Musings in the Dark: Prince: My Top Ten Legacy


Prince: My Top Ten Legacy

Actual Comic Book by Dwayne McDuffie
Now that I’ve recovered most of my emotional balance, I am in a better position to pay tribute to the legendary brilliant virtuoso Prince Rogers Nelson, who left us in April of this shit-tastic murderous year, decades too soon.  In fact, I have always been of the belief that Prince was otherworldly and not bound by the rules of us mere Earthlings.  He created music as easy if it were breathing, which for someone as prolific as he was, it had to be.  This man easily wrote over a thousand songs, and I'm being conservative in my estimate…in a world where some people have trouble dropping 1000 words, over a thousand songs is definitely not-of-this-realm-talent.  Prince was from fucking Saturn, Narnia or some planet orbiting Polaris.  He wasn't of this world and no one will convince me otherwise.  

I’ve been a fan since he dropped Prince, which had “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and I remember the video of this young man with fly permed, winged hair, a deep V-neck leopard spotted top, tight jeans and dancing his ass off in freaking 4-inch heeled boots singing in falsetto.  The androgyny was perfect.  I was maybe 5 or 6 and my eyes couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing, but my ears made seamless sense of what I was hearing and my feet moved in response.  Didn't take long to learn the words and earn the side-eye from Moms, who knew I didn't know WTF I was singing.

When he died, I spent hours on line like everyone else in shock, dropping song lyrics and tears because...what the actual fuckPrince is DEAD?  The Purple One?  His Royal Badness?  The Purple Priest of Shade?  Dead?  Gone?  Just like that? No warning?  The hell??  SOMEBODY BET ANSWER FOR THIS FUCKSHIT!!! 

I foolishly thought at the time that I could compile a Top-10 Prince track list and share it with others on Twitter.  That’s what sudden, blind grief will make you think…that you can choose ten songs from a mythical genius musician who wrote 25% of the soundtrack of your life…and you’re not 4 years old.  Ain’t no fucking way that’s even possible for somebody like me.  I’ve loved this man since I was a child and ten songs don’t come close to doing his legacy to me justice.  Ten songs is barely a tear in one of my grief-stricken eyes.  It's an insult to the memory of His Royal Badness.

So what will follow over the course of the next couple of weeks is my Top Ten Album Tribute to the legendary, talented and timeless Prince Rogers Nelson, who is probably putting on a kick-ass concert in another dimension with His Pimpness David Bowie as we speak.  

Dark Dilettantes, come along and reminisce with me, if you will.

Bonus: The Hits/The B-Sides

I have to begin this tribute by including an album that technically isn’t an album (but should have been).  Prince’s three-disc compilation The Hits/The B-Sides dropped in 1993.  This post focuses on the B-Sides disc, which were B-sides of Prince’s hits back when there were these vinyl circles called records, children, and they contained an A and a B side.  I dropped a cool $70 on this set back when I was in college (a small fortune for someone who worked in Food Services), and while I enjoyed the entire three-disc set, I listened to the The B-Sides over and over until the CD began to skip and warp.
The B-Sides contained some cuts I’d heard as a preteen in elementary school, some I’d never heard before, and some that I remember thinking, Where was I when this shit dropped?* Some of my favorite tracks on the CD are:

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore*
Erotic City
She’s Always In My Hair
Power Fantastic*
4 The Tears In Your Eyes
Horny Toad
Feel U Up
Scarlet Pussy
200 Balloons

The songs, like all of Prince’s work, cover a huge range.  “Power Fantastic” may be one of his best songs ever...that piano, those jazzy haunting horns…had it been released, it would have been a Top 10, and I’ll put my hand on my Momma. *claps for emphasis*  “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” is one of those songs that fall right on in line with “Power Fantastic.”  Why in the hell was this not released and became a #1 cut?  Prince is on the piano, singing his heart out about a lost love and it is the absolute bees knees.  When I first listened to it, I just put the damn song on repeat.

I remember when “Erotic City” came out as the B-Side to “Let’s Go Crazy” and I also remember turning the volume down on the stereo when the chorus played whenever Momma or Daddy walked by. Because…

If we cannot make babies/ maybe we can make some time
Fuck so pretty u and me/Erotic City come alive
We can fuck until the dawn/Making love til cherry’s gone
Erotic City cant u see/Fuck so pretty you and me

The chorus was my shit because “fuck” had just recently become my favorite secret word and Prince and Sheila E sang about fucking on wax like they didn’t give a single fuck.  This was back when (at least in my memory), folks didn’t boldly drop F-bombs on records.  I still crank “Erotic City” to this day and sing that chorus loud and proud cause I’m grown and I don’t give a fuck.  Cause if I cannot make babies, maybe I will make some time...

“She’s Always In My Hair” is a song that I found infectious.  The intro kicks ass and you can’t help but bob your head and I’ve always been a fan of Prince on the keys.  This girl is always letting Prince know that she cares, but it seems as if she gets on his nerves even as she makes him feel good about himself.  “Horny Toad,” “Feel U Up,” and “Scarlet Pussy” were just flat-out fun to listen to.  Prince wrote what he wrote and sang what he sang, and he either didn’t care if some of his songs found an audience or he absolutely knew that they would, because there are those of us out there who are horny toads with scarlet pussies that just wanna be felt up. 

“4 The Tears In Your Eyes” was Prince’s contribution to the “We Are The World” album and it is a beautiful, simple song about Jesus.  It was his own thing because that’s what The Purple One was…his own.  People gave him shit about not participating in WATW, but Prince addressed his reasons why in the song “Hello.”  His reasons made sense then and still do now.  Again, otherworldly...or at least 30 years ahead of the rest of us.

“200 Balloons” keeps up with that kick-ass beat Prince dropped in “Batdance.”  It’s like the song continues and I continue dancing right along with it. 

The B-Sides is a solid album, and really should have been titled “The Unreleased Hits,” because 80% of them would have been.

Now the true Top 10 begins.

Ten: Controversy

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