145: Rock ‘n’ Roll is Alive (and it Lives in Minneapolis)

Gold single (1995)
And lo, Sir Lenny of Kravitz did declare the Rockandroll beast slain. But the Purple Prince laughed and said nay. It lives, for I have found it lurking in the land of one thousand lakes. Rock and Roll may still be with us but this song from 1995 is an example of something that would soon be extinct: the Prince b-side. Technically two more would still arrive – 2001’s Staple Sisters cover When Will We B Paid? and 2005’s instrumental Brand New Orleans – but these were released as afterthoughts weeks after being offered digitally. Phantom echoes of a bygone age, like the meaningless “virtual b-side” tag which makes as much sense as pleather or vegetarian bacon. Rock ‘n’ Roll is Alive (and it Live in Minneapolis) is the last true, legit b-side – the end of a long, illustrious line which started with Gotta Stop (Messin Around) and included some of the best songs Prince ever wrote, like Erotic City, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? and 17 Days. It parties with the demob abandon of a season wrap-up, or an heirless lord trashing the family manor in one night of drunken decadence. Antique furniture flies through Edwardian windows as revellers dance around a pyre of heirlooms. Behold, I will show it to thee. The Prince removed a gold box from the folds of his cloak and at his command a magnificent dragon leapt to the heavens, showering the hall with fireworks. Everyone present stood agape but I fear the display took away something from the Prince that night. Never again would such a spectacle be forthcoming.