The New Power Generation and Symbolism : 1991 to 1994

1991 marked the debut of Prince’s new band, The New Power Generation. With guitarist Miko Weaver and long-time keyboardist Doctor Fink gone, Prince added bass player Sonny T., Tommy Barbarella on keyboards, and a brass section known as the Hornheads to go along with Levi Seacer (taking over on guitar), Rosie Gaines, Michael Bland, and the Game Boyz. With significant input from his band members, Diamonds and Pearls was released on October 1, 1991.

Reaching No.3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, Diamonds and Pearls saw 4 hit singles released in the United States. “Gett Off” peaked at No.21 on the Hot 100 and No.6 on the R&B charts, followed by “Cream” which gave Prince his fifth U.S. number one single. The title track “Diamonds and Pearls” became the album’s third single, reaching No.3 on the Hot 100 and the top spot on the R&B charts. “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” peaked at No.23 and No.14 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts respectively. 

1992 saw Prince and The New Power Generation release his twelfth album, ‘Love Symbol Album’,  bearing only an unpronounceable symbol on the cover (later copyrighted as Love Symbol. The album, generally referred to as the Love Symbol Album, would peak at No.5 on the Billboard 200. 

While the label wanted “7” to be the first single, Prince fought to have “My Name Is Prince” as he “felt that the song’s more hip-hop feel would appeal to the same audience” that had purchased the previous album.  Prince got his way but “My Name Is Prince” only managed to reach No.36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.23 on the R&B chart. The follow-up single “Sexy MF” fared worse, charting at No.66 on the Hot 100 and No.76 on the R&B chart. The label’s preferred lead single choice “7” would be the album’s lone top ten hit, reaching #7. ‘Love Symbol Album’ would go on to sell 2.8 million copies worldwide. 

After two failed attempts in 1990 and 1991, Warner Bros. finally released a greatest hits compilation with the three-disc The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993. The first two discs were also sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. In addition to featuring the majority of Prince’s hit singles (with the exception of “Batdance” and other songs that appeared on the Batman soundtrack), The Hits includes an array of previously hard-to-find recordings, notably B-sides spanning the majority of Prince’s career, as well as a handful of previously unreleased tracks such as the Revolution-recorded “Power Fantastic” and a live recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U” with Rosie Gaines. 

Two new songs, “Pink Cashmere” and “Peach”, were chosen as promotional singles to accompany the compilation album. 93′ also marked the year in which Prince changed his stage name to the Love Symbol, which is a combination of the symbols for male (♂) and female (♀).  In order to use the symbol in print media, Warner Bros. had to organize a mass mailing of floppy disks with a custom font.  Because the symbol is unpronounceable, he was often referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” or TAFKAP for short. 

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