"The Beautiful Ones"
When I first heard "The Beautiful Ones" my first thought was, "How the hell am I going to pull that off?" Because back then Prince was running those Oberheim synthesizers in the studio. He was timing all these crazy portamento slides that are happening throughout that song, especially towards the end. On the old Oberheim keyboards there were eight voices to them. You could only play eight notes at once. And then you could have the portamento set-up and play one note and it would slide and then you could time the next one and it would do a slide as you are holding another note down. You could have different notes playing different portamento rates. So when you hear "The Beautiful Ones" you are listening to all these notes sliding up to each other at different timings.
In order to accomplish this Prince had to turn the volume down; touch those notes; and get them into place. And then within those chords you had to time them to do the slides individually. Remember, this wasn't sequenced. This was all done live, and I used to pull that off every night on stage. But it was a very tricky, technical process. "The Beautiful Ones" is my favorite song on Purple Rain because it's orchestrated in such a unique way. Prince created this other world using synthesizers, guitars, pianos, lots of digital delay, and reverb. And the vocals are just ridiculous.