Classic Hits & Oldies

Prince’s ‘1999’ album celebrates its 40th anniversary

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NPG Records Inc./Legacy Recordings

Prince‘s fifth studio album, the double-LP 1999, was released 40 years ago — on October 27, 1982.

1999 found Prince exploring R&B, funk, rock and pop, and its success propelled the mutlitalented artist to major stardom, and paved the way for 1984’s chart-topping Purple Rain.

The album initially peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, and featured Prince’s first two top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, “Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious,” which reached #6 and #8, respectively. The album’s apocalypse-themed title track, meanwhile, made it to #12 on the Hot 100, and has become one of his most recognizable and enduring tunes.

The success of “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” was bolstered by popular music videos that went into heavy rotation on MTV, making Prince among the first Black artists to have clips in heavy rotation on the network.

The track “International Lover” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category, Prince’s first Grammy nod.

1999 was Prince’s first album to feature his backing band The Revolution, although he played the majority of the instruments on the record.

After Prince’s death in 2016, his 1999 album returned to the charts, and peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200. The album has been certified four-times Platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than 4 million copies in the U.S.

In 2020, Rolling Stone ranked 1999 at #130 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The magazine notes, “The second half of 1999 is just exceptional sex-obsessed dance music; the first half is the best fusion of rock and funk achieved to that date, and it lays out the blueprint for Prince’s next decade.”

Here’s the full track list of 1999:

Side One
“1999”
“Little Red Corvette”
“Delirious”

Side Two
“Let’s Pretend We’re Married”
“D.M.S.R.”

Side Three
“Automatic”
“Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”
“Free”

Side Four
“Lady Cab Driver”
“All the Critics Love U in New York”
“International Lover”

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