In honor of the 40th anniversary of Prince’s second album Prince, the late musician’s estate has partnered with Warner Records to release a previously unheard solo acoustic demo of the Grammy-winning track “I Feel For You”.
The surprise release is now available on streaming services and as a limited-run 7” vinyl single – with the original album version of “I Feel For You” featured on the B-side. The single is available as a made-to-order commemorative purple 7” release exclusively at Prince.com for the next week only.
According to a statement from Prince’s estate, the stripped-down demo was recorded sometime in 1978 or 1979 as the 20-year-old musician was preparing for his debut solo performance at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis. The recording captures the Purple One in a “raw, intimate moment, and begins with the sound of the artist pressing the record button on a cassette tape recorder and picking up an acoustic guitar.”
“I was blown away,” said Prince vault archivist Michael Howe on discovering the tape. “Here is 20-year-old Prince thinking aloud, feeling his way through the song. You hear his incredible talent shining through on acoustic guitar, which is not something he typically showcased, and his guide vocal is astonishingly great.”
When Chaka Khan’s recorded her version “I Feel For You” in 1984 – featuring a cameo by rapper Melle Mel – the song became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the singer two Grammys, including the Best R&B Song award which recognized Prince’s contributions as a songwriter.