Guest Blogger: John Bland
On September 26th, 1995 an alternate version of “The Most Beautiful Girl In the World” was included on the highly anticipated Warner Bros release, ‘The Gold Experience’. Now known to his fans as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”, his venture outside of a conventional record label was a phenomenal success, spurring several remixes of the song compiled on an EP appropriately titled ‘The Beautiful Experience’ as well as an instrumental release of the song by saxophonist Brian Gallagher. A promotional video was made of the song which became the lead single for ‘The Gold Experience’ containing various women cast after responding to an ad placed in the National Enquirer. The premise was a celebration of the inner and outer beauty of women and starred a bride, a comedian, a mother, a singer, a gold medalist, a photographer and a world leader. A video showing various models interspersed between footage of TAFKAP singing the song was also made for the sped up B-side mix entitled “Beautiful” and the slower “Mustang Mix” which featured his fiancé and subject of the song, Mayte Garcia dancing while TAFKAP and his band, the NPG performed the song. There was also a television special, The Beautiful Experience, broadcast in Europe and Japan which featured promotional videos and live footage culled from a 1994 concert at Paisley Park.
For subsequent years following the single’s success, NPG records would continue to release a multitude of new, interesting and innovative endeavours by TAFKAP and after his release from Warner Bros., the newly renamed Prince, and his many musical collaborators. The Experiment had worked.
I have been an avid Prince fan since I first saw him on the Midnight Special in 1980. I thought his music was amazing. He went to a lot of trouble to set himself apart from the other popular acts of his time. When you saw him you didn’t really know what his background was, so you didn’t get hung up on it. Was he black, white, latino, straight, homo, bi, tri, quad, who cares? What kind of music is this – Soul, New Wave, Rock and Roll? I don’t know, but damn its good. He had all kinds of people in his band, his music was impossible to label and the only thing consistent about it was the quality. If you bought a Prince record you always got your money’s worth. Each record sounded different from its predecessor and on first listen might disappoint you if you were expecting it to be a seamless sonic follow-up to his last. After a few listens I was hooked, again and again.
Although I am sure there were many before him, He was the first artist I ever knew of to challenge his label and win the feud he had with them over ownership of his masters. In the nineties he said labels would cease to exist in the near future and everything would be available online. People thought he was out of his mind. He, of course, was correct. He offered his material for download before iTunes and he had an online store for purchasing his merchandise before Amazon or eBay. When he released a record and didn’t think the label was doing enough to distribute it, he offered it in the ticket price of admission during his worldwide tour and it soared up the charts with huge sales figures. Billboard said he couldn’t do that but couldn’t figure out how to show where he’d violated anything so they had to rewrite acceptable means of record distribution at concerts and reporting their sales.
Prince completely invented his own style, his name, and his music to the point that he seemed untouchable and was in his own class. He built his own factory for creating and marketing his art and he did it his way. Nobody was doing that at the time. His influence on the world of music cannot be easily put into words. He was in his own corner. He taught me that you can be anything you want. Don’t worry about staying in one style of music. Be different if you feel like it. Whatever you are is cool and the more original you are the better. When you see that symbol, you only think of who represented it. Prince took the game and completely rewrote the rulebook and this world will be forever changed because of his brief visit here.
The B Side:
The Billboard Charts:
|Chart||Debuted||Debut Pos.||Peak Pos.||Wks on Chart|
|Hot Black Singles||3/5/94||40||2||23|
|Hot Dance Music Maxi-Singles Sales||3/12/94||41||13||11|
|Hot Adult Contemporary||5/7/94||33||25||17|
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