Prince’s First Universal Release 3121 Debuts at #1

Notching the highest debut of his storied career, Prince garnered the Top Spot on The Billboard 200 Album chart with his acclaimed Universal Records debut album, 3121, selling 183,436 units in its first week of release.

The stunning debut is Prince’s first #1 album since 1989’s Batman soundtrack, and his first top-charting studio album since 1985’s Around The World In A Day. Hailed by fans and critics as a return to “vintage” Prince, the disc has drawn unanimous media raves, including praise from Rolling Stone magazine – “Reassert(s) Prince’s funk bona fides…” – and People magazine – “Even better than its double platinum-predecessor” – cementing Prince’s return to the pop stratosphere which he began with 2004’s double-platinum offering, the Grammy nominated Musicology.

Prince has also treated fans to a rare coupling of promotions celebrating the new album, including an intimate surprise midnight show for fans on the eve of the release of 3121 at L.A.’s Tower Records on Sunset Strip. The innovative Prince has also included a limited number of Purple tickets in 3121 CD packages, granting lucky fans access to a private performance at his L.A. home later this spring. Listeners who purchased the new “Black Sweat” single via Apple’s iTunes Music Store were also eligible to win entrance to the upcoming private show.

Prince’s momentum has been buoyed by the sizzling single “Black Sweat,” the top debuting single on the Billboard Hot 100 three weeks ago, boosted by a sultry, minimalist video helmed by groundbreaking Moroccan director Sanaa Hamri (Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Seal)

Prince’s previous single and video from the new disc, the ballad “Te Amo Corazon,” were also greeted with wide acclaim, simultaneously premiering across all of VH1’s platforms, and directed by award winning actress Selma Hayek. Prince previewed another 3121 gem, the guitar-edged “Fury,” on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on February 4th, the first time the star had appeared on the long running show in 25 years, scoring the highest ratings for SNL in more than two years.

The 12 song disc is also being hailed for its peerless blend of Prince styles, including the catchy funk of “Lolita,” the R&B-tinged “Incense And Candles,” and a steamy duet with Prince protege Tamar on Beautiful, Loved & Blessed,” among others.

Prince’s ascension to the top of the pop world has been both meteoric and enduring, inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his most recent release, Musicology, debuted at #3 on the Top 200 album charts, capping a three-decade reign in which Prince is generally regarded as one of the most acclaimed and influential musical artists of the 20th century.

The Minnesota native’s career literally exploded in 1984 with the dual phenomenon of Purple Rain (the movie broke box office records, the Grammy nominated album sole more than 11 million copies an spent 24 weeks at #1) making Prince one of the few triple threats in history to simultaneously land the #1 single, album, and movie. A series of genre defying albums – from 1985’s Around The World In A Day, to 1987’s prophetic A Sign of the Times, to 1991’s Diamond And Pearls indelibly sealed his reputation as a groundbreaking songwriter and consummate musical performer.

With more than 100 million records sold, Prince launched his web-centric NPG Music Club in the early ’90s, pioneering direct sales and value-added content that would become the artist-driven online entrepreneurial model artists and internet gurus would be flocking to by the end of the decade. More groundbreaking albums followed, with Prince himself stewarding their marketing and promotion, with major imprints such as EMI, Arista and Columbia forming temporary but fruitful relationships with the visionary artist.

Prince also launched one of the most successful tours in music history in 2004 (Pollstar Magazine crowned him top concert draw for the year), as well as winning a NAACP Image Award, and being honored by Rolling Stone magazine in a special issue which named Prince #5 on the Top Pop Artists of the Past 25 Years.


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