While Prince did indeed become a massive star, starting with 1982's 1999, he was no overnight success. In fact, 1999 was his fifth studio album; two of which were released in the late 1970's!! And as would be expected from a prolific, slightly insane musician who later became an unpronounceable symbol, there is some really good stuff on his early albums that did not receive the airplay that it deserved. Although it took me a while to warm up to Prince, I have to say that he produced one of the broadest and most interesting bodies of work of any artist of the past few decades. In particular, his ability to fuse rock, pop, R&B and funk was unparalleled.
"Controversy," the title cut from his 1981 album is a great case in point. This is the album that immediately preceded 1999, and it shows an artist at the top of his game. The song itself is a catchy new wave funk song that was ahead of its time. One interesting point: the video is the edited single version of the song. The album version is almost twice as long, and contains the Lord's Prayer (in full), which went over with religious conservatives about as well as you would think. To be fair, Prince and his band also went over with religious conservatives ... well, you get the idea.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your audio and video pleasure ... His Purpleness.