Prince rehearsal videos, 1984
February 15, 2010 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Some guys in a Minneapolis basement, 1984. Rehearsing "When Doves Cry", "Irresistible Bitch", "Erotic City"....

[via Fimoculous]
posted by gleuschk (65 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is what is sounds like... when a grown man squeals with glee.

Love it. Thanks!
posted by Balonious Assault at 4:54 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME!
posted by shmegegge at 5:02 PM on February 15, 2010


Awesome. One of my favorite things about heading up to Minneapolis is seeing (and hearing) tons of Prince in every single jukebox.
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:05 PM on February 15, 2010


Whoa, thanks a lot, now I'm not going to get anything done this morning!
posted by misozaki at 5:12 PM on February 15, 2010


Huh. So he really is human.
posted by cow at 5:12 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


so awesome.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:13 PM on February 15, 2010


Those moves on Possessed are just that!
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 5:14 PM on February 15, 2010


Love this! Love Prince. His film "Purple Rain" had both the worst acting and the best performance sequences of any movie ever. Enjoyed this a lot!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2010


"When does cry"

Fuck I'd forgotten how much I love this song.

Don't worry everybody, we Minnesotans are still just as cool and talented - I promise
posted by Think_Long at 5:19 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Which video has the part where his dad shoots himself and then he finds his dad's sheet music? Or where he and Apollonia do it... never mind, my bad.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:20 PM on February 15, 2010


Ah, so that's what the bass part would have sounded like!
posted by sourwookie at 5:21 PM on February 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


I would love to have some animated GIFs of him dancing around from about the 9 minute mark.
posted by sparkletone at 5:23 PM on February 15, 2010


fantastic! thanks
posted by ms.jones at 5:28 PM on February 15, 2010


Huh. So he really is human.

Are you sure? I'm amazed by how...not like a rehearsal at all that sounds.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:32 PM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I had the cultural experience of having seen Purple Rain for the first time last week. For those of you have seen this movie innumerable times as a child, and have just filed it as part of your cultural cache, I strongly recommend that you go back and watch it again.

Observations:

1.) Prince is an asshole.
2.) He SLAPS appolonia.
3.) It makes no sense.
4.) Morris Day steals the show.
5.) Morris Day THROWS A WOMAN IN A DUMPSTER

I've tried to place this movie somewhere in the pantheon of other movies from that era which I love, but it just doesn't seem to fit. It's so bizarre and magical.
posted by orville sash at 5:32 PM on February 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


A lot of it is pretty sloppy rhythmically*, as one would expect from a rehearsal. Tighten it up Prince!

*his guitar noodling and vocals, however, sound awesome
posted by nathancaswell at 5:35 PM on February 15, 2010


don't forget the cum spurting guitar at the end.
posted by shmegegge at 5:35 PM on February 15, 2010


Great post, thanks. "Erotic City" is the jam.
That ain't Lake Minnetonka.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:42 PM on February 15, 2010


(...Okay, well, listening on, there's some definite rehearsing happening here...still quite cool, though!)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:44 PM on February 15, 2010


Metafilter: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called "life."
posted by joe lisboa at 5:46 PM on February 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeah I mean, a musical prodigy rehearsing is still a musical prodigy.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoa. Whoa. What a find. Holy shit.

Y'all really better download these quick. I'd be shocked if these aren't pulled before this comment gets posted!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah Prince is famously litigious and ...eccentric. A good account of that Kevin Smith's Trip To Princeworld.

Also, fun chronological moment of clarity, I was an infant when these were filmed. Yikes.
posted by The Whelk at 6:18 PM on February 15, 2010


Those were amazingsauce. Kudos.
posted by enkiwa at 6:19 PM on February 15, 2010


wow, watching any (good) artist in the throes of their process is one of life's rare treats.

thanks gleuschk.
posted by archivist at 6:19 PM on February 15, 2010


I like this version of When Doves Cry much better. Faster BPM.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:36 PM on February 15, 2010


The way the FPP I thought it was going to be a classic bait and switch and it would end up being the Replacements or Soul Asylum*. Still, I was not expecting to spend so much time watching these videos - very damn cool.

*Soul Asylum did end doing a pretty fantastic cover of the "The Cross" live in the late 80's.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:02 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


5.) Morris Day THROWS A WOMAN IN A DUMPSTER

He must be extremely strong.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:15 PM on February 15, 2010


ROU_Xenophobe: "5.) Morris Day THROWS A WOMAN IN A DUMPSTER

He must be extremely strong.
"

He had Jerome do it for him.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:32 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: thank u 4 a funky time
posted by nathancaswell at 7:38 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still have a vivid memory of sitting on the couch in my parents living room when I was sixteen and reading a Minneapolis Star Tribune article (Sunday edition) about an amazingly talented 14-year-old musical prodigy in North Minneapolis named Prince Rogers Nelson.
posted by marsha56 at 7:54 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Probably my favorite find from the Napster days was an mp3 of the first public performance of "Purple Rain" from November, 1983. It's got an extra verse, and the climactic guitar solo is about twice as long. Does anyone have any other sources of Prince arcana out there?
posted by vibrotronica at 7:58 PM on February 15, 2010


This makes it WAY less embarrassing to own up to being a Prince fan.
posted by Dragonness at 8:18 PM on February 15, 2010


This makes it WAY less embarrassing to own up to being a Prince fan.

What terrible world are you living in where this is embarrassing?

Oh. Unless you mean being a fan of late Prince. That is definitely embarrassing.
posted by Think_Long at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2010


Oh. Unless you mean being a fan of late Prince. That is definitely embarrassing.

Right. Tell anyone you're a Prince fan and they'll assume late Prince included.
posted by Dragonness at 8:27 PM on February 15, 2010


marsha56, the Star-Tribune's online archives only go back to 1986. Dammit.

Oh, Prince. Nothing compares 2 u.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:40 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, amazing. Great find.
posted by frenetic at 8:42 PM on February 15, 2010


By 1984 Prince had released five LPs, including 1999, the fifth bestselling album of 1983. Just for context, because this thing is hitting the Internet here in Minneapolis with all sorts of "see Prince and some guys rehearsing in a basement somewhere before he became famous." He was a full time professional musician at this point, gearing up for the release of both the LP and the film Purple Rain, and the videos to me look like they are detail work -- he has the song already worked out and recording, and is mostly playing along to a prerecorded track, in a rented space intended specifically for long rehearsals, filming himself, perhaps to see how his synchronized dance moves look, and also just to get comfortable with thse songs up and on their feet, as he was about to embark on a lot of touring.

Which makes this video really interesting to me. Because this is the work of being a professional musician, and it's often what separates professional musicians from talented amateurs -- just these hours and hours of looking at the little details of a song, and how it is performed, and what should happen onstage. We're not seeing these songs at the moment of being written, or at the moment of being performed before an audience, but somewhere in the interminable middle, when there are a billion little details to hammer out. And that's a part of the process that we almost never get a glimpse into.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:50 PM on February 15, 2010 [26 favorites]


Fantastic. Thanks for posting it.
posted by immlass at 8:52 PM on February 15, 2010


vibrotronica: "Probably my favorite find from the Napster days was an mp3 of the first public performance of "Purple Rain" from November, 1983."

If I'm not mistaken, the first public performance of "Purple Rain" was at the August 3, 1983 Benefit Concert for Minnesota Dance Theatre - which was also Wendy's debut with the band. You can download a video of the concert from here.

The performance of "Computer Blue" contains some of the extended middle section that got trimmed for the album.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:56 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're not seeing these songs at the moment of being written, or at the moment of being performed before an audience, but somewhere in the interminable middle, when there are a billion little details to hammer out.

I believe it was Frank Zappa who called this "putting the eyebrows on" a song. It is indeed long sessions like this that separate the pros from the weekend warriors.
posted by Camofrog at 9:11 PM on February 15, 2010


I started watching this thinking it was a cover band doing Prince.Then I thought " Hey this is good , why did someone post it?" The lack of irony threw me off!
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:25 PM on February 15, 2010


Fair bit of squealing going on here, too. This is excellent stuff!! Purple Rain was one of my first albums - I played that thing so many times I'm a bit amazed I didn't wear holes in it with the needle. The movie *was* ridiculous. Ridiculously wonderful to me, at 11 - because even if he was just acting, it was PRINCE. The amazing creator of that song about the doves, the one I knew by heart within a day of hearing it. Not to mention Take Me With You, which I used to sing at the top of my lungs in my room with the door shut, utterly convinced no one could hear. I remember watching Purple Rain so many times I could talk along with it, which irritated the hell out of my friends.

He was my first musician crush, I must say, and to this day, just seeing him interviewed, or hearing one of the songs of that first album, makes me grin, remembering how crazy I went when I unwrapped the album on my birthday, how I squealed out with glee, and how everyone had to talk me into stepping away from the music and actually hanging out with my friends at my slumber party. One of the glossy teeny bopper magazines had a contest back then - Win a Date with Prince! One of my secret stories out of my childhood is that I was SO angry you had to be 18 to win that I wrote the magazine a letter complaining. I mean, it was JUST dinner. You don't have to be 18 to eat dinner with someone. Right?

Then of course came the later years, when the video for his song Kiss was all over MTV, and my all time best friend ever would come over to my house when my folks were gone and we'd just blast Prince, and dance around being goofy, and sing as best we could (which wasn't very good, honestly).

Some years back my sister discovered he had some kind of mystery tour going on - one where he wasn't announcing any dates or venues until a week before the shows. I was working in tech support then, and I remember sitting at my computer every single day when the show venues came out, and refreshing, refreshing, refreshing, hoping it would say my city and I could just...buy the tickets before they sold out. When it did come up I was so excited I almost bought 4 - the sheer thrill had me all jumpy on my mouse button, for gods sake. When my sister couldn't come to the show, I made a friend from work come with me - he was a Social Distortion and Danzig fan, and he was so unimpressed that he just sat there, all glum, while I soaked it all in, and loved every moment.

Hm. This is a bit embarrassing. I appear to have written a small novel.

Thank you, gleuschk. Although I am far from the fangirl I used to be, I still find Prince fascinating. Eccentric, litigious - yes, I know - but capable of such serious funk, such gorgeous rhythm, such versatility and beautiful lyrics and...and...ok.

Maybe I am a wee bit of a fangirl still. And you have made my night.
posted by routergirl at 9:34 PM on February 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh man, wow.

I actually saw them on this tour.

I was 10.

My parents wouldn't take me to see the Jacksons, so I cried until they agreed to take me to this concert. The only thing i remember about it was prince starting the show by coming out in a gold bathtub on the stage. My mom covered my eyes for most of the rest of the show, i think.
posted by empath at 9:45 PM on February 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, when this was recorded, Prince was basically Elvis, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix in one body. The man is definitely my #1 musical influence from my youth.
posted by empath at 9:48 PM on February 15, 2010


When my sister couldn't come to the show, I made a friend from work come with me - he was a Social Distortion and Danzig fan, and he was so unimpressed that he just sat there, all glum

I've got a sudden urge to hear a Prince cover of "Mother".
posted by eddydamascene at 9:51 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese, the video you linked to is not available. Do you know anywhere else I could see it?
posted by irisclara at 9:52 PM on February 15, 2010


iris, check later in the thread.
posted by empath at 10:04 PM on February 15, 2010


Huh. So he really is human.

Clearly not.
posted by humannaire at 11:56 PM on February 15, 2010


BTW the greatest sound I ever heard was the sound 10,000 female fans at the Oakland Coliseum make when Prince sings, somehow, to each one of them.

God is a she.
posted by humannaire at 12:17 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember listening to Purple Rain or the one before it, and thinking that I'd never heard music where each sound was exactly right -- every note, every percussive element -- seemed to come at exactly the right time and just felt right. Everything. Not that it was predictable, or inevitable in any way, just that it was all Right. I was not stoned. There was clearly a lot of thought in his music, mixed in with sex and religion.

Also, I had the poster from his second (?) album, a full-body shot where he's standing just about naked in a shower wearing just a speedo, and as a joke I put it on the office wall of a friend. It stayed up there a few weeks. That, kids, was a different time.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:08 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is it
It's time for u to go to the wire
U will hit
Cuz u got the burnin' desire
It's your time (Time)
U got the horn so why don't u blow it
U are fine (Fine)
U're filthy cute and baby u know it

Cream
Get on top
Cream
U will cop
Cream
Don't u stop
Cream
Sh-boogie doo wop

U're so good
Baby there ain't nobody better (Ain't nobody better)
So u should
Never, ever go by the letter (Never ever)
U're so cool (Cool)
Everything u do with success
Make the rules (Rules)
Then break them all cuz u are the best

Yes u are

Cream
Get on top
Cream
U will cop
Cream
Don't u stop
Cream
Sh-boogie doo wop

Look up in the air, it's your time

Do your dance
Why should u wait any longer?
Take a chance
It could only make u look stronger
It's your time (It's your time)
U got the horn so why don't u blow it (Go on and blow it)
U're so fine (U're so fine)
U're filthy cute and baby u know it (U know it)

Come on
Cream
Get on top
Cream
U will cop
Cream
Don't you ever stop
Cream
Sh-boogie doo wop

Cream
Cream
Cream
Sh-boogie doo wop

Cream
Cream
Right there
Cream
Don't you stop
Cream
Sh-boogie doo wop
posted by bwg at 4:49 AM on February 16, 2010


In the "When Doves Cry" clip, it doesn't look like he's actually singing...looks like maybe they're just practising the moves...
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 5:26 AM on February 16, 2010


Wendy?
posted by sourwookie at 7:46 AM on February 16, 2010


4.) Morris Day steals the show.

Morris Day always steals the show.
posted by blucevalo at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jon-A-Thon: "In the "When Doves Cry" clip, it doesn't look like he's actually singing...looks like maybe they're just practising the moves..."


The video and audio are out of sync. You can see it whenever the drummer hits a cymbal or when Prince is clapping towards the end.
posted by minifigs at 8:23 AM on February 16, 2010


A commenter on When Doves Cry said "I have this whole video actually. It's June 7, 1984 - his birthday. There was a concert at First Avenue that night, and this was the rehearsal. Also on the tape is´╗┐ "Roadhouse Garden" and "The Ball", I believe. It's also the actual recording of "All Day, All night" that later ended up on Jill Jones album." It seems this is available as a bootlegged video or as just audio.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 AM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, represent, FunkyTown!
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:47 AM on February 16, 2010


memories of 1st Ave...
posted by fluffycreature at 1:47 PM on February 16, 2010


Huh. So he really is human.

Are you sure? I'm amazed by how...not like a rehearsal at all that sounds.


Well, consider by this time he'd been releasing records for 6-7 years and already done For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy (containing the classic pre-teen anthem "Jack U Off"), and 1999. He could have stopped there and been legendary.

It's a rehearsal from one of the world's most talented r&b/pop musicians at the top of this game playing with (some of) the same musicians he'd played with for years. Yeah, I'd expect them to sound pretty tight. And they do.

Erotic City is different without that funky twang at the start and no Sheila E.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:17 PM on February 16, 2010


Wendy?

Yes, Lisa?

(Sans Lisa.)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:25 PM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love this version of Erotic City, especially the RAWK guitar noodling at the beginning, and the bridge-pickup riff from Prince's Telecaster. My first touring band was a Prince tribute band, and we would've LOVED these videos back in the day. They certainly would've made it easier to learn Brown Mark's psuedo-dance moves. As an old bandmate of mine used to say "that's fon-kay!"
posted by elmer benson at 6:11 PM on February 16, 2010


All but "When Doves Cry" have been taken down. Thanks NPG. However, a search on youtube shows that they've been uploaded more than once, so it'll probably be a while before NPG expunges them all. Watch the Erotic City jam while you can -- it's really good.

Thanks gleuschk!
posted by dylanjames at 8:48 PM on February 16, 2010


so, so awesome.

I think the musical connection I made with this era Prince as a 15 year old is by far the most intense connection I've ever made to music.

I'm sure it's largely due to being 15, but there is so much going in the 82-89 Prince cannon..anyway if anyone is still looking these-send me a message and I will point you in the right direction.
posted by jaksoul at 4:42 AM on February 17, 2010


They are all still on youtube if you look up Prince and rehearsal.

But it would indeed be a shame if some unscrupulous, Prince-loving people have downloaded them from youtube for their own personal collection of videos before they disappeared altogether.
posted by winna at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


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