No need for a long intro. Today is Prince’s birthday, and here are eight tracks to help you celebrate. All but “A Love Bizarre” and the Basement Rehearsal footage are audio-only. Enjoy quickly because even though Prince’s estate isn’t moving as fast as they once did to pull his shit off Youtube, they are still having stuff yanked down.
“Screams of Passion”
Recorded by the Prince-assembled group The Family for their 1985 self-titled debut album, “Screams of Passion” (like the album it appears on.) is a big favorite of hardcore Prince fans – not surprising as he wrote and produced almost the entire project. (He co-wrote the track “River Run Dry” with Bobby Z.) “Nothing Compares to U” made its first appearance on the album but, of course, became a pop classic when Sinead O’Connor covered it in 1990. Prince’s fingerprints are all over the Family project, so it’s no surprise that this performance of “Scream” is effortless and sublime. In this rehearsal recording, you can hear him directing the band and then adjusting his own lead performance to fit the groove and vibe.
“Lady Cab Driver”
This funky, live overhaul of the fan-favorite-track absolutely demands that you move your ass, and Prince’s raw lead vocals are swoon-worthy.
“17 Days” Live
The flip-side to “When Doves Cry” is arguably one of Prince’s best compositions/recordings /performances, period, and this live version underscores everything that makes the song – and Prince himself – the very definition of a rock star.
“17 Days” soundcheck
A recording made during a concert sound check.
“A Love Bizarre”
This live performance of the Sheila E. hit captures Prince and Sheila in perfect aesthetic and artistic harmony. The love between the two is palpable, the band is tight, and Sheila E is drop-dead gorgeous in all her soft-butch glory.
The music Prince recorded and then slid into the vaults would be the crowning achievement in almost any other musician’s career. Exhibit A is this heavily bootlegged and circulated fan favorite, recorded in 1983.
Bonus clip: Prince’s own wonderful ass
1988 Love sexy Tour Germany
The live recording of his 1988 Love Sexy tour set, recorded in Germany.
This blurry rehearsal footage is poetry from start to finish. Just press play, sit back and get your life.
Top image courtesy Richard E Aaron/Redferns