Life it ain’t real funky unless it’s got that pop
© Prince 1985
Following the breakthrough year 1984 Prince changed musical direction completely in 1985. The new album wasn’t Purple Rain part II at all.
Of all the Prince articles I have written and published up until now, I looked forward to Around The World In A Day the most. The album makes me happy, the music is stunning and it has a definite summer ‘vibe’ to me.
After releasing no less than 34 new Prince songs in 1984, the enormous output continued in 1985 with several releases, containing (never before released) Prince music:
- 04/12/1985: USA For Africa – We Are The World (the Prince And The Revolution song 4 The Tears In Your Eyes)
- 04/22/1985: Prince And The Revolution: Around The World In A Day album
- 05/15/1985: Prince And The Revolution – Raspberry Beret single (US) (B-side She’s Always In My Hair)
- 07/10/1985: Prince And The Revolution – Pop Life single (B-side Hello)
- 07/16/1985: André Cymone – The Dance Electric single (1 song)
- 07/29/1985: Prince And The Revolution: Live video, the famous Syracuse Purple Rain Tour concert that was performed and broadcast via satellite on March 30th, 1985, contained the never before released song Possessed
- The Family – The Family album (7 songs)
- 08/26/1985: Sheila E. – Romance 1600 album (7 songs)
- 09/30/1985: O.S.T. – Krush Groove (the Sheila E. song Holly Rock)
- 10/02/1985: Prince And The Revolution – America single (B-side Girl)
- 12/23/1985: The Bangles: Manic Monday single
Only releases containing never before released material are mentioned above. Multiple singles were released in 1985 containing Prince’s music (like The Time‘s The Bird, Sheila E.’s Noon Rendezvous, Prince And The Revolution’s Take Me With U).
At the time it wasn’t common knowledge Prince was the composer of some of the songs/albums mentioned, because he oftentimes used pseudonyms or credited songs to others on the record covers. For example, almost all of the songs on The Family are credited to others, yet Prince wrote 7 out of 8 songs. The same goes for the Romance 1600 album by Sheila E. Manic Monday was accredited to Christopher, a Prince pseudonym.
In 1985 a total of 31 new Prince songs were released. Once again a staggering amount.
A number of the subjects mentioned in this article are elaborated and interpreted some more in sub-articles. These have all been published prior to this article:
- Prince – The spaghetti controversy!
- Prince tries to control the damage: the big 1985 Rolling Stone interview
- Prince – The MTV interview
- Prince – Around The World In A Day – The reviews
The links above are also mentioned in the paragraphs containing the respective subjects.
Purple Rain Tour
As is mentioned in the Purple Rain article, the tour ended on April 7th, 1985. Five days earlier, On April 2nd, 1985, manager Steve Fargnoli announced that Prince would cease performing live: “Prince is withdrawing from the live performance scene for an indefinite period of time. Prince’s concert April 7 at Miami’s Orange Bowl will be his last performance for an interminate number of years. I asked Prince what he planned to do. He told me: ‘I’m going to look for the ladder’. I asked him what that meant. All he said was, ‘Sometimes it snows in April'”.
En route to Around The World In A Day
As can be read in the articles on Purple Rain and Another Lonely Christmas, the album Around The World In A Day was finalized on December 24th, 1984, when the last recordings for the song Temptation were done and the album’s sequence was decided upon.
The majority of the songs were already done even before the launch of the Purple Rain Tour. By many, Around The World In A Day is regarded (even by Prince himself) as a reaction to the immense success of Purple Rain and the limitations it put on Prince. However, the reality is that many songs were recorded before the real Prince mania began sweeping through the US in the second half of 1984. Some of the songs even date back to 1982, even before the days of his first taste of success following the release of 1999.
4 The Tears In Your Eyes
In the night of January 28th and 29th, 1985, many artists assembled to record a single in order to raise funds to fight the famine in Ethiopia, which had plagued the country and its habitants for months. Prince was asked to participate, but he declined. He suggested he added a song of his own for the proposed album, which was okay.
On February 2nd, 1985, Prince recorded the song 4 The Tears In Your Eyes with The Revolution, using a mobile truck during a day off while on the Purple Rain Tour. On April 12th, 1985, the song was released on the USA For Africa album We Are The World. Midway through April 1985 a video was shot, showing Prince playing and singing the song acoustically, accompanied by Wendy & Lisa. It was broadcast on the day of the global Live Aid on July 13th, 1985 (more on Live Aid at a later time, here on A Pop Life).
The song is about the faith in (the message of) Jesus and the fact it can bring solace in times of adversary. The acoustic version is beautiful, Prince genuinely believes the song’s message and it shows in his inspiration. Wendy & Lisa’s background vocals are equally beautiful.
Announcing Around The World In A Day
On April 11th, 1985, the following article was published in Rolling Stone magazine:
‘Around the World in a Day’ should be out in April
By Michael Goldberg
PRINCE’S SEVENTH ALBUM, Around the World in a Day, should be in record stores before the end of April. The LP, which was recorded both at Price’s home studio in Minneapolis and at Hollywood studios, contains nine tracks that, according to the LP’s credits, were “produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince and the Revolution.”
Prince unveiled the record on Thursday, February 21st. Warner Bros. Records executives received a phone call late in the afternoon that day informing them that the label’s biggest star would be arriving at their Burbank headquarters in forty-five minutes. Interoffice phones buzzed with the news, and a huge crowd of Warners staffers hurriedly assembled in the front lobby.
At about five p.m., a shiny purple limousine pulled up outside the record company’s building. Prince stepped out of the car, along with his father, John L. Nelson; his bodyguards; his managers; and Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin. Dressed in a long, purple antique kimono and striped, pajama-type pants, Prince clutched a single pink rose as he entered the building. Obviously pleased and looking quite confident, Prince smiled as the crowd greeted him with tumultuous applause. “I’ve seen Fleetwood Mac and David Lee Roth and Shaun Cassidy and everyone walk into this building,” said one Warner Bros. employee, “but nothing like this.”
Prince’s entourage trooped past more fans crowded along the stairways and corridors, up to a fourth-floor conference room that had been hastily decorated with hundreds of purple helium balloons and white streamers. About 150 Warners staffers and executives — including president Lenny Waronker and board chairman Mo Ostin — were crammed into the room. Except for a few words with Ostin, Prince was silent. He sat on the floor with Wendy and his father, stared at the ground and held on to the rose as tapes of the album played at full volume.
Side one of the album includes the LP’s title track, which was written by Prince, his father and David Coleman, who is the brother of Revolution keyboardist Lisa Coleman. The songs uses such unusual as an oud, finger cymbals and a darbuka to create a Middle Eastern feel. “Paisley Park,” named after Prince’s home studio, is a buoyant rocker reminiscent of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The ballad “Condition of the Heart” is a solo performance by Prince that features a Keith Jarrett-style piano intro and a falsetto vocal, while “Raspberry Beret” is another track that recalls the Beatles’ psychedelic period (“She wore a Raspberry beret/The kind u find in a secondhand store/And if it was warm, she wouldn’t wear much more”). The final cut on side one is “Tambourine,” a heavily rhythmic track with a Bo Diddley beat. It’s sung and played by Prince alone.
Side two contains “America,” which plays off “America the Beautiful” and has an American Indian feel (“America, America, God shed his grace on thee/America, America, keep the children free”). “Pop Life,” another Beatles-influenced number, includes drumming by Sheila E. and a string interlude “composed and conducted by Lisa and Wendy” (“What u putting in your nose/Is that where all your money goes?”) “The Ladder” is a gospel-flavored song written by Prince and his father. It features a female chorus that includes Lisa, Wendy and Wendy’s sister Susannah Melvoin. The album’s epic is “Temptation,” an eight-minute-and-twenty-one-second song that Prince has been performing in concert. It begins with Hendrix-style guitar and ends with a weird rap that sounds like a dialogue between Prince and God. Prince says, “I’m talkin’ about the kind of temptation that’ll make you do things. I’m talkin’ about sexual temptation.” An electronically altered low voice says, “You have to want it for the right reasons.” And Prince responds, “I’m sorry. I’ll be good. This time I promise. Love is more important than sex. I understand. I have to go now.”
The album’s first single, “Paisley Park” (back with a nonalbum song called “She’s Always in My Hair”), was to have been released on February 27th, the day after Prince won three Grammys. A few days before the awards ceremony, however, Prince abruptly changed his mind, deciding not to release the single. One source at Warner Bros. said Prince didn’t want the song to compete with “We Are the World,” the USA for Africa record, which he declined to participate in.
Until late last month, details about the album were closely guarded secrets. At Warner Bros., only a handful of top executives knew about it. Still, rumors began circulating in music-business circles, and at least one advance tape got into the hands of a rival record-company executive.
In the Warner Bros. conference room, every song was greeted with applause, and before the last cut ended, Prince vanished. Said a Warners source, “Everyone sort of stood up and applauded after the record was over, and then he wasn’t there anymore.”
Rolling Stone, April 11th, 1985
According to the article the album was presented to Warner Bros. on February 21st, 1985. Contrary to what the article states, about 20 people were present in the room, where cushions had been placed. Alongside the walls chairs were placed for the guests. The floor was decorated with flowers, the curtains were drawn.
After the room was filled with the guests, Prince, Wendy & Lisa sat down on the floor, the music was started and the album was played in full. Prince didn’t say a word, and he and his following left immediately after the album had finished. Some stories state Joni Mitchell was one of the guests. In a 1988 interview for Dutch television Joni Mitchell said she was present at a listening party for a new album once, but didn’t name the specific album.
The end of the listening party is remembered quite differently by Marylou Badeaux, who was Director Of Marketing, Black Music at the time. She remembers the shock of several employees. This was no Purple Rain part II! Middle-Eastern music? Psychedelica? How were they supposed to sell this? After the album was played, Prince left the room without uttering a word. According to Badeaux Prince had to be dis-satisfied with the room’s reactions.
Prince made complementary demands. He didn’t want an elaborate marketing campaign for the album, and he didn’t want any single releases before the album’s release. Commercial suicide, but at that moment in time Prince was in the position to demand whatever he wanted. After all, he was the label’s biggest selling artist.
At the time of Around The World In A Day‘s release Purple Rain was still riding high on the charts and a tour had been done which clocked in just under 6 months. The modus operandi demanded Prince to go to Europe next, followed by Asia and a second leg of the tour through the US. Next he could have a bit of time off before recording a new album, which was to follow the successful Purple Rain formula.
But Prince was way too restless. As stated in the Purple Rain article, he was fed up with the music, the look and the tour even before it ended. He wanted, no had to, do something else.
And finally that day came: April 22nd, 1985. Ten months to the day after the release of Purple Rain the new Prince album was released. It was his seventh studio album, and his second to be accredited to Prince And The Revolution. Two months after the release I bought the album on cd (!). It was my very first compact disc, the new digital medium everybody had high hopes for. Did I have a cd-player at the time? No, that was still over a year away. I did have the album on cassette as well.
This album introduces the name Paisley Park, as a song, as well as label. Paisley Park Records was a sublabel to Warner Bros., allowing Prince to release his music, performed by either himself and/or others. Around The World In A Day was the first release on the new label. The name would eventually lead to (building) Prince’s own recording studio: Paisley Park Studios. The recordings for this album were done at:
- Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse, Eden Prairie
Rehearsal space for Prince And The Revolution, where all preparations for the Purple Rain Tour were done and the place for recording many songs. On the Around The World In A Day cover Paisley Park is mentioned as a recording studio. It refers to this location
- Sunset Sound, Hollywood, California
- Mobile Audio Studio at Civic Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
- Capitol Records, Los Angeles
Susan Rogers, famed engineer, had this to say about the recording locations, and their results in particular:
Admittedly the sound of Around The World In A Day is not as high fidelity as the sound of the Purple Rain album, because the majority of the Purple Rain album was done at Sunset Sound, which is some of the finest audio technology in the world. In contrast, most of Around The World In A Day was done at the warehouse using lower quality, to say the least, because we were working at a rehearsal space. We didn’t even have acoustical isolation. His ideas were bubbling up so fast — you can imagine a volcano just overflowing, and we were setting pots and pans underneath the lava flow just trying to catch it. That’s how quickly he was working. So high fidelity, no. That record would not win any prizes for the best engineered recordings, but what he taught me is that when people buy a record, they’re not buying the sonic quality. That’s not what they go into a record store for. You go into a record store for music. You turn that radio dial for music, not for sound. If the musical ideas are good, that takes precedence over the sonic quality.
Susan Rogers on working with Prince in the studio: ‘The man I knew was so human’, The Current, 04/20/2018
From early 1984 onwards, Prince would give The Revolution more room and opportunity to contribute, particularly to Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Even family members entered the fold. Besides his own father, the main new person of interest was Susannah, Wendy’s twin sister, who got involved with Prince rather quickly. The relationship was very serious, eventually even leading to a 1985 engagement.
But Wendy & Lisa’s brothers, Jonathan and David, were around a lot as well. They contributed new insights and music, among which Middle Eastern instruments like the oud, darbuka and finger-cymbals. Prince was enthused and incorporated some insights and instruments into his new songs. Starting in May 1984, work started on the next Prince project. According to Lisa Coleman it was intended to be called Paisley Park, but that all changed in June of 1984 when David Coleman and Jonathan Melvoin were gifted two days of studio time at Sunset Sound as a birthday present by Prince. They recorded two songs, one of them being Around The World In A Day. After they played the song to Wendy & Lisa, they brought it to Prince in August, who was so excited he wanted the song for his next project. The title and direction for the new project was settled upon: Around The World In A Day!
Around The World In A Day was the first Prince album to be released that I was fully aware of from the day of its release. It was a true revelation and it made me realize that this Prince figure could very well be the most interesting musical entity I had ever encountered. What he did was unheard of. Where did the Purple Rain sound go that had brought him the keys to the world? Such richness, fun and phenomenal songs inhabited this album! And, maybe just as important, where had I ever heard this kind of music before? That’s right, nowhere, the originality and boldness were so great, it could only incite admiration. The fascination for Prince and his genius was sparked. Around The World In A Day convinced me that this truly was a once in a lifetime artist.
All songs on Around The World In A Day were written by Prince, unless stated otherwise.
Around The World In A Day
(written by David Coleman, John L. Nelson and Prince)
As stated above, after hearing this, Prince wanted to make it a part of his next album. He re-recorded the song and changed the lyrics, but kept the chorus.
He immediately organized a recording session with Revolution members Wendy, Lisa and Bobby Z, complemented with David Coleman, Jonathan Melvoin and Susannah Melvoin. The song was recorded in several different versions midway through August of 1984.
Prince regarded the song to be the starting and focal point of his new album. The sound, the subjects, the overall feel, it all was part of the upcoming project. It was elevated to the opening song and its title was used as the name for the album.
Open your heart, open your mind
A train is leaving all day
A wonderful trip through our time
And laughter is all U pay
Around the world in a day
© Prince 1985
Prince was so pleased with the song that the lyrics shows above were published in the Purple Rain tour book that was being compiled at the time.
Prince was absolutely right being in love with the song. It truly is phenomenally beautiful. Just like Lovesexy‘s Positivity, this song also has this short moment that is oh so addictive. After the lyric “Say papa I think I wanna dance!” one the most memorable and funky coda’s of Prince’s entire body of work is played from 2:42 to 2:56.
This was the first song I ever witnessed live by Prince. On August 18th, 1986 he opened the best show I ever witnessed with this song. I will never forget how the tension was built up to unbearable heights, as he started the song behind closed curtains. The moment the curtains dropped and showed Prince And The Revolution actually on that stage in the venue I was in, is etched into my brain forever. Magical!
The opening notes of the African or Middle-Eastern flute don’t stem from an analogue instrument, but from a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer.
Around The World In A Day is placed at position 28 in my Prince songs top 50.
The very first time Paisley Park was used as a title/name was on March 9th, 1984, when Prince was at Sunset Sound and recorded a new instrumental with the name Paisley Park. This has never been released.
On September 10th, 1984, he started recordings for Paisley Park, as it would be released on Around The World In A Day. This song has nothing to do with the March 9th recordings. On September 12th, 1984, strings were added.
The song is a midtempo rocker with beautiful melodies and harmonies and spectacular guitar playing throughout the entire song. The guitar is mixed so far into the background that it doesn’t really stand out without headphones. But after putting them on you hear Prince letting his guitar roar with feedback and stunning solo’s. The chorus tells of Paisley Park as a place in your heart and has a kind of hippie feel. Again, a great song!
The girl on the seesaw is laughing
4 love is the color
This place imparts
Admission is easy, just say U
Believe and come 2 this
Place in your heart
Paisley Park is in your heart
© Prince 1985
In Europe, UK and Australia Paisley Park was released as the first singe on May 25th, 1985 (in the US and Japan it was Raspberry Beret). She’s Always In My Hair was placed on the B-side, and was only available as a single.
The maxi-single contained a longer version of Paisley Park called Paisley Park (Remix), giving more room for Prince’s phenomenal guitar playing.
The video to this song is the first Prince video that doesn’t feature him and his band. It contains images of children wearing psychedelic clothes playing in a park.
- In 2016 Paisley Park was part of the posthumous compilation 4Ever
The name Paisley Park became widely known though Prince’s own studio complex, Paisley Park Studios and Paisley Park Records, a sublabel of Warner Bros. that was in business from 1985 to 1993.
Paisley Park is placed at position 47 in my Prince songs top 50.
Condition Of The Heart
Well, and then there was this. This is so great, fragile, sincere and utterly beautiful, that more words are essentially superfluous.
Knowing he did this all by himself on October 9th and 10th, 1984 at the Sunset Sound studio is simply astounding (The Revolution stayed behind in Minneapolis practicing for the upcoming Purple Rain Tour). It sounds as if an entire orchestra was at the studio. The song is imaginative, different and moving, has beautiful instrumentation, shows Prince at his most vulnerable and has intriguing lyrics, even though at times it isn’t exactly clear what the song is about. Is it about Susannah and Wendy or about love and loneliness in general? Is he talking about himself when he sings “Now wasn’t that a foolhardy notion on the part of a sometimes lonely musician?”? Is he talking about his own fame and recently accumulated wealth when he sings ” Now isn’t that a shame that sometimes money buys U everything and nothing?”?
The questions aren’t answered, but the way Prince makes his own vocals sing with and against each other is truly impressive. A vocal highlight, that commands respect. A highlight in his body of work.
How was I 2 know
That she would wear the same
Cologne as U and giggle the same
Giggle that U do?
Whenever I would act a fool, the fool
With a condition of the heart
© Prince 1985
- In 2002 a live solo piano version, titled Condition Of The ♥ (Interlude) was released on Prince’s first live album One Nite Alone… Live!
Condition Of The Heart is placed at position 25 in my Prince songs top 50.
The first version of Raspberry Beret was recorded on April 27th, 1982, at Sunset Sound around the time Prince was working on his 1999 album. On September 7th, 1984, he recorded it again, a week later followed by string overdubs. This version was used for the album.
Raspberry Beret is a song that takes you to a happy place, that I heard many, many times live. Lyrically a fun song.
I was working part time in a five-and-dime
My boss was Mr. McGee
He told me several times that he didn’t like my kind
‘Cause I was a bit 2 leisurely
Seems that I was busy doing something close 2 nothing
But different than the day before
That’s when I saw her, Ooh, I saw her
She walked in through the out door, out door
She wore a raspberry beret
The kind U find in a second hand store
And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more
I think I love her
© Prince 1985
On May 15th, 1985, it was released as the first single off Around The World In Day in the US and Japan (in Europe, the UK and Australia it was the second single, following Paisley Park). She’s Always In My Hair was placed on the B-side, and was only available as a single.
The maxi-single contained a longer version of Raspberry Beret titled Raspberry Beret (New Mix), that had a more funky intro and on which Prince is audibly coughing (!).
The video to the song is a classic. The blue and white suit he wore in the video was also on display at the My Name Is Prince exhibition. For the entire duration of the video Prince never looks straight into the camera once. The idea behind the video was to make the album cover come to life.
- Raspberry Beret was a major hit and still stands as one Prince’s best-known songs. Therefore, it is part of many compilations: The Hits / The B-Sides (1993), The Very Best Of Prince (2001), Ultimate (the New Mix version) and 4Ever (2016)
- On May 15th, 2001, it was released as a 1986 live version as part of the NPG Ahdio Show #4, which was digitally released as part of a yearly subscription to the NPG Music Club
- In 2002 it was part of Prince’s first live album One Nite Alone… Live!.
Fun fact: Pat Smear, who went on tour with Nirvana as their second guitar player, is an extra in the video.
Tamborine was recorded on September 27th, 1984, at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie. Another solo performance and once again an impressive one. Prince started with the drums, after which bass and other (minimal) embellishments followed. The drum track is fairly complex and was played by Prince. He had the entire song in his head and knew exactly where to play the fills.
According to engineer Susan Rogers he was in a great mood that day and he was very happy with the result, which was, even for Prince’s way of working, put to tape very fast.
The title Tamborine is used as a sexual metaphor for masturbation. I think it’s a great song and enjoy the way Prince delivers the subject, without becoming explicit.
And, let’s be real, every song in which Prince starts screaming is fantastic!
Oh my God here U are
Prettiest thing in life I’ve ever seen
Close my eyes what’s it like,
What’s it like inside your tamborine?
Oh my God, there I go
Falling in love with the face in a magazine
All alone by myself
Me and I play my tamborine
© Prince 1985
Just the intro alone, the four times start/stop, followed by the glorious boom-tchak funk of America! A ridiculously good song, one I can listen to on repeat. On July 23rd, 1984, the song was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie with the entire band. The song was played and recorded live. After 21 minutes the tape was full and the band were still playing.
When Prince was asked how America was to be viewed, he responded with straightforwardly patriotic. Engineer Susan Rogers concurs. According to her, Prince’s political views were rather conservative, with a firm belief in America and the ‘American dream’:
God shed his grace on thee
Keep the children free
© Prince 1985
However, in the Heat Rocks podcast broadcast on January 9th, 2020, with Wendy & Lisa guesting to talk about Around The World In A Day, Wendy was very adamant about the lyrics being overtly sarcastic, because:
Little sister making minimum wage
Living in a 1-room jungle-monkey cage
Can’t get over, she’s almost dead
She may not be in the black
But she’s happy she ain’t in the red
Jimmy Nothing never went 2 school
They made him pledge allegiance
He said it wasn’t cool
Nothing made Jimmy proud
Now Jimmy lives on a mushroom cloud
© Prince 1985
On October 2nd the song was released as the last single to be culled from Around The World In A Day. Girl was placed on the B-side, and was only available as a single.
The single cover showed a naked young boy holding the American flag, that was also part of the album cover. In some parts of the world the cover was censored, either because of prudishness or because of very strict laws concerning children and nudity in the countries the single was released in.
The maxi-single contained the full 21 minute version of America, which just solidifies the glorious funk of the song even more.
The video for this song is one of the best video’s by Prince (And The Revolution). The song was recorded live in France and shows Prince And The Revolution at their absolute peak and is considered to be a prelude to the Parade tour of 1986. Extreme excitement, pumping music, Prince giving his all. Phenomenal clip!
- On September 7th, 1993, America was part of a medley And The New Power Generation played live on the BBC radio show Simon Bates Show
- On April 22nd, 2001, it was released as a 1986 live version as part of the NPG Ahdio Show #3, which was digitally released as part of a yearly subscription to the NPG Music Club
During the previously mentioned show on August 18th, 1986 (the best show I ever witnessed), America was played as an encore (which was highly exceptional). Prince freaking on guitar and playing the drums. Such bliss!
America is placed at position 33 in my Prince songs top 50.
The wonderful songs just keep on coming! On February 19th, 1984, Prince started recording Pop Life at the Sunset Sound studio and finished the next day at 06:15 AM. Later that same day Wendy & Lisa added overdubs and strings.
Pop Life is a song filled with melodies, all equally beautiful. Prince started to feel more and more comfortable as a writer and composer and was ever more willing to go beyond what he knew and mastered. Pop Life is a true testament to this. Lyrically and musically a true gem.
What’s the matter with your life
Is the poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U ’round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else’s box?
Pop life – Everybody needs a thrill
Pop life – We all got a space to fill
Pop life – Everybody can’t be on top
But life it ain’t real funky
Unless it’s got that pop
What U putting in your nose?
Is that where all your money goes?
The river of addiction flows
U think it’s hot, but there won’t be no water
When the fire blows
© Prince 1985
On July 10th, 1985, Pop Life was released as a single (in the UK on October 14th, 1985). Hello was placed on the B-side (in the UK it was Girl), and was only available as a single.
Two different versions of the Pop Life maxi-single are in circulation, containing different Pop Life remixes. In the US and Europe Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix), a remix by Sheila E., was released and in the UK, Australia and New Zealand the Pop Life (Extended Version), Prince’s own remix, was released.
No video was made for Pop Life.
- In 1994 Pop Life was remixed by Kirk Johnson, a small piece being part of Kirk J’s B Sides Remix medley, released in 1996 as the B-side to the Purple Medley
- In 2006 Pop Life (the Fresh Dance Mix version) was part of the compilation Ultimate and in 2016 of the posthumous compilation 4Ever
During an episode of “? of the week” in 1999 on Love4oneanother.com someone asked what the meaning was of the boxing match noises. replied: “Good ? – Me 2 :)”.
Pop Life is placed at position 31 in my Prince songs top 50 and stands as inspiration to the name of this/my blog, A Pop Life.
(written by John L. Nelson and Prince)
The song was recorded on the last day of the Purple Rain Tour rehearsals at the Saint Paul Civic Center Arena in Minneapolis twin-city St. Paul. Background vocals by Wendy & Lisa, Susannah Melvoin and Taja Sevelle (as “Taj”) were added to the recording at a later time.
The Ladder has a strong religious theme and resembles Purple Rain. Its tempo and ‘feel’ remind me of the song Purple Rain. Despite the professedly religious theme, it’s a definite highlight in Prince’s body of work. Prince believes in its message and sings with passion and surrender.
Everybody’s looking 4 the ladder
Everybody wants salvation of the soul
The steps U take are no easy road
But the reward is great
4 those who want 2 go
© Prince 1985
The album’s last song was created when the Purple Rain Tour was underway. On December 7th, 1984, the song was recorded at the Capitol Records studio in Hollywood, California, with just Prince and saxophone player Eddie M.(innifield) present.
On December 6th the song was played by the entire band as a blues rocker, twice as fast as on the December 7th recordings. On December 24th, at Christmas, the song was finished as Prince recorded the ‘God’ dialogue.
The slightly lesser song of the album, even though it rocks on gloriously. Some great guitar playing, yelling, screaming: great. The cool-down is great as well:
I’m not talkin’ about just ordinary temptation, people
I’m talkin’ about the kind of temptation that’ll make U do things
Oh oh, temptation
Oh darling, I can almost taste the wetness between ur…
I’m not talkin’ about any ol’ kind of temptation, people
I’m talkin’ about, I’m talkin’ about sexual temptation
I need a lover, a lover, I need a… right now
U, I want U, I want U n the worst way
I want U
© Prince 1985
But then Prince decides to talk to (and play) God:
“Oh, silly man, that’s not how it works
You have 2 want her 4 the right reasons”
“U don’t, now die!”
Let me go, let me go.
I’ll be good.
This time I promise
Love is more important than sex
Now I understand
I have 2 go now
I don’t know when I’ll return
© Prince 1985
I feel uncomfortable every time I hear it. It’s too ‘over the top’ for me. Is Prince repenting for the lust he literally screamed from his toes just minutes before?
Barring the last few seconds, Around The World In A Day is a ridiculously consistent album of an extremely high artistic level. Many songs are among my all-time favorites and I listen to the record regularly. Besides, it’s my eldest son’s favorite Prince album, and I most definitely can’t accuse him of having bad taste!
Contributions by others
All instruments on the album is played and performed by Prince, with the following exceptions:
- The Revolution:
- Bobby Z. – drums and percussion
- Brown Mark – bass and vocals
- Wendy Melvoin – guitar and vocals
- Lisa Coleman – keyboards and vocals
- Dr. Fink – keyboards and vocals
on America, Pop Life and The Ladder
- David Coleman – cello, oud, finger cymbals, darbuka and background vocals on Around The World In A Day, cello on Raspberry Beret and The Ladder (interlude)
- Jonathan Melvoin – tamborine and background vocals on Around The World In A Day and Pop Life
- Wendy Melvoin – background vocals on Around The World In A Day, Paisley Park and Raspberry Beret
- Lisa Coleman – background vocals on Around The World In A Day, Paisley Park and Raspberry Beret
- Susannah Melvoin – background vocals on Around The World In A Day, Paisley Park and Raspberry Beret
- Novi Novog – violin on Paisley Park and Raspberry Beret
- Brad Marsh- tamborine on America
- Sheila E – drums on Pop Life
- Eddie M – saxophone on The Ladder and Temptation
- Suzie Katayama – cello on Raspberry Beret and The Ladder (interlude)
- Sid Page & Marcy Dicterow-Vaj (as “Vaj”) – violin on The Ladder (interlude)
- Denyse Buffum & Laury Woods – viola on The Ladder (interlude)
- Tim Barr & Annette Atkinson – stand-up bass on The Ladder (interlude)
- Taja Sevelle (as “Taj”) – background vocals on The Ladder (interlude)
- Prince – producer, arranger and engineer
- David Leonard – engineer at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse and Capitol Records
- Peggy McCreary (as “Peggy Mac”) – engineer at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse and Sunset Sound
- David Tickle – engineer at Mobile Audio
- Susan Rogers – engineer at Paisley Park
- Bernie Grundman – mastering
- Laura LiPuma – design and assembly
- Doug Henders – cover painting
- Cavallo, Ruffalo and Fargnoli – management
- Moultrie Accountancy – accounting
“All thanks 2 God” – Prince And The Revolution.
Four singles were released off the album (three in the US) , resulting in three B-sides. These could only be listened to after buying the corresponding single or maxi-single.
She’s Always In My Hair
A solo recording by Prince at Sunset Sound on December 19th, 1983. On January 8th, 1984, overdubs were done for the 12-inch version.
Months later Prince told engineer Susan Rogers that Jill Jones, who hung around a lot and whom Prince cared for very much, inspired the song. He wrote the song as a kind of apology for a fight over futilities, but Jill wasn’t particularly impressed. The phrase “Maybe I’ll marry her / Maybe I won’t” in particular didn’t meet with much approval.
And yet it all made for a magnificent song, which is regarded to be the best ever B-side by many Prince aficionados.
Whenever I feel like givin’ up
Whenever my sunshine turns to rain
Whenever my hopes and dreams
Are aimed in the wrong direction
She’s always there
Tellin’ me how much she cares
She’s always in my hair
© Prince 1985
She’s Always In My Hair is the B-side to Paisley Park (in Europe, the UK and Australia) and to Raspberry Beret (in the rest of the world).
The maxi-single contained a longer version of She’s Always In My Hair titled She’s Always In My Hair (New Mix), which has extra lyrics, guitar and yelling and screaming.
- In 1986 it was part of the 7″ double single Girls & Boys, which was released in the UK
- The song is part of the compilations The Hits / The B-Sides (1993) and Ultimate (2006) (the New Mix version)
- On November 15th, 2001, it was released as a 1993 live version as part of the NPG Ahdio Show #9, which was digitally released as part of a yearly subscription to the NPG Music Club
- In 2000 it was released on the live DVD Rave Un2 The Year 2000
- The song was also regularly used at various streaming services in 2013 and 2014
Hello was recorded on May 24th, 1985, at Sunset Sound by Prince. The song contains background vocals by Jill Jones.
The song was written as a reaction to the criticism Prince received when he stated he didn’t want to be part of the We Are The World session, that took place on the night of January 28th and 19th, 1985, immediately following the American Music Awards. That same night Prince, against the explicit advice of everyone around him, went out. Unfortunately a fight broke out between Prince’s bodyguards and paparazzi, so the incident was reported at length in the press. Trouble, Prince is out and fighting while all the other big artists show how altruistic they are.
I tried to tell them that I didn’t want to sing
But I’d gladly write a song instead
They said okay and everything was cool
Till a camera tried to get in my bed
I was sittin’ pretty with a beautiful friend
When this man tries to get in the car
(“‘Ey Prince, c’mon, give us a smile eh?”)
No introduction, “How you been?”
Just “Up yours, smile, that’s right, you’re a star!”
You call ’em bodyguards but I call ’em my friends
I guess I’m used to havin’ ’em around
And cameras by nature like rewards
That’s the trouble I get when I’m Uptown
We’re against hungry children
Our record stands tall
There’s just as much hunger here at home
© Prince 1985
The song dives into Prince turning down the invitation for We Are The World and that he instead would deliver a song for the album and the lack of respect by the press.
I think it’s a great, great song with Prince passionately addressing the current situation.
Hello was released as the B-side to Pop Life in the US, in Europe it was the B-side to Raspberry Beret
The maxi-single contained a longer version of Hello titled Hello (Fresh Dance Mix), lasting almost twice as long as the single version. More Hello is always a good thing!
- In 1993 Hello was part of the compilation The Hits / The B-Sides
In 1981 The Time released the song Girl on their debut album. That song is a different song than the B-side Girl, which was recorded in 1982 at Prince’s own home studio: Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen. In 1985 Prince spent some additional time on some extra mixing.
The song is almost minimal music, a hypnotizing beat, minimal synthesizer playing with hilarious lyrics, dripping with horniness.
Another solo creation by Prince, aided by Vanity’s background vocals, recorded backwards.
Girl, your lips are so wet
Feel my hands, they’re all sweaty
I don’t know, I… I guess U frighten me
Cuz I’ve never wanted anyone like this before
2 feel this way it’s like, I don’t know, it’s like a sin
Cuz sometimes I feel bad
Sometimes I want U so much I can…
God, all I have 2 do is think about U and I can have an orgasm
That sounds funny, doesn’t it? Ha ha
Yeah that’s right, marry me
© Prince 1985
Girl was released as the B-side to America in the US and to Pop Life in Europe.
The maxi-single contained a longer version of Girl titled Girl (Extended Version), lasting almost twice as long as the single version. The longer version has more lyrics, including the text shown above. I don’t know why, but the remark “all I have 2 do is think about U and I can have an orgasm” puts a smile on my face, every time. I think it’s funny.
- In 1993 Hello was part of the compilation The Hits / The B-Sides
Girl has only been played a couple of times live. one of those occasions was at the three day North Sea Jazz Festival residency in 2011. On the last night Prince learned the band the song while on stage and I was there! At the time. Prince was deeply impressed by (in love with?) Andy Allo, hence the song’s appearance on the setlist?
Click on one of the pages above to see a larger image of Prince’s handwritten cover instructions.
Not only the music, the cover had to be something different as well. No pictures of Prince or the band, just a reflection of what the album meant to Prince. Again, lots of room for experiment, psychedelica and artistic freedom.
The assignment for the design was given to Doug Henders, an artist that was also involved with Purple Rain and the consequent tour, he designed the well-known face that was printed on the inside sleeve of the album and was used as the background in the When Doves Cry video.
Prince gave me a laundry list. Old woman crying; a clown juggling the earth; a ladder going to heaven. So I could do it two ways: a collage or a surrealistic landscape, and [the latter] is what I chose, kind of a la Sgt. Pepper’s. I did that on the road, while I was on the Purple Rain tour. I would go early to the arena, arrange the stage, because a lot of the artwork was on the stage, set up my camera, shoot the show and the videos would go to him right after the show. Then he would have parties in his hotel suite in whatever city, and some people were prisoners and some people were guests. I ended up going back to my hotel room and painting all night long. After two weeks I got pretty burned out and I hired someone to take my place shooting video. I rented a hotel in Los Angeles and finished the painting. I made Prince’s management buy it an airline seat because we couldn’t trust them to put it below.
Henders refers to the handwritten instructions Prince had given. See above for the original handwritten instructions by Prince above. Click on the line below to see/read the lines in print.
Prince’s cover instructions
- Olive skinned people wearing hoods & capes of purple. Some could be white (the capes)
- Pretty little girl aged 3 or 4 on seesaw (She should be laughing)
- Paisley lawns with dandelions of yellow and violets. Lots of violets.
- An old black man age 55 crying (sitting down on a step)
- Blue sky background with fluffy clouds
- A beautiful woman Exotic looking wearing a black cape and a raspberry beret
- A blonde girl covered in lace eating an Ice Cream Cone
- A laughing woman dressed in black who resembles Clara Bow. This woman should be hysterically laughing
- An obese beraded man covered with tattoos affectionately hugging a tiger
- A small body of water an a pier An old woman crying with a hankerchief over a love lost
- A ladder leading from the water into one of the clouds in the sky
- Two or 3 people wearing black buttondowns playing tamborines (hair short on 1 side)
- A naked black baby running with an American flag
- A small russian fighter jet flying through the sky (shouldn’t be a real focal point)
- Doves flying and walking
- A juggling clown (juggling two balls a globe)
The two number 9’s isn’t a mistake, it’s how Prince wrote it. This also goes for the wrong spelling of ‘handkerchief’.
Henders took some Polaroids of a number of people (including Wendy, Lisa and Sheila E.) in Prince’s immediate surroundings modeling for figures on the cover (he even had one made of himself playing guitar).
The end result was met with approval. The painting was used as the cover to Around The World In A Day, the first album on which Prince (and band) were nowhere to be found, not on the cover nor on its inner sleeves (as was the case with 1999).
It later turned out that Prince had also contacted Jim Warren, who followed Prince’s instructions better (where is the man hugging a tiger on the eventual cover?), but Prince ultimately favored Henders.
The Around The World In A Day cover is my favorite one. Just like the music, the cover makes me happy and stands as a perfect reflection of what the album has to offer. The color purple has been replaced by (light)blue, giving it more room to ‘breathe’.
The figure in the blue suit playing the white ‘cloud’ guitar is supposed to be Prince. But why the blonde hair?
According to photographer Steve Parke Prince had cut his hair shortly after the filming of Purple Rain and dyed his short hair blonde. The paint used destroyed his hair and he had to wait for the dye to grow out naturally. At the time of the recording of the Raspberry Beret video his hair was still very short. Prince hated his ‘look’ in that video, he thought he looked like the Hulk. According to his hair stylist at the time it was the best that could be done…
The timelines in the story don’t add up, because filming for Purple Rain ended in early 1984 and the Raspberry Beret video was shot at the beginning of the second quarter of 1985. It is more likely that the cut and paint story stems from 1985, maybe before the end of the Purple Rain Tour.
What stood out the most about Around The World In A Day was that is most definitely wasn’t Purple Rain. Had every other artist made it his priority to equal the newly found success or at least extend it for as long as humanly possible, Prince had grown tired of the entire concept. He wanted something else, something new. It is highly remarkable that that something new was largely completed even before the Purple Rain Tour had had its premiere.
In the reviews the comparison with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was commonplace, due to the psychedelic feel of the music and the cover. To me Around The World In A Day is also an extremely funky album, more than Purple Rain.
What also stood out were the two credits John L. Nelson, Prince’s father, received. Wasn’t he that same aggressive difficult man from the Purple Rain movie? Just how biographical was that movie? It made the ‘story’ of Around The World In A Day, and the song Paisley Park in particular, more believable. After all, if the son can forgive his father for all his failings, love and forgiveness do indeed prevail, and that’s more than just an old-fashioned hippie-ideal.
The reactions to Around The World In A Day were somewhat mixed. For the first time since 1980’s Dirty Mind, a Prince album wasn’t unanimously lauded in the US. In Europe, where Prince was on the rise, they weren’t quite sure what to make of the album either.
The most important remarks of the reviews are:
While it lacks the sure-fire accessibility and punch of “Purple Rain” or “1999,” the album raises more questions than any other LP by this baffling but extremely gifted performer. Who knows where he’ll head next?
(Los Angeles Times, 04/22/1985)
Overall, whether one approaches it as a concept album or simply a collection of superb pop songs, it is an instrumental and stylistic tour de force, Prince’s finest hour – for now.
(New York Times, 04/22/1985)
On first listen at moderate volume, it’s drab, though nowhere near as homely as its painted cover. Repetition and volume bring out the details – the highlights are high indeed; the rest will be habitually skipped.
(USA Today, 22-04-1985)
… it speaks for him that he doesn’t play it safe by using an old formula; he dares to take risks. The fact they make for a more than decent result is a big bonus.
(Volkskrant, Dutch newspaper, 04/26/1985)
This is Prince’s bid for artistic respect, much like the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Todd Rundgren’s “A Wizard, A True Star” earned that status for their creators.
(Detroit Free Press, 04/28/1985)
On ‘Around the World in A Day’ it seems Prince has lost touch, as if he’s operating on dim recall rather than direct experience of those greedy passions and emotions that got him under way.
(New Musical Express, 05/04/1985)
The result is an album, which is his least exciting, yet his most balanced and complete.
(OOR 9, Dutch music magazine, 05/04/1985)
This by far his most eclectic album, covering more bases than a politician at election time. But unlike a politician, Prince achieves what he promises.
(The Sun, Australia, 16-05-1985)
Prince has traded what he does know [sex] for wide-eyed, goofy philosophizing that can be ugly — as with the wacko anti-Communism of “America” — as well as lovable. I’m not going along if Prince drifts off, with Earth, Wind, and Fire and Stevie Wonder, into a grit-free never-never land, but at the moment he’s still odd enough to be fascinating.
(Rolling Stone, 06/06/1985)
The little man delivers in a genius way, tipping the scales in his favour. Around The World In A Day is a musical trip filled with timbre, exotic rhythms and extraordianry effects.
(source unknown, Dutch publication, Q2-1985)
Even though this album will in no way be as successful due to its experiments (no hits), the biggest among the current rock artists proves his reliability. Surely, this is a big one.
(source unknown, Dutch publication, 07/29/1985)
Read the full reviews in the article Prince – Around The World In A Day – The reviews.
Despite Prince’s roadblocks for advertising and (postponed) single releases, the album did sell over two million copies in the US. No way near the sales figures of Purple Rain, but still more than enough to maintain his status of being untouchable at Warner Bros. The singles from the album proved that Prince, even with this difficult album, was still capable of writing songs that turned into hits.
The year prior I heard When Doves Cry for the very first time at the Stamcafe, my regular go-to spot when I was going out. I have described it before, but I was completely blown away. This was so special and different and original and exciting! After the 12-inch the album Purple Rain followed. Such wealth! When the first announcements were made regarding a new album, I couldn’t be more happy. Through a friend I got the album on cassette.
What I heard at the time was overwhelming: who was this man? How is it possible that the world is conquered with an album, movie and tour and follow that with an album that almost serves as an antidote to that? And how was it possible that it was just as good, maybe even better?
Needless to say I absolutely adored the new music. What’s more, in the summer of 1985 I bought the album on cd. I still have the first cd I ever bought. It is almost impossible to get any better than this album.
Following Prince’s passing in April of 2016 I compiled my top 50 Prince songs. Four (5 when counting B-side She’s Always In My Hair) songs in the top 50 stem from this album. Another 1 (3 if the B-sides Hello and Girl are counted) is part of the exception list. So no less than 75% of the 1985 output surrounding the Around The World In A Day album (!) is part of the music I hold in the highest esteem. That makes the album the purveyor of my favorite songs.
The overall atmosphere of the album, the colors it commands (blue), the positive feeling it brings, the rich, almost baroque, musical frame: it’s a true pleasure listening to this album, every time. And yet, it nearly misses being part of my favorite trinity Parade, Sign O’ The Times en Lovesexy and it doesn’ t qualify for the title of my all-time favorite Prince album.
But if I were to grade the album, it would be a 9.8 out of 10 (Temptation doesn’t quite get the 100% score…). Not only is this album unique in Prince’s body of work, it is unique in the (music)world. Despite references to The Beatles and the hippie era, there’s no other album that sounds quite like this album. And realizing it would all get even better is almost impossible to comprehend.
This album is one of the many highlights in Prince’s body of work and comes highly recommended!
And what did Prince himself think of the album? Going by the number of songs played live over the years, he mustn’t have been too content with it. Raspberry Beret was a regular part of the setlist, especially in the current millennium. Condition Of The Heart was a regular in the piano medleys. Other songs were sometimes used as part of a tour, but not very often.
On the eve of his birthday on June 7th, 1986, Prince called Detroit dj The Electrifying Mojo and had a short interview:
MOJO: Let’s talk about the album, Around The World In A Day… which I think was one of the greatest albums.
PRINCE: My favorite!
MOJO: It’s absolutely my favorite, without question. Tunes like “Around The World In A Day,” “Paisley Park.” What type of mood were you in when you recorded that album?
PRINCE: Yeah, I sorta had an f-you attitude, meaning that I was making something for myself and my fans. And the people who supported me through the years — I wanted to give them something and it was like my mental letter.
Prince interview, June 6th, 1986
After Around The World In A Day
Despite the fact that Prince had said goodbye to Purple Rain long ago, 1985 was still largely occupied by that album. The tour closed in that year, but all kinds of award shows were being organized. Ranging from the American Music Awards, BRIT Awards, Grammy Awards to the most prestigious of all, the Academy Awards, where Prince received an Oscar for Best Original Score. And, the sales numbers just kept on rising and in 1985 it reached the 9x platinum status!
Prince might be done with Purple Rain, the world was not.
Just like Prince was absent from We Are The World, Prince also didn’t perform at Live Aid. He had recorded the song 4 The Tears In Your Eyes in a live setting and donated the clip for broadcast that day.
Chick Huntsberry (Big Chick)
Chick Huntsberry aka Big Chick was a bodyguard who was in Prince’s employ since 1982. He stood out, big white beard, sturdy and over two meters long. They were a very recognizable pair; Big Chick accompanied Prince almost everywhere.
In early 1985 Big Chick resigned. He had grown addicted to cocaine and was becoming paranoid. Prince kept him on the payroll and regularly offered him his job back. Prince thought Big Chick quit, because he felt guilty about the problems that had arisen in the night of January 28th/29th, when bodyguard created problems for Prince.
On May 7th, 1985, an article was published in the American gossip magazine National Enquirer entitled “The Real Prince – He’s Trapped in a bizarre secret world of terror”. The source: Big Chick. For an amount of $ 3,000 Big Chick had sold his ‘story’ to the magazine, in order to maintain his addiction. In the article Prince was characterized as an eccentric, lonesome figure, who felt a prisoner of his fame. He was a workaholic, suffering from insomnia, who was convinced he was the new Mozart.
It was the next dent in Prince’s image, that was under siege in the US. Prince’s manager Steve Fargnoli reacted: “The whole thing was absurd. It’s about as accurate and as consistent with the facts as they rest of the articles in that paper. They tend to exaggerate things, don’t they?”.
Later Huntsberry would admit the story was made up and professed his regret. Huntsberry was able to kick his habit and became an evangelist. In 1990 he died of a heart attack, he was only 49 years old. Prince organized a benefit show and donated the proceeds to Huntsberry’s family. Prince has never said anything unsavory about Huntsberry and genuinely cared for him.
Spaghetti? Yes, spaghetti. In April of 1985 Prince®, the American pasta factory, aired a commercial, which clearly played into Prince’s Purple Rain mania that swooped across the nation. Prince’s (the artist) management wasn’t particularly charmed by the commercial and sent a letter to the Prince® pasta factory ‘kindly’ requesting them to never air the commercial again and stop selling pasta using their client’s name.
Prince (the artist) learned about the letter as the media picked up on the story. By the way, he thought the commercial was rather funny and didn’t see any harm in it.
See the commercial in the article Prince – The spaghetti controversy!.
Around The World In A Day‘s release led to other problems as well. Accusations of Prince selling out to white audiences started to appear. His black audience felt alienated by Prince and even accused him of willfully trying to distance himself from them with his rock and psychedelica. Where had the funk gone?
The bodyguard fight, not participating in We Are The World, the National Enquirer article, the letter to the Prince® pasta factory and criticism surrounding the release of Around The World In A Day led Prince (and his management) to undertake action.
Prince wrote the song Hello, which was released as a B-side. But why not go further, why shouldn’t he take the opportunity to tell his side of the story, and show people who he was and how he lived?
So, that’s what went down: Prince had an interview with Neal Karlen, a 25 year old freelance reporter. The story would be published on September 12th, 1985, in the American magazine Rolling Stone. In The Netherlands, the article was translated and published on September 21st, 1985, in Dutch music magazine Oor (mistakenly identifying Wally Safford for Chick Huntsberry).
The article (and interview) was well written and highly interesting to read, but the damage had already been done. Prince was over, at least for the bigger audience in the US. His popularity would only wane more and more (until the huge Batman craze in 1989).
It’s a kind of a ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg’ situation, but maybe the fact that Prince started to focus more on Europe, where his music and experimentations were more valued, played a big part in that, or was it the other way around? Was it because of the misunderstanding and criticism in the US that he shifted his attention towards the old continent?
Read the entire interview in the story Prince tries to control the damage: the big 1985 Rolling Stone interview.
In December 1984 Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore, who was an American senator at the time, bought the Purple Rain album with her daughter. Upon arrival at their home they listened to the album and were shocked when they reached the last song of the album’s A-side, Darling Nikki.
My 11-year-old bought Prince’s 10-million-seller “Purple Rain” album because she heard an innocuous song, “Let’s Go Crazy”, on the radio. But once we got our purchase home, we were also treated to “Darling Nikki”. The song describes “Nikki” as “a sex fiend”, who spends her time “in a hotel lobby, masturbating”.
The Smut and Sadism of Rock, Tipper Gore, 1985
Mrs Gore sprung into action and founded the Parents Music Resource Center (in short PMRC). The organization compiled the so-called Filthy Fifteen, a list containing examples of the worst contemporary lyrics. The first two positions were held by Prince. Next to Darling Nikki, the number two was Sugar Walls, which was released in 1984 and was written by Alexander Nevermind, a Prince psuedonym. Vanity, who had launched a solo career after leaving Vanity 6, was also part of the list.
The Filthy Fifteen
These were the entries in the Filthy Fifteen, as compiled by the PMRC.
|#||Artist||Song title||Lyrical content|
|2||Sheena Easton||Sugar Walls||Sex|
|3||Judas Priest||Eat Me Alive||Sex/Violence|
|4||Vanity||Strap On ‘Robbie Baby’||Sex|
|6||AC/DC||Let Me Put My Love Into You||Sex|
|7||Twisted Sister||We’re Not Gonna Take It||Violence|
|8||Madonna||Dress You Up||Sex|
|9||W.A.S.P.||Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)||Sex/Language/Violence|
|10||Def Leppard||High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)||Drug/Alcohol Use|
|11||Mercyful Fate||Into the Coven||Occult|
|12||Black Sabbath||Trashed||Drug/Alcohol Use|
|13||Mary Jane Girls||In My House||Sex|
|15||Cyndi Lauper||She Bop||Sex/Masturbation|
It even led to a Senate hearing. In September 1985 the Commision convened with the PMRC and discussed the matter. Prince was cited a number of times. Next to Darling Nikki and Sugar Walls, Sister (stemming from 1980’s Dirty Mind) and The Time‘s If The Kid Can’t Make You Come were also mentioned.
On behalf of the artists, Frank Zappa, Dee Snider and John Denver chose to talk. The artists ‘lost’, albeit just this one battle. When the conclusion of the hearing hadn’t been published yet, the Recording Association of America decided to place Parental Advisory / Explicit Lyrics stickers on albums, starting on November 1st, 1985. Sales for albums with stickers declined, but luckily the solution was near: don’t place the stickers. That decision was quickly withdrawn, but the impact was quickly waning. After a few years, especially upon the arrival of gangsta-rap, the sticker almost gauranteed huge sales.
And what has become of the Filthy Fifteen? On Spotify just one of the fifteen songs is accompanied by the “explicit” label (W.A.S.P.’s song).
And Prince? In his autobiography Frank Zappa comments on Prince’s silence, especially since he was the direct cause for all the mess in the first place. Prince has been known to say he understood why parents had a wish for protection.
The story on what came after Around The World In A Day actually starts five days prior to the album’s release. On April 17th, 1985. Prince enters Sunset Sound, tells Susan Rogers to keep on recording, even if he stops, sits behind the drum kit and plays the drum tracks in sequence for four (!) new songs. He then switched to bass, guitar, synthesizer, piano, etc. The first four songs for the successor, Parade, are done: Wendy’s Parade (later re-titled to Christopher Tracy’s Parade), New Position, I Wonder U and Under The Cherry Moon were essentially finished on that very same day.
The recording sessions run so smoothly that on May 1st, 1985, a first configuration of an entirely new album can be compiled:
- Wendy’s Parade
- New Position
- I Wonder U
- Under The Cherry Moon
- Others Here With Us
- Life Can Be So Nice
- Sometimes It Snows In April
- Old Friends 4 Sale
- All My Dreams
History repeated itself. Again Prince was busy recording new music even before the preceding album had been released. He was loaded with ideas and plans.
1985 saw a lot of work done for others, like The Family’s debut album, the second Sheila E. album In Romance 1600 and songs for the likes of André Cymone and The Bangles.
Prince would record a staggering 73 (!) new songs in 1985. But that still wasn’t all.
Under The Cherry Moon
Prince reigned supreme, so when he conveyed his wish to make another movie to Warner Bros., he was granted permission to do so. Without even a hint of a script Prince was awarded a movie budget of $ 10 Million. It was to be a romantic movie, that would be situated in the 1930’s. From June 985 onwards Prince was busy with the script, scouting locations and filming in Nice, France.
June 7th, 1985
On June 7th, 1985, Prince turned 27. He held a party inviting about 200 guests at the Prom Center in St. Paul (twin-city of Minneapolis). The room was decorated as some kind of carnival. Prince And The Revolution played a one hour set:
- A Love Bizarre
- Sometimes It Snows In April
- Irresistible Bitch
- Drawers Burnin’
- Holly Rock (jam)
Except for two songs, all songs were new and had never been performed live. Recordings of the night circulate in Prince circles.
October 27th, 1985
Because Prince was filming his movie Under The Cherry Moon in France and he wanted to use live recordings for his final Around The World In A Day single America, Prince And The Revolution performed in Nice on October 27th, 1985. A week earlier the mini show was announced on radio station Radio de la Côte and the 2,000 tickets were passed out to fans on October 22nd, 1985.
The Revolution, who were flown in with saxophone players Eric Leeds and Eddie M., played an hour long set:
- America (take 1)
- America (take 2)
- Paisley Park
- Let’s Go Crazy
- Little Red Corvette
- Purple Rain
Paisley Park was also professionally filmed. During the soundcheck Pop Life, Temptation, Paisley Park and the new songs ♥ or $, Go and An Honest Man were played. Recordings of the soundcheck circulate in Prince circles.
Immediately following the video recordings a video interview was taped, which would be broadcast by MTV on November 13th, 1985. The questions, which were asked by Prince’s manager Steve Fargnoli, had been provided by the MTV News Desk. The place of action was the stage on which Prince And The Revolution had just given their spectacular performance. Prince was surrounded by people who had been in the audience just moments earlier.
See the complete interview in the article Prince – The MTV interview.
The Revolution expanded?
At the shows Prince did play, following the release of Around The World In A Day, it soon became apparent that The Revolution was expanding. The extra personnel on the record proved to be a good thing. The six piece Revolution was coming to an end, reportedly much to the chagrin of Wendy & Lisa. But to Prince it meant an opportunity to expand his music with more instruments, colors and sounds flavors.
Prince = Victor
The story goes that Prince died in 1985 and was replaced by another person, named Christopher…
In short: the real Prince died in 1985 in a motorcycle accident. Because the (financial) interests were that great, Prince was replaced, by a, surgically enhanced, copy named Christopher. This Christopher, however, was a very religious person, who was deeply troubled by the sexually oriented music and lyrics of the ‘old’ Prince. Because the ‘old’ Prince had recorded so much music, Christopher was able to slowly live up to the standard. All material up to, and including, The Black Album was already done. But Christopher was up-to-speed a lot quicker than anticipated and thought The Black Album wasn’t suitable. It is also Christopher that is to blame for the name-change. He wanted to use his own name, but the record company didn’t allow him to. After a long fight Christopher gave up and returned to being called Prince. Oh, by the way, The Revolution wasn’t let go. They hated Christopher and quit themselves. They never talked about the replacement in fear of getting killed by the record-company.
All good fun, but there are actually people that believe these fairy-tales. But, to be fair, the story is funny. See this article on the blog by Shane Speal for the complete story.
Around The World In A Day was an important album for Prince. It almost immediately stopped his superstar status. Prince didn’t seem to care very much about it. His music would turn ever more experimental, which would result into the holy trinity of Parade, Sign O’ The Times and Lovesexy (of which The Black Album is an important part).
What do you think of Around The World In A Day and this phase in Prince’s career? Just as exciting as the early beginnings or the beginning of the end, as US audiences seemed to think? Let me know!
I would like to sincerely thank Bram and Edward for their proofreading and to Edgar Kruize for providing me with thre more reviews and the Dutch ad.
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince creates psychedelic funk on Around The World In A Day. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Album cover print proof, Prince – Purple Rain Tour Tamborine, Prince – The Ladder – Handwritten chorus & Prince – Birthday 1985 invitation images: icollector.com
Prince And The Revolution – Live (video) & Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Alternative cover? images: prince.org
Purple Rain Tour & Prince – Parade images: princevault.com
Prince, Wendy & Lisa – 4 The Tears In Your Eyes – Video image: 45spaces.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Dutch ad image: Prince: The Dutch Experience – Edgar Kruize
Rolling Stone Magazine Logo image: srds.com
Prince And The Revolution – 1985 logo image: redbubble.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Advert, Prince – Around The World In A Day – Purple Rain Tour book, Prince And The Revolution – Pop Life – Single UK ad, Clara Bow & Prince – Raspberry Beret – Cloud boot images: pinterest.com
Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse = Paisley Park? image: princevault.com/maraid.co.uk
Prince, Wendy & Lisa accepting Oscar for Purple Rain, 03/25/1985 image: twitter.com
Prince – New exotic instruments image: thomann.de
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Side A & B images: thevinylear.nl
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day image: oldskoolhooligans.com
Prince And The Revolution – Paisley Park – Singles & Shape disc, Prince And The Revolution – She’s Always In My Hair – B-side label, Prince And The Revolution – Hello – B-side label, Prince And The Revolution – Girl – B-side label images: discogs.com
Prince And The Revolution – Paisley Park – Video image: moonbeamlevels4u.info
Prince – Condition Of The Heart – Sheet music image: scribd.com
Prince And The Revolution – Raspberry Beret – Single UK ad image: lansuresmusicparapernalia.blogspot.com
Prince And The Revolution – Raspberry Beret – Single & Prince And The Revolution – Pop Life – Single images: prince.com
Prince And The Revolution – Raspberry Beret – Video & Prince And The Revolution – America – Video images: hq-music-videos.com
Prince And The Revolution – America – Single image: flabbergasted-vibes.org/45cat.com
Prince in lust (1982) image: wired.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Test pressing – 02/06/1985, Prince – Around The World In A Day – Cover notes, pages 1 & 2 images: rrauctions.com
Prince – She’s Always In My Hair – Handwritten lyrics image: waxpoetics.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Cover Polaroids image: redbullacademy.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Gatefold image: 45worlds.com
Prince – Around The World In A Day – Multi-Platinum Sales Award image: ha.com
Prince And The Revolution – Around The World In A Day – Songs image: bol.com/discogs.com
Prince – Purple Rain – Oscar image: twitter.com/paisleypark
Prince & Big Chick – 1982/1985 image: lipstickalley.com/facebook.com/ebay.com
Prince – The Rolling Stone interview 1985 image: facebook.com
PMRC – Congress – 1985 image: theguardian.com/loudwire.com/societyofrock.com
Prince And The Revolution – Ticket 10/27/1985 image: twitter.com/housequake
Prince – Interview MTV 1985 image: mtv.com
Prince = Victor image: shanespeal.com