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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)
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
Mac Powell of Third Day
The Third Day frontman talks about some of the classic songs he wrote with the band, and what changed for his solo country album.
Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"
When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.