Today’s Prince’s birthday; if he hadn’t so shockingly died a couple of years ago, he’d be 60 now. And not coincidentally, today’s the day that Prince’s estate has announced the previously-teased release of the never-before-heard live album Piano & A Microphone ’83, which is coming out this fall. The nine-song, 35-minute album is a live cassette recording that Prince made in his Minneapolis home studio when he was at his absolute peak — just him, playing at a piano, as he was doing at his final shows, right before his death.
The album includes versions of Prince songs, including “Purple Rain” and its B-side “17 Days,” that wouldn’t be released until a year after that performance, as well as a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You.” And today, they’ve shared one of the songs from the album: Prince’s take on the traditional spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep.” Prince’s take on the song is raw, expressive, and virtuosic, and it’s something that you really need to hear. It’ll appear over the end credits of the forthcoming Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman (which looks really good), but you can hear it, and check out the live album’s tracklist, below.
01 “17 Days”
02 “Purple Rain”
03 “A Case Of You”
04 “Mary Don’t You Weep”
05 “Strange Relationship”
06 “International Lover”
08 “Cold Coffee & Cocaine”
09 “Why The Butterflies”
Piano & A Microphone ’83 is out 9/21 on Warner Bros. And in other Prince news, a long and strange legal battle over one of his songs is coming to and end. In 2007, during the early days of YouTube, a mother named Stephanie Lenz posted a video of her 18-month-old toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Universal Music ordered the video taken down, but Lenz argued with YouTube, claiming that the video didn’t violate anyone’s copyright. She also filed a lawsuit, alleging that Universal had misrepresented its copyright, that the video constituted fair use.
The legal battle raged for years, with the Trump administration making the case one of its first amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. And now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the two parties have reached a settlement, though its terms haven’t been made public.