Today, on what would have been Prince’s 60th birthday, the late singer’s estate announced that it is releasing the first full album since the deluxe edition of “Purple Rain” last year: “Piano & a Microphone 1983,” a collection of solo songs recorded at home by the singer, to be released on Warner Bros. It released the first song from the album today, a cover of the spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep,” which will be featured during the end credits of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” film, which is out in August.
The 35-minute-long album, which estate adviser Troy Carter exclusively announced to Variety earlier this year, has been circulating on bootleg for decades under the title “Intimate Moments With Prince.” The new release drops some more exploratory tracks that are featured on the bootleg, which also had a second edition called “More Intimate Moments.”
The album features versions of “Purple Rain” and “17 Days,” which were released the following year, as well as a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which he performed live with the Revolution around that time. While the album shares a title with Prince’s final concert tour, the album pre-dates it by some 33 years. The estate announced in May than another album, apparently featuring recordings made later in Prince’s career and partially curated by Jay-Z, will be released next year and will be featured on Tidal.
“This raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the ‘Piano & A Microphone Tour’ that he ended his career with in 2016,” said Prince Estate entertainment adviser Troy Carter. “The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano.”
The album cover photo captures a rare view of Prince backstage during the “1999” tour. The photo was taken by Prince’s photographer Allen Beaulieu, who worked closely with the artist between 1979-1984.
The Deluxe CD+LP format will include a 12” booklet featuring brand new liner notes written by Prince’s then engineer Don Batts, as well as candid shots of Prince including never before seen images. Fans who pre-order the album via digital download will immediately receive an Instant Grat download of “Mary Don’t You Weep.”
In April the Estate launched a beautifully designed and extremely thorough “Discography” website containing videos, photos, commentary and more about Prince’s catalog. Dozens of albums are highlighted — categorized as “Studio Albums,” “Live Albums,” Legacy Releases, Compilations and Major Albums Produced by Prince, such as Sheila E, The Time, Vanity 6, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, etc.