks that he cut specifically as party music for a birthday party that he was throwing for Sheila E. Some of that album was designed as party music, which may or may not mean that he had ideas of ever releasing it. So there was nothing really dark going on in his life; the album started out as very innocuous dance music for a girlfriend, and his dream building, his facility and his company, was growing by leaps and bounds."

Leeds says that part of the impetus of the album was in reaction to hip-hop and to criticism that Prince had sold out the black elements of his music. After pulling "The Black Album," Prince opted to record "Lovesexy," a much more sanguine pop record.

"It was inspired directly by this epiphany that he went through that dictated to him to cancel 'Black Album' and do something that he felt was more uplifting and responsible," says Leeds. "He had some kind of a spiritual awakening that dictated it. Some voice told him, 'Don't release that record.' The only thing he ever said to me was that if something happened to him, that would be the last statement he made to the public, and he didn't want that to be how he was remembered.

"So, to everybody's chagrin who worked at Warner Bros. and had the thing on the loading dock, it was stopped. Now the true story is that he did make the decision; Warners had nothing to do with stopping the record. It was his sole decision to stop it, and copies were literally on the loading dock, pulled back and destroyed."

From what Lee says, that's exactly what Prince would like to see done this time around. In fact, he may have foreseen this day coming, for various liner notes and tour programs since 1987 have contained the message: "Don't buy the black album." Told that Prince is upset about the release of the record, Merlis said, "All I can tell you is that Oct. 25, he signed an agreement letting us put it out."

Some Prince watchers have speculated that the release of "The Black Album" will go toward fulfilling his Warner Bros. contract, which he has been trying to get out of; neither Lee, Merlis, nor Leeds could confirm that. Prince declined to be interviewed.

"Before they agreed to release 'The Black Album,' he owed four albums, and he still owes four albums," says Lee.

Politics aside, "The Black Album" is a worthwhile musical artifact for any Prince fan: "Le Grind" and "Cindy C." (a paean to then-fledgling model Cindy Crawford) are bubbly dance workouts; "When 2 R in Love" is a romantic ballad that finally surfaced on "Lovesexy"; and "Old Friends for Sale" is a brooding ballad that explores the ramifications of the glamorous life. Today, the harder bits of "The Black Album" may sound dated, but the disc as a whole is nonetheless illuminating; a frozen moment that bridges the gap between the fading new-wave pop of the day and the burgeoning gangsta rap of the future.

"It will be really interesting to see if the climate is receptive to it," Leeds says. "I've got a feeling that they're three years late on this.

"So I don't know what they're gonna accomplish, other than everybody'll make a little cash. Not that that's bad. It's good music, and it deserves to be out there. I was very disappointed, actually, when it was canceled, because I thought it was a fun album. I don't think it's as profound as legend has it. In the long run, I don't think when somebody judges his career 20 years from now, they're going to say that that was an absolute high point. But it's a cool record. Legend made it more important than it is."

Correction: Friday, November 25, 1994

A story in Tuesday Showtime included incorrect information about Prince's "The Black Album." The song "Old Friends For Sale" was featured as an addition to some bootleg versions of "The Black Album," but is not on the official version released this week by Warner Bros.


DETROIT FREE PRESS

Sunday, November 20, 1994
Section: FTR
Page: 10H

LEGENDARY 'BLACK ALBUM' IS JUST A LITTLE TIMEWORN

GARY GRAFF Free Press Music Writer

Back when Prince was big, "The Black Album" was the stuff of legend -- as much a mystery as the talented but enigmatic musician who created it.

The album was set for release in December 1987. Early word trumpeted its explicit sexual content, said to be beyond even Prince's blatant standards. It was going to be one of the first albums to carry the new Parental Advisory stickers.

With Prince still a hot commodity -- "The Black Album's" predecessor, "Sign O' the Times," was a critical and commercial smash -- the buzz was immense.

Then Prince pulled the album, which will finally see limited release on Tuesday. Saying he regretted placing sex above love and spirituality, Prince consigned "The Black Album" (Warner Bros.) to oblivion. It was the most famous unreleased album since the Beach Boys' "Smile." Because some copies sneaked out, particularly in Europe, it became a heavily bootlegged and collectible piece; original copies fetched up to $11,000, while countless bootleg editions surfaced in short order.

Only one "Black Album" song, "When 2 R in Love," has been on another Prince album, 1988's "Lovesexy."

Of course, Prince's fortunes have dwindled significantly since then. His record sales have decreased with each subsequent release, and his latest, "Come," was an artistically uninspired work.

His decision to drop his name in favor of a symbol that mixes the icons for male and female has rendered Prince something of a joke, and he's feuding with his label, Warner Bros., over the release of his next album, "The Gold Experience."

So finally putting out "The Black Album" could be an effort to rekindle Prince's career and put a little sizzle into what's become a yawn. He's only getting minimal mileage out of it, though. As per Prince's wishes, the album will be available only until Jan. 27.

Its graphics are nondescript, a Spinal Tap black cover with no liner notes -- not even Prince's name or an album title on the spine of the cassette or CD box. Only a sticker on the front will identify it.

More damning is just how dated "The Black Album" sounds. With its spare arrangements and medium-fi technology, it has the ambience of an unfinished demo recording, with none of the snap and polish of Prince's usual work. The assortment of 13- letter words and sexual colloquialisms might have caused a stir in 1987, but nowadays -- in the wake of grunge, gangsta rap and death metal -- the lyrics here seem decidedly PG-13.

And a track like "Dead on It," a snooty dismissal of rap music ("See, the rappers' problems usually stem from being tone deaf") now seems particularly unenlightened.

Which is not to say "The Black Album" lacks compelling material. "Cindy C" is a bawdy come-on to model and MTV hostess Cindy Crawford. "Le Grind," "Superfunkycalifragisexy" and "Rockhard in a Funky Place" have merit on the dance floor, while the instrumental "2 Nigs United for West Compton" is a jam that shows off Prince's estimable musical skills.

Then there's "Bob George," a tongue-in-cheek gangster fantasy that's profane, misogynist and violent, just barely saved by its self-effacing humor; at one juncture, Prince asks a cheating girlfriend "What's he do for a living?/Manage rock stars?/ Who?/Prince?!/Ain't that a (ahem)!"

At this late date, however, "The Black Album" is little more than an interesting period piece that makes all of the excitement of 1987 seem curious. It's nice to have the album to complete collections, but its time has clearly passed.


Q

Prince
The Black Album

This is complicated. Attempting to follow Sign O' The Times, Prince recorded two LPs, one by his angelic side-Camille-the other by his diabolic alter-ego, Spooky Electric. The former produced Lovesexy, the latter Black Album; then he dropped the darker record. Its appearance now, seven years later, is, presumably, part of Prince attempt to work his ticket off WEA. It's a marvelous Prince album, alarmingly ahead of its time. Here is the basis of much of the recent Prince & the New Power Generation oeuvre; Rockhard In A Funky Place and Supercalifragicsexy are basic pneumatic funk workouts, while Le Grind and Nigs United 4 West Compton are sweary/grunty sheet-wetters. But the standout track -- until now, the great missing Prince song -- is the claustrophobic, sadistic, bleakly humorous Bob George. Of all the things he's done, Prince has rarely scared; Bob George changes that. For anyone who's ever had any interest in the strange little fellow, Black Album is a near essential requisite.

****

Danny Kelly


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Friday, November 25, 1994
Section: FEATURES YO!
Page: 98

DISCS

'BLACK' IS GOLDEN FOR PURPLE ONE

by Jonathan Takiff, Daily News Staff Writer


THE BLACK ALBUM
Prince
Warner Brothers
* * * *

Just before its scheduled debut in December 1987, Prince suddenly decided to cancel his new album release. It was a time of heavy censorship agitation against pop music, and evidently Prince (or his advisers) didn't want to supply more fuel for the fire with this patently sexy set, which was never officially titled but known by its monochrome, type-free cover as "The Black Album."

Prince paid off Warner Brothers to have all 400,000 copies of the initial pressing destroyed. Yet a few copies escaped and fell into the wrong (or right) hands. Almost overnight, "The Black Album" became, according to Prince's label, the most bootlegged album in history.

As well it should have. The set is one of the hardest, funkiest works Prince has ever cranked out. Its eight solid jams hark stylistically to the scorched scorings of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, tip a hat to the hip-hop community and allude to the progressive jazz-rock horn charts of Frank Zappa. And like Zappa, Prince boldly mixed the musically sacred with the lyrically profane.

The electro-percolating "Le Grind" is a definition of dirty dancing that leaves nothing to the imagination. "Up and down, up and down like a pony would," pants our boy.

Elsewhere, Prince espouses the aphrodisiac powers of squirrel meat (who knew?) in "Superfunkacalafrajasexy" and encourages guys to excite the sisters by licking on their knees (who knew that was a hot spot?) in the rapping, rapturous "On It."

The bold one begs a beauty mark-festooned model named "Cindy C." to let him "see you in your birthday suit tonight." Look out, Richard Gere!

The set also is home to the Prince concert favorite "When 2 R N Love," a pretty ballad that encourages romantics "nothing's forbidden and nothing's taboo."

Designed to spark even more controversy was a hard-bitten gangsta rap called "Bob," in which Prince processes his voice to sound like Barry White, and plays the ugly part of a gun-wielding, chauvinist pig.

I could do without the last track. But the rest are a kick and a half. And the double good news, as you may have guessed already, is that you finally can hear this music officially. Prince and Warners have struck a unique deal to issue "The Black Album" for a limited, two-month span, commencing this week and ending Jan. 27. So if you want it, come and get it fast.

Amusingly, Warner Bros. is offering "amnesty" to buyers of the bootleg. The first 1,000 felons who turn in their "naughty, counterfeit" copies will receive a new official CD or cassette copy. To participate, send your contraband album to Amnesty Offer, Warner Bros. Records, Box 6868, Burbank, Calif. 91505.

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Reply #12 posted 08/20/10 12:43pm

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Welcome 2 the Funk Bible

In 1987, Prince should have been on top of the world: coming off a #1 single with at least two more classic albums in the can, he had at last achieved his childhood dream and is a superstar. But all was not well in Paisley Park. Matthew Weiner examines where it all went wrong.

Matthew Weiner

Prince is in a field. Where? We don't know where. Why? We don't know why. And really, we don't care much. But as the story goes, Prince somehow experiences a vision in a field where the letters "G-O-D" are presented to him. He interprets it as a sign that he needs to embark on a new personal and musical direction, one he calls "Lovesexy," which, from the recorded evidence, seems an awful lot like the euphoria that sometimes follows a nervous breakdown. Having at last achieved the kind of artistic and popular success he only dreamt of as a boy growing up in Minneapolis, to the casual observer, such a precarious emotional state might seem strange. But "strange" is only the beginning of what has been going on with Prince for the last whirlwind year and a half.

Let's go back a bit. It's late 1987 and Prince has clearly established residency at the upper-echelons of culture and society. He is on a roll, with his double-album opus, Sign o' the Times, now widely and immediately regarded as one of the finest albums of the eighties. And the accolades are well-earned: mostly performed solo, SOTT confidently and brazenly runs the stylistic gamut from hot candlewax soul to rousing guitar pop to genderbending robot-funk without ever once getting tiresome. Of course, Prince always has had a tendency to let his ego run wild—it is, as a matter of plain and simple fact, an endearing trait of most geniuses—but on SOTT, freed from the confines of his band, the Revolution, reigning in his wilder tendencies, the quality allows him to indulge his inner Tin Pan Alleycat.

Really, it can't be any better. Despite the fact that his lead single, the title track, is so minimalist it makes the previous year's "Kiss" sound like The Ring of the Niebelungen by comparison, the song races to #1 on the pop charts, his fourth to reach the top spot. Prince is the toast of popular culture, the master of many media, and releases an acclaimed concert film of the album. There is almost nothing left to conquer.

But something is getting at him. Prince has been a star for four years now and is as busy as ever, working on reams of material for himself and others, like Sheila E. and the Family, much of it he has no intention of ever releasing to the public. Several of his own projects, multi-album affairs prospectively titled The Dream Factoryand Crystal Ball, have dribbled into one another, some tracks showing up on subsequent albums and as B-sides. At the same time, his longtime relationship with Susannah Melvoin, his muse, is coming to a slow, painful end, and he's cutting off friends and bandmates alike (like Susannah's sister, Wendy, and her partner Lisa) with hardly a word of explanation. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that Prince is completely isolating himself.

The depression sends him further into creative overdrive. He continues to record almost constantly, choosing not to tour SOTT in the States. Prince spends his restless nights alone with engineer Susan Rogers recording countless tracks, including subversive party anthems like "Le Grind" and the Cindy Crawford-tribute, "Cindy C.," some simply as a way to blow off steam, a practice made easier now that he's unencumbered by a regular band. Electronically processing his voice from a cavernous basso-profundo to a high-pitched, adenoidal whine, he has begun singing about and from the perspective of alter-ego characters, with names like Camille and Spooky Electric, even considering releasing an album of the former's work at one time (and arguably releasing one by the latter at another).

It's at this point that Prince's obsession with identity—hitherto a strength—is beginning to consume him.

"She Got You Tied With A Golden Rope" : Camille

Making her debut on SOTT, Prince chooses to feature Camille on the more sexually-charged, carnal romps like the steaming, "Housequake" and "U Got the Look." The ambigenderous Camille (slyly referred to as "he") allows Prince the freedom to indulge his more feminine side, appearing in sexually confused confessionals such as the magnificent "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and "Strange Relationship." In the context of the double-album sprawl ofSOTT, her presence seems charming, a studio-processed sleight-of-hand that adds some variety to his one-man show and makes the Revolution's absence less noticeable.

A fascinating, extended version of "Housequake" that remains unreleased, shows this Prince at the peak of his powers; at over seven minutes, the almost dubby mix features a chorus of Princes led by Camille calling, responding and jiving while the song passes through bass grooves ranging from a jazzy walk to popping funk, all punctuated by fuzzy metal power chords, wailing guitars and JB horns, supported by a typically crisp electronic beat and working itself into a feverish pitch. Brass aside, it's all Prince, and it's stone-cold brilliant.

But as time goes on and more of her songs see the light of day, it becomes apparent that the songs featuring Camille reveal a darker, witchier tone than songs like "Housequake," with dry, bare and cold arrangements that suggest a new wave Sly and the Family Stone.

The strangeness begins to take shape on songs like the unreleased "Rebirth of the Flesh," with its gargantuan metal riff, slamming beat and sing-songy chorus, delivered with a supremely squelchy, over-the-top Camille vocal. But it really flowers with songs like the nasty nursery-rhyme porno, "Scarlet Pussy," ostensibly "written" by Camille as well. The song revels in raw, sexual innuendo, its slow vamp providing the bed for a Greek chorus of varispeeded Princes to sing about a feline protagonist who mercilessly taunts her victim, making him shoot his "ego all over his sheets" (a declaration of feminist power if there ever was one). "Scarlet Pussy" is a hilarious addition to Prince's catalogue.

"Shockadelica," though, is positively sinister, addressing Camille's black magic sexual spell and the power it has over him. Combined with a snappy electronic rhythm track, mid-period Sly guitar chops and layered, processed vocals, it's easily one of his finest songs.

Both "Shockadelica" and "Scarlet Pussy" appear later as B-sides, suggesting Prince's obsessive need to get some of the stranger Camille tracks out, even if an entire album of them proves too disarming for release to the general public.

In his 1988 tourbook, he will explain in his inimitable scrawl what's going on in his Prince-ly bean, describing the Camille character in terms that recall "time upon a once" a scrawny, serious and lonely boy and are strikingly similar to the Prince who grew up alone in his basement in Minneapolis in the late sixties. He writes of Camille trying to "silence his critics" by finding a "new color": not purple, but the color black.

"All The Sisters Like It When U Lick 'Em On the Knees" : The Black Album

It is not lost on Prince that ten years of sexual ambiguity, affairs with big-titted Latinas and Joni Mitchell references in his lyrics have essentially blanched his image to the point where he is viewed by his public in terms almost completely lacking any racial context. Given the predominant "one-world" hippie strains strewn periodically throughout his music and lyrics, one might be predisposed to think Prince fancies this racial freedom an advantage.

But even though it's only been a year since the much-lauded James Brown-style soul revue of the Parade tour, Prince is very concerned about his audience, a sizable number of whom are teenage white girls. After the whispers of "sell out" from the black community following some of the so-called "straight-ahead pop" on SOTT, Prince wants to make music that America's black population can again embrace. But at the same time, he's got a slight problem: he despises the lack of musicality in the music now emerging as the "new black music": hip-hop. In true Prince style, he adapts quickly and shamelessly, recording songs that both embrace the trend and flatly dimiss it (to embarrassing effect on the latter, with "Dead On It").

The result is that his new direction is not a particularly clear one. Still, he presses up several of the Susan Rogers party tracks with a few of the darker ones, like the macabre gansta rap of "Bob George," as a birthday party acetate for drummer Sheila E. Prince considers releasing the record, provisionally entitled The Black Album, in an unmarked, plain black sleeve with no credits. Its music is strange, and in some ways more conceptually intriguing as an album than musically engaging, though its jukebox of "black" styles and dark humor are fairly compelling.

However, Prince reconsiders putting The Black Album out at the last minute, sending the record into history as a Lost Masterpiece and setting off a pop culture firestorm, stoked by reports that Prince himself considers the music "evil." Reviewed in many publications much as an official release, The Black Album winds up being bootlegged heavily; with every new generation of cassette dub, the lyrics (especially those that seem to describe a voodoo ritual with animal blood) get progressively less intelligible and more mysterious, while the bass gets murkier. Murkier and heavier.

"Welcome To the Funk Bible" : Lovesexy

"Tricked" by Spooky Electric into delivering the "dark side of him" on The Black Album, Camille had "figured out what to feel." On Lovesexy, we get a lot of that feeling. More of a piece than any of his records hitherto (the CD has but one track index), Lovesexy is Prince's raison d'etre, the place where he attempts to formally reconcile his carnal obsessions with the spiritual. Until now, the former has been shockingly explicit, offending mothers everywhere to great acclaim, while all the god-talk has been vague and hamfisted. And if the disturbing, renaissance-styled nude cover snap of Prince among floral stamen and the like is any indication, Lovesexy isn't likely to be much more of an assurance to Mom. But the songs within compellingly lays bare the struggle and confusion within Prince's soul, his sexuality and spirituality are all here at once, naked, conflicted and torn.

Musically, if SOTT had allowed Prince to draw strength from the spirit of a Cole Porter, 1988's Lovesexy finds him getting in touch with his inner-Ellington, relying more on arrangement than songs. The New Power Generation, largely consisting of the group Madhouse plus Sheila E.'s percussives, have a much snappier, brittler and more, in some ways, harsh electronic sound than their predecessors. After years of pointedly minimalist arrangements, several tracks sound as if Prince, in a rush of devotional urgency, is desperately trying to cram everything he can into the stereo spectrum.

"Eye Know," the album's opener, establishes the aesthetic, with the maximalist jazz-funk orchestra, replete with pointillistic muted trumpets, a shouting chorus of background singers and rappers, as well as a popping rhythm track, noodly keyboard doodles and countless melodies and countermelodies. Where "Kiss" was lean, taut and smooth, this is busy, jittery and a little bit ugly even. In fact, only the following track, the nostalgic "Alphabet St.," returns Lovesexy to the aesthetic of yore, with its a simple story about impressing chicks with a "right rad ride" supported by an equally basic three-chord harmonic progression, arrangement and singalong melody. In many ways, the song is a kiss-off to the old Prince, the dependable Prince. His songwriting prowess hasn't abandoned him exactly, more that songs—traditional ones, anyway—aren't really saying everything he needs them to anymore.

And from the twisted psychedelic guitar and spacey background vocals of "Glam Slam" on, it becomes clear that Lovesexy's songs aren't going to fit into any genre either. As always, influences come and go, but none really stick. Instead, the lasting impression is, like "Eye Know," that of an extended gospel funk jam, with hyperactive and blaring orchestration (in another unreleased extended mix during this period, this time of "Alphabet St." ironically, the refrain "this is not music/this is a trip" can be heard repeated in the background).

Muddled lyrical narratives emerge, concerning salvation, doing battle with the devil and killing Spooky Electric (clearly now Prince's pet name for his own darker impulses). Nearly every song clings to an intense devotion, constantly—and perhaps intentionally—confusing the sexual and spiritual, simply expressed in the title track ("I want it so much in every single way/I want it morning, noon and night of every day"). The sentiment is further expressed by way of social concerns, first present in "Sign o' the Times," as they return in the form of street crime (vividly recreated on the violent proto-breakbeat of "Dance On") and AIDS ("Positivity"), the latter finally finding him pulling off the heaven-hell passion play in an urban setting.

Beginning with an extended (and excessive) baroque solo keyboard prelude that announces a simple piano figure, "Anna Stesia" is clearly positioned as the album's conceptual centerpiece, presenting Prince on the altar, tormented by otherwordly longing; demanding to be "ravished" in the "right way," the song's mantra refrain builds into a thrillingly shrill gospel climax, a testimonial of his faith. In something. "Anna Stesia" is Lovesexy in a microcosm: religious, sweaty, indulgent and brutal.

But it's perhaps the song rescued from The Black Album, "When 2 R In Love," that may be at Lovesexy's emotional core. A simple soul ballad commonly noted for its x-rated content ("The thought of his tongue in the V of her love"), upon closer inspection makes clear how desperate for genuine affection the man really is ("Come bathe with me/Let's drown each other in each others emotions"). Considered against the record's freakish obsession with salvation, the pleading and masochism of "When 2 R In Love" betrays more than a hint of sadness and futility.

And ultimately, for all of its "postivity," Lovesexy really isn't all that happy of a record, its upbeat party vibe undercut by by demons both mythical (his fascination with Spooky Electric and the devil) and personal (the loss of Susannah Melvoin and the Revolution), not to mention the very real urban decay that, despite his status as America's most famous black entertainer, he seems resigned to simply observe from the sidelines. Dance on, indeed.

The Future : Batman and Beyond

Lovesexy proves to be an end of sorts—albeit one without any obvious new beginnings. Shortly after the Lovesexytour, Prince parts ways with Sheila E., firing most of his band for the second time inside of 18 months. He's flattered and intrigued that Tim Burton wants to work with him on the new Batman movie, and holes himself up again in the studio to write material he hopes will be used, not just in the background, but to further the movie's narrative, similar to an opera. Though the songs aren't coming to him as easily this time, he presses on despite.

It's an image worth pondering for a moment. Maybe, when you cut past the instrumental and songwriting virtuosity, the funny voices and characters, what is left is a man alone in his recording studio for days at a time. It's no wonder he's pondering the notion of abandoning his solo act to bring in a living, breathing soul band into the fold. In spite of all his success, maybe that boldness so confident and intense can't help but betray just a hint of lonliness not unlike that sad, little boy, "Camille." Time upon a once.

If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #13 posted 08/20/10 12:43pm

MikeyB71

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Reply #14 posted 08/20/10 12:44pm

Bree8016

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excited i love this era.

How can I stand 2 stay where I am? / Poor butterfly who don't understand.
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Reply #15 posted 08/20/10 12:45pm

Efan

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squirrelgrease said:


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Amusingly, Warner Bros. is offering "amnesty" to buyers of the bootleg. The first 1,000 felons who turn in their "naughty, counterfeit" copies will receive a new official CD or cassette copy. To participate, send your contraband album to Amnesty Offer, Warner Bros. Records, Box 6868, Burbank, Calif. 91505.

Is this true? I had no idea they did that.

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Reply #16 posted 08/20/10 12:51pm

Bree8016

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How can I stand 2 stay where I am? / Poor butterfly who don't understand.
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Reply #17 posted 08/20/10 12:52pm

Bree8016

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How can I stand 2 stay where I am? / Poor butterfly who don't understand.
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Reply #18 posted 08/20/10 1:01pm

MikeyB71

Efan said:

squirrelgrease said:


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Amusingly, Warner Bros. is offering "amnesty" to buyers of the bootleg. The first 1,000 felons who turn in their "naughty, counterfeit" copies will receive a new official CD or cassette copy. To participate, send your contraband album to Amnesty Offer, Warner Bros. Records, Box 6868, Burbank, Calif. 91505.

Is this true? I had no idea they did that.

This is true yes, the gesture was part of the advertising campaign for the release of The Black Album in 1994. It was more tongue in cheek than a serious offer. I have no idea how many people took up the Warners offer.

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Reply #19 posted 08/20/10 1:04pm

squirrelgrease

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Efan said:

squirrelgrease said:


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

Amusingly, Warner Bros. is offering "amnesty" to buyers of the bootleg. The first 1,000 felons who turn in their "naughty, counterfeit" copies will receive a new official CD or cassette copy. To participate, send your contraband album to Amnesty Offer, Warner Bros. Records, Box 6868, Burbank, Calif. 91505.

Is this true? I had no idea they did that.

nod Needless to say, I didn't send them my boots. biggrin

If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #20 posted 08/20/10 1:06pm

squirrelgrease

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MikeyB71 said:

Efan said:

Is this true? I had no idea they did that.

This is true yes, the gesture was part of the advertising campaign for the release of The Black Album in 1994. It was more tongue in cheek than a serious offer. I have no idea how many people took up the Warners offer.

The same amount of people that sent their boots to The Ways Of The Pharoah. Two.

If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #21 posted 08/20/10 1:33pm

MikeyB71

squirrelgrease said:

MikeyB71 said:

This is true yes, the gesture was part of the advertising campaign for the release of The Black Album in 1994. It was more tongue in cheek than a serious offer. I have no idea how many people took up the Warners offer.

The same amount of people that sent their boots to The Ways Of The Pharoah. Two.

Haha, despite the promise of a shiny new cd or tape, i can't see many people having taken up the offer.

Bizarrely, on the day of the Black Album being released, Warners office staff dressed in black, and all lights were turned off for 15 minutes as a black(album)out. lol True story.

Quite what the point of that was i have not got a clue.

[Edited 8/20/10 13:34pm]

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Reply #22 posted 08/20/10 3:53pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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Blue Tuesday 12.1.1987

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Ruperts Dance Club [Minneapolis Minn.]
Paisley Park studios [Minneapolis Minn.]

Prince
Warner Bro.
Ingrid Chavez
Karen Krattinger
Susan Rogers
Matt Fink
Gilbert Davison
Mo Ostin
Marylou Badeaux
Eric Leads

From the perspective of Warner Bros., the Black Album was emblematic of the label's concerns about Prince's career. Increasingly, his marketing decisions seemed designed to alienate the public rather than to increase his record sales; meanwhile, his material was becoming consistently less accessible. The company desperately wanted Prince to come up with catchy songs that would re-establish him as a potent hit-maker and guide him back towards Purple Rain-like levels of fame. What it got instead was The Black Album.

Despite Warners trepidation, plans for the release went forward and hundreds of thousands of vinyl albums, cassettes, and compact discs were pressed for distribution. As he often did just before putting out new albums, Prince went to a nightclub to audition it for an unsuspecting public. On December 1,1987- a little more than a week before its scheduled release-Prince went to Rupert's, a Minneapolis dance club. Entering undetected by the crowd, he made his way to the deejay booth and played songs without fanfare to see how club goers would react.

Matt Fink has also mentioned that Cat might have been present at some point during the night.
Cat actually wrote a song about that night for her unreleased solo album in 1989.
"I've written a song about that for the album. A slow one called 'December 1st 1987' I was there for all that stuff, when it was made, when it didn't come out. I won't ever forget that time." (Cat, 1989)


insert from: NightGod My source: Cat Glover

I filmed a behind the scenes video of her modeling shoot last year (the one many of you have seen on youtube), and spent a couple days hanging out with Cat Glover. She is very open and shared some amazing stories with me. This is one:

1987: Prince had never tried Ecstasy, and was curious about it after Cat told him what it felt like. He asked Cat to get him some (it came from her, where the common misconception is that it came from Ingrid). Cat was in LA when Prince made his request. She got some and flew in to MN and was staying at a hotel when Prince's limo showed up. While they were both in her room, Cat suggested Prince take half a dose "because he was so small". He took the full dose and told Cat to wait for him. He rode off in his limo and Cat didn't hear from him until much later.

Prince decided to go to a club while he was tripping. It was here that he met Ingrid Chavez, which eventually led them to Paisley Park. Cat said she didn't think Ingrid knew Prince was tripping on E. Prince called Cat later from the limo and told her about Ingrid. She was riding with him at that point, and the three of them went out to Paisley, making for a historical night in Prince's career.

Even more interesting is her source for where she got the Ecstasy in the first place: Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.


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As the music played over the sound system, Prince mingled with the crowd and eventually became involved in a detailed conversation with a singer-songwriter-poet in her early twenties named Ingrid Chavez. An attractive brunette with a serious and reflective air, Chavez had moved to Minneapolis several years earlier to work on music with a friend. But that collaboration had soured, and since then she had been working alone on her poetry and spoken-word pieces. Like Prince, Chavez had grown up in a strictly religious home (in her case, Baptist), but as an adult she too sought spiritual answers outside the confines of any specific religion.

Prince and Chavez seemed fascinated by each other despite an apperent lack of sexual chemistry, and, after a while, they drove back to the recently completed Paisley Park studio complex. They continued a lengthy and intense conversation about religious issues, love, and life fulfillment, but Prince eventually excused himself, saying he had a stomachache. Waiting to see where the strange night would go next, Chavez stayed put while Prince disappeared elsewhere in the complex.

At about 1:30am Karen Krattinger received a strange phone call. Speaking with uncharacteristic emotion, Prince apologized for having been so hard on her, said he had trouble expressing his feelings, and that he loved her.

At about the same time that night, Susan Rogers also got a phone call from Prince, asking her to come to Paisley Park. After four years as Prince's engineer, she had resigned that post shortly after the completion of the Black Album i October 1987. But she agreed to go to the studio. Arriving in the rehearsal room, she found it dark, save for a few red candles that cast ominous shadows across the walls. Out of the gloom she heard a woman's voice.

"Are you looking for Prince?"
Rogers, who would later learn this was Chavez, answered, "Yes."
"Well, he's here somewhere," Chavez replied.
Abruptly, Prince emerged out of the darkness, looking unlike she had ever seen him before. "I'm certain he was high," Rogers said. "His pupils were really dilated. He looked like he was tripping."
As he had with Krattinger, Prince struggled to connect emotionally with Rogers. "I just want to know one thing. Do you still love me?" Rogers, startled, said she did, and that she knew he loved her.
"Will you stay?" Prince asked.
"No, I won't," she said, and left the complex.
"It was really scary," she recalled of the evening.
Matt Fink confirmed the sequence of events, saying he was told by bodyguard Gilbert Davison, who was present at Paisley Park that evening, that Prince had taken the drug Ecstasy. "He had a bad trip, and felt that [the Black Album] was the devil working through him," Fink said. Chavez has also said that in the course of the evening Prince decided that The Black Album represented an evil force.

...

But something had changed. Prince believed that he had experienced a spiritual and moral epiphany, and that Chavez, serving as a guide, had shown him the way to greater connection with God and other people. The Black Album, he decided, represented the anger and licentiousness that he must leave behind. After casting about for months for a way to truly put the Revolution era behind him, he had found one.

Days after the ecstasy trip, Prince contacted Warner Bros. chairman Mo Ostin and insisted that the Black Album, with its release just days away, be canceled. "Prince was very adamant and pleaded with Mo," recalled Marylou Badeaux. Although Ostin ultimately agreed, halting the release was a logistical nightmare for Warners. Five hundred thousand LPs - which now needed to be destroyed - had been pressed, and were on loading docks ready for shipment to stores. A small number of vinyl records and cds escaped destruction, and The Black Album quickly became available on the bootleg market, with fans selling and trading cassette duplicates of widely varying fidelity.

Prince has never given a clear public explanation of the decision to shelve the album, but the program from his next tour included a cryptic discussion of the Black Album's "evil" nature, and refers to December 1, 1987 (the night he spent with Chavez at Paisley Park), as "Blue Tuesday."

Having shelved the Black Album, Prince immediately threw himself into the recording of his next LP, Lovesexy, which he conceived as a document of his epiphany.

...

Moreover, very few of Prince's associates related to the lyrical messages, and also wondered why Ingred Chavez, who seemed to some a bit odd, was playing such a huge role. When band members seemed confused by the lyrics of the title track, he rerecorded it to make the meaning ring out more clearly. It still didn't work. "I did not understand what the term 'lovesexy' was supposed to mean," Eric Leeds said. "People weren't getting it."

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#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #23 posted 08/20/10 3:55pm

squirrelgrease

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MikeyB71 said:

squirrelgrease said:

The same amount of people that sent their boots to The Ways Of The Pharoah. Two.

Haha, despite the promise of a shiny new cd or tape, i can't see many people having taken up the offer.

Bizarrely, on the day of the Black Album being released, Warners office staff dressed in black, and all lights were turned off for 15 minutes as a black(album)out. lol True story.

Quite what the point of that was i have not got a clue.

[Edited 8/20/10 13:34pm]

I never hard that story. biggrin

If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #24 posted 08/20/10 5:27pm

MikeyB71

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Reply #25 posted 08/20/10 5:33pm

OldFriends4Sal
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Almost immediately after the decision to shelve it, the Black Album emerged on the streets in bootleg form, arguably becoming popular music's most legendary bootleg, after The Basement Tapes and Smile. Several celebrities, including U2's frontmen The Edge and Bono, cited it as one of their favorite albums of 1988 (Rolling Stone magazine celebrity poll). By the time it was released by Warner Bros. legitimately in November 1994 (again, containing only a track listing and a new catalog number—45793—printed onto the disc itself and only legal copy appearing on the spine), almost every dedicated Prince fan already owned an illegal copy. It was released in a strictly limited edition and deleted by Warner Bros. the following January. It is believed that this release was legitimized so that Prince could get out of his new 7-album contract with the label, which he had signed the previous year and regretted instantly, because he wanted ownership of his recordings, a rarity in the music industry. Soon before the release of The Black Album, Prince started to appear with the word "slave" written on his face and changed his legal name to an unpronounceable symbol.

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#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #26 posted 08/20/10 5:34pm

OldFriends4Sal
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Eye No
© 1988 Paisley Park Records

Rain is wet and sugar is sweet
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Everybody, everybody knows
When Love calls, U gotta go
(I know) {repeat in BG}
Welcome 2 the New Power Generation
The reason why my voice is so clear
Is there's no smack in my brain
(This soul belongs to God)

Hundalasiliah! I know there is a heaven, I know there is a hell
Listen 2 me people, I got a story 2 tell
I know there was confusion, lightnin' all around me
That's when I called His name
Don't U know He found me?

No! - is what Spooky Electric say, it's not OK (No!)
But I know that Love is the only way till my dyin' day (No!)
Till my dyin' day I'll be OK
Cuz Lovesexy is the one till my day is done
Hundalasiliah! (Yeah oh!)

I know there is a devil because he talks so loud
He makes U do things your friends do (Do what your friends do)
Hang out with the crowd
But my Lord, He's so quiet when He calls your name
When U hear it your heart will thunder
U will wanna hear it every day

No! (People) - is what Spooky Electric say (Tell me, what'd he say?) (No!)
But don't U know that I know Love is the only way till my dyin' day (No!)
Till my dyin' day I'll be OK
Cuz Lovesexy is the one till my day is done
Hundalasiliah!

Alright y'all, everybody in the house (Serve it up, Frankie)
Here's what I want U 2 do (Ooh child!)
Raise your hand up straight in the air
Swing it 2 the right, savoir-faire
Up on the 2, swing on the 4
Everybody on the dance floor

(Shout - "Ho!") {repeat}
Sho'nuff
Y'all ain't got it, U're dead!
Go ahead {x4}
(Frankie, play!)

Raise your hand up straight in the air (I know)

(Put your hand up) {x2}
Alright y'all, come on, uh
Yeah

(Say no) (No!)
If U can't find your way, everybody say (Say no) (No!)
If U're afraid, everybody ain't got it made
(If U're lookin 4 the crown, come on y'all) (Say no) (No!)
If U want a drug other than the God above (Say it) (No!)
If U need a drink every single day (Sing it)
Then blow that devil away!

(Say yes) (Yes!)
If U want this feeling called love
(Oh yeah, come on, y'all) (Say it) (Yes!)
If U want it now raise your hand 2 the man above
(Y'all 2, I gotta say it) (Yes!)
Up on the 2, swing right on the 4
(It's alright, it's alright) (Yes!)
We want everybody 2 open this door! (Come on)

Yeah!

If U don't wanna live life under the gun (I know)
We know a better way 2 have some fun (I know)
I know there is a heaven and a hell
I know there is a heaven and a hell

© 1988 Controversy Music - ASCAP
back to top
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Tell U what (Give it up, yeah!)

Man, are we on the guest list? (Guest list? What guest list?)
We on the guest list, right?

I don't see no 5 dollars U owe me
(Can't wait till I get my own, how 'bout U?)
OK (I got those 2 right here)
(Yo later, I'm goin back 2 the place)
They are back!
I'm gonna go 2 the bar (I'm goin' home)
I'm gonna have one of those sandwiches (Yes)

I can't take 'em 2 the club 2 date us

Sleep sandwich
That's right

I can't take but so much

The meat between 3 sheets

I know it was her

That's right

That's what I'm talkin' about

A peanut-butter sandwich

Her and her girlfriend
The one that was standin' right next 2 my woman (D)
Standin right next 2 my woman

Let us praise God with the fruit of the vine (E)

My name's Andre Crabtree III (Ooh-wee! Did U see that?)

Our innocent symbol of glory

I've got more holes than a golf course (That don't mean shit) (Taxi)

And thank Him 4 your blessings of the past week
(I got a white / blue car and…)
(Where's the car, dude?) (And a red)
(I said who parked the car?) (No!)
4 life and 4 Prince... (Funk it!)

[img:$uid]http://www.dtt-lyrics.com/images/prince%20albums/lovesexy.jpg[/img:$uid]

The Ball
Written after the Dream Factory project was shelved, "The Ball" is a straightforward party song with no deep message, Prince has "no time for attitudes" and urges everybody to give up "any notion about the way things are" and come to the Crystal Ball to "get loose." Most of music was reused for "I No" on Lovesexy. In fact, Prince even kept the "party talk" that was used as a segue between "The Ball" and "Joy In Repetition." A part of the segue was used once again when most of the original recording of "Joy In Repetition" turned up on Graffiti Bridge. "The Ball" was intended to open side four of the 3-LP Crystal Ball.

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #27 posted 08/20/10 5:47pm

OldFriends4Sal
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[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1125780330/name/AlphabetStvideo.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/520123620/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1850891766/name/AlphabetSt-1.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1571340701/name/AlphabetStvideo-1.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/1772384197/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/21303846/sn/2102984109/name/n_a[/img:$uid]

Alphabet St.
This is not music, this is a trip

Released April 23, 1988

"Alphabet St." was the first single from Prince's 1988 album, Lovesexy, and the album's only top 10 single, reaching the top-10 in both the UK and U.S.. The song includes a rap by Cat Glover and is full of samples, and generally repeats themes from Lovesexy. Within the context of the album Lovesexy (which only contained one track containing all the songs featured within the work), "Alphabet St." is meant to stand in contrast to the gospel of "I Know" which plays off of the Christian ethics describing Prince's personal belief in Christian concepts of Heaven, Hell, the Devil, and God; emphatically stating "No" to the previous stated praise (and laud of a preacher's voice in the background) and launching into the sensual, provocative lyrics of "Alphabet St."

[img:$uid]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/67/Prince_AlphabetSt.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://991.com/gallery_180x180/Prince-Alphabet-Street-3499-991.jpg[/img:$uid]

No!
I'm goin' down 2 Alphabet Street
I'm gonna crown the first girl that I meet
I'm gonna talk so sexy, she'll want me from my head 2 my feet

(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yes she will (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Uh

I'm gonna drive my daddy's Thunderbird (My daddy's Thunderbird)
A white rad ride, '66 ('67) so glam - it's absurd
I'm gonna put her (bop, bop) in the back seat and drive her… 2 Tennessee

(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Mm, mm, mm (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Tennessee (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Drive her!

(Yeah) {Repeat in BG}
Excuse me, baby - I don't mean 2 be rude
I guess 2night I'm just not, I'm just not in the mood
So if U don't mind I would like 2... watch (Ooh)

(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Ow! Can I? (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Ow! (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Can I, can I, can I, can I, can I?

We're goin' down, down, down, if that's the only way
2 make this cruel, cruel world hear what we got 2 say
Put the right letters 2gether and make a better day (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Better days (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
It's OK (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Maybe it's the only way

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

(Put-put-put your…)

Cat, we need U 2 rap (No!)
Cat, we need U 2 rap
Don't give it 2 us slow
Cuz we know U know
New Power Soul
Gotta, gotta, gotta go! (N-N-No!)

(Put your love down) {Repeat in BG}
Talk 2 me lover, come and tell me what U taste
Didn't your mama tell U life is 2 good 2 waste?
Did she tell U Lovesexy was the glam of them all?
U can hang, U can trip on it, U surely won't fall
No side effects, the feeling last 4ever
Straight up, it tastes good, it makes U feel clever
U kiss your enemies like U know U should
And then U jerk your body like a horny pony would
U jerk your body like a horny pony would
Now run and tell your mama about that!

And while U're at it, tell your pop about this!

(Yeah, yeah)

Put your love down, baby, when your money get shot
No! (Yeah, yeah)
Put your love down, baby, when your money get shot (Ho!) {x3}
(Ho!)
Put your love down, baby

(Yeah, yeah)

Yeah, ho - Alphabet Street (No!)
L-L-L-L-Lovesexy! (No!)
Woo!
Yeah, ho - Alphabet Street {x2}

A (Yeah, yeah)
B, C, D, E, F, H
I love U

© 1988 Controversy Music - ASCAP

[img:$uid]http://www.dtt-lyrics.com/images/prince%20albums/lovesexy.jpg[/img:$uid]

thedance said:

the Music is beautiful.... music

Lovesexy is a pop-funk masterpiece...... worship

I absolutely love all about this masterpiece.

[img:$uid]http://a.imageshack.us/img835/8024/alphabetstvideo.jpg[/img:$uid]

I remember the pleasure of seeing the excellent Alphabet Street video on a very small black & white tv set, when I was young, I was sooo excited.... excited and rushed to the record shop to buy the album.

and The Black Album is the ultimate underground funk experience - the most bootlegged album in history.

Both are very dear to me. heart heart heart

Credits: this pic is from housequake.com, thanks to the original poster... Thanks!

[Edited 8/20/10 12:29pm]

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #28 posted 08/20/10 5:47pm

OldFriends4Sal
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In the video, there are two hidden messages. The first appears after the end of the first verse ("She'll want me from my head to my feet"), there is a split second image with the hidden message "Don't buy The Black Album, I'm sorry." The second one is after Prince drives the Thunderbird; the message says "H is 4 Punks". The video features Prince wearing trousers with his name on them, and wearing multicolored eyeshadow.

[img:$uid]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_msb7eQA-RFY/SdaSrnRB8AI/AAAAAAAAA7s/JwryHuOBabU/s400/prince-driving-down-alphabet-st.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://rulefortytwo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/6703.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://rulefortytwo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/6704.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://rulefortytwo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/6701.jpg[/img:$uid]

[img:$uid]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v67/ecnirp2004/Prince/HiddenMAlphabetStVideo-1.jpg[/img:$uid]

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
That's what U want, TRANSCENDENCE. When that happens, O Boy -Prince 2015
https://www.youtube.com/w...nm2Qq6QTFs
#IDEFINEME
“Strong people define themselves; weak people allow others to define them.” ― Ken Poirot
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Reply #29 posted 08/20/10 6:05pm

MikeyB71

During the European leg of the Lovesexy tour, Albert Magnoli was invited along to shoot footage for a proposed documentary, does anyone know what happened to this?

A 9 min segment of the docu was broadcast on 27th Sept 1989 on US tv, entitled Prince: Musical Portrait. Is this all that has ever surfaced of this project? In the UK, the BBC broadcast an hour long documentary entitled Prince Rogers Nelson, that was in Dec 1991. This documentary featured footage of Lovesexy rehearsals and interviews with the band members, does anyone know if this was the footage that was filmed by Magnoli?

[Edited 8/20/10 18:06pm]

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