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A Look Back At Prince's 'Sign O The Times' 30 Years Later

03-31-2017
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Prince

(Radio.com) Thirty years ago today (March 31), Prince released 'Sign O The Times,' a sprawling double album that featured some of his greatest songs, including "If I Was Your Girlfriend," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," "Starfish and Coffee," "Adore," "U Got the Look" and the title track. Here, we look back on the album that many hardcore fans feel is his greatest moment.

By 1987, Prince was three years beyond the star-making phenomenon of Purple Rain, but it seemed like much longer. He was still a huge star, but some overly ambitious--or overly self-indulgent--artistic decisions put his status on music's A-list in jeopardy.

He'd followed the massive superstardom of the 1984 Purple Rain album, movie and blockbuster tour less than a year later with the decidedly different and dense Around the World in a Day, which was packed with psychedelic spirituality, and which featured just two hits, 'Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life." At Prince's insistence, the album was marketed as minimally as the massive Warner Brothers Records machine would allow.

With 1986 came the arrival of the striking, minimalist full-length Parade. While lauded critically and instantly embraced by the Prince faithful, like its predecessor, the album spawned just one U.S. hit: 'Kiss" (although to be fair, it also has the classics "Sometimes It Snows in April" and "Mountains").

1986 also saw Prince take a popular and critical drubbing with the release of the movie Under the Cherry Moon. While the movie's soundtrack (the aforementioned Parade) was a success, the campy, black and white picture would earn a slew of negative 'accolades," include five awards at the following year's Razzie Awards. The film "won" Worst Picture (tied with Howard the Duck!), while Prince got the dubious honor of Worst Actor and Worst Director. Adding insult to injury, he also got Worst Original Song for "Love or Money."

The end of the Parade tour signaled the end of Prince's longtime band, the Revolution, with a chaotic show in Japan that would be the last time the classic lineup would play together.

Freshly liberated from the Revolution, Prince went into 1987 with a chip on his shoulder. Eager to bounce back from Under the Cherry Moon, he had plenty to prove with his next move. At the same time, his evolution as an artist found him wanting to push and transcend even more boundaries musically. Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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