In a press release from 22 December 1995, Prince announced that he had

officially given notice to Warner Bros. Records (WBR) of his desire to terminate his recording agreement with the company.

The press release also announced:

The Artist is prepared to deliver the three (3) remaining albums under his former name Prince which will fulfill his contractual to WBR. Currently, the albums are titled: Prince: The Vault - Volumes I, II and III.

Have the contents of these proposed (compilation) albums ever been revealed?

1 Answer 1


I have always held the opinion that these three albums didn't really exist: they were a mere threat by Prince, who knew fully well that Warners would not allow him to fulfill his contract with a couple of archive compilations that he likely wouldn't support in any significant way, much like he basically "sabotaged" his 1994 release Come. (See also my answer to "Did Prince fulfill his album obligations WRT his “$100 million contract” with Warner Bros. Records in 1992?")

In the years since, some speculated that two of these three albums were Chaos And Disorder and The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale, considering they were submitted to Warner Bros. in April 1996 as his final releases for the label. PrinceVault even states as much on their page regarding The Vault - Volumes I, II and III.

However, in April 2022 the blog "Prince Vs Warner Brothers - The Fans Lost", which details the events of the years 1993-1996, has posted updates of their articles, including some details regarding these three albums. No source is provided for this information, but there have always been hardcore fans with plenty of inside information and I presume one such fans contacted the author of that blog and provided him with the details. (In one of the comments, the author credits "TheSilentMikey" with the information on how "the 1996 Chaos And Disorder album evolved from the 1994 The Vault Volume II collection".)

Considering each article on the site is of significant length, I'll sum of the relevant information here.

According to "Chapter four: All that glitters ain't gold", Prince compiled a first version of The Vault Volume I in the Summer of 1994:

  1. Chaos And Disorder (4:13)
  2. Listen 2 The Rhythm
  3. Now (4:30)
  4. Right The Wrong (4:42)
  5. Acknowledge Me (5:27)
  6. Ripopgodazippa (4:39)
  7. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (4:37)
  8. 319 (3:19)
  9. Shy (5:04)
  10. Billy Jack Bitch (5:31)
  11. Eye Hate U (6:12)
  12. Gold (7:36)

The author notes:

So from the original The Vault Volume I collection, the song "Chaos And Disorder" became the title track of its own 1996 album that also included "Right The Wrong" while "Listen 2 The Rhythm" was rerecorded as "The Rhythm Of Your Heart" for Mayte's 1995 Child Of The Sun album. "Acknowledge Me" and "Ripopgodazippa" carried over to disc 1 of the 1998 Crystal Ball collection. The rest of the tracks from The Gold Experience ended up getting released a year later when that album was released after all in 1995.

The page "Chapter seven: Chaos and disorder" starts of with this information:

Prince had just wrapped up work on The Gold Experience in October 1994 when he made the first configuration of what would become Chaos And Disorder in 1996. In 1994 it was originally titled The Vault Volume II as a sequel to The Vault Volume I which O(+> had assembled in the Summer of 1994.

The blog doesn't offer a tracklist, but lists the following songs as being part of Volume II: "The Same December", "I Like It There", "18 And Over" (later released as "18 & Over" on the 1998 compilation Crystal Ball), "Empty Room" (the 4 August 1985 Prince And The Revolution recording), "Zannalee" (May 1993 recording). However, the evidence for this is rather flimsy: it is based on the fact that Prince filmed videos for all these tracks around that time, in late 1994.

(The blog follows with more speculation on other tracks that might have been included.)

Later on, the page attempts to construct how The Vault Volume II was transformed into Chaos And Disorder, but this again seems to be mostly speculative, based on the available information WRT recording dates and studio sessions etc.

All in all, the information regarding these three Vault albums remains scarce, outside of an early tracklist for Volume I and a list of a handful of tracks that might have been on Volume II. It is entirely possible that there was an actual tracklist from December 1995 for the three albums, but so far it hasn't appeared.

Considering the work that went into Chaos And Disorder and The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale before they were submitted to Warners in April 1996, it is entirely possible that this three album set's contents were constantly in flux, much like many tracks from that era switched from one album to another (PrinceVault has documented many of these changing configurations for albums like Come and The Gold Experience).

It is entirely possible we'll never get a definitive answer, considering the secrecy the Prince Estate employs WRT the contents of Prince's vault.

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