In 1987, amid the throes of “Reaganomics,” the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, gang violence, and the A.I.D.S. scare, musical genius and artist extraordinaire, Prince released his album Sign O’ The Times, which contained the single of the same name. Prince’s album addressed many carnal issues of mankind such as love, lust, contentious relationships, and androgyny. However, one song stood out as the social commentator to the happenings of the mid to late 80s—“Sign O’ The Times.” It placed the ills of American society front and center and challenged the listener to not turn away but to address them. The song reached #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and was couched there for several weeks.
According to Susan Rogers, Prince’s sound engineer, he wrote and recorded “Sign O’ The Times” all on a Sunday—his most productive writing day. The song was scheduled to appear on both his 1986 albums Dream Factory and Crystal Ball. However, both albums were famously shelved and songs were dispersed to other albums including the album Sign O’ The Times.
Prince’s social commentary reached beyond the city limits of Chanhassen, Minnesota to span the globe and resonate with an international audience who faced similar issue in their social and political spaces.
Happy AAMAM! And Happy Birthday Prince!
(Go listen to “Sign O’ The Times” in your Prince collection . . . you do have a Prince collection?)