I couldn’t write anything about Prince on Thursday night but I’ve been having a Princeathon the past few days and remembering the intense obsession I had with his music in the 80’s. Particularly his golden run from Purple Rain, Pop Life, Parade, Sign O The Times to Lovesexy. Pure purple pop, funk and love. After this his music wasn’t as strong album wise, and I moved onto other passions, but he continued to release great tracks. I loved Get Off from Diamonds and Pearls and had just started to listen to his albums again. Art Official Age from 2014 saw Prince back on track and clearly influenced by musicians of today like Janelle Monae.
Known for strict creative control over his music and image, he forged a strong identity that can’t be touched. It was always an easy choice for me when forced to choose between Michael Jackson and Prince. With a mastery of the guitar to rival Hendrix, this amazing multi instrumentalist has given us so many great songs, stretching right back to the 70’s that make you want to dance, groove and sing. Prince‘s performances were legendary and he was on my bucket list of performers to see. Many friends have said that he’s the best act they’ve ever seen live.
Of all his songs, Purple Rain is the one he’ll be remembered for. That huge power surge of a ballad that turned him into a superstar and showered us with his Purple goodness. He’s one of the greats that transcends generations and I played a couple of tracks to my friend’s thirteen year old daughter last night and she loved Sexy MF although rather humorously she was imagining Jermaine Clement (from Flight Of The Conchords) singing it. As you do.
Here are my favourite album covers through the eras from the 70’s to more recent times. And no I don’t like the Purple Rain cover that much but I adore the record. I rate his second album cover, with the 70’s swooshy flick hairdo right through to the quirky, bat crazy Lovesexy that caused quite a fuss when it came out. Let’s not mention most of the 90’s and 2000’s efforts though.
For You : 1978 : Art direction: Jeff Farmakes (The Ad Company) : Photographer : Joe Gannett
Top Tracks : Soft and Wet
Prince : 1979 : Art direction : George Chacon / Lynn Barron (RIA Images) : Photographer: Jurgen Reisch
Top Tracks : I Wanna Be Your Lover, Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad, I Feel For You, It’s Gonna Be Lonely
Dirty Mind : 1980 : Photographer: Allen Beaulieu
Top Tracks : Dirty Mind, When You Were Mine, Head, Uptown
1999 : 1982 : Art direction : Unknown :
Top Tracks : 1999, Little Red Corvette, Delirious
Around The World In A Day : 1985 : Art direction : Laura LiPuma : Illustrator : Doug Hender
Top Tracks : Raspberry Beret, Pop Life
Parade : 1986 : Art direction : Laura LiPuma : Photographer : Jeff Katz
Top Tracks : Kiss, Boys and Girls, Sometimes It Snows In April
Sign O The Times : 1987 : Art direction: Laura LiPuma : Photographer : Jeff Katz
Top Tracks : Sign O The Times, Starfish And Coffee, Slow Love, If I Was Your Girlfriend, The Cross
Lovesexy : 1988 : Photographer : Jean Baptiste Mondino
Top Tracks : Alphabet Street : Eye No, Dance On
Art Official Age : 2014 : Art direction : Maya Washington : Photographer : Maya Washington
Top Tracks : Funk N Roll, Breakdown
PS : I’ve been wearing Purple Reign from April Aromatics the past few days. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Thanks to complex.com for the art direction information.
Let me know if you have a favourite Prince album cover or song.