Prince still the s#it after three decades
July 22, 2007 7:14 AM   Subscribe

The Once and Future Prince [NYTimes link] Although Prince declined to be interviewed about “Planet Earth,” he has been highly visible lately. His career is heading into its third decade, and he could have long since become a nostalgia act. Instead he figured out early how to do what he wants in a 21st-century music business, and clearly what he wants is to make more music. Here's a YouTube celebration of some of man's hits over the years: Black Sweat, Let's Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, Nothing Compares 2 U (ok, the Sinead version), and finally, Prince's basketball showdown with Charlie Murphy.
posted by psmealey (29 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I loved his recent giveaway act in Britain. But seriously - only good songs keep your career running. Some artists keep on working and transforming. I am not a big Madonna fan, but she keeps pumping out good stuff for the mainstream market.
posted by homodigitalis at 7:21 AM on July 22, 2007

I really haven't been following Prince. What's a recent must-hear song?
posted by jouke at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2007

(I'm pretty sure Prince's career is heading into its fourth decade, actually.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2007

I really haven't been following Prince. What's a recent must-hear song?

Black Sweat, listed above.
posted by flarbuse at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2007

Check out Guitar, jouke.
posted by psmealey at 7:28 AM on July 22, 2007

Tx. He still sounds fresh. Not your typical faded rockstar.
posted by jouke at 7:36 AM on July 22, 2007

Splendid - that's a good chunk of my Sunday afternoon taken care of.
Though I'm still waiting for another truly great album. Been a while now since Sign 'o' the Times.
posted by jack_mo at 7:41 AM on July 22, 2007

And this live version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Tom Petty. Watch for the magical disappearing guitar. Previously
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 7:47 AM on July 22, 2007

just go to a'll be an instant convert. i am an extremely snooty jazz and improv rock person, but seeing His Badness live in DC was eye-opening.

a plus was, after not finding a resturant with less than an hour plus wait, going into the venue early to hear a 40 minute sound check that was mostly Hendrix rivaling guitar improv.
posted by aiq at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2007

A blogger discusses the economics of Prince's decision to let the Mail on Sunday give his latest away.
posted by biffa at 8:10 AM on July 22, 2007

Miles Davis, for one, had Prince pegged as the new Duke Ellington.
posted by progosk at 8:10 AM on July 22, 2007

Heh, yeah, I'm a music snot too, and I love this. Prince is a genius and one of the great rock guitar soloists.

re the giveaway: "The danger is that it becomes a trend for artists who can get a large sum upfront with no marketing costs."

Oh yes, very dangerous for the marketing people and assorted parasites.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2007

They used to say that of the dancing pair Grace Kelly and Fred Astaire, she was the more gifted one; as she was doing all the same moves but backward and in heels. Prince may be the only man who is able to challenge that, as he does gymnastic moves while dancing in heels.

Most people also don't know that he plays most of the instruments on his albums, is a composer and lyricist and has written some of the most popular songs made famous by other artists in th epast 30 years.

He is still my favorite musician, and will continue to be until someone else comes out that can trump his musical talent, stage presence and ability to wear purple tissue taffeta and poufy shirts while still looking completely hetero.

*sigh* He is dreamy!
posted by rubyeyo at 8:44 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm not gay, but I'd TOTALLY let Prince fuck me.
posted by afx114 at 9:45 AM on July 22, 2007

I love The Who, but they stopped being a real band in the 1970's. Why would anyone go see them today? (See the Rolling Stones, etc.) I understand nostalgia, but I think it would be depressing as fuck to go to a show to remind yourself of your wayward youth only to see a bunch of old men on stage.

I admire any artist who refuses to rest on their laurels. Prince could probably make a bundle simply by touring on his 80's catalog. That he continues to expand his oeuvre is awesome. Plus he's a genius.
posted by maxwelton at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2007

posted by 3.2.3 at 10:06 AM on July 22, 2007

Woot! This post will tide me over quite nicely until I see him at the end of August. Thanks psmealy - Prince rocks!

(Good article too)
posted by goo at 10:16 AM on July 22, 2007

I was just telling someone that prince was still the soctothorpit and they didn't believe me. Thanks for winning me a bet, psmeasley!
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:25 AM on July 22, 2007

I'm a very, very late convert to Prince. I couldn't like him in high school because I was Metal, and while you could let a Poison song slip through now and again, Prince was simply not allowed. It would have been better to say at the rope swing over a joint on a Friday night: "I don't know if you guys have noticed, but Kip Winger has a really tight ass," than to admit to have even listened to an entire Prince song.

Then he went all weird in the 90's with that name sounding like wooshing air thing.

But a couple years back I was clearing out the Tivo and decided to watch one of the music video shows that I Tivo (is that in Webster's as a verb yet?) but rarely watch, and I saw the video for "Purple Rain." The one from the movie.

I was blown the fuck away. I'd seen the video and heard the song on the periphery before. Playing in the background or something glimpsed between a quick channel change but, fuck, if I wasn't floored by actually, really listening to that song for the first time.

The guy’s got chops. I don’t even like most of his songs, but I can’t deny that the guy is good.
posted by Cyrano at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2007

Workin' up a Black Sweat.... 'nuff said.
posted by autodidact at 11:19 AM on July 22, 2007

I really haven't been following Prince. What's a recent must-hear song?a

I'm partial to Fury. If nothing else, ti shows the breadth of style on the last album, nd it certainly schooled me in how masterful an axeman Prince is.
posted by dhartung at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2007

I liked 3121 better than Planet Earth, but maybe it'll grow on me. As far as classic Prince is concerned, there's a movie version of Sign o’ the Times that's absolutely incredible but unavailable in the U.S (you might be able to find a torrent.) The video for A Love Bizarre is tasty, too. Now if only Under the Cherry Moon finally got the love it so richly deserves!
posted by muckster at 11:43 AM on July 22, 2007

I'm partial to Fury. If nothing else, ti shows the breadth of style on the last album, nd it certainly schooled me in how masterful an axeman Prince is.
Huh... I was just going to mention that even though I have a lot of respect for Prince - the musician/composer/ultra-talent - I don't really like much of his music (or, at least not the stuff that he performs, rather than produced for someone else).

And then you posted that link. Wow. Great tune. Shades of Motown and also of his 80s style with the Yamaha DX7 synth-stabs. I like... very nice.
posted by C.Batt at 11:48 AM on July 22, 2007

Good musician. Great comedian. Purple Rain is funnier than Dumb and Dumber.
posted by tkchrist at 2:25 PM on July 22, 2007

For the record:

They used to say that of the dancing pair Grace Kelly Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, she was the more gifted one...
posted by fairmettle at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2007

I like weird, and Prince is too weird even for me, but Little Red Corvette is one of my favorite-of-all-time songs. It ranks up there with MeatLoaf's Paradise By The Dashboard Light, Oingo Boingo's Skin, Billy Joel's Close To The Borderline, Shadow of a Doubt by The Touch, and the most recent addition of Dolly Parton's cover to Led Zepplin's Stairway To Heaven. Every time, without fail, I hear one of these songs, I feel better. So Prince is okay in my book.

Back about fifteen or twenty years ago I went to a Neil Diamond concert. Not exactly my choice. Some friends wanted to go and since I wanted to hang with my friends I went with them. I was expecting an old guy reliving past glories and being generally creepy. I was sorta right about a man reliving his past, but then he's got the kinda past that's not too bad to relive.

The guy won me over. He knew he was getting on in years but he also knew his diehard fans didn't care cuz they were too, and he knew there were A LOT of younger people in the audience who were experiencing his vast library of music for the first time. The guy put on one heck of a show.

Last I heard, he was still performing on a regular basis. He still has a loyal following, and there's still young people realizing that Neil Diamond's music is fun, brilliant, and it stands the tests of time. I personally haven't listened to him or gone to see his concerts in a long time, but that hasn't slowed him down. Nothing seems to slow him down.

Some artists who had achieved celebrity status but fell out of favor, have to reintroduce themselves to the world now and then; they have to 'reinvent' themselves to try and regain past glory. Some don't.

Prince is who he is, take him or leave him. He doesn't care. He's gonna keep making music whether people pay attention to him or not. He must. It's in his blood. You may be a convert or a critic of his work, but it makes no difference to him.

Like a small handful of talented men and women who survived The Best of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and Today and some people still know their names? Prince knows when a tree falls in the forest if it makes a sound. He was there when you weren't listening.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2007

I want Prince's wardrobe.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:50 PM on July 22, 2007

Good post, psmealey. Much better than the last one.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:54 AM on July 23, 2007

While everyone was oohing and ahhing over Micheal Jackson's dancing in 'Billie Jean' I was grooving to Princes' mind-blowing moves in '"Little Red Corvette" Better dancing, singer.. badder everything than MJ..
posted by xjudson at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2007

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