The Revolution (band)

The Revolution (band)

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = The Revolution

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born =
Died =
Origin = Minneapolis, Minnesota
Instruments =
Genre = Rock, experimental
Occupation = Backing band
Years_active = 1979–1986
Label = Warner Bros./Paisley Park
Associated_acts = Prince, Wendy and Lisa, The Time, The Family, Sheila E., Mazarati, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6
Current_members =
Past_members = Prince, Dez Dickerson, André Cymone, Bobby Z., Gayle Chapman, Doctor Fink, Brownmark, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin, Joseph Robinson, Eric Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, Jerome Benton, Greg Brooks, Wally Safford, Susannah Melvoin, Jill Jones.

The Revolution was Prince's backing band from the early-mid 1980's through 1986. It is unknown when the band was actually dubbed "The Revolution," but the name was indicated (in reverse lettering) on Prince's "1999" album, released in 1982. The band was prominently identified and provided more input on the next three albums: "Purple Rain", "Around the World in a Day" and "Parade". In the film "Purple Rain", Prince (as "The Kid") "and" the band are identified as "The Revolution".

Formation (pre-Revolution)

When Prince formed his backing band after the release of his first album, he followed in the footsteps of one of his idols, Sly Stone by creating a multi-racial, multi-gendered musical ensemble. The band initially consisted of:

*Dez Dickerson on guitar
*André Cymone on bass guitar
*Bobby Z. on drums & percussion
*Gayle Chapman and Matt Fink on keyboards

Though officially unnamed, Prince experimented with the band acting as a side project known as "The Rebels", recording material in 1979 in Colorado, just as a side project to get more music out. The recordings were a group effort with lead vocals by Cymone, Dickerson or Chapman. The project was shelved for unknown reasons, however two of the tracks would later be re-recorded and given away by Prince. "You", became "U", and was released on Paula Abdul's "Spellbound" album while "If I Love You Tonight" was released by both Mica Paris and Prince's later wife, Mayte Garcia.

Gayle Chapman quit the band in 1980 due to religious conflicts and was replaced by Lisa Coleman. Coleman was usually only identified by her first name, while Fink started wearing surgical scrubs on stage and became known as "Doctor" Fink. Wanting more creative control, André Cymone left the next year and was replaced by Mark Brown, renamed Brown Mark by Prince.

In 1982, when the band was almost identified as The Revolution, it consisted of:

*Dez Dickerson on guitar
*Brown Mark on bass guitar
*Bobby Z. on drums & percussion
*Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink on keyboards

Prince had held back from fully calling the group The Revolution partly because of Dez Dickerson's wishes to leave the band. When the "1999" tour ended, Dez Dickerson finally left the band for religious reasons and was replaced by Lisa's childhood friend Wendy Melvoin. The Melvoin/Coleman tandem shortly thereafter formed a special bond with Prince and greatly influenced his output during the rest of their tenure in the band. Prince's former mostly R&B/funk offerings would be more diversified with rock, pop and classical music elements.

The Revolution Era

"Prince and The Revolution" officially appeared on 1984's "Purple Rain" album:
*Wendy Melvoin on guitar
*Brown Mark on bass guitar
*Bobby Z. on drums & percussion
*Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink on keyboards
*Prince on all other instruments

They lasted as such through 1986's "Parade" set. In 1985, members of the soon-to-be-defunct R&B/pop group The Family (which, in turn, included former members of another disbanded Prince-associated group, The Time) joined The Revolution, along with people from Sheila E.'s band. The new members were:

*Jerome Benton1, Wally Safford and Greg Brooks as dancers/vocalists (known as The Bodyguards)
*Matt "Atlanta Bliss" Blistan2 on trumpet
*Eric Leeds3 on saxophone
*Susannah Melvoin4 on backing vocals
*Joseph Robinson5 on guitar

For the "Parade" Tour, the augmented The Revolution with its several new members began to perform the complex and jazzy arrangements from the album, including the horn section from the album.

(1) Former member of The Family. Also, sole member of The Time to join The Revolution through The Family due to the departures of St. Paul and Jellybean Johnson.

(2) Joined via association with friend and former bandmate Leeds.

(3) Former member of The Family; brother Alan served as Prince's then-tour manager.

(4) Former member of The Family; Prince's then-lover and twin sister of Wendy Melvoin.

(5) Joined via association with Sheila E. and as session guitarist for The Family.


Despite the stellar performance of the band on tour, discontent in The Revolution had been brewing and was about to reach a boiling point. Shortly after the "Parade" tour in 1986 Wendy and Lisa, unhappy with their lack of credit and creativity and all the additions to the band, left to perform as a duo. They had wanted to leave before, but Bobby Z. literally caught them at the airport and talked them into staying for the Parade tour. Wendy was even bothered with the fact that Susannah, her twin, was in the band, saying "I shared a womb with this person, do I have to share a stage?" (ironically, Susannah ended up leaving the Revolution too, following a hurtful breakup with Prince, and performed for a time with Wendy and Lisa as a backup singer in their band). Bobby Z. was replaced after the Parade tour by the more versatile Sheila E. (although he was kept on payroll for quite a few years after the fact). Brownmark was asked to stay, but decided to pursue a solo career (he was promised "a lot of money" by Prince to stay on the Parade tour, but ended up earning about $3000 a week, which is a very low amount considering his time in the band and the popularity of the group; he had turned down much more profitable gigs with artists like Stevie Nicks). Dr. Fink remained with Prince until 1991.

With the nucleus of the band gone, Prince had to make necessary changes. The fragmented former-Revolution still retained many of the newer members (Sheila E., Weaver, Brooks, Safford, Bliss and Leeds) so Prince added Sheila E. associates Levi Seacer, Jr. on bass and Boni Boyer on keyboards/vocals to round out the group. The new incarnation of the band was unnamed, though fans came to dub it "The Lovesexy Band". Some members of the new band referred to their group as the "Counter-Revolution". Prince may have been toying with a new band name in 1988, when on the album "Lovesexy", Prince stated, "Welcome to the New Power Generation" on the track "Eye No". It was in 1991, when Diamonds and Pearls was released, that Prince began officially calling his band The "New Power Generation". Despite many numerous personnel changes made throughout the years, the name has remained.

In 2000 there was supposed to be a reunion and new album called "The Roadhouse Garden" but Prince scrapped the plans.


Fans have long since wanted a reunion of The Revolution,or|date=June 2008 and mini-reunions have taken place in several forms over the past decade.

In 2000, Prince had a celebration concert in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota and asked if any former bandmates wished to perform. Dr. Fink, Bobby Z. and Brown Mark appeared with Prince on the song "America."

On December 13, 2003, Sheila E. organized a concert for charity known as the 1st Annual Family Jamm which featured several of Prince's protégés, including the entire Revolution, sans Prince. They played 6 songs including Mountains, Purple Rain, and Baby I'm A Star. That next year, Wendy Melvoin performed a live rendition of "Musicology" track "Reflection" with Prince on Tavis Smiley's cable television program.

At the 2006 BRIT Awards, a somewhat reformed Revolution once again backed Prince, as he reunited with Wendy, Lisa and Sheila E., while also featuring former New Power Generation member Morris Hayes and played "Te Amo Corazon" (from Prince's 3121 album), "Fury" (also from 3121), "Purple Rain", and "Let's Go Crazy".

ee also

*List of number-one hits (United States)
*List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
*List of number-one dance hits (United States)
*List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart

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