Today, I’m equating guilty pleasures and being happy. If chocolate cake or porches or whatever can bring a few minutes of happiness, I owe at least a nod to his majestic purple weirdness. If I’ve had a guilty pleasure when it comes to music, it has been Prince since the early 1980s.
I was a little bitter at that time in my life … (trust me, I’ve gotten over it). The whole world was not-Lady and not-man Gaga over this one-gloved, unusually high-pitched voiced guy who kept promising the world … over and over … that he wasn’t Billie Jean’s lover.
All the time, I was sneaking reads of the words to Darlin’ Nikki and hoping whichever radio station played “Let’s Go Crazy,” wouldn’t use the short version of the song, which cut off a few seconds of the guitar solo at the end.
Man, that annoyed me.
I was a Prince fan already, because 1999 had been a staple of the band bus. I didn’t have a copy of it, but I knew which songs on it that I liked: 1999, DMSR, Lady Cab Driver and Delirious (I was never that crazy about Little Red Corvette … though I like Corvettes … and the songs was kinda slutty, you know).
My parents – God, love em – didn’t monitor my music a lot, but there was no way I was going to see Purple Rain.
But when I got in high school, I bought a copy of Around the World in a Day, the follow up album to Purple Rain. To non-Prince people, it’s the Raspberry Beret album …
Which brings me to an important Prince-point: the crap on the radio was usually the often doofus-music, as he might tell you himself, schlocked together for Warner Bros. Raspberry Beret was catchy, but with the depth of a your basic sideline or locker room interview.
There are plenty of songs on that album that I flat wore out. And I used to be able – all you oldsters will know of what I speak – to flip the tape at just the right point to begin songs I wanted on the other side of the tape.
I liked that he was catchy, lurid and everything that rock and roll should be. But I was completed taken to another level of weird appreciation when I read the liner notes … I don’t have them around, but let’s just agree on one Prince thing, which was crystal clear from reading those notes:
That is one conflicted dude! All the stuff about God and thanking God for this and that, then songs like Temptation, about sex and going to Hell.
I’ve endured much in my Prince appreciation:
- I actually watched “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Graffiti Bridge.” Get the soundtracks. As for the movies … If you need a film review, let’s put it this way: Madonna’s films look good compared to these; Roger Corman looks like Stanley Kubrick; those are not tears coming from my eyes … it’s the blood from gouging my eyes out.
- I quit caring during his symbol days. It went over the top, even though there are songs I like.
- Not everything – especially stuff done to get out of the Warner contract – is his best work. He mails it in, on occasion.
But I look past all this to his purple funkiness. Enjoy some clips of a couple of my favorites …
Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Check out these great blogs, too, from other happy people.