A Look Back at Prince's Quirky, Idiosyncratic Paisley Park Records

April 24, 2016 4:31 PM

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Stax Records once delivered Southern soul music, horn sections and behind-the-beat grooves. Motown served up spirited R&B from spit-polished singers with a distinctive pop sheen as “the Sound of Young America.” From Prince & the Revolution’s Around the World in a Day (1985) to godfather of funk George Clinton’s Hey Man… Smell My Finger (1993), the Warner Bros.-distributed Paisley Park Records label wasn’t known for any unifying sound in particular during its eight years in operation. The Minneapolis Sound (that hybrid of synth-pop, funk and new wave pioneered by Prince in the 1980s) characteristic in much of Prince’s earlier music doesn’t typify the 23 albums eventually released on the label from its 22 artists. Paisley Park Records was as quirky, idiosyncratic and eclectic as its founder.

Yet there were still hits. Prince aside, the label scored seven top 20 hits on the Billboard R&B Chart, three of which cracked Billboard’s pop rop 20: Sheila E.’s “A Love Bizarre” (No. 11), The Time’s “Jerk Out” (No. 11) and “Round and Round” (No. 12) by Tevin Campbell. Prince himself was responsibl...

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