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Trivia / Prince

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  • Author Existence Failure: Despite recovering and saying he was fine after a hospital visit fighting flu symptoms, Prince passed on April 21st of 2016, at only 57.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: The soundtracks to his movies are much better remembered than the movies themselves. Point proven when Kevin Smith made a joke about Under the Cherry Moon (the film that gave us the song "Kiss") during his Evening Harder film and no-one in the audience laughed because they didn't know what it was.
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  • Completely Different Title: In Japan, his self-titled album was renamed to 愛のペガサス (Pegasus' Love).
  • Creator Backlash: The Black Album. Prince created the album as a response to critics that were saying he was selling out to his white audience. A week before the albums release, he had it pulled. It may or may not had been a response to Prince trying ecstasy for the first time and having a bad trip. Regardless, he had a change of heart concerning the content on the album. The Lovesexy album was created as a direct response to The Black Album. The "Alphabet St." music videos includes a subliminal message saying “Don’t buy The Black Album, I’m sorry”. Though this didn't stop Prince from including "When 2 Are in Love" on Lovesexy and playing "Superfunkycalifragisexy" and "Bob George" on the Lovesexy Tour. Warner Bros. Records paid Prince paid $1 million to release it in 1994 as a means to try and get out of his contract. The discography section on the Musicology website in 2004 even went so far as to have a "Contractual Obligation" stamped over the album art.
  • Executive Meddling: Oh boy, strap in for this.
    • Sign '☮' the Times has a storied history and it all has to do with Prince's declining marketability following Around the World in a Day. There's plenty of detailed info over at PrinceVault for those interested, but here's the gist: Prince had written and configured a double album entitled Dream Factory to follow Parade. That was scrapped after the Revolution broke up. He then written an album for his short-lived Camille alias (basically, sped up female-sounding vocals). Both were combined with new songs for a triple album entitled Crystal Ball. Warner Bros. thought the album could use some editing to be commercially viable, as his sales since Purple Rain had been declining. Hence, we got the double album Sign "☮" the Times in a rare good use of this trope, and Prince started becoming passive-aggressive with his record label.** Warner Bros. specifically paid Prince to not be involved in the assembling of the three disc greatest hits package The Hits / The B-Sides. Warner Bros. also thwarted the release of When 2 R in Love: The Ballads of Prince (WB wouldn't license the songs to Prince); and A Celebration (20 re-recorded hits, quashed by WB's own "The Very Best of Prince".)
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    • Part of Prince's bid to free himself from his contract in the 90s was releasing as much material as possible at once in the hopes of getting out as soon as possible. As a result, we got clunkers like Chaos and Disorder and The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale. Prince attempted to have Come and The Gold Experience released right after each other, but Warner Bros. wanted to milk him for all they could and declined. Even the release of the untitled black album was an attempt to get out, but it did not help matters.
  • Genre Popularizer: The "Minneapolis sound", which was largely restricted to him and his associates (though often imitated) and didn't survive past The '80s.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The Black Album was pulled just a week before its intended release, later being replaced by Lovesexy. Since copies were floating about, many unofficial releases were made since people wanted to hear the music. Thus it become one of the most bootlegged albums of all time. Such was the scale of its bootlegging, a contemporary Rolling Stone end of the year list saw The Edge cite it as his favourite album of 1988, despite not being officially released. The album garnered a limited official release in 1994, in an attempt to help end his relationship with Warner Bros. It didn't work. Also, it was only available for a limited time.
    • Some of his unreleased stuff tends to leak out once in a while on bootlegs. Several others tracks were released on the Internet through the NPG Music Club. That shutdown in 2006. Good luck catching them all.
    • Post Prince's death, his music has become more accessable. The Prince Estate has made sure most of his released albums are on streaming and have been reissued physically. There are some exceptions. His 'solo' work under the New Power Generation name are still not available. Everything on Paisly Park Records that wasn't released by Prince is not on streaming or physical. They have released a lot of unreleased stuff through new records or deluxe reissues though. Including tracks that were never bootleged before.
  • Missing Episode: The song Wally is the only known track that was deliberately erased by Prince. It was a very personal track he made right after his breakup with his fiance. Prince did re-record the song soon after with less personal lyrics, but the original was never saved.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Why the Black Album finally saw release: it was part of Prince's unsuccessful bid to get himself out of his contract with Warner Bros. He did get $1,000,000 out of it, though.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: In 1995, two Italian songwriters sued Prince for plagiarism over the song The Most Beautiful Girl In The World. They won their case in 2007. This has all but prevented The Gold Experience from ever getting reissued. The Prince Estate has released The Versace Experience to try and soften the blow, since it does include a number of Gold Experience tracks in edited form. The Gold Experience is still on streaming though, minus TMBGITW.
  • Shrug of God: When a fan asked him on his forums why "Pop Life" had "what sounded like a boxing match" spliced into the song, and noting they were wondering why for years, he answered, "Good ? - Me 2 :)"note 
  • Talking to Himself: Prince distorts his voice electronically to have a dialogue between himself and God in "Temptation". He also sped up his voice on several occasions; many excursions into the upper range were intended to sound like a female alter ego named Camille.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Plenty of Studio Chatter and random jamming.
    • Some production accidents even found their way into completed songs. For instance, engineer Susan Rogers accidentally caused some words to be distorted while recording the vocals to "If I Was Your Girlfriend" through a technical error, and recounted to Alex Hahn that she thought Prince "was going to rip my head off!". Upon listening, Prince loved the effect and kept it in.
    • Similarly, "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" quite noticeably lacks low-end and sounds somewhat thin and muddy. This was also the result of a technical error at his Chanhassen home studio. The Prince Vault has the details, but for TLDR: Prince was recording through a console with two separate power supplies, and did not test it beforehand. During the "Dorothy Parker" session, the house was affected by a power cut, and lost one of the power supplies. Susan Rogers noticed that the music sounded flat, but she didn't want to interrupt recording to point it out, and only discovered the problem after the song had been finished. Prince liked the recording, and did not attempt to re-do the song with the fixed console.
  • Vaporware: Prince being the hyper-productive, opinion-flip-flopping perfectionist that he was, created a metric ton of this, which are chronicled in detail here. Some of the more notables ones are Roadhouse Garden, announced as a return of The Revolution before he even asked the other members to rejoin; and A Celebration, a re-recorded greatest hits that was quashed by Warner Bros. releasing The Very Best of Prince. Many were announced in press conferences or in tourbooks. This also doesn't account for the various track configurations of the albums he did release.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • "Computer Blue" was originally a 14-minute suite with additional lyrics, a section of solos, and a finale of three full minutes of guitar feedback. Another version includes a passage known by fans as the "Hallway Speech", with a shorter amount of feedback. It was planned to be included in its complete form on Purple Rain and was edited a few times to fit into the album, eventually setting on a 7-minute version. However, "Take Me With U" was added to the album's tracklist near the end of production. In order to fit into the album's running time, "Computer Blue" was hacked down to 4 minutes, removing the third section of the song  – the one with the solos – entirely. The result was great because Prince had the good sense to pull an Adaptation Distillation and only keep the best parts of the song with each edit. The third section of "Computer Blue" was included in the film Purple Rain during a rehearsal scene, and the drastically abridged feedback outro was used to transition into "Darling Nikki". Four versions of the song have appeared on bootlegs, with varying degrees of quality (the 7 minute version got as far as the mastering stage, so it stands out.) The "Hallway Speech" version (even officially titled as such) of the song was finally released on the 2017 remaster of Purple Rain.
    • Michael Jackson's "Bad" was originally conceived as a duet with him. Prince declined, saying the song was good enough without him (plus, he thought the line "Your butt is mine" was too cheesy). He was right, but still...
    • Sign '☮' the Times was initially planned to be a Revolution-featuring album titled Dream Factory. When Wendy & Lisa decided they were done with Prince, he shelved the project, instead focusing on an album of sped-up, female-sounding vocals for an album titled (and credited to) Camille. Both projects got mushed together into a triple album named Crystal Ball, which Prince actually wanted to release, also under the name Camille. He eventually had to cut it down to what we hear today. Emancipation kind of proved that the Warner Bros. had a point in nixing the idea.
    • In 1990, Prince offered "Wonderful Ass", one of his most sought after rarities, to a band that was recording their new album in a studio adjacent to his, with his favorite engineer. Believe it or not, that band was the acoustic folk-punk trio Violent Femmes. The band considered including it on their album, but never even wound up recording it.
    • The Love Symbol Album was meant to be a Concept Album with a story told in segues throughout the albumnote , but Prince had to chuck out most of the segues due to space constraints to fit the whole album on a CD after deciding to add the song "I Wanna Melt With U"note , and only two survived (the ones featuring Kirstie Alley), leaving behind a narrative that starts with Prince acting like a jerk and ending in whatever "The Sacrifice of Victor" is about.
    • In addition, Miles Davis' album Tutu was originally going to be made in collaboration with Prince, but this role ultimately went to Marcus Miller. The closing track "Full Nelson" liberally borrows from Prince's late-80s playbook and really offers a glimpse as to what could've happened there. Prince did try to donate a song, "Can I Play With U?", but pulled it out because he felt it didn't fit with the sound of the album.
    • The producers of Luke Cage (2016) hoped to get him to make a cameo appearance in the Season 1 finale, among several black singers who appear as themselves in the series. They even gave the title character a dislike of profanity and his mentor a "swear jar" knowing Prince's own policy of fining people who cursed at his shows. Sadly, he died before they actually asked him, so we'll never know if he would have agreed.
    • Prince was a fan of the Comedy Central show @midnight, and nearly appeared on the show alongside comedian Jake Fogelnest, who had been operating the parody @PrinceTweets2U Twitter account, which Prince also liked. However, the appearance never came to be before his death.
  • Wiki Rule: PrinceVault


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