|The Gold Experience is the 17th full-length studio album by Prince, and the first to be released using the name , after Prince changed his name in 1993 to the unpronounceable symbol that first appeared on his 1992 album. It was released worldwide in September, 1995 (13 months after his previous new release Come and eleven months after "The Black Album").
While the bulk of the album was recorded in a condensed time period, between September, 1993, and March, 1994, some tracks date back to earlier recording sessions. Shhh had originally been recorded in mid-to-late June, 1992 for use by Tevin Campbell, but the version included on The Gold Experience was a re-recording from early 1994.
Endorphinmachine and Dolphin were recorded in early January, 1993. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World was recorded in late September, 1993, soon after returned to Minneapolis from the Act II tour, and became the starting point when he began working on the album that would eventually become The Gold Experience in October, 1993. Now and Shy were recorded in early October, 1993. 319, Billy Jack Bitch and Gold were recorded in late October, 1993.
Hate U was recorded in early 1994. The NPG Operator segues were recorded between September, 1993 and March, 1994. We March was recorded at some point from May - July, 1994, but was re-worked in early-to-mid 1995 when additional work took place on the album. P. Control (initially known as Pussy Control) was the latest recording to be included on the album, recorded in late July, 1994.
An untitled album was compiled in early 1994, considered to be an early configuration of The Gold Experience, although it seems to have been intended to be known as "The Gold Album" (similar to "The Black Album"); this version included Space, which ended up on Come, and Ripopgodazippa and Interactive, which ended up on Crystal Ball, as well as the studio version of Days Of Wild, Strength, and cover versions of the Rolling Stones' Angie and Graham Central Station's The Jam, all of which remain unreleased.
Further configurations took place in March (including Acknowledge Me, which was later included on Crystal Ball), May, and Summer, 1994 (including Chaos And Disorder and Right The Wrong, which were later included on Chaos And Disorder, and Listen 2 The Rhythm, later included on Mayte's Child Of The Sun as The Rhythm Of Your Heart), with another configuration compiled on 13 October, 1994; this latter configuration was considered final, but Days Of Wild and its corresponding NPG Operator segue were removed prior to the album's eventual release.
The album had been preceded 19 months earlier by the single The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, but this had not been connected to an album at the time. Dolphin, P. Control and Endorphinmachine had been available as promotional singles in one form or another prior to the album, but Hate U was the first commercial single release from the album, followed by Gold a few months later.
Prince (as ) also toured heavily in 1994-5 (mostly in one-off shows, but also on The Ultimate Live Experience), focusing heavily on playing tracks from the album. Between the promotional singles and Prince's live performances of the songs, many fans were very familiar with a lot of the material before the album's release. At the time of release, however, it seemed that Prince himself had moved on to other projects, and he didn't promote the album much upon release.
The album reached number 6 on The Billboard 200 Chart, and number 2 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA on 7 December, 1995.