The Second Disc

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Prince Week Day 2: A Compilation Comparison

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We continue our Prince week with a little something for the fans out there that may have never caught on to His Royal Badness enough to buy any of his music. Often times, in cases where you want to get a firm start on following an artist, a greatest-hits compilation is the way to go. But Prince, like many other rock legends, has more than one such set on the market. And money’s tight for a lot of folks.

So which one do you end up buying? Follow the jump for a detailed breakdown of each one.Part I: The Hits/The B-Sides

In 1993, after nearly 15 years as a recording artist for Warner Bros., the label released its first Prince compilation. Unsurprisingly (as anyone who’s familiar with Prince can attest to), it was about the second or third attempt at such a compilation; The Artist (who had changed his name to that unpronounceable symbol that year) was far more interested in releasing new material (Diamonds and Pearls, The Lovesymbol Album and…uh, that terrible rap album with Tony M. at the fore). Eventually, WB put together a set that, despite lacking much involvement from Prince (outside of posing for the spread taken by Herb Ritts, offering a few unreleased tracks and picking his manager Alan Leeds to pen the liner notes), was a damn solid effort.

There were three packages released: the main The Hits/The B-Sides was a triple-disc affair with two discs of singles in random order and a third disc of unordered B-sides. Shortly thereafter, the hits discs were individually released as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2.

Despite the mostly slapdash sequencing, this set was revelatory as it bought several dozen mixes and songs onto CD for the first time. And Leeds, who had recently won a Grammy for the liner notes to Star Time, the James Brown box set, is a thorough annotator. It is missing a few hits here and there (most of the underrated singles from Parade and Lovesexy and nothing from the Batman soundtrack, which is tied up in some crazy legal hell), but it’s a great first impression for a man who, at the time, was one of the most challenging rockers on the market.

Should you get it? Absolutely. Even if you own all or most of Prince’s CDs, there’s at least a disc’s worth of stuff that might be new to you. New fans should skip the individual discs and plunk down the cash for this set, too; it’s a one-way ticket into purple fandom.

Prince, The Hits/The B-Sides (Warner Bros. 9 45440-2, 1993)

Disc 1: The Hits 1 (separately released as Warner Bros. 9 45431-2, 1993)

  1. When Doves Cry (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29286, 1984) – 3:48
  2. Pop Life – 3:42
  3. Soft and Wet – 3:03
  4. I Feel for You – 3:25
  5. Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? – 3:48
  6. When You Were Mine – 3:43
  7. Uptown (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. WBS 49559, 1980) – 4:09
  8. Let’s Go Crazy – 4:39
  9. 1999 (7″ Mix) (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29896, 1982) – 3:37
  10. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-28288, 1987) – 3:40
  11. Nothing Compares 2 U (Live @ Paisley Park, Minneapolis, MN – 1/27/1992) – 4:58 *
  12. Adore (Edit) – 4:41
  13. Pink Cashmere – 6:15 *
  14. Alphabet St. – 5:39
  15. Sign ‘O’ the Times (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-28399, 1987)- 3:43
  16. Thieves in the Temple – 3:20
  17. Diamonds and Pearls (Edit) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-19083, 1991) – 4:20
  18. 7 – 5:09

Disc 2: The Hits 2 (separately released as Warner Bros. 9 45435-2, 1993)

  1. Controversy (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. WBS 49808, 1981) – 3:35
  2. Dirty Mind (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. WBS 49638, 1980) – 3:49
  3. I Wanna Be Your Lover (7″ Edit) – 2:59
  4. Head – 4:43
  5. Do Me, Baby (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29942, 1982) – 3:57
  6. Delirious (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29503, 1983) – 2:39
  7. Little Red Corvette – 4:56
  8. I Would Die 4 U (Single Version) (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29121, 1984) – 2:57
  9. Raspberry Beret – 3:32
  10. If I Was Your Girlfriend (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-28334, 1987) – 3:46
  11. Kiss (7″ Version) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-28751, 1986) – 3:46
  12. Peach – 3:48 *
  13. U Got the Look (with Sheena Easton) – 3:47
  14. Sexy MF – 5:26
  15. Gett Off – 4:30
  16. Cream – 4:13
  17. Pope – 3:28 *
  18. Purple Rain – 8:40

* denotes previously unreleased track
Disc 1, Track 3 from
For You (Warner Bros., 1978)
Disc 1, Tracks 4 and 5/Disc 2, Track 3 from Prince (Warner Bros., 1979)
Disc 1, Tracks 6 and 7/Disc 2, Tracks 2 and 4 from Dirty Mind (Warner Bros., 1980)
Disc 2, Tracks 1 and 5 from Controversy (Warner Bros., 1981)
Disc 1, Track 9/Disc 2, Tracks 6 and 7 from 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)
Disc 1, Tracks 1 and 8/Disc 2, Tracks 8 and 18 from Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1984)
Disc 1, Track 2/Disc 2, Track 9 from Around the World in a Day (Paisley Park, 1985)
Disc 2, Track 11 from Parade (Paisley Park, 1986)
Disc 1, Tracks 10 and 15/Disc 2, Tracks 10 and 13 from Sign ‘O’ the Times (Paisley Park, 1987)
Disc 1, Track 14 from Lovesexy (Paisley Park, 1988)
Disc 1, Track 16 from Graffiti Bridge (Warner Bros., 1990)
Disc 1, Track 17/Disc 2, Tracks 15 and 16 from Diamonds and Pearls (Paisley Park, 1991)
Disc 1, Track 18 from The Lovesymbol Album (Paisley Park, 1992)

Disc 3: The B-Sides

  1. Hello (7″ B-side to “Pop Life” – Paisley Park 7-28998, 1985)
  2. 200 Balloons (7″ B-side to “Batdance” – Warner Bros. 7-22924, 1989)
  3. Escape (7″ B-side to “Glam Slam” – Paisley Park 7-27806, 1988)
  4. Gotta Stop (Messin’ About) (12″ B-side to “Let’s Work” – Warner Bros. DWBS 50028, 1982)
  5. Horny Toad (7″ B-side to “Delirious” – Warner Bros. 7-29503, 1983)
  6. Feel U Up (Short Stroke) (7″ B-side to “Partyman” – Warner Bros. 7-22814, 1989)
  7. Girl (7″ B-side to “America” – Paisley Park 7-28999, 1985)
  8. I Love U in Me (7″ B-side to “The Arms of Orion” – Warner Bros. 7-22757, 1989)
  9. Erotic City (7″ B-side to “Let’s Go Crazy” – Warner Bros. 7-29216, 1984)
  10. Shockadelica (7″ B-side to “If I Was Your Girlfriend” – Paisley Park 7-28334, 1987)
  11. Irresistible Bitch (7″ B-side to “Let’s Pretend We’re Married – Warner Bros. 7-29548, 1983)
  12. Scarlet Pussy (Edit) (7″ B-side to “I Wish U Heaven” – Paisley Park 7-27745, 1988)
  13. La, La, La, He, He, Hee (7″ B-side to “Sign ‘O’ the Times – Paisley Park 7-28399, 1987)
  14. She’s Always in My Hair (7″ B-side to “Raspberry Beret” – Paisley Park 7-28972, 1985)
  15. 17 Days (The rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe, look 2 The Dawn and U shall never lose.) (7″ B-side to “When Doves Cry” – Warner Bros. 7-29286, 1984)
  16. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (7″ B-side to “1999” – Warner Bros. 7-29896, 1982)
  17. Another Lonely Christmas (7″ B-side to “I Would Die 4 U” – Warner Bros. 7-29121, 1984)
  18. God (7″ B-side to “Purple Rain” – Warner Bros. 7-29174, 1984)
  19. 4 the Tears in Your Eyes (Live Aid Video Version) *
  20. Power Fantastic *

Part II: The Very Best of Prince

By 2000, Prince had begun and ended his attempt at a pop comeback with Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, a half-decent album for Arista which followed the same formula as Santana’s Supernatural (1999): pair Prince with a bunch of guest stars and see what happens. (Not much happened.) In happier news, he had changed his name back to his birth name of Prince, and accepted a request to work with Warner Bros. on another new compilation, tentatively titled A Celebration. But Prince’s late-period hatred of contracts (as well as, allegedly, his desire to use his own personal re-recordings of his best known hits) scuttled the project, and WB instead put out a very simple single-disc overview meant to entice the most casual of fans. It stands up well as a road mix, and it’s still a popular catalogue title, but experienced fans are going to ask themselves “What about (name of track)?” a lot, and aside from “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” (from Diamonds and Pearls), all of this was on The Hits/The B-Sides. (Another minor quibble: the packaging is absurd. The cover art is two-thirds devoted to the Parade era and two-thirds devoted to the Graffiti Bridge era, but only one track is used from each. There’s also a few pics from the Batman era, which is again M.I.A. from Prince’s catalogue.)

Should you get it? Only if you’re in a pinch and there’s no other option.

Prince, The Very Best of Prince (Warner Bros. R2 74272, 2000)

  1. I Wanna Be Your Lover (7″ Edit) – 2:59
  2. 1999 (7″ Mix) – 3:37
  3. Little Red Corvette – 4:57
  4. When Doves Cry (7″ Edit) – 3:47
  5. Let’s Go Crazy – 4:39
  6. Purple Rain – 8:40
  7. I Would Die 4 U (Single Version) – 2:57
  8. Raspberry Beret – 3:32
  9. Kiss (7″ Version) – 3:46
  10. Sign ‘O’ the Times (7″ Edit) – 3:42
  11. U Got the Look (with Sheena Easton) – 3:47
  12. Alphabet St. – 5:39
  13. Thieves in the Temple – 3:20
  14. Gett Off – 4:31
  15. Cream – 4:13
  16. Diamonds and Pearls (Edit) – 4:20
  17. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night – 4:47

Part III: Ultimate Prince

There is no better insight into the frustration of Prince fandom and the twists and turns of the catalogue music business than the tale of Ultimate Prince. This article explains it better than anyone else could, but suffice it to say that a rarities-packed compilation that was intended to be released with lots of hoopla turned into a semi-rarities-packed compilation with far less hoopla. Still, this is a hell of a set even for the most seasoned fans: a greatest-hits set comprised of popular tracks in their original album form, bolstered by a second CD of dance remixes, many of which made their digital debut on this set. It would have been great to get the set as it was ultimately intended, but this isn’t a bad consolation prize if you ask me. (And another single makes its compilation debut: “My Name is Prince,” from The Lovesymbol Album.)

Should you get it? If you don’t want to deal with the cost and the breadth of The Hits/The B-Sides, this is your ticket. It’s also got a well-designed package, including a photo spread in the liner notes that will make your mouth water if you’re a fan of Prince and vinyl.

Prince, Ultimate Prince (Warner Bros. R2 73381, 2006)

Disc 1

  1. I Wanna Be Your Lover (7″ Edit) – 2:59
  2. Uptown (7″ Edit) – 4:09
  3. Controversy – 7:15
  4. 1999 (7″ Mix) – 3:37
  5. Delirious (7″ Edit) – 2:38
  6. When Doves Cry (7″ Edit) – 3:47
  7. I Would Die 4 U (Single Version) – 2:57
  8. Purple Rain – 8:40
  9. Sign ‘O’ the Times (7″ Edit) – 3:42
  10. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (7″ Edit) – 3:39
  11. Alphabet St. – 5:39
  12. Diamonds and Pearls (Edit) – 4:20
  13. Gett Off – 4:31
  14. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night – 4:47
  15. 7 – 5:07
  16. Nothing Compares 2 U (Live @ Paisley Park, Minneapolis, MN – 1/27/1992) – 4:57
  17. My Name is Prince (Edit) (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-18707, 1992) – 4:03

Disc 2

  1. Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix) (12″ A-side – Warner Bros. 0-20246, 1984) – 7:37
  2. Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix) (promotional 12″ B-side – Warner Bros. PRO-A-2001, 1983) – 8:27
  3. Let’s Work (Dance Remix) (12″ A-side – Warner Bros. DWBS 50028, 1982) – 8:02
  4. Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix) (U.S. 12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-20357, 1985) – 6:18
  5. She’s Always in My Hair (New Mix) (12″ B-side – Paisley Park 0-20355, 1985) – 6:31
  6. Raspberry Beret (New Mix) (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-20355, 1985) – 6:34
  7. Kiss (Extended Version) (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-20442, 1986) – 7:16
  8. U Got the Look (Long Look) (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-20727, 1987) – 6:40
  9. Hot Thing (Extended Remix) (12″ B-side – Paisley Park 0-20728, 1987) – 8:30
  10. Thieves in the Temple (Remix) (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-21598, 1990) – 8:08
  11. Cream (N.P.G. Mix) (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-40197, 1991) – 4:50

Written by Mike Duquette

June 5, 2010 at 12:52

Posted in Compilations, Features, Prince

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One Response

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  1. These Prince articles are great! Thanks so much, especially, for this one! =)

    Marty

    June 6, 2010 at 09:35


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