Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Early Rare Prince Artifact: The Lewis Conection

Check out this Extremely rare independent release from 1979. A funk album featuring Prince produced in the Twin Cities. Supposedly, this is Prince's first recording. It consist of of late seventies funk with great sound effects!

Early life

Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw.[13] Prince's father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. Prince was named after his father, whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and who performed with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. In a 1991 interview with A Current Affair, Prince's father said, "I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do."[14] Prince's childhood nickname was Skipper.[15]

In a PBS interview Prince told Tavis Smiley that he was "born epileptic" and "used to have seizures" when he was young. During the interview Prince also said that "my mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, 'Mom, I'm not going to be sick anymore,' and she said 'Why?' and I said 'Because an angel told me so.' "[16]

Prince's sister Tika Evene (usually called Tyka) was born in 1960.[17] Prince's parents then separated when Prince was ten years old and Prince lived with his father. Prince moved out after his father found him in bed with a female friend. Prince moved into the home of a neighbor, the Andersons, and befriended their son, Andre Anderson who later became known as André Cymone.[citation needed]

Prince and Anderson joined Prince's cousin, Charles Smith, in a band called Grand Central while they were attending Minneapolis's Central High School. Smith was later replaced by Morris Day on the drums. Prince played piano and guitar for the band which performed at clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area and was managed by the mother of one of the band members.[citation needed] Grand Central later changed its name to Champagne and started playing original music influenced by Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, Parliament-Funkadelic, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Todd Rundgren.[citation needed]

In 1976, Prince created a demo tape with producer Chris Moon in Moon's Minneapolis studio. Unable to secure a recording contract, Moon brought the tape to Minneapolis businessman Owen Husney. Husney signed Prince, at the age of 17, to a management contract and helped Prince create a demo recording at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis using producer/engineer David Z. The demo recording, along with a press kit produced at Husney's ad agency, resulted in interest from several record companies including Warner Bros., A&M, and Columbia Records. With the help of Husney, Prince signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Warner Bros. agreed to give Prince creative control for three albums and ownership of the publishing rights.[citation needed] Husney and Prince then left Minneapolis and moved to Sausalito, California where Prince's first album, For You, was recorded at the Record Plant recording studio. Subsequently, the album was mixed in Los Angeles and released in 1978.
Musical beginnings: 1974–80

In 1975, Pepe Willie, the husband of Prince's cousin, Shauntel, formed the band 94 East with Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry. Willie hired Andre Cymone and Prince to record tracks with 94 East. Those songs were written by Willie and Prince contributed guitar tracks. Prince also co-wrote, with Willie, the 94 East song, "Just Another Sucker". The band recorded tracks which later became the album Minneapolis Genius – The Historic 1977 Recordings. Prince also recorded, but never released, a song written by Willie - "If You See Me" a.k.a. "Do Yourself A Favor". In 1995, Willie released the album 94 East featuring Prince, Symbolic Beginning which included original recordings by Prince and Cymone.

Prince released the album For You on April 17, 1978. The album was written and performed by Prince, except for the song "Soft and Wet" which had lyrics co-written by Moon. According to the For You album notes, Prince produced, arranged, composed and played all 27 instruments on the recording.

The cost of recording the album was twice Prince's initial advance. Prince used the Prince's Music Co. to publish his songs. The single from the album reached #12 on the Hot Soul Singles chart and #92 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song "Just as Long as We're Together" reached #91 on the Hot Soul Singles chart.

In 1979 Prince created a band which included André Cymone on bass, Dez Dickerson on guitar, Gayle Chapman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, and Bobby Z on drums. Their first show was at the Capri Theater on January 5, 1979. Warner Bros. executives attended the show but decided that Prince and the band needed more time to develop his music.[18]

In October 1979, Prince released a self-titled album, Prince, which was #4 on the Billboard Top R&B/Black Albums charts, and #22 on the Billboard 200, going platinum. It contained two R&B hits: "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover". "I Wanna Be Your Lover" sold over a million copies, and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 for two weeks on the Hot Soul Singles chart. Prince performed both these songs on January 26, 1980 on American Bandstand. On this album, Prince used Ecnirp Music – BMI.[

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