Prince fulfills his contract on Chaos And Disorder?

Prince - Chaos And Disorder - Booklet (

– Chaos And Disorder – Booklet

Someone told me that Van Halen did their first record in a week. That’s what we were going for-spontaneity, seeing how fast and hard we could thrash it out. It was done very quickly, and we achieved what we wanted to achieve in that period of time.

© Los Angeles Times interview, published on July 14, 1996


In 1996 the first album, meant to fulfill his contractual obligation to Warner Bros., was released.


After Prince/‘s output had been somewhat stabilized during the first half of the 1990s, it all exploded again in 1996. During that year no less than 50 (!) new Prince/ songs were released:

  • 03/19/1996: Music from the motion picture Girl 6 (3 new songs)
  • 06/07/1996: Dinner With Delores online release (1 new song)
  • 06/12/1996: Dinner With Delores cd single (2 new songs)
  • 07/09/1996: Chaos And Disorder (11 new songs)
  • 11/19/1996: Emancipation (36 new songs)

Only the (first) releases containing new material have been listed above.


Two subjects mentioned in this article are elaborated on and interpreted some more in sub-articles. These have been published prior to this article:

The links above are also mentioned in the paragraphs containing the respective subjects.

Prince Is Dead (

His own handwriting, mid 1990s

On the road to Chaos And Disorder

Following the first release as in 1994 with the single The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and the first album under that name in 1995, the fantastic The Gold Experience, which hammered the message “Prince esta muerto” home, the battle between and Warner Bros. was still in full swing in early 1996.

Also see the article Prince and the name change for more background on ‘s battle with Warner Bros.

The Chaos And Disorder album title was in circulation as early as 1994. By the end of that year a first configuration was supposedly compiled. Videos were shot for 18 & Over, Empty Room, The Same December and Zannalee, of which the last two would ultimately end up on the album. All songs had been recently recorded using a toned down version of The New Power Generation. The exception was the exquisite Empty Room, a song that dated back to the year 1985, when The Revolution was still in full swing. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the album.

‘s remark in the media that he, much like Van Halen did with their first album, recorded and compiled the album very quickly, isn’t quite accurate. The album was compiled from songs recorded between 1993 and 1996, a period that, once again, saw working in the highest gear. Project after project was started. Midway through 1995 some order seemed to arise from the chaos. Come had been released in 1994, in 1995 followed by the very first album The Gold Experience.

On December 22nd, 1995, officially announced that he wanted to terminate his contract with Warner Bros.:

has officially given notice to Warner Bros. Records (WBR) of his desire to terminate his recording agreement with the company. Over the course of their nearly two decade long relationship, The Artist and WBR have developed irreconcilable differences. Most recently, the unstable and ever changing management structure within WBR has made it impossible for the company to effectively market and promote its flagship artists, including .

The Artist is prepared to deliver the three (3) remaining albums under his former name Prince which will fulfill his contractual to WBR. Currently, the albums are titled: Prince: The Vault – Volumes I, II and III.

will release a new recording entitled Emancipation once he is free from all ties with Time Warner.

In early 1996 negotiations started to make an end to the public feud. Both parties reached an agreement fairly quickly. would deliver two more albums (instead of the earlier three) to end his contract. would forfeit advance payments on both albums, receive lower payments on his ‘back-catalog’, agree with the release of two ‘greatest hits’ albums and stop bashing Warner Bros. in public immediately.

agreed to the terms and on April 26th he delivered two albums, including all the artwork: Chaos And Disorder and The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale.

All’s well that ends well? Not really, Warner Bros. was convinced that had purposely dumped his weak(er) material on them. Within the concern the delivery was interpreted as a ‘fuck you’ statement.

And ? As relieved as he undoubtedly must have felt, he didn’t come out of it unscathed. On April 21st, 1996, his wife Mayte (they had married on February 14th, 1996) found him unconscious in one of the recording studios at Paisley Park, after which he was rushed to the hospital. reported he had experienced heart palpitations for a while and he had tried to alleviate his complaints with wine and pills. The day after was home already. Stress after all?

During the first months of 1996 was busy with the final tour with the original line-up of The New Power Generation (who were let go on March 8th, 1996), his marriage (on February 14th married Mayte Garcia), preparations for his upcoming fatherhood and the recordings for what he considered to become his magnus opus, the 3 double album Emancipation, with which he would celebrate his new found freedom. In the meantime two albums had to be delivered to fulfill his obligations to Warner Bros. Once again a period of extreme commotion and hard work, but his private life seemed to be on a roll, even seemed to be genuinely happy.

Prince - Chaos And Disorder (

– Chaos And Disorder

Chaos And Disorder

On July 9th, 1996 (July 8th in some markets), the eighteenth Prince album was released, the second album using the name . It was the last Prince/ album that would be released by Warner Bros. while was under contract with the label. The future held a couple of compilation albums and the previously delivered The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale, but by the time those were released Prince/ was already freed from Warner Bros.

Despite Warner Bros.‘ earlier objection to overflooding the market with Prince material, Chaos And Disorder was released just nine and a half months after The Gold Experience, three and a half months after the Girl 6 soundtrack (which consisted of Prince songs) and five months before Emancipation. As stated at the beginning of this article, no less than 50 new songs were released in 1996.

Chaos And Disorder signaled the farewell of The New Power Generation in its first line-up. 8 songs were recorded with the rhythms tandem of Michael B. and Sonny T. Singer Rosie Gaines was asked to perform some vocal parts.

Prince - Chaos And Disorder - CD (

– Chaos And Disorder – CD


All songs written by .

Chaos And Disorder

The song stems from 1993 as part of the Come and The Gold Experience sessions. Rosie Gaines’s vocals were recorded by the end of 1995/start of 1996.

Musically, the song is based on the closing coda of Peach, as Prince played it live in 1993. A glorious riff and a great opener to the album. Lyrically addresses the difference between the America of his youth versus America in the current age. Along the lines of the changes in meaning mentions: “carjack”, “big joint”, “gay”, “being played” and “safe sex”. The changes are all coupled with the negative modern meaning and/or consequence: Chaos and disorder ruinin’ my world today.

End March of 1996 recorded an entirely new version of the song, opting for the original instead.

I Like It There

The song was recorded by the end of 1994 and made part of the Playtime By Versace project in the second half of 1995. At the end of 1995 a video was shot, that was ultimately made available in 2004 through the NPG Music Club.

Great, psychedelic rock song, again featuring great guitar work by .

Anyone can tell I love ya
Anyone can tell I care
Twice an hour I’m thinkin’ of ya
Around your waist I wanna be there

On your heavenly body I swear
I like it there


Lyrically sexually charged, the song ends with ‘s screams. Great song!

Prince - Dinner With Delores - CD single (

– Dinner With Delores – CD single

Dinner With Delores

The song was recorded in April 1996 at the South Beach Studios, Miami Beach, Florida. However, the title Dinner With Delores was mentioned earlier in relation to the abandoned Playtime By Versace project. So, perhaps an earlier version exists.

The song has an easy going vibe and tells the tale of a relationship with Delores, which isn’t what it’s supposed to be. According to Questlove the song’s ending is the “best ending and fade in postmodern black pop history”:

Dinner with Delores
No more
That’s the end


Many believe the song is about ‘s relationship with Warner Bros.. Another story that goes around is that the song is actually about Madonna. In a 1994 Rolling Stone interview Madonna spoke of dinner with Prince: “He was just sipping tea, very daintily. I was stuffing food down my face and I was like, ‘Aren’t you going to eat?'”, to which Prince replied “no”. “And I thought, ‘Oh my God!’ I have this theory about people who don’t eat. They annoy me. It’s something about being in control”. It’s a definite possibility, some lyrical pieces:

Dinner with Delores
Must be some kind of sin
Like a Brontosaurus
She was packin’ it in

Her bell’s just a-broken
Since 1984
Dancin’ like a white girl
On disco dirty floors
Damn, Delores, pick another subject please
Introduce the carpet 2 something other than your knees

I’d call u a friend
But it must be a sin
And I’ve run out of cheeks 2 turn


On June 7th, 1996, (Prince’s birthday) Dinner With Delores was made available in RealAudio format on the Warner Bros. site for the album (, making Dinner With Delores the very first Prince/ songs to be premiered online. The same day promo cassettes were sent out to members of the Controversy fan club.

Dinner With Delores was released as a single on June 12th, 1996, in the UK, Germany and Japan.

Prince - Dinner With Delores - Promo cassette (

– Dinner With Delores – Promo cassette

See the sub article – Chaos And Disorder – The website to get an impression of the Warner Bros. website from 1996.

The Same December

The song was recorded at the end of 1994. Around that time a video was also shot, which was shown to audiences during the 1995 The Ultimate Live Experience shows.

The Same December is a fine rock song with a spiritual lyrical theme (“We all come from the same December / And in the end that’s where we’ll go”).

Right The Wrong

The song stems form 1993 as part of the Come and The Gold Experience sessions. Rosie Gaines’s vocals were recorded at the end of 1995/start of 1996.

A rock song with a peculiar ‘country’ feel that addresses the unjust treatment of blacks and original inhabitants of America.

End March of 1996 recorded an entirely new version of the song, opting for the original instead.


The song was recorded midway through 1993 at Paisley Park and, in a shortened version, released on The Undertaker video in 1994. Late 1994 a video was shot, which was shown to audiences during the 1995 The Ultimate Live Experience shows.

Zannalee is a great blues/rock song featuring some smashing guitar by .

End March of 1996 recorded an entirely new version of the song, opting for the original instead.

I Rock, Therefore I Am

This song stems from March 1996 and has a hip-hop inspired funk groove and addresses uniqueness and not adapting to generally applicable rules.

I don’t need you to tell me what clothes to wear
I don’t want suggestions about my hair
If the whole world buys your bullshit I don’t care
I’d rather put on something that world wouldn’t dare


Unfortunately, again fails with his guest-raps, which sound weak and uninspired. The song starts off rather promising, but fades like a candle.

Prince - Chaos And Disorder - Press kit (

– Chaos And Disorder – Press kit

Into The Light

Recorded in February 1996, in conjunction with I Will, inspired by the 1992 book Embraced By The Light by Betty Eadie, that tells about her near death experience.

Although Into The Light has a rather high musical like character, the next song luckily puts it right.

I Will

Recorded in February 1996, during the same session as the previous Into The Light. The song blends beautifully, with the second being far superior.

Beautiful music with a great atmosphere. A song about reaching out to another person, even though they may not be deserving of it, based on past behavior.

I will get 2 U, I will, I will
And then I’ll help U get thru, I will, I will
U’ve preyed on many a fool, until, until
No one cared about U, but I will, I will


Beautiful subtle guitar playing, piano and saxophone solos and some superb bass playing in the background. A highlight.

Dig U Better Dead

This song also stems from 1996. A funk song about ‘s choice to stay as far away as possible from record companies and taking control.

Had U

Had U is the only song ion the album that’s performed by alone. It was recorded in early 1996 at Paisley Park.

Subtle guitars with expressing his feelings about Warner Bros., his career and the goodbye.

Missed U
Called U
Found U
Begged U
Convinced U
Saw U
Held U
Kissed U
Fondled U
Tempt U
Undress U
Smelled U
Wanted U
Asked U
Thanked U
Mounted U
Hurt U
Disappoint U
Fuck U
Had U


Prince - Chaos And Disorder - Booklet back side (

– Chaos And Disorder – Booklet back side

Contributions by others

Vocals and instruments by , with help from:

  • Michael B. – drums on Chaos And Disorder, I Like It There, Dinner With Delores, The Same December, Right The Wrong, Zannalee, Into The Light and I Will
  • Sonny T. – bass on Chaos And Disorder, I Like It There, Dinner With Delores, The Same December, Right The Wrong, Zannalee, Into The Light and I Will
  • Mr. Hayes – keyboards on Chaos And Disorder, The Same December, Right The Wrong, Zannalee, Into The Light and I Will
  • Tommy Barbarella – keyboards on Chaos And Disorder, The Same December, Right The Wrong, Zannalee, Into The Light and I Will
  • Rosie Gaines – background vocals on Chaos And Disorder, I Rock, Therefore I Am, Into The Light, I Will and Dig U Better Dead
  • The NPG Hornz (Michael B. Nelson, Kathy Jensen, Dave Jensen, Brian Gallagher, Steve Strand) – horns on Right The Wrong and I Rock, Therefore I Am
  • Scrap D. – rap on I Rock, Therefore I Am
  • Steppa Ranks – rap on I Rock, Therefore I Am

The album cover also mentions Michael Mac, but his contribution(s) is/are unclear.

Thank you

special thanx 2 the creator

Accompanying text

Originally intended 4 private use only, this compilation serves as the last original material recorded by for warner brothers records –

may u live 2 see the dawn

Album cover

The album cover feels rather cheap and seems to have been produced by a local copy store, rather than from a professional design department. This is exactly the feel was looking for (just like on The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale album).

The front shows a smashed Prince album, with a boot print on top. Prince’s teary eye is also visible. The inside of the booklet contains 7 photos of awards, images from the Paisley Park Vault, a syringe filled with dollar bills, a toilet bowl with a (human?) heart (!), burnt matches and a bible with the imprint “P.R.N.” (meaning Prince Rogers Nelson, ‘s real name).

The backside of the booklet contains a photo of burning roses and a razor.

The cover reflected ‘s inner world, especially in relation to the Chaos And Disorder album.

Prince - Chaos And Disorder - The reviews (


The press was divided on the album. On the one hand the album was dissed, on the other it was lauded as his best in years. Well…

Maybe the reason “Chaos & Disorder” is so disappointing is because of the high standards TAFKAP sets and usually hits.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press, 07/05/1996)

It is also, for the most part, an album of throwaways.
(New York Times, 07/06/1996)

By restoring the electric guitar as the center of his musical universe and abandoning the confining dictates of dance-music drum machines, Prince has produced a record that leaps from the speakers with a force that he hasn’t mounted since he disbanded his band the Revolution.
(Los Angeles Times, 07/07/1996)

In short, a fairly varied album and a worthy closer to an exciting, precarious and important period.
(Dutch magazine OOR 14/15, 07/13/1996)

“Chaos & Disorder” ranks as the worst TAFKAP album ever released. Worse than the “Batman” soundtrack, worse even than “Come”.
(New York Daily News, 07/16/1996)

A worthy goodbye? Certainly. But it’s a subtop-album in our Prince ranking.
(Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu, 07/10-17/1996)

Not too shabby, but ‘prior Prince’ has far better work accredited to his name.
(Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, 07/19/1996)

The back to the future result is Prince’s best effort since 1984’s Purple Rain.
(Chicago Sun-Times, 07/21/1996)

Just when you’re ready to write off as a casualty of ego and self-indulgence, the imp delivers.
(Entertainment Weekly, 07/26/1996)

The emphasis is on harder-edged material, with the singer’s splendid acid-rock guitar at the forefront, but the material ranges from terrific (“I Like It There”) to tedious (“I Rock, Therefore I Am”), the type of bumpy ride all too typical of latter-day Prince.
(Chicago tribune, 08/01/1996)

More often, though, it seems like the work of a Prince impersonator – someone who has closely studied the star’s moves and mannerisms but has nothing new or substantial of his own to say.
(Rolling Stone, 08/22/1996)

These are songs by a man who’s seen too much Paisley Park-life and not enough of the outside world.
(Select Magazine, 09/1996)

Overall, the strengths of “Chaos and Disorder” outweigh its weaknesses.
(Addicted To Noise, 1996)

A welcome return to basics.
(Billboard Magazine, 1996)

At times, “Chaos and Disorder” sounds like a cut-and-paste job, with lots of musical flash and fun and little emotional investment or conviction. But Prince’s leftovers are often tastier than other artists’ main courses.
(Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 1996)

‘Chaos And Disorder’ is the sound of a man with too much time and too many names, pouring his talent straight down the plughole marked ‘Waste’. Glug, glug.
(NME, 1996)

But the stuff that Prince shovels out of the back of the vault is better than most folks greatest hits albums.
(Orlando Sentinel, 1996)

If you skip the crap songs, you have a 25-minute album.
(Q, 1996)

But anybody expecting a kissoff or a throwaway radically underestimates his irrepressible musicality.
(The Village Voice, 1996)

See – Chaos And Disorder – The reviews for the complete reviews.


Given the album’s presentation, the ongoing (and largely misunderstood) battle for freedom and the lack of promotion by both Warner Bros. and , pretty much ensured a further lapse in sales numbers. The album made it to number 26 in the Billboard R&B chart, the worst result since the release of Prince’s debut For You from 1978. In the Netherlands the album reached number 8 on the charts, the highest position the album reached all over the world.


Chaos And Disorder is not part of my absolute favorites, the album isn’t balanced enough for that. But, when it’s good, it is really great. Skip the songs Right The Wrong, I Rock, Therefore I Am and Into The Light and a gem of a mini album remains.

Even though it may have been ‘s intention to come up with a worthless album, he ultimately was incapable of doing just that. There’s plenty enjoyable music to be found on Chaos And Disorder, that’s generally considered to be the rock album.

Looking back, the album is viewed in a better light. Consensus is that Chaos And Disorder is an underrated album by an artist who fought a misunderstood battle, that nowadays is viewed as groundbreaking and extremely influential. The fact he was able to make music at all is admirable in itself.

Prince - The Late Show 07/08/1996 (

– The Late Show 07/08/1996

After Chaos And Disorder

As stated before didn’t do much promotion for the Chaos And Disorder album. A couple of interviews (see the sub-article – Chaos And Disorder – The interviews) and two television performances early July and that was it.

Warner Bros. co-president Bob Merlis confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Chaos And Disorder was indeed Prince’s last album for the label: “I think it’s safe to say that he’s in a position now to make a new deal with another record company. We’ve come to a point where we feel that if he’s happier somewhere else, we don’t have any beef with him.”

And Prince/? He was free at last: “I was bitter before, but now I’ve washed my face. I can just move on. I’m free”. On to Emancipation.

In closing

In 2014 Prince would once again release music on Warner Bros.. He made a deal for the simultaneous release of the albums PLECTRUMELECTRUM and ART OFFICIAL AGE. And Prince was finally granted full ownership of his (master)tapes, the cause for the fight that started 29 years before.

What do you think about Chaos And Disorder? Let me know!

This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince fulfills his contract on Chaos And Disorder?. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.


More Prince?

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!