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First Prince music to be released posthumously

NEW YORK (AFP) – 

Prince’s label on Friday announced it will release the first posthumous music from the pop icon including an entire second album to accompany “Purple Rain.”

The announcement, made a week after a tribute concert in Prince’s native Minnesota meant to offer closure after his sudden death on April 21, comes as his estate steadily moves forward on a business plan for his vast holdings.

Warner Brothers Records said it would next month issue a 40-track greatest hits collection, “Prince 4Ever,” with an attached 12-page book of photographs.

While consisting largely of the funk maestro’s best-known hits from early and mid-career, “Prince 4Ever” will also feature the unreleased 1982 track “Moonbeam Levels.”

Long known to fans, with Elvis Costello even covering it, “Moonbeam Levels” was never officially released. It would have appeared on “Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic,” an unfinished album Prince discarded in the late 1980s.

Potentially more exciting for fans, Warner said in a statement it would next year reissue Prince’s 1984 classic work “Purple Rain” next year and that it would be accompanied by “a second album of previously unreleased material.”

Warner, which had agreed with Prince on remastering the “Purple Rain” recordings before his death, said it would announce more details including a release date later.

“Prince 4Ever” will come out internationally on November 25 but go on sale three days earlier in the United States, a marketing move so it is available for US holiday shoppers.

Warner — which is releasing the albums with Prince’s imprint NPG Records, which stands for New Power Generation — had a notoriously complicated relationship with the artist.

Prince in the early 1990s changed his name to the unpronounceable “love symbol” and wrote “slave” on his cheek to protest contractual terms by Warner, which sought to pace his prolific output.

Prince reconciled with Warner in 2014 but remained a critic of music labels, late in life embracing rap mogul Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service as a way to put out music quickly.

When he died of an accidental painkiller overdose, Prince left no will but vaults full of unreleased material at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota.

An administrator put in charge of his estate with his siblings’ blessing has said it needs to raise money just to keep up with taxes.

Earlier this month, it opened paid tours of Paisley Park, long a mythic destination for Prince fans who managed to enter.

© 2016 AFP