Before I leave the topic of ABC, I need to mention a short movie/extended music video which they released in 1983, a year after The Lexicon of Love.
The video, directed by Julien Temple, combined a thin story line with performances of the songs from the album.
All very glamorous (lots of shiny suits and drinking champagne) but pretty insubstantial. It has a score of 8.3/10 on IMDB which sounds pretty impressive until you hear that there are only 37 votes (all diehard fans like myself, no doubt).
The good news is that it’s all available to view on YouTube. Here is part 1:
Speaking of Prince (as I have been in my last few posts) Purple Rain is one of my two favourite albums. As I mentioned in my old blog, “The Lexicon of Love” by ABC is the other.
I was listening to Martin Fry on Ray D’Arcy’s radio show the other day, and I discovered that ABC released a sequel called (full marks for ingenuity) “The Lexicon of Love II” earlier this year. How exciting! Fry himself admitted that it is either very audacious or very foolish to release a sequel to something so successful and so beloved.
I listened to the new album over the weekend and (with the caveat that it was only the first time hearing it) I’m afraid that I don’t think it’s a worthy successor.
Anne Dudley was involved with both albums. She is credited with “keyboards and orchestration” on the first, and with “piano; keyboards; orchestration” on the second. She is also credited as a writer on one track from the first album and two from the second.
What I think is missing from the new album, however, is Trevor Horn. For me he was the genius behind the original album. One website claims that Horn was not available, while another says that Fry wanted to “try a slightly different direction”.
In the interest of fairness, I’ll have to give it another try.
Here is a nice arrangement called “Overture” from the original album:
I said years ago that if you just wrote one song of the quality of “When Doves Cry” that you could die happy knowing that you had achieved something really great in your life.
But Prince wrote lots of great songs: Kiss, Purpose Rain, 1999, Little Red Corvette, Sign “O” the Times, Alphabet St, Thieves in the Temple, Anotherloverholenyohead and Raspberry Beret to pick but a few.
Prince, nothing compares 2 u.
Here is Prince himself singing that very song, made famous by Ireland’s own Sinead O’Connor:
If you have to look for a silver lining in losing Price far too soon (which is not at all easy) then one thing is that there seems to be a lot of new material about his highness appearing on the web (Prince’s people seemed to be very good at preventing this during his life).
Well perhaps they still are, because the first YouTube channel I was going to mention is now empty. It is called “Positivity” and contained lots of early versions of songs which were released later. Here is the link in case it starts to work again.
When you’re a genius, people tend to make allowances for strange behaviour. It’s often referred to as being eccentric.
Prince was certainly a genius. And he was certainly a little odd.
He spent a few years with no name, for example.
Kevin Smith has videos on YouTube where he shares stories about Prince’s oddness.
But the strangest story about Prince must surely relate to the time shortly after he and his wife Mayte Garcia-Nelson lost their son, Boy Gregory, to Pfeiffer syndrome just a week after his birth. Obviously this was very tragic and was difficult for both of them to deal with.
The strange part of the story is that Oprah interviewed Prince and Mayte a few days later in Paisley Park and when Oprah asked Prince about the health of his son, he answered: “Well, our family exists. We’re just beginning it. And we’ve got many kids to have, a long way to go.”
Now that is very weird. And very sad. You can see it here: