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Thread started 07/15/17 4:27am

purplerabbitho
le

would Prince's later career been more respected if he had just stuck with WB?

Don't get me wrong. I respect that he fought for his masters. But I think what he did was more beneficial to the industry than it was to his career. I have no particular love for Warner Brothers and I don't know, had he remained with him, if they wouldn't have limited his creativity a bit more than we realize. But they also would have slowed his output a bit (possibly in a good way), had insured that his work was released properly, had keep him a bit more relevant in the industry, and we wouldn't have the problem we have now...half of his catalogue in the hands of his estate which doesn't seem interested in releasing it unless they get a lump sum of money from a record company. I suspect that the only way this music will get properly released now is if Warner Brother just owns all the distribution rights of his music (so there is no confusion, the music will probably get need to fall under one umbrella, so to speak.)

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Reply #1 posted 07/15/17 10:15am

kingricefan

You might be jumping the gun, so to speak. I have very little faith in WB. Nobody at WB now ever dealt with Prince while he was under their CONtract, meaning it's a whole new generation of worker bees running things at WB. I'd rather see the Estate take full control of Prince's music and release it all thru NPG records and make it available for download and sell actual cd's along with that. WB is not going to honor his legacy as the Estate would be able to. So far we've only had from WB another 'greatest hits' package and the PR deluxe re-mastered. Yes, 'they'gave us some Vault gems but it sure could have been a whole lot more.

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Reply #2 posted 07/15/17 10:24am

TKO

avatar

Sure, without marketing and massive promo many of his post 80s albums were unnoticed by the general public, and critics love success. Look at Musicology reviews while other albums like Hit N Run Phase Two were ignored.

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Reply #3 posted 07/15/17 11:09am

rdhull

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He def would have more hit albums instead of the one offs selling minuscule amounts. Him leaving a juggernaut like WB took away his momentum in the public eye and therefore folks were not privy to his later output, while not great as his classic era, nonetheless with some great moments. Vids etc could have permeated the scene pushing his presence in the public. Like a U2 or Rolling Stones.

[Edited 7/17/17 18:42pm]

And everytime I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it.. WELL CAN YA FEEL IT?!
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Reply #4 posted 07/15/17 4:31pm

twinnies

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Prince was probably happier leaving Warner Brothers. It gave him peace of mind. He once said in an interview even if one of his albums did not do all that well, it was successful to him because he had done his part by recording it and putting it out there for the fans. I respected him for doing what he wanted to do. And he seemed happy with it. I sure do miss him though.

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Reply #5 posted 07/15/17 4:41pm

sonshine

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As it relates to the lack of promotion, etc for his output post-WB: YES
Have you had your plus sign (+) today?
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Reply #6 posted 07/15/17 4:51pm

jaawwnn

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Too much would have been different to even comprehend that question.
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Reply #7 posted 07/15/17 4:53pm

jdcxc

No!

Spiritually, Prince had moved on from WB. He was done (ie. Dinner With Delores).

He needed to regain his edge. He always had a punk attitude and anti-authoritarian, contrarian approach to business. Being an independent artist was the smartest move at that point in his career.
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Reply #8 posted 07/15/17 7:00pm

Mumio

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I am completely fine with the decisions he made. It was his music, his life. I am just an enthusiastic onlooker with no say in the matter. It's all good.

Welcome to "the org", Mumio… they can have you, but I'll have your love in the end.
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Reply #9 posted 07/15/17 7:04pm

Strive

No.

He was outputting too much work, he was too ahead of the curve musically and he was out of sync with what the public wanted.

Prince swung for the fence with The Gold Experience and it did nothing. It's safe to assume that a single disc version of Emancipation, The Truth and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic would have landed with the same thud under Warner. With the way he was at war with them, they would have broken up eventually and WB being the one to drop Prince would've hurt him just as bad as the way he left.

no yesterday or tomorrow, no better remedy for sorrow
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Reply #10 posted 07/16/17 1:47pm

cloveringold85

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purplerabbithole said:

Don't get me wrong. I respect that he fought for his masters. But I think what he did was more beneficial to the industry than it was to his career. I have no particular love for Warner Brothers and I don't know, had he remained with him, if they wouldn't have limited his creativity a bit more than we realize. But they also would have slowed his output a bit (possibly in a good way), had insured that his work was released properly, had keep him a bit more relevant in the industry, and we wouldn't have the problem we have now...half of his catalogue in the hands of his estate which doesn't seem interested in releasing it unless they get a lump sum of money from a record company. I suspect that the only way this music will get properly released now is if Warner Brother just owns all the distribution rights of his music (so there is no confusion, the music will probably get need to fall under one umbrella, so to speak.)

.

Excellent question! Personally, I don't know he would have been better-off staying with WB. I think he was much happier when he went his own way; musically; spiritually; growth as a person and as an artist. He had much more creative freedom without WB.

"With love, honor, and respect for every living thing in the universe, separation ceases, and we all become one being, singing one song." - Prince Roger Nelson (1958-2016)
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Reply #11 posted 07/16/17 6:08pm

Fury

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He got a media bump when went the indie route/- good bad or indifferent, TAFKAP had people talking about him again. He just couldn't sustain the magic of TMBGITW
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Reply #12 posted 07/16/17 9:31pm

CAL3

jdcxc said:

No! Spiritually, Prince had moved on from WB. He was done (ie. Dinner With Delores). He needed to regain his edge. He always had a punk attitude and anti-authoritarian, contrarian approach to business. Being an independent artist was the smartest move at that point in his career.

.

And uh... when exactly did that happen?

.

Going "indie" was an unmitigated disaster for him.

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Reply #13 posted 07/16/17 9:42pm

CAL3

Strive said:

No.

He was outputting too much work, he was too ahead of the curve musically and he was out of sync with what the public wanted.

Prince swung for the fence with The Gold Experience and it did nothing. It's safe to assume that a single disc version of Emancipation, The Truth and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic would have landed with the same thud under Warner. With the way he was at war with them, they would have broken up eventually and WB being the one to drop Prince would've hurt him just as bad as the way he left.

.

And what do you consider "too ahead of the curve musically"? Because it sure doesn't mean he was continuing to evolve as an artist. Or that he was anywhere near anything that could be considered cutting edge in terms of influence.

.

"Swung for the fence" with Gold? Surely you jest. He wasn't touring the U.S., he wasn't doing anything remotely similar to the promotion other major-label artists do for their new releases. And he was entangled in a public squabble with the people who nutured his career for the previous 18 years and actively helped make him a global superstar.

.

Besides, it was a top ten album that went 'gold.' Not a major hit by any means, but "it did nothing" is hardly accurate when compared to, say, "The Rainbow Children."

.

Unless I'm misinterpreting what you're saying here, which certainly may be the case.

.

As for the other records you mentioned, well scratch "The Truth" off that list - a proper release (i.e. not tagged onto a colossally mis-marketed multi-disc archival release as a 'bonus disc') could've gotten some real attention. It was so different from any of his previous albums, there's really no way to know what it might've sold on its own terms if WB had been able to release it - and if it had any actual active promotion by Prince.

.

And to be fair, 'Emancipation' didn't exactly land with a thud.

.

It's just that major label or not, P was too old and too past his commercial prime and too unfashionable with the labels' target demo (teens, generally speaking) to have hit singles.

.

But with an actual company - with real PR people and actual business know-how (you know, the kinds of things P simply didn't have) - might've been able to shift more albums.

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Reply #14 posted 07/16/17 9:46pm

CAL3

jaawwnn said:

Too much would have been different to even comprehend that question.

.

I genuinely love this answer. Co-sign (as the cools kids are saying these days).

.

But it is an interesting topic to ponder and I like the OP's post.

.

I just wish the anti-WB bullshit would end, frankly. It's mostly a myth created by P himself that a bunch of fans fell for... and to which many continue to subscribe.

.

Imagine if P had NEVER signed with WB in the first place, and instead went with a label that wasn't so supportive and willing to let him develop as an artist (even with less than inspiring sales in the early years). There was probably no better place for him and we're all the better for what WB did for his career.

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Reply #15 posted 07/16/17 10:35pm

purplerabbitho
le

He always evolved an artist, maybe not in the way you would like (I am assuming with the Revolution) , but he did. There is certainly more "edge" to Days of Wild than to "take me with you". Whatever edge is to you? Edge to me isn't necessarily inventiveness. Edge is often just described as aggression and a fuck you attitude. Of course, his JW conversion stripped him of some of his fuck you attitude obviously.

As for albums like the Truth or Rainbow Children, or the GOld Experience (the gold experience does have some bite IMO), or the Love Symbol (mixed bag, but still worthy of merit) and later albums that may not have been pushing the envelope but were solid well-made efforts like HitnRun Phase II, AOA and 3121 (an electro funk album that predated and may have influenced Timberlake's much more successful album later that year) would have least had a shot to be heard. The reality is even many critics haven't heard the Truth album at all and maybe haven't heard many of his other ones since they came out, and that is partly why I think the narrative that he was basically putting out nothing of merit for the last 20 years and just tearing it up on stage is still prevalent (and quite frankly unfair) . Music is about self expression and enjoyment(not just inventive new sounds but good melodies) , not just about re-inventing the wheel but maintaining an unique voice. HIs later work is part of this man's trajectory and after his death, it would have been evaluated on its own merit (in terms of what it had to say about the man's life choices etc.) if it was actually more readily available.. I imagine most critics would have a more balanced take on it than they do now if they were actually able to hear it easily. (they would see it as a varied and mixed bag of brilliance, competency, mistakes and near misses). Also, I think his abandonment of youtube was a massive mistake (ironically, no one seems to make the connection between career mistakes like this one and his paranoia of fans stealing his work with his possible 5-10 year drug dependency.)

As for his propaganda about WB. Prince's issues with labels changed and he even lightened or softened his take on WB..As we all know. He grew to erase slave off his face, he acknowledged that Warner Brothers in particular wasn't the problem but the idea of record labels themselves. The sad truth is that at times, Prince was genuinley paranoid possible depressed man who couldn't see how lucky he was. HIs anger about not owning his masters (even of songs he produced himself without Warner Brother advances) is understandable. Unfortunately, he took a rather extreme tactic at first when he decided to fight it. Later, however, his take on WB became more nuanced and less propaganda=like. The press after his death played up the propaganda more than he was at the end of his life...Remember what label helped him release AOA??

CAL3 said:

Strive said:

No.

He was outputting too much work, he was too ahead of the curve musically and he was out of sync with what the public wanted.

Prince swung for the fence with The Gold Experience and it did nothing. It's safe to assume that a single disc version of Emancipation, The Truth and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic would have landed with the same thud under Warner. With the way he was at war with them, they would have broken up eventually and WB being the one to drop Prince would've hurt him just as bad as the way he left.

.

And what do you consider "too ahead of the curve musically"? Because it sure doesn't mean he was continuing to evolve as an artist. Or that he was anywhere near anything that could be considered cutting edge in terms of influence.

.

"Swung for the fence" with Gold? Surely you jest. He wasn't touring the U.S., he wasn't doing anything remotely similar to the promotion other major-label artists do for their new releases. And he was entangled in a public squabble with the people who nutured his career for the previous 18 years and actively helped make him a global superstar.

.

Besides, it was a top ten album that went 'gold.' Not a major hit by any means, but "it did nothing" is hardly accurate when compared to, say, "The Rainbow Children."

.

Unless I'm misinterpreting what you're saying here, which certainly may be the case.

.

As for the other records you mentioned, well scratch "The Truth" off that list - a proper release (i.e. not tagged onto a colossally mis-marketed multi-disc archival release as a 'bonus disc') could've gotten some real attention. It was so different from any of his previous albums, there's really no way to know what it might've sold on its own terms if WB had been able to release it - and if it had any actual active promotion by Prince.

.

And to be fair, 'Emancipation' didn't exactly land with a thud.

.

It's just that major label or not, P was too old and too past his commercial prime and too unfashionable with the labels' target demo (teens, generally speaking) to have hit singles.

.

But with an actual company - with real PR people and actual business know-how (you know, the kinds of things P simply didn't have) - might've been able to shift more albums.

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Reply #16 posted 07/16/17 11:45pm

novabrkr

Most artists with long careers have switched labels. Nothing odd about that.

If you think about it, the vast majority of his 1996-2004 releases weren't the type of products that could have even been hits, realistically speaking. He released albums that were stated to be contract fillers even in the booklets, a 3CD set, a 5CD set, an album released under the name "New Power Generation", a sprawling jazz-funk opus with dogmatic, religious lyrics and a lot of Internet-only stuff.

The only record during that period of time that could be consider "a normal album release" was Rave and it was a flop. Basically, he kept putting out "side project" type of albums one after another for nearly a decade. No wonder his pop star status diminished.

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Reply #17 posted 07/17/17 8:50am

purplerabbitho
le

Warner Brothers might have gotten him to pick the best songs from the sessions that led to the over-inflated Emancipation album. There is a very good 11 or 12 song album in that box set. YOu are leaving out 94 and 95. Warner Brothers might have better backed the Gold Experience (with TMBGITW being on that album, I think GE could have been a hit equivalent to Diamonds and Pearls).

Rave for all its flaws still could have been a bit more of a hit if it had gotten proper promotion.

I see your point about the oddball release strategies but those strategies would have been probably avoided had he been on good terms with WB and listened to their suggestions to not flood the market. They might have encouraged him to pick the best songs from Crystal Ball and New Power Soul and put out just one album. They might have pegged The Truth and one nite alone as 'unplugged' albums worthy of real distribution. The songs in Chaos and Disorder and the Undertaker might have been more polished and the best of the lot might have been featured on one solid well promoted albums. The songs were there, in my opinion, to work with and the songs were there to be discarded or kept in the vault to be improved later on.

novabrkr said:

Most artists with long careers have switched labels. Nothing odd about that.

If you think about it, the vast majority of his 1996-2004 releases weren't the type of products that could have even been hits, realistically speaking. He released albums that were stated to be contract fillers even in the booklets, a 3CD set, a 5CD set, an album released under the name "New Power Generation", a sprawling jazz-funk opus with dogmatic, religious lyrics and a lot of Internet-only stuff.

The only record during that period of time that could be consider "a normal album release" was Rave and it was a flop. Basically, he kept putting out "side project" type of albums one after another for nearly a decade. No wonder his pop star status diminished.

[Edited 7/17/17 9:31am]

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Reply #18 posted 07/17/17 12:45pm

laurarichardso
n

WB would have dropped him eventrually he simpley was getting older and he would have dumbed his music down to fit today's taste. Also some of you are not being realistic about WB decline. The parent company sold off the music division because it was bleeding money and it has never returned to were it once was.

Prince made the right move to leave he just burned too many bridges in the manner that he left.

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Reply #19 posted 07/17/17 1:31pm

SoulAlive

it's interesting to think about what would have happened if Prince had stayed with Warners and never went to war with them hmmm what if that massive $100 million contract (in 1992) had worked out? I don't think we would have gotten albums like Come and Chaos and Disorder,which were (let's be honest) "angry contractual filler albums".I also think that the Gold Experience might have been a 2-CD set,aggressively promoted by Warners and with alot of singles.

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Reply #20 posted 07/17/17 1:55pm

purplerabbitho
le

Good point about WB and about burning bridges. Maybe it is not WB as much as it is just big record companies in general that he should have worked better with.

laurarichardson said:

WB would have dropped him eventrually he simpley was getting older and he would have dumbed his music down to fit today's taste. Also some of you are not being realistic about WB decline. The parent company sold off the music division because it was bleeding money and it has never returned to were it once was.

Prince made the right move to leave he just burned too many bridges in the manner that he left.

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Reply #21 posted 07/17/17 2:00pm

purplerabbitho
le

I forgot about Come. Talk about an underrated album. Maybe truely ahead of its time. I have been listening to some of it today. I kind of love most of it. I don't think any of his albums were filler. I think he pegged them that way so he wouldn't have to account for any negative reaction to the album and he could approach them in a faster looser way. It probably gave him a freedom to express anger or a darker side of his persona (and WB was just a general kind of target.) That being said, a real company behind those projects might have gotten them more attention and encouraged Prince to tighten up the albums a bit more. I think there are good things about both albums (its subjective obviously. Chaos adn Disorder might feel like filler to those who dislike the album more than to those who do not.)

SoulAlive said:

it's interesting to think about what would have happened if Prince had stayed with Warners and never went to war with them hmmm what if that massive $100 million contract (in 1992) had worked out? I don't think we would have gotten albums like Come and Chaos and Disorder,which were (let's be honest) "angry contractual filler albums".I also think that the Gold Experience might have been a 2-CD set,aggressively promoted by Warners and with alot of singles.

[Edited 7/17/17 14:02pm]

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Reply #22 posted 07/17/17 2:13pm

DD55

purplerabbithole said:

I forgot about Come. Talk about an underrated album. Maybe truely ahead of its time. I have been listening to some of it today. I kind of love most of it. I don't think any of his albums were filler. I think he pegged them that way so he wouldn't have to account for any negative reaction to the album and he could approach them in a faster looser way. It probably gave him a freedom to express anger or a darker side of his persona (and WB was just a general kind of target.) That being said, a real company behind those projects might have gotten them more attention and encouraged Prince to tighten up the albums a bit more. I think there are good things about both albums (its subjective obviously. Chaos adn Disorder might feel like filler to those who dislike the album more than to those who do not.)

SoulAlive said:

it's interesting to think about what would have happened if Prince had stayed with Warners and never went to war with them hmmm what if that massive $100 million contract (in 1992) had worked out? I don't think we would have gotten albums like Come and Chaos and Disorder,which were (let's be honest) "angry contractual filler albums".I also think that the Gold Experience might have been a 2-CD set,aggressively promoted by Warners and with alot of singles.

[Edited 7/17/17 14:02pm]

I don’t know about being more respected if he stayed with WB, that could go either way.
I do remember at the time of the start of the WB issues being really impressed with him, he was willing to put his career on the line for something he believed in. I totally respected him! Then as time passed, he just started to be a brat and I think he lost some respect from the public due to his own actions and comments. Once he wasn’t taken seriously by the public, his career suffered. IMHO
.
DD55
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Reply #23 posted 07/17/17 3:32pm

CAL3

purplerabbithole said:

He always evolved an artist, maybe not in the way you would like (I am assuming with the Revolution) , but he did.

.

WTF?

.

What about what I said gave you THAT idea?

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Reply #24 posted 07/17/17 3:36pm

CAL3

laurarichardson said:

WB would have dropped him eventrually he simpley was getting older and he would have dumbed his music down to fit today's taste. Also some of you are not being realistic about WB decline. The parent company sold off the music division because it was bleeding money and it has never returned to were it once was.

Prince made the right move to leave he just burned too many bridges in the manner that he left.

.

WILD-ass speculation. That's actually ridiculous.

.

And uh, "dumbed down his music to fit today's taste" is pretty much EXACTLY what he was trying to do in some cases around that era (and also after).

.

"made the right move to leave" --- in the sense that it's what he wanted to do, yeah he made the decision he wanted to make

.

That is turned out to be career suicide - in the sense that the general population largely ignored nearly 20 years worth of releases - come on now.

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Reply #25 posted 07/17/17 3:42pm

CAL3

purplerabbithole said:

I forgot about Come. Talk about an underrated album. Maybe truely ahead of its time. I have been listening to some of it today. I kind of love most of it. I don't think any of his albums were filler. I think he pegged them that way so he wouldn't have to account for any negative reaction to the album and he could approach them in a faster looser way. It probably gave him a freedom to express anger or a darker side of his persona (and WB was just a general kind of target.) That being said, a real company behind those projects might have gotten them more attention and encouraged Prince to tighten up the albums a bit more. I think there are good things about both albums (its subjective obviously. Chaos adn Disorder might feel like filler to those who dislike the album more than to those who do not.)

.

Underrated? It was a deliberately patchy, subpar, slipshod, grabbag of material.

.

Ahead of its time? In what way? Certainly not musically in any quantifiable way. It was a harbinger of things to come because it turned out not to be the last patchy, subpar, slipshod grabbag of material he would release.

.

Prince was his own worst enemy once the conflict with WB began. Seriously, he dumped 'Come' on them like it was a pile of trash - and didn't do much to promote it. He did himself no favors in those years.

.

Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with liking "Come" as an album, I like some of the songs on there too.

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Reply #26 posted 07/17/17 3:44pm

Silvertongue7

rdhull said:

He def would have more hiy albums instead of the one offs selling minuscue anounts. Him leaving a juggernaut like WB took away his momentum in the public eye and therefore folks were not privy to his later output, while not great as his classic era, nonetheless with some great moments. Vids etc could have permeated the scene pushing his presence in the public. Like a U2 or Rolling Stones.


I think he would have been a lot more successful, and his albums, while less frequent, might have been better, or at least more consistent. But realistically, would Prince have been happy with a career similar to U2's or to the last 30 years of The Rolling Stones? And would we have been happier?
Someone's in my body, someone's in my body...
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Reply #27 posted 07/17/17 6:46pm

rdhull

avatar

Silvertongue7 said:

rdhull said:

He def would have more hiy albums instead of the one offs selling minuscue anounts. Him leaving a juggernaut like WB took away his momentum in the public eye and therefore folks were not privy to his later output, while not great as his classic era, nonetheless with some great moments. Vids etc could have permeated the scene pushing his presence in the public. Like a U2 or Rolling Stones.

I think he would have been a lot more successful, and his albums, while less frequent, might have been better, or at least more consistent. But realistically, would Prince have been happy with a career similar to U2's or to the last 30 years of The Rolling Stones? And would we have been happier?

Yes. Because he was not happy not being in the public eye and charts with some of his later material. He cn claim no.1 at the bank but dude did protest too much at times as not to care. The Gold Experience with a full on WB backing would have really throw him over the top in the 90's: backed tour, dcent vid that would be played on the tv shows, etc. This would have endeared him even more in that decade, instead of turning into 80's Michael Jackson per the general audience. The goodwill would have kept the momentum where his tours would be larger venues, sold out, and he would be revered as RS and U2, even though he is now. But it would have been 'consistent' in the 90's. It took until 2004 RRHOF and Musicology to bring him back..or the public back rather.

[Edited 7/17/17 18:53pm]

And everytime I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it.. WELL CAN YA FEEL IT?!
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Reply #28 posted 07/17/17 6:48pm

laurarichardso
n

CAL3 said:



purplerabbithole said:


I forgot about Come. Talk about an underrated album. Maybe truely ahead of its time. I have been listening to some of it today. I kind of love most of it. I don't think any of his albums were filler. I think he pegged them that way so he wouldn't have to account for any negative reaction to the album and he could approach them in a faster looser way. It probably gave him a freedom to express anger or a darker side of his persona (and WB was just a general kind of target.) That being said, a real company behind those projects might have gotten them more attention and encouraged Prince to tighten up the albums a bit more. I think there are good things about both albums (its subjective obviously. Chaos adn Disorder might feel like filler to those who dislike the album more than to those who do not.)



.


Underrated? It was a deliberately patchy, subpar, slipshod, grabbag of material.


.


Ahead of its time? In what way? Certainly not musically in any quantifiable way. It was a harbinger of things to come because it turned out not to be the last patchy, subpar, slipshod grabbag of material he would release.


.


Prince was his own worst enemy once the conflict with WB began. Seriously, he dumped 'Come' on them like it was a pile of trash - and didn't do much to promote it. He did himself no favors in those years.


.


Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with liking "Come" as an album, I like some of the songs on there too.



He was leaving the lable. Why would he promote anything if was not going to be around much longer?
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Reply #29 posted 07/17/17 6:56pm

luvsexy4all

it wouldve if people stopped with the 80's hype....and bothered to listen to all the great stuff he did in the 90s

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