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Thread started 07/08/19 2:04pm

VaultCurator

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'Moonbeam Levels' and the albums it was considered for... (Susan Rogers)

I guess this seems a bit redundant now that Moonbeam Levels has seen an official release after long last, but I was listening to the Prince Podcast interview with Susan Rogers and she mentioned something about it that I found fascinating.

According to 'princevault.com' the song was initially recorded in 1982, worked on further in 1983, and then not much else is known about it up until 1989 when it was considered for the original 'Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic' project.

“Even though it was recorded during the sessions for 1999, it was never placed on a configuration of that album. It was worked on further in June 1983 and later considered for inclusion on the aborted Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic album (different from the 1999 album Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic), as the ninth and final track on the mid-January 1989, configuration of the album before it was abandoned when Prince began work on the Batman soundtrack album.” - princevault.com

However, according to Susan Rogers in her interview…

“Sometimes when we would be sequencing albums he would put on songs that I loved and I’d be so excited about, and then he changed his mind and he’d have me pull it ... The single most heartbreaking one was, for me, Moonbeam Levels. I didn’t record that. He recorded it before I arrived and I absolutely loved it. And so many times when we’d put Moonbeam Levels into the sequence and then he would take it off. That was disappointing.”
- https://www.youtube.com/w...vvvdrDQ8nU (Time: 48:30)

In the same interview she states that she began working with Prince when he started recording songs for Purple Rain (her first recording being Darling Nikki) and had worked with him up until the Sign ‘O’ The Times live concert movie. She also mentioned that she’d left shortly before he pulled the Black Album at the end of 1987… before Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic.

I’m just so curious as to which albums Prince considered Moonbeam Levels for, and why he chose to hold it back for so long. What tracks ended up taking it's spot?

If you look up the Dream Factory album entry on Prince Vault it states… “Strange Relationship, Teacher, Teacher and I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man were the earliest recordings included on the album, originally recorded in Summer 1982.” which was coincidentally the same time period when Moonbeam Levels was initially recorded (July 1982). Could 'Moonbeam Levels' have been another early track considered for DF?

What about earlier albums? Personally I think Moonbeam Levels would have fitted perfectly on ‘Around The Would In A Day’. Maybe not ‘Parade’ so much, but you never know.

I’d love to be able to pick Susan’s brain about details like these. I’m curious to know which other vault classics were considered for these mid 80s LPs, but ultimately didn’t make the cut. At least, the ones that haven't been documented already.

RIP EXTRALOVEABLE!!! sad
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Reply #1 posted 07/08/19 7:56pm

williamb610

Interesting post, VC. I always thought that it was supposed to be on 1999. Maybe, if P had done a Crystal Ball 2, it would have been on there!

[Edited 7/8/19 19:57pm]

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Reply #2 posted 07/08/19 8:01pm

leadline

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I still find it amazing he didn't use this song. He knew it was a masterpiece. The fact that he pulled it off so many configurations is a testament to his love for the song. I guess he just felt folks werent ready for it yet, or, he was holding out for that perfect album to put it on that never came to fruition.

"You always get the dream that you deserve, from what you value the most" -Prince 2013
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Reply #3 posted 07/08/19 9:35pm

Ugot2shakesumt
hin

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Just an awful track.

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Reply #4 posted 07/08/19 10:27pm

Mikado

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

Just an awful track.


What?

Would have been a perfect closing track for a project, imo.

A certain kind of mellow.
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Reply #5 posted 07/08/19 11:57pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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It sounds like an amalgam of sounds he did better in tracks he did release. He made the right decision. Post-1999 it would have ended up sounding like a bigger retread than the Batman OST.

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Reply #6 posted 07/09/19 12:36am

JorisE73

I love the track and hope it will be on a deluxe version of 1999.
During one of the chats back in the NPGonlineLTD days didn't he mention it was his favorit track?
I wonder if he did further recordings on it for Rave un2 the Joy Fantastic '89 and which version is the released one, the original 1982 version or the further worked on 1983 version.

[Edited 7/9/19 0:37am]

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Reply #7 posted 07/09/19 12:43am

Moonbeam

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It's his very best song, IMO. I would have loved to have it on 1999. Hard to imagine it fitting on Purple Rain, but maybe I could see it somehow fitting the quirks of Around the World in a Day perhaps?

Feel free to join in the Prince Album Poll 2018! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince albums, as decided by you!
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Reply #8 posted 07/09/19 2:10am

VaultCurator

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Moonbeam said:

It's his very best song, IMO. I would have loved to have it on 1999. Hard to imagine it fitting on Purple Rain, but maybe I could see it somehow fitting the quirks of Around the World in a Day perhaps?

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I certainly consider it to be amongst his best. When it comes to my subjective opinion on what his greatest song was I can usually narrow it down to a small selection, amongst which 'Moonbeam Levels' is always included.

I agree about it not fitting on 'Purple Rain'. I couldn't picture it appearing either on the LP or in the movie. I feel the same way about 'Under the Cherry Moon' / 'Parade'.

'Around the World in a Day' is a different story though. I felt that was a much more diverse album with a wider range of styles. That's how I always preserved the concept of it. We're going around the world to experience vastly different flavours and cultures. You'll hear a ballad unlike you've ever heard before in 'Condition of the Heart'. You'll hear rock like it's never been done before on 'America'. ATWIAD was an LP of big numbers. Post 'Purple Rain' all eyes were on Prince and he was expected to deliver a masterpiece. 'Moonbeam Levels' would have fit so well on that record. I'd have happily taken it on songs like 'Paisley Park' or 'Temptation'. I have nothing against those songs, but 'Moonbeam' would have nailed it.

I also think it wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'Dream Factory' back when it had songs like 'It's A Wonderful Day', 'In A Large Room With No Light' and 'All My Dreams' on it. After the revolution split and the LP took a darker tone (ie. The Crystal Ball / Sign stages), not so much.

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JorisE73 said:

I love the track and hope it will be on a deluxe version of 1999.

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To be honest, now that it's seen a release on '4ever' I wouldn't be overly bothered if it didn't make the deluxe '1999'. I think I'd prefer something else that was previously unreleased. Having said that, I wouldn't object to it being on their either. It was certainly was a song of the '1999' era and wouldn't sound out of place.

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JorisE73 said:

During one of the chats back in the NPGonlineLTD days didn't he mention it was his favorit track?

.

If anybody has a citation for this I would be interested in seeing it. (And before anyone jumps in... Yes, I did just try and Google it. I couldn't find anything specific.)

I know he mentioned that 'Splash' was one of his favourites from the Revolution era, or something to that effect. And I think his mods teased the idea of releasing a mastered version of 'Moonbeam Levels'. Maybe a case of crossed wires? IDK?

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JorisE73 said:

I wonder if he did further recordings on it for Rave un2 the Joy Fantastic '89 and which version is the released one, the original 1982 version or the further worked on 1983 version.

.

I imagine that it wouldn't have changed any further in 1989. I may be wrong, but Susan did state in her interview that Prince rarely went back to remix a song with a few notable exceptions. And he'd already done additional work to it in 1983 so I imagine it was left as intended.

Furthermore, had he of made updates they probably would have surfaced on the '4ever' album as I'm sure Warner would have wanted to release the most complete version of the song. Having said that, they did release the earliest known version of 'We can funk' on Purple Rain Deluxe, so they're not opposed to releasing older versions of songs if there is fan interest, so maybe?

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williamb610 said:

Interesting post, VC. I always thought that it was supposed to be on 1999. Maybe, if P had done a Crystal Ball 2, it would have been on there!

.

It may have been at some stage. Although it never made a configuration that we know of, we do not know what Prince's intention was at the time of recording, nor do we know the reasons for him holding it back. I wonder who helped Prince print and sequence tracks prior to him hiring Susan? They'd be the best person to ask.

As far as 'Crystal Ball 2' is concerned, who knows what his thinking was. I can't believe some of the tracks he left on 'Crystal Ball 1' for that matter. I'm guessing that he wanted to release a set that was a cross section of his entire career, rather than commit to specific periods. Remixes of P Control and Loose are all well and good.. but when I think of all the 80s gems that got overlooked? He definitely held back some of his best work deliberately. God knows what his grand plan was!

.

leadline said:

I still find it amazing he didn't use this song. He knew it was a masterpiece. The fact that he pulled it off so many configurations is a testament to his love for the song. I guess he just felt folks werent ready for it yet, or, he was holding out for that perfect album to put it on that never came to fruition.

.

I'm not sure. Either that or there was something about it he was unsure of. I can't think what that would be, but there must have been reasons for him frequently considering it and pulling it. In his later years he must have known that the fans loved it, or else why would he have teased it in the NPG chat?

Despite Prince's reservations, I'm grateful that it was chosen for '4ever'.

RIP EXTRALOVEABLE!!! sad
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Reply #9 posted 07/09/19 4:02am

IstenSzek

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it would have fit on 1999, but after that, when there wasn't an album inbetween 1999 & Purple Rain,
it sort of didn't really fit too well on any other album that we know of.

i've always thought it a bit of a strange inclusion on the original Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, too.
it doesn't share any sonics with the rest of the tracks that we know, imo.

but who knows, prince had a way of making the odd songs sounds like they couldn't be anywhere
else when he put them in the right spot on an album, even if on first listen they seemed to make
little or no sense.

and true love lives on lollipops and crisps
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Reply #10 posted 07/09/19 6:17am

JorisE73

Even tho it was released on 4Ever I still think it should be on a 1999 Deluxe.
Teh version on 4Ever fades out to soon and misses the end piano piece so they can put that full unreleased version on a 1999 Deluxe.

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Reply #11 posted 07/09/19 6:21am

love2thenines2
003

JorisE73 said:

Even tho it was released on 4Ever I still think it should be on a 1999 Deluxe.
Teh version on 4Ever fades out to soon and misses the end piano piece so they can put that full unreleased version on a 1999 Deluxe.

Maybe The Estate got in the vault a version that we are not aware of ???

smile

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Reply #12 posted 07/09/19 6:42am

Ugot2shakesumt
hin

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People sometimes talk about which Prince music to initiate a non fan. well, this track is not it. This track has the ability to make people want stop from ever listening to music. This is a Prince fan specific song.
And then only a subset of fans.

fingernail on the blackboard is third to this track, large room with no light and purple and gold.

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Reply #13 posted 07/09/19 6:54am

darkroman

Today I was listening to Databank - a bloomin' awesome, funky and comical track!

There is a part where Prince asks Susan to fade out Lisa.

Now I know, many years later, he was talking to Susan Rogers!


cool

[Edited 7/9/19 6:59am]

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Reply #14 posted 07/09/19 7:03am

RJOrion

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

Just an awful track.




word...it is awful...i dont undersrand the hype over this song...ive tried to listen to it so many times, to see what it is im missing.. i just dont connect with it...not even a little bit
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Reply #15 posted 07/09/19 7:12am

sulls

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JorisE73 said:

Even tho it was released on 4Ever I still think it should be on a 1999 Deluxe.
Teh version on 4Ever fades out to soon and misses the end piano piece so they can put that full unreleased version on a 1999 Deluxe.

yeahthat

"I like to watch."
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Reply #16 posted 07/09/19 7:16am

Genesia

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Ugot2shakesumthin said:

People sometimes talk about which Prince music to initiate a non fan. well, this track is not it. This track has the ability to make people want stop from ever listening to music. This is a Prince fan specific song.
And then only a subset of fans.

fingernail on the blackboard is third to this track, large room with no light and purple and gold.


Right. You hate it. We heard you the first time. Now, go play in traffic.

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #17 posted 07/09/19 7:16am

Ugot2shakesumt
hin

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RJOrion said:

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

Just an awful track.

word...it is awful...i dont undersrand the hype over this song...ive tried to listen to it so many times, to see what it is im missing.. i just dont connect with it...not even a little bit


Same. I've tried. But there are so many things about it that make me cringe.

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Reply #18 posted 07/09/19 7:24am

dodger

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

People sometimes talk about which Prince music to initiate a non fan. well, this track is not it. This track has the ability to make people want stop from ever listening to music. This is a Prince fan specific song.
And then only a subset of fans.

fingernail on the blackboard is third to this track, large room with no light and purple and gold.

Exactly my feelings also on Moonbeam and Large Room.

I've never got the big love those 2 get

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Reply #19 posted 07/09/19 7:26am

dodger

Genesia said:

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

People sometimes talk about which Prince music to initiate a non fan. well, this track is not it. This track has the ability to make people want stop from ever listening to music. This is a Prince fan specific song.
And then only a subset of fans.

fingernail on the blackboard is third to this track, large room with no light and purple and gold.


Right. You hate it. We heard you the first time. Now, go play in traffic.

lol

someone's had their +sign today

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Reply #20 posted 07/09/19 7:28am

RJOrion

i do love "Large Room With No Light" though... alot
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Reply #21 posted 07/09/19 7:31am

Ugot2shakesumt
hin

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Genesia said:

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

People sometimes talk about which Prince music to initiate a non fan. well, this track is not it. This track has the ability to make people want stop from ever listening to music. This is a Prince fan specific song.
And then only a subset of fans.

fingernail on the blackboard is third to this track, large room with no light and purple and gold.


Right. You hate it. We heard you the first time. Now, go play in traffic.

Is that what happened to you? lol

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Reply #22 posted 07/09/19 8:05am

rusty1

Ugot2shakesumthin said:

Just an awful track.



one of Prince's best songs. the essence of his
Minneapolis Sound.. the way he sings it etc is classic Prince.
Awful tracks started hit & miss from 89 onward.
i don't get it when people hate this song
BOB4theFUNK
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Reply #23 posted 07/09/19 8:09am

rusty1

"Yesterday i tried to write a novel, but i didn't know where to
begin" is such a poetic opening line to a song.
And the following lyrics as well
BOB4theFUNK
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Reply #24 posted 07/09/19 8:37am

jaawwnn

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I think the obvious replacement would be for Free, which always sticks out on that album. But maybe that's precisely why he didn't.

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Reply #25 posted 07/09/19 10:00am

steakfinger

leadline said:

I still find it amazing he didn't use this song. He knew it was a masterpiece. The fact that he pulled it off so many configurations is a testament to his love for the song. I guess he just felt folks werent ready for it yet, or, he was holding out for that perfect album to put it on that never came to fruition.

A couple of things about the song. Pulling it from records means he thought it didn't fit the overall album, not that the song was too loved. There is nothing revolutionary, controversial, or weird about the song, so people "not being ready for it" makes no sense. It's not even weird by the standards of 1967, so I don't know why people wouldn't have been ready for it. You know what people were not ready for? Rite of Spring. Sgt. Pepper's. The first line of the song prohibits it from being a classic in my mind, though it does show Prince's siliness quite well. You don't wake up one morning and decide to do something you have no experience doing. Of course he didn't know where to begin. Kamasutra is not worth a damn, either, but he sure woke up and decided he would write symphonic music. He didn't know where to begin there, either. I like the song fine, however.

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Reply #26 posted 07/09/19 10:13am

Ugot2shakesumt
hin

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steakfinger said:

leadline said:

I still find it amazing he didn't use this song. He knew it was a masterpiece. The fact that he pulled it off so many configurations is a testament to his love for the song. I guess he just felt folks werent ready for it yet, or, he was holding out for that perfect album to put it on that never came to fruition.

A couple of things about the song. Pulling it from records means he thought it didn't fit the overall album, not that the song was too loved. There is nothing revolutionary, controversial, or weird about the song, so people "not being ready for it" makes no sense. It's not even weird by the standards of 1967, so I don't know why people wouldn't have been ready for it. You know what people were not ready for? Rite of Spring. Sgt. Pepper's. The first line of the song prohibits it from being a classic in my mind, though it does show Prince's siliness quite well. You don't wake up one morning and decide to do something you have no experience doing. Of course he didn't know where to begin. Kamasutra is not worth a damn, either, but he sure woke up and decided he would write symphonic music. He didn't know where to begin there, either. I like the song fine, however.


Ok I like your sober take on this. and I was listening to A day In The Life earlier today on headphones and am always blown away by it and always find new things to appreciate in it. And yes it's all subjective and we all can like or dislike something. We all have opinions. We don't have to tell people to get run over by a car because you disagree with someone lol

.

But I think tone-wise it reminds me of a very popular song that some people love but I can't stand or get either (but it's all ok). It has that same dissonant thing going on like this track.

Listen to both Moonbeam Levels and this song back to back tell me they aren't similar.

https://youtu.be/dYnZ9PQwlIU



[Edited 7/9/19 10:23am]

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Reply #27 posted 07/09/19 1:31pm

VaultCurator

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JorisE73 said:

Even tho it was released on 4Ever I still think it should be on a 1999 Deluxe.
Teh version on 4Ever fades out to soon and misses the end piano piece so they can put that full unreleased version on a 1999 Deluxe.

.
Hi Joris.

.

OK, so I have the song 'Moonbeam Levels' on the original 'The Work' box set, the updated 'Work It 2.0' set and lastly on BFTP 4.

.

I've just compared these three versions to the official release and the very most I could make out was about 3 notes. Maybe 2 seconds of additional fade at the most. I’m assuming you’re not referring to that, so is there a longer version I am unaware of? May I ask how you came by the song? Note, I’m not asking for a link or anything. Just some indication of what it was released on so I can check it out for myself. Thanks. wink

RIP EXTRALOVEABLE!!! sad
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Reply #28 posted 07/09/19 2:13pm

Genesia

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steakfinger said:

leadline said:

I still find it amazing he didn't use this song. He knew it was a masterpiece. The fact that he pulled it off so many configurations is a testament to his love for the song. I guess he just felt folks werent ready for it yet, or, he was holding out for that perfect album to put it on that never came to fruition.

A couple of things about the song. Pulling it from records means he thought it didn't fit the overall album, not that the song was too loved. There is nothing revolutionary, controversial, or weird about the song, so people "not being ready for it" makes no sense. It's not even weird by the standards of 1967, so I don't know why people wouldn't have been ready for it. You know what people were not ready for? Rite of Spring. Sgt. Pepper's. The first line of the song prohibits it from being a classic in my mind, though it does show Prince's siliness quite well. You don't wake up one morning and decide to do something you have no experience doing. Of course he didn't know where to begin. Kamasutra is not worth a damn, either, but he sure woke up and decided he would write symphonic music. He didn't know where to begin there, either. I like the song fine, however.


Really? People do that shit all the time. You should see some of the folks who turn up at theatrical auditions - or submit resumes for copywriting jobs. That's the reason for the second line of the song: "So I laid down in the grass trying to feel the world turn."

I agree with the rest of it, though.



[Edited 7/9/19 14:38pm]

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #29 posted 07/09/19 3:05pm

jfenster

didnt u know....it is a preceding single for the 1999 deluxe

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Forums > Prince: Music and More > 'Moonbeam Levels' and the albums it was considered for... (Susan Rogers)