65 Songs, 5 Hours 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Since Prince’s death in 2016, we’ve begun to get glimpses inside his legendary vaults that we likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Following the cassette demos of 2018’s Piano & a Microphone 1983 comes this “super deluxe” reissue of 1999, the double LP that would make him a household name. Remastered for the first time since its release in 1982, this version also includes a comprehensive collection of previously unreleased material recorded between late 1981 and early 1983, as well as an especially gripping live set from Detroit’s Masonic Temple in November 1982. It’s a snapshot of one of pop’s greatest (and most enigmatic) artists at the start of a decade he’d define, pieced together by Michael Howe, Prince’s former A&R person turned vault archivist. “Just the sheer volume of material is remarkable,” Howe tells Apple Music. “But the quality is astonishingly high—even the stuff that he was casting aside or giving to other artists at that point was in many cases better than other artists’ very best work. This was a guy who recognized that he could and would become the biggest star in the world, while not making a tremendous amount of compromises musically.” Here, Howe shines a light on some of the reissue’s key recordings.

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2)
“One that held a particularly poignant place, because Peggy McCreary, who was the engineer for all of the sessions at [Los Angeles studio] Sunset Sound, mentioned to me one day that that particular session was her very favourite thing that she and Prince ever did together. And she was frequently the only other person in the room during the recording of a tremendous amount of Prince's most iconic compositions. She mentioned that there was kind of an extended version, and she and Prince had gotten together in the evening at the studio and Prince—who was not a drinker, nor was Peggy—decided to order two bottles of booze: Rémy Martin for Peggy and Blue Nun or something for Prince. They both got a little bit tipsy and Prince went out and banged out in real time what you're hearing on the tape. Take one was later released on the compilation The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993. But this second take, which I think is even more emotionally fascinating, we didn't even know existed. This is the one I think Peggy was referring to, where you almost hear Prince kind of choking back tears in some of the lines. It's a pretty riveting, emotional proposition. Prince, for whatever reason, I think was unusually vulnerable, and was not somebody who probably let a lot of people into his inner sanctum. So to be able to peek behind the curtain a little bit and hear the emotional charge that's occurring in real time is a pretty compelling thing.”

International Lover (Take 1) [Live In Studio]
“There was, when we put the two-inch reel up, an instructional take, which has just Morris Day on the drums and Prince on piano and vocal walking through the song. Obviously the song was intended for The Time and Prince decided, I think, after listening to take one, that he needed to keep it for himself, so take two is the actual master that he did everything on. But take one is very interesting—even though it's similar, it's an entirely different experience. Very stripped down, very intimate, and a very unguarded moment for Prince. You can hear him kind of laughing through some of the verses, and there's a lot of humanity in it.”

Purple Music
“‘Purple Music’ is intriguing on a number of levels. Aside from being a more extended track, it has a pretty divisive reputation in the Prince community. I think some fans find it sort of moralistically off-putting. But it's an interesting view into Prince's mindset at the time, where he's essentially saying that he doesn't need anything but his creative energies to make himself whole—that the temptations that were entering his world on an increasingly regular basis were less satisfying to him than the joy he got from just creating music. He doesn't need any drugs, basically. Music is his drug.”

Moonbeam Levels (2019 Remaster)
“Of all the things that are in this collection, ‘Moonbeam Levels’ is probably the one that came closest to making the final album. That was recorded at the very tail end of the sessions in, I think, early July of '82. Jill Jones, who was increasingly present in Prince's life at that point, was present at the sessions, I believe, in addition to Peggy. But this is another [song] where Prince basically did the whole thing essentially in real time front to back. And it's a pretty moving song, one of the more complete statements. It feels less marginalized than some of the other [songs from Prince's vault]. You can understand in some cases why a good portion of the material didn't make the record, but ‘Moonbeam Levels’ could have fit on without much difficulty. It's fully evolved.”

Do Yourself a Favor
“That was actually written by a guy called Pepe Willie, who married into Prince's family and was kind of a musical mentor to Prince in the early days. It was actually called ‘If You See Me’ when it was written by Pepe Willie and played by Prince in a band called 94 East, which Pepe actually was the leader of. Then after Prince drifted out of 94 East and began his own career, he revisited it and reimagined it as ‘Do Yourself a Favor.’ The legend is that he just sat down and played it entirely from memory after not having thought about it for about four or five years. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's certainly his own interpretation of Pepe’s song.”

Do Me, Baby (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit)
“Unbelievable. There's a two-and-a-half- or three-minute intro where Prince is walking around the stage kind of taunting the audience and humping the piano, doing the things that he would normally do. But it is such an incredible, particularly vocal take. There is just so much pathos in the thing that it's sort of difficult to describe without listening to. Listen to it at top volume, either on a really good stereo or with excellent headphones, and I think you'll get the gist—you can hear him going from 0 to 60 to full throttle on a dime. His vocal control and his command on the stage is astonishingly apparent.”

Vagina
“‘Vagina’ is almost certainly something that was intended for a protégé act called The Hookers, which was really the precursor to Vanity 6. It was Vanity 6 before Vanity ended up drifting into the group. It was a sort of Go-Go’s/Runaways/Gary Numan hybrid. And ‘Vagina,’ I think, was intended to be a part of that body of work. Denise, who became Vanity, ended up being introduced to Prince. And his desire, as far as I understand, was that she call herself ‘Vagina,’ which she probably wisely declined to do, and that's how she became Vanity. ‘Vagina’ is the song I think he had in mind when contemplating what Vanity 6 could’ve been had she taken a different name.”

You’re All I Want
“A song that was performed in tandem with a woman named Kim Upsher, who was a paramour of Prince’s, although I don't think they were still dating at the time that she actually sang [it]. There is a version of 'You're All I Want' with Kim's vocal and Prince's vocal on it through the rough mix, but the master on the expanded body of work is just Prince's version. It's kind of a breezy, comparatively lightweight track, but it's a nice juxtaposition to stuff like 'Irresistible Bitch' and 'Feel U Up,' which are a little bit more aggressive from a thematic standpoint.”

Teacher, Teacher
“That was one he actually came back to in the summer of '85 and Wendy [Melvoin] and Lisa [Coleman] added their own vocals and overdubs, and I think it was contemplated for either Parade or what became Dream Factory. But 'Teacher, Teacher' feels like something that would have been better placed in the mid-’80s than the version that exists on this expanded body of work. He probably recognized that his vision for what the Revolution became, a kind of collision of Sly & The Family Stone and maybe Fleetwood Mac, would be a better vehicle for conveying the emotional content of the song. To that extent, I think it was ahead of its time. It's not a particularly sophisticated song, structurally, but the extent that he was able to peer into the future a little bit, and recognize that female vocals would probably serve it better three years down the line, is notable.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Since Prince’s death in 2016, we’ve begun to get glimpses inside his legendary vaults that we likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Following the cassette demos of 2018’s Piano & a Microphone 1983 comes this “super deluxe” reissue of 1999, the double LP that would make him a household name. Remastered for the first time since its release in 1982, this version also includes a comprehensive collection of previously unreleased material recorded between late 1981 and early 1983, as well as an especially gripping live set from Detroit’s Masonic Temple in November 1982. It’s a snapshot of one of pop’s greatest (and most enigmatic) artists at the start of a decade he’d define, pieced together by Michael Howe, Prince’s former A&R person turned vault archivist. “Just the sheer volume of material is remarkable,” Howe tells Apple Music. “But the quality is astonishingly high—even the stuff that he was casting aside or giving to other artists at that point was in many cases better than other artists’ very best work. This was a guy who recognized that he could and would become the biggest star in the world, while not making a tremendous amount of compromises musically.” Here, Howe shines a light on some of the reissue’s key recordings.

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2)
“One that held a particularly poignant place, because Peggy McCreary, who was the engineer for all of the sessions at [Los Angeles studio] Sunset Sound, mentioned to me one day that that particular session was her very favourite thing that she and Prince ever did together. And she was frequently the only other person in the room during the recording of a tremendous amount of Prince's most iconic compositions. She mentioned that there was kind of an extended version, and she and Prince had gotten together in the evening at the studio and Prince—who was not a drinker, nor was Peggy—decided to order two bottles of booze: Rémy Martin for Peggy and Blue Nun or something for Prince. They both got a little bit tipsy and Prince went out and banged out in real time what you're hearing on the tape. Take one was later released on the compilation The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993. But this second take, which I think is even more emotionally fascinating, we didn't even know existed. This is the one I think Peggy was referring to, where you almost hear Prince kind of choking back tears in some of the lines. It's a pretty riveting, emotional proposition. Prince, for whatever reason, I think was unusually vulnerable, and was not somebody who probably let a lot of people into his inner sanctum. So to be able to peek behind the curtain a little bit and hear the emotional charge that's occurring in real time is a pretty compelling thing.”

International Lover (Take 1) [Live In Studio]
“There was, when we put the two-inch reel up, an instructional take, which has just Morris Day on the drums and Prince on piano and vocal walking through the song. Obviously the song was intended for The Time and Prince decided, I think, after listening to take one, that he needed to keep it for himself, so take two is the actual master that he did everything on. But take one is very interesting—even though it's similar, it's an entirely different experience. Very stripped down, very intimate, and a very unguarded moment for Prince. You can hear him kind of laughing through some of the verses, and there's a lot of humanity in it.”

Purple Music
“‘Purple Music’ is intriguing on a number of levels. Aside from being a more extended track, it has a pretty divisive reputation in the Prince community. I think some fans find it sort of moralistically off-putting. But it's an interesting view into Prince's mindset at the time, where he's essentially saying that he doesn't need anything but his creative energies to make himself whole—that the temptations that were entering his world on an increasingly regular basis were less satisfying to him than the joy he got from just creating music. He doesn't need any drugs, basically. Music is his drug.”

Moonbeam Levels (2019 Remaster)
“Of all the things that are in this collection, ‘Moonbeam Levels’ is probably the one that came closest to making the final album. That was recorded at the very tail end of the sessions in, I think, early July of '82. Jill Jones, who was increasingly present in Prince's life at that point, was present at the sessions, I believe, in addition to Peggy. But this is another [song] where Prince basically did the whole thing essentially in real time front to back. And it's a pretty moving song, one of the more complete statements. It feels less marginalized than some of the other [songs from Prince's vault]. You can understand in some cases why a good portion of the material didn't make the record, but ‘Moonbeam Levels’ could have fit on without much difficulty. It's fully evolved.”

Do Yourself a Favor
“That was actually written by a guy called Pepe Willie, who married into Prince's family and was kind of a musical mentor to Prince in the early days. It was actually called ‘If You See Me’ when it was written by Pepe Willie and played by Prince in a band called 94 East, which Pepe actually was the leader of. Then after Prince drifted out of 94 East and began his own career, he revisited it and reimagined it as ‘Do Yourself a Favor.’ The legend is that he just sat down and played it entirely from memory after not having thought about it for about four or five years. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's certainly his own interpretation of Pepe’s song.”

Do Me, Baby (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit)
“Unbelievable. There's a two-and-a-half- or three-minute intro where Prince is walking around the stage kind of taunting the audience and humping the piano, doing the things that he would normally do. But it is such an incredible, particularly vocal take. There is just so much pathos in the thing that it's sort of difficult to describe without listening to. Listen to it at top volume, either on a really good stereo or with excellent headphones, and I think you'll get the gist—you can hear him going from 0 to 60 to full throttle on a dime. His vocal control and his command on the stage is astonishingly apparent.”

Vagina
“‘Vagina’ is almost certainly something that was intended for a protégé act called The Hookers, which was really the precursor to Vanity 6. It was Vanity 6 before Vanity ended up drifting into the group. It was a sort of Go-Go’s/Runaways/Gary Numan hybrid. And ‘Vagina,’ I think, was intended to be a part of that body of work. Denise, who became Vanity, ended up being introduced to Prince. And his desire, as far as I understand, was that she call herself ‘Vagina,’ which she probably wisely declined to do, and that's how she became Vanity. ‘Vagina’ is the song I think he had in mind when contemplating what Vanity 6 could’ve been had she taken a different name.”

You’re All I Want
“A song that was performed in tandem with a woman named Kim Upsher, who was a paramour of Prince’s, although I don't think they were still dating at the time that she actually sang [it]. There is a version of 'You're All I Want' with Kim's vocal and Prince's vocal on it through the rough mix, but the master on the expanded body of work is just Prince's version. It's kind of a breezy, comparatively lightweight track, but it's a nice juxtaposition to stuff like 'Irresistible Bitch' and 'Feel U Up,' which are a little bit more aggressive from a thematic standpoint.”

Teacher, Teacher
“That was one he actually came back to in the summer of '85 and Wendy [Melvoin] and Lisa [Coleman] added their own vocals and overdubs, and I think it was contemplated for either Parade or what became Dream Factory. But 'Teacher, Teacher' feels like something that would have been better placed in the mid-’80s than the version that exists on this expanded body of work. He probably recognized that his vision for what the Revolution became, a kind of collision of Sly & The Family Stone and maybe Fleetwood Mac, would be a better vehicle for conveying the emotional content of the song. To that extent, I think it was ahead of its time. It's not a particularly sophisticated song, structurally, but the extent that he was able to peer into the future a little bit, and recognize that female vocals would probably serve it better three years down the line, is notable.”

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