Prince (1984) Purple Rain LP


Purple Rain

Warner Brothers 26110


Rating:**** (Recommended)
produced by Prince and the Revolution

While Prince had scored a transatlantic hit with “I Wanna Be Your Lover” in 1979, the U.K. had forgotten him after that, and in the beginning, things weren’t looking much more hopeful at home.

Prince avoided promoting himself with interviews but found his tool for promotion with video.  The timing was perfect, with the MTV craze taking off.

At the time, Michael Jackson seemed to be pushing the music video to the max with his epic “Thriller,” but Prince took it a step further–designing a film/album project that cast himself as a superstar.  It was likely a shock for many, but this actually worked.

While Jackson had been crowned the king of pop, Prince was causing some to question that.  Folks might have considered this more carefully if they’d recognized that Prince was doing his thing without an old master like Quincy Jones–a big part of Jackson’s success.

While Prince had previously released five albums, this is the one that made him a superstar.  While 1999  marked the beginning of his rise, Purple Rain shot to the top slot on the charts and remained there for 24 weeks.  This also marked his arrival in the U.K.

Like all his albums, this has highs and lows, but fans should definitely listen to the entire set.  It certainly fits the description of a pop masterpiece.
It didn’t come out of nowhere, but it changed the shape of pop, funk and R&B forever, influenced most everything that followed it.  It took the past and created the future.  And while it mixes lots of styles, it sounds cohesive from start to finish.

While many comps included the hits from this set, fans shouldn’t miss sexy gems such as the infamous “Darling Nikki.”  The album is essential Prince.

— winch (author of…

Prince: 1999 (LP) 1983


Warners 23720
Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince

Recommended ****
Released February 1983 (US & UK), reached #4 (#30 in U.K.) 

While he’d released four previous sets, this is the one that marked the beginning of his arrival.  He finally got the sound down and started to take over the world.  The Revolution had clearly began.  The four sides could have been cut down to two but even as it sits, it should be listened to as a whole.  While the entire first side has shown up on compilations, lesser-known gems such as “Lady Cab Driver” are also essential.  On that cut especially, several of his many influences can clearly be heard: Sly Stone, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and Jimi Hendrix.  Prince’s sound certainly didn’t come out of nowhere, but he brought the influences together and made the thing his own.    

— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

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