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1999:Prince

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1999 is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Prince. It released on October 27, 1982 by Warner Bros. Records. The album was his first top ten album on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States (peaking at number 9) and became the fifth best-selling album of 1983 and was certified Multi-Platinum by RIAA. 1999 was Prince's breakthrough album, but his next album, Purple Rain, would become his most successful. The title track was a protest against nuclear proliferation and became his first top ten hit in countries outside the United States.

It was also the first album to feature The Revolution. The band's moniker is written in reverse on the front cover.

According to the Rolling Stone Album Guide, "1999 may be Prince's most influential album: Its synth-and-drum machine-heavy arrangements codified the Minneapolis sound that loomed over mid-'80s R&B and pop, not to mention the next two decades' worth of electro, house, and techno."[5] In 2003, the TV network VH1 placed 1999 49th in its list of the greatest albums of all time. The album was also part of Slant Magazine's list "The 50 Most Essential Pop Albums"[12] and the magazine listed the album at #8 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[13] The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.[14] In 2003, the album was ranked number 163 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[15]

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 History

History[edit]Edit

Originally released on vinyl as a double LP (the first of a number of double sets from Prince), 1999 was cut to a single vinyl edition in some countries; Brazil, for example, opted to issue the release as two separate vinyl albums, 1999 I and 1999 II.[16] The original compact disc version of the album was also cut, omitting "D.M.S.R.". There is a disclaimer on the back cover of the original compact disc pressing that reads "To enable the release of 1999 as a single compact disc, the song DMSR has been omitted from the original LP edition".[17] Later compact disc pressings (from a 1992 reissue onward) included the track. Also, on the cassette release, "Free" was placed after "D.M.S.R." to end the first side, balancing out the lengths of both sides of the cassette.

The album's opening title track, "1999", was also its first single, initially peaking at 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was later re-released, hitting number 12 on the Billboard charts once interest in the album had caught fire with the release of1999's second single, "Little Red Corvette", which peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and heralded Prince's rise to superstardom. The music video for the song was significant in itself as one of the first videos by a black artist to receive "heavy rotation" airplay on the newly launched music video channel, MTV. The two tracks were later combined as a double A-side single in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 2. A third single, "Delirious", still managed top ten status in the United States, but a fourth, the double-sided single "Let's Pretend We're Married"/"Irresisttible Bitch", got no further than number 52.

While "Little Red Corvette" helped Prince cross over to the wider rock audience, the rest of the album retains the elements of previous albums and is dominated by funk and synthesizer dance tracks. The album is, however, notable amongst Prince's catalogue for its wide variety of imagery and themes besides the sexual themes that had already become something of a trademark on previous albums. "Automatic", extending to almost ten minutes, starts side three of the album with a cocktail of synthesizers and bawdy bondage-inspired lyrical imagery which, transplanted to the music video for the track (with a scene that depicted Prince being tied up and whipped by band-members Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones), was, in 1983, considered too hot for MTV. "Free" is a delicate piano ballad expressing patriotism, and how fellow Americans should appreciate their freedom, while "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)", an ode to a harsh lover, is the centerpiece of a preoccupation with Computer Age themes that would continue into future albums. This "computer" theme is also reflected in the album's instrumentation, with Prince fully embracing the gadgetry and sounds of emergent electro-funk and '80s sequencing technology on tracks like "Let's Pretend We're Married" and "All the Critics Love U in New York", songs that widen his use of synthesizers and effects and prominently feature his noted uses of the Linn LM-1 drum machine. Prince himself admitted at the time the movie Blade Runner was an influence on the album's synth sound and look in the music videos for the album.

The album's critical and commercial success secured Prince a place in the public psyche, and marked the beginning of two years of intense activity which, via massively successful tours, hit singles and a Hollywood movie, would make Prince arguably the biggest male musical star on the planet next to Michael Jackson. In 2003, the album was ranked number 163 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[15]

The album's cover features elements from the front cover of Prince's previous album, Controversy; namely the eyes and the "Rude Boy" pin in the "1999", the jacket studs in the "R" and the smile in the "P". The "1" in Prince contains the words "and the Revolution" written backwards, both acknowledging his backing band and foreshadowing the next four years of his career.

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by Prince

No. Title Length
1. "1999"   6:15
2. "Little Red Corvette"   5:03
3. "Delirious"   4:00
4. "Let's Pretend We're Married"   7:21
5. "D.M.S.R."   8:17
6. "Automatic"   9:28
7. "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)"   4:02
8. "Free"   5:08
9. "Lady Cab Driver"   8:19
10. "All the Critics Love U in New York"   5:59
11. "International Lover"   6:37

2-LP/CD[edit]Edit

1-LP edited version[edit]Edit

Personnel[edit]Edit

  • Prince - all other vocals and instruments
  • Dez Dickerson - co-lead vocals (1), guitar solos and backing vocals (2)
  • Lisa Coleman - co-lead vocals (1), backing vocals (3, 5, 6, 8)
  • Jill Jones - co-lead vocals (1), backing vocals (6, 8, 9)
  • Wendy Melvoin - backing vocals (8)

[18]

Singles[edit]Edit

  • "1999" (#12 US, #4 US R&B, #25 UK)
  1. "1999"
  2. "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" – 3:51 (B-side of "1999")
  1. "Little Red Corvette"
  2. "All the Critics Love U in New York"
  1. "Delirious"
  2. "Horny Toad"
  1. "Let's Pretend We're Married"
  2. "Irresistible Bitch"
  1. "Automatic"
  2. "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)"

Certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[19] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Charts[edit]Edit

Peak positions[edit]Edit

Chart Position
Australian Kent Music Report[22] 35
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[23] 23
Dutch Albums Chart[24] 45
New Zealand Albums Chart[25] 6
UK Albums Chart[26] 30
U.S. Billboard 200[27] 9
U.S. Billboard R&B Albums[27] 4

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1983) Position
U.S. Billboard Pop Albums[28] 5
Chart (1984) Position
U.S. Billboard Pop Albums[29] 22

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