Prince - Funk Until the Dawn
During our lunch break at school, I would go to a mates house for lunch and have beans and mini sausages on white toast. While feasting on baked bean goodness, Gareth would flick through his albums to try and find something I had not heard or owned.
I remember this one afternoon he asked if I had heard of Prince, I had not. He showed me the cover of the album, and I remember thinking Gareth had lost it. He removed the black vinyl from the sleeve as if it was a precious and delicate artefact and placed it on the plater. The needled glided into the groove and his speaker cones leapt forward the retracted, seconds later they were pounding out this almighty beat, it was as funky as James, as messed up as George and as precise as Kraftwerk.
The song was ‘Erotic City’ and Prince’s highly sexualised delivery and lyrics blew my tiny mind. I had never heard anything as explicit as this before, and certainly never anything as erotic. Our initial reaction was to giggle because Price sang the word Fuck.
We listened to the track over and over again, and it was like Prince triggered our puberty. Before hearing that record, I don’t think I had much interest in girls or sex, but after hearing ‘Erotic City’ that afternoon I became obsessed with both.
The first time I saw Prince live was around 1991; he played the Wembley Arena, and a few of us managed to score some tickets from a scalp who did not grasp the concept of scalping as we paid face value.
During that show Prince played the piano with one hand and the Guitar with the other, but for us, the greatest moment was when he covered Digital Underground’s Humpty Dance, which was blowing up dancefloors in Hip Hop clubs. For us this gesture affirmed our music choices, it was as if he had given Hip Hop his seal of approval.
I have been lucky enough to see Prince live a few times, each time he absolutely rocked the house, the last time I saw him was at Hop Farm, during that show he said he had so many hits that we could be partying until next week. Selecting the tracks for these two mixes, I now know he was not kidding.
R.I.P. Prince Rogers Nelson, thank you for the music and the memories.