Interview

Prince archivist Michael Howe talks SDE through ‘1999’ bonus material

Prince / photo by Allen Beaulieu

The official ‘vault’ archivist offers some insight into the unheard songs

Warner Music’s recently announced reissue of Princes album 1999 has sparked massive interest in the 35 previously unreleased bonus tracks. SDE spoke to Prince ‘vault’ archivist Michael Howe, who helped to put this set together in conjunction with the Prince Estate and the record label, and asked him about some of this unheard material…


‘BOLD GENERATION’


Michael Howe: I don’t believe this ever trickled out into the fan community, and really is the only example of something on the entire set of expanded body of work that we had to source from a cassette rough mix, because there was literally no other existing version.

Even a two-inch [reel] was recorded over, so we didn’t even have a trace of what the original track was, but we did find a cassette rough mix of it and made it as sonically appealing as we possibly could, given the limitations, but that’s the kind of forensic approach that we tried to take.

I am virtually certain it was initially intended for The Time and obviously never ended up getting released as it currently exists, and turned into the song ‘New Power Generation’, which is something that ended up on Graffiti Bridge I guess, but this is a much more organic sort of approach I would say.


‘FEEL U UP / IRRESISTIBLE BITCH’


SDE: This medley is a good example of Prince reworking something which sounded great in the first place.  I mean with ‘Irresistible Bitch’, I actually prefer this version, I think, to the released version, but there’s some obvious differences. The drums sound like a drum machine whereas they sound real on the normal version.

MH: Coming out of Controversy, Prince was particularly interested in being as self-sufficient as possible and is starting to play with the drum machine and doing a tremendous amount of experimentation in the studio, so I think the influence of something like what Gary Numan was doing, and maybe some of the early British New Wave kind of stuff seeped into his creative energies. And I think it’s more apparent in something like these early versions, than on other unreleased tracks like ‘Vagina’ or ‘Turn It Up’.  It’s pretty interesting, the sort of dichotomy of genres or styles that he was exploring.

SDE: And was this originally conceived as one big long track, or was it always two separate tracks that he happened to fuse together on this particular day?

MH: It’s a good question.  I mean they are technically two individual tracks, but there is a cassette rough mix of what we would consider the complete version which then we replicated basically to present this tethered version of ‘Feel U Up’ and ‘Irresistible Bitch’. So we believe that this is what the intention was, at least given the rough mix that was done by Prince on a cassette. We are trying to take as few creative liberties as possible, I mean zero creative liberties.


SDE: And were you actually mixing any of these unreleased songs? Were you having to go back to multi-tracks or were there stereo versions that you could just leave as is?

MH: Yeah, there were cases where we had to mix from the multis, but we always used the rough mix, the existing mix, as the template so we would just basically mix match the two-inch to whatever the source of the rough mix was. In most cases, these rough mixes –  because they’re so early – are on cassettes, which aren’t really suitable for commercial release, at least from a sonic standpoint, so when we get the mix from the two-inch we make it sound as if it’s the mix on a cassette, but with today’s technology, so you’re not hearing hiss and wow and flutter and dropouts and all kinds of other crap.


‘MONEY DON’T GROW ON TREES’


SDE: This is a good example of something that’s like the opposite of ‘Irresistible Bitch’.  It’s a kind of breezy, guitar-y kind of band song isn’t it?

MH: Yes it is. I mean presumably he was contemplating this for inclusion on 1999 – given the time period – but it’s certainly, as you say, breezy and less preoccupied with weighty matters than some of the other stuff that he working on at the time.


‘VAGINA’


SDE: When I saw the title, I cringed a little bit, but it’s actually quite a good and surprisingly rocky number. Is this a song that might have ended up as a Vanity 6 track, at some point?

MH: Absolutely. I mean the sort of genesis of it is that when he met Denise [Matthews], who became Vanity. He envisioned her name, her public name, to be ‘Vagina’, which she unsurprisingly sort of side-stepped. I mean, particularly now, [lyrically] it’s a very timely, topical piece, given LGBTQ movement and the general focus on gender issues, and it’s remarkable that he was thinking about this stuff in late 81 or early 82, which is eons ago at this point, but I certainly like the way it’s sort of unembellished and you can just hear him kind of thinking aloud a bit as he’s doing it.


‘REARRANGE’


SDE: This is a quite a commercial sounding track. Apparently, there was a 1988 remix but I’m assuming this is the early version.

MH: This is the early version. That’s exactly right. I don’t know that I’ve even listened to the 88 remix of it, because it wasn’t appropriate for inclusion here, but the rough mix, which is this version, is the December 8th  – I think it’sDecember 8th, I’m sort of working from memory here – but he cut this and a couple of other things in December of ’81 at Sunset with Peggy McCreary.


‘COLLEEN’


SDE: This is an instrumental, with a story behind it. It’s [engineer] Peggy McCreary’s middle name, isn’t it?

MH: Yes it is. We included this really because it’s one of those things that fans kind of know exists or have heard exists, and it would have been a glaring omission, I think, if we had left it off. I thought its inclusion would be a fun little nugget.


‘INTERNATIONAL LOVER (take 1)’


SDE: ‘International Lover’. This is take 1, live in the studio. Set the scene for this one then.  Would this have been literally the first time he’s going through it in the studio?  It sounds like it’s just piano, drums and vocals, this particular version.

MH: It is. It was another track that was contemplated for The Time. In fact, Morris Day is playing drums on the track, so Prince is running through the track with Morris, live on piano and vocal, and decided, I think, to keep the song for himself. I don’t know if there was precedent for it, but this was certainly an example of something that was at least contemplated for a protégé artist, or another artist, where Prince said “I think I’m going to keep this one”. And I love this version. I mean I think there’s a vulnerability here, and the way he’s kind of articulating the vocal and talking to Peggy, and I mean it’s just a remarkable kind of peek behind the curtain. This is something we didn’t really know existed. This was on the two-inch reel. I’m thrilled to be able to include it, because I think it’s so sonically arresting and such a special way to hear it.


‘TURN IT UP’


SDE: Apparently Prince decided to not bother putting this on 1999 because he came up with ‘Delirious’ which he thought was much better. Was that the story?

MH: I think so. I don’t know that with certainty, but that’s the rumour. You can hear in spirit that it’s kind of an up tempo sort of breezy pop song the way ‘Delirious’ is. Obviously ‘Delirious’ was a much more complete thought –  in my estimation – than ‘Turn It Up’ and he made a wise creative decision, but it’s very much in the spirit of it, and that explanation would make sense to me if that were the case, yeah.


‘YOU’RE ALL I WANT’


SDE: This didn’t get released, but we can hear that [B-side] ‘Horny Toad’ stole some musical cues from this particular number didn’t it?

MH: Yeah, there were a couple of versions of this, one of which has vocals from an ex-girlfriend of Prince’s called Kim Upsher, but this is the solo Prince version. The different version that exists with her vocal is the same bed track and basically the same Prince vocal as what is here.

‘SOMETHING IN THE WATER (DOES NOT COMPUTE) ORIGINAL VERSION’

SDE: This early version is not dissimilar to the one on the album, but there’s piano in it and it does have a different feel, doesn’t it?

MH: It does, yeah. I mean the differences are somewhat subtle, but this is a slightly more organic sounding version to me and I like it. This is something I believe that has circulated. I’m not sure it’s circulated in this quality obviously, because we took it right from the master, but to the extent that we want to, you know, to trace the creative arc here we thought it important to include.


‘POSSESSED’


SDE: ‘Possessed’ is an interesting one, because we’ve already had this on the bonus disc of the Purple Rain reissue haven’t we?

MH: Yes but it’s not this version. There’s a later version that appeared in the movie and on the Purple Rain deluxe. This is the 1982 version that is substantially different than the version that has been officially released at this point.

SDE: I think this version is much better, to be honest. 

MH: I do agree.


‘DELIRIOUS’


SDE: What’s the story with ‘Delirious’?  This is a six minute version. The album cut is about four minutes and then the single was about two and a half minutes. So was the album master simply an edit of this full length version?

MH: Yes it is. And it’s another thing that fans know exists and I think would be a glaring omission if we didn’t include it, but it’s not a different master. It’s the same master.


‘CAN’T STOP THIS FEELING I GOT’


SDE: This ended up on Graffiti Bridge, didn’t it, but this is obviously a much earlier version. It’s not massively different, but it has that 1982-era production. 

MH: Yes it does. There’s much more humanity to it, I think, than the version that ended up on Graffiti Bridge, which was entirely re-tracked. I mean this was a different master completely.


‘TEACHER, TEACHER’


SDE: ‘Teacher Teacher’ is brilliant, because it’s got lots of Wendy and Lisa on it, and it sounds like a bit sort of later era…almost. But that’s a wonderful track.

MH: Yes it is. I mean that was recorded on 16-track actually, before Prince I think even had access to 24 tracks at Kiowa Trail in his home studio, and obviously it morphed into something that Wendy and Lisa sort of took and made into their own later, but this early version is a pretty interesting view.


‘LADY CAB DRIVER / I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER / HEAD / LITTLE RED CORVETTE (TOUR DEMO)’


SDE: This is the last track on the second disc of unreleased vault material on the 5CD+DVD set [also featured on the 10LP box]. What exactly are we listening to here?

MH: So as best we can ascertain, what happened was during a break, there were two legs to the 1999 tour and there was a break in January of 83, and during that break Prince recorded this sort of medley of Lady Cab Driver, I Want to be Your Lover, Head, and Little Red Corvette, which he envisioned as part of the live show for the second leg of the tour. He recorded this demo, basically gave it to the band to teach the band this thing.

And they played it, from what I can tell, only once, in Lakeland, Florida, which was the opening date of the second leg of the tour, and that show strangely was not well reviewed by the local press.  It sort of got panned I think… I don’t know, but for whatever reason – you know, Prince was reading the reviews or didn’t think the show went well himself – but for whatever reason I believe they dropped medley as it existed from future live shows.  They tweaked it a bit, but this version, with all of these tracks and this order was played, I believe, only once and then abandoned for the rest of the tour.

But to have a studio, a work tape basically of it sort of surprised me, because I didn’t realise that he would do those kinds of things to teach the band.  I thought it typically happened just in rehearsals.  So it was kind of a nice nugget to find and certainly to include here.

SDE: So would Prince have gone back to various multi tracks and brought things in, or is this all new recording?

MH: No it’s all new recording. I think it was done in one session with a couple of overdubs and that’s it. I mean he didn’t take elements of existing masters and link them together.  This was just a brand new master.


SDE: Okay and the audio of the live show included in the super deluxe CD and vinyl sets. What can people expect from that?

MH: It’s awesome. So there were six shows in Detroit as part of the first leg of the 1999 tour, two per day for like three days in a row, I think, and this show was the midnight show on the first day, 30 November 1982.

The very first show, the early show on 30 November has circulated among collectors as a cassette board mix. This show, the late show, we mixed directly from the two-inch multi track reels and has never circulated before, and is just a spine-tingling performance. So not only is it something that collectors presumably do not have and have never heard, but it is as sonically compelling as we’re possibly going to get. Dave Rivkin, you know David Z, the guy who actually captured the audio at the show, he mixed it for us, so it’s basically as the audience was hearing it in the room at the time, which is how we try to approach everything that we do here.

SDE: Has there been anything that you felt should go on the set that you have been unable to find?

MH: The only potential omission, I mean something that I was looking for that is rumoured to exist is a 1982 studio version of ‘Raspberry Beret’, which I simply have not found – and this is conjecture, I don’t know with certainty – but I think it’s because the two inch master that ended up being released on Around the World in a Day was basically an embellished version or an overdubbed version of whatever Prince started in 82. So there’s no distinguishing characteristic, enough, to determine, at least from the track sheets and the notes, what might have been from 82…

SDE: So what you’re saying is that it wasn’t two obvious separate reels sitting on different shelves.  It was one thing he was working on.

MH: No. There were no separate reels, there were no cassette rough mixes that we found, there was no trace, and we’ve turned over a significant amount of rocks looking for it. It was a pretty exhaustive search. I mean I know there are soundtrack versions and those kinds of things, but from a studio standpoint I have not found evidence of it. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist and that we won’t stumble across it at some point

SDE: Tell me about the remastering. With the drum machines and the synths of the early 80s, can you realistically get an album like 1999 sounding very much better than it already sounds with the technology at hand today?

MH: I think so. I think so, yeah. I mean, Bernie Grundman, who obviously mastered all of the stuff back then, is the guy who has been doing all of the remasters for us, and he’s doing it right from high-res transfers of the original half-inch flat analogue reels, and he’s doing a remarkable job.

I mean I think the album, the remastered album, has a dimension and a sort of depth, a sonic depth that it had been lacking since its release. I mean it’s not perhaps an entirely different listening experience for the untrained ear, but for somebody that’s familiar with the album I think it’s much more satisfying sonically.

SDE: Finally, there might be some people that would question whether we need all these seven-inch edits and promo mixes included as part of this reissue? What do you think they bring to the table?

MH: Well, in something like a super deluxe edition [box] the idea is to trace the entire creative arc as completely as we can, so offering those mixes and things that maybe collectors have had or have been in the marketplace, but in one collection, remastered in chronological or sequential order, we think paints the most compelling picture of the expanded body of work would be, it just seems like it would be incomplete without having those things. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but the way we approach these releases is to do it with as much completeness and respect and integrity as the body of work deserves, and moving forward without including those things just seems like an incomplete thought.

Thanks to Michael Howe who was talking to Paul Sinclair for SDE. The 1999 reissue is released on 29 November 2019. There are six physical formats and pre-order details and track listings can be found below.

1999 is reissued on 29 November 2019. Follow SDE on Twitter and/or Facebook to stay in touch with this reissue.

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1999 - 5CD+DVD super deluxe

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1999 - single CD remaster

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1999 5CD+DVD super deluxe

CD1 / Remastered Album

1 1999
2 Little Red Corvette
3 Delirious
4 Let’s Pretend We’re Married
5 D.M.S.R.
6 Automatic
7 Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
8 Free
9 Lady Cab Driver
10 All The Critics Love U In New York
11 International Lover

CD2 / Promo Mixes & B-Sides

1 1999 (7″ stereo edit)
2 1999 (7″ mono promo-only edit)
3 Free (promo-only edit)
4 How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore (“1999″ b-side)
5 Little Red Corvette (7″ edit)
6 All The Critics Love U In New York (7” edit)
7 Lady Cab Driver (7″ edit)
8 Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix promo-only edit)
9 Little Red Corvette (Special Dance Mix)
10 Delirious (7” edit)
11 Horny Toad (“Delirious” b-side)
12 Automatic (7″ edit)
13 Automatic (video version)
14 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ edit)
15 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ mono promo-only edit)
16 Irresistible Bitch (“Let’s Pretend We’re Married” b-side)
17 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (video version)
18 D.M.S.R. (edit)

CD3 / Vault, Part 1

1 Feel U Up
2 Irresistible Bitch
3 Money Don’t Grow On Trees
4 Vagina
5 Rearrange
6 Bold Generation
7 Colleen
8 International Lover (Take 1, live in studio)
9 Turn It Up
10 You’re All I Want
11 Something In The Water (Does Not Compute) (Original Version)
12 If It’ll Make U Happy
13 How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2, live in studio)

All tracks previously unreleased

CD4 / Vault, Part 2

1 Possessed (1982 version)
2 Delirious (full length)
3 Purple Music
4 Yah, You Know
5 Moonbeam Levels **
6 No Call U
7 Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got
8 Do Yourself A Favor
9 Don’t Let Him Fool Ya
10 Teacher, Teacher
11 Lady Cab Driver / I Wanna Be Your Lover / Head / Little Red Corvette (tour demo)

All tracks previously unreleased except **, released on the 2016 compilation, 4Ever

CD5 / Live In Detroit – November 30, 1982 (midnight show)

1 Controversy
2 Let’s Work
3 Little Red Corvette
4 Do Me, Baby
5 Head
6 Uptown
7 Interlude
8 How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?
9 Automatic
10 International Lover
11 1999
12 D.M.S.R.

All tracks previously unreleased

DVD / Live In Houston – December 29, 1982*

1 Controversy
2 Let’s Work
3 Do Me, Baby
4 D.M.S.R.
5 Interlude – piano improvisation (contains elements of “With You”)
6 How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?
7 Lady Cab Driver
8 Automatic
9 International Lover
10 1999
11 Head (contains elements of “Sexuality”)

All tracks previously unreleased

*N.B. video content is exclusive to the physical DVD and will not appear on digital download or streaming versions of the Super Deluxe Edition set.

1999 10LP+DVD box set

Side 1
1. 1999 (2019 Remaster)
2. Little Red Corvette (2019 Remaster)
3. Delirious (2019 Remaster)

Side 2
1. Let’s Pretend We’re Married (2019 Remaster)
2. D.M.S.R. (2019 Remaster)

Side 3
1. Automatic (2019 Remaster)
2. Something In The Water (Does Not Compute) [2019 Remaster]
3. Free (2019 Remaster)

Side 4
1. Lady Cab Driver (2019 Remaster)
2. All The Critics Love U In New York (2019 Remaster)
3. International Lover (2019 Remaster)

Side 5
1. 1999 (7″ Stereo Edit) [2019 Remaster]
2. 1999 (7″ Mono Promo-Only Edit) [2019 Remaster]
3. Free (Promo Only Edit) [2019 Remaster]
4. How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore (2019 Remaster)
5. Little Red Corvette (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]

Side 6
1. All The Critics Love U In New York (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]
2. Lady Cab Driver (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]
3. Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix Promo Only Edit) [2019 Remaster]
4. Little Red Corvette (Special Dance Mix) [2019 Remaster]

Side 7
1. Delirious (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]
2. Horny Toad (2019 Remaster)
3. Automatic (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]
4. Automatic (Video Version) [2019 Remaster]
5. Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Edit) [2019 Remaster]

Side 8
1. Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Mono Promo Only Edit) [2019 Remaster]
2. Irresistible Bitch (2019 Remaster)
3. Let’s Pretend We’re Married (Video Version) [2019 Remaster]
4. D.M.S.R. (Edit) [2019 Remaster]

Side 9
1. Feel U Up
2. Irresistible Bitch
3. Money Don’t Grow On Trees
4. Vagina

Side 10
1. Rearrange
2. Bold Generation
3. Colleen

Side 11
1. International Lover (Take 1) [Live In Studio]
2. Turn It Up
3. You’re All I Want

Side 12
1. Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
2. If It’ll Make U Happy
3. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2)

Side: 13
1. Possessed (1982 Version)
2. Delirious (Full Length)

Side 14
1. Purple Music
2. Yah, You Know
3. Moonbeam Levels (2019 Remaster)

Side 15
1. No Call U
2. Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got
3. Do Yourself A Favor

Side 16
1. Don’t Let Him Fool Ya
2. Teacher, Teacher
3. Lady Cab Driver / I Wanna Be Your Lover / Little Red Corvette (Tour Demo)

Side 17
1. Controversy (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
2. Let’s Work (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
3. Little Red Corvette (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
4. Do Me, Baby (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)

Side 18
1. Head (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
2. Uptown (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
3. Lisa’s Keyboard Interlude (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
4. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)

Side 19
1. Automatic (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
2. International Lover (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)
3. 1999 (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)

Side 20
1. D.M.S.R. (Live at Masonic Hall, Detroit, MI, 11/30/1982 – Late Show)

DVD
Live In Houston – December 29, 1982*

1 Controversy
2 Let’s Work
3 Do Me, Baby
4 D.M.S.R.
5 Interlude – piano improvisation (contains elements of “With You”)
6 How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?
7 Lady Cab Driver
8 Automatic
9 International Lover
10 1999
11 Head (contains elements of “Sexuality”)

All tracks previously unreleased

*N.B. video content is exclusive to the physical DVD and will not appear on digital download or streaming versions of the Super Deluxe Edition set.

1999 2CD deluxe or 4LP vinyl

CD1 / LP 1&2

Remastered Album

1 1999
2 Little Red Corvette
3 Delirious
4 Let’s Pretend We’re Married
5 D.M.S.R.
6 Automatic
7 Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
8 Free
9 Lady Cab Driver
10 All The Critics Love U In New York
11 International Lover

CD2 / LP 3&4

Promo mixes & B-Sides

1 1999 (7″ stereo edit)
2 1999 (7″ mono promo-only edit)
3 Free (promo-only edit)
4 How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore (“1999″ b-side)
5 Little Red Corvette (7″ edit)
6 All The Critics Love U In New York (7” edit)
7 Lady Cab Driver (7″ edit)
8 Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix promo-only edit)
9 Little Red Corvette (Special Dance Mix)
10 Delirious (7” edit)
11 Horny Toad (“Delirious” b-side)
12 Automatic (7″ edit)
13 Automatic (video version)
14 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ edit)
15 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ mono promo-only edit)
16 Irresistible Bitch (“Let’s Pretend We’re Married” b-side)
17 Let’s Pretend We’re Married (video version)
18 D.M.S.R. (edit)

1999 / single CD and 2LP (Remastered Album)

1 1999
2 Little Red Corvette
3 Delirious
4 Let’s Pretend We’re Married
5 D.M.S.R.
6 Automatic
7 Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
8 Free
9 Lady Cab Driver
10 All The Critics Love U In New York
11 International Lover

83 responses to Prince archivist Michael Howe talks SDE through ‘1999’ bonus material

  1. Pingback:Prince 1999 vinyl sets will now come with download cards for digital audio | superdeluxeedition

  2. Jennifer Hart says:

    Concerning the seven inch edits, I absolutely want them to be included. I think a mistake people may be making is believing that their inclusion is taking up space that would otherwise be used for more previously unreleased material. I don’t believe that to be true. They are just extra content, not something preventing more outtakes from being included.

  3. Jeffro says:

    Fantastic piece; thanks, Paul.

  4. Miguel Rocha says:

    Is there a little revisionist history taking place here, especially by including Vagina (ahead of its time view of LGBTQ) and leaving off Extralovable (macho chest beating misogynistic/rape fantasy-not too distant cousin of Lady Cab Driver). I absolutely love this record, Prince’s greatest in my opinion, in spite of the troubling lyrical content throughout, and I’m surprised and disappointed Extralovable and Lust U Always have been “overlooked” for whatever reason. Still top on my Autumn must buy music list (along with the brilliant Peter Laughner box).

  5. AlexKx says:

    Just because something was remixed later on does not mean it could not be included in this or whatever set. That’s a cop out. Real question is why isn’t everything on 5.1 on Blu-ray with a huge hardcover book? The answer is they intend hopefully to do that in the future…right? At least in some physical format that sells even though Blu-ray Audio I guess is understood to be a failed format at this point, huh? That and D.V.D. – Audio. So how would 5.1 be handled in the future? Is 5.1 a reliable downloadable feature? And what of the coming Sun Super Storm and hopefully never an e.m.p. attack? This stuff would have to be on physical format then for a more likely preservation, yes?

  6. Jamal Fuad says:

    Congratulations Paul on what is a fantastic interview with exactly the insightful questions we’d expect for SDE. I’ve read a lot of the press, commentary and fan interviews on this release but yours is hands down the definitive one. You not only ask questions as a fan of the work but provide backstory and information that amps up excitement for the release as an audiophile, music lover and in a way that celebrates Prince’s incredible contribution to music. Thanks for the first SDE article I’ve actually printed out to insert into my copy once it arrives! Hope you do something like this for future release’s liner notes as this is is exactly what we want. All the best!

  7. Formosa Coweater says:

    Outstanding job, Paul. Compelling questions and fascinating replies. And, damn, looking forward to this!

    By the way, did Michael Howe indicate he was currently working on any upcoming Prince-related projects?

    And as a frequent visitor, I must say thank you for all the work in creating and keeping this site going.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks. We didn’t have very long to chat so I didn’t really have time to get into future plans etc. Sorry!

  8. Lanny Justice says:

    Paul, Thank you so much for doing this interview. I’m so hyped for this release, that I’m almost in tears. If you chat with Michael again, I would love to know why they are not including the music videos on the 1999 or the Purple Rain deluxe dvd. I’m so grateful to get this released, but just a bit more in including the videos of the time would make it even more perfect.

  9. David TW says:

    Great article, Paul. I’m still not absolutely sure I can justify £65 for the CDs. Might just have to wait for a sale price sometime. But hell is it tempting…

  10. Runicen says:

    Just wanted to salute the following sentiment:

    “Well, in something like a super deluxe edition [box] the idea is to trace the entire creative arc as completely as we can, so offering those mixes and things that maybe collectors have had or have been in the marketplace, but in one collection, remastered in chronological or sequential order, we think paints the most compelling picture of the expanded body of work would be, it just seems like it would be incomplete without having those things.”

    If only EVERYONE bothering with deluxe reissues had this same philosophy, the marketplace would be a far more compelling place. Make it available and let the listener pick and choose their favorites! Just glad to see this philosophy being applied here.

  11. unique says:

    it’s a shame the unreleased 12″ mixes of little red corvette aren’t included. i’d like to have a longer mix that has the original drum beat, with the extended parts on the official 12″. a test pressing popped up recently on an auction site

    as a compromise, if they leaked perfect quality versions of lust u always and extraloveable it would make up for them not being included

    if they have a bunch of good material, but only on cassette so not perfect quality, they could consider some type of bonus download release ala paul macartney so at least fans can get to hear it. likewise if there are multiple versions of a track, they could get them out that way. so alternate versions of purple music can be heard, for example

  12. Andre Crabtree III says:

    This should have been released on the 4th November, other than that a fantastic release.

  13. sean says:

    Prince was never my thing, but congratulations to Paul because this article is brilliant. It’s exactly what fans want and rarely get.
    Well done and thank you.

  14. Michael says:

    Not sure which one to buy the 2 CD or 6 CD/DVD. Bought the 4 disc Purple Rain. The only one I still play 2 years later is the album & some of the b sides.

    Adore Prince. Along with George Michael he’s my favourite. However I got into him from Purple Rain. That, Around The World & Parade are him at his peak for me. The first 10 albums are all great though.

    I suppose it will depend on the price.

    On the off chance Michael Howe is reading this can we please have as a part of Parade or seperately the Dream Factory album? Love this one & I know the other fans do as well.

    Also would love a good compilation of Prince’s Warner Bros/Paisley Park asociate acts such as The Time, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Shelia E, The Family, Jill Jones etc. Prince solo work & The Revolution’s music only tells part of the story. 2 CD or LPs would be fine doesn’t have to be that expansive. Thank you very much.

  15. Stephan says:

    @Paul. From ur point of view , what is the most surprising and interresting vault trax from 1999 expanded box set ? And why?

    Thanx

  16. Wayne C says:

    Can anyone update me as to the Amazon pre order situation here in the UK?, i’d like to pre order this but will they take payment out before it’s released ?, I asked as I pre ordered another title from Amazon Italy last month and they took payment out immediately even though it said it would happen?. Thanks

    • Wayne C says:

      Apologies should have read “wouldn’t happen”

      • RJS says:

        It’s a bit hit and miss at the moment. I’ve had money taken in advance of orders being dispatched a few times recently but in other instances the money has been taken when the order has been dispatched.

      • Phil Wilson says:

        Payment shouldn’t be taken until the day before release when they despatch it. Often it can be a couple of days after that until it actually shows on the credit card.

    • hendry doran says:

      Payment on dispatch of item. Surprised Amazon Italy acted the way they did

  17. beej says:

    I’m holding off, the Purple Rain remaster was such a disappointment for me due to the brickwalled ‘remaster’. The b sides were good but the album was difficult to listen too.

    • Henry Watson says:

      Purple Rain remastered by Josh Welton under direction from Prince whereas B-sides and outtakes where mastered by Bernie Grundman. Think everything on 1999 was remastered by Bernie?

  18. Hudson says:

    Super duper trooper! Great stuff as per

  19. Fiona says:

    I love that you’ve tried to put everything in order here for the avid prince fams as well as music fans, my question is simply why haven’t you included any Australian sites to order from?? Postage alone from the UK will be double what you pay for it!

  20. John says:

    Thanks Paul, a really interesting read. I’m glad Michael is so clear on the importance of including the 7″ edits and promo mixes. Obviously the unheard tracks are the highlight but without the 7″ edits as well the set would be incomplete. As it is, it’s perfect. Mines ordered and I really can’t wait. Thanks again Paul, this site is the best! :)

  21. LLO says:

    Warner Brothers has a small window to reissue Princes 80’s catalogue before the rights revert over to Sony. There’s at least 5 more Prince albums worthy of such treatment….

  22. James Barker says:

    Nice one Paul! Great questions, didn’t realise you were such a big Prince fan. I simply cannot wait for this release! Fingers crossed it lives up to the hype, and the overall presentation/finish of the set is top notch, this time! Well done on the scoop interview, yet again!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks muchly, James.

    • Tom from FIN says:

      That’s not all. Paul is doing major cultural research here again, previously too countless times, like with It’s Immaterial for example.

      Point is exclusivity, real value-added to followers of this forum. Paul must have developed very good relations in his network. I’m convinced I’m not the only one urging him to specialize more in gathering these “extras”. Commerciality is secondary in these kind of “bonuses”; you can not read these anywhere else first.

      Cheers!

  23. Eamonn says:

    Great read although I did baulk a little at his suggestion that “Vagina” was some sort of evidence of Prince empowering women long before it was fashionable. The guy had sex on the brain, permanently!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      When you hear the lyric it will make more sense. The person in the song called ‘Vagina’ is a “half-girl, half-boy” which in Prince’s world offers “the best of both worlds” :) So Michael Howe is absolutely correct when he said it was a “timely, topical piece, given LGBTQ movement and the general focus on gender issues”. It’s actually a really good song.

  24. James says:

    I may be mistaken, but with the exception of Little Red Corvet, most of the 12″ versions were the same as the album version. At least they are the same length. This for me makes more sense why there are so many edits on the deluxe. I am super excited that the unreleased Delirious (full length) will be on here. If there are any 12″ versions that are different will someone please point them out. I don’t have vinyl anymore so I can’t compare. BTW Paul you are amazing for giving such backround information on your site.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, Little Red Corvette is basically the only song that got what you’d call a ‘traditional’ 12-inch remix. Thanks for kind comments!

  25. ELJAY says:

    a great read, thanks
    cant wait for this.
    i really should have preordered it last night when it was £54.

  26. Andrew says:

    Great interview Paul! Thanks!!!

  27. Sula says:

    Hey Michael Howe, Very happy this is coming out. But what ai do not understand why no xtralovable and lust u always. Why so man 7 inch edits. I would have appreciated extended versions.
    Suggestion from YouTube comment I agree with see below:
    1. 1999 Deluxe 9(regular price): Extended Songs W/ Bsides (without duplicate singles)
    2. 1999 Double Deluxe: Extended versions w/ Bsides & Vault Tracks (without duplicate singles)
    3. 1999 Triple Deluxe: Everything with Videos & All

    Perhaps for you to think about

  28. Schu says:

    Not a big Prince fan but this type of musical completeness and attractive pricing (like Tull, XTC, Marillion, etc.) sets is what SDE is all about. Utterly fascinating behind the scenes review/interview of the set construction and musical choices.

    To quote Michael Hall:
    “Well, in something like a super deluxe edition [box] the idea is to trace the entire creative arc as completely as we can, so offering those mixes and things that maybe collectors have had or have been in the marketplace, but in one collection, remastered in chronological or sequential order, we think paints the most compelling picture of the expanded body of work would be, it just seems like it would be incomplete without having those things. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but the way we approach these releases is to do it with as much completeness and respect and integrity as the body of work deserves, and moving forward without including those things just seems like an incomplete thought.”

    I think most here would agree that this statement pretty much sums up what all SDE’s should strive for. Thanks Paul!

    • Peter Muscutt says:

      Hear, hear! To be the guardian of a vault as vast as Prince’s would be an amazing job (even if it’s a geeky part of me that says that) cataloguing and deciding what to include or indeed release on the deluxe editions…must be a lot of pressure to keep the die hards happy but also respect his legacy and not release stuff Prince obviously wasn’t satisfied with. I guess the argument is charting the evolution of a track and that a very early version/demo may not bear resemblance to the finished song, and hearing that can be fascinating. Great interview, maybe one for the ‘keepsake edition’ series in future? Have loved reading these so far!

  29. O(+> Peter B says:

    Thanks 4 the article, Paul. Deluxe versions should definitely include “all these seven-inch edits and promo mixes”, b-sides and 12″ versions.

  30. Rolf says:

    Can’t wait for this & I wonder why they didn’t do this level of detail for the “Purple Rain” reissue a few years back? I hope the boxsets for the remaining 80’s output is done to this standard! This is exactly the sort of thing I want to read about on this website, not Asda Mum Muzak like the aptly named James Blunt the other day…

  31. Lars G Hultberg says:

    Thank U Paul! Such a fascinating work Howe is doing. Do you know if there are unrealesed tracks from the 1970’s in the Vault? The release of The Originals and 1999 focus on the early 1980’s – a great period in Prince Catalogue. But I’m waiting for the earliest stuff. The years before Dirty Mind. Plus; have you any rumours about his brilliant ”Rainbow children”?

    • Jennifer Hart says:

      There is an unreleased 1979 LP by a group called The Rebels which featured Prince, Andre Cymone and Dez Dickerson. Andre and Dez contributed to the songwriting and sing some lead vocals. There are also some alternate versions of songs from his first two albums that have leaked as well as a song titled “Make It Through the Storm” which I believe was recorded for the For You album (it is a good song and would have enhanced either of his first two albums, give it a listen on youtube). Several early instrumentals exist and there are some VERY early recordings of just Prince and acoustic guitar. These are very rough sounding but must be among the very earliest songs he wrote and recorded (however crudely).

  32. Kauwgompie says:

    As it relates to including 7″ edits, I normally don’t care about them but when it comes to Prince, I do! So thank you for including those!! Completely agree with the answer to that last question. If you want to paint a complete picture, they have to be included. Extended mixes go without saying, they should always be included no matter what.

  33. Kauwgompie says:

    Paul, that was an EXCELLENT read. I know what you should be releasing as an interview booklet next and who will be buying it: me. Maybe combine the 2 interviews you had with him. Thanks, this is why I read SDE every day.

  34. Aaron says:

    Will there be an SDE booklet of this??

  35. robert meighan says:

    Excellent…as always Paul…just one question..have you heard the new remaster of the original album and what your thoughts are on it ?…thanks.

  36. Andrewm7 says:

    Thank you so much for the rundown on these tracks. I am really glad that “Do yourself a favour” was included even though it was written by Pepe Willie and for that reason kind of expected it to be omitted.
    A track from this era that was omitted was Jerk Out and I would be curious to know if it was considered.

    • Graham Turner says:

      From what I’ve heard, ‘Jerk Out’ was intended to be on ‘Originals’ but was bumped for ‘Love, Thy Will Be Done’ at the insistence of Jay Z – hence why the latter was the only non-80s track on the album.

      While it had been suggested that ‘Jerk Out’ would appear on the 1999 SDE it sounds like it was held over instead for a possible ‘Originals 2’.

    • Nieves says:

      Actually Do Yourself a Favor was co-written by Jesse Johnson who included his version in the album Shockadelica. Prince thought the album title was so cool that he decided to write a song with that name, which ended up as the b-side to If I Was Your Girlfriend

      • Alex Stassi says:

        I’m sure Do yourself a favour was just a rework and almost direct cover of “If you see me” which was originally recorded when Prince was part of 94 East.

  37. AdamW says:

    Thanks for the great interview! I hope to hear from Mr Howe prior to all the forthcoming Prince reissues.

  38. David McIntyre says:

    Thanks so much for this Paul. This site is one of only 2 I come to everyday and I love the stuff I don’t like, go figure. I’m even more stoked than I was yesterday. Really can’t wait for this.
    With regards to Extralovable et all, I really don’t see the problem with them being omitted, especially in the current environment. I think the fact that we are getting such a comprehensive box set should satisfy even die hard fans like me and it bodes well for future releases.
    In Michael Howe I trust

  39. Carlos says:

    Very informative interview. Thank you!

  40. Jeff S says:

    Paul,

    Wonderful read as always! Thanks for posting, taking the time to do this, and everything you do for the lovers of physical music. I check this site a couple of times each day to see what is new. Keep up the fantastic work.

  41. Martin Teller says:

    I’m a huge fan of this album but I’m never going to listen to all those 7″/promo edits. I understand the reasoning behind including them (some fans will surely complain if they didn’t), but they’re my least favorite type of bonus tracks. “Here’s the same song you love, but less of it”. With so much other extra content in this release, I can’t really complain, but it does feel like wasted space.

  42. Kcool says:

    This is a GROUNDBREAKING release to continue to complain about 2 tracks not included is selfish and unnecessary.

    • fenwick says:

      Give me a break. It is not “selfish and unnecessary”. What an absolutely absurd thing to say.

      Given the breadth and quality of Prince’s work, we are talking about the single most important archive of unreleased music in human history. Ironically, to not release very high quality tracks people are abundantly clear exist in the name of political correctness is actually the “selfish and unnecessary” part. The perception that other peoples virtuous ears might be hurt should not be an impediment to my ability to hear these songs.

      It would be far more civil to presume people are smart enough to contextualize something written and performed 40 years ago. Especially with the FAR more abhorrent lyrics being sung in songs today.

      So actually, it IS a legitimate beef.

      • S says:

        You are very right, fenwick.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Let me just counter this by saying that ultimately Prince’s Estate have the final say on these things. They clearly don’t want the songs out and that’s it. Our ‘right’ to hear things doesn’t overrule what Prince (because that’s who his Estate now represents) wants us to hear. It’s too easy to say ‘it’s political correctness gone mad’ etc. but it sounds like a sensible decision to me. I’m sure they don’t want to be on the front cover of the Daily Mail. You could imagine the headline.

        • C says:

          Very direct and honest answer. Thank you. If it’s the Estate’s will, so be it. It’s the wrong decision, but all we can do is explain to the Estate, and not complain to, the shortsighted reasoning behind creating an incomplete picture of art.

          Honestly, I am very surprised so much of Prince’s work in it’s early stages have been very original and not obviously derivative work (which Lust U Always may actually be liable in lyric).

          I have my boot version of Extralovable. I have the rearranged and reperformed studio versions. And I have the TV performance of Xtralovable. While not fulfilled, I am satiated for now. Hopefully the Estate sees the wisdom in completing the picture in the future. Especially considering that song is a serious jam.

      • Paisley says:

        Yes indeed and this was during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency as well.
        Extraordinary for an artist like Prince to write songs during that very conservative period in America as well!

  43. Johnathan says:

    Not sure if you’ve got any additional interviews scheduled around this release, but any thought about getting this interview one printed up in a booklet like some of the other SDE ones you’ve done?

  44. Mike says:

    ROCKITPOOLE are offering the Super Deluxe vinyl and CD sets at £174.99 and £54.99 respectively. Shipping is free in the UK only.

  45. eogan says:

    Very happy to see your June interview with Michael Howe wasn’t a “one and done” affair. Hopefully it was just the beginning of a relationship that can provide more behind-the-scenes insight to all of us Prince fans on SDE moving forward. Clearly you know your stuff and do your research, and I don’t doubt that Michael appreciates discussing all of this with someone who “gets” it.

    Thanks very much, Paul…you’ve brought to light a treasure trove of material about a treasure trove of material!

  46. Ron says:

    what about How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?????

  47. Regan Judson says:

    This was a fine interview and a pleasure to read. I love how both of you are so genuinely into the release.

  48. Casey Rain says:

    The elephant in the room is the omission of “Extraloveable” and “Lust U Always”, which both contain a questionable lyric about rape. It’s considered that this is the reason why they aren’t on the set.

    It would be great to get Michael to confirm this.

  49. James says:

    Another beauty Paul. Thank you (as always).

  50. Kevin says:

    Argh! Bernie Grundman. I know he’s held in pretty high esteem, but some of the worst, most brickwalled masters I’ve ever heard have come out of his studio. I cringe at the thought of how this new master might sound.

  51. Rob Wilson says:

    Thia is really appreciated! Just wish he was asked why they decided not to go with putting “Extralovable” and “Lust U Always” on the set

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I think we just need to read between the lines with those two… reasonably obvious why they’d be deemed unacceptable, and not sure editing them is the right answer either.

      • Mike says:

        Questionable lyrics aside, they’re both absolutely brilliant!

      • R says:

        This. Plus, since they have circulated pretty widely already, I’m guessing it was also a matter of letting sleeping dogs lie.

      • Steve says:

        It’s sexually charged music, fantasy & not reality. It’s a thought in a moment in time.

        There is unmistakeable irony in the fact that a person who built his entire career in part based on controversy, now has tracks being pulled off of posthumous releases 40 years later for FEAR of controversy.

        No one thinks Prince was a rapist, nor was he ever accused of it to my knowledge. Silly to leave it off, that’s all.

  52. Simonf says:

    Was planning on buying the forthcoming Bowie set, but 1999 knocks Space Odditty out of the ballpark, plus I only have the room for one!

  53. Jim Vandegrift says:

    Thanks so much. It’s articles like this that make this the best music site.

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