Today, on what would have been Prince's 60th birthday, the Prince estate, via MSN, has announced the first full album of previously unreleased material since the iconic singer passed away in 2016. Called Piano & a Microphone 1983, this will be a collection of solo songs recorded at home by the Purple One, right around the time he was reaching mainstream success with the release of his breakthrough album 1999. The estate released the first song from the album today, a cover of “Mary Don’t You Weep,” which is set to be played over the end credits sequence of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, which is hitting theaters in August. You can listen to the track in full down below:
The album has been floating around for years in bootleg form, along with dozens of other Prince recordings, although the official version will have more tracks than were available on the bootleg. Among the songs featured on the album are favorites like "17 Days" and an early version of “Purple Rain.” Also included will be a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” an early version of Sign O' the Times' 'Strange Relationship, and 1999's "International Lover." Interestingly, the new album shares a title with Prince’s final concert tour, which he embarked on in early 2016. The album will contain 9 tracks and run 35 minutes long.
In a statement, Prince Estate entertainment adviser Troy Carter said “This raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the ‘Piano & A Microphone Tour’ that he ended his career with in 2016. The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano.”
The album is available now to pre-order on CD, LP, Deluxe CD+LP, digital release and pre-save for streaming. The Deluxe CD+LP format will include a 12” booklet featuring brand new liner notes written by Prince’s former sound engineer Don Batts, as well as candid photographs of Prince including never before seen images. Fans who pre-order the album via digital download will immediately receive an Instant Grat download of “Mary Don’t You Weep”. The album will be released on September 14.
Are you excited to enter into a whole new era of Prince music? Be sure to let us know down below in the comments.
Images: Warner Brothers / The Prince Estate