Our Dream Track List For an ‘Around the World in a Day’ Deluxe Expanded Edition
It’s been more than two years since Warner Bros. released the Purple Rain three CD+DVD Deluxe Expanded Edition. While Prince fans will soon be able to snap up CD and vinyl reissues of Chaos and Disorder, Emancipation and The Versace Experience, none of these releases promise the B-sides, remixes, or vault rarities the Purple Nation is clamoring for.
Not every album in Prince’s catalog warrants an expanded reissue, but at the rate the Prince Estate is putting out previously-unreleased music, most fans will not live long enough to see all of his essential albums get a complete vault makeover. Perhaps it’s time to prioritize.
With any luck, the powers that be will eventually release the Dream Factory and Prince's originally conceived Crystal Ball, including many tracks that wound up on other albums with different mixes or versions. But even once those oft-bootlegged treasures, along with vault gems most collectors don’t know about, make it to retail, there are still countless songs from Prince to fill multi-disc deluxe expanded editions of every Prince album from For You to Emancipation.
It makes perfect sense that Around the World in a Day would be next up for wide re-release. The original came out a mere 10 months after Purple Rain; the album, remixes and B-sides that rained down upon fans in the summer of 1985 combined to form one of Prince’s greatest artistic triumphs.
When most people debate “the greatest Prince album of all time," Around the World in a Day usually cedes the floor to Purple Rain (1984), Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987), or 1999 (1982). Even Parade, the 1986 soundtrack to the under-appreciated film, Under the Cherry Moon, was widely considered at the time to be a big improvement on its predecessor.
“It is ambitious, complex and stylistically diverse but at the same time a unified whole - a 'concept album' in the tradition of such '60s classics as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,'' said Robert Palmer of the New York Times in 1985. “Whether one approaches it as a concept album or simply a collection of superb pop songs, it is an instrumental and stylistic tour de force, Prince's finest hour - for now.”
“It’s unfair to only consider the album as a defensive maneuver or a strategy to keep his future options open,” said noted Prince biographer Alan Light in a feature for Pitchfork soon after Prince's death in 2016. “It was also a brave and deeply personal project, exploring sounds and ideas that were almost shocking coming from a pop icon at his peak.”
Contrary to popular belief, the album wasn’t an abrupt, 180-degree response to the phenomenal success of Purple Rain, for much of it was written and recorded before Prince’s global blockbuster was even released. Decades before Beyoncé or Radiohead could drop an album with little warning, Around the World in a Day arrived quietly on store shelves with little promotion. In the chess game of his career, the odd, diverse, psychedelic LP was his next move all along, and by the time it came out, most of his next two albums were already in the can.
“I think the smartest thing I did was record Around the World in a Day right after I recorded Purple Rain,” Prince told Neal Karlen in an epic 1985 cover story for Rolling Stone. “I didn’t wait to see what would happen with Purple Rain. I don’t want to make an album like the earlier ones. Wouldn’t it be cool to put your albums back to back and not get bored, you dig?”
“I sorta had an f-you attitude,” Prince told legendary Detroit DJ the Electrifying Mojo a year later (June 7, 1986), “Meaning that I was making something for myself and my fans. And the people who supported me through the years—I wanted to give them something, and it was like my mental letter. And those people are the ones that wrote me back, and tell me that they felt what I was feeling. Record sales and things like that, it really doesn’t matter, I mean it keeps a roof over your head and it keeps money in all these folks pockets that I got hanging around here (laughs). It basically stems from the music and I’m just hoping that people understand that money is one thing but soul is another, and that’s all we’re trying to do.”
While 2017's Purple Rain reissue likely had some involvement from Prince before his death, the bonus disc track list left a bit to be desired. “Velvet Kitty Cat," a track intended for the Time or Apollonia 6, seemed somewhat out of place, while the utterly essential extended version of “17 Days” was missing in action.
With that in mind, Ultimate Prince suggests this potential track list for the Around the World in a Day Expanded Deluxe Edition...
Re-master the original album, using the best technology to capture every nuance on the master tapes.
While it would seem like a no-brainer to tack on all the extended remixes, b-sides and single edits, why not be a little more adventurous? If Kanye West can constantly switch up his streaming album sequences in real time, we can assume Prince may have enjoyed a similar luxury, should he have ever found an interest in revisiting past work. Throughout his career, Prince rarely looked in the rearview mirror.
“Condition of the Heart," lovely as it is, with its long piano entrance and over-modulated chorus, derailed the momentum of the original album. References to Paris and black-and-white film star Clara Bow make it seem like a premonition for the Parade album, and perhaps would fit better on that album’s eventual expanded deluxe edition.
Side breaks listed below are intended for the vinyl release, but also denote thematic act breaks on the CD.
*If other versions of these Disc 1 tracks exist in the vault, weave them in here.
***Circulating demoes from this era expand upon the adventurous, psychedelic nature of the album -- one can only imagine what else lies in the vault.
1. "America" (12-inch version – the complete, unreleased 30-minute version)
2. "Pop Life" (U.K. extended version)
3. "Girl" (Single Mix)*
4. "Hello" (Single Mix)*
5. "She's Always In My Hair" (Single Mix)*
*these already appear on the Hits/B-Sides album, but warrant remastering and inclusion for completists.
The official video for “America” bypassed the studio version and the live 12-inch version for yet another live version and arrangement. One can only hope Prince recorded the entire set at this Oct. 25, 1985 gig in Nice, France, one of the rare live documents of a concert from this era. In this clip, Prince and the Revolution jettison the frills of their Purple Rain tour stage costumes. Wendy Melvoin premieres much shorter hair while Prince rocks a drab trench coat along with the hat that will soon grace the Parade tour and related concerts.
According to Prince Vault, the show was arranged during a break from filming Under the Cherry Moon. While its main intent was to capture an official promo video for "America," it also treated the 2,000 lucky fans in attendance to one of the most ferocious shows Prince has documented on camera. The Revolution powered through two versions of "America" along with a rare full band performance of “Paisley Park.” The rest of the set reportedly included “Let’s Go Crazy," “Delirious" (with "Automatic"), “Little Red Corvette” and “Purple Rain."