Music maestro: a look at Prince's five key albums


Prince's death brings to an end a recording career that spanned nearly 40 years.

Prince performing on stage.

Here, we look at five key albums released under his names.

Dirty Mind (1980)
Not the record where it all began (Dirty Mind followed the commercially successful self-titled release a year earlier, as well as 1978´s debut For You), but the record where Prince really began to experiment with the boundaries of taste. The 90-second-long Sister hinted at incest, while Head was about oral sex. When You Were Mine, later covered by Cyndi Lauper, offered a rare respite for the conservative listener.

Purple Rain (1984)

The record and its anthemic closing track of the same name regularly top "best of" lists. Written as the soundtrack to the semi-biographical film Purple Rain, the nine-track record produced five hits, including When Doves Cry, Let's Go Crazy, and I Would Die 4U. The soundtrack won two Grammys, while the mammoth title track -weighing in at 8 minutes and 41 seconds - won an Oscar for best song. It also included sexually explicit Darling Nikki - later deemed responsible for the introduction of parental advisory stickers.

Sign O' The Times (1987)
Having parted with backing band The Revolution, Prince's new solo venture marked a shift in direction. The double album opened with the lyrically punchy title track, which broke new ground by exploring issues around Aids, gang violence and sexual abuse. The album also featured Prince's alter-ego Camille, complete with sped-up vocals, to take the lead vocal for tracks including Housequake.

The Gold Experience (1995)
The fact that The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, The Gold Experience's biggest single and only UK number 1, was released around 18 months before the album hints at the disharmony between Prince and Warner Brothers. While Prince wanted the album to follow in quick succession to the single, the label had other plans. The album was officially composed by The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, and came to represent the bitterness that Prince sometimes had for elements of the industry.

Planet Earth (2007)
Musically unspectacular, Planet Earth was one of the first studio albums to be sold as part of a national newspaper giveaway. The record, which spawned the concert favourite Guitar, was given away with copies of The Mail On Sunday in the UK. The album earned a lukewarm reception from critics but was significant in the way it defied traditional distribution methods.