On the eve of the second anniversary of his death, we’re devoting tonight’s Last Call to Prince. We invite you to share your memories in the comments section.
The day TMZ announced Prince’s death two years ago, I busted into a meeting of the top editors at The A.V. Club, including my boss and my boss’s boss. It seemed that important, like the president had died; I just thought they should know immediately. It was a hard hit, especially so soon after Bowie. Prince was the soundtrack to my coolest high parties, back when 1999 still seemed a ways away. Purple Rain was our straight-up definitive movie musical event. When I lived in England, it seemed like Prince was on the cover of Melody Maker every single week; it was as if they shrugged, “no one is better than Prince right now.” So of course I always kept up with him, thrilling to his Superbowl performance and straight-up loving his strange appearance on New Girl.
Even after his death, Prince can still surprise me, like this footage released today of his original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” six years before Sinead O’Connor made the song famous. The video shows Prince rehearsing with his band, adding spirited horns and strong backing vocals to a composition usually identified by O’Connor’s slow minimalism and stirring strings. It’s my new favorite version of this song I’ve loved for a long time, and I can’t stop listening to it.
All due to respect to Prince’s solo work, but I have long had a special spot for this duet with (one of my favorites) Amy Winehouse. They performed together when Prince invited Winehouse to an aftershow in London in 2007 to perform a version her song “Love Is A Losing Game” with him. That the two are now gone makes it incredibly bittersweet. What I love most here, though, is how Prince picks out the wild, funktastic guitar moments that are more subdued on Winehouse’s solo version. I hope they’re both making kickass music together in the afterlife.
I’m not going to take more of your time from these 67 glorious minutes of Prince from 1982, circa Controversy. This is fire.