As his dazzling, rain-soaked Super Bowl appearance earlier this year reminded us, Prince can be the biggest star in the world any time he wants. If he chooses to turn it on, all you can do is stand back and let him blow the top of your head off. With Planet Earth, the world's funkiest Jehovah's Witness proves that after his mind-melting early years and a decade spent wandering in the wilderness, his career is now squarely in the midst of its third act -- the one in which he concludes that he really does give a hoot, after all. Following 2004's solid if overrated Musicology and last year's weird, underappreciated 3121, he now caps this renaissance with Planet Earth, a (very loose) concept album that opens and closes with meditations on the futility of war.
YOUNG AND USELESS: 1982-'84Adam Yauch (a. k.a. MCA, Beastie Boy): I met this guy John Berry at Tier 3, a little teeny hole-in-the-wall punk club in Manhattan. One day he brought Mike [Diamond] with him. They had this band called the Young Aborigines‚ Mike D played drums, John played guitar, Kate Schellenbach played percussion.John Berry (former Beastie Boy): When I first met Adam Yauch, he was the funniest motherfucker I'd ever met in my life. He had this incredible knack for picking up somebody's voice. He was really into Monty Python, especially the "Silly Walk" skit.Adam Horovitz (a.k.a. King Ad-Rock, Beastie Boy): I have this memory of seeing Yauch at a record store. He wore an overcoat and boots and just looked funny. I'm not saying that I looked cool. But he looked funny.Sasha Frere-Jones (member, Ui; journalist): I went to St.