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Controversy
1981-1982
04
/23

"Controversy" is Prince's fourth album. The album has a transitional sound, between the punk and new wave influence of Dirty Mind and the electronic sound of 1999. It is the first album to feature drum machines.

Prince played most of the instruments on the album, with Lisa Coleman and Dr Fink appearing on the song Jack U Off. Few details have been given on the recording of the album, so most of the equipment is assumed, based on the equipment used live around this time

Prince toured the album from November 1981 to March 1982. Details of the equipment used by Prince and his band come from photographs and videos from this time and from interviews given by Dr Fink.

Live

Prince

The Band

In the studio

Prince played a Hohner Madcat on the album. There are few guitar effects, but there are some distorted sounds which probably came from an overdriven Mesa/Boogie Mark II amplifier.

Andre Cymone and Brownmark both used Fender Jazz basses live around the recording of this album, so it is assumed that Prince used one in the studio.

The main keyboards on this album are the Oberheim OB-X, Oberheim OB-SX and the Arp Omni-2. Dr Fink and Lisa appear on Jack U Off, and it is likely that they used these keyboards as well.

The album is notable for featuring Prince's first use of drum machines. The famous Linn LM-1 appears on the song Private Joy, where a Linn snare is mixed with an acoustic kit. Prince would go on to have a long association with the Linn LM-1. Annie Christian features a different drum machine, possibly a Roland CR-78. Elsewhere Prince continued to play acoustic drums with minimal additional percussion.

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