‘Days of Wild’ Heralds a Prince Renaissance
When Prince famously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993, it was widely believed that he did so in an effort to free himself from a record contract he had grown to consider unfair and restrictive.
However very shortly after making the change, Prince (or, as he was called at the time, "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince") made it clear that it was primarily a way for to close the book on his illustrious past, and start a new chapter in his creative growth.
"It's fun to draw a line in the sand and say, 'Things change here,'" he told Vibe magazine (via Prince.org) in a 1994 interview. "I don't mind if people are cynical or make jokes - that's part of it, but this is what I choose to be called. You find out quickly who respects and who disrespects you. It took Muhammad Ali years before people stopped calling him Cassius Clay."
Accordingly, after emerging from what journalist Jim Walsh of the St. Paul Pioneer Press called "an intense writing and recording seclusion" in the liner notes to 1995's The Gold Experience album, Prince performed a concert - entitled The Beautiful Experience and packed with brand-new material - at his Paisley Park studios on Feb. 13, 1994.
The first track he played that night was an infectious ode to individuality entitled "Days of Wild." Over a rubbery P-Funk-inspired bass line and incessant "ahhh ahhh ahhh" chants, Prince rap-sang his thoughts on gun violence, fashion conformity and misogyny: "'Hooker, b--- and ho?' I don't think so! / I only knew one and never told her / though I thought about it many times / ...a woman every day should be thanked / Not disrespected, not raped and spanked."
Watch Prince Perform "Days of Wild"
Oddly, despite being one of the highlights of a show Walsh labeled "a gritty, lean and supremely nasty coming-out baptism," a studio version of the song was never released. Live versions were featured in two of his TV movies, but "Days of Wild" didn't appear on either 1994's Come, which was intended to be the last he released under his old name, or 1995's The Gold Experience, the first under his new moniker.
Three years later, a live performance of the song was included on 1998's Crystal Ball - a direct-marketed collection of unreleased material, not to be confused with the unreleased triple-disc predecessor to 1987's Sign 'O' the Times which bears the same name. In 2002 an eleven-minute live version was put into limited release, and Prince performed the song live quite frequently in the final years of his life.
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