Grand Central

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Grand Central

Grand Central was a band formed in 1971, while in high-school, by Prince (keyboard and guitar) and André Anderson (bass) with Prince’s second cousin, Charles 'Chazz' Smith on drums. They initially did not have a name, but when Terry Jackson (percussion) joined they briefly went by "Charles, Cousin & Friends", "Phoenix", "Sex Machine", before finally settling for Grand Central (named after the rock band Grand Funk Railroad and the Minneapolis public high school Prince and André attended, Central High School). André Cymone’s sister Linda Anderson (keyboard) and soon after William "Hollywood" Doughty (percussion) also joined the group. They rehearsed at Terry Jackson’s house (next to the Anderson’s house where Prince and André lived) and primarily played at local community centers and high school dances. By late 1974, after a recording session at the Cookhouse Studios (Minneapolis, Minnesota), drummer Charles 'Chazz' Smith was replaced by Morris Day. After Morris Day’s mother started managing them in 1975 they changed their name to 'Grand Central Corporation', but weren’t always consistently billed as such.

Grand Central/Grand Central Corporation’s shows were mainly cover versions of 1973-1976 hits and favourite songs. Some of the songs known to have been played (or perhaps simply learned and rehearsed) are: Wildflowers by New Birth (sung by Prince & André), Rufus’ version of Stevie Wonder’s Maybe Your Baby, Tell Me Something Good, Sweet Thing (sung by Prince), The Isley Brothers’ version of Summer Breeze and Fight The Power, The StylisticsPeople Make The World Go Round, Billy Preston’s Outa-Space and Will It Go Round In Circles, Santana’s Evil Ways, Shades Of Time and their covers of Jungle Strut and Black Magic Woman, James Brown’s Get On The Good Foot, Funkadelic’s Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow and Get Off Your Ass And Jam, The Commodores’s Brick House, Earth, Wind & Fire’s Shining Star, Major HarrisLove Won’t Let Me Wait (sung by Morris Day), and Sly & The Family Stone’s Everybody Is A Star, Dance To The Music, Skin I’m In and Loose Booty. Some original music composed by Prince, André Anderson, Charles 'Chazz' Smith and/or Morris Day were also played.

Prince, André Anderson and Morris Day recorded some songs at the ASI Studio in early 1976. Around this time the band name evolved into Shampayne (sometimes spelled 'Champagne'). There are conflicting stories about this name change and the timing of it. While Chris Moon recalls that the band was named 'Champagne' when he first met Prince and first booked studio time at his Moon Sound Studio to record a demo tape, Morris Day wrote in his autobiography that the group was renamed 'Shampayne' after Prince’s departure and that "Grand Central without Prince is like Desi without Lucy." When asked about this name change, Andre Cymone replied an interview, that it was made to avoid confusion with Graham Central Station: "they came along afterward and everybody said we were trying to copy them and it’s like "no, no, no, we’re not trying to copy anybody". So we changed it, plus I think right around that time Prince had split, he had gotten a solo deal with Warner Brothers. So he split and we just changed the name. We actually changed the name before he split but, you know, it wound up being Champagne when he was out of the band."

In Spring 1976 they did more recording at Moon Sound, an eight-track studio located in Lake Nokomis, south of downtown Minneapolis. Shortly after Prince and Terry Jackson left the band, and Shampayne disbanded altogether in 1978.

Band Members

Grand Central original songs