Hear Prince’s Personal Playlist of Party Music: 22 Tracks That Will Bring Any Party to Life

Many years ago, I took a job as a wed­ding DJ for a few months to knit ends togeth­er in col­lege. What­ev­er you pic­ture about the job of a wed­ding DJ, I can assure you that it’s even less glam­orous than that. But among the late hours, low pay, and end­less schlep­ping lay at least one pearl-like perk—at every func­tion, when the mood began to ebb along with my san­i­ty, I would put on Prince’s “Con­tro­ver­sy,” turn up the speak­ers as loud as I could, and for the next sev­en min­utes, all would be well. (See him play the song in 2010, above, to an audi­ence in Antwerp.)

For the rest of the night and the rest of the week, I’d be lost in mid-nod to that per­fect dis­til­la­tion of funk, the great­est dis­til­la­tion of funk to include the Lord’s Prayer that was ever put to tape.

Prince wrote per­fect par­ty songs—dozens of them, includ­ing the defin­i­tive par­ty song, “1999,” which Mar­tin Schnei­der at Dan­ger­ous Minds calls “a supreme sig­ni­fi­er for a Six­teen Can­dles lev­el blowout cel­e­bra­tion”… for a cer­tain cohort at least.

An entire mix­tape of Prince tunes would do right by any par­ty, but what would the man him­self put on? Sure­ly he didn’t just play his own music, although… why not? We do know he kept it raw and funky for Pais­ley Park gath­er­ings. In a playlist he pro­vid­ed to the TV show The New Girl in 2013 for an episode fea­tur­ing a fic­tion­al Prince par­ty, he opens with the midtem­po stomp of The Sta­ples Singers’ 1974 Stax Record­ing “City in the Sky.” Before long we’re onto the stone cold groove of Ste­vie Wonder’s “High­er Ground” and the dirty funk of Ohio Player’s “Skin Tight” a song about a “bad, bad mis­sus” in “skin tight britch­es.”

The Prince par­ty playlist (avail­able on Spo­ti­fy, YouTube, or stream it all below) has just the right mix of erot­ic, roman­tic, and spiritual—with the psy­che­del­ic funk of Shug­gie Otis thrown in, naturally—some of the most fine­ly-tuned soul the sev­en­ties pro­duced. One of the lat­est record­ings on the playlist, Cha­ka Khan’s “I Was Made to Love Him” came out in 1978, the same year as Prince’s first album, so we can take a fair­ly good guess at what he was lis­ten­ing to when he made his debut. In fact, we might look at the playlist as a snap­shot of the funk-rock-soul genius from Min­neapo­lis’ orig­i­nal inspi­ra­tions, which still res­onate like cos­mic radi­a­tion in his late dig­i­tal-era record­ings.

With the Prince vault opened and hun­dreds of nev­er-before-heard songs set for release, we’ll have years of oppor­tu­ni­ty to play spot-the-influ­ence. In the mean­time, get some peo­ple over and put on the mix above. If you sense a lull, drop “Con­tro­ver­sy” and watch the most awk­ward guests come alive with moves they nev­er knew they had.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read Prince’s First Inter­view, Print­ed in His High School News­pa­per (1976)

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

The Life of Prince in a 24-Page Com­ic Book: A New Release

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

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