Those who know or follow me know that Prince had a huge influence on my life and musical tastes in general. When he died on this day last year, I flowed through an immense amount of emotions unexpectedly. My wife an I bonded as we dated over the love of his music and our connection to each other through him continues today. So much so that the recent birth of our daughter Violet Camille is a subtle nod to our fandom.
So, here is a list of music that isn't always played when radios and video playlists of Prince play. Please enjoy!
1. "17 Days" - The Hits (Disc 3)- This is a song that Prince did in the 80's with The Revolution that just has a timeless rock sound to it. The guitar and bass guitar riffs are layered on top of each other in a funky way yet the song itself holds a semi-new wave rock feel as Lisa adds synth keys all about the track. Here Prince sings normally without the high falsetto (did I say that right) that so many people do not like. The lyrics are a bluesy and melancholy which make this one of my all time favs.
2. "Purple Music" - (BOOTLEG SONG...hard to find but I have it) This is one of Prince's early early songs that shows his exploration in funk. On this song he plays a funky guitar and keys as well as the percussion all himself for a ten minute funk session that I simply love. Lyrics are simplistic but he simply says that he doesn't do drugs because music gets him high enough.
3. "The Question Of U" - Graffiti Bridge - This song has one of the most memorable blues guitar solos that Prince has ever done. He plays this song often in concerts because the song itself is melancholy and fairly deep. It has a soft sex appeal to it but is no where near vulgar. It is Prince doing storytelling in the most classic of ways and the song is addictive to me. Definitely a fav.
4. "The Ride" - Crystal Ball - This is a live recording of a blues song that shows his guitar ability so very well. Sexy, confident, and loud... this song shows a bit of his diversity.
5. "She Spoke To Me[Extended Version]"- Old Friends For Sale This is an extended jazzy version of a sound that was featured on the Girl 6 Soundtrack. I did a review of this album on my blogsite so check it out because that album as a LOT of great Prince songs that flex his jazzy blues side. This song constantly has my friends asking me "Who is that playing" because the jazzy portion of the song is really good.
6. "North", "East", "West"- N.E.W.S. - Any of these tracks are REALLY great ways to show off Prince's jazzy/funky side. On this album it is purely instrumental. "North" is more on the relaxed jazzy side while "East" and "West" are both funk/jazz/rock fused songs that are as much an experiment as they are songs. THankfully they aren't so far out there that they sound bad. He got a Grammy Nomination for this album. Can't remember if he won.
7. "The One" - NEW POWER SOUL (also under the artist name NEW POWER GENERATION) - This song is further proof that Prince can write some outstanding love ballads. It is in the same tradition as "Insatiable" and "Scandalous". In most concerts he blends this song with "The Question of U" and it sounds EXCELLENT!!!
8. "Shhh" - Gold Experience - This is a rock love ballad that sends Prince back into his rock days. The drum and guitar solos in this song are great. This was when Prince played with an EXTREMELY talented crew called NPG or New Power Generation in the 90's.
9. "1+1+1 is 3" - The Rainbow Children Despite this album being an odd experiment in Prince preaching about the Jehova's Witness faith, it is a very funky album. This song was meant to be a party song and is very funky (throwback Parliament style).
10. "Electric Chair", "The Future", "Lemon Crush", or "Batdance" - Batman I'll admit it was strange to see a superhero movie set to the sounds of Prince but oddly enough it worked. These songs are all Prince at his finest. Some of them aren't necessary favs of other Prince fans but I love each of these songs. The first three have a bit of a rock edge to them but they all have a flavor that are distinctly Prince. Especially "The Future". The futuristic percussion and Prince wailin away on the bass guitar as the song goes off in a weird key shows how he can write in keys that most artists don't.
11. "Crystal Ball" - Crystal Ball - Ok... when you listen to this song, it is one of those experimental styled-"IS HE HIGH??" kind of things. The song is very long but it changes tempo, style, and everything very often. Give it a listen. It is definitely "Bjork" kind of odd. With that said, this is one of the many songs that Prince originally intended to be on his epic Sign O' The Times album.
12. "Don't Play Me" - Crystal Ball - Prince on acoustic guitar... nuff said. I just love this song.
13. "Willing And Able" - Diamonds And Pearls - Prince was in a creative storm around the time of this album because of the New Power Generation's ability to transition from rock to gospel to soul effortlessly. This song has a bit of a gospel-soul jazzy upbeat feel to it.
14. "Joy In Repetition" - Graffiti Bridge - This is just one of those haunting kind of songs that reminds me of "Theives in the Temple" in terms of how it has a signature Prince sound and yet the song has a timeless sound. It sounds fresh even today.
15. "The Dance" - 3121 Now this song is another example of how Prince LOVES to do alternate takes on songs to change things up. He released this song first as a track on the digital album (it's hard to find now since he only released it on his online music club) The Chocolate Invasion. On that album, the sound of the song was kind of light hearted and care free. The lyrics, however, are quite sad and are filled with frustration. So, on 3121, he added a samba feel to it and made the sound of the track match the lyrics. At the end of the song he adds a passionate adlib the shows the frustration in the song that the original take did not have. I love both versions of this song.
16. "Sexy Dancer" - Prince This is a long funky track from one of his early albums that flexes all of his musical instrument talents. It is a good display of what he's able to do.
17. "Anotherloverholenyohead" - Parade - Most people will only recognize "Kiss" from this album but it has a number of really good tracks. "Mountains" and "Under A Cherry Moon" are definitely Prince at his finest with a sound no one else can or ever will have. Still, this song shines for me. Wendy and Lisa join him on this one and for some reason the feel of this song sticks with me.
18. "The Morning Papers" - Love Symbol Album - I love so many songs on this album and it is one of my favs. This song was just a great love song that has a few good guitar solos (since his guitar work is what he's known for). "7" and "Love 2 the 9's" are good ones too.
19. "I Love U In Me" - The Hits 3 - Though explicit in a way, this is a smooth, chill love song that few but Prince could do. Great on a slow jam tape.
20. "Head" - Ok... who can deny how funky and odd this song is! Even though it is a popular song, it is an early MUST HAVE for Prince fans. Too funky!
21. "Letitgo" - Come - Still funky, this is a long forgotten album that had song good songs on it.
22. "Pretty Man" - Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic - This is Prince with Maceo Parker just doing an ode to James Brown which he frequently does (also see "Housequake" from Sign O' The Times). This album also has a LOT of duets (which people didn't think he could do) with Eve, Gwen Stefani, Chuck D, Sheryl Crow, and a few others I think. Great album.