Personnel: Prince (vocals, various instruments); Wendy, Dez Dickerson (vocals, guitar); Bonnie Boyer (vocals, Hammond organ); Rosie Gaines (vocals, organ); Lisa Coleman (vocals, keyboards); Sheila E. (vocals, drums, percussion); Sheena Easton, Camille, Tony M. (vocals); Levi Seacer Jr. (guitar, bass, background vocals); Miko (guitar, background vocals); Eric Leeds (flute, horns, background vocals); Atlanta Bliss (horns); Matt Fink (keyboards, background vocals); Tommy Barbarella (keyboards); Brown Mark, Sonny T. (bass, background vocals); Bobby Z., Michael B. (drums, percussion); Kirk Johnson, Damon Dickson (percussion, background vocals); Mayte, Mazarati (background vocals).
Engineers include: Gary Brandt, Peggy McCreary, David Leonard.
Compilation producer: Gregg Geller.
Digitally remastered by Keith Blake.
Recording information: 1st Avenue; Alpha Studios, Burbank, CA; Paisley park; Record Plant, NY; Sunset sound; The Warehouse; UpTown.
Considerably more streamlined than previous compilations THE HITS 1 and THE HITS 2, the 17 songs that make up THE VERY BEST OF PRINCE offer a nice tour through the Purple One's chart successes for Warner Brothers from 1978 to 1993. Mixed in among chart toppers like the quirky "When Doves Cry," Hendrix-fueled mania of "Let's Go Crazy" and stripped-down funk of "Kiss" are enough brilliant moments to make you wish the guy had focused more on music and less on the identity shifts that characterized most of the '90s.
Starting with the 1979 #1 "I Wanna Be Your Lover," Prince's pop sensibilities and inquisitive nature have found him cleverly bouncing back and forth between the twin poles of sex and spirituality. Whether it's the runaway pledge of faith found in "I Would Die 4 U," sly lasciviousness of "Gett Off" or battle-of-the-sexes throw-down with Sheena Easton on "U Got The Look," this Minneapolis native's way with a hook makes more of an impression in retrospect than his ability to shock. Other highlights include the millennial jam "1999," chilling view of the world "Sign O' The Times," gorgeous "Diamonds And Pearls" and irresistible "Alphabet Street."
Q (9/01, p.133) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...He really was the exciting new face of popular music....The hits that transformed Prince into a superstar to rival Michael Jackson remain some of the most thrilling in pop history..."
The very best of Prince? I beg to differ. This album is better off for those willing to scratch the surface of Prince's 30 year career and nothing furthur. This album includes only radio edits of some of his songs better heard in their original form, for example When Doves Cry. The edits are offensive quite frankly. I'd suggest 1993's The Hits or 2006's Ultimate Prince over this any day.
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