Delight in Prince’s Extraordinarily Poignant Cover of Radiohead’s “Creep

Prince didn’t cov­er a song, he pos­sessed it. He took over its limbs and made it do things it had nev­er done before—dance wild­ly down the aisles, scream, shout, and fall to the ground. When he cov­ered a song, it got reli­gion the way peo­ple only do in the movies. And if you had the priv­i­lege to see it hap­pen, you too became a believ­er in every word and note. As the pro­duc­er Fafu, a one­time mem­ber of his army of play­ers and techs, tes­ti­fied yes­ter­day: “I nev­er saw Prince make a mistake—in any­thing.” It may sound like a musi­cian who fits that descrip­tion would have to be some kind of robot; Prince was pre­cise­ly the oppo­site, the apoth­e­o­sis of what a human being could do with voice, gui­tar, and vir­tu­al­ly every oth­er instru­ment.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Prince’s all-pow­er­ful con­trol over his musi­cian­ship extend­ed to most oth­er areas of his life. He “was hard on peo­ple,” Fafu remem­bered, “I don’t want to paint an ugly pic­ture, but he was tough. You want­ed to please dad­dy.” He was equal­ly hard on peo­ple who dis­sem­i­nat­ed his record­ings and per­for­mances in unau­tho­rized ways. But in at least one case, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke fought back, forc­ing Prince to unblock access to Youtube footage of his 2008 Coachel­la ver­sion of “Creep.” And wow, are we glad he did. See it above (espe­cial­ly poignant is his gospel deliv­ery of the line, “you just want to have con­trooool.”), and be reborn.

Prince reminds us that every hard rock bal­lad since the ear­ly ‘80s owes him a roy­al­ty check, and that just one of his screams, one of his explo­sive gui­tar fills, even one of his preg­nant paus­es, had more pow­er and beau­ty in it than some entire albums. Prince didn’t have to want to be spe­cial. He just was.

As I shared yes­ter­day, he was with­out a doubt the most incred­i­ble live per­former I have ever expe­ri­enced, so much so that I gen­er­al­ly pre­fer his live recordings—bootlegged or otherwise—to his stu­dio stuff. Mil­lions of peo­ple feel like­wise, and thanks to one fan, we have the full audio of that head­lin­ing Coachel­la show. Hear it all here (and see the setlist fur­ther down)—the ridicu­lous­ly catchy funk/soul hits, the between-song inspi­ra­tional pat­ter, the soar­ing, snarling gui­tar solos, and the cov­ers: includ­ing “Creep,” “Come Togeth­er,” Sarah Mclach­lan’s “Angel,” songs by San­tana, The Time, Sheila E., and, no kid­ding, The B‑52’s “Rock Lob­ster.”


Prince Coachella setlist-image-v1

via Live for Music

Relat­ed Con­tent:

See Prince (RIP) Play Mind-Blow­ing Gui­tar Solos On “While My Gui­tar Gen­tly Weeps” and “Amer­i­can Woman”

Prince (RIP) Per­forms Ear­ly Hits in a 1982 Con­cert: “Con­tro­ver­sy,” “I Wan­na Be Your Lover” & More   

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.