The Evolution of Prince
Alvaro Rubio

The Evolution of Prince

In anticipation of last week's Crossroads Guitar Festival, The Dallas Morning News offered an exhaustive history of the electric guitar. Here at the Dallas Observer we don't know, like, facts, but we sure have theories. To celebrate the Prince concert on June 11, we offer this thoroughly incomplete history of Prince's cheekiest legacy: the butt-out pants.

1500 B.C., Egypt: Scissors are invented.

1490, Italy: Leonardo da Vinci sketches male anatomical form. Butts are kinda hot-t-t.

1491-1986: Stuff, invariably, happens.

1987: George Michael highlights his own plump, round ass in the video for "Faith." Jealous, anyone?

1991, MTV Music Awards: Prince rocks the butt-out pants. World is never the same.

Single Most Wanted

In fifth grade, after listening to Prince's "1999" with the scrutiny of a future English major, I delivered to my classmates the following prophecy: The world would end in 16 years. Prince said so. I seriously believed this, and I spent the next week or so in a morbid funk. I can't remember what shook me out of it, although possibly the groove to "Little Red Corvette," which brings me to this: For many of us, Prince provided a kind of soundtrack to our youth and young adulthood. I asked the Observer music staff what their favorite Prince song was and why. Here's what they wrote:

"When You Were Mine," Dirty Mind

To a 12-year-old in 1980, Prince's third album was the punk-a-funk-a-soul-a-roll pleasuredome, that thing you put on to find out what adults (and brothers and sisters, yee-uch) did when they got it on. He disowns this stuff now, having found God somewhere other than in a pair o' panties, but will never live down "When You Were Mine" because among his greatest singles, it's the greatest of all--catchy like barbed wire, funky like old sheets, heartbroken like only a teenager can get when his girlfriend hooks up with his best friend.

--Robert Wilonsky

"Darling Nikki," Purple Rain

When Tipper Gore's anti-indecency patrol released a list of "bad" songs in the '80s, she indirectly told kids which bands were cool. When a lawyer on TV read the lyrics "I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine," I immediately stole my sister's Purple Rain cassette. --Sam Machkovech

"I Would Die 4 U," Purple Rain

When I was younger, songs that incorporated choreography were "totally awesome." My friends and I especially liked songs using hand signs and numbers/letters. After listening to Purple Rain, I asked my sister, "Hey, what's 'masturbating' mean?" But that's the magic of Prince--he's a hot piece whose party music is so great most mothers won't mind the little ones pantomiming to tales of one-night stands and suggested suicide. --Merritt Martin

"Baby I'm a Star," Purple Rain

It was 1984, and I was an 8-year-old Catholic schoolgirl in a small Kansas town. I wanted to be Cyndi Lauper, and I wanted to marry Prince (or maybe Boy George). My Purple Rain poster was covered in tiny pink lip-gloss imprints, and I would sing and dance around my bedroom wearing a dangerous amount of bangle bracelets and the blue eye shadow left over from a ballet recital. --Shannon Sutlief

"Bat Dance," Batman

This wasn't a song so much as a string of dialogue from the first Batman movie, with Prince noodling around underneath it. Still, it's my favorite Prince jam. Why? Because I had to translate a song from English to Spanish in high school for a Spanish class assignment, and I chose this one. I got an A. It was easy. "Me llamo Batman..." --Zac Crain

"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," Gold Experience

A highlight of the singer's late Warner Bros. era, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" is a lovely riposte to those shallow-listening prudes who hear only lust in Prince's work: "It's plain to see you're the reason that God made a girl," he sings humbly over a satin-sheeted bed of shimmering, soft-funk guitars. It's pure proposal material.

--Mikael Wood


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