Prince‘s 5th studio album “1999” was originally released on October 27, 1982 back when Ronald Regan was the President of the United States and gasoline was only $1.22 on average. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Rocky III were the biggest movies of 1982 while the most popular television shows at the time were M*A*S*H, Dallas, and 60 Minutes.
Looking closely at the cover, fans will notice a “sort of” hidden element in the letter “I” that reads “dna eht noituloveR” which is “and the Revolution” spelled backwards acknowledging the bands’ first appearance. Other elements include the eyes and the Rude Boy pin borrowed from his previous album “Controversy“.
Though many credit Prince for the album’s cover art, Steve Parke who wrote the book “Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait revealed in an interview that it was actually Denise Matthews aka “Vanity” who produced a majority of the piece.
Denise Matthews loved to draw and made a variety of art pieces. A sculpture she made for Prince was shown during an appearance she made on the “Regis and Cathy Lee Show” and had some of her more provocative drawings featured in the book “Actors As Artists” book which was released in 1992.
The “1999” album was my personal introduction into Prince as a kid and the accompanying music videos shown on MTV turned me into a lifelong fan. I have lost count the number of times I’ve dressed up as Prince for Halloween or special events. Here I am paying homage to the man while DJing the Prince Tribute Concert event for the Albuquerque Movie and Film Experience a few years ago.
Join me in celebrating the 40 year anniversary of “1999” as we play songs from the album on Jammin’ 105.7 or feel free to pull out your physical copy of it on vinyl, CD, or even cassette (I still have mine) and turn it up loud.