Family Name

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Family Name

Rainbowchildren album.jpg
from the album The Rainbow Children
Song details
Performer: Prince
First Released: 16 October 2001 - The Rainbow Children album
Album(s): The Rainbow Children

One Nite Alone... Live!

Writer(s): Prince
Producer(s): Prince
Live Appearances
First and last live appearance:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:

Family Name is the twelfth track on Prince’s 24th album The Rainbow Children, his first album after reverting to the name Prince. In 2002, a live version was included as the first track on the second disc of Prince’s first live album One Nite Alone... Live! (along with Xenophobia, Extraordinary, Avalanche, Raspberry Beret, The Everlasting Now, EyeBlue.png Wanna B Ur Lover, Diamonds & Pearls, The Beautiful Ones, Nothing Compares 2 U and How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore from the same show).

Specific recording dates are unknown, but it is likely that basic tracking took place in late 2000 or early 2001 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The song opens with a long computer voice introduction over a musical backing, saying "welcome to the Akashic Records genetic information division", before asking the user to input the requested genetic history. After a keystroke, the computer responds by saying "you have chosen African-American" before launching into a dramatized situation where an African slave is banished from England, and sent to the USA, where he is told his previous family name is no longer valid and he is renamed. The song continues from there, and ends with a sample from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I have a dream" speech, delivered in Washington, D.C., USA, on 28 August 1963. The full paragraph of the speech, which Prince samples from here, is: "And when this happens,and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last." (Prince had previously sampled this in the opening of his televised concert to celebrate his "emancipation" from his contract with Warner Bros., on 12 November 1996).

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
Late 2000 - early 2001 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Recording Personnel

Studio version

  • Prince - all vocals and instruments, except where noted (credited as "All other instruments - digital or otherwise, lead and co-lead vox, percussion and sound FX per4med by Prince ...and U.")
  • John Blackwell - drums (credited as "John Blackwell, the Magnificent")
  • Mr. Hayes - spoken vocals
  • Femi Jiya - spoken vocals

One Nite Alone... Live! version

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Family Name 8:17 The Rainbow Children Studio
Family Name 7:16 One Nite Alone... Live! Live 30 April 2002, Portland Center for the Performing Arts - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR, USA
Video Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Family Name ?:?? Live At The Aladdin Las Vegas DVD Live 15 December 2002, Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Additional Information

See also Trivia

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