3 Chains O’ Gold
Released August 16, 1994
If you haven’t seen 3 Chains O Gold, I’m going to need you to seek it out immediately because it is one of Prince’s most glorious accomplishments. Released in 1994, it expands on the Love Symbol album and attempts to give us Mayte’s back story, I guess? Either way it’s a real treat, so lets get right to my attempt to break down what’s going in this beautiful mess.
First of all, I wanted to make this not too terribly long and include only events relevant to the plot, but it’s worth noting that the “Warner Reprise Video” is arguably the MOST DATED LOGO IN HISTORY. If this doesn’t scream 1994 at you, I guess you weren’t alive then. If anyone from the future is like “what were the 90s like?” just show them this 10 second clip.
We open with the credits over several clips of what I’m confident is a show on the Paisley Park soundstage, with Prince in a glorious halter top backless jumpsuit, but that’s not important right now - we cut to Princess Mayte in Egypt doing her thing, which I guess is skinny dipping with four nameless women who call her Mai Tai? Either way, full nudity right out of the gate, interspersed with clips of who we find out is her father being stabbed. She holds him as he dies of one stab wound, which I guess you would if no doctor was called. Oh well, dead forever, so she grabs her title 3 Chains O Gold from a vault and we go from Cairo, Egypt, to Minneapolis, Minnesota! Unclear where Mayte is now staying, but it appears to be a small barren room with only candles and a small tv, which is playing Kirstie Alley reporting on a riot in the same alley where conveniently half of Graffiti Bridge takes place.
My Name is Prince
The chain hat is here! As is an extended rap from Tony M, while Prince dances atop several cars in an inexplicably damp alley. He’s so stompy! Mayte has apparently seen this on the news and made her way through the crowd to hand him a bedazzled VHS case containing what is revealed to be the actual tape of her performance on That’s Incredible AS AN 8 YEAR OLD. This is problematic at best, but he’s interrupted by Tony M’s insistence that they have a car party to attend to.
The car party turns out to be the members of the NPG playing cards in the smoke filled garage of Paisley Park, and their involvement is that Prince shows up, demands 3 women leave with himself, Tony M and Kirky J, and then ridicules the rest of his band for a little bit. Kind of an asshole, but also… have you seen him in this?? Looking like a real snack. Forgiven. Moving on. My favorite thing about all Prince stories is that it’s like, Prince wants the girl, Prince gets the girl, and this is no different. Prince and his gold gun microphone want Troy Beyer in her pearl cage dress (can you call that a dress?) as they make out in various hotel hallways. They go to the movies and make out for a bit and engage in some heavy petting, but Troy knows something is up and that there’s someone else (spoiler alert, it’s Mayte), and he responds with a very intent Purple Rain-esque moody stare.
Love 2 the 9s
Mayte gets a card slipped under her hotel room door with audition times for the NPG, so I guess Love 2 the 9s is her audition?? But wait, some of the NPG guys are in jail slash Prince’s office at Paisley. This is like… the Hard Times, if the Hard Times had a budget? Anyway it would appear that the audition is a photoshoot, with Prince in the highest of high waisted red pants and an open lace bolero top. Again, he looks DECADENT. I digress. Tony M proceeds to interview Mayte with some inane questions, until she is is finally permitted to make the booty boom. Thank god. Sidebar: her makeup!!!!! So perfectly 90s, complete with a brown lip and thin eyebrows. Perfection.
Cut to the zoo! Why?? I DON’T KNOW. Here’s P and Mayte walking through the zoo hand in hand, being real sweet paired with a song that makes the whole thing problematic, but again, choosing to overlook the whole “why is age more than a number” with a shot of Mayte riding on a carousel. YIKES. Cut to Paisley Park where P is dressed in white pants, white heels, a floor length white trench coat, and a SLEEVELESS PLAID FLANNEL SHIRT unbuttoned all the way down to his waist. This is a GOOD. LOOK. Someone has been working out, and he is eager to show it off. Ugh back to the carousel for some kind of trippy sequence involving Mayte whispering into a mirror in a Blossom hat.
Dramatic cut to footage of what I’m pretty sure is one of the 1993 Radio City Music Hall shows from the Love Symbol tour mixed with some backstage footage and whatever was shot at Paisley. Prince’s ability to create euphamisms and use them like literally anyone else in the world would ever even bother never fails to amuse me. He’d like to “shuffle the cards in that stack!” …. okay. Before or after you drive me/us/Mayte to Tennessee? Anyway I guess this is to show she did indeed get the job? Here’s a picture from one of the Radio City shows because one I can’t get a good screen cap, and two it’s important for…. reasons.
I’m not sure whose bedroom we are in, but Prince is sitting there I guess waiting for Kirstie Alley to call so he can hang up on her. You can tell this video was shot later than most of the other footage as his typhoon is really out of control here and reached peak mushroom, but it’s fine since it’s mostly face close ups of him and Mayte as they roll around on a bed while she rejects his advances. Girl. Get your shit together. Also he’s wearing light pink silk pajamas. Or it could just be a regular suit he wears on stage, jury still out, either way it looks comfy af and I’d like one.
I Wanna Melt With U
Aw man. Mayte falls asleep, while Prince packs a suitcase with all his essentials for a tour (chains, a chain hat, and one shirt) and sneaks out. This is my favorite thing, omg. So Mayte has fallen into a fitful sleep and is currently having a sexual nightmare about her flirtatious encounter with P that involves a lot of naked ladies distorted in funhouse mirrors and Prince wearing maybe boxer shorts?? Umbros??, a black and white vertical striped robe, and ROLLER SKATES. Not only roller skates, but knee pads as well because even when you are haunting someones dreams in a sexual way, safety first. Oh also flashbacks to dad. There is SO MUCH GOING ON HERE, my god. I would pay good money to be haunted by Prince on roller skates and safety pads in my dreams, I tell you what.
Mayte wakes up from her nightmare to realize P has left her with a note that says only “Sweet baby don’t cry.” Wait I thought she was in the band, but he went on tour without her? From Minneapolis, to Japan, by train? Unclear. Anyway she packs her bags and stands despondent, weeping on some train tracks for the duration of the song until she hops on a plane back to Egypt to be a princess again.
Prince arrives by train in Tokyo, where he is visibly distraught and his band starts talking shit about him as they have a pre-show gambling sesh? The Ghost of Mayte shows up to haunt him during soundcheck where he is again very Purple Rain levels of pensive and moody, but NOT IN THE SHOW! The Continental is 3 Chain’s O Gold’s Darling Nikki - overtly sexual, many thrusts incorporated into the dancing, lots of face touching with finger flutters, proving he doesn’t require his main love interests attention, he can get it from anyone anywhere, and they’ll thank him for it. Ok so here we have two seemingly concurrent events happening I think? One is Mayte dancing in Egypt, while Prince gets some in his chain hat. This is legit a porn at this point, wait why does he have a sword??? Anyway so again with the making out and the heavy petting, but right as it gets started, Mayte has been overcome with… I don’t know, but she collapses, and Prince is simultaneously unable to perform sexually. I think to show they are spiritually connected??? Do I GET Prince’s visions now?????? I am so proud.
Back in Egypt, an old man tells Mayte she looks like a girl he used to bang. Okay. Prince has returned to Paisley Park where he is performing a one man show for a dinner party in the sound stage, I think. Again, a real treat. Black jumpsuit with a white collared shirt & white tie, yes this is a good look. Oh Tommy Barbarella must have gone on a cruise to the Bahamas on the way back, he has some hair wraps and braids now. Ugh that baritone. Damn U, damn me, this song is so good. Here’s a screen shot that could double as his Bar Mitvah photo.
Mayte has received a letter!! It’s the lyrics to Damn U. Her reaction is to go to her dress maker to get a fancy coin dress, and then hop on the next flight to LA, where they will be shooting the 7 music video, but not before there is a 5 minute segment with members of the NPG talking shit about Mayte. No, really. First up is Tony M and his date, who is Mayte? Where did she come from, what did she do? The rest of the NPG is in the gym, also talking shit about her??!! WHY IS THIS INCLUDED. I guess to show he loves her in spite of his entire band hating her? Michael Bland wants to know “What is her purpose, what does she do?” Honestly. What is this doing here. And it goes on for SO LONG!!!
Maybe my favorite Prince music video??? So we see past versions of Prince trapped in a time traveling cryogenic tube… The Continental yellow suit is here, the chain hat, the Morning Papers Sleeveless Grunge Shirt, some insane bolero top with a cowboy hat that unfortunately is not seen in its full glory.. each of them is electrocuted to show that he has no past, he has sown all his oats and he is ready to be faithful to Mayte and maybe now she will reciprocate his sexual advances. Also there are seven pairs of TINY CHILDREN PRINCE AND MAYTES WIELDING SWORDS AND COIN DRESSES IT IS VERY ADORABLE!!!! God he’s so intense. Oh and the “one day all 7 will die” is in reference to the 7 men that killed her father, whom he has casually assassinated by his bodyguards as he and Mayte waltz off into the sunset/another smoke filled room at Paisley Park.
Mayte calls Kirstie Alley to finally grant her long sought after interview with him, which was clearly written by him. Most of her responses are “oh.” I think this is the letter he wrote as her as his press release for why he changed his name? Again, UNCLEAR. Anyway, we’re left with shots of Prince making some kind of business deal in a smoky conference room, and then he ends up signing a contract written in Japanese with the Love Symbol. Dramatic cut to a cemetery, where we see a shallow grave containing the chain hat and the 3 chains o gold.
THAT’S IT! That’s all! Really! Any questions? I HAVE SEVERAL.