Song Of The Day 1/4/2015: Prince & the Revolution - "17 Days"

B-Sides Week '15: Back in the old days when somebody decided they had to release their music from the confines of their creative and often problematic neuro-systems to be consumed by the rest of the world, they would place recordings of said music on flat, bagel-shaped disks made of shellac, with holes in the center that were coincidentally perfectly sized for self-abusing exhibitionists. The artist would place their song on one side of the disc, which was really all that was required from a purely practical standpoint.

However, that left one side of the disc unoccupied and, in the opinion of jukebox manufacturers, a little wasteful. To rectify that problem, disc manufacturers would ask the artist if they had any other more expendable songs, extended sound effects, embarrassing afterthoughts or failed dance crazes to place on the back portion of the disc. Thus was born the "B-side." Consumers would purchase the single, play the hit A-side repeatedly and then, in moments of unquantifiable boredom or drunken mishaps, play the B-side by accident. By law of averages, some of these B-sides turned out to be worthy artistic statements on their own merit. At the very least, they were strikingly effective at completing the terms of a record contract.

Let's start with Prince, a wunderkind from Minneapolis who heroically balanced topics of uncharted sexual discovery with religious recalibration, until he decided the sex part was too dicey to keep up with as a middle-aged adult and just went with the God stuff. "17 Days" was the B-side to his bass-less smash "When Doves Cry." When I saw Prince on the Purple Rain tour they played "17 Days" over the P.A. before the show started. It sure helped people find their seats. Then he whipped into "Let's Go Crazy" and his specially modified guitar ejaculated what I hope was water into the front row of seats. My girlfriend at the time and I were safely tucked away in the cheap seats. I wore the T-shirt to school the next day. And that's how they invented rock and roll.
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