Prince Looks Outside for Strings on ‘Anotherloverholenyohead’
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
For all of Prince's skills at composing and arranging, when it came to writing for strings, he often looked to Clare Fischer. Their relationship began with 1986's Parade, and tracks such as "Anotherloverholenyohead."
The connection came through Susannah Melvoin, Prince's girlfriend at the time and the twin sister of Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin. "Clare had done work with my father [jazz musician Mike Melvoin]," Susannah told Beautiful Nights. "My father being the arranger and Clare being the string arranger. ... Prince and I were listening to a bunch of Rufus records back in the day -- and this was before we thought about doing strings on the first record. We were talking about how brilliant the strings were on those albums." She suggested getting Fischer to write a string part, then called her father, who put the two parties in touch.
'We sent him the 24-track," she continued. "He got back to us right away and said 'Absolutely.' Within a month we had all the lead sheets and we had the entire score for the record. We went in and cut it and I couldn't have been happier."
The dissonant strings run counter to the breezy funk of "Anotherloverholenyohead," which features Susannah on background vocals. But it wasn't enough to turn the song into a hit. Released as the third single from Parade, after "Kiss" and "Mountains," it peaked at No. 63, the worst-performing single in the U.S. for Prince since 1982's "Do Me, Baby" failed to chart.
Still, Fischer and Prince worked together frequently over the next few years, working on the soundtracks to Batman and Graffiti Bridge, and "Pink Cashmere," a 1988 outtake that found a home as a previously unreleased track on 1993's The Hits 1. Fischer also wrote the string charts for "Te Amo Corazon," the first single from 2006's 3121. Michael Nelson, who also worked as an arranger for Prince, told Rolling Stone that he heard from Brent Fischer, Clare's son, that for every song they made that got released, 25 are in the vault.
But for all the music they made together, they never actually met. “Prince is intelligent," Fischer said in 1998. "He never visits the studio when I am working for him; and I have never met him in person. He sends me memos and we talk over the phone. Once I sent him my 2+2 Grammy-winning CD. I heard from people that were present at the time that while he took out the disc he looked away from the cover, saying, ‘I don’t want to know what he looks like. It is working just fine as it is.’ Prince does not want to meet me because he knows that the minute he walks into a studio he will start interfering. It is uncommon that a person with such a strong ego realizes that I have an ego too.”
Prince Year by Year: 1977-2016 Photographs