Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Song #358 of 9999 - Kiss by Prince

Song #358 of 9999

Title: Kiss
Artist: Prince
Year: 1986
Album: Parade

I like to learn and I'm guessing you like to learn to! Which is why tonight I'm going to share some stuff I learned just minutes ago ON THE INTERNET. But Frank, couldn't I just go find this stuff on the internet myself? Well, of course you can, silly! But as a service to you, I am gathering all the information from several unreliable sources and bringing it to you FREE OF CHARGE. So let's begin.

As you know, Prince was more than just a singer/songwriter/musician. He was a purveyor of talent. He went out and discovered people like Sheila E. and Wendy and Lisa and Morris Day and the Time and, when he was through with them, they sounded like even more miniature versions of Prince. He even wrote a lot of their songs! So one day, he whipped up a little one-minute 24-bar blues acoustic number—just one verse and one chorus—and gave it to the funk band Mazarati. Mazarati took it to the studio and together with producer David Z. created this:

Pretty interesting, huh? That's what Prince thought too so he decided to take it back! I can just imagine him standing there in his purple jacket, listening for the first time, falling silent and turning beet red before yelling "Everyone get the fuck out of the studio!" Then he sat down and took this destined-for-obscurity song and turned it into this:

Awesome, right? Well yeah, easy to say that now. Warner Brothers hated it and didn't think it could succeed as a single. The minimalist arrangement stayed intact and Prince stripped it down even more by removing the bass (remember that trick from "When Doves Cry"?). He added some funky guitar but kept the whole thing free from reverb and other effects. He also changed the drums, which are more impactful, and most obviously, he replaced the lead vocal with his sweet-and-sour version, which features some of his best histrionics on the final chorus.

And that's the true story of how Prince stole his own song from the guys he gave it to. And you read it here ON THE INTERNET.

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