Hey Billy, where d'you get those sunglasses?
October 4, 2012 1:05 AM   Subscribe

The 20 best Prince songs you've never heard.

From Matt Thorne, author of a new Prince biography.
posted by muckster (19 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
hell yeah
posted by philip-random at 1:29 AM on October 4, 2012

Good list. Being an abnormally keen fan of Prince, I've heard all of those except U Will Be... With Me.

I think Moonbeam Levels is probably my fave - for whatever reason it was a particularly sought-after unreleased number, and a guy I used to trade cassettes with in the post put it on the end of a tape as a surprise, which seemed like the kindest thing anyone had ever done when I was twelve :-)

Including released album tracks on a list like this seem a bit odd, though - For You sold about a million copies when it was released, IIRC. Fair enough on the newspaper freebies, though, I suppose.
posted by jack_mo at 1:30 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've heard a few but nowhere near everything. Where would one go to find, say, "Billy"?
posted by muckster at 1:45 AM on October 4, 2012

Actually, if memory serves, there are two unreleased versions of Moonbeam Levels - one recorded during the 1999 sessions, and another for Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic circa 1988, before that album was ditched in favour of the Batman soundtrack (an album of that name did eventually come out in 1999, but it's not quite the same thing, and doesn't have Levels on it).

It's depressing how much good stuff remains unreleased, given the amount of fresh purple shite he's plopped out over the past decade or two.

I should probably step away from this thread now - my head is full of useless Prince info amassed during what was in retrospect was a pretty bizarre childhood obsession, and I find it all too easy to regress into spewing useless, probably misremembered, Princedrivel.
posted by jack_mo at 1:48 AM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've heard a few but nowhere near everything. Where would one go to find, say, "Billy"?

It's on a Danish bootleg CD called, confusingly, Dirty Mind - someone on Discogs is selling a copy just now. It's not neccessarily something you want to listen to more than once, though there's a cool bit at the beginning where Prince is teaching the band some new songs.

I'm afraid I don't know how to find this stuff online - presumably those fancy private bittorrent trackers that make you sit an interview before you can join would have it?
posted by jack_mo at 2:14 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: full of useless Prince info amassed during what was in retrospect was a pretty bizarre childhood obsession.
posted by Nomyte at 8:01 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I summon Anil Dash.
posted by gwint at 8:41 AM on October 4, 2012

No "Wonderful Ass"? OK. But come on... no "Vibrator"?

And if he can put "Crystal Ball" at #1 despite its official release in a truncated version, he can DAMN SURE put the full length "Computer Blue" on that list. Am I making myself perfectly clear?
posted by Egg Shen at 8:49 AM on October 4, 2012

And while it doesn't have "Billy", the Work It 2.0 torrent has most of this stuff.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:55 AM on October 4, 2012

But come on... no "Vibrator"?

posted by bongo_x at 9:06 AM on October 4, 2012

And while it doesn't have "Billy", the Work It 2.0 torrent has most of this stuff.

Yeah, get Work It 2.0, Purple Rush Vols 1-6 and all the City Lights releases and I imagine you have every known and available unreleased song, in one form or another. That's only 77 CDs!
posted by jack_mo at 9:15 AM on October 4, 2012

Is the Camille album just more well known than I thought, or completely overlooked by this list? Great songs on this "unreleased" album.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2012

Well, most of Camille is on Sign 'o' the Times and associated singles, so I suppose lots of folk have heard it.

Peach & Black: The Camille Anthology is a nice compilation - you get Camille reconstructed, so to speak, plus a few extra Camille-ish songs.
posted by jack_mo at 10:21 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you know Prince has an afro now?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

They are right. I've never heard of any of those songs.
posted by 4ster at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2012

Not as obscure perhaps but I might add "She's Always in My Hair" and "La, La, La, Tee, Hee, Hee." Two of my favorites, and I'm not sure they are as well known as they might be.
posted by NedKoppel at 12:58 PM on October 4, 2012

The 20 greatest Prince songs you have never heard are probably 20 songs that are locked away somewhere in Princes vaults of thousands upon thousands of hours of recordings he has made that will never, ever see the light of day. At least in his lifetime, though I wouldn't be surprised if he has some sort of dead mans switch surgically grafted into his chest that will detonate a massive explosive charge at the central site where he stores the master tapes upon his demise.
posted by mediocre at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2012

Oooh! Oooh! This is my chance to tell my my-conversation-with-Prince story I keep forgetting to when Prince threads show up!

Okay, so I used to work for a major financial services company who for the purposes of this story shall remain nameless since I am likely committing a federal crime in even talking about this. I was a Loss Prevention Manager, which really just meant I poured over hundreds of transactions a day that for whatever reason got flagged just to make sure they were not the result of fraud. Occasionally you would come across celebrity accounts, since they are among the more likely to be writing personal checks for tens of thousands of dollars. Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, Bruce Willis, it was always sorta amusing but not enough to pull me out of the mindless tedium that the job was.

But then one day a transaction was flagged, and when I pulled up the check it was from the personal account of one Prince Rogers Nelson in Minnesotta. I got a giddy rush when I realized who it was, twirled around in my chair a bit, then proceeded to totally abuse my position. In these instances we usually would contact someone who could confirm that the check was in fact valid issuance. In the case of celebrities, we often had their personal information but whenever contacted it was most typically an assistant we spoke with. And for most cases, that would be enough. But this was a particularly large check, and I was particularly interested in seeing if I could actually get Prince on the phone. I spoke with a female assistant who tried to take care of the matter herself, but being as it was a personal check (not from any of the number of corporations that I'm sure he has for tax purposes) I had to speak with the man. Or if she could provide me with a certified, notarized Power Of Attorney I could speak with her. The previous sentence may not be 100% truth. After about seven minutes of talking with her, and another ten on hold, I had the man himself on the end of the line.

After that it gets boring. He confirmed he wrote the check to a fellow musician he has worked with to help with some medical costs he had.

Still, I talked with Prince. What did you do today at work?
posted by mediocre at 2:24 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Did he answer the phone like this: "My name is Prince. And I am funky." ?
posted by NedKoppel at 6:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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