Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"Kiss" by Prince & the Revolution

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2635
Date:  02/22/1986
Debut:  52
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  18
Genre:  R&B, Funk, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  After the success of Purple Rain, Prince was bitten by the film bug and decided to do another project. For his second venture, he chose to do a rom-com with a 1930's feel. Under the Cherry Moon had Prince and Jerome Benton (of The Time) as cousins who were scamming rich women and living the high life on the French Riviera. All was fun until Prince falls in love with one of their targets. Of course, the film would contain music and that translated into a sort-of soundtrack album titled Parade. This first single would kick things off and after a high debut, the song shot to the top of the Pop chart. It also reached #1 at R&B and Dance. It was his third single to top all three charts. Despite the major hit, the album would peak at #3 and would only go platinum, which was half of what his previous LP, the psychedelic Around the World in a Day, would sell and a tenth of what Purple Rain sold. It didn't help that the film was a box office bomb and big critical failure. Still, the album was critically more successful than Around the World and this song became one Prince's most enduring hits. It also won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance, Duo or Group and was nominated for Best R&B Song

ReduxReview:  This sparsely arranged track just hit all the right buttons. It was a retro-ish R&B tune that was minimally dressed with modern flare. It had a great hook and Prince's falsetto sounded right at home. It was an irresistible piece of ear candy and there was no doubt this was gonna hit #1. Apparently, his record company didn't like the tune and thought it was way too underdone and sounded like a demo. They didn't want to release it, but Prince put his foot down and the song got out. It's completely amazing, even in retrospect, that no one at Warner Bros. heard this as a hit. I knew it on first listen. Idiots.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Prince originally wrote this song for the Minneapolis band Mazarati, which was formed by Revolution bassist Brown Mark. The band worked up the song with Prince, but then Prince liked how the tune had developed and decided to finish it himself. The completed track still has some of the original recorded parts including the background vocals done by Mazarati. Mazarati would issue a debut album in 1986 with only one single making any impression - the #19 R&B track "100 MPH," which was written, produced, and all instruments performed by Prince.  2) Two covers of this tune would end up reaching the charts. Later in '86, the British alt-rock band Age of Chance recorded a version that featured their own lyrics. The song got to #50 in the UK while hitting #35 on the US Dance chart. A couple of years later, singer Tom Jones began including the song in his shows and even sang it on TV. That performance was caught by members of the Art of Noise and they reached out to Jones to see if he would sing on a version they had worked up. He obliged and in 1988 it was issued out as a single. It was a big hit in the UK reaching #5. In the US it would get to #18 Dance and #31 Pop.


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