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Prior to the disbanding of The Revolution, Prince was working on two separate projects, The Revolution album Dream Factory and a solo effort, Camille.[52] Unlike the three previous band albums, Dream Factory included input from the band members and featured songs with lead vocals by Wendy & Lisa.[52] The Camille project saw Prince create a new persona primarily singing in a speeded-up, female-sounding voice. With the dismissal of The Revolution, Prince consolidated material from both shelved albums, along with some new songs, into a three-LP album to be titled Crystal Ball.[53] Warner Bros. forced Prince to trim the triple album to a double album and Sign o' the Times was released on March 31, 1987.[54]

The album peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.[54] The first single, "Sign o' the Times", charted at No. 3 on the Hot 100.[55] The follow-up single, "If I Was Your Girlfriend" charted at No. 67 on the Hot 100, but went to No. 12 on R&B chart.[55] The third single, a duet with Sheena Easton, "U Got the Look" charted at No. 2 on the Hot 100, No. 11 on the R&B chart,[55] and the final single "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" finished at No. 10 on Hot 100 and No. 14 on the R&B chart.[55]

It was named the top album of the year by the Pazz & Jop critics' poll, and sold 3.2 million copies.[56] In Europe it performed well, and Prince promoted the album overseas with a lengthy tour. Putting together a new backing band from the remnants of The Revolution, Prince added bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., keyboardist Boni Boyer, and dancer/choreographer Cat Glover[57] to go with new drummer Sheila E.[58] and holdovers Miko Weaver, Doctor Fink, Eric Leeds, Atlanta Bliss, and the Bodyguards (Jerome, Wally Safford, and Greg Brooks) for the Sign o' the Times Tour.

The tour was a success overseas, with Warner Bros. and Prince's managers wanted to bring it to the US to promote sales of Sign o' the Times;[59][60] Prince balked at a full US tour, as he was ready to produce a new album.[59] As a compromise the last two nights of the tour were filmed for release in movie theaters. The film quality was deemed subpar and reshoots were performed at his Paisley Park studios.[59] The film Sign o' the Times was released on November 20, 1987. The film received more critical praise than Under the Cherry Moon, but its box-office receipts were minimal and it quickly left theaters.[60]

The next album intended for release was to be The Black Album.[61] More instrumental and funk and R&B themed than recent releases,[62] The Black Album also saw Prince experiment with hip hop music on the songs "Bob George" and "Dead on It". Prince was set to release the album with a monochromatic black cover with only the catalog number printed, but after 500,000 copies had been pressed,[63] Prince had a spiritual epiphany that the album was evil and had it recalled.[64] It was later released by Warner Bros. as a limited edition album in 1994. Prince went back in the studio for eight weeks and recorded Lovesexy.

Released on May 10, 1988, Lovesexy serves as a spiritual opposite to the dark The Black Album.[65] Every song is a solo effort by Prince, except "Eye No" which was recorded with his backing band at the time. Lovesexy reached No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and No. 5 on the R&B albums chart.[66] The lead single, "Alphabet St.", peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 100 and No. 3 on the R&B chart;[54] it sold 750,000 copies.[67]

Prince again took his post-Revolution backing band (minus the Bodyguards) on a three leg, 84-show Lovesexy World Tour; although the shows were well received by huge crowds, they lost money due to the expensive sets and props.[68][69]

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