On the iPlayer now. I would have thought it unquestionable that Prince is one of the most prodigiously gifted musicians to have ever drawn breath, but I don't recall much discussion of him on SOTW. (Unless there is stuff from way back or I've overlooked.) Baffled as to why, though I guess there is a recurrent anti-80s antipathy here that perhaps corrals him into its baleful disdain. Not sweaty enough ? Not ''''''''''authentic'''''''''' ?
But..... Little Red Corvette, 1999, Raspberry Beret, Kiss, If I Were Your Girlfriend, Gett Off, Damn U (token obscure album track), and there are so many others one could list, aren't these as good as it gets ?
As Nick Kent once pointed out: the 80s didn't deserve Prince. He was the real thing in an era full of charlatans - by which I mean he was a prodigiously talented all-round musician and songwriter. He always reminded me of Little Richard for some reason. I'm away from Mission Control at the moment but look forward to watching the documentary when I return.
In answer to your question Andy, yes those songs are as good as it gets. And John, although 'hits' can mean diddly on the SOTW, having enough to fill 2 CDs ain't too bad. But I agree with the implication that a lot of his quantity wasn't quality.
First heard him when I Wanna Be Your Lover was a hit in NZ - all the girls in my class instantly were crazy about him, we boys all thought he was a bit bent. That was 79. Next heard Dirty Mind and realised he was way out there - beyond all that fake NY funk then being touted by The Face and NME. Then 1999 broke him massive everywhere. Damn, those singles were good. Watched Purple Rain on acid - still an awful film. Still has one of the great singles of that or any era. Followed him until the early 90s when the records seemed to be very samey - tho the Batman soundtrack was pants - and the hits tailed off (OK there were still hits like Most Beautiful Girl and CREAM but they felt generic and compromised compared to Corvette or Lover or When You Were Mine or etc). He is bloody annoying - as is Little Richard who he also reminds me of. Never seen him live as i hate stadium gigs but would love to see him somewhere like Brixton. Strange bloke. Not seen the programme yet. Not sure if I need to cos I know his good stuff so well and there is no horrible meltdown or unknown secrets to be discovered. Why aint we discussed him here before? No idea. Nice one Andy.
The most interesting bits in the docu are about his early days - bandmates / managers etc talk about him before he was famous, and some interesting speculations about whether you can trace a link between his generic profligacy (my phrase, not theirs) and the context of being a young black kid in a very white city, exposing him to lots of Midwest rock he'd have avoided growing up somewhere with a more substantial black subculture. The geography of music - always an interesting topic.
I've read 2 bios on Prince - neither writer had any access and neither offers much illumination on what makes him tick - I wonder if being a small, light-skinned black man also made him look towards white rock where many a shorty who wants to be black has succeeded? Photos of him as a youth show him with an afro and playing basketball so he certainly didn't run from everyday black activities but in Purple Rain he cast a white actress as his mom (when both his folks are black) and he has long straightened his hair and tends to date either light skinned or Latin women. Hmmmm. Endlessly fascinating is Mr Rodgers, I just wish he would make some engaging music again.