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Controversy

Warner Bros. Records

My sexual preferences really aren’t any of their business.

This album is so named because of the negative press Prince received for his previous album Dirty Mind for being so racy, Prince anticipated a similar response for Controversy, in which sex remained his central theme.

Controversy is an album of contrasting themes: sex and politics. It was because of these two themes the album was branded disjointed by critics of the day. Controversy sold 400,000 copies and peaked at number 21 in the Billboard charts, and was later certified Platinum (1m copies) by RIAA.

Annie Christian is the name of a character created by Prince to depict Satan and evil deeds (Annie Christian / Antichrist) and to reference key events of the day, the growing tensions with Russia, but in particular gun control amid the aftermath of the murder of 28 African-American children in Atlanta and the shooting of John Lennon (Prince was performing at The Ritz in New York for the Dirty Mind Tour on the day of Lennon’s murder).

Performers

All instruments
Prince
Keyboards
Matt "Dr." Fink Jack U Off
Drums
Bobby Z. Jack U Off

Data

Producer
Prince
Label
Warner Bros. Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover/Design
Allen Beaulieu
Released
38 years, 10 months ago on 13 November 1981
Running Time
37:18
US Chart Peak
21
UK Chart Peak
Not charted
Prince Album
#4
Orig. Formats

Tracklist

  1. Controversy (7:14) 1
  2. Sexuality (4:20)
  3. Do Me, Baby (7:47) 1 & 2
  4. Private Joy (4:25)
  5. Ronnie, Talk To Russia [feat. Lisa Coleman] (1:48)
  6. Let's Work (3:57) 1
  7. Annie Christian (4:21)
  8. Jack U Off (3:12)

1 Released as singles.
2 Written by André Cymone.

Singles from Controversy

Controversy single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1981)

Controversy

Warner Bros. Records

Released
2 September 1981
US Chart Peak
70
UK Chart Peak
-
Format
  1. Controversy [Edit] (3:35)
  2. When You Were Mine (3:44)
Controversy [Maxi Single] single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1981)

Controversy [Maxi Single]

Warner Bros. Records

Released
2 September 1981
US Chart Peak
70
UK Chart Peak
-
Format
  1. Controversy (7:14)
  2. When You Were Mine (3:44)
Sexuality single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1981)

Sexuality

Warner Bros. Records

Released
14 October 1981
US Chart Peak
No Release
UK Chart Peak
No Release
Format
  1. Sexuality (4:20)
  2. Controversy [Edit] (3:35)
Let's Work single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1982)

Let's Work

Warner Bros. Records

Released
6 January 1982
US Chart Peak
104
UK Chart Peak
-
Format
  1. Let's Work [Edit] (2:56)
  2. Ronnie Talk To Russia [feat. Lisa Coleman] (1:48)
Let's Work [Maxi Single] single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1982)

Let's Work [Maxi Single]

Warner Bros. Records

Released
12 February 1982
US Chart Peak
104
UK Chart Peak
-
Format
  1. Let’s Work [Dance Remix] (8:02)
  2. Ronnie, Talk To Russia (1:48)
Do Me, Baby single from Controversy, Warner Bros. Records (1982)

Do Me, Baby

Warner Bros. Records

Released
16 July 1982
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
No Release
Format
  1. Do Me, Baby [Edit] (3:57)
  2. Private Joy (4:25)

Supporting tour

Controversy Tour

Controversy Tour

1981/2

  • 55 shows from 20 November 1981 to 14 March 1982

Controversy – review

We enter uncharted territory for non-Prince fans. It is for some impossible to imagine that Prince existed before his 1999 album. Yet there was not only life but a glorious one it was too. Controversy is both massively and foolishly overlooked. Considered by many as an album with a split personality Prince underlines the roots that would in later albums superbly fuse black with white music in a way that would redefine modern music. The title track, still able to pack a punch even today, sets the album back off down the same controversial path where the very dirty, Dirty Mind left us in 1980. Prince lets his pervy side rear its head with Sexuality and Jack U Off, to then slow down nicely with Do Me, Baby. The album then changes theme to the issues of the day: Cold War (Ronnie Talk To Russia) and gun control (the perplexing Annie Christian). However the top tracks are wonderful, Private Joy and the rallying Let’s Work. Controversy is fun, raucous and charged, laying the way to propel Prince out of obscurity. And although the subject matter is of its time, the album has not dated at all. The albums got more serious after this so consider the two-faced Controversy the evolutionary creature before Prince’s Revolutionary age.

Controversy

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