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Thread started 03/22/18 1:12pm

soladeo1

CONTROVERSY would have been much more successful if...

Private Joy was the first single.

Discuss.

A much more poppy, catchy, and innovative song
than the title song or Let’s Work...
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Reply #1 posted 03/22/18 2:11pm

MotownSubdivis
ion

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I could see it cracking the Top 20...

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Reply #2 posted 03/22/18 2:35pm

NorthC

Oh wtf... Prince was just the kind of guy who needed a few albums to get going. When 1999 was released, he called Controversy "a little erratic." He was right. With 1999, he was getting ready to be big... With Purple Rain, he was huge.
Having said all of this, I think it's a real shame that When You Were Mine never was a single. If there was any song that would have fit with the early 80s pop scene, this is the one.
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Reply #3 posted 03/22/18 2:45pm

soladeo1

NorthC said:

Oh wtf... Prince was just the kind of guy who needed a few albums to get going. When 1999 was released, he called Controversy "a little erratic." He was right. With 1999, he was getting ready to be big... With Purple Rain, he was huge. Having said all of this, I think it's a real shame that When You Were Mine never was a single. If there was any song that would have fit with the early 80s pop scene, this is the one.

Totally agree re When You Were Mine!!!!!!!

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Reply #4 posted 03/22/18 4:13pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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It would have been more successful if he put more care into crafting the era for promotion. I think Dirty Mind 1999 era ATWIAD and Parade, not to mention Purple Rain could have been even bigger if he paid more attention to crafting it.

#IDEFINEME #ALBUMSSTILLMATTER

A Liar Shall Not Tarry In My Presence

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Is poverty bringing U down?
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Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
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Reply #5 posted 03/22/18 4:18pm

Wolfie87

I wrote this some time ago. And yes, don't school me about Wierd Science.

"To me "Private Joy" was 4-5 years ahead of it's time.

Hear me out. This song is one of the most un-Princely songs ever released by him. Don't you agree that this song would have fitted perfectly in some teen comedy from the mid eighties or in that slot? It totally sounds so funny and not serious at all, in the production. When watching movies from that period, it's obvious that it mostly contains sappy love ballads OR a funny non-caring pop tune on the soundtrack. And I for one consider Private Joy to be exactly that. I'm picturing a mid movie montage scene with Private Joy playing over. What I'm saying is that this doesn't sound 1981 at all. But it sure as hell sounds like 1985-1987 in my ears."

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Reply #6 posted 03/22/18 4:36pm

soladeo1

Wolfie87 said:

I wrote this some time ago. And yes, don't school me about Wierd Science.




"To me "Private Joy" was 4-5 years ahead of it's time.



Hear me out. This song is one of the most un-Princely songs ever released by him. Don't you agree that this song would have fitted perfectly in some teen comedy from the mid eighties or in that slot? It totally sounds so funny and not serious at all, in the production. When watching movies from that period, it's obvious that it mostly contains sappy love ballads OR a funny non-caring pop tune on the soundtrack. And I for one consider Private Joy to be exactly that. I'm picturing a mid movie montage scene with Private Joy playing over. What I'm saying is that this doesn't sound 1981 at all. But it sure as hell sounds like 1985-1987 in my ears."




Great take!!!!!
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Reply #7 posted 03/22/18 5:20pm

ShaggyDog

Yep,When You Were Mine could have been a massive hit that crossed Prince over from a funk and R&B audience to a new wave one. It fits in well with what Blondie, The Cars, and Elvis Costello were doing at the time. I wonder if that's why it wasn't put out as a single, because the execs thought that it wasn't the right time for a song like that to be released as a single by an artist that was considered part of the black music scene (for want of a better phrase)?
[Edited 3/22/18 17:21pm]
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Reply #8 posted 03/22/18 5:24pm

EnDoRpHn

...radio wasn’t so racist back then.
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Reply #9 posted 03/22/18 5:24pm

2045RadicalMat
tZ

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It would've been more successful if it had better songs.


Only it doesn't. It's got more than enough for a GREAT album, but for a PRINCE album nah.

Least favorite album in the Canon and thats just a matter of taste. Plus the album artwork is pretty flat and generic looking. Dirty mind was generic but in a good way. It's just not a dynamic look.

Song wise; lose Annie Christian, Ronnie Talk to Russia, Private Joy, and while Jack U Off is funny and nasty, it really sucks and its a cheesy silly riff.

*For a Prince album*...that's all I'm sayin
♫"Trollin, Trolling! We could have fun just trollin'!"♫
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Reply #10 posted 03/22/18 8:45pm

214

NorthC said:

Oh wtf... Prince was just the kind of guy who needed a few albums to get going. When 1999 was released, he called Controversy "a little erratic." He was right. With 1999, he was getting ready to be big... With Purple Rain, he was huge. Having said all of this, I think it's a real shame that When You Were Mine never was a single. If there was any song that would have fit with the early 80s pop scene, this is the one.

Indeed

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Reply #11 posted 03/22/18 8:54pm

TrivialPursuit

avatar

I agree with the idea that it was ahead of its time. It was 1981 but sounds like it was firmly planted in 1985 radio. Using the Linn the way he did reminds me of how gated reverb was accidentally discovered, and later greatly exploited in songs like "In The Air Tonight" a few years later.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #12 posted 03/22/18 8:55pm

khill95

EnDoRpHn said:

...radio wasn’t so racist back then.



I agree. And if his videos were played on MTV pre 1983
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Reply #13 posted 03/22/18 8:56pm

gandorb

ShaggyDog said:

Yep,When You Were Mine could have been a massive hit that crossed Prince over from a funk and R&B audience to a new wave one. It fits in well with what Blondie, The Cars, and Elvis Costello were doing at the time. I wonder if that's why it wasn't put out as a single, because the execs thought that it wasn't the right time for a song like that to be released as a single by an artist that was considered part of the black music scene (for want of a better phrase)?
[Edited 3/22/18 17:21pm]

Yes! When You Were Mine was on most of my tape mixes and my New Wave friends would really jam to it. It would have been a great choice for a single.
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Reply #14 posted 03/22/18 9:14pm

PeteSilas

soladeo1 said:

Private Joy was the first single. Discuss. A much more poppy, catchy, and innovative song than the title song or Let’s Work...

no, controversy was a great song, i wasn't yet a fan when i was entranced by it, i listened to the whole album but that song was special.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #15 posted 03/22/18 9:16pm

PeteSilas

NorthC said:

Oh wtf... Prince was just the kind of guy who needed a few albums to get going. When 1999 was released, he called Controversy "a little erratic." He was right. With 1999, he was getting ready to be big... With Purple Rain, he was huge. Having said all of this, I think it's a real shame that When You Were Mine never was a single. If there was any song that would have fit with the early 80s pop scene, this is the one.

ya, i think some reviewer, maybe kurt loder, called when you were mine "perhaps the catchiest thing he ever wrote" it's true. some other reviewer said it was written in the vein of the 60's girl groups which is possible, maybe Prince intended it for the girl group he was just starting to put together, either way, from the first time i heard it I loved it, i can't name too many songs in my life that i've liked on first listen.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #16 posted 03/22/18 9:21pm

PeteSilas

2045RadicalMattZ said:

It would've been more successful if it had better songs. Only it doesn't. It's got more than enough for a GREAT album, but for a PRINCE album nah. Least favorite album in the Canon and thats just a matter of taste. Plus the album artwork is pretty flat and generic looking. Dirty mind was generic but in a good way. It's just not a dynamic look. Song wise; lose Annie Christian, Ronnie Talk to Russia, Private Joy, and while Jack U Off is funny and nasty, it really sucks and its a cheesy silly riff. *For a Prince album*...that's all I'm sayin

i heard he did the album in a little over a week, incredible if true. some filler, but do me baby, controversy, let's work maybe sexuality should be in the Prince classics realm. the look on the cover is moving towards a more refined look than what was on the dirty mind through the purple rain style. The hair looked better and better styled, the clothes went from looking like second hand store bought to tailor made and form fitting. Even his physique went through some changes, he was pretty buff by the purple rain tour, at least to my 16 year old eyes.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #17 posted 03/22/18 9:22pm

SoulAlive

I have always felt that “Private Joy” should have been a single....maybe the second single and then save “Let’s Work” for the third single.

“Private Joy” is a fun,bouncy track.It would have appealed to the pop audience,too.What a missed opportunity.
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Reply #18 posted 03/22/18 10:48pm

PurpleCreme

I’ve always loved Controversy as a project. I wouldn’t be as big a fan today if I hadn’t heard Private Joy... stellar Prince track
Prince: 1958-infinity. Thank U for everything.
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Reply #19 posted 03/23/18 7:51am

MotownSubdivis
ion

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TrivialPursuit said:

I agree with the idea that it was ahead of its time. It was 1981 but sounds like it was firmly planted in 1985 radio. Using the Linn the way he did reminds me of how gated reverb was accidentally discovered, and later greatly exploited in songs like "In The Air Tonight" a few years later.

I'm probably misunderstanding you but "In The Air Tonight" came out the same year as Controversy.
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Reply #20 posted 03/23/18 8:31am

TrivialPursuit

avatar

MotownSubdivision said:

TrivialPursuit said:

I agree with the idea that it was ahead of its time. It was 1981 but sounds like it was firmly planted in 1985 radio. Using the Linn the way he did reminds me of how gated reverb was accidentally discovered, and later greatly exploited in songs like "In The Air Tonight" a few years later.

I'm probably misunderstanding you but "In The Air Tonight" came out the same year as Controversy.


You are misunderstanding it. I meant that both songs did things in music that hadn't been done before, and were ahead of their time. I wasn't comparing them directly against each other.

ITAT really made the idea of gated reverb something that people sat up and paid real attention to, even though Peter Gabriel (or was it Bowie?) accidentally discovered it a few years before.

"Private Joy" was ahead of its time in how Prince put the Linn through guitar pedals and just the sound of it overall.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #21 posted 03/23/18 8:46am

MotownSubdivis
ion

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TrivialPursuit said:



MotownSubdivision said:


TrivialPursuit said:

I agree with the idea that it was ahead of its time. It was 1981 but sounds like it was firmly planted in 1985 radio. Using the Linn the way he did reminds me of how gated reverb was accidentally discovered, and later greatly exploited in songs like "In The Air Tonight" a few years later.



I'm probably misunderstanding you but "In The Air Tonight" came out the same year as Controversy.


You are misunderstanding it. I meant that both songs did things in music that hadn't been done before, and were ahead of their time. I wasn't comparing them directly against each other.

ITAT really made the idea of gated reverb something that people sat up and paid real attention to, even though Peter Gabriel (or was it Bowie?) accidentally discovered it a few years before.

"Private Joy" was ahead of its time in how Prince put the Linn through guitar pedals and just the sound of it overall.

All right, I understand now lol
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Reply #22 posted 03/23/18 10:01am

Asenath

soladeo1 said:

Private Joy was the first single. Discuss. A much more poppy, catchy, and innovative song than the title song or Let’s Work...

do you mean Controversy would have more successful on the pop charts, and/or getting Prince to "mainstream" more quickly? First I'm trying to determine what you define as "successful, because according to allmusic (can't find it for verification on billboard), the LP was number 3 on the R&B charts.

As everyone on here already knows, Prince albeit against his desires if you are to believe what is written, was placed in the R&B genre; so if his lead off would have been Private Joy, IMO, NO I don't think Controversy would have been more "sucessful" if it were the lead single. Private Joy doesn't have the funkiness of Controversy and isn't even in the same league as Let's Work. Now if you're talking about would it have been popular on pop stations, of course.

I will admit that I'm biased because God, I LOVE funky Prince the most.

[Edited 3/23/18 10:04am]

[Edited 3/23/18 10:27am]

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Reply #23 posted 03/23/18 11:51am

PeteSilas

to those who say they weren't too fond of the album as a whole, i think some of the tracks were a bit weak, jack u off, ronnie talk to russia and annie christian weren't as good as the rest but.., those songs did help to fulfill a vision that prince was trying to express more fully and which he did on 1999, that solitude and loneliness and despair, so, to me, annie christian is a bridge to songs like lady cab driver, automatic and later songs like darling nikki where the female protaganist is somehow deadly, either physically or romantically, she even crops up on albums as far away as lovesexy (anna stesia). ronnie talk to russia was a tune getting more in touch with prince's kinda contradictory conservative and his political self which would change dramatically through the years (remember how he praised reagan as having balls?) It also was in keeping with the earlier, self conscious statement on dirty mind of him knowing he was a star, a theme that would be revistited in baby i'm a star. All of these themes, obsessions seemed to be genuine in his head at the time all in addition to the sex and religious talk which ironically, might have been even more a pose than the rest.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #24 posted 03/23/18 1:43pm

Rev

avatar

PeteSilas said:

to those who say they weren't too fond of the album as a whole, i think some of the tracks were a bit weak, jack u off, ronnie talk to russia and annie christian weren't as good as the rest but.., those songs did help to fulfill a vision that prince was trying to express more fully and which he did on 1999, that solitude and loneliness and despair, so, to me, annie christian is a bridge to songs like lady cab driver, automatic and later songs like darling nikki where the female protaganist is somehow deadly, either physically or romantically, she even crops up on albums as far away as lovesexy (anna stesia). ronnie talk to russia was a tune getting more in touch with prince's kinda contradictory conservative and his political self which would change dramatically through the years (remember how he praised reagan as having balls?) It also was in keeping with the earlier, self conscious statement on dirty mind of him knowing he was a star, a theme that would be revistited in baby i'm a star. All of these themes, obsessions seemed to be genuine in his head at the time all in addition to the sex and religious talk which ironically, might have been even more a pose than the rest.

Well said PS.

I lived in a small town and ended up getting Dirty Mind and Controversy within months of each other.

Controversy is the album that got me to "fanatic" level. I was 13 and I was blown away.

It's sily to look back and say 'he should have worked on it more...etc.'. He labored too much on For You and Prince was equally well produced. Dirty Mind and Controversy were to break that mold and start new. Not to mention he was working on the Time's first album too.

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Reply #25 posted 03/23/18 1:49pm

PeteSilas

Rev said:

PeteSilas said:

to those who say they weren't too fond of the album as a whole, i think some of the tracks were a bit weak, jack u off, ronnie talk to russia and annie christian weren't as good as the rest but.., those songs did help to fulfill a vision that prince was trying to express more fully and which he did on 1999, that solitude and loneliness and despair, so, to me, annie christian is a bridge to songs like lady cab driver, automatic and later songs like darling nikki where the female protaganist is somehow deadly, either physically or romantically, she even crops up on albums as far away as lovesexy (anna stesia). ronnie talk to russia was a tune getting more in touch with prince's kinda contradictory conservative and his political self which would change dramatically through the years (remember how he praised reagan as having balls?) It also was in keeping with the earlier, self conscious statement on dirty mind of him knowing he was a star, a theme that would be revistited in baby i'm a star. All of these themes, obsessions seemed to be genuine in his head at the time all in addition to the sex and religious talk which ironically, might have been even more a pose than the rest.

Well said PS.

I lived in a small town and ended up getting Dirty Mind and Controversy within months of each other.

Controversy is the album that got me to "fanatic" level. I was 13 and I was blown away.

It's sily to look back and say 'he should have worked on it more...etc.'. He labored too much on For You and Prince was equally well produced. Dirty Mind and Controversy were to break that mold and start new. Not to mention he was working on the Time's first album too.

i was 13 too, my stepdad bought a set of stolen tapes off of a thief who came by every couple weeks. It looked like a white guys set from most of the tapes, but I heard controversy, it was really one of those first tunes that i would play over and over again and just be fascinated by, fascinated by how something that simple could move me like it did. i liked the rest of the album too, and even though annie christian wasn't that great a song, it was creepy, i used to get scared as fuck listening to that in the dark.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #26 posted 03/23/18 4:23pm

ShaggyDog

TrivialPursuit said:



MotownSubdivision said:


TrivialPursuit said:

I agree with the idea that it was ahead of its time. It was 1981 but sounds like it was firmly planted in 1985 radio. Using the Linn the way he did reminds me of how gated reverb was accidentally discovered, and later greatly exploited in songs like "In The Air Tonight" a few years later.



I'm probably misunderstanding you but "In The Air Tonight" came out the same year as Controversy.


You are misunderstanding it. I meant that both songs did things in music that hadn't been done before, and were ahead of their time. I wasn't comparing them directly against each other.

ITAT really made the idea of gated reverb something that people sat up and paid real attention to, even though Peter Gabriel (or was it Bowie?) accidentally discovered it a few years before.

"Private Joy" was ahead of its time in how Prince put the Linn through guitar pedals and just the sound of it overall.



It was the Low album by David Bowie from 1977 that first had that big drum sound. The producer, Tony Visconti, was playing around with a piece of equipment called the Eventide Harmonizer that could pitch shift the sound of the Snare drum downwards depending on how hard the drummer hit it. Viscoti described it to Bowie and Brian Eno by saying that it "f---S with the fabric of time"!
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Reply #27 posted 03/23/18 5:58pm

fortuneandsere
ndipity

NorthC said:

Oh wtf... Prince was just the kind of guy who needed a few albums to get going. When 1999 was released, he called Controversy "a little erratic." He was right. With 1999, he was getting ready to be big... With Purple Rain, he was huge. Having said all of this, I think it's a real shame that When You Were Mine never was a single. If there was any song that would have fit with the early 80s pop scene, this is the one.


Prince was wrong. Controversy isn't erratic. It's his 3rd or 4th best album. It's more consistent than 'Sign' even. The weakest song is probably 'Sexuality' and that was a single. Ronnie talk to russia is probably the most underrated song of all time by any artist... ever... in the history of mankind. So there. Kiss my ass.

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Reply #28 posted 03/23/18 7:35pm

TrivialPursuit

avatar

ShaggyDog said:

TrivialPursuit said:


You are misunderstanding it. I meant that both songs did things in music that hadn't been done before, and were ahead of their time. I wasn't comparing them directly against each other.

ITAT really made the idea of gated reverb something that people sat up and paid real attention to, even though Peter Gabriel (or was it Bowie?) accidentally discovered it a few years before.

"Private Joy" was ahead of its time in how Prince put the Linn through guitar pedals and just the sound of it overall.

It was the Low album by David Bowie from 1977 that first had that big drum sound. The producer, Tony Visconti, was playing around with a piece of equipment called the Eventide Harmonizer that could pitch shift the sound of the Snare drum downwards depending on how hard the drummer hit it. Viscoti described it to Bowie and Brian Eno by saying that it "f---S with the fabric of time"!

That doesn't sound right. Gated reverb isn't a "big drum sound". Hell, if someone wants big drum sound, listen to "Kasmir" from Zeppelin.

I remember the story about the microphone in the control room being left open when recording drums. (the mic that an engineer or producer uses to talk to the artist in the booth or recording area.) It was accidentally left open, a drum track recorded and they realized the sound.

Edit: found it - In 1980 it was used on Gabriel's "Intruder" (3rd solo record). Ironically, it was created by his producer and Phil Collins (the latter of which would later make it much more famous with "In The Air Tonight").

There was a group in 1979 that allegedly used it, but I'm not sure to what extent or as much as Gabriel used it.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #29 posted 03/23/18 7:35pm

databank

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I must say I agree with the OP on this one: I've always wondered why it wasn't released as a single at all. It was a no-brainer: a strong, accessible pop song with a catchy melody, it would have been an obvious choice. It was covered at least twice in 1984 (by La Toya Jackson and Cheynne), so others saw potential in it soon after. IDK, it was a maybe bit ahead of its time in terms of synthpop and WB felt it wouldn't work, but on the other hand The Human League's Don't You Want Me blew up the charts in late 81/early 82, so they could have seen an opportunity.

.

On the other hand the R&B target audience argument mentioned above makes sense. It's easy to forget how segregated music was in the US in those days. But then they should have released it at least in Europe, as they did with the punkish Sexuality: UK would probably have been quite receptive to it given what was going on there musically at the time.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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