My general plan for this blog is to discuss Prince albums in the order I consumed them, starting with late 1984 when I worked my way back from Purple Rain, finishing up For You just in time for the release of Around The World In A Day. So, if you’re scoring at home, think 6-5-4-3-2-1-7-8-9…
And if you are scoring at home, what are you listening to? “Scandalous”? “Insatiable”?
Anyway, one reason I’m bungling Prince’s chronology is to shine a light on those feverish months in 1984-1985, where nouveau Prince fans (and we were legion) were buried in mind-blowing content. There were six Prince albums to devour. There were three albums by The Time, there were albums by assorted 6s, there was an album by Sheila E. and another one on the way. Beyond all of that, random Prince songs would suddenly pop up on the radio, from the B-side “Erotic City” to the defiling of Sheena Easton: “Sugar Walls.”
It was hard to keep up with all of it, and apparently I didn’t, because I just learned of this 1985 recording today…
This is relevant to my interests. Peak Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” afterglow Tina Turner, released a scathing live version of Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” on her follow-up single to “Private Dancer.” She dances around some of the filthier lyrics (for example, she doesn’t profess a desire to fuck the taste out of your mouth, sincerely or otherwise), but it is still naughty as all hell. It contains all the sexuality of her big 1984 hits, but with giddy funkiness instead of melancholy.
The B-side was recorded live in Chicago in August 1984, but I am fascinated with the below version, filmed in February 1984 in Holland. It’s the last glimpse of Turner before she would complete her comeback and take over the world with the Private Dancer album in June; “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and friends aren’t on the setlist yet.
Before I found this, the only intersection between Prince and Tina Turner I could think of was Prince singing “Proud Mary” at the Super Bowl. I just checked the index of Matt Thorne’s “Prince,” and there are no listings between “Tucker, Ken” and “Twinz, The.” Am I missing something?
What would a collaboration have looked like? Prince made some amazing music with his female protégées in the Eighties, but none of them were even close to Turner in terms of gravity until Mavis Staples and Patti LaBelle came on board in 1989. I think she could have brought out the best in Prince, and at the very least, she could have made something out of one of my Prince-penned guilty pleasures, Deborah Allen’s “Telepathy.”
(Warning: this video contains toxic levels of Eighties.)
Was there a reason they never worked together? Perhaps Prince was offended that she sang “ooh-eee-koo-koo-sha-sha-yeah” instead of “ooh-eee-sha-sha-koo-koo-yeah” in her cover of “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”? I mean, if you’re not going to respect the source material…