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Little Red Corvette by Prince

Album: 1999Released: 1983Charted:
6
2
  • Prince got the idea for this when he dozed off in backup singer Lisa Coleman's pink Edsel after an exhausting all night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually he was able to finish it without sleeping.
  • This is about sex, but it's just obscure enough not to offend anybody. Many of his earlier songs, like "Head," "Dirty Mind," and "Soft And Wet," were blatantly sexual, which turned off radio stations.
  • For Prince, this was his first big hit. Over the next few years he had many more, making him extremely popular on radio stations and as a concert draw.
  • Previous Prince material was much more raw and funky than this. This was much more slick, which led to radio play and commercial success.
  • 1999 was Prince's fifth album. He had just modest success to this point, his biggest hit being the #11 "I Wanna Be Your Lover" four years earlier.
  • The line, "She had a pocket full of horses, Trojans, some of them used," refers to Trojan condoms. The "Jockeys" represent men who have previously slept with the girl. These were veiled sexual references that not enough people got to make the song be considered offensive.
  • Stevie Nicks got the idea for "Stand Back" from this song. She heard it in her car, drove to the recording studio, and put down some tracks. "It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs," she remembered in the liner notes for Timespace.

    Prince came in and added the keyboard bit. As Nicks tells it, he came up with the riff as soon as he started playing it.
  • This was one of the first videos by a black artist to get regular airplay on MTV. Michael Jackson was the first to break the color barrier on MTV with "Billie Jean," and this came soon after. The band shot the clip during a tour stop in Jacksonville; the song was already a radio hit when they made it.
  • "1999" was released before this and didn't do well, but it was re-released after this became a hit and went to #12 in the US.
  • In 2001, Chevrolet put up billboards with a picture of a red 1963 Corvette Sting Ray that said, "They don't write songs about Volvos." In 2003, Chevrolet used this in a commercial that aired for the first time during the Grammys. The ad showed old footage of The Beach Boys performing "My 409" followed by Don McLean singing "American Pie" ("drove my Chevy to the levee"), and then Prince performing this. The camera then goes outside the club to show Chevy's latest model.
  • There was a Billboard for the Chevrolet Corvette made from this song as well. It had the lyric "Little Red Corvette, baby ur much 2 fast" and Prince's logo over the Corvette. It was displayed behind the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2003. (thanks, Mike - Melbourne, FL)
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Comments: 23

@ Ken, Louisville, KY: Prince's band started doing parts on his albums starting with Dirty Mind(1980) some songs all Prince, some song Prince an a member or 2, some songs a full band: for example the song Dirty Mind has Dr Fink on Synth, the song Head has Dr Fink on Synth Lisa Coleman on vocals. 1981 (Controversy:Jack U Off) is a full band recording.
On this song Little Red Corvette, guitar by Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman on vocals...
Tyler - Rochester, Ny
"jockeys that were there before me"....refers to all the guys that have "ridden" herJohnny - Claxton, Ga
i love the lyric "she had a pocket full of horses" of course he's taling about the trojnans in her pocket, geniusAnthony - Park City, Ut
Here's a hint: it ain't a song about cars. If you don't leap to the correct conclusion from that information, here's another one: girls have little red corvettes, but boys don't. Boys only get to drive them some of the time. (Gonna try to tame your little red love machine.) Virtually every one of Prince's songs is about sex, but this one is the most deliciously explicit.Delbert - Pittsburgh, Pa
When I listen to this song I think of a young, teenage guy out with an older girl, not sure what to do...he wants to sleep with her but he's a little nervous cause its his first time. But once it happens, he doesn't regret. Awesome song. Prince is the greatest.Betj - Lima, Oh
The Stevie Nicks angle above is almost correct. Nicks had been working on Stand Back for awhile but it wasn't complete in her mind. She and her boyfriend were driving in LA and listening to Little Red Corvette and decided that Stand Back needed a similar synthesizer track. They reached Prince that night through some connections and she played Stand Back for him over the phone. Prince came up with the synthesizer track on the spot and came down to Nick's studio to lay it down. The synthesizer in Stand Back was created by Prince after hearing the song one time and I believe he layed it down in one take. Prince is probably the most talented and prolific musician of our lifetime. (BTW, this story comes from Nicks herself, from her VH1 Storyteller show).George - Raleigh, Nc
this song is agood song it alwas reminds me of a long ago girlfriend every time i here it played.Mark - Hobart, United States
woods from Minneapolis is half correct...the girls name was Bebe. The song was written about rock groupie and mother of Liv Tyler..Bebe Buell.Rod - Cincinnati, Oh
the guitar hook in this song is one of the best ever...so tasty, so round, so firm, so...fully-packed...2 others are in the intro to 'Purple Rain' and the hook in 'when you were mine' Prince is a guitar genius.Kevin - Omaha, Ne
There's a woman in Mpls who this song may be written about. The Corvette is a great analogy. This woman's nickname was BB......... "BB you're much to fast."

Not "Baby you're much too fast" And, she's still too fast!
Woods - Minneapolis, Mn
I worked at a Grocery store in New Hampshire for a few years, and this would always play around 10 AM, when older people were shopping. My co-workers and I always had a laugh at how little the elderly shoppers knew about what was really going on in this song. A common Retail song that probably doesn't belong in most stores :)Paul - Durham, Nh
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought it was "Jackie's" and not "Jockey's," and even as a young teen of the 80s I quickly realized it to refer to past lovers.Ma_cherie - Little Rock, Ar
Alex imagine that said prostitute is a horse and then think about it.Ryan - Grand Rapids, Mn
This is the best song by Prince. It's hard not to lay down on the pedal while it's playingMike - Hueytown , Al
Lovely tune, one of his very best! Prince is a musical genius and I recognize his lyrics even when sang by other artists like Suzanna Hoffs, Sinead O'Connor and Sheena Easton.Michael - San Diego, Ca
By "jockeys that were there before me", he could be referring to the prostitute's illegitimate children, as both young children and jockeys are suppossed tobe small and lightweight. Just a thought.Alex - New Orleans, La
On vh1 Paul McCartney selected this as one of his favourite songs of all timeAlasdair - Newdigate, England
I thought Prince did the guitar in this song??Ashley Jade - Cleveland, Ga
Prince plays guitars that are made with a special wood from the Heyhoyazmahoudee district of Madagascar.Jim - Dallas, Tx
I saw his guitarist Dez Dickerson open up for Billy Idol on the Rebel Yell tour in '84. I think you can see Dez playing an Aria Pro Explorer that's divided half red / half black, also in the 1999 video I think - and I also think he wore a kamakazi headband. He looked just like that live at the Idol show.Don - San Antonio, Tx
As with all of his other pre-"Purple Rain" records, Prince plays all instruments and sings all vocals parts on this song.Ken - Louisville, Ky
http://www.littleredcorrvette.com/

U were saying?
Vincent - Littleredcorrvette.com, United States
Quite possibly the best song Prince ever wrote. I guess a lot of Prince fans don't frequent Song Facts, because there should be a ton of testimonials here right now. "Little Red Corvette" is perfect in nearly every regard: performance, production and songwriting are all strong. An early peak for Prince, the beginning of a long career filled with hit singles and innovations.James - L.a., Ca