About this playlist

We are thrilled to have Prince's catalogue back on Napster! Dive into the world of a master songwriter, producer and musician with his critically acclaimed albums 'Purple Rain', 'Sign O’ the Times' and '1999' or just press play on our Best Of Prince playlist.

Prince Rogers Nelson may no longer be with us but his music is going to cast a shadow of influence over pop for a very long time. He was a master musician and showman, always up for surprising his audience, and repeatedly diving into new musical waters, as if variety in the music itself were sustenance. Thus he attacked every style imaginable with the same gusto, whether they were genres traditionally associated with Afro-American artists (such as funk) or not (such as rock). In doing so, while remaining a fabulous enigma, he revitalized his own career on numerous occasions and never ceased to fascinate.

When he first appeared, as the 1970s drew to a close, Prince seemed to be a junior acolyte of Rick James, with hints of George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic guitar attack, and a voice borrowed from Smokey Robinson. His second album, 1979’s ‘Prince’ put him in the American charts, with its successor, ‘Dirty Mind’, adding controversy to his cocktail for its lewdness and raunch. However, despite firing out a ‘1999’, double album, in 1982, which included the party Armageddon classic title track (his first UK hit), it was 1984’s ‘Purple Rain’, which arrived with its own preposterous feature film, that elevated Prince into the superstar league.

From there on Prince was tireless, and musically undauntable. He made an unlikely foray into pop-psychedelia with the ‘Around the World an a Day’ album, created arguably his most iconic tune, ‘Kiss’, in 1986, and blew critics away with the sprawling genius of ‘Sign o’ the Times ‘ double. With the arrival of the ‘90s, Prince had his faous fall-out with his record label, Warner Bros. He became known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, launching a thousand gags, but also went into production hyperdrive, firi9ng out a succession of albums at a wild rate, many of them containing gems.

Thus he continued and, following a record-braking 21 night run at the O2 in autumn 2007, his reputation was immensely boosted. In recent years, he also seemed to re-engage with his muse more consistently, embracing electronic music at one level, while also rocking out when he fancied, especially with his all-female 3rdeyegirl project on the album ‘Plectrumelectrum’.

Last year was, notoriously, the annus horribilis for popular music deaths. One of the biggest shocks was when, towards the end of April, news arrived that Prince had died, almost certainly from an accidental overdose of prescription opiates. It didn’t seem real, he was only 57 and had never appeared to be one of those in perennial battles with his addictions. His home town of Minneapolis went into an extended wake, which was repeated around the world, and yet there was a positive undertow, that Prince famously had albums and albums of unreleased music. Prince, we salute you. Now press play on some of the funkiest, most badass pop music ever made.

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