How ‘Glam Slam’ Planted Seeds for Prince’s Future: 365 Prince Songs in a Year
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.
By 1988, Prince fans were used to expecting the unexpected, so when he pulled the lyrically dark, dance floor-aimed Black Album and quickly replaced it with the more complex spiritual and positive-minded Lovesexy, it wasn’t as shocking as you might imagine.
What was less expected was that the seeds planted within this record would go on to shape the next decade of his career.
Recorded at Paisley Park in December of 1987, “Glam Slam” starts with a sparse beat reminiscent of “Around the World in a Day” – albeit without the Middle Eastern flair and instrumentation – and a heavily distorted guitar figure that establishes the vocal melody. Prince extols the virtue of a perfect love: “This thing we got, it’s alive! / It seems to transcend the physical / One touch and I’m satisfied /Must be a dream it’s so magical”
When heard in sequence on the record it serves as an effective palate cleanser between the superior “Alphabet St.,” and “Anna Stesia,” though it does nothing to move the narrative of the record forward. The tune was a live staple during the Lovesexy tour, but was rarely played after; usually appearing as a part of a medley during his last tour with 3rdEyeGirl.
A perfect love song for his freshly-minted New Power Generation, the single edit didn’t even hit the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and barely broke the top 30 in the U.K.. This didn’t deter Mr. Nelson from plastering the song’s title everywhere, though, from the Lovesexy tour stage to his clothing. A year later he opened a club in Minneapolis (and later Miami, L.A., and Yokohama) named, you guessed it, “Glam Slam.”
(The song was also the subject of one of Prince’s best extended 12″ remixes, featuring a breathtaking instrumental section that matches swirling strings and a driving bass line with seemingly random bursts of morse code keyboard blips.)
In typical Prince glibness he said of “Glam Slam” and Lovesexy as a whole, “Either you went with it and had a mind-blowing experience, or you didn’t.” While still frustratingly unbalanced and eccentric, Lovesexy is worth revisiting with the perspective of all that has transpired since its release.
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