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Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor. He is known under the mononym Prince and the unpronounceable symbol , which he used between 1993 and 2000. This name change "invoked controversy" and many referred to him as The artist formerly known as Prince.

According to Robert Larsen in his book History of Rock and Roll, Prince is "one of the most talented and commercially successful pop musicians of the last twenty years" producing ten Platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career.Prince founded his own recording studio and label, writing, self-producing and playing most or all of the instruments on his recordings.Prince has also been a "talent promoter" in the careers of Sheila E, Carmen Electra, The Time and Vanity 6.

Prince has written more than one thousand songs. Most have been released under his own name, some have been released under pseudonyms and pen names, while others have been recorded and released by other artists. Prince reportedly has hundreds of unreleased songs in his "vault". He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award.He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker the first year he was eligible in 2004. In that same year Rolling Stone ranked Prince #28 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Prince's music has been influenced by R&B, soul, funk, rock, blues, New Wave, psychedelia, folk, jazz and hip hop. His artistic influences include Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Parliament-Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Duke Ellington, Led Zeppelin and Miles Davis. Prince pioneered the "Minneapolis sound" a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and New Wave that influenced other musicians.

Early life

Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson and Matti Shaw. John was a pianist and songwriter, and Matti was a jazz singer. Prince was named after his father, whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and who performed with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. In a 1991 Current Affair interview, Princes father said, “I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do.” His childhood nickname was Skipper.

In a PBS interview Prince told Tavis Smiley that he was "born epileptic" and "used to have seizures" when he was young. Prince went on to say that “My mother told me one day I walked into her and said mom I’m not going to be sick anymore, and she said ‘why?’ and I said; ‘an angel told me so.’”

Prince's sister Tyka was born in 1960. Prince's parents then separated when Prince was ten years old and Prince lived with his father. Prince moved out of his father's house after his father found him in bed with a female friend.Prince moved to the home of a neighbor, the Andersons, and befriended their son, Andre Anderson who later became known as André Cymone).

Prince and Anderson joined Prince's cousin Charles Smith in a band called Grand Central that they formed during high school. Smith was later replaced by Morris Day on the drums. Prince played piano and guitar for the band while playing at clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area. Grand Central later changed its name to Champagne and started playing original music influenced by Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, Parliament-Funkadelic, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. Prince was also a student at the Minnesota Dance Theatre.

In 1976, Prince created a demo tape with producer Chris Moon in Moon's Minneapolis studio. Unable to secure a recording contract, Moon brought the tape to Minneapolis businessman Owen Husney. Husney promptly signed the 17 yr old to a management contract and funded a demo at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis using producer/engineer David Z. The demo, along with a press kit produced in Husney's ad agency created interest from several record companies including Warner Bros., A&M, and Columbia. With the help of Husney Prince signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Husney negotiated a deal with Warner Bros who agreed to give Prince an unheard of three albums firm, creative control of his songs, and the ability to retain his own publishing rights. Husney and Prince then left Minneapolis for Sausilito where the first album, For You, was recorded at the Record Plant. Subsequently, the album was mixed in Los Angeles. The album was released in 1978.

First steps: 1977–80

Pepe Willie, husband of Prince's cousin, Shantel, employed Prince for his own recordings. In 1977, Willie formed the band 94 East with Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry and was later joined by Andre Cymone and Prince. Prince composed music for Willie's lyrics and played guitar and keyboards in the studio, and contributed songs including "Just Another Sucker." The band recorded an album, Minneapolis Genius – The Historic 1977 Recordings. In 1995, the original recordings with Prince and Cymone were released by Willie as 94 East featuring Prince, Symbolic Beginning.
Prince first album, 1978.


Prince released the album, For You, on April 17, 1978. The album was written and performed by Prince, except for the song "Soft and Wet" (lyrics co-written by Moon). The album contained the legend: "Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince." Prince reportedly played all 27 instruments on the album.

It cost twice Prince's initial advance to record the album. Prince used Prince's Music Co. to publish the songs. The single reached #12 on the Soul chart and #92 on the Pop chart. "Just as Long as We're Together" made it to #91 on the Soul chart.

In 1979 Prince created a band which included childhood friend Andre Anderson, André Cymone on bass, Dez Dickerson on guitar, Gayle Chapman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, and Bobby Z on drums. Their first show was at the Capri Theater on January 5 and 6, 1979. Warner executives attended the show but decided that Prince and the band needed more time to develop.

In October 1979, Prince released his self-titled album Prince, which was #4 on the Billboard R&B charts, and contained two R&B hits: "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover". Prince performed these two R&B songs on January 26, 1980, on American Bandstand. For his second album, Prince used Ecnirp Music – BMI. Prince's next album Dirty Mind was "certified gold", while the single "I Wanna Be Your Lover" was #11 on the Billboard chart and reached #1 on the R&B charts. Prince was also the opening act for Rick James' 1980 Fire it Up tour.

Controversy era: 1980–84

In 1980 Prince released the album, Dirty Mind, which was self-recorded. Dirty Mind contained sexually explicit material, including the title song, "Head", and "Sister". During this period, Prince began wearing a trench coat, high-heeled shoes, boots and black bikini briefs — during live performances. During the tour Lisa Coleman replaced keyboardist Gayle Chapman, because Prince's sexually explicit lyrics and stage antics conflicted with her religious beliefs.

As the opening act for The Rolling Stones at two Los Angeles Coliseum shows in 1981, Prince was pelted with garbage and booed while wearing bikini briefs, leg warmers, high-heeled boots, and a trench coat. These shows occurred just before the release of Controversy and also when he was training his new bassist Mark Brown (later BrownMark), who was then just 18 years old and a recent high school graduate.

Soon afterward he released the album Controversy, charting internationally for the first time with the single of the same name. In February 1981, Prince made his first appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing "Partyup". Starting with the album Controversy, Prince used Controversy Music – ASCAP as the publisher of his songs, as he would for his following sixteen records until Emancipation in 1996.

In 1981, Prince formed a "side project" (a misnomer label, given that his band was only used for performances and contributed little to recording sessions) band called The Time. Prince was able to do this thanks to a clause in his contract with Warner Bros. The Time released four albums between 1981 and 1990, with Prince writing and performing all instruments and backing vocals throughout, with the lead vocals handled by Morris Day.

In 1982, Prince released the 1999 double-album which "broke" Prince into the mainstream in the US and internationally, selling over three million copies. The title track was a protest against nuclear proliferation and became his first top ten hit internationally. With his video for "Little Red Corvette" he joined Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie as part of the first wave of black artists on MTV. The song "Delirious" also went top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was placed at number six in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1983.

The Revolution: 1984–87

Around this time Prince began crediting his band as The Revolution. The band's name was printed in reverse on the cover of 1999 and became official with the following album, Purple Rain.
Prince Purple Rain, 1984.


The band consisted of Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, Bobby Z. on drums, and Brown Mark on bass, and initially Dez Dickerson on guitar. Following the 1999 tour, Dickerson left the group for religious reasons and was replaced by Wendy Melvoin, a childhood friend of Lisa. The band members were known for being solid musicians and a strong live act, but their talents would be used sparsely in the studio. Their presence in Prince's recordings, however, would increase through the mid-1980s.

Prince's 1984 album Purple Rain (concurrent with the film of the same name) sold more than thirteen million copies in the US and spent twenty-four consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200. The Academy Award-winning film grossed more than $80 million in the US alone, and has proved to be Prince's biggest cinematic success to date.

Multiple songs, including Purple Rain, "When Doves Cry", and "Let's Go Crazy", topped the US pop singles chart and were hits around the world, while the title track reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Prince simultaneously held the #1 film, #1 single, and #1 album in the US. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for "Purple Rain", and the album ranks at 72 in the top 100 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list; the album is also listed in The All-Time 100 Albums of Time magazine..
Prince was known for his ruffles and wearing the color purple.


Prince in Brussels, 1986.
It was the album's song "Darling Nikki", to which she overheard her twelve-year-old daughter Karenna listening, that inspired Tipper Gore to found the Parents Music Resource Center. The center has advocated the mandatory use of a warning label ("Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics") on the covers of records that have been judged to contain language or lyrical content unsuitable for minors. The recording industry voluntarily complied with their request in response to Senate hearings.

In 1985, after the successful Purple Rain Tour, Prince announced that he would discontinue both live performances and music videos after the release of Around the World in a Day, which held the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for three weeks. Prince's ban on music videos supposedly ended when the album stalled in the charts and, after a video for "Raspberry Beret", then reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Prince released the album Parade in 1986. The album hit #3 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the R&B charts. The first single, "Kiss", would top the Billboard Hot 100. The song was originally written for another Prince side project, Mazarati. At the same time, another song originally written for Apollonia 6, "Manic Monday" by The Bangles, reached #2 on the Hot 100.

Parade served as the soundtrack for Prince's second film, Under the Cherry Moon. Prince both directed and starred in the movie, which also featured Kristen Scott Thomas as his love interest, Mary Sharon, in her first feature film role. Following the film and album release, Prince returned to touring with several spot concert shows in the U.S., dubbed the "Hit N Run Tour", and embarked on his first full scale European tour in the summer of 1986, ending the tour in September with his first appearance in Japan.

At the end of the Hit N Run - Parade Tour, Prince disbanded The Revolution, as he fired Wendy and Lisa, replaced Bobby Z. with Sheila E., and Brown Mark quit, having wanted to leave before the Hit N Run Tour. All that remained of the original line-up was keyboardist Matt Fink. Brought in to replace them were Miko Weaver on guitar, Atlanta Bliss on trumpet, Eric Leeds on saxophone (all of whom had joined the expanded "Counter-Revolution" line-up on the Hit N Run Tour), Boni Boyer on keyboards, Levi Seacer, Jr. on bass, and dancer and love interest Cat Glover.

Solo again and spiritual rebirth: 1987–91

Prior to the disbanding of the Revolution, Prince was working on two separate projects. The Revolution album, Dream Factory and a solo effort, Camille. Unlike the three previous band albums, Dream Factory included significant input from the band members and even featured a number of songs with lead vocals by Wendy and Lisa, while the Camille project saw Prince create a new persona primarily singing in a sped up, female-sounding voice. With the dismissal of The Revolution, Prince consolidated material from both shelved albums, along with some new songs, into a three-LP album to be titled Crystal Ball. However, with the low sales of his previous two albums, Warner forced Prince to make the release a double album and Sign o' the Times was released on March 31, 1987.

The album peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The first single, "Sign o' the Times", would chart at #3 on the Hot 100. The follow-up single, "If I Was Your Girlfriend" charted poorly at #67 on the Hot 100, but went to #12 on R&B chart. The third single, a duet with Sheena Easton, "U Got the Look" charted at #2 on the Hot 100, #11 on the R&B chart, and the final single "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" finished at #10 on Hot 100 and #14 on the R&B chart.
Prince's most critically acclaimed album Sign O' The Times, 1987.
Despite the album receiving the greatest critical acclaim of any album in Prince's career, including being named the top album of the year by the Pazz & Jop critics' poll, album sales steadily declined, although it eventually sold 3.2 million copies. In Europe however, it performed well and Prince promoted the album overseas with a lengthy tour. Putting together a new backing band from the remnants of the Revolution, Prince added bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., Boni Boyer on keyboards, and dancer/choreographer Cat Glover to go with new drummer Sheila E. and holdovers Miko Weaver, Doctor Fink, Eric Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, and the Bodyguards (Jerome, Wally Safford, and Greg Brooks) for the Sign o' the Times Tour.The tour was a huge success overseas with Warner and Prince's managers wanting to bring it to the U.S. to resuscitate sagging sales of Sign o' the Times, however Prince balked at a full U.S. tour, as he was ready to produce a new album. A compromise was made where he filmed the last two nights of the tour to be released in movie theaters as a concert film. Unfortunately, the film quality was deemed subpar and reshoots were performed at his Paisley Park studios. The film Sign o' the Times was released on November 20, 1987. Much like the album, the film was critically praised (at least more than the previous year's Under the Cherry Moon), however its box office receipts were minimal and it quickly left theaters.

The next album intended for release was to be The Black Album. More instrumental and funk and R&B themed than recent releases, The Black Album also saw Prince experiment with rap on the songs "Bob George" and "Dead on It". Prince was set to release the album with a complete monochromatic black cover with only the catalog number printed, but at the last minute, even though 500,000 copies had been pressed, Prince had a spiritual epiphany that the album was evil and had it recalled. (Although it would later be released by Warner Bros. as a limited edition album in 1994.) Prince went back in the studio for eight weeks and recorded Lovesexy.



Released on May 10, 1988, Lovesexy serves as a spiritual opposite to the dark The Black Album. Every song is a solo effort by Prince, with exception of "Eye No" which was recorded with his backing band at the time, dubbed the "Lovesexy Band" by fans. Lovesexy would reach #11 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the R&B albums chart. The lead single, "Alphabet St.", peaked at #8 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart, but finished with only selling 750,000 copies.

Prince again took his post-Revolution backing band (minus the Bodyguards) on a three leg, 84-show Lovesexy World Tour; that although played to huge crowds and were well received shows, financially lost money due to the expensive sets and props incorporated.

In 1989, Prince appeared on Madonna's studio album Like a Prayer, co-writing and singing the duet "Love Song" and playing electric guitar (uncredited) on the songs "Like a Prayer", "Keep It Together", and "Act of Contrition". He also began work on a number of musical projects, including Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic and early drafts of his Graffiti Bridge film, but both were put on hold when he was asked by Batman director Tim Burton to record several songs for the upcoming live-action adaptation. Prince went into the studio and produced an entire 9-track album that Warner released on June 20, 1989. Batman peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling 4.3 million copies. The single "Batdance" topped the Billboard and R&B charts. Additionally, the singles "The Arms of Orion with Sheena Easton charted to #36 and, "Partyman" (also featuring the vocals of Prince's then girlfriend, nicknamed Anna Fantastic) charted at #18 on the Hot 100 and at #5 on the R&B chart, while the love ballad "Scandalous" went to #5 on the R&B chart. However, he did have to sign away all publishing rights to the songs on the album to Warner Bros. as part of the deal to do the soundtrack.

In 1990, Prince went back on tour with a revamped band for his stripped down, back-to-basics Nude Tour. With the departures of Boni Boyer, Sheila E., the horns, and Cat, Prince brought in Rosie Gaines on keys, drummer Michael Bland, and dancing trio, The Game Boyz, Tony M., Kirky J., and Damon Dickson. The European and Japanese tour was a financial success with its short, greatest hits setlist. As the year progressed, Prince finished production on his fourth film, Graffiti Bridge and the album of the same name. Initially, Warner Bros. was reluctant to fund the film, however with Prince's assurances it would be a sequel to Purple Rain as well as the involvement of the original members of The Time, the studio greenlit the project. Released on August 20, 1990, the album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 and R&B albums chart. The single "Thieves in the Temple" reaching #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. The film, released on November 20, 1990, was a critical and box office flop, grossing just $4.2 million. After the release of the film and album, the last remaining members of the Revolution, Miko Weaver and Doctor Fink left Prince's band.

NPG and name change: 1991–94

1991 marked the debut of Prince's new band, The New Power Generation. With guitarist Miko Weaver and long-time keyboardist Doctor Fink gone, Prince added bass player Sonny T., Tommy Barbarella on keyboards, and a brass section known as the Hornheads to go along with Levi Seacer (taking over on guitar), Rosie Gaines, Michael Bland, and the Game Boyz. With significant input from his band members, Diamonds and Pearls was released on October 1, 1991. Reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 Diamonds and Pearls saw the singles "Gett Off" chart at #21 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B charts while "Cream" gave Prince his fifth US number one single.

1992 saw Prince and The New Power Generation release his twelfth album untitled, bearing only an unpronounceable symbol on the cover (later copyrighted as Love Symbol #2). O(+> would peak at #5 on the Billboard 200. While the label wanted "7" to be the first single, Prince fought to have "My Name Is Prince" as he "felt that the song's more hip-hoppery would appeal to the same audience" that had purchased the previous album. Prince got his way but "My Name Is Prince" only managed to reach #36 on Billboard Hot 100 and #23 on the R&B chart. The follow-up single "Sexy M.F." fared worse, charting at #66 on the Hot 100 and #76 on the R&B chart. The label's preferred lead single choice "7" would be the album's lone top ten hit reaching #7. O(+> would go on to sell 2.8 million copies worldwide.

After two failed attempts in 1990 and 1991, Warner Bros. finally released a greatest hits compilation with the three-disc The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993. The first two discs were also sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. In addition to featuring the majority of Prince's hit singles (with the exception of "Batdance" and other songs that appeared on the Batman soundtrack), The Hits includes an array of previously hard-to-find recordings, notably B-sides spanning the majority of Prince's career, as well as a handful of previously unreleased tracks such as the Revolution-recorded "Power Fantastic" and a live recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U" with Rosie Gaines. Two new songs, "Pink Cashmere" and "Peach", were chosen as promotional singles to accompany the compilation album.

1993 also marked the year in which Prince changed his stage name to the Love Symbol, which is a combination of the symbols for male (♂) and female (♀). Because the symbol was and is unpronounceable, he was often referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince".

Increased output: 1994–2000

In 1994, Prince's attitude towards his artistic output underwent a notable shift. He began to view releasing albums in quick succession as a means of ejecting himself from his contractual obligations to Warner Bros. The label, he believed, was intent on limiting his artistic freedom by insisting that he release albums more sporadically. He also blamed Warner Bros. for the poor commercial performance of the Love Symbol album, claiming that it was insufficiently marketed by Warner. It was out of these developments that the aborted Black Album was officially released, approximately seven years after its initial recording and near-release. The "new" release, which was already in wide circulation as a bootleg, sold relatively poorly.

Following that disappointing venture, Warner Bros. succumbed to Prince's wishes to release an album of new material, to be entitled Come. When Come was eventually released, it confirmed all of Warner's fears. It became Prince's poorest-selling album to date, struggling to even shift 500,000 copies. Even more frustrating was the fact that Prince insisted on crediting the album to "Prince 1958–1993".

Prince pushed to have his next album The Gold Experience released simultaneously with Love Symbol-era material. Warner Bros. allowed the single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" to be released via a small, independent distributor, Bellmark Records, in February 1994. The release was successful, reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in many other countries, but it would not prove to be a model for subsequent releases. Warner Bros. still resisted releasing The Gold Experience, fearing poor sales and citing "market saturation" as a defense. When eventually released in September 1995, The Gold Experience failed to sell well, although it reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 initially, and many reviewed it as Prince's best effort since Sign o' the Times.The album is now out-of-print.
Chaos and Disorder, released in 1996, was Prince's final album of new material for Warner Bros., as well as one of his least commercially successful releases. Prince attempted a major comeback later that year when, free of any further contractual obligations to Warner Bros., he released Emancipation. The album was released via his own NPG Records with distribution through EMI. To publish his songs on Emancipation, Prince did not use Controversy Music – ASCAP, which he had used for all his records since 1981, but rather used Emancipated Music Inc. – ASCAP.

While certified Platinum by the RIAA, some critics felt that the sprawling 36-song, 3-CD set (each disc was exactly 60 minutes long) lacked focus, and might have worked better as a single or double disc set. Emancipation is the first record featuring covers by Prince of songs of other artists: Joan Osborne's top ten hit song of 1995 "One of Us"; "Betcha by Golly Wow!" (written by Thomas Randolf Bell and Linda Creed); "I Can't Make You Love Me" (written by James Allen Shamblin II and Michael Barry Reid); and "La-La " (written by Thomas Randolf Bell and William Hart).

Prince released Crystal Ball, a 5-CD collection of unreleased material, in 1998. The distribution of this album was disorderly, with some fans pre-ordering the album on his website up to a year before it was eventually shipped to them, and months after the record had gone on sale in retail stores. The retail edition has only four discs, as it is missing the "Kamasutra" disk. There are also two different packaging editions for retail, one being in a 4-disc sized jewel case with a simplistic white cover and the love symbol in a colored circle; the other is all four discs in a round translucent snap jewel case. The discs are the same, as is the CD jacket. The Newpower Soul album released three months later failed to make much of an impression on the charts. His collaboration on Chaka Khan's Come 2 My House, and Larry Graham's GCS2000, both released on the NPG Records label around the same time as Newpower Soul met with the same fate, despite heavy promotion and live appearances on Vibe with Sinbad, and the NBC Today show's Summer Concert Series.

In 1999, Prince once again signed with a major label Arista Records to release a new record, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. In an attempt to make his new album a success, Prince easily gave more interviews than at any other point in his career, appearing on MTV's Total Request Live (with his album cover on the front of the Virgin Megastore, in the background on TRL throughout the whole show), Larry King Live (with Larry Graham) and other media outlets. Nevertheless, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic failed to perform well commercially. A few months earlier, Warner Bros. had also released The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, a collection of unreleased material recorded by Prince throughout his career, and his final recording commitment on his contract with Warner Bros. The greatest success he had during the year was with the EP 1999: The New Master, released in time for Prince to collect a small portion of the sales dollars Warner Bros. had been seeing for the album and singles of the original 1999. Both critics and fans panned The New Master, declaring it unimaginative.

The pay-per-view concert, Rave Un2 the Year 2000, was broadcast on 31 December 1999 and consisted of footage from the 17 December and December 18, concerts of his 1999 tour. The concert featured appearances by many guest musicians including Lenny Kravitz, George Clinton, and The Time. It was released to home video the following year. A remix album, Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic (as opposed to "Un2") was released exclusively through Prince's NPG Music Club in April 2000.

Turnaround: 2000–05

On May 16, 2000, Prince ceased using the Love Symbol moniker and returned to using "Prince" again, after his publishing contract with Warner/Chappell expired. In a press conference, he stated that, after being freed from undesirable relationships associated with the name "Prince", he would formally revert to using his real name. Prince still frequently uses the symbol as a logo and on album artwork and continues to play a Love Symbol-shaped guitar.

For several years following the release of Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, Prince primarily released new music through his Internet subscription service, NPGOnlineLtd.com (later NPGMusicClub.com). Two albums that show substantive jazz influence were available commercially at record stores: 2001's The Rainbow Children and, later, the 2003 instrumental record N.E.W.S which was nominated for a Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy Award. Another album of largely jazz-influenced music, Xpectation, was released via download in 2003 to members of the NPGMusicClub.

In 2002, Prince released his first live album, One Nite Alone... Live!, which features performances from the One Nite Alone tour. The 3-CD box set, which also includes a disc of "aftershow" music entitled It Ain't Over!, failed to chart. During this time, Prince sought to engage more effectively with his fan base via the NPG Music Club, pre-concert sound checks, and at yearly "celebrations" at Paisley Park, his music studios. Fans were invited into the studio for tours, interviews, discussions and music-listening sessions. Some of these fan discussions were filmed for an unreleased documentary, directed by Kevin Smith. Smith discusses what happened during those days at length in his An Evening with Kevin Smith DVD. Performances were also arranged to showcase Prince's talents, as well as to collaborate with popular and well-established artists and guests including Alicia Keys, The Time, Erykah Badu, Nikka Costa, George Clinton, Norah Jones.

On February 8, 2004, Prince appeared at the Grammy Awards with Beyoncé Knowles. In a performance that opened the show, Prince and Knowles performed a medley of "Purple Rain", "Let's Go Crazy", "Baby I'm a Star", and Knowles' "Crazy in Love" to positive reviews. The following month, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker. The award was presented to him by Alicia Keys along with Big Boi and André 3000 of OutKast. As well as performing a trio of his own hits during the ceremony, Prince also participated in a tribute to fellow inductee George Harrison in a rendition of Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", playing a long guitar solo that ended the song.

On February 19, The Tavis Smiley Show broadcast included a performance of "Reflection" from Prince's Musicology album. Prince was accompanied by Wendy Melvoin, formerly of The Revolution.

In April 2004, Prince released Musicology through a one-album agreement with Columbia Records. The album rose as high as the top five on a number of international charts (including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia). The US chart success was assisted by the CD being included as part of the concert ticket purchase, and each CD thereby qualifying (as chart rules then stood) towards US chart placement.

That same year, Rolling Stone magazine named Prince as the highest-earning musician in the world, with an annual income of $56.5 million, largely due to his Musicology Tour, which Pollstar named as the top concert draw among musicians in USA. The artist played an impressive run of 96 concerts; the average ticket price for a show was US$61. Further highlighting the success of the album, Prince's Musicology went on to receive two Grammy wins, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Call My Name" and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the title track. Musicology was also nominated for Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, while "Cinnamon Girl" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The album became the artist's most commercially successful since Diamonds and Pearls, partly due to a radical scheme devised which included in Billboard's sales figures those that were distributed to each customer during ticket sales for the Musicology tour.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Prince #28 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".

In April 2005, Prince played guitar (along with En Vogue singing backing vocals) on Stevie Wonder's single "So What the Fuss", Wonder's first since 1999.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city of New Orleansmarker on August 29, 2005, Prince offered a personal response by recording two new songs, "S.S.T." and the instrumental "Brand New Orleans", at Paisley Park in the early hours of September 2. Prince again performed all instrumental and vocal parts. These recordings were quickly dispersed to the public via Prince's NPG Music Club, and "S.S.T." was later picked up by iTunes, where it reached #1 on the store's R&B chart. On 25 October, Sony Records released a version of the single on CD.

Move to Universal: 2005–06

In late 2005 Prince signed with Universal Records to release his album, 3121, on March 21, 2006 (3/21). The first single was the Latin-tinged "Te Amo Corazón", the video for which was directed by actress Salma Hayek and filmed in Marrakechmarker, Moroccomarker, featuring Argentinemarker actress and singer Mía Maestro. The video for the second single, "Black Sweat", was nominated at the MTV VMAs for Best Cinematography. The immediate success of 3121 gave Prince his first #1 debut on the Billboard 200 with the album.
Prince #1 album 3121, 2006.


To promote the new album, Prince was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on February 4, 2006, seventeen years after his last SNL appearance. He performed two songs from the album, "Fury" and "Beautiful, Loved & Blessed", with Támar. Prince also held a contest to win a trip to see a 'Purple Ticket Concert' at his private residence in Hollywoodmarker, Californiamarker. Seven winning tickets were placed inside 3121 CD packages in the US, and other tickets were given away in various contests on the internet and around the world. On 6 May 2006, twenty-four prize winners (with a guest each) attended a star-studded private party and performance at Prince's home.

On June 12, 2006, Prince received a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his "visionary" use of the Internet; Prince was the first major artist to release an entire album, 1997's Crystal Ball, exclusively on the internet.

Only weeks after winning a Webby Award, Prince abruptly shut down his official NPG Music Club website at 12:00 AM on July 4, 2006 after over five years of operation. The NPG Music Club sent out an email, claiming that "in its current 4m there is a feeling that the NPGMC gone as far as it can go. In a world without limitations and infinite possibilities, has the time come 2 once again make a leap of faith and begin anew? These r ?s we in the NPG need 2 answer. In doing so, we have decided 2 put the club on hiatus until further notice." On the day of the music club's shutdown, a lawsuit was filed against Prince by the British company HM Publishing (owners of the Nature Publishing Group, also NPG). Despite these events occurring on the same day, Prince's attorney has called it pure coincidence and stated that the site did not close due to the trademark dispute.

Prince appeared at multiple award ceremonies in 2006. On February 15, 2006, Prince performed at the BRIT Awards along with Wendy & Lisa and Sheila E. He played "Te Amo Corazón" and "Fury" from 3121 and "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain. On June 27, 2006, Prince appeared at the BET Awards, where he was awarded Best Male R&B Artist. In addition to receiving his award, Prince performed a medley of Chaka Khan songs for Khan's BET Lifetime Award. Prince had previously written and performed several songs with the singer. In November 2006, Prince was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, appearing to collect his award but not performing. Also in November 2006, Prince opened a nightclub named 3121 in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casinomarker. He performed weekly on Friday and Saturday nights until April 2007, when his contract with the Rio ended.

On August 22, 2006, Prince released Ultimate. The double disc set contains one CD of previous hits, and another of extended versions and mixes of material that had largely only previously been available on vinyl record B-sides.

Prince wrote and performed a song for the hit 2006 animated film Happy Feet. The song, entitled "The Song of the Heart", appears on the film's soundtrack, which also features a cover of Prince's earlier hit "Kiss", sung by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. In January 2007, "The Song of the Heart" won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Prince arrived late, apparently due to traffic problems, and thus was unable to make an acceptance speech, but actor Hugh Grant prompted him later in the ceremony to take a bow.

Current work (after 2007)

Prince greeting fans at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2007


On February 2, 2007, Prince played at the Super Bowl XLI press conference. He and the band played a set comprising Chuck Berry's hit, "Johnny B. Goode", "Anotherloverholenyohead" from Parade and "Get On the Boat" from 3121. Prince performed at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show in Miamimarker, Floridamarker on February 4, 2007. The performance consisted of three Purple Rain tracks ("Let's Go Crazy", "Baby I'm a Star" and the title track), along with cover versions of "We Will Rock You" by Queen, "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters song "Best of You" and "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Coincidentally, Miami had rain on the day of the Super Bowl, which was lit purple during the performance of "Purple Rain". He played on a large stage shaped as his famous symbol. The event was carried to 140 million television viewers, the largest audience of his life.

Prince announced that he would play 21 concerts in London over the summer of 2007. The "Earth Tour" included 21 nights at the 20,000 capacity O2 Arenamarker. Tickets for the O2 Arena were priced at £31.21 (including a free copy of Prince's latest album), in order to make the concerts "affordable for everybody". The residency at the O2 Arena was increased to 15 nights after all 140,000 tickets for the original seven sold out in just 20 minutes. It was then further extended to 21 nights.

On May 10, 2007, Prince performed a 'secret' gig at Londonmarker's KOKOmarker in front of a small crowd of fans and celebrities. Tickets went on sale that morning on a first-come-first-served basis (again at £31.21). A prelude to the forthcoming summer gigs in London, Prince played a relaxed set of classic hits ("Kiss", changing the lyric from "You don't have to watch Dynasty" to Desperate Housewives, "Girls & Boys", and "Nothing Compares 2 U") alongside more recent tracks, plus a well-received cover version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy".

Prince made an appearance at the 2007 ALMA Awards, performing with Sheila E. in June 2007. On June 28, 2007, the UK national newspaper The Mail on Sunday revealed that it had made a deal to give Prince's new album, Planet Earth, away for free with an "imminent" edition of the paper, making it the first place in the world to get the album. This move sparked controversy among music distributors and also led the UK arm of Prince's distributor, Sony BMG, to withdraw from distributing the album in UK stores. The UK's largest high street music retailer, HMV, decided to stock the paper on release day due to the giveaway.

On July 7, 2007 Prince returned to his hometown of Minneapolismarker to perform three shows in what was unofficially declared Prince Day in Minnesotamarker. He performed concerts at the Macy'smarker Auditorium on Nicollet Mallmarker, the Target Centermarker and First Avenuemarker.

On April 25, 2008, Prince performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he debuted a new song, "Turn Me Loose". Days after, he headlined the Coachella Festival 2008.

Two days later the Commercial Court in Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker was told that the artist cancelled his planned show at Dublin’s Croke Parkmarker in 2008 without giving any reason “of substance”.

In October 2008 Prince released a live album entitled Indigo Nights, as well as 21 Nights, an accompanying book of poems, lyrics and photos. The book chronicled his record-breaking tenure at London's O2 Arena in 2007, while the album is a collection of songs performed live at aftershows in the IndigO2.

On December 18, 2008, Prince premiered four songs from his new album on LA's Indie 103 radio show, comprising a cover of "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells, together with "Colonized Mind", "Wall of Berlin" and "4ever". The same day, another new Prince composition entitled "(There'll Never B) Another Like Me" premiered on the website, mplsound.com — replacing a shorter, instrumental version of the song which streamed several days previously. In a subsequent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Prince announced his intention to release three separate albums in 2009: LOtUSFLOW3R, MPLSoUND, and an album credited to his new protege, Bria Valente, called Elixer.

Prince in 2009
On January 3, 2009, a new website LotusFlow3r.com was launched, streaming some of the recently-aired material ("Crimson and Clover", "(There'll Never B) Another Like Me" and "Here Eye Come") and promising opportunities to listen to and buy music by Prince and guests, watch videos and buy concert tickets for future events. On January 31, Prince released two more songs on LotusFlow3r.com: "Disco Jellyfish", and "Another Boy". "Chocolate Box", "A Colonized Mind", and "All This Love" have since been released on the website.

The three-disc set was eventually released on March 24, 2009, followed by a physical release on March 29, which was preceded by performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was released in other countries digitally, with official physical release dates yet to be announced. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200, and critics' opinions were mixed to positive.

On July 18, 2009, Prince performed two shows at the Montreux Jazz Festival, being backed by the NPG including Rhonda Smith, Renato Neto, and John Blackwell. There he premiered "A Large Room With No Light" which had been in Prince's vault for some time.

On October 11, 2009, Prince decided to give two surprise concerts at the glass-and-iron Grand Palaismarker exhibition hall after visiting the landmark Paris building on the banks of the Seine. On October 12, he gave another surprise gig at La Cigale. On October 24th, 2009, Prince played a concert at his own Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Personal life

Prince has been romantically linked with many celebrities, including Kim Basinger, Madonna, Carmen Electra, and Anna Fantastic.He married his backup singer and dancer, Mayte Garcia, on Valentine's Day, 1996. They had one son named Boy Gregory, (born October 16, 1996) who was born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died shortly after birth. They were divorced in 1999.

On December 31, 2001, Prince married Manuela Testolini in a private ceremony, but she filed for divorce in May 2006.

Prince is a vegan. In 2006 he was voted the "world's sexiest vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll.

He converted to the Jehovah's Witness faith.

Stage names

The unpronounceable symbol (later dubbed "Love Symbol #2").
In 1993, during negotiations regarding the release of Prince's album The Gold Experience, a legal battle ensued between Warner Bros. and Prince over the artistic and financial control of Prince's output. During the lawsuit, Prince appeared in public with the word "slave" written on his cheek. Prince explained his name change as follows:

The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol.
Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth.
Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote.
The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince.
I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros...


I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name.

"Prince" is a trademark owned by Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc. It was initially filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2005 in the categories of printed materials, clothing, electronic commerce, and entertainment services based on first commercial in 1978 Various searches to the USPTO did not find any registrations or transfers of "Prince" or related names by Warner Bros. In 1991, PRN Music Corporation assigned the trademarks "Prince," "The Time," "Paisley Park," "New Power Generation," and "Prince and the Revolution" to Paisley Park Enterprises.

Prince often uses pseudonyms and monikers to separate himself from the music (either his own or that of others) he has had input in; he has said that he was tired of seeing his name everywhere, and that only egotistical people take credit for everything they do. These pseudonyms include: Jamie Starr and The Starr Company (for the songs he wrote for The Time and many other artists from 1981-1984), Joey Coco (for many unreleased Prince songs in the late 1980s, as well as songs written for Sheena Easton), Paisley Park (occasionally used in the early 1990s for his production credits on songs, including those written for Martika and Kid Creole), Alexander Nevermind (for writing the 1984 song "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton), and Christopher (used for his song writing credit of "Manic Monday" for The Bangles).

Copyright issues

In 1995, Prince threatened to sue a 900 number operated by Nathan Wright for his Purple Underground Magazine Phone line for playing to the public for the first time segments of the Black Album. Prince's attorneys Lavely & Singer demanded royalties in a cease and desist letter served to Wright. Instead Wright offered to work with Prince and split the profits. Wright and Prince's attorneys then worked on a deal to share profits but the deal never transpired (copies of these documents are available for verification) . Instead Prince started his own 900 number while Wright was able to continue his without any further action.

On September 14, 2007, Prince announced that he was going to sue YouTube and eBay because they "appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success." A representative told Reuters, "The problem is that one can reduce it to zero and then the next day there will be 100 or 500 or whatever. This carries on ad nauseam at Prince's expense.".

In October 2007, Stephanie Lenz filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Publishing Group, claiming they were abusing copyright law, after the music publisher had YouTube take down Lenz's home movie in which the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" played faintly in the background.

On November 5, 2007, several fan sites of Prince formed "Prince Fans United" to fight back against legal requests they claim Prince made to cease and desist all use of photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to Prince's likeness. While Prince's lawyers claimed that the use of such representations constituted copyright infringement, the Prince Fans United claimed that the legal actions were "attempts to stifle all critical commentary about Prince." A few days later, Prince released a statement refuting the fan sites' claims, stating "The action taken earlier this week was not to shut down fansites, or control comment in any way. The issue was simply to do with in regards to copyright and trademark of images and only images, and no lawsuits have been filed." The statement from AEG, Prince's promoter, asserted that the only "offending items" on the three fan sites were live shots from Prince’s 21 nights in London at the O2 Arena earlier in the year.

On November 8, 2007, Prince Fans United received a song named "PFUnk" providing a kind of "unofficial answer" to their movement. The song, originally debuted on the PFU main site, was retitled "F.U.N.K.", and is available on iTunes.

On November 14, 2007, it was reported that the satirical website b3ta.com had pulled their "image challenge of the week" devoted to Prince after legal threats from the star under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). b3ta co-founder Rob Manuel wrote on the site:"Under threat of legal action from Prince's legal team of "potential closure of your web site" - We have removed the Prince image challenge and B3ta apologises unreservedly to AEG / NPG and Prince for any offence caused. We also ask our members to avoid photoshopping Prince and posting them on our boards."

At the 2008 Coachella Music Festival, Prince performed a cover of Radiohead's "Creep" but immediately after, he forced YouTube and other sites to remove footage that fans had taken of the performance, despite Radiohead's demand for it to remain on the website. Days later, YouTube reinstated the videos, while Radiohead claimed "it's our song, let people hear it." In 2009, Prince put the video of that Coachella performance on his website LotusFlow3r.com.

Discography







Notes

  1. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[1]
  2. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[2]
  3. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[3]
  4. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[4]
  5. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[5]
  6. Citation needed|date=October 2009
  7. http://www.goldenglobes.org/browse/film/26062
  8. http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/DisplayMain.jsp?curTime=1258834857776
  9. PBS web site
  10. History of Rock and Roll, Thomas Larsen, page 243[6]
  11. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=19:T2161
  12. Prince: Inside the Purple Reign. Retrieved on 11 February 2007.
  13. the Hollywood Grind, [7]
  14. Prince: A Pop Life. Dave Hill, 1989, London Faber and Faber
  15. In the 2003 book Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, Alex Hahn states that Prince wanted Dickerson to commit to a new three year contract with the group, but Dickerson refused and struck out on his own.
  16. "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time," 18 November 2003, at RollingStone.com. Retrieved 9 September 2006.
  17. Draper, p. 76–78
  18. Draper, p. 80
  19. Draper, p. 81.
  20. Draper, p. 86–87
  21. Hahn, p.118
  22. Draper, p. 90
  23. Draper, p. 92
  24. Draper, p. 91
  25. Hahn, p. 121–122
  26. Draper, p. 93
  27. Draper, p. 94
  28. Hahn, p. 152–153
  29. Draper, p. 95
  30. Hahn, p. 155–156
  31. Draper, p. 96
  32. Hahn, p. 157
  33. Hahn, p. 166
  34. Draper, p. 104
  35. Draper, p. 105
  36. Retrieved on May 15, 2007, pg. 177
  37. Prince & The New Power Generation Discography. Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-04-15.
  38. Retrieved on May 15, 2007 pg. 187
  39. Retrieved on May 15, 2007 pg. 187
  40. Retrieved on May 15, 2007 pg. 192-193
  41. http://www.sonypictures.com/cthe/kevinsmith/
  42. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4251227.stm
  43. http://www.grammy.com/awards/search/index.aspx
  44. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939214/the_immortals_the_first_fifty/
  45. Retrieved on February 5, 2007
  46. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1013/1224256509241.html
  47. news.yahoo.com/...
  48. Tickets to Prince's Paris shows sell out in 77 minutes, AFP, October 8, 2009
  49. The Musictionary, Oct 09
  50. Prince's Wife, Manuela (Partner of five years), Filed for Divorce at people.com
  51. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Serial Number: 78561384; Registration Number: 3128896
  52. US Patent and Trade Office. Reel/Frame: 0805/0848 and 0805/0880.
  53. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Jamie+Starr
  54. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Starr+*+Company%2C+The
  55. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Joey+Coco
  56. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Paisley+Park
  57. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Alexander+Nevermind
  58. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Christopher
  59. Prince To Sue YouTube, eBay Over Unauthorized Content
  60. Prince takes on YouTube over clips – Times Online
  61. http://www.nme.com/news/prince/32426
  62. Due to the album's correct name being an unpronounceable symbol, this title is provided as a widely recognized alternate.


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