294: Live 4 Love

Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
Live 4 Love – or to give the song it’s full title: Live 4 Love (Last Words From the Cockpit) – is the big album closer, sung from the perspective of a fighter pilot on a bombing mission. It’s the millennia-long war between Eros and Thanatos, played out a mile above the Earth. This ambitious concept was toned down for mainstream consumption as an earlier recording included lines about the demise of the American Dream and bombs being dropped on “the families, the babies and the moms”. There’s also less FX in this starker draft, generating an atmosphere more in tune with the weighty subject matter; a less crowded battlefield for the Gods to clash on. Both versions feature a debutant Tony M, as the Angel of Death, and Sonny T who kills on the bass, but it’s Prince’s axe-work crowning the final minute that truly steals the show. His guitar solo is the screaming, unbearable tension of existence, as two primary drives wrestle for control of the cockpit in an aircraft spiralling towards the unforgiving ground.