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Thread started 10/12/21 8:09pm

TrivialPursuit

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Controversy - 40 Year Anniversary!

prince-controversy.jpg

Released: October 14, 1981

Run time: 37:15

Tracks: 8

Recorded at: Kiowa Trail Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA; Hollywood Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA

Label: Warner Bros.


This week marks 40 years since Controversy was released. The album is arguably a major step forward in Prince's music writing and production. It's also the first album to showcase the Linn drum machine. Prince became even more social and political with songs like "Sexuality" (which had themes later echoed in "The Future"), "Ronnie, Talk 2 Russia," and "Annie Christian." He carried forward sexual themes in "Do Me, Baby," "Private Joy," "Let's Work," and "Jack U Off."

1. Controversy

2. Sexuality

3. Do Me, baby

4. Private Joy

5. Ronnie Talk 2 Russia

6. Let's Work

7. Annie Christian

8. Jack U Off

- The album reached #3 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (ending the year at #15), and #21 on the US Billboard 200.

- It peaked at #55 again in 2016.

- The title track was a #1 hit on the US Dance charts, as was "Let's Work."

- It was certified platinum in the U.S.

- Controversy was voted the eighth best album of the year in the 1981 Pazz & Jop, an annual critics' poll run by The Village Voice.

Singles:

  1. "Controversy"
    Released: September 2, 1981
  2. "Sexuality"
    Released: October 1981 (non-US single)
  3. "Let's Work"
    Released: January 6, 1982
  4. "Do Me, Baby"
    Released: July 16, 1982


Prince_ControversySingle.jpgDomebabysong.jpgPrince_LetsWork.jpg

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #1 posted 10/12/21 11:02pm

LoveGalore

My favorite album. My favorite era. This is my time to shine.
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Reply #2 posted 10/13/21 8:22am

FrankieCoco1

Surprised no one has cited the Prince twitter and Facebook acknowledgement of this 40 year anniversary as a sign Controversy Deluxe is coming out! The same might happen again for the 20 year anniversary of Rainbow Children.
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Reply #3 posted 10/13/21 9:00am

lurker316

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I love this album!!!

I hadn't realized the title track did so well on the dance charts. I was under the impression that between "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Little Red Corvette" Prince had little mainstream recognition.


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Reply #4 posted 10/13/21 9:49am

laytonian

lurker316 said:


I love this album!!!

I hadn't realized the title track did so well on the dance charts. I was under the impression that between "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Little Red Corvette" Prince had little mainstream recognition.


Controversy was all over the radio in Utah.

Welcome to "the org", laytonian… come bathe with me.
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Reply #5 posted 10/13/21 10:21am

LoveGalore

FrankieCoco1 said:

Surprised no one has cited the Prince twitter and Facebook acknowledgement of this 40 year anniversary as a sign Controversy Deluxe is coming out! The same might happen again for the 20 year anniversary of Rainbow Children.


And the symbol album?

I think it will be different if they're still making posts about Controversy next week.
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Reply #6 posted 10/13/21 10:49am

paisleypark4

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Melody Maker

June 1981

Some day your Prince will come
The quiet tittle man with bovine, brown eyes and a whisper of a ’tache stares absent-mindedly out of the hotel window across London’s rainswept rooftops.

Steve Sutherland

“Actually,” he decides finally with pronounced hesitation, “I think it’s much more embarrassing talking about these things than doing them. I mean, I find it a lot easier to sing swear words than to say them and when I first had a girl, I found it realty hard to tell my mother but. Lord knows, I didn’t feel embarrassed while I was doing it to her.”

The man shifts in his seat, fidgets with his fingers and smiles uneasily. He’s nervous – so nervous he gives me the jitters. I remember the quote from the New York Times: “With his sassy grace and precocious musicality he is heir to the defiant rock and roll tradition of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger.”

I look again at the slightly dishevelled figure sitting before me and figure I must be in the wrong room. Just to check l ask for his history and, yep, believe it or not, this is definitely Prince.

CHRISTENED by his father – a jazz musician – from his fictitious stage-name, Prince is the fairytale story of a Juvenile runaway who really made good. At only 20 he has two platinum albums behind him in the States and a third, “Dirty Mind", rapidly approaching the mark despite a total airplay due to the risque sexual, overtones of its lyrics. Already a critically-lauded star back home,” and accompanied by a wild reputation, he’s now making his first tentative foray into the foreign market with a one-off show at the Lyceum.

The first thing I was burning to know was what made a man referred to as the “solo Bee Gees of the libido” by Rolling Stone on account of his falsetto vocals and naughty-naughty songs, take to the stage, with his five-piece band, dressed in a studded leather coat, Y-Fronts and black thigh-length tights?

To me it’s not outrageous, it’s comfortable,” he replies, trying to force a smile. “I’ve always dressed the way I’ve wanted to and if it goes with the music, it’s only because the music is part of me and so is the way I dress. I don’t try to do anything to shock people or to make money – that would make me a hooker”.

PRINCE is not a prat but ’ neither is he the wunderkind America desperately tries to make him out to be. He’s accomplished – he’s master of 26 instruments, composes and plays virtually everything on all his albums and is the youngest person ever to self-produce for Warner Brothers- he’s flash, intelligent, a bit too self-obsessed for easy conversation, a little bit silly and kinda strange too.

Things like his father leaving home, his brother flitting in and out of slam and a period lodging with his sister all seem to hold a fathomless fascination for him and he constantly calls upon his past, almost endowing it with some spiritual significance, as he struggles to explain the motives behind his music.

“I saw an analyst once because I was wondering why I was so sexual-minded and why I wanted to go against the grain so much because it got me into a lotta trouble a lotta times” he reluctantly confides. “He asked me to talk about my childhood y’know, ’when you first experienced this and first experienced that?’ I realised that, when I was young, I used to read my mother’s dirty novels and I was more taken with them than anything – it was a lot better than comic books.”

This apparent self-discovery has, he claims, not only enabled him to develop as a more full, unfettered personality but has given him new confidence in his work.

“It was a revelation recording this last album,” he explains more excitedly, “I realised that I could write just what was on my mind and things that I’d encountered and I didn’t have to hide anything. The lyric on the new album is straight from the heart whereas the other albums were more feelings, more dreams and fantasies and they stuck to the more basic formulas that I’d learned through playing top 40 material in old bands. That’s probably why they were so big but that’s really upsetting for me because you say to yourself, “Well, do I just wanna be real big or do I wanna do something I’ll be proud of and really enjoy playing?’

” ’l wanna Be Your Lover’ was a big hit off the second album,” he continues, “but it was hard for me to play that song after, a while. I’ll never get sick of playing the stuff from the ’Dirty Mind’ album because I’ll always remember what state of mind I was enduring the time it was recorded.”

THE frankness of the third album, dealing with strictly taboo subjects like incest and lesbianism, was bound to keep it off the radio despite its seductive disco settings but the subsequent notoriety ensured the sales and anyway, according to Prince:

“The sales weren’t important. There were points, I must admit, on the first two albums where I was writing to get a hit but that was too easy. I don’t like to do things that’s easy - it’s more of a challenge for me to write exactly what happens, exactly what I feel at that particular time. If I think a certain thought and I put it down on paper-exactly like I hear it in my head, that’s a challenge to me as a writer.

“More than my songs have to do with sex,” he says, “they have to do with one human’s love for another which goes deeper than anything political that anybody could possibly write about. The need for love, the need for sexuality, basic freedom, equality... I’m afraid of these things don’t necessarily come out. I think my problem is that my attitude’s so sexual that it overshadows anything else that I might not mature enough as a writer to bring it all out yet

“I’m gonna stop this soon,” he suddenly spurts. “I don’t expect to make many more records for the simple reason that I wanna see my life change. I wanna be there when it changes, I don’t wanna just be doing what’s expected of me. I just wanna live ... until it’s time to die...”

He trails off and that’s the end of the interview. I rise, reach the door and turn to say goodbye but he’s already back there, gazing out the window.

I remember a line from one of his songs: “Sex related fantasy is all that my mind can see,” and ponder on the dark, mysterious beauty turning tricks in the private bedroom of his mind.

[Edited 10/13/21 10:49am]

Download all the shit hop that you can for your kids, neices, nephews, and their friends also. That will prevent them from going out and buying it and will prevent some shit hop sales. Every little bit helps - Andy
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus
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Reply #7 posted 10/13/21 11:29am

TrivialPursuit

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lurker316 said:


I love this album!!!

I hadn't realized the title track did so well on the dance charts. I was under the impression that between "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Little Red Corvette" Prince had little mainstream recognition.


I was sorta surprised by that. But we have to also remember the "Dance" charts were Black-centric, so they relegated Black artists to those Dance or whatever charts and were left off the Top 100 or 200. So, I guess it depends how one defines "mainstream," especially in the 80s which arguably saw a rise in Black artist spotlights and an almost concerted effort to keep them off white television and white music charts.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #8 posted 10/13/21 12:13pm

AvocadosMax

imagine a DE... it doesn't have to be a SDE, estate... just a DE along with a Dirty Mind DE will do!

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Reply #9 posted 10/13/21 1:04pm

cooldayla

Nice to see the love from Apple Music.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Controversy https://music.apple.com/us/station/essential-album-controversy/ra.1588312344

Also noticed they Apple has expanded his Essential Albums section from 3 albums to 7. Which I am pleasently surprised about...Parade, Controversy and Diamonds & Pearls are typically not catagorized this way.

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Reply #10 posted 10/13/21 1:06pm

indiedisco

And one of the best Prince images ever https://www.princevault.c...aller.jpeg

[Edited 10/13/21 13:07pm]

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Reply #11 posted 10/13/21 1:07pm

AvocadosMax

cooldayla said:

Nice to see the love from Apple Music.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Controversy https://music.apple.com/us/station/essential-album-controversy/ra.1588312344

Also noticed they Apple has expanded his Essential Albums section from 3 albums to 7. Which I am pleasently surprised about...Parade, Controversy and Diamonds & Pearls are typically not catagorized this way.

ohhhhh that's probably because they're hinting that those are the next 3 Super Duper Mega Deluxe Expanded Editions coming out.... just hold on tight, Purple Politicians! it's coming

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Reply #12 posted 10/13/21 1:42pm

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

great album.

not a classic.

its not perfectly formed like dirty mind.

its a transitional album, towards the stuff that would make him a big star in the 80s.

also shows the image that would be most famous too.

and shows that dirty mind was just a clever, calculated attempt to get the cool rock attention.

prince was never going to sound that grungy and lo fi again.

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Reply #13 posted 10/13/21 3:44pm

SquirrelMeat

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To me, its the most important (not the best) album of Prince's career. This is the birth of the MPLS sound. The chicken scratch guitar, the non-falsetto vocals, the linn drum, the sex Vs religion, the pure dirty ballad, the rockabilly, the machanical synth, the overly stretched songs.

This is where he found his 'sound'.

Odd that the estate has spend all their posts on the 30th of D&P but none of the 40th of Controversy.

.
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Reply #14 posted 10/13/21 4:55pm

coldcoffeeandc
ocacola

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paisleypark4 said:










Melody Maker


June 1981























Some day your Prince will come




The quiet tittle man with bovine, brown eyes and a whisper of a ’tache stares absent-mindedly out of the hotel window across London’s rainswept rooftops.


Steve Sutherland


“Actually,” he decides finally with pronounced hesitation, “I think it’s much more embarrassing talking about these things than doing them. I mean, I find it a lot easier to sing swear words than to say them and when I first had a girl, I found it realty hard to tell my mother but. Lord knows, I didn’t feel embarrassed while I was doing it to her.”


The man shifts in his seat, fidgets with his fingers and smiles uneasily. He’s nervous – so nervous he gives me the jitters. I remember the quote from the New York Times: “With his sassy grace and precocious musicality he is heir to the defiant rock and roll tradition of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger.”


I look again at the slightly dishevelled figure sitting before me and figure I must be in the wrong room. Just to check l ask for his history and, yep, believe it or not, this is definitely Prince.


CHRISTENED by his father – a jazz musician – from his fictitious stage-name, Prince is the fairytale story of a Juvenile runaway who really made good. At only 20 he has two platinum albums behind him in the States and a third, “Dirty Mind", rapidly approaching the mark despite a total airplay due to the risque sexual, overtones of its lyrics. Already a critically-lauded star back home,” and accompanied by a wild reputation, he’s now making his first tentative foray into the foreign market with a one-off show at the Lyceum.


The first thing I was burning to know was what made a man referred to as the “solo Bee Gees of the libido” by Rolling Stone on account of his falsetto vocals and naughty-naughty songs, take to the stage, with his five-piece band, dressed in a studded leather coat, Y-Fronts and black thigh-length tights?


To me it’s not outrageous, it’s comfortable,” he replies, trying to force a smile. “I’ve always dressed the way I’ve wanted to and if it goes with the music, it’s only because the music is part of me and so is the way I dress. I don’t try to do anything to shock people or to make money – that would make me a hooker”.


PRINCE is not a prat but ’ neither is he the wunderkind America desperately tries to make him out to be. He’s accomplished – he’s master of 26 instruments, composes and plays virtually everything on all his albums and is the youngest person ever to self-produce for Warner Brothers- he’s flash, intelligent, a bit too self-obsessed for easy conversation, a little bit silly and kinda strange too.


Things like his father leaving home, his brother flitting in and out of slam and a period lodging with his sister all seem to hold a fathomless fascination for him and he constantly calls upon his past, almost endowing it with some spiritual significance, as he struggles to explain the motives behind his music.


“I saw an analyst once because I was wondering why I was so sexual-minded and why I wanted to go against the grain so much because it got me into a lotta trouble a lotta times” he reluctantly confides. “He asked me to talk about my childhood y’know, ’when you first experienced this and first experienced that?’ I realised that, when I was young, I used to read my mother’s dirty novels and I was more taken with them than anything – it was a lot better than comic books.”


This apparent self-discovery has, he claims, not only enabled him to develop as a more full, unfettered personality but has given him new confidence in his work.


“It was a revelation recording this last album,” he explains more excitedly, “I realised that I could write just what was on my mind and things that I’d encountered and I didn’t have to hide anything. The lyric on the new album is straight from the heart whereas the other albums were more feelings, more dreams and fantasies and they stuck to the more basic formulas that I’d learned through playing top 40 material in old bands. That’s probably why they were so big but that’s really upsetting for me because you say to yourself, “Well, do I just wanna be real big or do I wanna do something I’ll be proud of and really enjoy playing?’


” ’l wanna Be Your Lover’ was a big hit off the second album,” he continues, “but it was hard for me to play that song after, a while. I’ll never get sick of playing the stuff from the ’Dirty Mind’ album because I’ll always remember what state of mind I was enduring the time it was recorded.”


THE frankness of the third album, dealing with strictly taboo subjects like incest and lesbianism, was bound to keep it off the radio despite its seductive disco settings but the subsequent notoriety ensured the sales and anyway, according to Prince:


“The sales weren’t important. There were points, I must admit, on the first two albums where I was writing to get a hit but that was too easy. I don’t like to do things that’s easy - it’s more of a challenge for me to write exactly what happens, exactly what I feel at that particular time. If I think a certain thought and I put it down on paper-exactly like I hear it in my head, that’s a challenge to me as a writer.


“More than my songs have to do with sex,” he says, “they have to do with one human’s love for another which goes deeper than anything political that anybody could possibly write about. The need for love, the need for sexuality, basic freedom, equality... I’m afraid of these things don’t necessarily come out. I think my problem is that my attitude’s so sexual that it overshadows anything else that I might not mature enough as a writer to bring it all out yet


“I’m gonna stop this soon,” he suddenly spurts. “I don’t expect to make many more records for the simple reason that I wanna see my life change. I wanna be there when it changes, I don’t wanna just be doing what’s expected of me. I just wanna live ... until it’s time to die...”


He trails off and that’s the end of the interview. I rise, reach the door and turn to say goodbye but he’s already back there, gazing out the window.


I remember a line from one of his songs: “Sex related fantasy is all that my mind can see,” and ponder on the dark, mysterious beauty turning tricks in the private bedroom of his mind.











[Edited 10/13/21 10:49am]




wow!! What a time capsule interview!! To think this 'dishevelled' man who will stop making records soon grew in to being prince, the superstar!

thank you for sharing!!

Not the most flattering interview

Loving the line that states prince is not a prat.
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Reply #15 posted 10/13/21 4:57pm

LoveGalore

Every song on the album is a banger. Doesn't matter if he refined his approach to the various themes he was going for here. Every song is a banger and set the l precedent for the rest of his whole sound. Best album. Classic. Legend.
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Reply #16 posted 10/13/21 5:39pm

Hamad

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“I just wanna live ... until it’s time to die...”

That got me choked up.
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QLH82
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Reply #17 posted 10/13/21 7:03pm

fernandomachad
o

After disco died, Prince invented the 80s right there
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Reply #18 posted 10/13/21 11:20pm

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

Love that old interview. He was very open then. But that's about dirty mind right, not controversy,?
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Reply #19 posted 10/14/21 12:33am

TrivialPursuit

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funkbabyandthebabysitters said:

Love that old interview. He was very open then. But that's about dirty mind right, not controversy,?


Yeah, nothing seems to reference Controversy, so I'm confused why it's posted. The album came out in October 1981, and that interview is five months before. Dirty Mind had come out almost a year to the day before, October 1980. So it's more likely he's referencing everything on Dirty Mind. The recording dates for Controversy were August 1981, so the songs weren't even written or thought up yet for this interview.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #20 posted 10/14/21 1:35am

JorisE73

SquirrelMeat said:

To me, its the most important (not the best) album of Prince's career. This is the birth of the MPLS sound. The chicken scratch guitar, the non-falsetto vocals, the linn drum, the sex Vs religion, the pure dirty ballad, the rockabilly, the machanical synth, the overly stretched songs.

This is where he found his 'sound'.

Odd that the estate has spend all their posts on the 30th of D&P but none of the 40th of Controversy.


thumbs up! 1981 and this album made me a fan!

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Reply #21 posted 10/14/21 4:40am

Moonbeam

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Happy 40th anniversary to this wild blitz of funk, new wave, and hyper energy! Although it’s sometimes regarded as a lesser album among his titanic 80s run, I think Controversy is outstanding from start to finish. I’ve always loved it, and it has only climbed my rankings over time, now ranking as my 3rd favorite Prince album (and 9th overall).

He was so desperate to get his vision out there during this era, and that youthful exuberance adds such charm. Rick James may have laid claim to “punk funk”, but it is this album (along with Dirty Mind) that seems to embody that spirit more than any other — it’s in the herky jerky singing in “Private Joy”, the shock tactics of “Jack U Off”, the raucous rave-up of “Ronnie Talk to Russia”, the rawness of “Sexuality”, and the social and sonic tantrum of “Annie Christian”. And of course, the three singles are juggernauts, with the title track being among his most potent and enduring thesis statements, “Let’s Work” featuring perhaps the best bass groove of his career, and “Do Me, Baby” serving as a wanton, steamy template for all of his midnight ballads to follow.

8 songs. 37 minutes. The birth of the Minneapolis Sound. It’s the essence of Prince at his hungriest.
Feel free to join in the Prince Album Poll 2018! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince albums, as decided by you!
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Reply #22 posted 10/14/21 9:56am

TrivialPursuit

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DO ME, BABY DEMO.

The demo is cute. But it feels like other early Prince tunes. There's a way he played guitar or arranged things that is indicative of "You're My Love" or "I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man."

That really shines on the fact that Controversy was a much bigger departure from the first three records and a huge growth in his songwriting and production approach than previous thought (by some).

I used to think Controversy was a bit of a segue album; a record that sorta connected two different eras. Around The World In A Day is similar in that thought process; as it keeps the Purple Rain blueprint, but the sounds lean more toward Parade. Both albums almost feel like introductions to their successors as well as experimental overall.

Over time, it has become more clear that this was a growth spurt for Prince. The maturation in songwriting becomes more clear with this demo.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #23 posted 10/14/21 10:36am

Hamad

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I love it! Love the MRK drum machine, love the unintentional c&w feel, love it’s innocent energy and love how it reminds me of “Open Book”.

It’s amazing & testimonial how he could repeatedly re-recreate a whole song from the bottoms up. My only gripe was I wish they let the tape roll instead of fade it, but hopefully the full version gets released smile
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QLH82
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Reply #24 posted 10/14/21 11:20am

TrivialPursuit

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Hamad said:

I love it! Love the MRK drum machine, love the unintentional c&w feel, love it’s innocent energy and love how it reminds me of “Open Book”.


I think you nailed it there. There was a lot of country & western licks in his music. It's definitely in "You're My Love" and "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man." Makes me sorta believe it wasn't necessarily unintentional, either. His early tunes really encompassed so many different genres. Even things like "With You" had a pointed country feel.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #25 posted 10/14/21 11:34am

Hamad

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“With You” is definitely a c&w song, put a little peddle steel guitar and it would fit the format. I think that’s probably the mid-west influence creeping in.
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QLH82
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Reply #26 posted 10/14/21 1:50pm

lurker316

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I always thought Still Waiting was a bit country, maybe because of the twangy guitar that opens it.


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Reply #27 posted 10/14/21 2:02pm

herb4

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It's a really good and fun record. I think it's the first one where we can hear Prince really "turning the corner" into the sound he would perfect on 1999.

1999 was my first Prince album thanks to the MTV exposure and I loved it so much I naturally started working my backwards through his catalog. For You and Prince didn't do much for me, Dirty Mind was great but Controversy felt like a natural progression and a bridge towards that double album masterpiece that I still think is his best album.

I remember back then (1984 or so) being shocked at the audacity of "Jack U Off". David Bowie, Sylvester and The Village People aside, I'd never heard such a blatantly homoertic song with such a direct title and back then shit like that was a big deal.

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Reply #28 posted 10/14/21 3:09pm

TrivialPursuit

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lurker316 said:


I always thought Still Waiting was a bit country, maybe because of the twangy guitar that opens it.



TOTALLY IS, and so is "Gotta Broken Heart Again."

It's very interesting to me how Prince had a lot of country in his music (didn't his mom love country music?), as well as Rockabilly which is like a country rock thing.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #29 posted 10/14/21 5:01pm

herb4

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There are several Prince songs where if you just changed the instruments but kept the same song structure, chords and notes they could be played country style.

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