‘Prince Day’ Honors The Artist’s Birthday: 15 Rare Albums Released

Prince would have been 58 years old on June 7. To commemorate the “Purple One,” the streaming music service Tidal has released 15 of his albums.

Prince, who died on April 21 from an accidental overdose of painkillers, lives on through his eclectic collection of music. According to Billboard.com, the newly released works include “a collection of rarities, b-sides, unreleased recordings and live albums… The big drop includes The Black Album,New Power Soul and The Rainbow Children.”

A story in BBC News reported that The Black Album is, “a dark, funky follow-up to Sign O’ The Times, which Prince scrapped a week before release in 1987.”

“It also features The Gold Experience, which includes his only UK number one, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.”

Prince had been a supporter of Jay Z’s streaming service. In one statement, released August, 2015, he thanked the company.

“After one meeting, it was obvious that Jay Z and the team he has assembled at Tidal recognise and applaud the effort that real musicians put in2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry.

“Tidal have honoured Us with a non-restrictive arrangement that once again allows Us to continue making art in the fashion We’ve grown accustomed 2 and We’re Extremely grateful 4 their generous support.”

The new releases are mostly material created after 1996, following the end of Prince’s relationship with Warner Brothers. The tracks were critiqued by BBC News music reporter Mark Savage.

“… Most of the material is far from his best — although some highlights include the jazz-inflected The Rainbow Children and Indigo Nights — which documents the legendary aftershows the star gave during his 21-night residency at London’s O2 Arena in 2007.”

Savage stated that triple disc Crystal Ball is worth investigating.

“… It features outtakes and ‘lost’ songs from the star’s mid-80s heyday, including the expansive, 10-minute title track and the jittering funk of Sexual Suicide.”

The albums now available include the following.

  • The Black Album (1987)
  • The Gold Experience (1995)
  • Chaos & Disorder (1996)
  • Crystal Ball (1998)
  • 1999: The New Master (1999)
  • Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999)
  • Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (2001)
  • The Rainbow Children (2001)
  • One Nite Alone… Live! (2002)
  • One Nite Alone… The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over (2002)
  • Indigo Nights (2008)
  • The New Power Generation
  • Exodus (1995)
  • New Power Soul (1998)
  • Various
  • 1-800-NEW-FUNK (1994)
  • Girl 6 – Official (1996)

Prince died on April 21 from an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid many times more powerful than heroin.

The pop icon was thought to be suffering knee and hip pain, caused by spending much of his career performing in high heels.

During the week following his death, Prince’s albums and songs sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. This was in stark contrast to sales the week prior to his death, where Prince’s music sold 5,000 albums and 14,000 song downloads.

Ironically, Prince claimed that he didn’t celebrate birthdays, but it gives his fans another excuse to honor him. The governor of Minnesota has declared June 7 to be “Prince Day,” according to a statement from his office released through Fox.

“The proclamation issued today by Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith is meant to celebrate Prince’s life and many contributions – not only in arts and culture, but also in his many acts of service to his fellow Minnesotans.”

The office even released an official “Prince Day Proclamation.”

“WHEREAS: Prince (Rogers Nelson) was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and

“WHEREAS: Prince’s artistry, music, and brand showcase his outstanding contributions to music and the arts and entertainment industry; and

“WHEREAS: Prince was one of the best-selling recording artists of all-time; a prominent singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist, he went on to create revolutionary music and an iconic identity, which later inspired a movie, known as Purple Rain; and

“WHEREAS: Prince was a seven-time Grammy Award winner and the winner of a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and multiple American Music Awards and Minnesota Black Music Awards, ultimately securing himself a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Prince was considered a music industry innovator, a mentor, and a humble philanthropist; and”

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“WHEREAS: Prince was the creator of ‘The Minneapolis Sound,’ a contribution not only to the global catalogue of music genres, but to Minnesota’s worldwide prominence and its economic growth; and

“WHEREAS: The untimely passing of Prince on April 21, 2016 impacted millions and has been marked with tributes and celebrations of his life and music across the world; and

“WHEREAS: Prince Day will be celebrated in Minnesota on June 7, 2016, Prince’s birthday; and

“WHEREAS: Minnesotans are encouraged to wear purple on Prince Day in honor of The Purple One’s enduring legacy.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, June 7, 2016, as: PRINCE DAY”

Prince left no will, leaving the court to decide how to divide his estate, which is estimated to be worth more than $27 million, plus future royalties and licensing deals.

[Image via Northfoto/Shutterstock]