The series of albums Prince released between 1982 and 1987 are among the most vital and innovative within the popular music canon. An introverted prodigy, Prince appeared out of Minneapolis with his 1978 album, For You, on which the 18-year-old played, recorded and wrote almost every note. Championed by initial manager Owen Husney, Prince signed a contract with Warner Brothers Records that gave him both publishing rights and creative control. His self-titled second album was a huge hit and the single I Wanna Be Your Lover established him a major creative, yet original force. By the mid-80s, his funk-inspired grooves had expanded to incorporate rock, and with his then backing band The Revolution, he embarked on 1984’s film and soundtrack Purple Rain. The album went on to sell nearly 14 million units in the USA alone, and the film grossed over $80 million. Although subsequent films failed to replicate its success, Prince's artistic highpoint was the film and double album, Sign O' The Times from 1987, a sprawling, occasionally indulgent masterwork that fleetingly put him equal to artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. With his new band, the New Power Generation, the 90s saw him locked in legal dispute with Warners to the point where he changed his name to a written symbol. His prolific output lacked quality control at times and alienated fans. By the 00s, his albums Musicology and Planet Earth were sterling returns to form - the latter being supported in 2008 by 21 nights at London's 02 Arena.
Followers: D'Angelo, Maxwell, Terence Trent D'Arby, Jamie Lidell, Mayer Hawthorne, Hot Chip
Influenced By: James Brown, Sly Stone, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Rick James...