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The Hits / The B-Sides

Warner Bros. Records

Most truly essential compilations contain a few stars from pop’s astrological map; these three contain a whole galaxy.

Released along with The Hits 1 and The Hits 2 this 3-disk set came as one of three separate releases (disks one and two sold separately and containing the single releases), the triple disk set The Hits / The B-Sides combined both plus the B-side releases (disk 3).

Warner Brothers, who wanted to recoup the considerable advance they had given Prince in order to produce the Love Symbol Album, the first of five albums in what was the most expensive deal in music history, paid Prince to not be involved with this greatest hits release at all. Prince instead charged a considerable fee for the production of the cover photos for The Hits / The B-Sides releases. Prince was vehemently opposed to the concept of greatest hits albums, for in his opinion they epitomised the end of a musician’s career, rather than their peak. Warner Brothers, however, were simply maximising the return on their recent $100m investment, by which time had only seen one of five albums released under this contract. This experience marked the beginning of a long and bitter demise in Prince’s relationship with the label, as the album peaked at number 19 in Billboard’s chart (although it eventually re-entered the charts and climbed to number 4 in the week following Prince’s death in 2016).

Batman is the only previously released Prince album not represented across the two A-side disks due to licensing restrictions (200 Balloons, a rejection from the original soundtrack, released as the B-side to number 1 chart single Batdance, reappears on disk 3 for that reason).

Data

Producer
Prince
Label
Warner Bros. Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover Art/Photo
Herb Ritts
Released
26 years ago, 13 September 1993
Running Time
3:45:53 (56 track set)
US Chart Peak
4
UK Chart Peak
4

Track list

Disk 1

  1. When Doves Cry (3:47)
  2. Pop Life (3:41)
  3. Soft And Wet (3:02)
  4. I Feel 4 You (3:24)
  5. Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? (3:48)
  6. When You Were Mine (3:43)
  7. Uptown (4:09)
  8. Let's Go Crazy (4:39)
  9. 1999 [feat. Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones and Dez Dickerson] (3:36)
  10. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (3:38)
  11. Nothing Compares 2 U [duet with Rosie Gaines] (4:57) 1
  12. Adore (4:39)
  13. Pink Cashmere (6:13) 1 2
  14. Alphabet St. [feat. Cat Glover] (5:38)
  15. Sign O' The Times (3:42)
  16. Thieves In The Temple (3:19)
  17. Diamonds And Pearls [duet with Rosie Gaines] (4:19)
  18. 7 (5:09)
Running Time
74:49

Disk 2

  1. Controversy (3:35) 1
  2. Dirty Mind (3:49)
  3. I Wanna Be Your Lover (2:56)
  4. Head [feat. Lisa Coleman] (4:43)
  5. Do Me, Baby (3:55)
  6. Delirious (2:38)
  7. Little Red Corvette [feat. Lisa Coleman and Dez Dickerson] (4:55)
  8. I Would Die 4 U (2:56)
  9. Raspberry Beret (3:31)
  10. If I Was Your Girlfriend (3:46)
  11. Kiss (3:45)
  12. Peach (3:48) 1 2
  13. U Got The Look [duet with Sheena Easton] (3:46)
  14. Sexy M.F. [feat. Tony Mosley] (4:29)
  15. Gett Off [feat. Tony Mosley] (4:30)
  16. Cream (4:12)
  17. Pope (3:28) 2
  18. Purple Rain [feat. Mayte] (8:40)
Running Time
74:41

Disk 3

  1. Hello [feat. Jill Jones] (3:23)
  2. 200 Balloons (5:05)
  3. Escape (3:30)
  4. Gotta Stop (Messin' About) (2:54)
  5. Horny Toad (2:12)
  6. Feel U Up (3:44)
  7. Girl (3:47)
  8. I Love U In Me (4:12)
  9. Erotic City [feat. Sheila E.] (3:55)
  10. Shockadelica (3:30)
  11. Irresistible Bitch (4:11)
  12. Scarlett Pussy [feat. Sheila E.] (4:18)
  13. La La La, He He Hee (3:21)
  14. She's Always In My Hair (3:27)
  15. 17 Days (3:55)
  16. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? (3:50)
  17. Another Lonely Christmas (4:51)
  18. God (4:02)
  19. 4 The Tears In Your Eyes [feat. Lisa Coleman] (3:23) 1
  20. Power Fantastic (4:45) 1
Running Time
75:49

1 Released as singles.
2 Previously unreleased.

Singles from The Hits / The B-Sides

Pink Cashmere single from The Hits / The B-Sides

Pink Cashmere

Warner Bros. Records

Released
31 August 1993
US Chart Peak
50
UK Chart Peak
No Release
  1. Pink Cashmere (6:12)
  2. Soft And Wet (3:01)
Peach single from The Hits / The B-Sides

Peach

Warner Bros. Records

Released
4 October 1993
US Chart Peak
107
UK Chart Peak
14
  1. Peach (3:48)
  2. Mountains (3:58)
  3. Partyman [Edit] (3:07)
  4. Money Don't Matter 2 Night [Edit] (4:12)
Controversy [reissue] single from The Hits / The B-Sides

Controversy [reissue]

Warner Bros. Records

Released
29 November 1993
US Chart Peak
No Release
UK Chart Peak
5
  1. Controversy [Edit] (3:35)
  2. The Future [Remix] (6:25)
  3. Glam Slam (5:04)
  4. D.M.S.R. (8:15)

Related releases

The Hits 1

The Hits 1

Warner Bros. Records (1993)

About this release and review

The Hits 2

The Hits 2

Warner Bros. Records (1993)

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The Hits Collection

The Hits Collection

Warner Music Vision (1993)

About this release

The Hits / The B-Sides – review

Here was the situation. The most expensive and successful artist ever and signed less than a year ago to your label decides to ‘kill’ his name and change it to an unpronounceable symbol – Prince love symbol, coupled with the fact you feel their music is growing less commercial, what does your label do? Smash the emergency glass and unlock that star’s vault to re-package a greatest hits collection. This is the release where the relationship between Prince and Warner Brothers soured. Prince was doggedly opposed to greatest hits packages and saw this one as his tombstone when Warner asked him to pick a cover for it. But there is plenty of redeeming aspects about this release because in typical Prince fashion there was a ton of material to choose from. Watered down from five disks to three, thrown into this compilation are a couple of unreleased tracks, Pope and Peach and a long-awaited Prince version of Nothing Compares 2 U. The real reason for seeking out the triple-disk set and falling prey to Warner’s master plan to make every fan own this collection, is that it resurfaces many much cherished and long lost B-sides for the first time on CD, notably 4 The Tears In Your Eyes and Power Fantastic – dedicating the B-sides to an entire disk. Prince had Warner worked out: “everybody wants to sell what’s already been sold …” but Warner Brothers too realised Prince had reached his commercial peak … “all that glitters ain’t gold”. As one highly respected DJ at the time put it plainly: “The Hits / The B-Sides is essential to anyone’s music collection”. Good music aplenty here and as a set it alleviates the need to change CDs to fit all the compass points to Prince’s Warner Brothers career in to one sensational listening session.

The Hits / The B-Sides

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