I was a fan from Around The World in a Day to Diamonds and Pearls. I remember rushing from work to Our Price in a lunch hour the day that Diamonds and Pearls came out, getting back to the office a little late and plying it on my CD Walkman for the rest of the week.
This span, from 1985 to 1991 was what I considered my metal years. I'd buy lots of terrible hair metal on Roadrunner Records. I was into guitars and guitarists that were written about in Guitarist magazine. Nuno Bettencourt and Steve Vai and Joe Satriani and Jennifer Batten and Paul Gilbert.
Astonishingly, I'd have probably bought Project Driver at about the same time as Parade.
You've probably seen the video of Prince's astonishing playing on 'While my guitar gently weeps' with some rock dinosaurs. I don't know if it's true, but I read that this performance was shortly after, and perhaps a response to being absent from a Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest guitarists. If true, what a fabulous "Fuck You!"
But here's the weird thing: I really liked Prince. I was really into guitarists. I never put these things together. It seems utterly bonkers in hindsight, but I think I know why…
Prince wrote some great songs, arranging and producing them, often playing most of the instruments himself. Guitar was just a part of what he did. Just part of a song. Maybe exemplified by When Doves Cry, where it's pretty much just an intro to the intro. Not a run of the mill guitar solo in the middle of a song in the middle of an album of other songs full of guitar solos. In Paisley Park, it's kind of easy to miss the moments of guitar virtuosity, or forget that it's Prince himself playing them, because they're part of a whole.
Maybe it was a compliment to his song writing and production skills that Rolling Stone overlooked his guitar playing.