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Graffiti Bridge, Warner Bros. Records (1990) Graffiti Bridge © 1990, Warner Bros. Records
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Graffiti Bridge

Warner Bros. Records

No one’s mentioning the lyrics. Maybe I should have put in a lyric sheet.

The concept for Graffiti Bridge dates to 1987, when Prince planned to write a Broadway musical in which featured both himself and Madonna in the lead roles. By 1990 that project evolved into a movie sequel to 1984’s Purple Rain.

With the exception of Thieves In The Temple (the album’s lead single), the remaining tracks on Graffiti Bridge, that comprise the soundtrack to accompany the Graffiti Bridge movie, are reworked versions of older and previously unreleased songs written by Prince throughout the 1980s. The oldest track on the album is Tick, Tick, Bang which he wrote in 1981 for his Vanity 6 project. New Power Generation is a reworking of a track called Bold Generation an outtake from the recording sessions for the 1999 album, as was We Can Funk (originally titled We Can Fuck) and Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got. Joy In Repetition, was recorded in 1986 for inclusion in Prince’s aborted Crystal Ball album he intended for release that year.

A 1989 configuration of what evolved into the Graffiti Bridge album was named Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic and contained songs written around the Lovesexy period and was a creative influence to its succeeding album Batman. Graffiti Bridge is Prince’s first album to contain performances by other bands and artists, most notably The Time, although every song is written by Prince.

Graffiti Bridge performed better in the UK than in the US, as had Lovesexy, and held the number 1 position in the UK charts for some five weeks. The album sold 500,000 units in the US and 100,000 in the UK, and on 1 November 1990 was certified Gold by RIAA.

Graffiti Bridge was not officially supported in the 1990 Nude Tour, which was essentially a greatest hits tour. The tour had in fact almost concluded by the time of the release of the album and tracks from Graffiti Bridge only appeared into the setlist of its final shows – by which time Prince had already intended to work on other projects.

Prince | Graffiti Bridge
Photography by Graham Wiltshire

When the tracks were recorded

Graffiti Bridge was largely recorded at Paisley Park Studios throughout 1989 and 1990, yet all but one track are reworkings of older songs gleaned from Prince’s unreleased back catalogue. Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got and New Power Generation originate from the 1999 studio sessions of 1982, their Graffiti Bridge versions were recorded in 1989. Release It was laid down in 1989 and intended for inclusion on The Time’s album Pandemonium. The Question Of U originates from a 1985 recording session at Prince’s Washington Avenue warehouse, its Graffiti Bridge version was recorded in 1987 as one of the first tracks to be produced at the newly completed Paisley Park Studios. Elephants & Flowers and Still Would Stand All Time were written for Prince’s aborted album Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic of 1988 and were subsequently updated for Graffiti Bridge. Round And Round was recorded in 1989, which in 1991 was re-released on Tevin Campbell’s debut album T.E.V.I.N. We Can Funk dates from 1983 when originally named We Can Fuck, it was re-recorded (and renamed) in 1989. Joy In Repetition was recorded at Sunset Sound in July 1986 for inclusion on the Sign O’ The Times precursor album Crystal Ball that year, kept in its original version for Graffiti Bridge. Love Machine and Shake! were recorded in 1989 for The Time’s aborted Corporate World album. Tick, Tick, Bang is the album’s oldest track, written for Vanity 6 in 1981, it was re-recorded in 1989. Thieves In The Temple is the only track written and recorded especially for the Graffiti Bridge project – being in fact a last minute entry in 1990 when requiring a lead single. The Latest Fashion was recorded at Prince’s Galpin Blvd. home studio in April 1987, with Morris Day’s vocals added in 1989. Melody Cool and Graffiti Bridge originate from July 1987, with new vocals added in early 1990.

Cover story

Graffiti Bridge (full artwork) | Prince
Graffiti Bridge full artwork: photography by Bob McNamara, illustration by Steve Parke

The artwork of Graffiti Bridge is an intended homage to the cover of Prince’s 1981 album Controversy which likewise was formed as a collage. It is designed by Steve Parke who worked as Prince’s main photographer and designer between 1988 and 2000. The image of Prince, captured by photographer Bob McNamara who also shot the covers for the album’s singles, is reminiscent of Sign O’ The Times. Closer inspection reveals an upside down tree in the centre of the artwork.

Performers

All Instruments
Prince
Drums
Morris Day New Power Generation
Sheila E. Graffiti Bridge
Bass Guitar
Levi Seacer Jr. Graffiti Bridge
Saxophone
Candy Dulfer
Eric Leeds We Can Funk
Trumpet
Atlanta Bliss

Data

Production
Prince
Label
Paisley Park Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover/Design
Bob McNamara, Tom Recchion and Steve Parke
Released
30 years, 8 months ago on 20 August 1990
Running Time
68:34
US Chart Peak
6
UK Chart Peak
1
Prince Album
#12
Orig. Formats

Tracklist

  1. Can't Stop This Feeling I Got (4:24)
  2. New Power Generation (3:29) 1
  3. Release It [performed by The Time] (3:54) 2
  4. The Question Of U (4:00)
  5. Elephants And Flowers (3:54) 4
  6. Round And Round [sung by Tevin Campbell] (3:55) 1
  7. We Can Funk [feat. George Clinton] (5:28)
  8. Joy In Repetition (4:53)
  9. Love Machine [performed by The Time and feat. Elisa Fiorillo] (3:34) 3
  10. Tick, Tick, Bang (3:30)
  11. Shake! [performed by The Time] (4:01) 1
  12. Thieves In The Temple (3:20) 1
  13. The Latest Fashion [The Time/Prince] (4:02)
  14. Melody Cool [sung by Mavis Staples] (3:39) 1 & 4
  15. Still Would Stand All Time (5:23) 4
  16. Graffiti Bridge (3:51)
  17. New Power Generation (Part II) [feat. T.C. Ellis] (2:57)

1 Released as singles.
2 Co-written with Levi Seacer Jr.
3 Co-written with Levi Seacer Jr. and Morris Day.
4 Intended for release on the aborted Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic album (1988).

Singles from Graffiti Bridge

Thieves In The Temple single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

Thieves In The Temple

Paisley Park Records

Released
23 July 1990
US Chart Peak
6
UK Chart Peak
7
Formats
  1. Thieves In The Temple (3:20)
  2. Thieves In The Temple (Part II) (1:41)
Thieves In The Temple [Remix] single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

Thieves In The Temple [Remix]

Paisley Park Records

Released
2 August 1990
US Chart Peak
6
UK Chart Peak
7
Formats
  1. Thieves In The Temple [Remix] [feat. The Steeles] (8:03)
  2. Thieves In The Temple [House Mix] (6:50)
  3. Temple House Dub (5:06)
Round And Round [Maxi Single] single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

Round And Round [Maxi Single]

Paisley Park Records

Released
25 September 1990
US Chart Peak
12
UK Chart Peak
-
Formats
  1. Round And Round (3:55)
  2. Round And Round [Soul Mix Extended] (6:39)
  3. Round And Round [The House] (7:30)
  4. Round And Round [Soul Dub] (5:01)
New Power Generation single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

New Power Generation

Paisley Park Records

Released
23 October 1990
US Chart Peak
64
UK Chart Peak
26
Formats
  1. New Power Generation (3:39)
  2. New Power Generation (Part II) (2:57)
  3. Melody Cool [Extended Remix] (6:05)
New Power Generation [Maxi Single] single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

New Power Generation [Maxi Single]

Paisley Park Records

Released
29 November 1990
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
-
Formats
  1. N.P.G. [Funky Weapon Remix] (5:01)
  2. T.C.'s Rap [feat T.C. Ellis] (3:11)
  3. Brother With A Purpose [feat. Tony Mosley] (4:19)
  4. Get Off (4:41)
  5. The Lubricated Lady (2:39)
  6. Loveleft, Loveright (5:00)
Melody Cool [Maxi Single] single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1990)

Melody Cool [Maxi Single]

Paisley Park Records

Released
4 December 1990
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
-
Formats
  1. Melody Cool [Extended LP Mix] (4:42)
  2. Melody Cool [Extended Remix] (6:06)
  3. Melody Cool [Deep House Vocal] (6:22)
  4. Melody Cool [Mellow Dub Mix] (4:33)
  5. Time Waits For No One [Edit] (4:18)
Shake! [Maxi Single] single from Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park Records (1991)

Shake! [Maxi Single]

Paisley Park Records

Released
8 January 1991
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
No Release
Formats
  1. Shake! [Extended Mix] (4:57)
  2. Shake! [Battle Mix] (4:01)
  3. Shake! [Funky House Mix] (8:03)
  4. The Latest Fashion [Remix] (6:15)
  5. Shake! [Boom Mix] (5:05)
  6. Shake! (4:01)

Supporting tour

Nude Tour

Nude Tour

1990

  • 56 shows from 2 June to 10 September, 1990

Graffiti Bridge – review

The 80s are over and the microchip has inherited the Earth. Graffiti Bridge is the example of when Prince mastered the computerisation of music that came to dominate it in the 90’s – even if all its songs themselves originate from the 80s. Indeed the songs were pulled from the vault for this project but not only were they dusted down they were entirely reworked and inoculated with the confidence of and which encapsulates the 90’s sound. Graffiti Bridge treats fans to three absolute Prince classics; The Question Of U (the unmistakable Blue Angel cloud guitar is sublime as the songs second voice), Joy In Repetition and Thieves In The Temple. Yet there are other tracks that it would be criminal should they ever be overlooked, namely the pumping We Can Funk and the gospel lead Still Would Stand All Time. The story line was almost a carbon copy of Purple Rain Graffiti Bridge is the sound track album to Prince’s second movie and so reunites with The Time once more with The Latest Fashion, Love Machine (the name of the first song Prince ever wrote, you know) and Shake! Prince too continues the party spirit with Elephants And Flowers and Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got but in the risk of repeating oneself (pardon the pun) the true set piece of the album and which deserves repeated mentioning is the mighty, timeless Joy In Repetition.

Graffiti Bridge

Related release

Graffiti Bridge [movie]

Graffiti Bridge [movie]

Warner Bros. Pictures (1990)

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