Prince Estate Celebrates 40 Years of ‘Controversy’ with Previously Unreleased “Do Me Baby” Demo

Prince on the cover of his 1981 album, Controversy.

Source: Warner Bros.

Prince recorded the original version of “Do Me Baby” with former bandmate André Cymone in 1978.

40 years ago today, Prince released his fourth studio album, Controversy. And to toast the milestone, Warner Bros. and the late icon’s estate have dug up a rarity.

Pried from his mythical vault, Prince’s solo demo of the scorching and sprawled-out ballad, “Do Me Baby,” has been released for the first time ever. The original version of the track was recorded with former bandmate André Cymone in 1978. A year later, Prince cut a solo version of the song during the sessions for his self-titled sophomore album. The tape was shelved and eventually stored amongst the thousands of unfinished tracks locked away in his Paisley Park compound, presumably as a reference for the take that would ultimately land on the tracklist for Controversy. The differences between this formerly unheard version and the final mix are minor, yet meaningful. A sparse drum machine and grand piano open the track as Prince’s hushed falsetto storms the instrumental and a warm synth line threads the crawling r&b groove (arguably one of his most traditional compositions to date.)

The demo arrives as the latest excavation of the notoriously private artist’s archive. Earlier this year, the estate unveiled Welcome 2 America, an entire album that was originally recorded in 2010, but was axed for undisclosed reasons. Welcome 2 America followed expanded and deluxe editions of several classics from the Prince catalog, including Sign O’ The Times, 1999, and Purple Rain. The estate also released a compilation of Prince’s original demos of songs written for other artists in 2019. Aptly titled, Originals, the project featured songs that would later become hits for Sheila E., Morris Day & The Time, Sinead O’Connor, The Bengals, and more.

Hear the previously unreleased demo of Prince’s “Do Me Baby” below along with the version that eventually made the final cut for Controversy.

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