Prince disses Adam Levine’s ‘Kiss” cover, says Madonna ruined his record deal


Prince is a strange cat, isn’t he? I mean, the dude looks about thirty-four years old when he’s really fifty-four. He’s also quite the erratic diva. Not only did he declare the internet to be “dead about two years ago, but he’s got a long history of changing his name from “Prince” to “The Artist formerly known as Prince” to some unpronouncable symbol and then back to “Prince” again. Maybe that’s where P. Diddy gets it from, right?

As odd and diva-esque as Prince often shows himself to be, he’s still an institution. I still love listening to his old tunes like “Raspberry Beret,” “Little Red Corvette,” and (my absolute favorite) “When Doves Cry.” Unfortunately, his new tunes aren’t nearly as catchy and are pretty weak. He’s got a new single out, “Screwdriver,” that proves this point. Still, Prince will always be able to sell concert tickets, and this May, he’s going to be honored honored with the 2013 Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards. So he sat down with Billboard for an interview to promote something indefinite. I don’t know what he’s promoting, actually, because his upcoming album neither has a name nor a release date, so I guess he’s just pimping his awful new single. Here are some excerpts:

He’s very paranoid: He remains adamant about not allowing reporters to record their conversations with him. (“Some in the past have taken my voice and sold it,” he says. “I can’t remember the incident that triggered it and it’s probably best that I don’t.”) And he still frowns at the idea of a reporter taking notes. (“That would be just like texting.”)

Why he turned against his record label: “It was always about Madonna. She was getting paid, but at the same time we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights.”

On Maroon 5′s cover of “Kiss”: “Why do we need to hear another cover of a song someone else did?” he quips in the interview, noting that he has no problem with artists performing covers during live shows. “Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.”

[From Billboard]

Madonna and Prince have always disliked each other, and they’re both divas from the same era, so there’s definitely no surprise that they’ll never be friends, and Prince definitely is one to hold a grudge. He’s probably been stewing over their rivalry for quite some time (while Madge probably hasn’t thought of him in years), and now Prince blames her for making him dislike Warner Brothers when everyone remembers how he wrote “slave” on his face to express his true distaste with corporate music. He’s so fickle.

On the Adam Levine/Maroon 5 bit, I’m guessing that Prince isn’t so much offended that someone remade his song as the fact that he didn’t get a cut of the profits. There’s nothing wrong with a well-covered song (lately, I’ve been going crazy after reaquainting myself with Marilyn Manson’s take on The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”), but I can also see why Maroon 5 would fail to impress Prince.

Here are some photos of Prince performing in France in 2010 and 2011. He’s got a great stage presence even if he is an incorrigible grouch.





Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and Billboard

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136 Responses to “Prince disses Adam Levine’s ‘Kiss” cover, says Madonna ruined his record deal”

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  1. Sandy says:

    Bedhead, you’re too nice.
    this dude looks like a typical plastic surgery victim – wayyyy older than 54 imo!

  2. irishserra says:

    Ha ha. I do love him, even if he has become a crotchety little thing.

  3. Bean says:

    Prince is so, so full of shade. Never change!

    • The Original Tiffany says:

      He is the f’ing KING! I finally got to see the above tour in Charlotte in 2010 and he was as freaking amazing live as ever.

      Dude can say anything he wants, he is PRINCE! He is a real musician, a great guitarist and has a catalog of over 30 years of stellar music. I am not going to faulty him on one single.
      You also have to give him props that he performs all his hits every night because he thinks his fans deserve to see the old, big hits. Not just his new stuff. I’d pay to see him again and again.

  4. T.Fanty says:

    Even if screwdriver is weak, for Prince, it’s still better than anything that most current pop artists could produce. A bad Prince record still tops a good Adam Levine one. The little purple man is a legend, and rightly so.

  5. Addie says:

    That man is in his MID 50′s.Unbelievably good genes Just wow!!
    Many people think it is funny how he changed his name to ‘the artist…There was however a very good explanation. His former record lable BANNED him from using his own name, saying they had the rights to it. It was all straghtened out in the end, but it would piss anyone off to not be allowed to use your birth name.

    I get what he is saying though, everyone in Hollywood is either remaking a song, movie or book. A little creativity in song/movie writting would be great these days.

    Price has VERY high standards, I mean he told Kim K to get off his stage. He knows what quality is and is not.

  6. Fi says:

    Prince and Madonna actually made a track together in the 80′s, but I don’t think it ever got released:

  7. Kaye says:

    I love the cover of Annie Lennox’s “Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson even though I always say, “Dude . . . your voice,” halfway through it.

  8. Jayna says:

    Prince was on Madonna’s Like a Prayer album. So at some point they liked each other. I think he sang on it too.

  9. Viv says:

    Why would he not profit of the Kiss remake? He did write that song, didn’t he? So he gets paid.

    • sirsnarksalot says:

      Actually I think alot of his so called grumpy wierd behavior is explained by the shitty deal he got from his label. The most valuable part of your recording contract is the publishing rights and I think he lost his (many artists don’t know not to sell them off for cheap in the beginning). Hence the name change and refusal to play the songs in concert for ages etc. So no, he probably got nothing from the Adam Levine cover. If you are curious, look up what happened to the guy from Creedence Clearwater Revival. He got sued by his old label for sounding too much like himself.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Yep. John Foggerty. What a world.

      • tabasco says:

        Legally, a cover is not the same thing as a the recording by the prior artist that’s part of their catalog. You can cover someone’s song w/o necessarily having to pay them – that’s not part of the “catalog” – but playing their recording, that is part of the catalog and might require payment. Laws in this area are kind of weird, but generally you can cover a song w/o it involving IP issues. A straight up cover is treated differently than use of a sample, which is treated differently than use of a catalog item. Like I said, weird.

      • tabasco says:

        MJ (well, now his estate) owns a big chunk of the Beatles catalog, so the estate gets paid when a Beatles song that’s in part of their catalog gets airplay, but not every time someone does a Beatles cover.

  10. Launicaangelina says:

    I love Marilyn Manson’s cover of Sweet Dreams. I was a teen in the 90s so it reminds me of that time.

    I’m not impressed with Adam Levine either. I don’t understand how a squeaky voiced singer like him got famous. He has the most grating voice of this era. He sucked on American Horror Story too. I’m glad his part was tiny.

  11. Remember The 80s says:

    Can we talk about the turtleneck in those shots? Ugh! He used to be so hot. Who wears a turtleneck in concert?

  12. Lammie says:

    The best version of “Kiss” is done by Tom Jones and The Art of Noise – I like it better than the original!

  13. mln76 says:

    I love me some Prince but he is one crazy motherf*@ker I don’t think money is the reason he hates when people cover his songs. I am pretty sure its just control. There is the infamous story of him threatening to kill Sinead O’Connor for covering Nothing Compares 2 U because he wanted his protege to use it. And he has done plenty of covers himself he probably is just jealous and sending Levine death threats as we speak.

  14. C Money says:

    Yeah crazy trampy Primce from ’80s was fun, but lets be honest he really hasn’t had a hit since around 94. And he became soooo Godawful pretentious. Try to be cool again please!

    • telesma says:

      Dude. He’s been nominated for 17 Grammy awards since 1994, most for best R&B vocal, and he’s won 3 of them. I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under, but people who aren’t selling records don’t get nominated for best vocal performance, best song, best album, etc. at the Grammys. His last nomination was for best solo rock vocal performance in 2010, his last win was in 2008, for best male R&B vocal performance.

      In fact, he’s had almost as many nominations and wins in the last 9 years as he had in the 10 years before his “dry spell” from 1996-2004, where I don’t think he recorded anything.

  15. Addie says:

    Artist-songwriters like Prince, Corinne Bailey Rae and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins blow me away.

    To be able to sit down and write a song like Purple Rain, is pure genius. That kind of music is timeless.

  16. Skipper says:

    The name change was a contract issue and he chose a symbol so he could seamlessly transition back to Prince when that issue was resolved. It was not as strange as people think

  17. Gwen says:

    Prince is AWESOME, that’s all.

  18. bns says:

    All musicians get bitchier with age. I love him, but he can have a seat with Morissey, Johnny Rotten, and Elton.

  19. mia girl says:

    I love Prince for giving me the period in my life when I loved Prince.
    But new Prince, uh, not so much.

    And I’m actually a fan of song covers. It’s interesting to hear different interpretations of a song…and sometimes I even prefer a cover to the original
    (i.e. Wonderwall cover by Ryan Adams vs original by Oasis)

  20. Gia says:

    I saw him in conceert last year and he did not disappoint. Massive presence….but he’s is beyond a diva. He would leave the stage after a song and only come back to do another if the crowd cheered loud enough for his liking. But Purple Rain live…I mean…it was all worth it just for that. Amazing.

    • Addie says:

      Would love to hear Purple Rain live! Alas, Prince has never come to Africa.

      He actually said that every fan of his needs to experience Purple Rain live at least once in their life.

      I think Prince has earned his stripes to be a bit of a ‘diva’ He is a living legend, many musicians have come and quickly faded. He is still around,music savy kids of today probably know his classics.

    • Lauren says:

      I saw Prince in 2010 in Canada..phenomenal. He was so friggin hot & sexy..these pics are dreadful. Purple Rain musical experience of my life. I actually cried, so moving.. and Prince`s guitar skills are so underrated. He was very gracious & did a three hour concert. Prince threw his head back throughout the concert laughing and smiling. He could feel the Canadian Love.

  21. MsAubra says:

    YES!! I believe EVERYTHING Prince Roger says…

  22. sassy says:

    Challenge him to a game of basketball! Then let him make pancakes for you!

  23. Hahahaha says:

    Prince is the shiznit.
    If he had beef with Madonna, it’s her fault.
    If he doesn’t like Adam Levine it’s Adams fault
    If I found out that he didn’t like me, I would acknowledge the fault as my own and try to correct it.
    The man wrote purple rain, wears bright yellow ass-less chaps and high heel boots. Clearly he is a gift from God. Praise b to the purple one!

    (And if u r wondering if I’m obsessed….yes I am)

  24. Stubbylove says:

    Will always LOVE Prince. The Purple Rain album is part of my life history. He’s a nutter & genius and he’ll just get more wierd as he gets older and I’ll still love him for it.

  25. Dawn says:

    I love Prince and that is all I will say.

  26. valleymiss says:

    Prince is a musical genius. The man bleeds sheer musicality. If you’ve never seen him live, make it a point to. He’s got more talent in his pinky finger than most artists have in their entire bodies.

    My favorite Prince anecdote was from Fred Armisen (SNL). Armisen is a musician (he played in punk bands long before he was on SNL). He freely admits that the reason he started doing the Prince impression on SNL was because he thought it might increase his chances of meeting his hero.

    Anyway, Armisen told the story of how he was at a party Prince was at, and he approached him to pay his respects. Prince was sitting and eating a plate of macaroni and cheese. Fred shook his hand and said, “I’m such a fan, I think you’re amazing.” Prince’s response? “You know what’s amazing? This mac and cheese!” LOL! I don’t know why, but I think this is hilarious. ;-)

    If you want to be blown away, go to Youtube and look up Prince playing the solo on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It was at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for George Harrison, and the song is being played by Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Dhani Harrison (George’s son). What’s SO fun to watch is how blown away THEY are by Prince’s guitar work. Their faces are in awe, and they’re all looking back and forth at each other like, “Holy ****!” Then, what I can never figure out is that at the end of the solo, Prince throws his guitar up in the air and leaves…but you never see the guitar land! Lol I don’t understand where it went?

    Prince is an extremely underrated guitarist, btw. He doesn’t get the credit that he should.

  27. Seagulls says:

    C’mon! “Seven”! “Let’s Go Crazy”"! “Delirious”!

  28. Relli says:

    Maybe he should Madonna tell to act her age not her shoe size, and then maybe they can do the twirl. She doesn’t have to be cool to rule his world.

  29. Tiffany says:

    I still feel his Super Bowl halftime show is one of the best I even seen. The man has earned his stripes and I would give up a cup size to see him live.

  30. apsutter says:

    Love Prince but he is incredibly fickle. I wanted to download his music a couple years ago and I was astounded by his catalog. He has released so much music it’s insane.

  31. I Choose Me says:

    Some people’s bitchiness is like glorious manna to me. Prince is one of them. The man is a genius and I live for his side-eyes and smack-talkin. I hope one day to see him live in concert before I die.

  32. it'sjustblanche says:

    He needs a porkchop–the guy looks like Liza Manelli.

  33. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Many artists are total a–holes, which I think includes Madonna and Prince. But, at least Prince has the talent to back it up. He’s one of the singularly most talented singers of the 80′s (besides singing, he writes his own songs and plays all of the instruments in the studio). That makes me cut him a little slack when he acts like a pr-ck.

  34. Lulu says:

    Prince is the bomb. Always has been and always will be. Sadly under appreciated.

  35. d says:

    Prince has such musical talent and work history and integrity that he’s allowed to be a diva. He’s one of the select few that I would pay to see in concert. And I will NEVER forget the assless chaps. Good God.

  36. lrm says:

    well, he obviously has been influence by little richard, james brown and MJ….
    so while he is right re: today’s ‘talent’ or lack thereof, all artists have been influenced by others-noone lives or expresses their ‘musical genius’ in a bubble…

    oh, i read a coffee table book one day in the bookstore-it was by keith richards….and he was asked about different artists-of MJ he said ‘he’s a fantastic singer-but he must not like himself with all that surgery’ and for prince, he said ‘I’ve always thought he was overrated, an overrated midget’.
    which i thought was strange-wonder if his diva antics have ruffled a few feathers?
    Prince has his place, to be sure, but there are MANY musical geniuses that began before or during his era….

    It’s just such a low point in music today-and yes i feel old saying that-every old person says ‘back in my day it was so much better’, right?
    but really, there used to be MUSIC made.
    Actual, real life music.
    Somewhere around the early 2000′s is when it really went downhill.
    At least just prior to that, we had some pop stars who could sing-and write their own songs.

    • jaye says:

      Yes, there were other musical geniuses in that era and before…does that make Prince any less a genius?

      And Keith Richards always seems to have a bitchy comment about someone.

    • TheOneAndOnlyOnly says:

      Agree with you Irm Lived through the 80s and Prince dominated Also something happened to all genres in the late 90s that deflated the quality in all genres, i’m a rock fan and what passes for rock is weak not close to prince let alone zeppelin, but as long as people still pay for poor quality that’s what we’ll get. The best music of the 80s is much better than today rock, pop, urban. You’re not alone.

  37. telesma says:

    I don’t read this as him blaming Madonna for anything. It sounds like he was selling as many records as she was and making the record company as much money, but she had a better contract and was getting paid more. He may even have been working harder than she was at the time. That would probably piss anyone off.

  38. California Angel says:

    Bedhead – Manson did proper covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Tainted Love”, for your collection

  39. Carolyn says:

    Agree with a lot of you. Being responsible for Purple Rain, Let’s Go Crazy, 1999 etc etc Prince gets a free pass from me.

    I don’t think we’ll be discussing Maroon 5′s contribution to Music in 20 years time :) Or Justin Bieber’s either :)

  40. Moi says:

    He’s blunt and I relate to that. He’s right, there is nothing wrong with covering someone else’s song…. live. But when it comes to recording another’s song, it needs to be way more of a rarity. There is a true lack of creativity these days. I love the Internet and technology, but it is partly to blame. There are not enough of us that just put down our iPhone, iPad, walk away from the computer, tv and use our own imaginations to create something spectacular. Another example are all the damn movie remakes. I don’t even watch movie remakes. Unless it is another movie that is made from say, the same novel, etc. And I’m all about song writing, so I’m very particular and mostly disinterested in remakes of anything pertaining to music.

    Regarding the business aspect of his situation (e.g., Madonna), I wasn’t there, so I have no educated opinion on what went down.

  41. Alexa says:

    Love reading about all these Prince memories. My Prince memory – STRANGE as it will probably sound to most – was going to see Under The Cherry Moon at the movie theater . . . less than 10 of us in the whole theater that afternoon I’ll bet . . . it closed after less than a week . . . but I LOVED THAT MOVIE for some reason. I was actually bawling at the end of it because I found it so moving (Mountains plays at the end). . . and seeing this movie is what made ME obsessed with Prince for a time . . . so weird . . .

  42. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Prince isn’t getting bitchier, he is a born bitch and that’s a compliment. Remember when he was doing the group interviews, showing up whenever because ‘he doesn’t believe in the concept of time’ and telling everyone he was Italian (while hitting the Dark & Lovely)? I don’t even have anything to say about it, I just present to you: Prince!

    • jaye says:

      Yes! Thinking back on those interviews makes me chuckle now, but I hung on every word and gesture when I was 15. He was doing that avant garde artist thing before Lady Gaga was an itch in her daddy’s scrotum, but it didn’t come off as the least bit unauthentic…just Prince being Prince. I remember the MTV awards when he wore those yellow assless pants. My mom happened to walk into the room just as he turned around to reveal his little hairy ass. She just smirked and said “he’s a weird little biscuit, isn’t he?” and walked out of the room. Ah, Prince. How I love you.

  43. Danskins says:

    Purple Rain is my absolute favorite album and film of all time!

    Prince is a genius and I just love him love him love him!!

  44. Janet says:

    He’s a musical phenomenon, but I’ve always had the impression he sucks as a human being.

    I caught “Purple Rain” last week on cable after a hiatus of over 20 years. I didn’t realize before how bad that movie is (Apollonia? Who were they kidding?) but the music was, and still is, unbelievable. “Purple Rain” was his best album IMO. It’s been all downhill from there. He should never have disbanded the Revolution. They were one of the best back-up groups of all time.

  45. Roma says:

    Prince is a legend.

    He shouldn’t even be written about in the same sentence as Madonna, who is nothing but a talentless whore who is able to pay for great producers.

    As for Levine, Prince wasn’t dissing him per se, just making a comment about the practice of selling covers rather than simply playing them live.

  46. tabasco says:

    Certain people get to a point where they have The Pass. Prince is one. Prince can do whatever the hell he wants and there is not a goddamn thing anybody can say about it. Adam Levine is talented, I think his voice has a vaguely Frankie Valli quality to it, and he can write a song – and even tho I know he’s a total douche, I find him sexy as hell and would let him do unspeakable things. That said, when it comes to PRINCE, Adam Levine is a speck of dust on a piece of the glitter that gets stuck to the bottom of Prince’s high-heeled boots. Tommy Girl WISHES he could rock those boots. I saw Prince in the late 90s and it was seriously an *erotic* experience. There is a vid on youtube that has JAMES BROWN, MJ AND PRINCE on the same live stage. I’m surprised the entire planet didn’t spontaneously combust that night.

  47. DD says:

    Screwdiver is pure funk. I love Prince.

  48. muppet_barbershop says:

    Wow, he actually came forth with that about his war with Warner Bros.? I’m proud of him. He used to be way too prideful to fess up about such things.

    I’m in Minneapolis, and the man is still a demigod here, even though he only performs a couple times each decade. He has however earned it. And I don’t blame him for finding Adam Levine silly, given what Prince did to become what he is/was. He performed all the instruments on and fully produced his first album, and it sounded like what the “greatest,” most fiscally bloated producers -wish- they could do. His admittedly creepy Svengali projects throughout the 1980s actually worked. And he is one of our greatest living guitarists and frontpersons.

  49. Kristin says:

    he looks like the bad guy from Aladdin

  50. Incognita says:

    Adam Levine should thank his lucky stars Prince endeavored to mention his name in the first place. As much as I enjoy looking at Adam, I have no doubt he wishes he had even a 10th of the talent Prince posesses.