Saturday, 9 August 2014

REWIND: Prince - 'Controversy'

I remember when I first heard about Prince. It was the early 90s. He'd just released the 'Sexy MF' single, which I knew only as "You sexy mother", since I only heard the censored version that was regularly played on The ITV Chart Show. A little while later in 1993, Prince changed his stage name to an unpronouncable symbol (see right), which was explained as a combination of the symbols for male (♂) and female (♀). In order to use the symbol in print media, his label Warner Bros had to organize a mass mailing of floppy disks with a custom font that featured the symbol. Because the symbol had no stated pronunciation, he was often referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince", TAFKAP, and "The Artist". Me and my pisstaking mates just used to call him "Symbol". While Prince probably thought he was being enigmatic and godlike, most people just thought he was being a bit of a wally. In the mid 90s, he was under the impression that Warner Bros were limiting his artistic freedom by insisting that he released albums more sporadically. So he began recording new material very promptly, and releasing albums in quick succession in an attempt to test the terms of his contract with the label. It took until 2000 for his publishing deal with Warner to expire, and Prince began using his own name again. 

I'll admit that I didn't really become a fan until the classic '1999' was somewhat inevitably re-released during the final year of the 20th century, prompting me to rent out a CD copy of his 'The Hits' compilation. It featured the sleazy and infectious title track from the 1981 LP 'Controversy', Prince's 4th studio album. It's still my favourite Prince song to this day, and probably always will be. So here it is in it's full 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Coincidentally two of my fellow DJ friends at Melksham Town Sound were broadcasting a 3 hour marathon dedicated to The Purple One on Tuesday night (August 5), where they played some of their favourite Prince tracks and discussed their love for the man's music. Cameron Bianchi and Joe Barter's Prince Xtravaganza can be heard in full on Mixcloud HERE and via the media player below. Go to to find out more about Cameron and Joe's regular weekly shows on the station, which are always interesting to get your ears around!

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