|Come is the fifteenth full-length studio album by Prince. It was the last album of newly-recorded material to be released by Warner Bros. under the name Prince while he was under exclusive contract (although Warner Bros. released “The Black Album” only three months later, and would later also release The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale).
It was released worldwide in August 1994 (eleven months after The Hits 1, The Hits 2 and The Hits / The B-Sides compilations.
In interviews, Prince talked about the album as a contractual obligation to help fulfill his recording contract after his relationship with Warner Bros. had soured, and on a discography included on his NPG Music Club website years later, the album cover had a "Contractual Obligation" stamp overlaid. Additionally, Prince declined to use the NPG Records label for this release. Prince talked about material on the album as "old" and recorded before the name change, instead hyping The Gold Experience as his "new" material.
Sessions and compiling
Most tracks on the album were recorded in the first half of 1993, although Race dates back to late 1991 (originally recorded during the album sessions, but re-worked in 1993), and the last track recorded for the album, Letitgo, was recorded in March 1994, nine months after Prince changed his name.
An initial configuration was made in March 1993 (although no album title was known for this configuration), and several other configurations are known to have been made throughout 1993 and early 1994 (see below).
In late 1993, the album’s tracks were to have been merged into the planned 3-disc set The Dawn, but the album was later separated out again. Of note is that the 11 March 1994 configuration of the album, as submitted to Warner Bros., did not contain the title track. Warner Bros. responded by asking for Come and The Most Beautiful Girl In The World to be included, as well as two or three other strong tracks.
Prince delivered the final version of the album on 19 May 1994 (on the same day as delivering a configuration of The Gold Experience), having removed Interactive and Endorphinmachine (which he reasoned were recorded by , not Prince, and were included on The Gold Experience instead), but with the newly-recorded track Letitgo.
Warner Bros. asked for further changes, but Prince refused, giving them no other option than to release the album as it was. Prince proposed that Come should be released by "Prince", with The Gold Experience by "" following a few weeks later, but Warner Bros. was unenthusiastic about this idea.
Seven of the album’s tracks (Come, Space, Pheromone, Loose!, Race, Dark and Poem - the original full-length version of Orgasm) were used in the Glam Slam Ulysses stage-show, credited to , which premiered in August 1993, and six of the tracks (Come, Pheromone, Loose!, Papa, Race and Poem) also appeared on The Beautiful Experience TV movie, again credited to ).
Michael B., Sonny T., Tommy Barbarella and Morris Hayes are listed as musicians for the album as a whole, but Tommy Barbarella and Morris Hayes only appear on Space and Dark, while Michael B. and Sonny T. appear on those tracks as well as Papa.
Other guests appear throughout the album (the "New Power Generation Hornz" appear on Come, Race, Dark and Letitgo), but most tracks are solo performances by Prince.
The album produced two commercially-released singles, Letitgo (which preceded the album) and Space. In Germany, a promotional release titled Come was available, but contained only the track Poem, the original full-length version of Orgasm which was edited down for inclusion on the album.
Prince did not tour to support the album, although he played several clubs in the USA and continental Europe in Summer 1994, often playing multiple tracks from the album (see here for a list of dates).
Prince even responded to Warner Bros. advertisements for Come by taking out advertisements for his 1-800 New Funk compilation in music periodicals mimicking those by Warner Bros. The intention by Prince was to market Come as "old" music, and 1-800 New Funk as "new" music.
The album reached number 15 on The Billboard 200 (his lowest position for an album of new material since Controversy in 1981), but reached number 2 on the US Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart.
The album was certified gold by RIAA two months after release, on 18 October 1994.