Prince: most underappreciated brilliant guitar player of all time

Quite simple, I am so angry about this (okay, maybe not flaming angry, but very close to blowing a microchip or two) that I can’t not blog about it for a bit.

You’d think by now I’d be used to the snubbing and the getting passed over… Prince doesn’t care to win awards, obviously (see “D.M.S.R.” for details), but that doesn’t mean I still don’t get… god… there’s just no way around it.

I knew Jimi Hendrix would take top honors on Rolling Stone’s “10 greatest guitar players of all time” list… that’s a given… but what isn’t forgivable is Prince not making the list at all… I woulda accepted him at 10, 7, 5 or whatever… but there’s no forgiving him not being noted on the list.

I figured the people at Rolling Stone magazine would at least be in the know… unlike the majority of the music-“viewing” public… the ignorants that would simply argue “Purple Rain is the only great guitar solo he has in any of his music.”

I’m very tempted right now to throw out words like “fools” and “idiots”… ignorant is the only way I can go about describing what these people are like… they have NO idea… Jimi Hendrix gets that well-deserved coverage all the time… part of it is down to Woodstock’s “national anthem” display… part of it was him being the first black guitarist that really set himself apart… I’d seen only a couple of bits of video footage, but he developed a whole style for himself that makes it all quite a show. That’s part of the reason why Prince is believed to be influenced by him…
the playing styles have their similarities and even though I’d never seen him play, I’ll have to go with Prince on this one “if people listen to my music, they’ll see that my style is similiar to Santana”… that’s a rough guesstimate of what he once said.
he also said that people made the connection specifically because their skin is the same color

there was an outcry on the list that Steve Ray Vaughn (sorry, I have no idea who that is, so call me ignorant if you want) and Santana didn’t make the list… also that the people who made it probably voted the Backstreet Boys as the best rock band of all time.

They’re not really a rock band. They’re a vocal group like the New Kids on the Block (who they’ve been touring with for the past year or two), *NSYNC and Boyz II Men, who most likely will get top honors as the best vocal group of all time… well, maybe after the Jersey Boys– Frankie Valli & the four seasons

all of these guys made their merits on their harmonies

 

I guess I’ve got no other choice but to go through a bunch of examples of Prince’s more brilliant guitar solos and go into reasons why…

oh nevermind, I know the reason why he gets passed over all the time… he’s known for only one song, and only people who have listened to entire albums know that some of his best work never makes it to the radio

The first significiant guitar solos on his first album were towards the end of “My love is forever” which is guitar 101. “I’m yours” blew me away the first time I heard it, had no idea he had that kind of skill back then. But after hearing it a couple times and reading one review of it, I agree with the review, the guitar sounds very strained as if he’s a kitten trying to be a lion…

“Bambi” stands out with its guitar work, most definitely… in the way that it is eerily catchy, can’t get it out of my head after I’d heard it

Dirty Mind goes without any hitches… not that much guitar going on there… but the person who said that Prince is probably the best rhythm guitar player there ever was (I always forget who said that, but it was someone who had merits… i.e. his opinion is well-founded cuz he knows what he’s talking about) was probably thinking of “Controversy”

I think there’s also a little of that going on in “D.M.S.R.”… it’s been a while since I heard the song
[“Little Red Corvette” would have made the list… had it not been for the fact Dez Dickerson was the one who performed it, Prince did his thing with the editing of those guitar solos into one spark of brilliance]

Purple Rain, the album, has several instances of amazing… in fact, if you want to check into every venue of Prince’s guitar playing, it’s a good place to start

“Let’s go Crazy” has two signifianct moments… halfway through where the guitar cries out with joy and at the very end where it makes an excellent closer
“Computer Blue”, the guitar is very melodic in one section in particular, then rest of it is rock n’ roll greatness…
“Darling Nikki” ends with a guitar solo that more or less ended up on the cutting room floor for the majority of it…
“When Doves Cry”… the instrumental break goes down several chords, takes on several melodies that just makes the whole thing gell

“Purple Rain” was the first time a lot of people really said “whoa, this guy can PLAY”… and for good reason, I’m not knockin’ on it or saying that it wasn’t good… it’s just annoying that its the only thing people think of with Prince

let’s see… there is some sick guitar work in “Temptation”… just the sickest… the longer version of “Paisley Park” has some fine guitar work, the main reason I prefer it to the album version, which doesn’t get me extremely excited

Parade kinda goes along its merry way without drawing attention to itself with guitar work… it’s a contemporary piece… the only guitar really is the banjo-like guitar that made “Kiss” so gritty and unique, to the point its become a signature sound/track of Prince’s… and the opening bars of “Anotherloverholenyohead”

Sign o’ the Times… let’s see… 16 tracks there… a little bit towards the end of “Play in the sunshine”

why the heck is the Ballad of Dorothy Parker making me think of someone else… oh right, there was the Joni Mitchell reference… RDJ played a Joni Mitchell song on “Ally McBeal”… the first time a lot of people heard him sing… the contemporary vibe of it is very much his style too (I’m talking about the Prince song here, lol)
god, I’m swooning…

“U Got the look” has a little bit of guitar work in it… “The Cross” has some…

overall, Sign o’ the Times isn’t really known for the guitar work either… in fact, in the next couple records, it only makes a couple of appearances worthy of note

maybe that’s why The Black Album doesn’t do it for me much… the rhythm guitar appears in “Alphabet Street”, strangely it sounds like that something that belongs on a tropical island… the beginning of “Positivity”… actually, throughout the song, there is some tricky/trippy live guitar work that feels almost tribal or primal

I believe “Electric Chair” has some killer guitar in it…

god, I’m rusty… I’d been out of sorts for so long that I was wracking my brain to figure out whether “Darling Nikki” had any guitar work in it…

a note to the Batman album, I love the duality of it… the first track is really cool with the keyboards and the strings combined like that, reminds me a bit of Parade, the first album where Clare Fischer’s brilliant string composition became an integral ingredient (he did provide the ending for Purple Rain… haha, I’m thinking of the strings in “Take me with U” and the song “Anything but you” is coming to mind immediately… I really do love the music on Wendy & Lisa’s first album… so great to chill out with and it brings back pleasant memories)
concerning the duality, strangely enough, I think I prefer the Joker tracks to the Batman ones… the Joker is a lot more exciting and fun… not that I don’t love the mysterious, cryptic vibe of the Bruce Wayne inspired collection

“The ? of U” is easily a stand-out track for “Graffiti Bridge” which I never listen to all the way through… I go to it for maybe two songs… that and “Joy in Repetition”… there used to be a time when those two songs and a lot of tracks from “What time is it?” were among my top 25 on my iPod…
I recollect one of those days, listening to them on my iPod… it was when we went to Peddler’s Village around Christmas time a few years ago… the day my sister and I met “the boyfriend” after hearing so much about him… and really, the dude’s great… as long as he’s not rubbing it in that his team is ruling whatever it is they’re ruling, we get along great.

that’s what makes music so great, it inspires memories to come back to us.

yeah, “The ? of U” has some great live guitar work in it

D&P has a few examples… among the songs that weren’t made into singles… it’s a great contemporary pop album… with the exception of all of Tony’s slaughterhouse 5 (Daddy Pop, Willing & Able, Push, Jughead and Live 4 Love… although with that last, I think it worked out quite well… and Willing & Able isn’t SO terrible either… slaugherhouse 3 maybe?)

“Thunder” has a bit here and there, but “Live 4 Love” simply kills it… it takes what Prince did with “I’m yours” several years before, improved on it and made one of the best showstopping song enders that… wow… amazing stuff
I also like just before the final long solo how the guitar plays a melody…

O(+> is like Purple Rain where Prince’s diversity is shown off really well… there’s a variety of guitar work here as well… The Morning Papers has a melody that sounds like “Dolphin” of later on… “The Max” has a little bit, though not particularly exceptional…
as chaotic and nonsensical “3 chains o’ gold” is, the guitar work it provides cannot be overlooked… there are several moments of difference, the instrument takes on many forms, showcases many emotions… it starts out free and happy, then it gets more contemptuous as it progresses… then at the very end, he grinds it… the ending is almost chilling, its scary

Come… i’m wracking my brain and I don’t think there is ANY at all… granted, the album doesn’t circulate enough that a lot of people are in the know of it… but it kinda proves that you don’t need guitar work to make…. ahhh… “Loose!” has a frickin’ guitar solo in it that makes it sick… well, aside from that, the album stands on its own merits without that detail

The Gold Experience… now here’s a lot of great guitarwork…
“Endorphinmachine” is like something Eddie Van Halen or Axel Rose would put together, complete with the screaming (I’d take Prince over Axel Rose any day… and the screaming took me a while to get used to)…
“Shh” utmost beauty… it displays emotions that cannot be explained through words… it goes into desire, despair, triumph… oooooooo… thinking of how the song ends is gving me chills… another showcasing of guitar playing melody, BEAUTIFUL melody…

“Dolphin” goes into the despair a bit more, a little more anger as well… a great deal more of anger

“Eye Hate U”… speaking about chills… I talk about how great the endings of some of these songs are… they wouldn’t carry the same impact if Prince didn’t play as well as he did… my entire body convulses, this is so good… and I literally need the NPG operator segue to cool down in preparation for the last song

“Gold” didn’t win me over because of the guitar work, but it definitely helps… some have said that it comes off kinda weird… doesn’t really work that well… I’d beg to differ on that, but hey, it’s my special song

Emancipation… that massive album…
I’d have to go through the entire tracklist first

the majority of it exists in the 2nd disc… “Joint 2 Joint” has more of the sickest guitar I’d heard in my life… in the 2nd section where it carries the melody from one verse to the next… then “The Holy River” has some… “Saviour” is chilling because it stirs up all kinds of spirituality…
The cover “One of Us” has some good guitar too, but I think it might be a tad more impressive in the live version… I’d seen it once or twice and… phew… all I can say

it gets very sparse after that…
“The Truth” is a well-executed acoustic guitar album… “Welcome 2 the dawn” is the best example there is

“Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic”… “so far so pleased” has some fun guitar in it that reminds me a lot of a couple Planet Earth tracks, particularly “the one u wanna c”

“Digital Garden” is TRC’s lone standout because of it

it kinda seems like I have very little to my argument here… not explaining myself as well as I could be about all this… :sigh:

Musicology… “A Million Days” feels like a million days’ journey, the guitar takes you on a vast journey through loss and despair

3121… “Te Amo Corzan” sounds a lot better live because of the guitar alone… I don’t get the whole Spanish vibe when its live… of course I’m biased towards the version I heard first… fell in love with it and his performance of it right away
“The Word” is great with the acoustic guitar providing the base of it

Planet Earth… it starts out with some guitar work… the title track just explodes in the final 30 seconds because of it… my first impression was: a) this is the speech he gave at the NAACP awards, b) interesting message and c) WHOA… I mean, the solo came out of nowhere and it was probably the one thing that kept the song from becoming totally forgettable after getting through the rest of it the first time around.
“Guitar” goes without saying really…

“The one u wanna c” has some in there…

“Lion of Judah” has fine work without really pushing the envelope. It definitely emphasizes the psychodelic vibe as a result of Wendy & Lisa’s contributions

as far as everything else goes, “Dreamer” is the only thing I remember… the Jay Leno performance blew me away and it sounds the best live, like a lot of other cases… “Crimson & Clover” is another, though maybe not to the same vast degree

I recall those appearances real well… Prince’s 3 nights with Jay Leno… “Ol’ school company” was interesting cuz it was correctly revelent… “Dreamer” was a mass improvement, brought back the “blown away” vibe I get around Prince, the reason I love watching him perform…
and “Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful” was kind of a letdown after that… “Dreamer” was a hard act to follow and 24 hours later, I was still raving about it

 

eh, I hope I didn’t waste any entire entry not saying much of anything… I think its best that I end with what I deem to be Prince’s best guitar solos of all time… the reason why he should be taken as seriously as Santana, Hendrix, Van Halen and Clapton

  1. Purple Rain (what do u want me to do, lie about it?)
  2. Shh
  3. Dolphin
  4. Endorphinmachine
  5. Live 4 Love
  6. 3 chains o’ gold
  7. Temptation
  8. Computer Blue
  9. Planet Earth
  10. Dreamer
  11. The ? Of U*

*she’s 11 out of 10 for misery, so get ur act together, can’t u see…

what is the answer 2 the ? of U?

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