21. the beautiful ones

“Second of two in a row from the artist known as Prince, because you just don’t do justice to what he accomplished through the 1980s with a single item. In 1984, that would’ve meant Purple Rain (album and movie), which for me finally drove home the point that the most necessary music-art-whatever-you-want-to-call-it almost never comes from where you’re expecting it. In other words, I walked into the movie theatre more curious than anything (what were the kids all so excited about?) and walked out a lifelong fan of this almost annoyingly talented (so-called) black guy – something I absolutely did not see coming. With The Beautiful Ones perhaps the most necessary track of all for its evocation of an infatuation so pure and delirious, the only word to describe it is … purple? By which I mean not the colour of grape juice but affected, bloated, fancy-pants, grandiose, inflated, pompous, pretentious, stilted, excessive, flattering, fulsome, boastful, bombastic, elevated, eloquent, lofty, ultimately regal. Because such is true love. If it ain’t worth taking to a preacher right f***ing now, it ain’t the really thing. Or so I’ve been told.” (Philip Random)

22. Mountains

“As I once heard it put, if you’re not into Prince, you’re either racist or homophobic. Because if the 1980s had a Beatles, it was him, particularly up to 1988. Seriously, think about that run of albums: 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in A day, Parade, Sign of the Times, The Black Album, Lovesexy. And then there’s all the b-sides and whatnot. Or in the case of Mountains, an extended version that isn’t so much a remix as a jam, expansive and epiphanous, like the mountains in question, I guess. The first few minutes are cool and expansive pop with a big beat, but then the genius truly takes over, takes groovy flight. Because by 1986, it was all getting proved on the dance floor, and nobody proved as often, with as much versatility, panache, invention, sheer gobsmacking talent and altitude as the skinny little mutherf***er called Prince.” (Philip Random)

(Morrison Hotel Gallery)

232. erotic city

Erotic City delivers as its title suggests. One of the dirtiest b-sides to ever make it onto a mega million selling single, and being the 1980s, that meant there was an extended option, almost eight minutes of groove and horniness and all night f***ing. The A-side in question was Let’s Go Crazy (all hail the Lord God in Heaven) making for the release that perhaps best encapsulates all that was transcendent, rude, euphoric, essential of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.

(photo: Larry Williams)

283. the cross

“They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Also Prince concerts back in the day. The memory is of seeing the Purple One live in 1988, the Lovesexy tour. The stage was round. The sound was exquisite. The action was non stop. It was everything a rock and roll show was ever supposed to be, and more. And the musical highlight of the evening, the song that pinned all fifteen thousand of us to the wall was a power anthem about a certain cross and the guy that had to carry it, and how we’ve all got to do the same, one way or another, up that hill to eternity. Yeah, I believed.” (Philip Random)

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349. dance on

“By 1988, the artist still known as Prince pretty much owned the world, pop, cool and otherwise. He wasn’t just cranking out the tightest, funkiest, coolest, most fun and genre exploding stuff on the planet, he was doing so at an insanely prolific rate. In two years alone, 1986 into 1988, you had Parade, Sign of the Times (double album) and Lovesexy, (not to mention the then unreleased Black Album, which found us anyway as a bootleg). So it’s no wonder that a mad piece of avant-pop genius like Lovesexy’s Dance On (go ahead, try dancing to it) might get missed.  And maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe you needed a decade or so to process it. I think I did.” (Philip Random)

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413. more money

Prince Rogers Nelson wasn’t the only son of a king doing cool, smart, fun things with funk in the mid-1980s as Prince Charles‘ More Money aptly points out (with solid props to The City Beat Band). An anthem for any time, any place. Because we all always need more money, even f***ing billionaires, or so it seems. And seriously, where’s the smart, up to date cover version of More Money? The song’s just screaming for it. Punk rock, campfire folk, straight up country, hell even a polka. The world is waiting.

PrinceCharles-citybeatBAND

539. around the world in a day

Prince (and his Revolution) go drug free psychedelic in the middle of the least psychedelic decade since at least the 1950s, with the title track of their first post Purple Rain album. And it works. The whole album works in its multi-coloured way, not bothering to try to measure up to what had come before, just being its own voluptuous thing. And, for the record, the 1980s were actually quite psychedelic … if you were going to the right parties, hanging around in the right rec-rooms, mountaintops, isolated beaches and islands. What it wasn’t doing was making the papers, and all the stronger for it.” (Philip Random)

818. Alphabet Street

 

Alphabet Street being the lead off track from the last truly great Prince album, 1988’s Lovesexy. “We didn’t realize it at the time but he really did have to reign things in, else there would have been no reason for humanity continuing, God’s own paradise of peace and love and f***ing having been achieved here on earth by Prince Rogers Nelson’s unstoppable cavalcade of genius.” (Philip Random)

(photo: Lynn Goldsmith)

925-924. Computer Blue + Darling Nikki

“Two in a row from the album (and movie) that finally made Prince a fact, even for white guys from the Canadian suburbs – that album being Purple Rain, of course. Not that I didn’t already think the guy was pretty darned cool in a funky r+b sort of way. You couldn’t hear twenty seconds of 1999 without thinking that. But after Purple Rain, I guess I just wasn’t seeing the colour anymore (other than purple). After Purple Rain, I realized this guy was the closest the 80s would ever get to having its own Bowie, or Beatles even. I’d crossed over, drank the paisley purple koolaid, seen God (or something similar). Every song on the album deserves to be hailed, and heard. But you probably have already heard most of them on the radio or whatever. Except maybe Computer Blue and Darling Nikki (the raunchy duo that brought Side One to a dramatic conclusion). Needless to say, they .got decent folk all hot and bothered at the time.” (Philip Random)

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