The Linn Drum was actually three drum machines designed and originally built by Roger Linn. The first, was called the Linn LM-1, from 1980. Prince used this one all over the 1999 and Purple Rain albums. Next was the LinnDrum (or as some people called: The LM-2,) from 1982. This was used during Prince’s Purple Rain tour. You can clearly see it in a lot of pictures off to the side of the drummer. And the Linn 9000 came out in 1984. It was able to sample your own sounds. It failed miserably.
The first two pretty much revolutionized the music industry. It was the first machine to sound like an acoustic drum kit. Never before could a singer complete an album as if it was a band, by him or her self. It was crudely sampled @ 28-35kHz and had no MIDI interface. There were kits built later on that you could retrofit MIDI to a LinnDrum. Prior to the Linn machines there was the Roland 808 which was, and still is, huge. But it sounded nothing like acoustic drums. It never intended to. The Linn Drums intended to. The smart drummers out there bought one and learned how to program one. It’s amazing how many Top 10 songs used one. It’s most notable for it’s fast shaker, it’s open & round bass drum and it’s deep, resonant and ever-so-slightly-behind-the-beat snare drum. In recent interviews Roger Linn said he wished he cut out a little bit of the lag in the snare sound. But I think that’s what made the machine so human. No machine has ever come so close to having a “feel.”
- Don’t Lose My Number (Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required)
- Part-Time Lover (Stevie Wonder’s In Square Circle)
- Shock The Monkey (Peter Gabriel’s Security)
- Rock Me Amadeus (Falco’s Falco 3)
- Human (The Human League’s Crash)
- The Safety Dance (Men Without Hats’ Rhythm of Youth)
- Drive (The Cars’ Heartbeat City)
- Little Red Corvette (Prince’s 1999)
- Bang The Drum All Day (Todd Rundgren’s The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect)
- Last Christmas (Wham!’s All-Star Christmas)
A lot of these songs used the Linn LM-1 or the LinnDrum sequenced with other drum machines or acoustic drums overdubbed, FYI. What’s amazing it that each one of these songs pretty much used the same samples. If you listen to these songs, one can hear how drastically a engineer can change a sound, by using compression or reverb or whatever, in the mixing process.
It’s almost a mystery of the world as to the number of songs Prince has actually recorded. He’s officially or unofficially released at least 1,100. But then again that doesn’t include the hundreds of songs he’s written for other artists. His volume of music is abundant and equally diverse. And his B-Sides are no slackers.
- 17 Days (When Doves Cry 7″) – The B-Sides from the Purple Rain Era are probably my most cherished gems. This is no exception. Has elements of what was to become of the Parade album. Awesome monotone backup vox from Wendy and Lisa. There’s even a 10 min+ extended mix. Also highly recommended.
- Another Lonely Christmas (I Would Die For You 7″) – Definitely a stand out song for 1984. Very bluesy. The drums are incredible. Prince always new how to lay them down.
- God (Purple Rain 7″) – Almost a Capella. Basically Prince singing about God. The chorus is kinda bad. (“God made you. God made me.”) But the emotions and vibe are what propels this song, not the lyrics.
- Irresistible Bitch (Let’s Pretend We’re Married 7″) – Prince really was funky. Sounds like a P-Funk or Bootsy solo record song. Basically drums and vocals only. Some bass. Some bells. It’s the simple songs that do it in funk. The song was originally written and recorded two years prior (1981) and segued in to Feel You Up.
- She’s Always In My Hair (Raspberry Beret 7″) – Most famously covered by D’Angelo in the 90s. Clearly even in this B-Side you could tell Prince was changing. He was happier and less cynical and it showed in his writing. Sadly this never lasts too long.
- Scarlet Pussy (I Wish You Heaven 7″) – Yet another sex song. And a Camille tune which was Prince’s female alter-ego.
- Sex (Scandalous 7″) – Similar vein to Irresistible Bitch musically and lyrically to Scarlet Pussy. Mainly drums, vox and minimal synth.
- How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore (1999 7″) – A simple piano ballad which has always been a fan favorite to be played live. Alicia Keys covered this in 2001.
- Erotic City (Let’s Go Crazy 7″) – Now regarded as a funk/club classic. Features Sheila E. on backup vox. Again, drums, bass and minimal synth. Simple. Always gets it done.
- Shockadelica (If I Was Your Girlfriend 7″) – Another Camille cut. This song was written in response to Jesse Johnson’s (The Time) solo record. It was called “Shockadelica” – Prince commented to Jesse that a great album should have a great title track. Jesse didn’t think so. And then Prince did it instead. Classic.
I just wanted to remind everyone about Frankie’s career. When she found us she was still a Cartographer with the Royal Geographic Society. She traveled mainly in Egypt and throughout Africa. While there she enjoyed sipping martinis and smoking cigars in the private libraries of the Royal Geographic Society.
She later left the Society to go in to Academia in the States. Shortly thereafter, she was hand-picked for the FBI. We can’t talk about any more details with that part of her life.
And now, after becoming disillusioned with the FBI, she’s following in her Daddy’s footsteps to start a career in organic crop dusting.