03 January 2013

Prince cleans up his back catalogue

Prince biographer Matt Thorne observes, 'He often goes back and re-records unreleased songs or overdubs new bits, censoring the explicit content'. Censorship is an area that Prince may have to confront on several of his famous albums. One of the most salacious songwriters of the '80s and '90s, he became a Jehovah's Witness in 2001, and his faith has had a noticeable effect on live shows, where he substitutes new lyrics for swearwords. Songs like "Sexy MF", "Head" and the notorious "Darling Nikki" (which led to Parental Advisory stickers on albums) are no longer performed at all. "The Cross" from "Sign 'O' The Times", has been rewritten for a different reason: Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus died on a stake. 'It sounds like a joke,' winces [UK fansite editor Ian] Jones, 'but it's true'. In his efforts to rid his work of sexual explicitness, Prince sometimes veers to the opposite extreme. 'A good example is "Extra Lovable", a much-loved '80s outtake,' notes Thorne, 'which he renamed "Xtra Loveable" and re-recorded, removing the sexually aggressive lyrics and replacing them with references to Care Bears and Elmo from Sesame Street'.

- David Cavanagh, Uncut Magazine, November 2012

[The original lyrics of "Xtra Lovable" include the immortal couplet, 'Baby, U could turn my mama on  / She's just as straight, just as straight as straight can be']
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