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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prince and Apollonia 6 - Manic Monday

I love Prince's music. Well, let me be more specific. I love Prince's music from his 1995 album The Gold Experience, back to his 1978 debut For You. To be honest there were a few albums in the 90s prior to The Gold Experience that I could have done without but I let those slide when I think of Prince's golden era of creating music.

And that's only HIS albums. It doesn't include the countless B-sides that we're only released as the backing cut on a single back when people still bought records. Nor does it include his side projects with other bands (The Time, Apollonia 6, Vanity 6, Madhouse, The Family), or the songs he wrote and/or produced for other artists.

You can get lost in the hunt for song that he wrote and produced for other acts because so often he published the songs or produced under several different pseudonyms. There's Jamie Starr and The Starr Company, Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind, and Christoper.

One of the most successful songs he has written for another group is the Bangles' 1986 hit "Manic Monday", which gives the writing credit to Christopher. Any die hard Prince fan knows that's a Prince song. It sounds like one of his songs from that era in so many ways. The difference is that it's being sung by a group that had no known connection to Prince other than that one song. The reached the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, being held back from #1 by Prince's "Kiss". Critics were mostly impressed by the performance as well as Prince's writing ability, and many compared the song to the stylings of The Mamas & The Papas.

I have always wondered if a Prince sung demo of the song existed. I wanted to hear it. It had to exist, right? Well for years I never ran across it. Then today on Twitter a tweet from The A.V. Club came across my timeline saying, listen to Prince and Apollonia 6's original demo for "Manic Monday".

I was like I had hit triple 7's on a slot machine! Here it was, the demo I have wondered about for years. Prince wrote the song in 1984 and recorded it with Apollonia 6 for their album. However he pulled it from the album before it was released. He didn't feel like it worked.

After listening to it, I understood why.

It's a terrible version of the song after hearing the Bangles sing it right for years and years. Let me say, after hearing the beginning of the first verse, I was extremely nervous about how that bridge was going to come across. Be honest, weren't you?

So often when you finally hear Prince sing a song that he had written for someone else it sounds better. Think about "Nothing Compares To You", made famous by Sinead O'Conner, or Tevin Campbell's "Shhh! (Break It Down)" when you finally heard Prince sing both of those songs you instantly knew Prince sang it better and felt like you wish he had just done it in the first place!

This time, there was no satisfaction like that for me. I felt much like I did after I watched the Star Wars prequels. I went my whole life wanting to see the story that I knew existed before the Star Wars Trilogy and once I saw it, I wished it didn't exist because what I had built up in my head was a better version of it.

Well, Prince is still the god of the 80s for me. I won't let this demo tear that down. He had the presence of mind to pull it from the Apollonia project and give it to a group who could do it justice.

Kudos to The Bangles.


PS: Who knows how long that demo will exist online. Prince is notoriously known for having his music taken down from online, so listen while you can.

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