More of Prince.
Controversy era, 1999 and breakthrough: 1980–84
In 1980 Prince released the album, Dirty Mind, which he recorded in his own studio. The album was certified gold and the attendant single “Uptown” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Dance chart and No. 5 on the Hot Soul Singles charts. Prince was also the opening act for Rick James’ 1980 Fire it Up tour. Dirty Mind contained sexually explicit material, including the title song, “Head”, and the song “Sister”. In February 1981, Prince made his first appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing “Partyup”.
In October 1981, Prince released the album, Controversy. He played several dates in support of it, at first as one of the opening acts for the Rolling Stones, who were then on tour in the U.S. He began 1982 with a small tour of college towns where he was the headlining act. The songs on Controversy were published by Controversy Music – ASCAP, a practice he continued until the Emancipation album in 1996.
Controversy also marked the introduction of Prince’s use of abbreviated spelling, such as spelling the words you as U, to as 2, and for as 4, as indicated by the inclusion of the track “Jack U Off”. (His earlier song titles had used conventional spelling.) By 2002, MTV.com noted that “[n]ow all of his titles, liner notes and Web postings are written in his own shorthand spelling, as seen on 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, which featured ‘Hot Wit U.'”
In 1981, Prince formed a side project band called the Time. The band released four albums between 1981 and 1990, with Prince writing and performing most of the instrumentation and backing vocals, with lead vocals by Morris Day.
In late 1982, Prince released a double album, 1999, which sold over three million copies. The title track was a protest against nuclear proliferation and became his first top ten hit in countries outside the U.S. Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” was one of the first two videos by a black artist played in heavy rotation on MTV, along with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”.
The song “Delirious” also placed in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.