It’s been a week since Prince died, and there have been plenty of words written about him, so I won’t bore you with another showering of praise about his talent. I’m certainly a fan, but I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said. However, I do have a personal memory to share, and I chuckle every time I think of it.
In the 1980s, Prince was on a roll. “1999” (1982), “Purple Rain” (1984), “Around the World in a Day” (1985)…okay, “A.T.W.I.A.D.” was uneven, but it gave us “Raspberry Beret,” so who cares? Then he released “Parade” (1986, a masterpiece) and “Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987). We just took it for granted: there would be a new Prince album every year, and it would be pretty amazing, no matter what. When a new one was announced for February of 1988, my friend, Russell, and I we were stoked.
On a Tuesday, when the new CD would be in the stores, Russell and I met at Sound Warehouse as an act of fan solidarity to each buy our own copy. We had heard that the title of the CD would be “Lovesexy,” but we were not prepared for the cover art. We made our way down the alphabet…Journey, Huey Lewis, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Ozzy Osbourne…“P.” Parliament, Poison, The Police…Prince! When we found “Lovesexy,” we busted out laughing. I’m sure you’ve seen the cover, but here it is anyway…
Haw! What a character. Then it hit us: Oh, wait…now we have to face the dude at the register and each buy our own copy of this silly thing…first Russell, then me. Just a couple of fun-lovin’ fellers out on the town and buying a CD that features a slender, naked imp lounging in a lily, caressing his chest and gazing into the distance while surrounded by floral representations of both male and female genitalia. These are the hoops Prince expected you to jump through if you were to be rewarded with his music. By the way, that CD is fantastic, and, yes, it is definitely a reward to be enjoyed.
Something else that’s funny about that CD…there are nine songs listed on the back, but there is only one, continuous track. When you put the CD into a player, the readout says, “Track 01.” When the CD gets to song number nine, the readout still says, “Track 01.” Heh-heh…oh, Prince, you artist. I can just hear an interviewer asking him about the new CD: “How do you skip over certain songs and get to the next one?” Prince: “You don’t.”
Good-bye, Prince, you little freak. We’ll miss you. Thanks for all the amazing music!
Final note on Prince: In case you think Prince’s primary appeal was his outrageous persona, take a listen to this fine bit of musicianship. Jump ahead to 3:27 and watch Prince show off for 2:40. (By the way, this is the only time I’ll say it’s okay to skip Tom Petty.)