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on 22 April 2016
Paying homage to the Purple Reign

by

Rob Jones

When it comes to entertainment the one and only Prince Rogers Nelson is at the top of the tree. In listing his talents it is more likely that a skill is left out rather than scratch around trying to find superlatives. Singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, producer, dancer and fashion guru are the areas of expertise that are most apparent.

However, it is crystal clear that the ‘Purple One’ has had a major effect on the shape of the contemporary music industry. His war against the ruling record company forces can be seen as a monumental force-and. this endeavour opened the door for a greater deal of artistic freedom.

His imprint upon contemporary culture cannot be underestimated and it is with extreme sadness that the passing of Prince came on April 21, 2016. The death of Prince occurred at his Paisley Park Estate, Chanhassen, Minnesota, near Minneapolis-and, it is without even a consideration that aside of illness this wondrous workaholic would have been turning fresh ideas in to another reality. The productivity of this supreme showman was second to none and he had even performed recent dates although fragility has curtailed an April 15 gig.

A super human studio stamina resulted in a rate of albums that equated to almost a release per annum since 1978 and a surfeit of sublime singles taking in funk, soul, rock, R n B, jazz, hip hop, psychedelia and more always made the radio a better listening experience. It was most noticeably in the 80’s that those mega-hits came flying out of a non-stop assembly line. The albums such as 1999, Purple Rain (with an accompanying movie of the same name), Around the world in a Day, Parade and Sign O’ the Times had this legend at the peak of his powers-and, the Top 40 was awash with chart champions that brought in audiences from across the sonic spectrum.

1999, Little Red Corvette, Let’s go Crazy, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, I would die for U, Raspberry Beret, Paisley Park, Kiss, Anotherloverholenyohead, Girls & Boys, Mountains, Sing O’ the Times, If I was your Girlfriend, U got the look and the list goes on! Every one of these tunes lit up the pop world-and, ultimately this decade proved to be the most commercially viable period for a diminutive and dexterous deity.

It is not as if the story ended there as his industry became anthems for other acts as well e.g. Manic Monday (The Bangles), Sugar Walls (Sheena Easton), Nothing compares to U (Sinead O’ Connor) and I feel for You (Chaka Khan-giving this lady her most productive smash). The range of artists who collaborated with Prince is endless and so are the credits. The recording went on and as the creative juices always sought after on stage reputation was immense.

On a subjective note it is a pleasure to put on any of the aforementioned albums or a compilation such as this excellent set; and, there is absolutely no doubt that Prince has certainly had a positive effect on my listening experiences. There will be many deserved plaudits because we are talking about a legend. Along with the recent departure of David Bowie the world has lost a couple of Heroes (and, amazingly this maverick had paid tribute to the Thin White Duke with a cover of this phenomenal number during a late March 2016 gig that consisted of a breathtaking 57 songs!).

Talent is wrongly applied to a whole host of bankrupt here today, gone tomorrow wannabes. However, on a tragic day the globe has waved goodbye to the Diamonds and Pearls of one of the most influential icons of our (New Power) Generation. The doves will be crying as will many of his devoted disciples. Prince Rogers Nelson RIP.
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I'm a huge Prince fan, and I bought this collection purely for the third CD - a collection of some of his legendary B-sides (some will probably be frowning now, muttering "what's a B-side?")

The collection isn't arranged in chronological order, so the songs jump wildly from style to style. It begins with "When Doves Cry", the song which introduced me to his music way back in 1984, and continues with 1985's "Pop Life", then goes back to 1978's "Soft And Wet". There isn't much in the way of continuity here, and you won't find "sections" as such, where there are a number of rock songs, then funk, then ballads... so it is a little all over the place, but when the songs are this good it doesn't really matter.

Stopping at 1992's "Symbol" album the collection thankfully doesn't include any of the weaker stuff he's released since then. There are a couple of extra tracks included for completists: disk 1's "Nothing Compares 2U" is a live version of the song Prince wrote for a group called The Family (seek out their version if you can - it is incredible) and later covered by Sinead O'Connor. It is pleasant but far from essential. "Pink Cashmere" is a slick, summery pop ballad, similar to some of the tracks from "Diamonds and Pearls", and again it is pleasant if not vital. Disk 2 features the tremendous "Peach", and the far from tremendous "Pope".

However, the main event for me and many fans is the third CD. Many of Prince's B-sides were actually as good as or better than his A-sides, and some of these songs are now fan favourites, often being played live over the years, examples including the phenomenal "17 Days" and "Erotic City". There are some startling omissions here, such as my personal favourite "Alexa De Paris", but on the whole this third disk is worth the price of admission alone.

An incredible artist, and probably the best collection of his material released to date. Great notes from Alan Leeds in the booklet too.
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on 28 March 2005
In the last year and a half i had decided to investigate the genius of Prince having heard Purple Rain the song and a few others. Having grown up in the 90's and liked Britpop the 80's seemed so far off to us and i just believed that the main man in 80's music was Michael Jackson. Of course some of his music is also tremendous but when you hear the three CD's worth of music on offer here it makes you realise that Michael Jackson isnt even close to the genius of Prince. CD1 has an astonishing range of songs. The brilliant early work of 'When you were mine' and 'Uptown' and the original 'I feel for you' to the classics 'Sign o the times', 'Alphabet St', 'Adore', 'Lets Go Crazy', 'When Doves Cry', '1999', 'I could never take the place of your man' and 'Pop life'. 1 also includes a beautiful original song called Pink Cashmere. To top it off is the stunning 'Nothing compares 2 u' which for me in one song puts Prince ahead of Michael Jackson because Jackson could only dream of writing this and then just giving it away. CD2 is so funky. The naughty stuff starts appearing here. 'Dirty mind', 'Head', 'Do me baby', 'Sexy M.F.', 'Gett off', 'Cream'. Of course the classics keep coming too. 'Purple Rain', 'I wanna be your lover', 'I would die 4 you', 'Little Red Corvette', 'Kiss', 'U got the look'. The crowning moment of CD2 is the untouchable 'Raspberry Beret' which is surely the greatest pure pop song of all time. CD3 takes us into the realm of hidden gems Prince puts out there. Amazing songs like '17 days', 'I love u in me', 'Girl', 'Scarlet Pussy', 'She's always in my hair', 'Erotic City', 'Horny Toad' and 'Feel u Up'. Also included on this disc is the fantastic christmas song 'Another lonely Christmas' which is just classic Prince. While everyone is singing about snow, holly and bells he sings about losing someone on the 25th of December. So if you want rock, rap, funk, soul, dance, pop and almost any other musical genre wrapped into one then buy this triple CD. The amazing thing is i have missed out some brilliant songs in this review which highlight his brilliance. Remember this only goes up to 1993 and doesnt include 'The most beautiful girl in the world', 'Gold' or any of the recent material from the brilliant album 'Musicology' which is a shame but dont let that stop you in your tracks, you have come this far. So do yourself a favour and check out the greatest solo artist in the history of music. You wont regret coming and joining the rest of us under the PURPLE RAIN.
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on 17 April 2011
I never believed in my life that a greatest hits album would be released by Prince. His catalog was so large, and his songs were just too good and complex. As a matter of speaking, this is why this collection was for the true Prince fan. Some of those complex songs were presented in single versions, which is an A+, as many of the songs on this collection were not in album form. You might be saying how are you making sense? Well I will tell you: to own Prince songs in single versions, is just as magical and cool as owning them in album versions. To have the single versions on CD is something I never thought would be possible. To here "1999," "Do Me Baby", "If I Was Your Girlfriend," not even mentioning "When Doves Cry", in their original 7' form is a super treat. The track list was arranged perfectly, since Prince and Warner Brothers want sales. If you didn't have the money to fork out for this collection, (which I did not, I bought it 8 months after its release when it came out in 1993 because the money aspect), you would have the option of buying the Hits 1 or Hits 2, or both. Real Prince fans knew not to touch those. They are perfect marketing ploys. The Hits 2, without a doubt sold more, since it had more top 20 hits on it such as "Raspberry Beret", "Kiss", "Cream", "Little Red Corvette", "I Would Die 4 U" , "Delirious", "U Got The Look" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover". The Hits 2 disc also has the songs that are more explicit in tone, such as "Head", "Gett Off" and "Sexy M.F.", for example. But any casual buyer will realize after buying this that Prince's first 2 #1 singles in the states, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" are missing. So are the hits "1999", "Sign of the Times" and "Diamonds and Pearls." They are all of the Hits 1. You better just save your money and buy this collection, with the B sides. And you will realize that his less commercial stuff (if you are a true Prince fan) is better than the commercial stuff. You can find a lot of those on the first disc. "I Feel For You" and "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" from 1979, were the living proof that this genius was going to explode in the up coming decade. "Pop Life" is better than "Raspberry Beret" on disc 2, just like "Sign 'o the Times" is better than "U Got The Look" on disc 2. Songs that sell better do not mean they are better. The first disc of this artist shows anyone there was no one like him. You get the single version of "Diamonds and Pearls", which is still better than the faster selling song "Cream" on disc 2. Yet, I still admire disc 2. I'm not forgetting disc 3 either.. "I Love U In Me", "17 Days", and "She's Always in My Hair" for example are just as powerful, or better, from the side A singles they came from. No collection after can come close to this. Big deal if "The Very Best of Prince" has big selling hits together minus Batman songs. That is for beginners. The same applies to the Ultimate Prince. That is only worth buying just to get the film version of "Let's Go Crazy" in Purple Rain and "U Got The Look" which is semi-similar to the film/video version from Sign 'o' the Times. Other than that, Ultimate Prince is even worse. You want to hear an extended version of "Kiss", his most overrated song, or a weak extended version of "Thieves in the Temple", one of his most underrated songs. Don't even mention the extended "Cream".
Believe me my friends, The Hits and B sides are the way to go if you are a true Prince fan. You virtually have the single versions: "When Doves Cry", "Uptown", "1999", "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man", "Sign 'o' the Times," "Diamonds and Pearls" and an edited version of "Adore." On the second disc, you have 7' singles of "Controversy" (which to me is the best edit around), "Dirty Mind", "I Wanna Be Your Lover", "Do me Baby", "Delirious", "If I Was Your Girlfriend", and "Kiss". The third disc has original 7' B sides. Don't ever be afraid in buying this. Even better, we don't get the the original single versions of "Little Red Corvette" and "Let's Go Crazy", which were the worse single versions released from his catalog. We get the flawless album versions. You will be a great Prince collector because you have 12 of his single versions on discs. And there is at least one song from every album he came up with from 1978 to 1992, except Batman material, most likely for copyright problems. Yet, no one is crying about that, as that was one of his weakest albums to date up until that time. Oh yes, this is really for the true collector from a guy whose virtually every album since he was 19 years old stated: "Produced, Arranged, Composed, and Performed by Prince".
Thanks for reading, Joseph
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on 21 November 2011
Great album. Specially cd1 and cd2. Unfortunately some lyrics have been censored. "If I was your girlfriend" is presented as the album version (lasting a bit over 3'30" when in fact the album version is 5' long and has more lyrics. Warner Brothers should have put a label on the cd either indicating censored lyrics or should have released two versions of the album.
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on 29 March 2005
At this price you pretty much cannot go wrong; this triple CD is packed with great music.
This a slightly odd offering - it is exactly what the title says it is - a collections of hits and b-sides gathered into a triple CD. The sequencing is a bit of a mystery to me and (for me) often does not work but it does not matter, you are only ever a couple of tracks away from another great song.
Personally, I think that Prince is best appreciated by listening to the albums (although he has been so prolific it would be rather expensive to buy them all) so this is great compromise. I have listened to it all the way through once and I do not think I will do it again - but the tracks have already permeated most of my iPod playlists.
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on 13 November 2012
I had this on tape back in the 90's and obviously I ran out of devices on which I could listen to this. So glad I've got them back now as you forget how good Prince was as a writer, singer, musician, producer. Fantastic sound. Is he still making music now? Not sure how to search that symbol thing. Or is he known as AFKAP (artist formerly known as Prince)?
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on 14 September 2006
if the 12 best tracks off the b sides disk were released as an album, it would be up there with all his classic records. they really are that good.more experimantal than the hits and fans should buy this even if they own all the albums.
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on 5 August 2001
Given the prolific nature of Prince's career a hits package was overdue and in order to do it justice two CDs of material would be needed. These were available as casual fan-friendly single CDs or as here a 3CD set that gave the more serious fan the chance to own both volumes along with a collection of Prince's finest B-sides. Also included are two previously unavailable songs on each Hits CD.
However even this relatively extensive format would mean cut backs and edits were made to the longer tracks, this would probably not be noticed by casual fans, though many hardcore collectors saw this to the detriment of the package.
The hits selection is very comprehensive and with a few minor quibbles (Did "Girls & Boys", "Batdance" deserve a place here?) proves to be a good overview on the man's career to this point.
All the familiar classics are here. "When Doves Cry" to "Alphabet St", "Little Red Corvette" to "Kiss". The new tracks and in-depth liner notes by Alan Leeds prove a good incentive to the hardcore fanbase also. A live version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" (The song by now associated with Sinead O' Connor's hit take on the Prince-penned The Family tune) duetted with the classy Rosie Gaines is a nice addition. As is the beautiful, tender ballad "Pink Cashmere". On the second CD the hard rocking blues of "Peach" and the funky-rap of "Pope" also prove invaluable to the collector.
The third CD is an essential B-side collection for hardcore fans and sure to be appreciated by music lovers everywhere. You see Prince B-sides are of an extremely high stsndard and this is a great chance to have them all together on one CD. Again two rarities are here. The emotional "Power Fantastic" and USA For Africa penned "For The Tears In Your Eyes".
The classic "She's Always in My Hair" sits alongside the funk-dance of "Erotic City" and simply put the Prince B-side CD contains material that some artists would be happy to have as a "Best Of" their career!
The choice as to whether to go for the two single Hits CDs, this boxset or perhaps neither, all depends on your love for Prince music. Rest assured though that this music perfectly chronicles the highlights of the eclectic Genius that is Prince Roger Nelson upto 1993 and in funky hands could prove to be an addiction that stays with you for life! :)
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on 27 November 2015
As a 18 year old that has just gotten into prince over the last two years. This is a Great Album and great bargain for a tenner. Another great aspect of this was it was delivered in a day. A must have album for all prince fans.
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