Larry Graham was the former bassist of Sly & The Family Stone between 1966-1972, the band was a long influence on Prince before his career as a professional musician and signing to Warner Brothers. Larry remains one of the best bass guitarists, and pioneered the thumb slap playing technique. In 1998, he became a religious confidant to Prince, and remained very close friends, each often referring to the other as their “spiritual brother”. It was Larry who had Prince remove profanity from his lyrics, and guested in Prince’s band frequently both on record and many of his live shows.
Not having released an album with his funk band Graham Central Station since 1979, Prince wanted to relaunch Larry’s career and co-produced an album with him, which was named GCS 2000. Recorded in full at Paisley Park Studios, the album was released the same day along with Prince’s own album Newpower Soul (under the guise of the New Power Generation) and Come 2 My House – an album Prince also co-produced for Chaka Khan, in the hope to re-vitalise the careers of two of the artists Prince most admired and respected greatly.
For GCS 2000, Prince co-wrote the track Utopia. Larry and Chaka, joined Prince as support acts on his 1998 Newpower Festival tour to promote Graham’s and Khan’s individual projects. Prince plays the instruments throughout the album, and provides backing vocals to three tracks. GCS2000 was criticised for being too closely to Prince’s style than an identifiable Larry Graham album, it peaked at number 49 in the R&B charts. Prince’s involvement on the album is credited under the name Prince love symbol.
- Larry Graham and The Artist Formally Known As Prince
- NPG Records
- NPG Records
- Steve Parke
- 22 years, 8 months ago on 21 July 1998
- Running Time
- US Chart Peak
- UK Chart Peak
- Orig. Formats
- GCS 2000 (3:53)
- Free [feat. Prince and Chaka Khan] (7:04)
- U Move Me (4:43)
- Just B My Lady [feat. Prince] (5:28)
- Love 4 1another [feat. Prince] (8:15)
- Segue (0:46)
- Don't Let'em Change U (5:47)
- Utopia (3:47) 1
- Groove On (7:24)
- Eye Just Found Somebody 2 Love (5:16)
- Eye'magettin' (5:35)
1 Co-written Prince and Larry Graham.
- Love 4 One Another Charities Tour (USA & Canada)
35 shows from 7 January to 29 June, 1997
- Jam Of The Year (USA & Canada)
65 shows from 12 July 1997 to 22 January 1998
- Newpower Soul Tour (Europe)
17 shows from 30 April to 28 August, 1998
- Newpower Festival (USA & Europe)
15 shows from 23 September to 28 December, 1998
GCS 2000 – review
Larry Graham has been vastly undervalued by Prince fans, not without reason however; Graham was the major factor behind Prince’s abandonment of his Rude Boy persona to clean living Mr Goodnight. Prince returned the favour in 1998 and co-produced Graham’s GCS2000. The album is rich with Graham’s bass mastery, which blasts out of the blocks with the title track. Although Prince cowrote three of the album’s tracks, Graham of old still shines although Prince’s direction runs dominant. The three tracks of most interest to Prince fans are Free, which features Prince and Chaka Khan – the Newpower Pak – on backing vocals, also the album’s funkiest song and clears a cool seven minutes. Then Love 4 1another, which is complete with Prince’s keyboards and a deliciously nasty sample of Billy Jack Bitch (personally, the early nineties marked Prince’s true peak). The third is the Gett Off channelling opening Utopia of which Graham co-wrote with Prince. The top Graham tracks are Don’t Let’em Change U and the album’s bassiest and closer Groove On.
GCS 2000 is rated 3.5 out of 5 by Goldies Parade.
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