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Galpin Blvd Home Studio

Owing to the tremendous success of Purple Rain, on 26 November 1985 Prince stepped into his Galpin Blvd. home for the first time when returning from France, after filming had wrapped on Under The Cherry Moon. 7141 Galpin Blvd was a sprawling three-storey yellow painted mansion, built on a hill and sited within a 30-acre area of woodland that looked down onto lakes Anne and Lucy, in the quiet suburb of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Not only was this larger than his previous home and studio, 9401 Kiowa Trail, the new property even boasted a security shed at the top of its gated drive, to guarantee privacy. As with his previous home studio, a recording facility was likewise installed on the ground floor of the new property, the new studio however was a far more professional arrangement. Galpin Blvd. was where Prince was also chose to set up home with Susannah Melvion who he was recently engaged – she prepared the house when Prince was in France and designed the studio’s rear wall stained-glass windows – these looked out onto wide open parkland – as well as painted a mural on to one of its walls. It is fondly remembered as Prince’s best home.

When awaiting the studio’s completion, Prince relocated to LA between December 1985 and March 1986, to record the Parade soundtrack at Sunset Sound in Hollywood. Work on the home studio continued until March 1986, under the supervision of his recording engineer Susan Rogers. The new studio was large enough to accommodate more instruments – including a purple acoustic piano. Its adjoining sound locked control room boasted a custom fitted Soundcraft TS-24 console with 24-track recorder, on which Prince mixed its first track, The Ballard of Dorothy Parker, on 13 March 1986. This was followed by more material for what would later form the Sign O’ The Times album, after passing through several configurations laid down at Galpin Blvd., first named Dream Factory, then Crystal Ball and then Camille before settling on the final and iconic double album. Galpin Blvd. was a hive of activity over 1986 and 1987, seeing also the recording of The Black Album and projects for Shelia E, Madhouse and Jill Jones, all within the space of a year.

You’d look out the back windows and it was just expanse, and it’s beautiful.

Its studio being just about large enough to accommodate a full band, was presented its first challenge, on 19 March 1986, with the full-scale live recording with Prince and the Revolution plus trumpeter Atlanta Bliss, for the track Power Fantastic. With not even enough headphones to go round, Prince was squeezed into the studio’s corner to put his vocals to the track (Prince never liked anyone in the studio, even sending out the sound engineer, when adding his own vocals). Prince also maintained a rented warehouse at Washington Avenue in the suburb of Edina, during this time, so that he could conduct tour rehearsals as well as use as a larger scale studio when the need demanded.

The studio’s console was removed in 1987 when transferred to Studio B of Prince’s newly completed Paisley Park Studios, his $10m custom-built recording complex a mere 2 miles away and which also became his primary home – although he continued to live for spells at Galpin Blvd. until 2001. The home was demolished in 2006 but the land remained under Prince’s ownership right up until his death in 2016. That year, his Estate managers sold the plot to make way for a $16m housing development of 169 homes, named The Park. The roadways within this estate are named in honour of Prince: Purple Parkway, Paisley Path, Dove Court, Raspberry Road, and Mattie Circle after Prince’s mother Mattie Shaw Baker.

Albums recorded at Galpin Blvd

The Black Album (1987)

The Black Album

December 1987

Madhouse 16 (1987)

Madhouse 16

November 1987

Sign O' The Times (1987)

Sign O' The Times

March 1987

Jill Jones (1987)

Jill Jones

March 1987

Sheila E (1987)

Sheila E

February 1987

Madhouse 8 (1987)

Madhouse 8

January 1987

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