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Prince tribute

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Live liner notes by @anildash and @iammisstlc.


This is an archive of notes taken during the livestream. The content starts at the bottom and goes up, and any typos or mistakes are from trying to document the set as it happened! Enjoy.

Thanks as always to Questlove, to iammisstlc for holding it down in the notes here, and to you all for giving to Food Hub!

Now we're winding down with a guitar instrumental that used to be an interlude on early versions of the Sign O' The Times album, leading into the song "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man". A beautiful instrumental from late in the Revolution's reign in the mid-80s, it's never been officially released, but there's some hope as rumors have surfaced about an upcoming box set deluxe release of material from the era.

Now it's "Movie Star", created as a demo for The Time, this original version with Prince's vocals surfaced on the 1998 Crystal Ball collection of outtakes.

"U Gotta Shake Something" is a 1985 jam session originally conceived for The Flesh, a Prince side project whose album never materialized.

Sheila E.'s "transmississippi rap" in the final version of the song is the first stanze of Edward Lear's "The Table And The Chair" poem.

[Note from Miss TLC: Someone once told me they didn't like this song. I deleted their number from my phone immediately.]

Sheila E. can still rap this whole interlude.

Finally, talking about the Revolution's funky ability to jam: "It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night". This live cut was polished and became a closer for one of the sides of the double-album Sign O' The Times. Here, we hear its raw version before a Sheila E. rap was overdubbed.

Plus, we get the incredible extended version of Kiss! The Revolution shows off how funky they truly were, and hopefully we get all the way to the absurd and hilarious skit at the end of the track with Prince and Jill Jones riffing as an old married couple.

Speaking of meme-worthy videos, Kiss is a standout for this

And a crowd-pleaser that everyone knows: Kiss! It still stands up after all these years.

We're back to the jazzy Madhouse vibe.

If you'd like a complete list of inexplicable moments in the Graffiti Bridge film, well... ain't nobody got time for that.

Sidenote, there's a hilarious moment during the performance of this song in the movie where a man and woman are sitting in a booth in the club and the man just unbuttons the woman's shirt like they aren't in public or anything. Lol.

This earlier rendition of the song, "We Can Fu_k" is a little more personal and intimate.

Onto the Graffiti Bridge version of " We Can Funk" featuring the legend George Clinton.

Now we're back to "We Can Funk", a different version from before — this one the released version from 1990's Graffiti Bridge soundtrack. George Clinton appears on this version, and though Prince had originally created the track half a decade before, he gave cowriting credit to his inspiration for this final version.

"as little babies in make-up terrorize the western world, the only thing that matters baby is love between a boy and a girl"

Now the song "Crystal Ball", title track for both an album originally conceived in 1986 and a collection of outtakes released in 1998. Another Prince track which was revised and revisited multiple times, its complex suite of separate musical components is one of the most ambitious songs Prince ever recorded. It's also funky as hell.

Recorded in 1986, but not released until 1998, "Crystal Ball" is one of Prince's trippiest journeys through sound.

Now we're on to "Bob George". Prince going all-out for 1987's Black Album (which was finally properly released in 1994). He's a low-voiced, threatening dude who's calling out everyone — including Prince himself. It all takes place over a groove that matches the tempo, key and rhythm of "U Got The Look", recorded the same year.

The most meme-able out of all of Prince's videos, "Black Sweat" is a scorching track featuring DJ Rashida and dancer Celestina in the 2006 vid.

One of the last of Prince's truly earth-shaking singles: Black Sweat. If you don't love this song, then you get the gif that was born from its incredible video.

"BLACK SWEAT". That's it. That's the note.

Prince's version of "The Screams of Passion" is everything and thensome. Floating over a soundbed of loveliness, Prince's demo directed Paul Peterson how to deliver the track on The Family's debut album.

"The Screams of Passion" was the single for 1985 protege group The Family, Questlove's unabashed favorite of Prince's side projects. Here we hear Prince's original vocals on his 1984 demo of the track.

"Lavaux", from 2010's 20Ten brings back a lot of Prince's classic 80s synth sound, updated for a new millennium.

"In Love" is another of those great songs from Prince's debut that blows your mind when you release he made the whole thing when he was barely 18 years old.

"Black Muse" was a song Prince is said to have loved. Though it didn't get officially released until 2015's Hitnrun Phase Two album, he played it live more than once in the half-decade that preceded its release — a strong sign he was proud of the track.

"Black Muse" is from the last album Prince released: Hitnrun Phase Two.

"My Love Is Forever" makes an appearance, another charming and smooth track from Prince's 1978 debut album.

"100 MPH" was officially released by Mazarati on their self-titled debut album. Prince's demo version was recently released on the posthumous Originals album.

A bold fanfare that presages later songs like "Strays of the World" opens up "100 MPH", a funky favorite that came out on Mazarati's 1986 self-titled album. Here, Quest plays Prince's original demo from 1984.

Prince also claimed to not really have known much about the actual Dorothy Parker, but used the name as a reference because it had come to him in a dream.

"The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" includes a reference to Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" from her 1974 album Court And Spark. Prince LOVED him some Joni.

Then one of the most "only Prince could do this" songs that's ever existed: "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker". The first song recorded at Prince's signature studio Paisley Park, it makes nearly every fan's list of the best songs on Sign O' The Times.

Prince was clearly tickled by the JFK Jr. nod — he mentioned it in song on "Big White Mansion", and on his appearance on Oprah's show in 1996 as well.

"Forever In My Life" was famously played at JFK Jr.'s wedding to Carolyn Bessette in 1996.

There comes a time... when only "Forever In My Life" will do. The most plaintively emotional song on 1987's Sign O' The Times, this was a fan-favorite to sing along to live.

Speaking of 7, "Pop Life" is the 7th track off Prince's Around The World In A Day album. It is the first track to be released with two different versions on 12" releases - Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix) and Pop Life (Extended Version), the original.

Then all the way back to 1985 for "Pop Life". Prince said of this song, in his own liner notes for his first greatest hits collection, "the jam in the ‘hood.".

"7" reached the #7 spot on the charts. No joke.

The booming bass of 1992' "7" reminds us why this was such a big single. The juxtaposition of that big beat and the warm acoustic guitars made even a very strange biblical allusion sound like a Top 10 hit.

This will do your heart good.

Perhaps one of the most beloved songs in Prince's entire catalog, it's "Starfish and Coffee", the pure-hearted gem from 1987's Sign O' The Times. Quest quickly segues into the version of it Prince re-recorded for his 1997 appearance on Muppets Tonight.

Prince performed "Starfish & Coffee" with The Muppets on Muppets Tonight in 1997.

"Sticky Like Glue" is another appearance from Prince's 20Ten album.

One of the last songs that Prince let escape from Paisley Park is "Ruff Enuff", featuring a new band lineup he was trying out, including brilliant and experimental bass player MonoNeon on bass, and Adrian Crutchfield on vocoder vocals.

"Rockhard In A Funky Place" is the final song on Prince's The Black Album. It contains a horn interpolation from Eric Leeds' "Pacemaker".

The unmistakably funky and intricate horn line of "Rock Hard in a Funky Place" takes us to 1988's Black Album. Prince is in his funkiest mode, using his distinctive Camille voice.


Quest is taking us through an "I Wonder U" rabbit hole now.

"I Wonder U" is a highlight from 1986's Parade album. We're hearing an alternate take of the song including orchestration by Clare Fischer, deeply adding to the mood and atmosphere of the track.

"Funknroll" got released twice on the same day! Once in a full-band rocking version, and once in a remixed electronic version, both on the same day in 2014 as part of the double album release of Art Official Age and on Plectrumelectrum.

"We Can Fu*k" / "We Can Funk" is one of the most interesting journeys in the oeuvre of Prince.

Next up, another classic that Prince revisited and re-recorded multiple times during the 80s: "We Can Funk". Originally conceived with a slightly less family-friendly name, Quest opens up with one of the earlier versions (later released on the deluxe version of Purple Rain), but I bet we'll eventually hear part of the 1990 version that was on Graffiti Bridge — and which included funk legend George Clinton.

"I'm Yours"! It fits right in along the prog rock hits of the time, coming off of his 1978 debut For You, it's unbelievable to think of a teenager playing every instrument on this track, but he did.

"I'm Yours" is the closing track from Prince's debut album, For You.

The Musicology era awarded us with droves of talk show appearances, an extremely successful tour, and Prince's induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS ANYONE?!!).

Jumping to 2004 with the lead track from Musicology.

A brief taste of a rehearsal cover of Sly & The Family Stone's "Higher" shows Prince's longtime love for Sly's entire catalog.

After a storytelling detour, we're on to "Props N' Pounds". Mostly released through Prince's online music club, the NPG Music Club, it was eventually included in The Slaughterhouse, a compilation of those NPGMC tracks. It opens with a sample of Kirk Loder lauding Prince in a TV interview.

After a storytelling detour, we're on to "Props N' Pounds". Mostly released through Prince's online music club, the NPG Music Club, it was eventually included in The Slaughterhouse, a compilation of those NPGMC tracks. It opens with a sample of Kirk Loder lauding Prince in a TV interview.

Onto a cover version of the Musiq Soulchild song "Just Friends (Sunny)" from Prince's live album One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain't Over.

A show to never forget: a live version of "Just Friends (Sunny)" — a cover of the Musiq Soulchild sound — features Musiq himself on vocals, Larry Graham on bass, Alicia Keys and Prince on keys, and Questlove on drums! [From Anil: I was at this show, 5 feet in front of Musiq, and will never forget a minute.]

The 3rd appearance (I believe) today from The Truth album, this is "Circle Of Amour".

We're back to 1996's album The Truth for "Circle of Amour", a sweet and romantic reminiscence that nods at Prince's high school experiences growing up in Minneapolis.

Never properly released in the U.S., the 2010 album 20Ten opened with "Compassion". We get a brief taste here.

"Sexuality" is all I'll ever need! Another anthemic track often quoted by fans, this rocking track from 1981's Controversy set the course for much of Prince's 80s sound.

In 2006, a live streamed performance of the next track "Don't Play Me" was performed at The Webby Awards.

The highlight of 1996's mostly-acoustic album The Truth is its lead single, "Don't Play Me". A brooding rumination on his career and life, as well as an unabashed claiming of Prince's confidence about his work, it features the lyric "my only competition is, well, me in the past."

There are multiple, wildly different versions of the song "Come". This one features extensive instrumental solos and a jazzy vibe; the others were deeply electronic and funky.

The lead track from Prince's 1994 'Come', the track clocks in at over 11 minutes.

Quest jokes that this is the last track he will play from 'Emancipation' while starting "Joint 2 Joint".

Sticking with tracks from 1996's Emancipation, we get the complex, jazzy "Joint 2 Joint".

The "My Computer" lyrics also showed a new maturity for the then-newlywed Prince, not just alluding to technology, but to bigger issues like mortality and parenthood.

Back to Prince's love for computers with "My Computer" - the track uses an opening and closing sample from AOL's famous "you've got mail" greeting.

From there, the 1996 collaboration with Kate Bush, "My Computer". Off of Emancipation, it was the most direct musical statement Prince ever made of how he would interact with fans online over the years — including directly joining in the fan chats on AOL at the time.

One of the most obviously political tracks in Prince's career, the 2004 "Dear Mr. Man" seemed like Prince nodding clearly to 70s-era musical activism, with its classic soul sound.

A peculiar computer-generated narrator unmistakeably opens up a brief taste of "Family Name" off of the 2001 album The Rainbow Children.

The lyrics to "Big White Mansion" include a reference to "meet John K"; the biggest celebrity wedding of the era was of JFK, Jr., and an oft-reported detail of the wedding was that the couple's first dance had been to Prince's "Forever In My Life". This seemed to be Prince returning the nod.

"White Mansion" from 'Emancipation' features Mayte Garcia (Prince's first wife)'s sister Janice Garcia laughing at something on television.

We're back to Emancipation for "Big White Mansion". Another of his many tracks of the era themed to his tensions and frustrations around his battles with the music industry, it also bouncingly nods to his deep love for Minnesota.

"Others Here With Us" is an unreleased track recorded in 1985.

"There's Others Here With Us" is undoubtedly the most evocative (and to some, downright creepy) track Prince produced in the mid-80s. Prince's passionate vocals about an afterlife are layered over a looped track of what sounds like screams.

Then we're onto "Emale" from 1996's Emancipation. It was at a time when merely name-checking a website seemed futuristic and forward-thinking. Alongside "My Computer" on the same album (which opened with a sample of the AOL "You've Got Mail" greeting), it was a nod to online fans in the early days of the Internet that he was there with them. Even the liner notes of the record mentioned AOL handles that were familiar to fans who had joined in the online chats of the time.

"Emale" is a testament to his love for the world wide web, or as Quest refers to it, the information superhighway.

As much flak as Prince has received for his views on compulsory licensing and his love of cease & desist letters, the man was ahead of the game as far as using the internet for music distribution and fam club communication.

Chappelle tells the story of getting played by Prince for this artwork in an appearance he made on the Tonight Show.

While promoting the "Art Official Age" album, Prince appeared on a special post-Super Bowl episode of the Fox comedy New Girl. In it, Prince figuratively winked towards his pancakes urban legend by including a single where he makes pancakes for Jess.

Seriously, this is the artwork for the Breakfast Can Wait Single.

Breakfast Can Wait was a late-career charmer, and the cover for the single payed tribute to one of Prince fans' favorite stories about the man: Dave Chappelle's legendary skit about Charlie Murphy having pancakes with Prince after being soundly defeated by him in a pickup basketball game.

(In true Prince fashion, other legends attribute the song to having been inspired by onetime girlfriend Susan Moonsie, and even by an assistant Prince had at the time. It wouldn't be the first time he'd told multiple women they'd inspired a track; no doubt Prince meant it every time.)

(And "She's Always In My Hair" was covered by D'Angelo for the 1997 soundtrack to 'Scream 2'. A cover that is universally loved by Prince admirers everywhere.)

Another anthem for the hardcore Prince fans, "She's Always In My Hair" was a fan-favorite despite being a b-side, and paid tribute to longtime Prince collaborator and paramour Jill Jones.

Million $ Show gives the lead to Judith Hill, one of Prince's final proteges, and an incredibly accomplished musician and vocalist who'd already been slated to back Michael Jackson on his final tour.

"Million $ Show" kicked off Prince's 'Hitnrun Phase One' album.

On the bass for What's My Name is Sonny Thompson, known to Prince fans as Sonny T — his playing here shows why Prince called him one of his childhood heros.

In 2014, Kendrick Lamar joined Prince at Paisley Park for a live freestyle-punctuated version of the song.

What's My Name is also from Crystal Ball, and features some of the best dynamic production Prince did in the era, seamlessly combining a rocking live band with frantic sound effects and scratching.

A wonderful gem from the 1998 Crystal Ball collection, Calhoun Square may be named after a real place in Minneapolis, but was huge for crowd participation during live shows no matter where he played it.

"Calhoun Square" is another fan favorite that circulated for years before being released on the 1998 box set, 'Crystal Ball'.

"Calhoun Square" is named after the Calhoun Square shopping district in Minneapolis.

CLOUDS is the perfect name for the song. An ethereal cotton candy trip into the sky.

From there, seamlessly into another vibey track: Clouds. Off of 2014's Art Official Age, it's a standout that Prince loved enough that he even performed it on Saturday Night Live as part of an unprecedented mid-show medley.

From the jazziness of The Rainbow Children, into the jazziness of one specific color - pink. The gorgeous "Pink Cashmere". Clare Fischer strings are always fire.

Pink Cashmere kicked off the release of Prince's first box set and retrospective, The Hits + The B-Sides.

A beautiful single from 1993, "Pink Cashmere" was created in 1989 as a tribute to then-paramour Anna Fantastic. She still has the pink cashmere coat.

The jazzy, smooth title track of Rainbow Children brings us to 2001, as Quest pitches up the song to bring Prince's vocals back into his normal range, instead of the lowered voice used on the album cut.

The Rainbow Children!

Onto the official version of "Letitgo" - the first single from Prince's 'Come' album.

Now we're into the regular version of Letitgo. A standout from the era when Prince had just changed his name to a symbol and was ostensibly not playing songs from his old persona, he retroactively attributed it to his former name.

*THE Pharcyde. :)

The Sherm Stick Edit is remixed by J-Swift, producer for Pharcyde. Quest comments that Prince must've been a fan of the group.

From there, we move smoothly to one of the best remixes of the 1994 single "Letitgo". Sherm's Stick Edit samples the drum fill of IIWYG.

Quest then demonstrates the different pitches when he slows and speeds the song up.

"If I Was Ur Girlfriend" is a fan fave. A live version was also included in the 'Sign O' The Times' movie.

Now a slow, instrumental rendition of "If I Was Your Girlfriend", beloved by nearly every diehard Prince fan. Perhaps a slightly lower tempo gets Prince's voice closer to how he sang the track, as opposed to the altered higher voice on the Sign O' The Times album.

"Somebody's Somebody" is off the first disc of Prince's 3-disc album 'Emancipation'. Please go watch his performance of the track on The Rosie O Donnell Show if you can.

Somebody's Somebody was standout from 1996's Emancipation album, and Quest nods to the fact that the video was a montage clip with a bit of footage from that year's live performances.

Quest breaks down the evolution of SITW and the addition of the Linn Drum.

Next up is the "Something In The Water" demo. A brilliantly passionate sparser version than the released version (which was brilliant in its own right). Prince's various demos, rehearsals, and live versions of songs are each unique and complex in their own way.

"North" is the 1st track on Prince's instrumental jazz fusion album 'N.E.W.S.'. This was his 2nd instrumental album in a row.

"Moonbeam Levels" was originally recorded in 1982, but wasn't released under 2016's posthumous '4Ever' album.

"Girl" was released as the B-Side of "America". The backwards version of the song is referred to as "Boy". :)

In 1993, "Blue Light" was test pressed as a single, but the single was left unreleased.

The "Darling Nikki' supermarket version plays next. Lol.

"U Know" uses a sample from "Blinded" by Mila J (sister of Jhene Aiko). Quest makes reference to the fact that many in the Prince community believe he only knows/plays Prince's 80s catalog. Not true at all.

"Plectrumelectrum" is an instrumental composed by Donna Grantis, originally released by her own Donna Grantis Electric Band. The song appeared on Prince's 3rd Eye Girl albun of the same name.

"Valentina" is technically dedicated to actress Salma Hayek's daughter.

"I Am" was originally slated for the 'Planet Earth' album, but it was eventually released by engineer Ian Boxill on a controversial album entitled 'Deliverance'.

Quest entertaining the crowd with a story about Prince's journey into vegetarianism.

"Animal Kingdom" was featured on the album, 'The Truth'. The album was only available for purchase with the box set: Crystal Ball.

The promotional video for "Strollin'" features Diamond & Pearl, Prince's beautiful sidekicks who accompanied him on tour & during promo for the album with the same name.

Next up is ONE OF MY FAVORITES - Prince's demo for "Desire", which was eventually released by The Family.

"The Morning Papers" is the fourth track on Prince's 14th album: The Love Symbol.

"Alexa De Paris" was the B-Side to "Mountains". It appears in Prince's movie 'Under The Cherry Moon'. The inspiration for the song was the dancer Alexa Fioroni who appears in UTCM and the "Girls & Boys" video.

Quest breaks down the evolution of SITW and the addition of the Linn Drum.

Next up is the "Something In The Water" demo. A brilliantly passionate sparser version than the released version (which was brilliant in its own right). Prince's various demos, rehearsals, and live versions of songs are each unique and complex in their own way.

"North" is the 1st track on Prince's instrumental jazz fusion album 'N.E.W.S.'. This was his 2nd instrumental album in a row.

"Moonbeam Levels" was originally recorded in 1982, but wasn't released under 2016's posthumous '4Ever' album.

"Girl" was released as the B-Side of "America". The backwards version of the song is referred to as "Boy". :)

In 1993, "Blue Light" was test pressed as a single, but the single was left unreleased.

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