Prince Honors His Dad With ‘Father’s Song': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
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To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
There’s a scene in Purple Rain where The Kid (Prince) sees his father (Clarence Williams III) playing a composition of his on the piano. While the name of the piece, “Father’s Song,” could have been created as a way of recognizing its role in the film, the reality is that it has a double meaning.
“This song was a healing gesture,” Revolution keyboardist Lisa Coleman told the Star Tribune. “It was important to Prince to have his father be represented. ‘Father’s Song’ is based on a melody that John Nelson wrote. Prince played piano on the recording.”
Only a portion of “Father’s Song” was incorporated into the film, although Prince worked the main melody into the jazzy middle section of “Computer Blue.” But the entire five-and-a-half minute track has remained officially unavailable until now. Warner Bros. has released it in advance of the upcoming Purple Rain box set, which adds an extra CD of music recorded at the time.
According to PrinceVault, Prince recorded the instrumental on Oct. 29, 1983 at his home studio on Kiowa Trail in Chanhassen, Minn. Although he overdubbed several layers of keyboards, the piano is the primary sound on the melancholy instrumental, most likely as a bit of symbolism.
“Prince and his dad had a very deep, important relationship,” Coleman added. “His father was a piano player. Prince really looked up to him. Their relationship needed a lot of healing. After a couple years, he started inviting his dad around more. He would be pleased to have it included [in this package]. Their relationship got so much better.”
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