|Diamonds And Pearls is the 13th full-length studio album by Prince, and the first to be credited to Prince and the New Power Generation. It was released worldwide in October 1991 (thirteen months after his previous album, Graffiti Bridge), after first being pushed back from 27 August to 10 September, then 17 September, and was his first to be co-credited to a band since Parade, by Prince and the Revolution, in 1986.
Sessions and compiling
Unlike many of Prince’s previous albums, Diamonds And Pearls didn’t contain any updated tracks from the vault. All of the album’s 13 songs were written and recorded over the course of the 15 months preceding the album’s release.
Daddy Pop and Walk Don’t Walk were the first tracks recorded initially in early July 1990, while in London, England, for the Nude Tour.
Similarly Money Don’t Matter 2 Night Strollin’ and Willing And Able were recorded on in early September 1990 at Warner Pioneer Studios in Tokyo, while in Japan for the final dates of the Nude Tour. Insatiable followed in October 1990 at Larrabee Sound Studios, North Hollywood, CA, USA.
Diamonds And Pearls and Live 4 Love were both recorded in the same session in mid November 1990, the first session with Tommy Barbarella participating (Sonny T. had previously participated in the recording of Elisa Fiorillo’s Love’s No Fun session between late 1989 and early 1990 with Michael B.).
The remainder of the tracks were recorded at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, Minnesota. Cream in early December 1990. Thunder, Jughead and Push in late january / Early February, while Gett Off was recorded in May 1991, as the last track added to the album.
At least four early configurations of the album are known (see below for details).
New Power Generation input
The album introduced an almost-entirely new band (although an early version of the same band toured with him on the Nude Tour). Michael B. played drums on most tracks, while many tracks also featured Sonny T. on bass guitar and Tommy Barbarella, who replaced Dr. Fink on keyboards. Levi Seacer, Jr. switched from bass to rhythm guitar, while Rosie Gaines remained on keyboards and vocals, and the ‘Game Boyz’ trio of Tony M. (performing lead raps) and Damon Dickson and Kirk Johnson (playing percussion and performing background raps/vocals), got a more prominent role.
Kirk Johnson would remain with Prince for a number of years in different roles, becoming his full-time drummer from 1996-2000 and Prince’s best man at his wedding to Mayte in 1996 and minder/valet in the last stage of Prince’s life.
The album produced six commercially-released singles, Gett Off, Cream (both of which preceded the album’s release), Insatiable, Diamonds And Pearls, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night, and Thunder (available in the UK only). Additionally, Willing And Able was released to radio as a promotional single in the USA.
Prince toured extensively in Europe, Japan and Australia to support the album on the Diamonds And Pearls Tour, which largely focused on the album.
The album reached number 3 on The Billboard 200 Top Albums Chart and number 1 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart. It also reached number 1 on the Australian ARIA Top 50 albums chart.
Diamonds And Pearls was a huge commercial success; it was certified Platinum in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and France.
- Prince - all vocals and instruments, except where noted (liner notes state "insatiable", "all vocals and instruments on Thunder")
- Michael B. - drums on Daddy Pop, Diamonds And Pearls, Cream, Strollin’, Willing And Able, Gett Off, Walk Don’t Walk, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night and Live 4 Love
- Levi Seacer, Jr. - bass guitar on Daddy Pop, Strollin’, Willing And Able, Walk Don’t Walk, Jughead, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night, rhythm guitar on Cream, Gett Off (credited for "rhythm guitar and backing vox" for whole album)
- Sonny T. - bass guitar on Diamonds And Pearls, Cream, Gett Off and Live 4 Love (credited for "bass and backing vox" for whole album)
- Tommy Barbarella - keyboards on Daddy Pop, Diamonds And Pearls, Cream, Willing And Able, Gett Off, Walk Don’t Walk (liner notes state "Purpleaxxe™ sampler, other various keys and sex symbol" for whole album)
- Rosie Gaines - co-lead vocals on Diamonds And Pearls and Push, co-lead vocals and keyboards on Walk Don’t Walk and Jughead, background vocals and keyboards on Daddy Pop, Cream, Willing And Able and Gett Off (liner notes state "co-lead backing vox, Purpleaxxe™ sampler and organ" for whole album)
- Tony M. - rap on Daddy Pop, Willing And Able, Gett Off, Jughead, Push and Live 4 Love (credited for "lead raps and backing vox" for whole album)
- Damon Dickson - background vocals on Daddy Pop, percussion on Willing And Able, background vocals and percussion on Gett Off, Jughead (credited for "backing vox and percussion" for whole album)
- Kirk Johnson - background vocals on Daddy Pop, percussion on Willing And Able, background vocals and percussion on Gett Off, Jughead (credited for "backing vox and percussion" for whole album)
- Elisa Fiorillo - additional vocals on Daddy Pop and Walk Don’t Walk
- Bernard Purdie - drum loop on Daddy Pop (sampled from Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted And Black, uncredited)
- Sheila E. - synth drum fills on Diamonds And Pearls (uncredited)
- Fred Steele - background vocals on Willing And Able
- JD Steele - background vocals on Willing And Able
- Jearlyn Steele - background vocals on Willing And Able
- Jevetta Steele - background vocals on Willing And Able
- Janice Steele - background vocals on Willing And Able
- Eric Leeds - flute on Gett Off
- Steve Noonan – manager voice on Jughead (uncredited)
- Clare Fischer - orchestration (sampled) on Push
- Tim Penn - vocals on Live 4 Love (uncredited)
- "Special + 2 God = Love, The New Power Generation, Gilbert, Duane, Therese, Mike, Paisley Park Studios, Nancy C. Sex, The Steeles - J.D., Freddie, Jearlyn, Janice and Jevetta, Rio, Roger Vadim, Gary S. Warner Bros. - Mo, Lenny, Russ, Benny and Mike O., Minneapolis, SALOHCIN .TS EEDNAR, Diamond and Pearl, Derick, Hucky, Glam Slam, Robin Power, Publison, faith in music, Kathleen Battle, Alan Leeds, Mavis Staples, Earl J. Laurianne, Insomnia, Elisa, Charlie Friend, Daddy Pop, Abbey K., Joel L., Kate Bush, Voyeurism, Sinead O’Connor, Purpleaxxe™, the woman who invented the kiss, Thunder, and the Wizard of Oz."