Entertainment & Arts

Fifteen Prince albums make streaming debut on his 58th birthday

Prince on stage in 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince died in April from an overdose of painkillers

Streaming service Tidal has made 15 rare Prince albums available for streaming on what would have been the star's 58th birthday.

The collection includes the infamous Black Album - a dark, funky follow-up to Sign O' The Times, which Prince scrapped a week before release in 1987.

It also features The Gold Experience, which includes his only UK number one, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.

Prince was a vocal supporter of Jay Z's streaming service before his death.

He pulled most of his back catalogue from services like Spotify and Apple Music last year, and released his final albums Hitnrun Phase One and Hitnrun Phase Two as Tidal exclusives.

Prince said in a statement in August 2015: "After one meeting, it was obvious that Jay Z and the team he has assembled at Tidal recognise and applaud the effort that real musicians put in2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry.

"Tidal have honoured Us with a non-restrictive arrangement that once again allows Us to continue making art in the fashion We've grown accustomed 2 and We're Extremely grateful 4 their generous support."

The new releases mostly comprise material the star recorded after he ended his contract with Warner Bros in 1996.

As a result, most of the material is far from his best - although some highlights include the jazz-inflected The Rainbow Children and Indigo Nights - which documents the legendary aftershows the star gave during his 21-night residency at London's O2 Arena in 2007.

Triple disc Crystal Ball is also worth investigating, as it features outtakes and "lost" songs from the star's mid-80s heyday, including the expansive, 10-minute title track and the jittering funk of Sexual Suicide.

Estate hearings fast-tracked

Prince died on 21 April from an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, an opioid many times more powerful than heroin.

He was thought to be suffering knee and hip pain, caused by performing in high heels for much of his career.

The star left no will, leaving the court to decide how to divide his estate, which is estimated to be worth more than $27m (£18.5m), plus future royalties and licensing deals.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Prince had some of his greatest successes in the 1980s

On Monday, a Minnesota judge fast-tracked the hearing, giving claimants until the end of the week to file sworn statements detailing their claims to have a genetic relationship with Prince that would make them heirs.

The validity of their claims will be determined by a special administrator, who could order DNA testing.

The claimants so far include Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, several half-siblings, and a Colorado prison inmate who says Prince was his father and others.

The next hearing is scheduled for 27 June.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC