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Emancipation

EMI Records

Released as a triple album to celebrate Prince’s parting with Warner Brothers, Prince had been stockpiling his latest songs over recent years so not to give his former label access to this material, releasing them under EMI instead when free from the bounds of his contract.

Imagine yourself sitting in a room with the biggest of the big in the recording industry, and you have ‘Slave’ written on your face. That changes the entire conversation.

Despite his distrust with record companies, Prince, whilst still under the name of The Artist Formally Known As Prince, released Emancipation with EMI, barely a week after his contract with Warner Brothers Records had been fulfilled. Emancipation is Prince’s first album also to contain cover versions: Betcha By Golly Wow! (The Stylistics); La, La, La Means I Love You (The Delfonics); One Of Us (Joan Osbourne) and; I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Rait). The track My Computer features vocals from Kate Bush who Prince collaborated with in 1993 for her song Why Should I Love You? (5:02).

Prince was very content with the relationship with EMI and intended to put out a second album with them, however the label fell into bankruptcy during the Emancipation album’s promotion. Despite this, Emancipation went on to sell two million copies and became the fourth biggest selling triple album of US music history (it is certified double Platinum by the RIAA). Indeed the album contains so many songs it needed its own lyric book to be separately published and unable to include with the set. The exact 60 minute running length of each disk is entirely intentional.

Performers

All Instruments
The Artist Formally Known As Prince
Drums
Kirky Johnson
Keyboards
Morris Hayes
Bass Guitar
Rhonda Smith
Saxophone
Eric Leeds
Hornz
NPG Hornz

Data

Producer
The Artist Formally Known As Prince
Label
NPG Records
Distributor
EMI Records
Cover Art
Steve Parke
Released
22 years ago, on 19 November 1996
Running Time
180:00
US Chart Peak
11
UK Chart Peak
18
Prince Album
#19

Tracklist

Disk 1

  1. Jam Of The Year [feat. Rosie Gaines] (6:09)
  2. Right Back Here In My Arms (4:42)
  3. Somebody's Somebody (4:43) 1
  4. Get Yo Groove On (6:31)
  5. Courtin' Time (2:46)
  6. Betcha By Golly Wow! (3:30) 1 2
  7. We Gets Up (4:17)
  8. White Mansion (4:47)
  9. Damned If Eye Do [feat. Mayte] (5:20)
  10. Eye Can't Make U Love Me (6:37) 3
  11. Mr. Happy [feat. Scrap D] (4:46)
  12. In This Bed Eye Scream (5:40)
Running Time
60:00

Disk 2

  1. Sex In The Summer (5:56)
  2. One Kiss At A Time (4:40)
  3. Soul Sanctuary (4:41)
  4. Emale (3:37)
  5. Curious Child (2:57)
  6. Dreamin' About U (3:52)
  7. Joint 2 Joint (7:51)
  8. The Holy River (6:55) 1
  9. Let's Have A Baby (4:07)
  10. Saviour (5:48)
  11. The Plan (1:46)
  12. Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife (7:37)
Running Time
60:00

Disk 3

  1. Slave (4:51)
  2. New World (3:42)
  3. The Human Body (5:41)
  4. Face Down (3:16)
  5. La, La, La Means Eye Love U (3:58) 4
  6. Style (6:40)
  7. Sleep Around (7:41)
  8. Da, Da, Da [feat. Scrap D] (5:15)
  9. My Computer [feat. Kate Bush] (4:36)
  10. One Of Us (5:19) 5
  11. The Love We Make (4:38)
  12. Emancipation (4:12)
Running Time
60:00

1 Released as singles.
2 Written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed.
3 Written by Bonnie Rait.
4 Written by Thom Bell and William Hart as La, La (Means I Love You).
5 Written by Joan Osborne.

Singles from Emancipation

Betcha By Golly Wow! single from Emancipation

Betcha By Golly Wow!

EMI Records

Released
13 November 1996
US Chart Peak
31
UK Chart Peak
11
  1. Betcha By Golly Wow! (3:30)
  2. Right Back Here In My Arms (4:42)
The Holy River [CD1] single from Emancipation

The Holy River [CD1]

EMI Records

Released
13 January 1997
US Chart Peak
58
UK Chart Peak
19
  1. The Holy River [Radio Edit] (4:00)
  2. Somebody's Somebody [Edit] (4:30)
  3. Somebody's Somebody [Livestudio Mix] (3:47)
  4. Somebody's Somebody [Ultrafantasy Edit] (3:45)
The Holy River [CD2] single from Emancipation

The Holy River [CD2]

EMI Records

Released
13 January 1997
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
19
  1. The Holy River [Radio Edit] (4:00)
  2. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World [Mustang Mix] (6:19)
  3. Somebody's Somebody [Radio Edit] (4:30)
  4. On Sale Now! (0:48)
NYC single from Emancipation

NYC

NPG Records

Released
31 January 1997
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
No Release
  1. Jam Of The Year [Live] (5:20)
  2. Face Down [Live] (8:26)

Supporting tour

Jam of the Year Tour

Jam of the Year Tour

1997/8

Emancipation – review

The chains have broken and Prince (The Artist Formally Known As PrincePrince love symbol) celebrates his emancipation from Warner Brothers in typically abundant style: a critically acclaimed, triple album, and which for trivia lovers is the longest playing pop album in history (its exact 60/60/60 minute running times are entirely intentional). The reason for this quantity of music on Emancipation is due to Prince just passing the old material to Warner Bros. to fulfill his contract while stockpiling the new songs for this release, through rival label EMI Records. And yes he was so over Warner, denouncing on the closing song their $100m contract: “Your money’s turned from green to brown” but furthermore Prince felt truly emancipated when Emancipation struck double platinum and vindicated for casting off from the safe harbour offered by world’s largest record label. Revenge was sweet but listeners will notice a fair amount of samples of older songs from the vault. The album also contains Prince’s first covers; the fawning Betcha By Golly Wow!, I Can’t Make U Love Me and La La La Means I Love You – the best of which is One of Us. The covers are outdone by the funk of Face Down, the energy of Sleep Around and the sincerity of One Kiss At A Time. The tracks that stand out above the many others (there’s a lot to chose from) is the pulsating My Computer and the epic The Love We Make. Joint 2 Joint is also worthy and not only as the first song in popular music to sample tap-dancing (taps courtesy of Savion Glover). You don’t need to interview the composer to learn of his life’s travails, just listen to the music – beginning with the honest White Mansion recalling Paisley Park and Prince’s life in freezing Mpls. A surprising marriage of quantity, quality and sheer variety proves that a lot is to be said for artistic freedom.

Emancipation

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