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Prince hated contract law so much he once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol

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Hugely popular musician passed away yesterday aged 57

Lead12

As the world mourns the loss of Prince, Legal Cheek recalls the time the global superstar once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, such was his disdain for contract law.

The strange decision — highlighted yesterday on Twitter by lawyer and journalist David Allen Green — dates back to 1993 when Prince fell out with his then record label, Warner Brothers. Having released a host of successful albums, the hugely popular musician grew increasingly frustrated with his contractual obligations.

According to reports at the time, Warner Brothers wanted him to release fewer tracks to avoid market saturation. His label argued that this would allow it to promote his work more effectively. Unfortunately Prince didn’t agree.

symbol

In a bold but completely useless attempt to escape his contractual constraints with Warner Brothers, the star changed his name to a symbol (pictured above). Others at the time gave Prince more credit and argued that this was actually just an attempt to annoy his label. Whatever the reason, Prince remained bound by the contract.

It was shortly after this that media started referring to the musician as “The artist formerly known as Prince”, due to the symbol being unpronounceable.

Making a spate of public appearances with the world “slave” written across his cheek, Prince for the remainder of the contract made it very clear how unhappy he was. Reluctantly fulfilling his legal obligations, the singer fired off a series of subpar albums and lacklustre tracks, much to the annoyance of his dedicated fan base.

Then suddenly in 2014 — with all apparently forgiven — Prince revealed he had put pen to paper once again with Warner Brothers. The deal was to oversee the re-release of his classic album Purple Rain, which coincided with its 30th anniversary. But perhaps more importantly — and lucratively for Prince — the agreement saw him regain ownership of all his previous master recordings that had previously been under the control of Warner Brothers.

Prince died yesterday at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, aged 57.

10 Comments

Anonymous

Wha, wha, wha – my record company made me rich, but now they’re being really nasty so I’m going to throw all of my toys out of my pram. At least he didn’t pull a Ke$ha I suppose!

(8)(41)

Anonymous

Is that you Beiber?

(1)(0)

Korey

You are a fucking idiot.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Hugely popular musician? Is that code for “the legendary Prince”?

(4)(1)

Anonymous

What I really want to know is was he a TOP musician?

(6)(4)

MalcolmX'sMum

Your answer: yes.

(2)(1)

Paul S.

Okay I understand Prince’s name was supposed to be unpronounceable but what would you do if he walked in the room and you’re supposed to say “Hey ______ how’s your day been so far?” I know some people referred to him as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince but what would relatives or legal people such as the judge call him? Do you think this symbol got put onto his drivers license? Was his name really unpronounceable? The symbol had to have come from somewhere and someone had to have named it when they created it unless Prince created it himself

(0)(1)

Anonymous

He didn’t really hate contract *law* though, did he? He just came to dislike the party he’d contracted with. I hear that’s quite common in the employment market, especially among City lawyers.

(4)(0)

Anonymous2

Did he get back his masters?

(0)(1)

Anonymous2

Sad that he died so young…May His Soul Rest in Peace

(1)(0)

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