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Thread started 05/05/17 2:11pm

Kzonker

The Construction of Prince songs

Do we know if he had a process he went through? How did he determine if he would go to someone else like Claire Fisher. His vocal harmonies with his own voice blow me away. They add such depth to the songs. How was he able to have so many levels of his own voice without making it sound exactly the same?

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Reply #1 posted 05/05/17 2:34pm

TrivialPursuit

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When the toothbrush starts shakin'...ya gotta go.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #2 posted 05/24/17 2:30am

Laydown

He had the instrumentals before any lyrics were put to a song. Then he would find lyrics to fit the song. He said this in an interview. I cant recall what year or when he said it. Ive studied Prince's career for 25 years plus. Prince's music is my life.

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Reply #3 posted 05/24/17 11:01am

iZsaZsa

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He said that just like Wolfie Mozart a piece would come to him complete and he just had to get it out. Sheena Easton challenged him to make a song out of "La La La He He Hee", and he did. He could do it this way, that way, and any way in between.
What?
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Reply #4 posted 05/24/17 11:16am

Se7en

avatar

iZsaZsa said:

He said that just like Wolfie Mozart a piece would come to him complete and he just had to get it out. Sheena Easton challenged him to make a song out of "La La La He He Hee", and he did. He could do it this way, that way, and any way in between.


Shockadelica was written in a similar way . . . he saw the title of Jesse Johnson's album, but then was shocked that Jesse didn't have a corresponding song of the same title. So, he "stole" the title and wrote his own song.

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Reply #5 posted 05/24/17 12:03pm

iZsaZsa

avatar

Se7en said:



iZsaZsa said:


He said that just like Wolfie Mozart a piece would come to him complete and he just had to get it out. Sheena Easton challenged him to make a song out of "La La La He He Hee", and he did. He could do it this way, that way, and any way in between.


Shockadelica was written in a similar way . . . he saw the title of Jesse Johnson's album, but then was shocked that Jesse didn't have a corresponding song of the same title. So, he "stole" the title and wrote his own song.


He must have been in awe of himself too sometimes. smile
What?
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Reply #6 posted 05/24/17 12:24pm

Rightly

avatar

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'

small circles, big wheels!
I've got a pretty firm grip on the obvious!
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Reply #7 posted 05/24/17 12:39pm

soladeo1

Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'



Do you think he would have benefited from a lyricist??
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Reply #8 posted 05/24/17 12:40pm

iZsaZsa

avatar

Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'


Which one do you mean? There were no cotton picking lyrics, I agree.
What?
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Reply #9 posted 05/24/17 12:58pm

Rightly

avatar

soladeo1 said:

Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'

Do you think he would have benefited from a lyricist??

it's really hard to say
good lyrics are essential, bad lyrics are not
I still love his voice.
His songs were passionate and the way he sang was often very personal, good lyrics are very expressive, if a collaborator is writing them I find it hard to imagine that working out.

Having a lyricist might have worked sometimes.
thinking back, even in the revolution days he was mostly a one man show. Effectively very pushy.
The girls were young. If they'd have matured as a band I think Prince would have benefitted.

doing less musically might have freed him up in other ways.

I do think he was a complicated and impulsive fella, so like I said, it's difficult to say.

small circles, big wheels!
I've got a pretty firm grip on the obvious!
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Reply #10 posted 05/24/17 2:08pm

soladeo1

Rightly said:



soladeo1 said:


Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'



Do you think he would have benefited from a lyricist??

it's really hard to say
good lyrics are essential, bad lyrics are not
I still love his voice.
His songs were passionate and the way he sang was often very personal, good lyrics are very expressive, if a collaborator is writing them I find it hard to imagine that working out.

Having a lyricist might have worked sometimes.
thinking back, even in the revolution days he was mostly a one man show. Effectively very pushy.
The girls were young. If they'd have matured as a band I think Prince would have benefitted.

doing less musically might have freed him up in other ways.

I do think he was a complicated and impulsive fella, so like I said, it's difficult to say.



Even though they were young they did broaden
his palette bigtime with jazz and folk.

Prince's best compositional talent, in my opinion, was
his sense of dynamics...and sort of related, his sense of
rhythm.
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Reply #11 posted 05/24/17 10:02pm

Rightly

avatar

soladeo1 said:

Rightly said:

it's really hard to say
good lyrics are essential, bad lyrics are not
I still love his voice.
His songs were passionate and the way he sang was often very personal, good lyrics are very expressive, if a collaborator is writing them I find it hard to imagine that working out.

Having a lyricist might have worked sometimes.
thinking back, even in the revolution days he was mostly a one man show. Effectively very pushy.
The girls were young. If they'd have matured as a band I think Prince would have benefitted.

doing less musically might have freed him up in other ways.

I do think he was a complicated and impulsive fella, so like I said, it's difficult to say.

Even though they were young they did broaden his palette bigtime with jazz and folk. Prince's best compositional talent, in my opinion, was his sense of dynamics...and sort of related, his sense of rhythm.


Good point there about his compositional strengths

I can't imagine the revolution having stayed together. Prince's appetite for "hits and to remain relevant in pop world was too great. The girls would have been too subtle for him, their closeness would have made them stronger but strong enough?, it's hard to say.
Also having been enriched, I think they'd have left voluntarily at some point.
If they'd have been together for three times as long, I'm certain would have resulted in better music and less commercial success.

I've read tensions were very high during the making of Parade.
Prince being too busy with his film and other bands the girls had more influence.
I don't think he was very happy with the film and he needed to get far away from it all.
Sign of the times was still (n' my guess is, strongly) influenced by the girls
Maybe they'd have been less flirting with hipperty hopperty.

Having achieved that level of sucess I think it must be difficult to find a new collaborative band.
Psychophants aplenty and that's not bad either somehow.

small circles, big wheels!
I've got a pretty firm grip on the obvious!
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Reply #12 posted 05/24/17 10:43pm

sfinky1

avatar

Susan Rogers said he usually recorded in one of 2 ways:

Sometimes he would come in with a fully finished song idea already in his head and with all the lyrics scribbled on a piece of paper. he would sit at the drums, tape the lyric sheet to one of the cymbal stands, and play the entire drum track of the song just staring at the lyric sheet for reference (!!!) then proceed to add keyboards, then bass, and so on until lastly vocals when he'd send her out to take a break...

The other way was when he didn't have a preprepared song so would just play and improvise musical ideas on the spot, he'd come up with a riff or chord progression and record it, add a funky bass line and drums, etc and literally write and arrange the song as he was recording each instrument. Once music was done he would either write lyrics on the spot in the studio, Or, Susan says other times he would take a tape of the music and go for a drive in his car and come back with vocal/lyric ideas ready to record.

Highly recommend reading any interviews with Susan she really knows her stuff
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Reply #13 posted 05/25/17 12:01am

Adorecream

I agree with a lot of you. The groove always came first, Prince was all about laying down the music before the words. Words came later and sometimes did not always come well. That is why you have songs like Sexuality, Pheromone, Shy, Computer Blue, Glam Slam and others, which have perfect music backing and groovy sounds, but the lyrics are quirky (Not bad but just different).

.

Plus the stories about the toothbrush vibrating a groove and Prince keeping a pad and a bass guitar by his bed in case he is dreaming some song in his sleep and needs to get it down. Possibly why by the 1990s, Prince was living at Paisley Park, so he was able to get in the studio straight away to act on any opportune groove or dream of funk.

Got some kind of love for you, and I don't even know your name
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Reply #14 posted 05/25/17 5:15am

iZsaZsa

avatar

sfinky1 said:

Susan Rogers said he usually recorded in one of 2 ways:

Sometimes he would come in with a fully finished song idea already in his head and with all the lyrics scribbled on a piece of paper. he would sit at the drums, tape the lyric sheet to one of the cymbal stands, and play the entire drum track of the song just staring at the lyric sheet for reference (!!!) then proceed to add keyboards, then bass, and so on until lastly vocals when he'd send her out to take a break...

The other way was when he didn't have a preprepared song so would just play and improvise musical ideas on the spot, he'd come up with a riff or chord progression and record it, add a funky bass line and drums, etc and literally write and arrange the song as he was recording each instrument. Once music was done he would either write lyrics on the spot in the studio, Or, Susan says other times he would take a tape of the music and go for a drive in his car and come back with vocal/lyric ideas ready to record.

Highly recommend reading any interviews with Susan she really knows her stuff

Wow. And sometimes he didn't have anything to say (NEWS, Kamasutra), and sometimes he only wanted to talk (segues here and there).
What?
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Reply #15 posted 05/28/17 5:03pm

214

Adorecream said:

I agree with a lot of you. The groove always came first, Prince was all about laying down the music before the words. Words came later and sometimes did not always come well. That is why you have songs like Sexuality, Pheromone, Shy, Computer Blue, Glam Slam and others, which have perfect music backing and groovy sounds, but the lyrics are quirky (Not bad but just different).

.

Plus the stories about the toothbrush vibrating a groove and Prince keeping a pad and a bass guitar by his bed in case he is dreaming some song in his sleep and needs to get it down. Possibly why by the 1990s, Prince was living at Paisley Park, so he was able to get in the studio straight away to act on any opportune groove or dream of funk.

What's wrong with Sexuality lyrics?

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Reply #16 posted 05/28/17 5:06pm

214

Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'

What would you call a good or even great lyrics?

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Reply #17 posted 05/29/17 3:48am

dandan

Prince wrote If I Was Your Girlfriend. If he never wrote another song again in his life I'd still class him as a good lyricist after that masterpiece.

I got two sides... and they're both friends.
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Reply #18 posted 05/29/17 3:50am

Adorecream

214 said:

Adorecream said:

I agree with a lot of you. The groove always came first, Prince was all about laying down the music before the words. Words came later and sometimes did not always come well. That is why you have songs like Sexuality, Pheromone, Shy, Computer Blue, Glam Slam and others, which have perfect music backing and groovy sounds, but the lyrics are quirky (Not bad but just different).

.

Plus the stories about the toothbrush vibrating a groove and Prince keeping a pad and a bass guitar by his bed in case he is dreaming some song in his sleep and needs to get it down. Possibly why by the 1990s, Prince was living at Paisley Park, so he was able to get in the studio straight away to act on any opportune groove or dream of funk.

What's wrong with Sexuality lyrics?

Nothing they are great, but very quirky and inevntive, something other artists would not touch - This world is overrun by tourists, 89 flowers on their back, inventors of the accujack, what no flash again, you're all a bunch of double drags who teach their kids that love is bad, having a ball while ure brain is on vacation. Ain't no one putting music to that, the music has to be there b4 that.

Got some kind of love for you, and I don't even know your name
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Reply #19 posted 05/29/17 6:37am

thisisreece

dandan said:

Prince wrote If I Was Your Girlfriend. If he never wrote another song again in his life I'd still class him as a good lyricist after that masterpiece.



Prince is an inconsistent lyricist. At his best, Prince is astonishingly good. The man wrote If I was Your Girlfriend, Sometimes it Snows in April, Anna Stesia, Joy in Repetition, When Doves Cry, Little Red Corvette. Yet the same guy wrote The Gold Standard, Daddy Pop, and Stare.

Obviously most Prince lyrics fall somewhere in between. I love his whimsical playful lyrics on songs like Christopher Tracy's Parade, or how uses language to demonstrate anger on songs like What's My Name. A lot of the time, his good lyrics are elevated by Prince's absolute commitment to them, for example, Prince's nuance and emotion in Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), perfectly captures the devastation in the lyrics.
Hundalasiliah!
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Reply #20 posted 05/29/17 8:05pm

206Michelle

thisisreece said:

dandan said:

Prince wrote If I Was Your Girlfriend. If he never wrote another song again in his life I'd still class him as a good lyricist after that masterpiece.

Prince is an inconsistent lyricist. At his best, Prince is astonishingly good. The man wrote If I was Your Girlfriend, Sometimes it Snows in April, Anna Stesia, Joy in Repetition, When Doves Cry, Little Red Corvette. Yet the same guy wrote The Gold Standard, Daddy Pop, and Stare. Obviously most Prince lyrics fall somewhere in between. I love his whimsical playful lyrics on songs like Christopher Tracy's Parade, or how uses language to demonstrate anger on songs like What's My Name. A lot of the time, his good lyrics are elevated by Prince's absolute commitment to them, for example, Prince's nuance and emotion in Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), perfectly captures the devastation in the lyrics.

I agree that he was inconsistent. However, his best songs lyrically can stand with the very best lyricists and songwriters of the 20th century. His best albums tend to be the best albums lyrically. Purple Rain and SOTT are lyrically impeccable. The only weak song lyrically on SOTT, in my opinion, is Housequake. 1999 is lyrically exccellent as well (and 1999 is not one of my favourite Prince albums.)

.

Diamonds and Pearls is a great example of an album with inconsistent lyrics. D&P is my second favourite Prince album. There are 2 songs on the album that I find totally forgettable---Jughead and Push. I like Daddy Pop, it's a great dance song, but the lyrics are below average by Prince's standards. I have a hard time making sense of Daddy Pop lyrically. Here is how I would rate the lyrics on D&P.

.

Lyrical masterpeice:

Money Don't Matter 2 Night

Great:

Insatiable

Gett Off

Cream

Diamonds and Pearls (the D to the I to the A part, not the best, but the rest of the song is excellent)

Live 4 Love

.

Good:

Thunder

Willing and Able

Walk Don't Walk

.

Below Average:

Strollin'

Daddy Pop

.

Poor:

Jughead

Push

.

Prince had so much material and not everything was going to be of great quality. It's like most things in life, there are good days and bad days, good games and bad games. Things ebb and flow.

Live 4 Love ~ Love is God, God is love, Girls and boys love God above
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Reply #21 posted 05/30/17 2:41pm

Rightly

avatar

214 said:

Rightly said:

I've been a big fan for decades
but his lyrics often weak

he had strengths, of course, sometimes good lines
Lyrics were for the most part poor.

just sayin'

What would you call a good or even great lyrics?

Of course, for many good lyrics aren't as important as other aspects of a song.
I'd say this was also the case of Prince himself.

I appreciate good lyrics

Amongst mainstream artists I think Sting, Springteen, Joni Mitchel, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed are/were better lyricists.
But all things considered Prince meant sooo much more to me personally than these others combined.

(I think the lyrics to "5 women" are excellent)

small circles, big wheels!
I've got a pretty firm grip on the obvious!
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Reply #22 posted 05/30/17 2:59pm

214

dandan said:

Prince wrote If I Was Your Girlfriend. If he never wrote another song again in his life I'd still class him as a good lyricist after that masterpiece.

Right? such a masterpiece.

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Reply #23 posted 05/30/17 3:02pm

214

Rightly said:

214 said:

What would you call a good or even great lyrics?

Of course, for many good lyrics aren't as important as other aspects of a song.
I'd say this was also the case of Prince himself.

I appreciate good lyrics

Amongst mainstream artists I think Sting, Springteen, Joni Mitchel, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed are/were better lyricists.
But all things considered Prince meant sooo much more to me personally than these others combined.

(I think the lyrics to "5 women" are excellent)

And the two very best Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

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Reply #24 posted 06/17/17 5:45am

Kzonker

Laydown said:

He had the instrumentals before any lyrics were put to a song. Then he would find lyrics to fit the song. He said this in an interview. I cant recall what year or when he said it. Ive studied Prince's career for 25 years plus. Prince's music is my life.



Did you ever meet him? I am so intrigued with his creative talents. I picture him all alone in the mixing room....in that chair...all alone in the dark composing.
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Reply #25 posted 06/17/17 5:46am

Kzonker

iZsaZsa said:

He said that just like Wolfie Mozart a piece would come to him complete and he just had to get it out. Sheena Easton challenged him to make a song out of "La La La He He Hee", and he did. He could do it this way, that way, and any way in between.



biggrin
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Reply #26 posted 06/17/17 5:53am

anangellooksdo
wn

sfinky1 said:

Susan Rogers said he usually recorded in one of 2 ways:

Sometimes he would come in with a fully finished song idea already in his head and with all the lyrics scribbled on a piece of paper. he would sit at the drums, tape the lyric sheet to one of the cymbal stands, and play the entire drum track of the song just staring at the lyric sheet for reference (!!!) then proceed to add keyboards, then bass, and so on until lastly vocals when he'd send her out to take a break...

The other way was when he didn't have a preprepared song so would just play and improvise musical ideas on the spot, he'd come up with a riff or chord progression and record it, add a funky bass line and drums, etc and literally write and arrange the song as he was recording each instrument. Once music was done he would either write lyrics on the spot in the studio, Or, Susan says other times he would take a tape of the music and go for a drive in his car and come back with vocal/lyric ideas ready to record.

Highly recommend reading any interviews with Susan she really knows her stuff


Interesting. That gives me a good idea of his process. Thanks.
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Reply #27 posted 06/17/17 5:57am

anangellooksdo
wn

Adorecream said:

I agree with a lot of you. The groove always came first, Prince was all about laying down the music before the words. Words came later and sometimes did not always come well. That is why you have songs like Sexuality, Pheromone, Shy, Computer Blue, Glam Slam and others, which have perfect music backing and groovy sounds, but the lyrics are quirky (Not bad but just different).


.


Plus the stories about the toothbrush vibrating a groove and Prince keeping a pad and a bass guitar by his bed in case he is dreaming some song in his sleep and needs to get it down. Possibly why by the 1990s, Prince was living at Paisley Park, so he was able to get in the studio straight away to act on any opportune groove or dream of funk.



Only people who are very in touch with their spirits and have a very clear channel between mind, heart and body have dreams that are true (instincts) and are sending them a message.
This is why clean living (no drugs really, clean eating, meditation etc) was extremely important in his case. Jill Jones called it his "chi" or some new age term.
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Reply #28 posted 06/17/17 6:58am

rogifan

206Michelle said:



thisisreece said:


dandan said:

Prince wrote If I Was Your Girlfriend. If he never wrote another song again in his life I'd still class him as a good lyricist after that masterpiece.



Prince is an inconsistent lyricist. At his best, Prince is astonishingly good. The man wrote If I was Your Girlfriend, Sometimes it Snows in April, Anna Stesia, Joy in Repetition, When Doves Cry, Little Red Corvette. Yet the same guy wrote The Gold Standard, Daddy Pop, and Stare. Obviously most Prince lyrics fall somewhere in between. I love his whimsical playful lyrics on songs like Christopher Tracy's Parade, or how uses language to demonstrate anger on songs like What's My Name. A lot of the time, his good lyrics are elevated by Prince's absolute commitment to them, for example, Prince's nuance and emotion in Something in the Water (Does Not Compute), perfectly captures the devastation in the lyrics.

I agree that he was inconsistent. However, his best songs lyrically can stand with the very best lyricists and songwriters of the 20th century. His best albums tend to be the best albums lyrically. Purple Rain and SOTT are lyrically impeccable. The only weak song lyrically on SOTT, in my opinion, is Housequake. 1999 is lyrically exccellent as well (and 1999 is not one of my favourite Prince albums.)


.


Diamonds and Pearls is a great example of an album with inconsistent lyrics. D&P is my second favourite Prince album. There are 2 songs on the album that I find totally forgettable---Jughead and Push. I like Daddy Pop, it's a great dance song, but the lyrics are below average by Prince's standards. I have a hard time making sense of Daddy Pop lyrically. Here is how I would rate the lyrics on D&P.


.


Lyrical masterpeice:


Money Don't Matter 2 Night



Great:


Insatiable


Gett Off


Cream


Diamonds and Pearls (the D to the I to the A part, not the best, but the rest of the song is excellent)


Live 4 Love


.


Good:


Thunder


Willing and Able


Walk Don't Walk


.


Below Average:


Strollin'


Daddy Pop


.


Poor:


Jughead


Push


.


Prince had so much material and not everything was going to be of great quality. It's like most things in life, there are good days and bad days, good games and bad games. Things ebb and flow.


Little Red Corvette needs to be under masterpiece IMO. I think it's one of the greatest songs of 20th century popular music. I'd say the same about When Doves Cry. I can't remember the last time I listened to Gett Off. lol
Paisley Park is in your heart
#PrinceForever 💜
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Reply #29 posted 07/04/17 1:39pm

Kzonker

Laydown said:

He had the instrumentals before any lyrics were put to a song. Then he would find lyrics to fit the song. He said this in an interview. I cant recall what year or when he said it. Ive studied Prince's career for 25 years plus. Prince's music is my life.

The more I read about him, in general, the more a look at his songs a different way. The more I listen the more I hear. Have you ever met or worked with him on his music? I would be interested in hearing some of your thoughts and what you've learned over the years that might help me listen to his music in a different way and learn at the next level. I was listening to "Adore" the other day and his background vocals blow me away. From what I've read he worked with "Levi" on putting some of that together. Is that Levi Searcer? I know he played the instruments on his first 4 albums. Did he do the mixing also? How hands on was Prince in the studio. We hear the stories about him leaving music for someone else to "finish" and then he comes in the middle of the night and totally changes it (like "KISS"). Thank you!

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