In the early 1980s, Prince was at the head of the "Minneapolis Sound," a stealth amalgamation of funk, new wave and R&B that defied genre categorization. In the years leading up to the cultural explosion that was Purple Rain, Prince presided over a broad stable of artists, most of whom for which he wrote, produced and even performed. Among that tight legion of acts, however, was one funky Frankenstein that threatened to overtake even its brilliant creator: the Time.
Stocked with some of the city's best musicians, the Time was able to do more than just mimic the music Prince wrote for the band. Onstage, the crack outfit turned the tunes into epic funk workouts, complete with throwback zoot suits and flashy choreography. In some of Prince's most supportive cities early in his career, particularly Detroit, the Time was renowned for completely stealing the show from their maker and headline act.
It was on August 25, 1982, when the Time released the group's second studio effort: What Time is It? Arriving a couple of months before Prince's 1999, the record doubled-down on the band's debut, repeating the format of three songs per album side. There were three singles from the full-length: "777-9311," "The Walk (featuring Vanity)" and ballad "Gigolos Get Lonely Too." All three would charge up the R&B and dance charts, with "777-9311" cracking the Hot 100 to peak at #88 for the week of October 16, 1982.
With Vanity 6's self-titled debut also arriving in August 1982, Prince, the Time and Vanity 6 launched what's been dubbed as the "Triple Threat" tour in November of that year. The marathon tour rocked across America until April 10, 1983, in Chicago.
By the time the "Triple Threat" tour kicked off, What Time is It? was already a hit. The album peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 for the week of October 30, 1982. The #1 album in America that week: John Cougar's American Fool.