|Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic is an unreleased album by Prince, and was worked on in the second half of 1988 and early 1989 before Prince committed to work on the Batman movie soundtrack. It is not known if Prince settled on a "final" configuration of the album that would have been planned for release before the project was abandoned. Other than the title track, this album is not related to Prince’s 23rd album Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, released in 1999 using the name (see Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic for details of that album).
Prince began work on Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic in mid-June 1988, at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA, prior to beginning the Lovesexy Tour in Europe. The first three tracks recorded were Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic, God Is Alive and If I Had A Harem.
Prince worked further on Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic on 24 July 1988 at Olympic Studios, London, England, within a few hours of arriving for the UK dates of the Lovesexy Tour. During the tour, God Is Alive and If I Had A Harem were played often (with If I Had A Harem being reworked into a blues track known as Blues In C (If I Had A Harem).
Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic was played a few times in aftershows on the tour. Prince resumed work on the album in early October, although he worked simultaneously on both Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic and an early configuration of Graffiti Bridge, and it is not entirely clear whether he viewed them as entirely separate projects or simply saw these as two names for the same project; for clarity’s sake, information pertaining to Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic is listed here, and information pertaining to early configurations of Graffiti Bridge is listed on that album’s page.
In early October, Prince recorded Still Would Stand All Time and Elephants & Flowers, and mixed Big House (recorded earlier in the Summer), Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic and Stimulation (which had been recorded on 8 September 1987 and was originally planned for the Graffiti Bridge movie).
We Got The Power was recorded on 15 October 1988. In late October, Prince recorded The Voice Inside and completed the first known sequence of the album. The exact sequence of songs is unknown, but the songs known to have been included are listed below. Work continued on the album in late 1988.
Am I Without U? and Good Judy Girlfriend were recorded in late 1988 or early 1989. Electric Chair and Pink Cashmere, both recorded in June 1988, were also pulled out and considered for the album, as was the July 1982, track Moonbeam Levels.
Of the tracks included on the three known configurations, many have been released in one form or another. Electric Chair was included on Prince’s next album Batman.
If I Had A Harem was released on video as a live version, titled Blues In C (If I Had A Harem) on the Lovesexy Live 2 home video in 1989. Melody Cool was included on Graffiti Bridge with new vocals by Mavis Staples.
Still Would Stand All Time and Elephants & Flowers were also included on Graffiti Bridge with slight musical differences. Good Judy Girlfriend was released, with new vocals by Carmen Electra, on Carmen Electra.
Pink Cashmere was included, with string overdubs, as one of two previously-unreleased tracks on The Hits 1 (also included as the first disc of The Hits / The B-Sides). Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic was released in a slightly edited version as Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, the 1999 album which otherwise has nothing to do with the album listed here. We Got The Power has not been released, but was sampled on Batdance and on the unreleased Power From Above.
Moonbeam Levels was released after Prince passing on the the first official posthumous compilation 4Ever.
The tracks The Voice Inside, God Is Alive, Stimulation, Big House, We Got The Power and Am I Without U? remain unreleased.