As more of Prince's recorded catalogue consolidates under a deal with Sony Music's Legacy Recordings, a big question is when a new career-spanning compilation will eventually hit the market. While fans might keep waiting, Legacy will issue two classic collections for the first time on vinyl: the two volumes that made up The Hits in 1993.
The Hits capped 15 years of breakneck recording and massive commercial success from The Artist, who earlier that year announced he would change his name to the "Love Symbol" that adorned his most recent studio record, in a form of protest against longtime label Warner Bros. Records. (At the time, 1983 and 1993 were the only years that didn't see a new Prince record.) Rumors persisted at the time that Warner paid Prince not to get involved, although the release went without a hitch, with only one request from the musician: that longtime touring manager and Paisley Park Records head Alan Leeds would pen the liner notes. (A 1991 photo shoot by Herb Ritts formed the basis for the project's artwork.)
Each volume of The Hits - the discs were also released together with a trove of new-to-CD B-sides - is a non-chronological dive into Prince's brilliant funk-rock career, from debut single "Soft and Wet" to artistic breakthroughs like "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "1999," songs that would later become famous by others ("I Feel for You," "When You Were Mine") - and, of course, the impressive run of hits from 1983's "Little Red Corvette" through the singles from Purple Rain ("When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," the title track), Around the World in a Day ("Raspberry Beret," "Pop Life"), Parade ("Kiss"), Sign O' the Times ("Sign O' the Times," "U Got the Look," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man") and beyond, into a new chapter in the '90s with backing band The New Power Generation ("Cream," "Diamonds & Pearls," "7").
While some big hits were missing, like 1989's aural Batman commercial "Batdance," both sets of The Hits offered a comprehensive review of an artist who made big moves throughout his career. For completists, more than a dozen single edits and mixes were included therein, along with four brand new tracks: a live version of the Prince-penned "Nothing Compares 2 U" (a No. 1 hit for Sinead O'Connor in 1991), the acoustic-driven vault track "Pink Cashmere" (recorded in 1988 for the shelved Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic album), and rousing experiments in blues ("Peach") and even hip-hop ("Pope").
For their premiere vinyl release from Legacy (The Hits 1 was reissued by Warner in 2020 before Legacy controlled most of the material's distribution), each 150-gram 2LP set will come out on black vinyl instead of the by-now typical purple wax that most Legacy reissues have been put upon. But there are color options for U.S. retailers: each volume will be available on "creamy white" vinyl, with Target being the place to get that variant for The Hits 1 and Walmart for The Hits 2. All pressings will be available in stores on November 4.
Pre-order your copies at the links below.
- When Doves Cry (7" Edit) - Prince and The Revolution
- Pop Life - Prince and The Revolution
- Soft and Wet
- I Feel for You
- Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
- When You Were Mine
- Uptown (7" Edit)
- Let's Go Crazy - Prince and The Revolution
- 1999 (7" Version)
- I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (7" Edit)
- Nothing Compares 2 U (Live @ Paisley Park, Chanhassen, MN - 1/27/1992) - Prince and The New Power Generation
- Adore (Edit)
- Pink Cashmere
- Alphabet St.
- Sign O' the Times (7" Edit)
- Thieves in the Temple
- Diamonds & Pearls (7" Edit) - Prince and The New Power Generation
- 7 - Prince and The New Power Generation
- Controversy (7" Edit)
- Dirty Mind (7" Edit)
- I Wanna Be Your Lover (7" Edit)
- Do Me, Baby (7" Edit)
- Delirious (7" Edit)
- Little Red Corvette
- I Would Die 4 U (7" Edit) - Prince and The Revolution
- Raspberry Beret - Prince and The Revolution
- If I Was Your Girlfriend (7" Edit)
- Kiss (7" Version) - Prince and The Revolution
- U Got the Look
- Sexy M.F. - Prince and The New Power Generation
- Gett Off - Prince and The New Power Generation
- Cream - Prince and The New Power Generation
- Purple Rain - Prince and The Revolution
Original version of LP 1, Tracks 1 and 8 and LP 2, Tracks 8 and 18 from Purple Rain: Music from the Motion Picture (Warner Bros., 1984)
LP 1, Track 2 and LP 2, Track 9 from Around the World in a Day (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1985)
LP 1, Track 3 from For You (Warner Bros., 1978)
LP 1, Tracks 4-5 and original version of LP 2, Track 3 from Prince (Warner Bros., 1979)
LP 1, Tracks 6-7 and original versions of LP 2, Tracks 2 and 4 from Dirty Mind (Warner Bros., 1980)
Original version of LP 1, Track 9 and LP 2, Tracks 6-7 from 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)
Original versions of LP 1, Tracks 10, 12 and 15 and LP 2, Tracks 10 and 13 from Sign O' the Times (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1987)
LP 1, Tracks 11 and 13 and LP 2, Tracks 12 and 17 new to this compilation
LP 1, Track 14 from Lovesexy (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1988)
LP 1, Track 16 from Graffiti Bridge (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1990)
Original version of LP 1, Track 17 and LP 2, Tracks 15-16 from Diamonds & Pearls (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1991)
LP 1, Track 19 and LP 2, Track 14 from Love Symbol (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1992)
LP 2, Tracks 1 and 5 from Controversy (Warner Bros., 1981)
LP 2, Track 11 from Parade: Music from the Motion Picture "Under the Cherry Moon" (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1986)