That Prince composed, recorded and produced a vast amount of music, is no news. He has released 40 albums using his own name (be it Prince or O(+>). Added to this are great numbers of music released using aliases or pseudonyms.
He was responsible for The Time, Sheila E, The New Power Generation, Jill Jones, The Family, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Madhouse, Mavis Staples, Carmen Electra, Mayte, Chaka Khan, Eric Leeds, Carmen Electra, Andy Allo, and more. For these artists he composed (en played!) full albums, with amounts running up to approxiamtely 25 (!).
This way he could release his material, that didn’t fit his, at the time, current projects. The Time, for example, gave him room to express his funk-roots, and enabled him to engage his more complex music to benefit his own career, all at the same time. Funny thing is that, especially, The Time as a support act drove audiences just as wild (and sometimes even more) as Prince did during hid own shows. Prince once stated that he feared no-one, except The Time.
Despite Prince playing all the satellite acts’ albums himself, the acts contained (very) fine musicians. Rightfully so, because these acts had to be able to play ‘their’ music live. This meant tutelage by Prince in the way of performing, playing, dancing, presenting, etc. A lot of these acts had huge hits (particularly in the USA).
Songs as presents
Besides full albums he also gave a lot of songs to others, resulting in 1 (or more) songs on albums by third parties. The number of artists provided with songs is endless: Sheena Easton, Kenny Rogers, Joe Cocker, Nona Hendryx, Patti Labelle, Paula Abdul, Madonna, Kid Creole, Mica Paris, Loïs Lane, Candy Dulfer, Monie Love, Celine Dion, Kate Bush, George Clinton, Rosie Gaines, Larry Graham, Dale Bozzio, Maceo Parker, Liv Warfield, Judth Hill, etc., etc.
In some cases he played along on a song that wasn’t composed by him, like he did with Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, Common, No Doubt and 94 East.
Top 10 songs for others
As conclusion to the five-part Prince stories, I present my top 10 songs Prince wrote for, or gave to, others.
10. Madhouse – 4 (1987)
The fourth song on the album 8, composed by Prince (using the pseudonym Madhouse) and performed by Prince and Eric Leeds. This album marked his first (public) foray into jazz-territory. I think it’s a great album. On the same day 4 was recorded, also 3 and 5 were performed. All Madhouse songs have a number as song-title. Album 8 consists of songs 1 – 8 and album 16 consists of 9 – 16.
9. The New Power Generation – Black M.F. In The House (1993)
The New Power Generation is a name also used for Prince’s backing band from the 1990’s onward. Solely using the name The New Power Generation, 3 albums were released, with Prince playing a crucial part in them. The third album (Newpower Soul) is the most obvious; the album cover even features a picture of Prince and he is clearly audible throughout the whole album. The first two albums also featured Prince, but less prominently and using pseudonyms (like Tora Tora). The song Black M.F. In The House is part of the album Gold Nigga. The original plan was to release this song as the B-side to Sexy M.F. credited to Prince And The New Power Generation, but was replaced by Strollin’ (which was released on the Prince album Diamonds And Pearls). The song deals with racism in the south of the US and uses the point of view of a couple of rednecks. I think the lyrics are funny:
Don’t U hate it when a jig is in the house?
He ain’t been in the club 5 minutes / ‘Fore 6 or 7 cuss words flyin’ out his mouth
Hand all on his erection / Makin’ rude gestures in your girl’s direction / Don’t U hate it when they get up and dance?
U don’t watch Soul Train, U ain’t got a chance / What the hell they got 2 come here 4?
Next time we need a big white sign at the door that says / ‘No black motherfuckers in the house’
8. The Family – The Screams Of Passion (1985)
Except for one song, the entire album is a Prince production. The vocals are done by St Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin (Prince’s fiancée at the time). The album contains many top songs by Prince (like High Fashion, Mutiny) and contains the original version of Nothing Compares 2 U (covered by Sinead O’Connor). First recordings started at the time of the Purple Rain première. Two singles were selected, including The Screams Of Passion. The Family performed live only once (08/13/1985 at First Avenue, Minneapolis) and quit soon after that.
In 2003 The Family reunited using the name fDeluxe.
7. The Bangles – Manic Monday (1985)
Prince provided The Bangles with this one song. It was written by Prince (using the pseudonym Christopher). It was originally intended for use by Apollonia 6 (as a duet between Prince and Apollonia), but was withdrawn from the album, at the last minute. After Prince met Susannah Hoffs (Bangles-singer) in a plane, and Hoffs requested Prince if he could deliver a song for their next album, he gave them Manic Monday.
6. The Time – Jerk Out (1990)
Off the last Time album Pandemonium. The song holds all classic Time elements: funk, über-cool Morris Day chatter, both women who love and loathe Morris and a lot of humor. Originally intended for inclusion on the second Time album What Time Is It?. When working on Time album Corporate World was cancelled in 1989, all the original Time members were involved, which ultimately led to Pandemonium (my ultimate party-record). The lyrics of the song was a result of an incident which occurred during the Controversy tour: some Time members were evicted off an airplane (jerked out) for causing a disturbance.
5. Mavis Staples – Time Waits For No One (1989)
Mavis Staples released two albums on Paisley Park Records, Time Waits For No One and The Voice. Prince greatly admired Mavis Staples. This song fits Mavis and her voice perfectly. it’s a beautiful, heavy, ballad, containing a stunning guitar outro (by Prince).
4. Jill Jones – Violet Blue (1987)
Off the great debut-album by Jill Jones once again a song completely done by Prince (as is the rest of the album). Violet Blue is a midtempo funky song with a great beat. Songs Prince gave to others also were of an extreme high level.
3. Sheila E – A Love Bizarre (1985)
Sheila E has, together with The Time, proved to be the most successful satellite project by Prince. Sheila E had some great hits, including The Glamourous Life, The Belle Of St Mark, Holly Rock, and A Love Bizarre. Prince’s influence on this song can be heard very clearly, particularly in the vocal track. An addictive song. When Rachid was very young, this was his favorite song.
2. Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl (1982)
A project assembled by Prince. Despite first impressions (based on presentation perhaps), the Vanity 6 album was very good. The experiments with electronics (Make-Up) have proved to be groundbreaking. But Vanity 6 will be remembered forever through this song. It’s extremely funky and contains the specific Minneapolis sound, which would make (ex-Time) producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis very, very successful. But maybe they will be remembered for the lyrics in which Vanity asks for 7 inches or more and ends with Hmm, wake me when you’re done / I guess you’ll be the only one having fun.
Prince and Vanity dated for a while, but Vanity left during 1983 (resulting in renaming Vanity 6 to Apollonia 6) to start a solo career, which, in the US, was fairly successful. However, Vanity suffered from huge drug problems, which resulted in serious chronic health issues. After ending up in a coma and near death experiences, Vanity became a born again christian. Earlier this year Vanity passed away (02/15/2016), which seemed to affect Prince deeply.
1. André Cymone – The Dance Electric (1985)
Yet again Prince gives a killer song away. André Cymone played in Prince’s first backing band and left after the Dirty Mind tour. After releasing two fairly neglected albums André’s mother asked Prince for a song. Cymone was probably too proud to ask himself. The song was released as a single and immediately turned out to be a huge hit. It’s a truly phenomenal funk-song with some kind of lazy beat which makes the song alienating and addictive. Top, top, top song!
All item images: princevault.com
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