Hopefully making a [blogging] comeback

I admit sometimes I can be really horrible about keeping this blog up. Between trying to get my fiction writing going again with my diving into my different artists (the many that I listened to before Prince came along and have done so after) and my job, it’s been difficult. With the 2 hours of driving I have 5 days a week, you’d figure I would have loads to write about when I can put any CD I want into the car.

Only problem is that just hasn’t been Prince lately for a number of reasons.
One because I listened to nothing but him and The Time the first month or two of my job.
Two because I still have Purple Rain in my car for whatever reason and want to listen to something else.
Three because I don’t know what to listen to. I was on my trek of going through all the albums I own chronologically, but its difficult to find time for the ones I don’t have on disc.

I probably should listen through Crystal Ball more than once, but timing issues make it difficult.
NewPower Soul would be next up, but I haven’t been overly thrilled with it as this blog has shown in the past.

I figure all I needed was just to watch Purple Rain once more, write as much as I can on that and move on.
After watching it last night, it definitely felt like I wasn’t long for that world because there was little connection. I found myself watching it and thinking it nothing more than a movie. Nothing like “these are based on real people” came to mind until after the fact.

My fiction writing’s been pretty weak these days with lack of time and adequate inspiration (whenever I have it in the car, it always goes out the minute I get out, my vision not entirely clear). What I think I need is to write about Prince again to get those creative juices flowing for the main project I have in mind. At this rate, it probably won’t come out until the unthinkable happens, which I won’t even mention. On the bright side, though, it would be harder to block a book deal in that day and age.

Last night, I started writing up a little bit of an introduction to the Purple Rain chapter while trying to sum everything up. I have a longer portion hanging around somewhere on my flash drive. What I think I need is another of those so I can get my thoughts more organized, which is hard to do when you only have 400+ MB left (thanks to too many “donations” that I need to have backed up).

What I really don’t want to do right now is take the music out of the movie’s context because why not keep the two together if they’re related.

What I’d like to do more than anything now is just to talk about all of the musical numbers in depth because each is as spectuluar as the next. I got to thinking about it last night and truth of the matter is that its hard to pick one over the other as far as which one I like the best.

There was also something strange going on while watching it that hadn’t happened in ages.
I had little to no interest in Morris Day, which there’d been a lot of lately when I made “What time is it?” a regular in the car. There was all this fascination, getting into his gentleman playboy style and even watching two episodes from 2 series that he did shortly after the movie.
I don’t think I’d quite repelled the thought of him since the first couple times I saw the movie, seeing him as nothing more than the rival who wanted to come away with everything in the end. The #1 headliner at the club, the one who got the girl and the one who’d ultimately come out as a big star (as did the last 3 acts that went out of the club).

It’s not much more than a blip on the radar, but here’s the little bit I wrote last night.

PURPLE RAIN

 

THE MOVIE, THE MUSIC, THE PHENOMENON

 

 

Conventional wisdom says if you ask anyone one thing they know about Prince, these two words will be somewhere in their response. While Prince had released five albums before this point, the magnitude of this event would be forever remembered and associated with him.

 

And for good reason. Not only did it mark Prince’s official entrance into the mainstream and make him a household name, but it marks perhaps his greatest peak of creativity of any point in his career. And for the record, the music isn’t too bad either.

 

Several stories surround the origin of this great undertaking. One source reveals that Prince had been approached by several parties with movie deals in mind while others suggest that he wanted to do a movie about the kind of life he was living and the music he was making. Dr. Fink said Prince approached him once during the 1999 tour, asking what he thought of them making a movie. The conversation was a mere blip on the radar, but the band seemed to take notice of a purple notebook he carried around for jotting down ideas for his next big project.

 

1999 was released as a double-LP, up to date, his biggest success and the accompanying tour with its two opening acts (Vanity 6 and The Time) was the hottest ticket in late ’82/early ‘83. Whatever Prince planned to do next had to be incredible to keep his current momentum going. On top of that, he was at the point where his band, soon to be named The Revolution, was on the same playing field, allowing him to use them more in the creation of his next album.

 

The soundtrack and the film slowly came together simultaneously. After Al Magnoli took his place in the director’s chair, he and Prince developed an amazing relationship, which included a great deal of trust, especially when it came to doing justice to the music. One of the first steps of putting the film together was going through a list of 100 songs Prince had written with this idea in mind. With time, several adjustments were made from some songs being replaced by others, editing songs to make room for others, to simply adding and taking them off the track list.  Prince’s duet with Apollonia, “Take me with U,” was written for the scene leading up to the Lake Minnetonka scene and as a result, “Computer Blue” was cut down from 12 minutes to only four minutes.

One of the more famous stories surrounds the origin of “When Doves Cry.” Al Magnoli realized halfway through the filming that he needed a montage and asked Prince to write a song for it that would link the themes of the film together into one piece. The following morning, Prince had the song ready to go and Magnoli was thrilled. At some point during the night, Prince had written a bass line in the song and decided to take it out. Then when WB got wind of the song, they wanted him to add more instruments. Prince asked Magnoli to help him back the song because he liked it as is and the duo won the argument.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact “Purple Rain” wasn’t among the original 100 songs and came about a little later.

PURPLE RAIN

 

THE MOVIE, THE MUSIC, THE PHENOMENON

 

 

Conventional wisdom says if you ask anyone one thing they know about Prince, these two words will be somewhere in their response. While Prince had released five albums before this point, the magnitude of this event would be forever remembered and associated with him.

 

And for good reason. Not only did it mark Prince’s official entrance into the mainstream and make him a household name, but it marks perhaps his greatest peak of creativity of any point in his career. And for the record, the music isn’t too bad either.

 

Several stories surround the origin of this great undertaking. One source reveals that Prince had been approached by several parties with movie deals in mind while others suggest that he wanted to do a movie about the kind of life he was living and the music he was making. Dr. Fink said Prince approached him once during the 1999 tour, asking what he thought of them making a movie. The conversation was a mere blip on the radar, but the band seemed to take notice of a purple notebook he carried around for jotting down ideas for his next big project.

 

1999 was released as a double-LP, up to date, his biggest success and the accompanying tour with its two opening acts (Vanity 6 and The Time) was the hottest ticket in late ’82/early ‘83. Whatever Prince planned to do next had to be incredible to keep his current momentum going. On top of that, he was at the point where his band, soon to be named The Revolution, was on the same playing field, allowing him to use them more in the creation of his next album.

 

The soundtrack and the film slowly came together simultaneously. After Al Magnoli took his place in the director’s chair, he and Prince developed an amazing relationship, which included a great deal of trust, especially when it came to doing justice to the music. One of the first steps of putting the film together was going through a list of 100 songs Prince had written with this idea in mind. With time, several adjustments were made from some songs being replaced by others, editing songs to make room for others, to simply adding and taking them off the track list.  Prince’s duet with Apollonia, “Take me with U,” was written for the scene leading up to the Lake Minnetonka scene and as a result, “Computer Blue” was cut down from 12 minutes to only four minutes.

One of the more famous stories surrounds the origin of “When Doves Cry.” Al Magnoli realized halfway through the filming that he needed a montage and asked Prince to write a song for it that would link the themes of the film together into one piece. The following morning, Prince had the song ready to go and Magnoli was thrilled. At some point during the night, Prince had written a bass line in the song and decided to take it out. Then when WB got wind of the song, they wanted him to add more instruments. Prince asked Magnoli to help him back the song because he liked it as is and the duo won the argument.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact “Purple Rain” wasn’t among the original 100 songs and came about a little later.

PURPLE RAIN

 

THE MOVIE, THE MUSIC, THE PHENOMENON

 

 

Conventional wisdom says if you ask anyone one thing they know about Prince, these two words will be somewhere in their response. While Prince had released five albums before this point, the magnitude of this event would be forever remembered and associated with him.

 

And for good reason. Not only did it mark Prince’s official entrance into the mainstream and make him a household name, but it marks perhaps his greatest peak of creativity of any point in his career. And for the record, the music isn’t too bad either.

 

Several stories surround the origin of this great undertaking. One source reveals that Prince had been approached by several parties with movie deals in mind while others suggest that he wanted to do a movie about the kind of life he was living and the music he was making. Dr. Fink said Prince approached him once during the 1999 tour, asking what he thought of them making a movie. The conversation was a mere blip on the radar, but the band seemed to take notice of a purple notebook he carried around for jotting down ideas for his next big project.

 

1999 was released as a double-LP, up to date, his biggest success and the accompanying tour with its two opening acts (Vanity 6 and The Time) was the hottest ticket in late ’82/early ‘83. Whatever Prince planned to do next had to be incredible to keep his current momentum going. On top of that, he was at the point where his band, soon to be named The Revolution, was on the same playing field, allowing him to use them more in the creation of his next album.

 

The soundtrack and the film slowly came together simultaneously. After Al Magnoli took his place in the director’s chair, he and Prince developed an amazing relationship, which included a great deal of trust, especially when it came to doing justice to the music. One of the first steps of putting the film together was going through a list of 100 songs Prince had written with this idea in mind. With time, several adjustments were made from some songs being replaced by others, editing songs to make room for others, to simply adding and taking them off the track list.  Prince’s duet with Apollonia, “Take me with U,” was written for the scene leading up to the Lake Minnetonka scene and as a result, “Computer Blue” was cut down from 12 minutes to only four minutes.

One of the more famous stories surrounds the origin of “When Doves Cry.” Al Magnoli realized halfway through the filming that he needed a montage and asked Prince to write a song for it that would link the themes of the film together into one piece. The following morning, Prince had the song ready to go and Magnoli was thrilled. At some point during the night, Prince had written a bass line in the song and decided to take it out. Then when WB got wind of the song, they wanted him to add more instruments. Prince asked Magnoli to help him back the song because he liked it as is and the duo won the argument.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact “Purple Rain” wasn’t among the original 100 songs and came about a little later.

I started a file just for everything that would go in the Purple Rain chapter of The Word, but that’s all I have in it so far. Of course there’ll be a lot more, but I need to figure out how many articles will go in this chapter. There’ll be one on the origin of the film and early production (which will overlap with this). There’ll be one on all the music and musical numbers. And probably a paragraph on each of the 9 songs that made the final cut onto the album.

Another funny thing happened later on too. I’m watching this and thinking to myself, who knew all of the stuff that would follow this would actually happen? This was probably THE peak of his career because few remember anything else, but he went into so many directions after this project closed. He went to prove that he can do more than just write “perfect” pop songs and muse about partying and sex and all the other stuff he writes about.
Variety in theme and genre proves he can do it all.

Perhaps the following will be another blip to be added to the chapter:

For certain, this album was full of firsts and also marked Prince really coming into his own as an artist. The first couple of attempts were a means of establishing himself, seeing what works and doesn’t. Sexually provocative lyrics with all kinds of funk thrown in. Dirty Mind was a grittier approach to getting his thoughts across and Controversy expanded on some heavy things.

Once Prince got out of the “being as loud and flashy as I could” stage, he came to realize that he wanted the focus to be more on the music than what he was (or rather wasn’t) wearing on stage. So with the upcoming 1982 album, he devised a whole new look for himself and his band followed suit. Purple was THE prominent color, most notably found on the infamous trenchcoat he donned from 1982 to mid-1985. The hair, I know little about how it came to be as it was, but it was a little more than just the 80’s look. It was one of his trademarks in that particular period. In fact, nearly his entire band wore their hair swept back on one side (as quoted from his song “Paisley Park”), which showed them coming together.

The band started to get more of a say in the music and it got to the point where Prince trusted them to play out their parts, as can be seen on the album credits where five of the nine songs are credited to Prince & The Revolution (in the performed by: byline).

1999 couldn’t have set up the sound for the following album better. Prince used that time to experiment with a few new instruments, the most notable being the Linn-drum. Without mastering it, When Doves Cry wouldn’t have its one of its most distinctive sounds. The Oberheim synth has been a “close friend” of his since the beginning, but his mastery got to the point where it could create the dreamy atmosphere felt through “The Beautiful Ones.”

Perhaps the most significant difference in the Purple Rain album revolved around the electric guitar. Aside from a couple of solos in the first two albums, Prince hadn’t gone far in incorporating his main instrument into his overall sound.
In a way, Purple Rain was his guitar’s “coming out” party, its “debutant ball.” Just maybe Prince had spent the past several years perfecting his guitar skills before showcasing them on an album in any length. Granted, he has used his guitar in his shows for years, but the things he did brought more means for critics to compare him to Jimi Hendrix rather than helping his reputation as a guitar player.

If there’s anything Prince has taught me through music, its that the electric guitar can do just about everything. It can express every emotion humanely possible, and even goes as far to speak in tongues we barely know to in our spoken language. Purple Rain was the first use of guitar in this manner and certainly wouldn’t be the last. Which means the album wasn’t just the guitar’s debutant ball, but also was a trailblazer for the albums to come.

“Let’s go Crazy” starts off with guitar as its simpliest, just creating a melody and carrying it through the song.
“Computer Blue” and “Darling Nikki” give it a sense of aggression, something that even Prince can’t do on his own with his intense screaming.
Then of course, “Purple Rain” takes his instrument to a level few of his other songs have reached. The kid gloves are off as the solo puts an exclamation point on the past three verses and makes you understand emotions that can’t be brought across using words.

 

I’ll probably think of more to add later, but that’s the basic gist of it.

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