Prince Early Years Mixtape

Revisiting a time 40 years ago that laid the foundation before his commercial breakthrough in 1982. #prince #blackhistorymonth #BHM2019 #RRHOF

Continuing a popular Black History Month trend I started two years ago, I will be presenting an hour’s worth of tracks to either exercise, dance or party to, uninterrrupted, for the next hour. Unlike those other two programs, this show isn’t a full artist retrospective, but a glimpse into the formative years of the man known many times as simply Prince.

Dirty Mind album cover, 1980. Courtesy of Warner Brothers.
It’s lyrical content still has the ability to
instantly shock, and was his critical breakthrough.

There was definitely something in the water in the upper midwest in 1958. Three of the biggest, most influential and iconic performers in history were all born in this geographic region in that year: Madonna is from Michigan, Michael Jackson was from Indiana and Prince Rogers Nelson hailed from Minnesota.

(center) Dick Clark, host of the television program American Bandstand, interviews Prince in January 1980. Clark stated it was his single most difficult interview, as Prince, in gold lamé pants and a lavender blouse, gave only one word responses.
Courtesy of ABC/Dick Clark Productions.

A child prodigy and son of a Jazz musician, Prince, as the legend goes, wrote his first song before even starting high school. While still a teen, he recorded some demos with financial assistance from a local Minneapolis businessman, Owen Hunsley, and eventually landed a deal with Warner Brothers.

Controversy album cover, a topic that Prince cultivated with great skill during his career. Courtesy of Warner Brothers, 1981.

It was a long and hard fought road to stardom, though: being treated poorly by artists he was headlining for, being booed off the stage while opening for other acts, slowly-selling albums and apathetic radio support. It was during this time, however, that Prince not only honed his amazing live act, he built the band that would come to dominate the music world by 1984, the Revolution.

Save for Little Richard, welcome to the prettiest man ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Publicity shot of Prince in 1979, courtesy of Warner Brothers.

These tracks laid the foundation of pretty much everything that followed: mixing music genres, lyrical content that would eventually cause government and music industry semi-censorship and a unique, completely individual style that not only challenged himself as an artist, but illustrated that his ever-increasing legion of die-hard fans were willing to follow him to wherever his muse followed him.

Our tracks this week: Title, Year of Release, Source


Prince: Early Years Mixtape

  • Just As Long As We’re Together, 1978, For You
  • Sexy Dancer, 1979, Prince (12′ dance mix)
  • Controversy, 1981, Controversy
  • Broken, 1980, bootleg recording
  • Uptown, 1980, Dirty Mind
  • Sister, 1980, Dirty Mind
  • Bambi, 1979, Prince
  • Gotta Stop Messing About, 1981, U.K. single-only release/U.S.”Let’s Work” B-side
  • Soft and Wet, 1978, For You
  • Let’s Work, 1981, Controversy (12′ dance mix)
  • Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?, 1979, Prince
  • Partyup, 1980, Dirty Mind
To download this program, please click on the three dots at the right side of the player.

Love to you all.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner

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