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Ultimate

Warner Bros. Records

Everybody wants to sell what’s already been sold.

Ultimate is Prince’s third greatest hits compilation released by his former label, Warner Brothers. The set comprises of two disks. The single edits occupy disk 1 and are tracked in the chronological order of their original release, although exclusively covering his Warner Brothers era (1978-1993) – and nothing post 1993. The second disk comprises of long unavailable extended versions, many of which not previously available on CD, is in the attempt to ensure those who already own his greatest hits albums, as well as to appeal to his fan base, felt the desire to purchase Warner Brothers’ Ultimate Prince album.

The only albums not represented in Ultimate are For You and, because of licensing restrictions Batman. The set originally peaked at 61 in the US Billboard chart and at number 24 in the UK (selling 300,000 units), however, climbed respectively to numbers 6 and 3 in the week following Prince’s death in 2016.

The original street date for Ultimate was postponed from 21 March 2006 at the request of Prince, since it was deliberately coincided with the release of his own 3121 album due that same day of which was under the distribution of Universal Records. Ironically, because of the sudden postponement of the release 1,000 copies were accidentally sold and thereby posed a threat to the chart success of Ultimate, because fans scrambled to acquire a copy of the set on the black market by the time of the eventual official release on 21 August, since there was widespread apprehension that the cancellation might be permanent.

Data

Producer
Prince
Label
Warner Bros. Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover Art/Photo
Matthieu Bitton
Released
13 years, 6 months ago, on 21 April 2006
Running Time
150:10
US Chart Peak
6
UK Chart Peak
3

Track list

Disk 1

  1. I Wanna Be Your Lover (2:57)
  2. Uptown (4:09)
  3. Controversy (7:15)
  4. 1999 [feat. Jill Jones, Lisa Coleman, and Dez Dickerson] (3:37)
  5. Delirious (2:38)
  6. When Doves Cry (3:47)
  7. I Would Die 4 U (2:56)
  8. Purple Rain (8:40)
  9. Sign O' The Times (3:42)
  10. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (3:39)
  11. Alphabet St. [feat. Cat Glover] (5:38)
  12. Diamonds And Pearls [duet with Rosie Gaines] (4:19)
  13. Gett Off (4:31)
  14. Money Don't Matter 2 Night (4:47)
  15. 7 (5:08)
  16. Nothing Compares 2 U [duet with Rosie Gaines] (4:57)
  17. My Name Is Prince [feat. Tony Mosley] (4:03)
Running Time
77:14

Disk 2

  1. Let's Go Crazy [Special Dance Mix] (7:36)
  2. Little Red Corvette [Dance Remix] (8:22)
  3. Let's Work [Dance Remix] (8:02)
  4. Pop Life [Fresh Dance Mix] (6:18)
  5. She's Always In My Hair [12" Version] (6:31)
  6. Raspberry Beret [12" Version] (6:34)
  7. Kiss [Extended Version] (7:16)
  8. U Got The Look [Long Look] (6:40)
  9. Hot Thing [Extended Remix] (8:30)
  10. Thieves In The Temple [Remix] (8:08)
  11. Cream [NPG Mix] (4:50)
Running Time
79:06

Singles from Ultimate

Ultimate produced no singles.

Ultimate – review

Ultimate is no less than Prince’s third ‘greatest hits’ package from Warner Brothers, like with The Hits / The B-Sides of 1993, they knew how to target the core fan-base, rather than The Very Best Of Prince which catered to the casually interested, hit-and-run crowd-pleasing listener. Ultimate is a two-disk set, one unsurprisingly containing 17 of the main hits up to 1992, the year Warner Bros. seem to think Prince stopped writing good music. So how do Warner get the hard core fans to fork out for music they already have thrice over? Simple. They add a second disk and this is where the set comes into its own, for it puts on to CD for the first time no less than 11 extended versions that only ever previously existed on long deleted and hard to find maxi-singles. The bonus is that every track has been re-mastered. Ultimate offers rarities and favourites with superiorly restored sound and superbly presented in well conceived artwork and slipcase. Warner Brothers can only release one more ‘greatest hits’ package for Prince and their contract then is truly over, so this set, although missing a few gems (Prince demanded the removal of the extended Sexy Dancer) and therefore not really so ‘ultimate’ – that is more of a reference to the artist than the collection herein – this standard of stereo food remains an impossible act to follow.

Ultimate

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