Our continuing look at The Time’s back catalogue culminates with some of the biggest hits in the band’s career – and the weird career turns that seemed to prevent them from ever enjoying them as a band.
By 1982, The Time were a well-received seven-piece electro-funk outfit that could play rings around other live bands. Despite their live quality, none of their studio efforts were their own, with Prince meticulously playing all the instruments and guiding lead vocalist Morris Day through all his lines.
That disparity between The Time’s albums and their live performances was growing as Prince gained more exposure outside the black music scene. The Time were a much-anticipated feature of Prince’s Triple Threat Tour in 1983, but backstage they felt they weren’t getting the credit they deserved (not only did they do their own set, but played backup for fellow support act/protegees Vanity 6 from behind a curtain).
Things got especially bad when keyboardist and bassist Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were fired for missing a gig after producing for some other artists. Fellow keyboardist Monte Moir left to join the duo’s fledgling Flyte Tyme Productions, and The Time were now reinforced by a handful of glorified session players (including St. Paul Peterson, who’d later lead The Family under Prince’s guidance).
What happened next was pretty strange: The Time were given a plum position as the rival band in Prince’s Purple Rain project. They fulfilled the role admirably thanks to a pair of hit singles, “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.” But by the time the resultant album, 1984’s Ice Cream Castle, was released, the band was all but broken up. Day and guitarist Jesse Johnson pursued solo careers, Jerome Benton and Peterson would continue in Prince’s camp, and Jam and Lewis would create a production empire build off their killer, neo-Prince-esque production for Janet Jackson, the latest breakout star in Michael’s family.
By the end of the ’80s, Prince was looking to resurrect The Time again, recruiting Morris and Jerome for a new LP to be titled Corporate World. Warner Bros. stepped in and requested that the entire ensemble reunite, which they did. Unfortunately, that reunion involved featured roles in the disastrous Graffiti Bridge, which featured some Corporate World tracks. But the band cut another LP, Pandemonium, in 1990 – and that yielded them their biggest hit, the funk-by-way-of-New-Jack “Jerk Out.” The original group disbanded shortly after a promotional tour, with Day, Benton, and a rotating cast of originals and replacements serving as “Morris Day and The Time.” (Morris’ 2004 effort, It’s About Time, featured a handful of live cuts with said ensemble, which also notably cameoed in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.)
Their story isn’t over, though; the original members came back yet again to play with Rihanna at the Grammy Awards in 2008, and have sporadically played since. Better yet, a new album is purportedly forthcoming by the end of the year.
In The Second Disc’s continuing attempt to provide an appropriate monument to this most excellent of bands, we present theoretical track lists for Ice Cream Castle and Pandemonium. If only they could get that Prince fellow to get out of the way and allow some catalogue action for The Time, you and countless others would never lose sight of what time it is.
The Time, Ice Cream Castle (Warner Bros. 1-25109, 1984)
- Ice Cream Castles – 7:31
- My Drawers – 4:08
- Chili Sauce – 5:47
- Jungle Love – 5:33
- If the Kid Can’t Make You Come – 7:33
- The Bird – 7:44
- Ice Cream Castles (Single Edit) – 3:37 (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29247, 1984)
- Tricky – 3:12 (B-side to “Ice Cream Castles” – Warner Bros. 7-29247, 1984)
- Jungle Love (Single Edit) – 3:24 (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29181, 1984)
- The Bird (Single Edit) – 3:41 (single A-side – Warner Bros. 7-29094, 1984)
- The Bird (Dance Remix) – 6:25 (12″ A-side – Warner Bros. 0-20315, 1985)
- Chocolate (Original Version) *
- My Summertime Thang (Original Version) *
- Velvet Kitty Kat (Outtake) *
- My Love Belongs to You (Outtake) *
- The Bird (Original Version) *
* denotes previously unreleased track. Tracks 12 and 13 later re-recorded for Pandemonium (1990).
Disc 1: Original LP and single edits
- Dreamland – 3:08
- Pandemonium – 4:11
- Sexy Socialites – 0:23
- Jerk Out – 6:49
- Yount – 0:22
- Blondie – 6:27
- Donald Trump (Black Version) – 4:33
- Chocolate – 7:31
- Cooking Class – 0:42
- Skillet – 6:11
- It’s Your World – 5:25
- Sometimes I Get Lonely – 6:15
- Data Bank – 5:36
- My Summertime Thang – 6:52
- Pretty Little Women – 0:46
- Jerk Out (Edit) – 3:54 (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-19750, 1990)
- Chocolate (7″ Remix) – 4:23 (single A-side – Paisley Park 7-19759, 1990)
Disc 2: Corporate World and bonus tracks
- Murph Drag – 5:11 *
- 9 Lives – 3:59 *
- Donald Trump (Black Version) – 4:32 **
- Love Machine – 5:01 ***
- Data Bank – 5:25 **
- Shake! – 4:51 ***
- Corporate World – 4:09 *
- The Latest Fashion – 4:07 ***
- Release It – 3:56 +
- My Summertime Thang – 7:14 **
- Jerk Out (Sexy Mix) – 8:51 (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-21701, 1990)
- Chocolate (12″ Remix) – 7:52 (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-21588, 1990)
- Shake! (Extended Mix) – 5:03 (12″ A-side – Paisley Park 0-21817, 1990)
- The Latest Fashion (Remix) – 6:20 (12″ B-side – Paisley Park 0-21817, 1990)
* denotes previously unreleased track. ** denotes track remixed/edited for inclusion on Pandemonium. *** denotes track remixed/edited for Graffiti Bridge (Warner Bros. 1-27493, 1990) + denotes track also available on Graffiti Bridge