Our Wish List for the ‘1999’ Deluxe Edition
Earlier this week, Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune first revealed the Prince Estate would soon assume control of Paisley Park as a tourist attraction, he also said that a Deluxe Edition of 1999 would be on the way. If the news is indeed true, it would be the first enhanced reissue of an existing Prince album without Prince’s input. It would follow in the footsteps of 2017’s Deluxe Edition of Purple Rain that Prince negotiated as part of his return to Warner Bros.
The original 1999 was released in October 1982 as a double album. This mastering move allowed the warmest sound of any Prince record to date. The expanded grooves were great for the bass line, as most of the songs on the album were primed to pack the dance floor. But “D.M.S.R.” was left off the initial CD pressings to keep it to a single disc, although it was restored in future editions when the amount of time allowed on a CD was increased. Therefore, it might make artistic sense to expand the original 11 tracks to two CDs and fill out the second disc with the non-album b-sides.
1. "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)"
3. "Lady Cab Driver"
4. "All the Critics Love U in New York"
5. "International Lover"
6. "Irresistible Bitch" (b-side of "Let’s Pretend We’re Married")
7. "How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?" (b-side of "1999")
8. "Horny Toad" (b-side of "Delirious")
9. "Little Red Corvette (Dance Mix)" (the only expanded 12-inch single from this era -- also released on Ultimate)
1. "Purple Music"
2. "Extra Loveable"
3. "No Call U"
4. "Do Yourself a Favor"
5. "Turn It Up"
6 "Lust U Always"
7. "D.M.S.R. (Demo)"
8. "Delirious (Demo)"
9. "Something in the Water (Demo)"
10. "Irresistible Bitch (Demo)"
As with the Purple Rain reissue, vault cuts are the big draw for this title. At this time in his career, Prince was composing not just for his own albums, but also for the Time, Vanity 6, and Jill Jones. Other tracks would wind eventually find a home on Sign ‘O’ the Times, and Warner Bros. could include the original version of "Xtraloveable," which was first attempted during the 1999 sessions, released as a digital single in 2011 and again on his final album, HitNRun Phase Two.
“Purple Music” would be the epic kickoff to disc three. It’s a dark, brooding dance track that would have fit thematically in the pre-apocalyptic landscape of 1999, and two versions -- both north of the 10-minute mark -- exist. “Do Yourself a Favor” is a remake of “If You See Me," a track often found on reissues of Prince’s earliest recordings with 94 East. Jesse Johnson also released a version of this track on his album Shockadelica. “No Call U” is a rockabilly rave-up in the spirit of “Horny Toad," “Jack U Off” and “Delirious." “Turn It Up” is also similar in style, showing that Prince was comfortable taking an idea and running with it in different directions to see which one fit best. And although some of the lyrics of "Lust U Always" are uncomfortable -- namely “My body reeks with lust / I will rape you if I must" -- perhaps the offending verse can be omitted here.
Some demos of 1999's album tracks and b-sides have been bootlegged on cassette so many times that the sound quality has degenerated considerably, so we'd love to have pristine versions of them. Of particular interest would be the demo of "Irresistible Bitch," where Prince sings in an urgent, lusty scream that almost shreds his vocal cords.
If the estate is planning to include a live show on CD, DVD or Blu-ray, the 1999 tour offers a treasure trove of potential material. Prince and his gelling Revolution toured with the Time and Vanity 6 (using the Time as their band). The Time was often upstaging the headliner, a rivalry that caused Prince to up his game even further and soon inspired the beloved storyline in Purple Rain.
What else is in the vault? Only a few people know. One option is to include Prince’s versions of songs earmarked for other acts, provided they aren't being saved for future installments of Originals series. Another option would be to surprise fans with digitally re-mastered gems that have never made the trading rounds among collectors.
Now some fans feel anything that's in the vault should stay there, feeling if Prince wanted these songs to remain public, he would have done so already. But in 2014, Prince pointed out another intention -- perhaps in a bid for artistic eternal life -- when he told Rolling Stone, "I’ve never said this before, but I didn’t always give the record companies the best song. There are songs in the vault that no one’s ever heard. There are several vaults; it’s not just one vault... In the future you could put all the best stuff from one particular time period together and then you can release it. It’d just be like if we found a Sly & the Family Stone album and they saved their best stuff. If that’s even possible!"