37 Years Later, Prince’s ‘1999’ Leaps to Top 40 of RS 200
Thanks to a “super deluxe” reissue, Prince’s 1999 jumped to Number 31 on the latest Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums chart. 1999 earned 19,200 album-equivalent units, a total driven almost entirely by sales — 12,100 album sales and 3,200 song sales. In addition, songs on the reissue amassed more than 1.2 million streams, led by longtime favorites like “Little Red Corvette.”
The new edition of 1999, released on the 20th anniversary of the year cited in the album’s title, sprawls over five CDs or ten LPs. The first disc contains a remaster of the original 1982 album, while the second focuses on alternative mixes and edits of album cuts as well as well-known B-sides like “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore.”
The third and fourth CDs are where the reissue gets exciting: This 1999 contains a number of previously unreleased Prince cuts that were only available, at best, as bootlegs. The collection includes, but is hardly limited to, “Purple Music,” an 11-minute tour-de-force, “Do Yourself a Favor,” one of the purest pop melodies Prince ever wrote, and “Bold Generation,” an early rendition of 1990’s “New Power Generation” that puts the released version to shame. Finally, there is one more disc capturing a show in Detroit in 1982.
Unsurprisingly, the whole thing is not cheap — this week Amazon was selling the CD version for around $70, while the vinyl set cost upward of $200. But fans shelled out, with more than 95% of purchasers choosing a physical version of the “super deluxe” 1999 rather than a digital one.
The latest version of 1999 is part of a series of posthumous releases from the Prince estate that start to unearth corners of the star’s famous vault. Other collections include Piano & a Microphone 1983, which captures Prince alone at a keyboard whizzing through a series of tracks, and Originals, which collects songs Prince wrote that were released by other performers.
The 1999 reissue comes two months after The Beatles’ Abbey Road made a similar return to the charts, landing at Number Three on the RS 200 in October after a 40-track “super deluxe” reissue of the 1969 classic.
The Rolling Stone 200 Albums chart tracks the most popular releases of the week in the United States. Entries are ranked by album units, a number that combines digital and physical album sales, digital song sales, and audio streams using a custom weighting system. The chart does not include passive listening such as terrestrial radio or digital radio. The Rolling Stone 200 Albums chart is updated daily, and each week Rolling Stone finalizes and publishes an official version of the chart, covering the seven-day period ending with the previous Thursday.
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