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Madhouse 8, Warner Bros. Records (1987) Madhouse 8 © 1987, Warner Bros. Records
Singles Review (3.5 / 5) Prince Biography Related Artists

Madhouse 8

Warner Bros. Records

He just felt like doing something different.

During the recording sessions with his side project band The Family, in 1985 Prince also wrote the eight tracks for Madhouse, a new jazz-funk instrumental band whose first album was known simply as 8. The ‘group’ at this juncture comprised only of Prince and Eric Leeds. Prince played drums and keyboards, and Leeds did the melody parts on Baritone sax. The ensemble expanded for the release of Madhouse’s second album, Madhouse 16 in 1987.

All of the tracks for Madhouse 8 were written by Prince and recorded at his Galpin Blvd. home studio, between 28 September and 1 October 1986. Madhouse 8 and its follow up album 16 are so named to correspond to the number of tracks the releases accumulate; the name of each track is likewise simply numbered. Prince’s contribution on the project is credited under the name of Madhouse.

Madhouse 8 is Prince’s first instrumental release, albeit evolving out of his initial, but abandoned, collaboration between Leeds, a four-track instrumental jam EP named The Flesh, which they recorded at Sunset Sound over two sessions on 26 December 1985 and 5 January 1986. The concept was revived and matured in the autumn of 1986 and became Madhouse.

Cover story

The female on the album’s sleeve is Maneca Lightner, a model who first met Prince at a record signing when she was aged 16. Some years later they met again and was asked to model for the covers for both Madhouse 8 and its follow up 16, plus the band’s final but unreleased third album 24. In later life, Lightner founded a talent agency. The dog (a terrier) is neither hers nor Prince’s, was hired from a talent agency for the photo shoot, which took place in Malibu.

Madhouse

Sax/Flute
Eric Leeds
All other instruments
Prince

Data

Production
Prince (as Madhouse)
Label
Paisley Park Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover/Design
Richard Litt and Glenn Parsons
Released
34 years, 8 months ago on 21 January 1987
Running Time
38:30
US Chart Peak
107
UK Chart Peak
-
Orig. Formats

Tracklist

  1. One (7:16)
  2. Two (5:31)
  3. Three (3:16)
  4. Four (2:24)
  5. Five (1:15)
  6. Six (4:28) 1
  7. Seven (4:09)
  8. Eight (10:05)

1 Released as a single.

Singles from Madhouse 8

6 single from Madhouse 8, Paisley Park Records (1987)

6

Paisley Park Records

Released
14 January 1987
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
-
Format
  1. 6 [End Of The World Mix] (5:45)
  2. Six [Edit] (3:37)
  3. Six And ½ (2:36)

Madhouse 8 – review

For years (thirty, being completely honest) I have been giving the Madhouse project a wide birth. Not liking that the tracks were just sequentially named, dispassionately numbered like convicts and bank notes – it felt like a product formed of cold, just simple, output. Another reason was, whilst I was prepared to follow Prince to every corner of his output, I never bought into the concept of Madhouse. Was I an uncultured heathen, I questioned. It was too great a departure for me from the Prince I heard in the charts. That said, in any partnership it should open to compromise, and on that basis that I should trust Prince. To hear him out and await the time when the Madhouse project would be listened to by receptive, if not completely unbiased ears. The tracks (tunes) rise (One) and fall (Three) with Eric Leeds’ masterful leading, but the real enjoyment is to hear Prince’s percussion and exposing his underrated greatness at the drums (Seven). Eight is not only the album’s best track but also totally enchanting. Whist this is clearly not your average lounge music, with the bias shed, the listening is unexpectedly pleasurable and will be more often than has been.

Madhouse 8

Related release

Madhouse 16

Madhouse 16

Warner Bros. Records (1987)

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