Prince Records Protest Song 'Baltimore'

'Purple Rain' star to give a concert tonight in Baltimore
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2015 2:00 PM CDT
Prince to Sing 'Baltimore' Protest Song in Baltimore
In this Monday, June 2, 2014, file photo, Prince watches the French Open tennis tournament in Paris.    (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

Freddie Gray's death not only led to charges against six police officers, it inspired a new song. Prince will sing his protest song "Baltimore" tonight at his Rally 4 Peace concert, in the city that's been rocked by rioting since Gray died under police care. The tune is "surprisingly upbeat," says Rolling Stone, but the lyrics are more "contemplative": "Does anybody hear us pray? / For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray / Peace is more than the absence of war." (Hear the song on Prince's SoundCloud page.) The Purple Rain star played all the instruments in recording "Baltimore" at Paisley Park Studios last month, accompanied by vocalist Eryn Allen Kane, who "graciously flew in on a moment's notice and graced the track with her angelic presence," according to the SoundCloud page.

Prince tells MyFox Twin Cities that the Gray turmoil and rumors about the health of Joni Mitchell (who greatly influenced Prince) hung over him while writing the song: "With everything going on there this week, I had a lot I needed to get out," he says. Jay Z's new business Tidal will exclusively stream tonight's concert from Royal Farms Arena from 8pm to 9pm for free, which Forbes calls "a very smart move. ... That's going to be a great way for the service to get people who have only heard of it to at least visit the site." Tidal will also give people a chance to donate to charities that affect youths in Baltimore. The concert itself, however, is not free: Tickets are running from $35 to $225 on Ticketmaster. (Read more Baltimore stories.)

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