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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince… With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Funk - Released June 23, 2017 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions Best New Reissue
This draped in light rerelease of Purple Rain is an opportunity to take a beautiful trip back in time… For Prince, the 1999 advent coincides with several disputes with his entourage. The pinnacle is reached when the guitarist Dez Dickerson leaves, soon replaced by Wendy Melvoin. The star goes back to work and mulls over a project even crazier than a double album: a quasi-autobiographical movie! With their head on the chopping block, his managers are tasked with finding a film without delay. Warner’s movie division is rather lukewarm and wants warranties. Prince and his ever growing family (The Revolution, The Time, Vanity 6) perform regularly at the First Avenue club and spend the rest of their time locked away in a gigantic warehouse rehearsing and taking drama and dance classes to prepare for the movie. Prince even transferred his own studio in this warehouse to record the soundtrack of his crazy project. He also sets up a mobile studio in front of the First Avenue, where he makes live recordings of other songs. In the end, Warner Studios pay up for what will probably be one of the worst movies they’ve produced so far, a dud that will however give an exuberant and awesome soundtrack: Purple Rain reaches the top of the R&B and Pop charts. Let's Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, Take Me With U, Purple Rain and I Would Die 4 U are all Princely hits that will dominate the airwaves in 1984 and 1985. His decadent funk rock and his frilled-shirted pimp style seduce the entire planet. Once again, the musician manages to mix his different foibles like a new Sly Stone. Containing pop melodies reminding of the Beatles and Hendrixian guitars with a funk groove rhythm, Purple Rain offers above all a complete revamping of these fundamentals of music… This Purple Rain Deluxe – Expanded Edition includes the remastered original album (the remastering was made in Paisley Park in 2015 with the original master tapes, and Prince supervised the whole process a few months before his passing), as well as eleven new titles, but also all the edit versions of the singles and their B sides. Taken from Prince’s numerous unreleased archives, the new tracks are true gems, like the 1983 instrumental version of Father’s Song. Some of them, like the studio version of Electric Intercourse, never even got out of Paisley Park before! Those gems have been mastered by Bernie Grundman, who worked on the original album. © MD/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Fearless, eclectic, and defiantly messy, Prince's Sign 'O' the Times falls into the tradition of tremendous, chaotic double albums like The Beatles, Exile on Main St., and London Calling -- albums that are fantastic because of their overreach, their great sprawl. Prince shows nearly all of his cards here, from bare-bones electro-funk and smooth soul to pseudo-psychedelic pop and crunching hard rock, touching on gospel, blues, and folk along the way. This was the first album Prince recorded without the Revolution since 1982's 1999 (the band does appear on the in-concert rave-up, "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night"), and he sounds liberated, diving into territory merely suggested on Around the World in a Day and Parade. While the music overflows with generous spirit, these are among the most cryptic, insular songs he's ever written. Many songs are left over from the aborted triple album Crystal Ball and the abandoned Camille project, a Prince alter ego personified by scarily sped-up tapes on "If I Was Your Girlfriend," the most disarming and bleak psycho-sexual song Prince ever wrote, as well as the equally chilling "Strange Relationship." These fraying relationships echo in the social chaos Prince writes about throughout the album. Apocalyptic imagery of drugs, bombs, empty sex, abandoned babies and mothers, and AIDS pop up again and again, yet he balances the despair with hope, whether it's God, love, or just having a good time. In its own roundabout way, Sign 'O' the Times is the sound of the late '80s -- it's the sound of the good times collapsing and how all that doubt and fear can be ignored if you just dance those problems away. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released June 19, 1984 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Prince designed Purple Rain as the project that would make him a superstar, and, surprisingly, that is exactly what happened. Simultaneously more focused and ambitious than any of his previous records, Purple Rain finds Prince consolidating his funk and R&B roots while moving boldly into pop, rock, and heavy metal with nine superbly crafted songs. Even its best-known songs don't tread conventional territory: the bass-less "When Doves Cry" is an eerie, spare neo-psychedelic masterpiece; "Let's Go Crazy" is a furious blend of metallic guitars, Stonesy riffs, and a hard funk backbeat; the anthemic title track is a majestic ballad filled with brilliant guitar flourishes. Although Prince's songwriting is at a peak, the presence of the Revolution pulls the music into sharper focus, giving it a tougher, more aggressive edge. And, with the guidance of Wendy and Lisa, Prince pushed heavily into psychedelia, adding swirling strings to the dreamy "Take Me With U" and the hard rock of "Baby I'm a Star." Even with all of his new, but uncompromising, forays into pop, Prince hasn't abandoned funk, and the robotic jam of "Computer Blue" and the menacing grind of "Darling Nikki" are among his finest songs. Taken together, all of the stylistic experiments add up to a stunning statement of purpose that remains one of the most exciting rock & roll albums ever recorded. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released March 25, 1986 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released October 27, 1982 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With Dirty Mind, Prince had established a wild fusion of funk, rock, new wave, and soul that signaled he was an original, maverick talent, but it failed to win him a large audience. After delivering the sound-alike album, Controversy, Prince revamped his sound and delivered the double album 1999. Where his earlier albums had been a fusion of organic and electronic sounds, 1999 was constructed almost entirely on synthesizers by Prince himself. Naturally, the effect was slightly more mechanical and robotic than his previous work and strongly recalled the electro-funk experiments of several underground funk and hip-hop artists at the time. Prince had also constructed an album dominated by computer funk, but he didn't simply rely on the extended instrumental grooves to carry the album -- he didn't have to when his songwriting was improving by leaps and bounds. The first side of the record contained all of the hit singles, and, unsurprisingly, they were the ones that contained the least amount of electronics. "1999" parties to the apocalypse with a P-Funk groove much tighter than anything George Clinton ever did, "Little Red Corvette" is pure pop, and "Delirious" takes rockabilly riffs into the computer age. After that opening salvo, all the rules go out the window -- "Let's Pretend We're Married" is a salacious extended lust letter, "Free" is an elegiac anthem, "All the Critics Love U in New York" is a vicious attack at hipsters, and "Lady Cab Driver," with its notorious bridge, is the culmination of all of his sexual fantasies. Sure, Prince stretches out a bit too much over the course of 1999, but the result is a stunning display of raw talent, not wallowing indulgence. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Funk - Released March 17, 2014 | Epic

Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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R&B/Soul - Released August 17, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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R&B - Released July 30, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Even geniuses (maybe especially geniuses) are taken for granted, not seen as geniuses, or only appreciated in small doses. Which is a grandiose way of saying that, no matter how partisans may complain, there are many listeners out there that don't want to delve into the deliriously rich catalog of Prince and would rather spend time with a single disc of all the hits -- especially since the first singles compilation was botched, spread too thin over two discs and sequenced as if it were on shuffle play. That doesn't mean that 2001's The Very Best of Prince is perfect, even if it is a better hits overview than its predecessor. First of all, Prince had so many hits, and so many of them were so good, that 17 tracks couldn't possibly summarize everything great. After all, this doesn't have Top Ten hits like "Delirious," "Pop Life," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," or "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (or the number one "Batdance," for that matter, continuing Batman being unofficially written out of his discography), nor does it have such great second-tier hits as "Take Me With U" and "Mountains," or B-sides like "Irresistible Bitch" and "Erotic City," let alone album tracks. What is here are the big songs -- "1999," "Little Red Corvette," "When Doves Cry," "Kiss," and so on -- all presented in their single edits. And, frankly, that's enough to make this a dynamite collection, perfect for those that just want one Prince disc, and a good, solid listen of some of his best. Besides, this trumps both Hits discs by including "Money Don't Matter 2 Night," his best single never to reach the Top 10. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released September 14, 1993 | Warner Bros.

While it isn't a truly comprehensive set, Prince's singles collection does contain most of his biggest hits. The two volumes are available separately or packaged together with a third disc of B-sides; apart from the glorious "Erotic City," the flip sides are only of interest to devoted fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince… With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Pop - Released April 19, 2018 | Warner Bros.

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Although Prince was never able to perform this poignant ballad on stage, which he composed in 1984 for The Family (the group and the album of the same name). Nothing Compares 2 U is still too often considered to be a song by Sinéad O 'Connor. But “we must return to Prince what belongs to Roger Nelson”, this is what is probably thought by the people who manage the patrimony of the musician under the tag “Prince Estate”. Without doubting the merit of the Irish singer, Prince probably would have had similar success, if he had released it under his name and not under one of his parallel projects that didn't garner much promotion. Just after the recording of his seventh album, Around The World In A Day, this major “musicaholic” had already laid down all the foundations for the first album of The Family, at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse Studio in Eden Prairie. It was the very first album of another project that he marketed on his label, Paisley Park Records, and far from a temporary whim, he saw the opportunity to give himself greater musical freedom. With The Family, he wanted more freedom to record more open pop songs that let him express his  jazz and classical influences… But, as often is the case, the group was never truely one and despite all of the talent of its members and contributors ( Paul “St. Paul” Peterson, vocals and keyboard, Susannah Melvoin, vocals, Eric Leeds, saxophone, Clare Fischer, orchestrations, Wendy Melvoin, guitar, Jellybean Johnson, drums, Jerome Benton, chorus, Miko Weaver, guitar and chorus, Alan Flowers, bass, Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard, Bill Carrothers, keyboard, Wally Safford, chorus and Greg Brooks, chorus), The Family did not last long after their first album and a single concert (August 13, 1985). Marketed extremely "discreetly" in the summer of 1985, the album was not even reissued when Sinéad O'Connor shot to number one in numerous countries with Nothing Compares 2 U. A song that had not even been released as a single in 1985, as Warner Bros, the record label distributing Paisley Park Records, had thought that The Screams of Passion and High Fashion had much more potential commercially. Reformed briefly in 2003 and then renamed fDeluxe, the band added four albums to their discography without ever trying to capitalize on the masterpiece, to which he was the first performer. A live version recorded with The New Power Generation, duet with Rosie Gaines, was already around in 1993 on the compilation The Hits/ The B-Sides, and Prince Estate had integrated it in 4Ever, Prince's first best of, which was posthumously released in 2016. Beyond his keyboard intro that we believe was borrowed from I am The Walrus by The Beatles, this is a studio version that we would call an "alternative" for The Family, already with its orchestral arrangements, its saxophone solo and its omnipresent choir. But more notably with the voice of Prince, as expressive and inspired as his guitar playing. A promising first taste of the famous archives that the Prince Estate has promised to unveil widely in a time frame that we hope is extremely short. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret / Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 25, 2016 | Warner Bros.

Booklet
4Ever, the first posthumous Prince album, arrived seven months after his April 21, 2016 death -- just in time for that year's holiday season -- and it's the first Prince hits compilation since 2006, when Rhino/Warner issued the 17-track Ultimate Prince. A better comparison, however, is the 1993 set The Hits/The B-Sides, which contained two discs of hits -- also available separately -- and a disc of otherwise unavailable flip sides. 4Ever covers this same territory, even working the B-side "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)" and the majestic 1982 outtake "Moonbeam Levels" into its 40 tracks, bypassing anything released after 1993 due to licensing reasons. This means his last Top Ten hit, 1994's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," is absent, as are the other singles he released in the subsequent 23 years, but they're not missed as much as his own version of "I Feel for U," "Money Don't Matter 2 Night," the minor hit "Let's Pretend We're Married," or "Erotic City," "17 Days," "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore," and "Another Lonely Christmas," all B-sides that could easily have been included in a definitive compilation. This, along with the odd non-chronological sequencing, means 4Ever isn't definitive, but in terms of consumer value, it might be the best single Prince compilation because it rounds up the great majority of his '80s and early-'90s hits -- including such singles as "Let's Work," "Mountains," "Girls & Boys," and "Batdance," all absent from previous Prince compilations -- in a convenient package. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Funk - Released June 24, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Signed to a hefty record contract while still in his teens, Prince was only 19 when he wrote, produced and played all the instruments (the album's initial press release listed no less than 23) on his first album FOR YOU, a keyboard-dominated dance record that melds funk, soul and disco. While FOR YOU didn't sell as was well as was expected, "Soft and Wet" did make the singles chart and the lush ballad "Baby" established that besides writing great dance songs, Prince could sing as well as any of his R&B contemporaries. FOR YOU is a portentous roadmap for the direction Prince and popular music would take in the 1980s.
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R&B - Released November 20, 2001 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released March 30, 1987 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Pop - Released October 14, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Controversy continues in the same vein of new wave-tinged funk on Dirty Mind, emphasizing Prince's fascination with synthesizers and synthesizing disparate pop music genres. It is also more ambitious than its predecessor, attempting to tackle social protest ("Controversy," "Ronnie, Talk to Russia," "Annie Christian") along with sex songs ("Jack U Off," "Sexuality"), and it tries hard to bring funk to a rock audience and vice versa. Even with all of Prince's ambitions, the music on Controversy doesn't represent a significant breakthrough from Dirty Mind, and it is often considerably less catchy and memorable. Nevertheless, Prince's talents as musician make the record enjoyable, even if it isn't as compelling as most of his catalog. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 30, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Upon leaving Warner Brothers in 1996, Prince agreed to let the label release a collection of unreleased recordings from his legendary prodigious vaults at some point in the future. Warner unveiled that collection, unimaginatively titled The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, in the summer of 1999. Instead of an official release for several of Prince's legendary songs though, The Vault is a brief collection (under 40 minutes) of ten songs, recorded between 1985 and 1994 according to the liner notes -- though they all feel like Graffiti Bridge (or maybe Symbol) outtakes. That's not a complaint, actually. There's a wonderful carefree feeling to the record, heavy on jazz and light funk, constantly swinging, and nearly always engaging. Only the title track has the necessary weight to announce itself as a major addition to his official catalog, but that doesn't matter since the songs are all enjoyable. After all, it's hard not to be impressed with Prince's songcraft or the casually sophisticated flair to the musicianship throughout the album. That might not be what most observers expected from The Vault, but consider this -- of these ten songs, eight tracks have never been heavily bootlegged before. That means that even some hardcore followers may not have heard all of this material, which is noteworthy in itself. But the nicest thing about the compilation is that even though it's a minor addition to his catalog, it holds together as an album better than Come or Chaos & Disorder, the two other Warner-era odds-and-ends collections, or even the tossed-off New Power Soul. It's an unassuming, jazzy little record that's damn near irresistible. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released February 13, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Neither For You nor Prince was adequate preparation for the full-blown masterpiece of Prince's third album, Dirty Mind. Recorded in his home studio, with Prince playing nearly every instrument, Dirty Mind is a stunning, audacious amalgam of funk, new wave, R&B, and pop, fueled by grinningly salacious sex and the desire to shock. Where other pop musicians suggested sex in lewd double-entendres, Prince left nothing to hide -- before its release, no other rock or funk record was ever quite as explicit as Dirty Mind, with its gleeful tales of oral sex, threesomes, and even incest. Certainly, it opened the doors for countless sexually explicit albums, but to reduce its impact to mere profanity is too reductive -- the music of Dirty Mind is as shocking as its graphic language, bending styles and breaking rules with little regard for fixed genres. Basing the album on a harder, rock-oriented beat more than before, Prince tries everything -- there's pure new wave pop ("When You Were Mine"), soulful crooning ("Gotta Broken Heart Again"), robotic funk ("Dirty Mind"), rock & roll ("Sister"), sultry funk ("Head," "Do It All Night"), and relentless dance jams ("Uptown," "Partyup"), all in the space of half an hour. It's a breathtaking, visionary album, and its fusion of synthesizers, rock rhythms, and funk set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early '80s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released December 17, 2002 | Legacy Recordings

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Prince in the magazine
  • Proof for the doubters
    Proof for the doubters Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure.
  • The Qobuz Minute #22
    The Qobuz Minute #22 Presented by Barry Moore, The Qobuz Minute sweeps you away to the 4 corners of the musical universe to bring you an eclectic mix of today's brightest talents. Jazz, Electro, Classical, World music ...