The Prince Estate is rumoured to have three new releases scheduled in 2021 and are expected to follow its usual spring, summer and autumn pattern. We explore the three releases hotly tipped in 2021.
April is traditionally the month of the reissue. In previous years, the month was slated for Sony’s Up All Nite With Prince, packaging together One Nite Alone… Live! and its accompanying DVD Live At The Aladdin. Although originally scheduled for April 2020 the set was postponed to late May due to distribution difficulties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. April 2019 saw the release of Ultimate Rave, a triple-disk collection pooling Prince’s two Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic and Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic albums, with concert DVD Rave Un2 The Year 2000. The triple album Crystal Ball is tipped the reissue for April 2021. This is the 1998 version of the three-disk set (five disks if counting the accompanying The Truth and Kamasutra CDs originally packaged with the set). Following Prince’s death in 2016, his estate awarded Sony Legacy the publishing rights to his post Warner era recordings, namely his output under NPG Records, 1993-2016. This agreement was extended in 2021 to include the rights to Warner catalogue, excepting the four soundtrack albums: Purple Rain, Parade, Batman and Graffiti Bridge which remain in the ownership of Warner Bros.
Ever had a Crystal Ball?
The selection of Crystal Ball for April’s reissue slot is sequenced to follow 2020’s Super Deluxe Edition of Sign O’ The Times, as Crystal Ball contains many of the remaining outtakes from the 1986/87 sessions not included in last year’s release for that reason. Due to its proximity with Crystal Ball its original accompanying acoustic album The Truth is likewise expected for inclusion with the reissue. The fifth anniversary of Prince’s death is 21 April, look around then for a potential release when the natural press traction is heightened. An official announcement on April 2021’s release is likely between the end of March and early April.
The year’s second release is expected in midsummer and is widely anticipated to be a previously unreleased album which Prince recorded in 2010, named Welcome 2 America. Originally Prince intended to release the album during 2011 to coincide with his Welcome 2 America Tour, yet he released the 20TEN album instead. Further details on summer release will be announced later in the year, and do bear in mind all releases for 2021 are still to be confirmed officially. Welcome 2 America may also be accompanied by a DVD of one of the shows filmed during that tour. The announcement of the summer release is anticipated sometime in May.
The final release of the year, again filling the autumn slot traditionally reserved for Super Deluxe editions and usually the calendar highlight, judging by the two previous years which has seen the releases of the Sign O’ The Times and 1999 Super Deluxe Editions. The October 2021 Deluxe Edition is highly expected to be Diamonds And Pearls – just in time for the album’s 30th anniversary. The release is particularly noteworthy as it would mark Sony’s first issue from Prince’s Warner era catalogue (Sony’s rights to Prince’s Warner era music transferred to them this year). The 2021 edition was previously tipped as the Parade Super Deluxe but it is since understood The Prince Estate plan to shine the spotlight on Prince’s 1990s Warner catalogue. Having viewed Prince’s 1986/87 recording sessions were already heavily mined in light of 2020’s nine-disk collection Sign O’ The Times Super Deluxe. Prince’s four soundtrack albums, which include Parade, remain under the ownership of Warner Bros. Thereby Parade is understood is being kept as an option by Warner to release at some point. Like with previous Super Editions, Diamonds And Pearls will include previously unreleased studio outtakes, remastered versions of singles, edits and B-sides and likely a live show DVD recording captured during Prince’s 1991 tour.
Looking even further forward, Netflix is working on a Prince documentary which it plans to air in 2022. More details about this and other releases will be reported here in due course. Then, of course, other serious contenders for future Deluxe Edition releases would be Controversy, Love Symbol / Come era, The Gold Experience, plus the clear fan favourite Lovesexy which would include the original Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic project.
Sign O' The Times ranked best reissue of 2020
23 December 2020
Welcome 2 America Deluxe due July
8 April 2021