Tag Archive for 'Top 10'

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Top 10 Songs Produced Or Written By Prince

One of the greatest aspects of Prince is his never ending supply of good music. Just when you get mildly done with a year, you can pick a new one. Or you can pick a new artist he worked with. But in the 80s he was prolific. Writing hundreds of songs that other artists would perform. Sadly he never had the time to record all the songs himself. Even though he usually didn’t worry about recording techniques. Most of the time he’d simply slap up some mics to get the song down as quick as possible as to not interrupt the vibe. But sometimes he’d toss them to his protégés or friends to get them released even faster. And sometimes they were songs he just didn’t want on a record or it simply wasn’t time.

Below are my favorite songs Prince either produced and/or wrote for other artists. And for the most part, Prince plays or sings on most of these. Most notably the backing track.

  1. Blue Limousine – Apollonia 6

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    Why this wasn’t a Top 10 hit is beyond me. What a hook. Sure Apollonia’s voice wasn’t her strongest asset, but this song cooks. “He likes ’em pretty, he likes them in their lingerie.” Totally a track from the Purple Rain era.

  2. The Dance Electric РAndr̩ Cymone:

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    Pretty much a Prince song with his voice taken out and André’s voice put in. You can hear Prince doing the backups. Stellar Linn Drum programming, if you didn’t notice. From 1985.

  3. G Spot – Jill Jones

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    One of Prince’s strongest voices and definitely less of a protégés. Jill actually started her career as a backup vocalist for Teena Marie.

  4. The Glamorous Life – Sheila E.

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    One can’t not love the synth horn hits giving us one of the 80s most dance-able hits. This cut was also originally intended for Apollonia 6. And did I mention the crazy ass Linn Drum programming on top of Sheila’s amazing percussion. This is one of those songs I never get sick of and wonder what a disaster this would have been with Apollonia 6.

  5. He’s So Dull – Vanity 6

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    While I do think their original name: The Hookers was a more fitting name, Vanity 6 works too. Not to mention Vanity’s original name was Vagina. What was Prince thinking?! But basically Apollonia 6 came from Vanity 6’s ashes, minus Vanity, of course. People always said Vanity had a better voice, and I guess she did, but the songs weren’t as strong, in my opinion. I really like this song’s “When You Were Mine” style. Like a few of Prince’s entourage, Vanity became a Born Again Christian.

  6. High Fashion – The Family

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    Prince on drums. It’s his trademark funk beat. Not to mention that James Brown funky guitar in the left channel. Their live band was essentially the Time after they broke up the first time with St. Paul (nice MPLS reference) and Susanna Melvoin (Wendy’s sister) on vocals.

  7. Jungle Love – The Time

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    Perhaps the reason why Prince kept writing for The Time. They knew how to get people dancing. Sho’ nuff. What’s notable is that Morris Day and Jesse Johnson actually did help write this song with Prince.

  8. Manic Monday (Extended Mix) – The Bangles

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    Besides the Bangles being a completely underrated 80s band and Susanna Hoffs being a complete babe and awesome guitarist, this song is such a gem. It was actually originally written for Apollonia 6 in 1984 and was recorded but was given to the Bangles in 1986. And rightfully so. It’s much better with Susanna Hoffs singing. This song reached #2 on the charts, ironically behind Kiss at #1.

  9. 100MPH – Mazarati

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    It’s amazing how a simple drum machine beat like this can still sound so much like Prince. Is it the Linn Drum? I wish Prince still used the Linn Drum like he used to. Prince is all over the background vocals here. I love this funk gem.

  10. Bang Bang – Brown Mark

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    Mark was the 2nd bassist for the Revolution. He also had two records out on Motown in the 80s. Of course the strongest songs were the ones Prince was part of. This is no exception. Thank you pitch shifter. This almost sounds like a Time or Camille outtake from 1988. Little else is known about this song.

Also notable:
Kiss – Mazarati

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This song was originally cut as a demo by Prince. A simple blues song. Prince on vocals and acoustic guitar. And it was only one verse and one chorus recorded on a dictaphone. Prince gave the demo to Mazarati and producer David Z. They developed the song in to a funk/dance paradise. Prince then heard it, was amazed with their arrangement and basically stole it back while virtually only adding a guitar solo and his falsetto vocals. It then became his next #1 single. You can still hear Mazarati’s background vocals on Prince’s version.

Nothing Compares 2 U – The Family

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This song was written in 1985 for The Family’s debut record. It was subsequently re-arranged and recorded by Sinéad O’Connor in 1990 and went to #1 on the charts. Prince finally released a rather soulful live version singing a duet with Rosie Gaines in 1993 on his 3-disc hits collection. Perhaps it was released out of jealousy from the attention Sinéad O’Connor received.

Top 10 Favorite Radiohead Songs

I first heard Radiohead from my friend Jordan. You know, the dude who sang in all those high school bands I was in. Good times. It was probably a mixtape. At the time, it was pretty refreshing. Alternative Rock was the buzz word. I remember sophomore Geometry with my friend Ben Ko. We’d give each other funny looks every time the teacher said, “And here’s an alternative way to solve this…” For Radiohead it was great timing. Not to mention great music. I was first impressed that Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie from Fort Apache recorded the record. Some of my favorite records by Dinosaur Jr., Sebahdoh, The Pixies and Buffalo Tom were recorded there. The HUGE drums. I love it. And I loved it. And Radiohead was no exception. The drums were huge. This was Pablo Honey. Sadly the drums became smaller and smaller as each record progressed. The same progression also happened with the Flaming Lips. Such is so-called growth.

Then came college, The Bends broke. It was pretty different, but I never really hit me until a few years later. By then they were the biggest band around and I had stopped listening to music with lyrics. They simply didn’t matter to me.

In the early 2000s, I picked up OK Computer. Shit. I missed out when this dropped. I still firmly believe that the bass lines in that opener Airbag are the shit. Balls out. Regardless if John Leckie sat there hitting the mute button to chop it up.

I’ll be the first to admit Kid A was adventurous for Radiohead, as a band. It took guts. Not to mention was fodder for every programmer across the globe. But breakthrough and innovative in the full scope of modern music, however, I’d beg to differ. The critics and indie rockers simply called them the 2nd coming of christ, in so many words. Sadly Radiohead kept it comfortable for the next 7 or so years and did not release any records that spoke to me. However of the records from 2000 on, I feel Amnesiac spoke the clearest to me. Not to mention hearing it on double 10″ vinyl is the way to truly experience it.

Regardless of their records, sometimes I feel like Jonny Greenwood is my favorite guitarist. And in college I was lucky to have caught them at Roseland in NYC on a leg of the Bends tour. It might have been what I smoked after getting my nipple pierced earlier that day, but I swear Jonny Greenwood’s guitar spoke to me that night. Not to mention hearing one of their best songs that sadly hasn’t been released called Lift.

  1. Fake Plastic Trees (The Bends)
  2. Planet Telex (The Bends)
  3. Stop Whispering – US Mix (Stop Whispering EP)

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  4. I Can’t (Pablo Honey)
  5. Airbag (OK Computer)

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  6. Paranoid Android (OK Computer)
  7. Lucky (OK Computer)
  8. Idioteque (Kid A)
  9. Pyramid Song (Amnesiac)
  10. I Might Be Wrong (Amnesiac)


Top 10 Favorite Snare Drums

According to the wikipedia:

The snare drum or side drum is a drum with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the bottom head. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom (internal) side of the top (batter) head.

Ah, the snare drum. It’s typically what you hear on the 2 & 4 of a rock song. You know, where people with rhythm clap. I firmly believe it’s the most complicated instrument to record. There is so much going on. It covers so many frequency ranges. It has so many voices and dynamics. It’s overtones and harmonics are tremendous yet it’s a very sensitive instrument. More so than most people can imagine. It also gives the listener a real feel for how the room in which it was recorded is shaped. Only an experienced (or lucky) engineer can properly and accurately capture it’s sound. Continue reading ‘Top 10 Favorite Snare Drums’