In the early 2000’s, Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness and disavowed the early, salacious part of his catalog. He famously refused to perform the explicit songs that made him such a controversial figure at the start of his career at his live shows, leaving fans with nothing more than memories of when he was the most dangerous man in music. Despite his religious conversion, Prince’s early material is too brilliant to be erased; as this week marks the 35th anniversary of the release of Purple Rain, I present the Mount Rushmore of filthy Prince songs (in the cleanest way possible).
“Head” (Dirty Mind)
Prince meets a bride-to-be and deters her from her wedding. Incredibly inconsiderate, and filthy.
“Jack U Off” (Controversy)
Prince offers to help a frustrated woman. This song is like if 1950’s Chuck Berry decided to be filthier than he normally was.
“Darling Nikki” (Purple Rain)
Prince is enjoying his stay at a lovely hotel and meets a woman named Nikki. She takes him to her place of residence, they enjoy a nice evening, and the next morning Prince isn’t sure what happened, but hopes he one day gets to meet his newfound friend again.
“Erotic City” (B-side to “Let’s Go Crazy”/”Purple Rain Extended Edition”)
Prince wants to find a nice young woman to settle down with. That’s as clean as I can get with this one. Bonus note: in order to get this song played on the radio, Prince tricked the censors into thinking he was saying “funk so pretty, you and me”. Spoiler—he was not saying “funk”.