Reclusive pop star Prince, who has shunned music-business flesh-pressing in the past, seems to be changing his ways. The long hot summer has seen the short hot rocker mount an uncharacteristic prerelease push for his album Diamonds and Pearls, due Oct. 1 from Paisley Park Records. Since June 3, when he and his band, New Power Generation, serenaded Warner Bros. Records personnel at their Burbank, Calif., headquarters, Prince has been firing up the troops — at the Aug. 16 Chicago convention for WEA, Warner’s distribution arm, as well as the Aug. 19 MTV 10th anniversary party in New York and the Aug. 23 Jack the Rapper convention of black radio executives in Atlanta.
Why the extra effort from the normally reticent performer? Since his 1984 album, Purple Rain, which spawned two No. 1 singles and sold 10 million copies, His Purpleness has produced six records — none of them a smash. And though the Purple Rain movie grossed $63.4 million, his three subsequent feature films have flopped. ”This time Prince wants to cover all of his bases any way he can,” says Benny Medina, a Warner Bros. vice president. ”And the response in terms of getting his goods out there this time is ‘Prince is back.”’
Diamonds and Pearls‘ first single, ”Gett Off,” moved from No. 71 to No. 55 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart last week. But Prince isn’t taking any chances: He recently announced that he has hired a new business consultant: Frank Dileo, the management muscle behind Michael Jackson’s successful Thriller and Bad albums.