Trying to wrap your head around the ethics of posthumous artist releases has always been a tough task. But is magnified when it comes to the artist formally known as the artist formally known as Prince. His legendary vault housed an untold number of treasures. From whole albums to a Kevin Smith documentary, all of which he did not want to release. The man was a fountain of creativity. But never aimed to over-saturate the world with music that he didn’t think should be released. Sure, bootlegs made it out to the public all the time that were incredible.
Purple Rain Deluxe (Expanded Edition) seems to be the first legitimate posthumous release from the artist. Who tragically died in April of last year. It is a collection that seemed to have been planned in conjunction with his label while he was still alive, so I don’t feel quite so bad about buying it. It features (depending on the version you pick up) the original album in a remastered format that Prince himself was said to have a hand in at his Paisley Park Studio complex in 2015.
Along with those 9 grammy-winning tracks, it also features a second disc of vault recordings and unreleased material (11 tracks in all, featuring the popular bootleg ‘Electric Intercourse’), a third of B-sides, extended versions, edits and remixes, as well as an entire 19 song DVD of Prince and the Revolution ‘Live at the Carrier Dome, 1985’. It’s a real treasure trove for fans of the Purple One, especially of his most well-known record.
Re-Issues and Box Sets
Also released on June 22nd 2017 were MP3 and Vinyl re-issues of the album, all costing around the £20 mark. Personally, I am picking up the 4 disc box set, as I only got to see him live once.
His show in Birmingham in 2014 is still one of the best nights of my life, so I jump at every chance to see more of him in action. The only thing that could make this box set even better was if they released a 5 disc version with the Purple Rain film, complete with any archived commentary from director Albert Magnoli, Prince himself or any of the cast. Wishful thinking, but you should definitely consider picking up the box set. It brought me back to when I first heard Prince’s music and the appreciation I felt for the songs, his sheer work ethic and utter incredible musicality.