Prince, whose unprecedented name change to an unpronounceable symbol back in the 90's that I wrote about here a couple of days ago, is back in the news this week. This news headline grabbing time the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (1993-2000) is unhappy with the work of Prince fanboy/toy maker Troy Gua - the creator of the cute and clever homage Tiny Artist and the Le Petit Prince project all of which he created a year ago. But, following a no-nonsense cease and desist order this week by the Purple One, tomorrow afternoon (Nov 16) at 6pm (Minneapolis time) Gua will legally have to erase all online content related to Le Petit Prince. On his Facebook wall this week the Seattle based Gua wrote of his musical hero's unexpected shutdown. "I simply do not wish to fight with my hero, and it is terribly disheartening to think that he may hold ill will towards me and this project" Troy Gua, who is a major Prince fan, blended his appreciation of his favorite artist with his appreciation of the puppetry of Thunderbirds creator / super-marionation pioneer Gerry Anderson.
As well as being the work of a tirelessly creative mind it was also Prince's way of getting a dig in at his record label (Warner Brothers) who he made it well known he was quite unhappy with. Disgruntled with his contract and wanting to get out of it, he was further aggravated when he discovered that he could not do so. However when he realized he could contractually change his name, this he did as a sort of revenge act. Prince used that symbol, which was a combination the symbols for female (♀) and for male (♂), up until he finally got out of his Warner contract seven years later.
However the change from word to unheard of (and unpronounceable) symbol presented a headache for his label and a problem for many at the time including radio DJs, record store clerks, and journalists who did not have this unique character on their keyboard in their computer. Hence his label's publicity department sent out floppy disks (like the one pictured below) with a custom font of the unique symbol attached. However most journalists ignored using it altogether as it was troublesome for use in most computers at the time. Instead they called it "Love Symbol" or "Love Symbol #2" - as in the 1992 album that the symbol first appeared on.
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On this day in music history: October 8, 1957 - "Great Balls Of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis is recorded. Written by Otis Blackwell ("Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," "Return To Sender," "Handy Man") under the pseudonym "Jack Hammer," it will be the biggest hit for the Louisiana born rock & roll musician nicknamed "The Killer." The single is recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, TN and is featured in the film Jamboree. Released on November 11th, the single is an across the board smash, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Best Sellers, #1 on the Country, and #3 on the Rhythm & Blues charts. The song will be regarded as one of the most important and influential songs of the early rock era, also being covered by numerous artists over the years. Jerry Lee Lewis's original recording of "Great Balls Of Fire" will also be inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.
On this day in music history: October 8, 1964 - "She's A Woman" by The Beatles is recorded. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (though primarily composed by McCartney), the song is recorded during the sessions for the band's next album Beatles For Sale at Abbey Road Studios in London. Featuring McCartney on lead vocals, the songs' vocal style is inspired by rock & roll pioneer Little Richard, one of the bands' earliest influences. The song will be issued as the B-side of the bands' next single "I Feel Fine" on November 23rd (UK date: Nov. 27th). Seven takes are recorded, but Take Six will be the released master version of the song. "She's A Woman" will peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 26, 1964.
On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 - "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by John Williams, it will be the biggest hit for the classically trained musician from Johnsonburg, PA. Musician and record producer Domenico "Meco" Monardo, impressed with composer/conductor Williams' score for the blockbuster film Star Wars, will re-arrange the entire score into a 15 minute long disco suite that is released on the album Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk (issued on Casablanca subsidiary Millennium Records). The track features a group of 75 musicians, including a number of first call studio players such as Steve Gadd, Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Neil Jason, David Spinozza, John Tropea, Alan Rubin, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Suzanne Ciani, and Gene Orloff. The main theme and "Cantina Band" are extracted from the extended track and edited down to 45 length. "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" will be certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies.