Back in 1985, Tipper Gore founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), which eventually led to those “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” labels we all know and love.
What set her off?
She heard the song Darling Nikki by Prince.
Now, while that tune is certainly provocative, who knows how poor Tipper would have reacted if she had first heard Let’s Pretend We’re Married from Prince’s earlier album 1999, or pretty much any song from 1980’s Dirty Mind. And what must she think of some of today’s music, which makes Prince look tame in comparison?
Meanwhile, today Prince is still blowing the roof off of packed stadiums, based largely on the one constant in his career—musical genius.
These days, his show is purely PG-13, with no warning stickers required. He doesn’t play Darling Nikki anymore, nor does he even curse.
The fact is, Prince has always been a marketing genius as well as a musical prodigy. He knew to juke when everyone else was jiving; zig when the crowd was zagging.
Here’s the man himself on his early approach:
Times were different back then,” Prince explains. “I wouldn’t stand out today if I was brand-new and came like that. But see, back then nobody else was doing that, and I knew that would get me over. I didn’t dress like anybody, I didn’t look like anybody, I didn’t sound like anybody. We still try to do that. Why do what everybody else is doing?
“Bowie and Madonna, even if it wasn’t good, we still talk about it because it was something new. That’s a beautiful word.”
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