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Darling Nikki by Prince

Album: Purple RainReleased: 1984
  • This is about a sexual encounter with Nikki, a sex fiend the singer encounters in a hotel lobby "masturbating with a magazine." Prince has released many songs that deal explicitly with sex, but many of them went unnoticed because they were not released as singles. This got more attention because the album was so popular.
  • When Tipper Gore (wife of former US vice-president Al Gore) heard her daughter listening to this song, she became outraged and started the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) to fight against offensive lyrics. Led by the wives of US politicians, the PMRC got hearings on the issue where musicians like Frank Zappa, Dee Snider and John Denver spoke against any form of censorship in music. Tipper was vilified by many people who supported the right to free speech, and no laws were passed restricting lyrics. The controversy did lead to a voluntary system where record labels put warning stickers on albums containing explicit content. In 1991, when Walmart announced they would not sell any albums with warning stickers, many artists began releasing both clean and explicit versions of their albums.
  • In 2001, Prince became a Jehovah's Witness. This put an end to his sexually-charged lyrics.
  • This topped the PMRC's list of songs they found most offensive, which they called the Filthy 15." Another song on the list, Sheena Easton's "Sugar Walls," was also written by Prince.
  • At the very end of the song, it sounds as if there is a choir singing a bizarre, foreign language in almost a "Jazz-Scat meets Gospel" style. Prince used a technique called backmasking to record this. Played forwards, it just sounds merely like a strange gospel chorale. Played backwards, the choir is singing "Hello! How are you? I'm fine, 'Cuz I know that the lord is coming soon... Coming, coming soon!" It is a very clear example of intentional backmasking. You can verify this using a computer containing software that can reverse wav or mp3 files. Prince also used backmasking on many songs off the Purple Rain album, and subsequent albums to follow. (thanks, Dave - Marieta, GA)
  • The Foo Fighters released a new version of this in 2003, although Prince wouldn't let them release it in the United States.
  • Tupac Shakur's "Heartz of Men," from his 1996 album All Eyez on Me, features a sample of this song.
  • On the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith came up with his own lyrics to this song when he was trapped in a basement with his new girlfriend during an earthquake in the episode "Did the Earth Move For You?" He sang:

    "I'm stuck in a basement, sittin' on a tricycle, girl gettin' on my nerves
    Goin' outta my mind, I thought she was fine, don't know if her body is hers."
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Comments: 26

Sorry Dutch... that's not even close to correct. The 1999 album was no where near the beginning of Prince's sexuality... not even close. Prince busted out of the gate with sexually charged content. His first album contained the sexy "Soft and Wet" and the line "I wanna be the only one you come for" in "I Wanna be Your Lover"... his third studio album "Dirty Mind" is quite possibly the most sexually explicit mainstream album ever made... lol. It was his first album that was touched by only his hands... kept far away from the meddling record execs that censored his first two efforts... lyrics about coming on a wedding dress and a sister turning out a younger brother and threesomes were shocking to say the least back then. 1999 was downright tame compared to "Dirty Mind." Dirty Mind was tantalizing dirty... only three songs off of it could actually be played on the radio.Johnny - Claxton, Ga
To Dan, He's backmasked songs on a few of his albums. Baby I'm A Star starts out with it and ends with it:guitarist Wendy Melvoin. There might be some in Let's Go Crazy, also on the follow up album Around the World in a Day:Bside Girl(long version)


Prince also used backmasking on many songs off the Purple Rain album, and subsequent albums to follow." Is this true?- Dan, West Hartford, CT
Tyler - Rochester, Ny
i really love this song it's one of my favorite songs actually it is my favorite song.Tashey - Pittsburgh, Philippines
wait...why is Nikki a name associated with the devil? lolz...I've never heard such a thing.Nikki - Springcreek, Pa
OK i had herd about a particular meaning of this song and i choose to stick w/this. i heard the song is about selling his soul to the devil. and if you think about it he talks about darling "nikki", nikki being name associated w/the devil. she took him to her "castle", she had so many "devices". and to bring it home "she said sign your name on the dotted line". then how ironic is at that at the end of such a racy song he's talking about the lord coming home soon. i think this explanation makes sense and i like the idea so i have been keeping this in mind when i think about the song!Applejacks - City Of Wind, Il
Actually!!! I remember this Song Played Live in the Purple Rain Tour when the song was over, they played the end part, in the normal, non-backmasking way!! Sounded like a nice tune. Beautiful Backmasking!!!Fernand - Bronx, Ny
To ma_cherie, if you listen to Little Nikki...he says "Masterbating with Magazine". Besides how can you masterbate IN a magazine if you're in person??
Just asking!
Oh and I LOVE Prince and Little Nikki is one of my favs!!
Angel - Anaheim, Ca
I love this song because when i first heard it my sis and i made up a dance 2 itVictoria - Warren, Ri
I believe the correct lyrics are "Masturbating *IN* a magazine."Ma_cherie - Little Rock, Ar
To Nikki in Newcastle, my dad wanted to name me Vanity after Vanity 6. You definitely got off better.Janie - Atlanta, Ga
"Prince also used backmasking on many songs off the Purple Rain album, and subsequent albums to follow." Is this true?Dan - West Hartford, Ct
My first encounter with Prince was with the albums 'Controversy' and '1999'. From the moment I heard '1999' I wanted to play it on New Year's eve, 1999. It was Murphy's Law that I was working that New Year's Eve...
His sexual expression started in the track 'DMSR' on 1999. Small extract: 'Strip right down 2 ur underwear and work ur body like a whore'... To me the man is a living Legend, and indeed, many have performed big, big hits from the hands of Prince. Tom Jones' 'Kiss' put Sir Tom back on stage, and the list is endless.. Let's not forget that the way he writes is what we all use in chat-lingo, using numbers instead of letters to abbreviate the words. It's just a shame that he doesn't tour as much..
Dutch - Warrington Cheshire, England
I was named after this song ... how special do i feel??! Oh, and foo fighters version is mint! HahaNikki - Newcastle, England
I very rarely write lyrics that could be called "explicit," and I'll never have a hit song or record deal anyway, so it doesn't matter, but if I ever do, I will never authorize 'edited versions' of my songs and I will never buy a CD at WalMart. And as "principled" as they are about explicit song lyrics, they don't mind selling movies with filthy scenes in them. This is because no one will release edited versions of movies and money is clearly a higher priority for WalMart than morality.Dennis - Anchorage, Ak
The foo fighters version isnt as good as princesMax - New York, United States
Has anyone heard any theories about who this song is about? I never really thought about it until I was watching the 20th Anniversary DVD reissue of Purple Rain. In one of the documentaries Wendy and Lisa are talking about the song and one of them whispers to the other "I think he was singing about..." but they don't let you hear who it is. It could have been done for show, to raise suspicions about it but it actually did make me curious. It had never occurred to me to wonder about it before. It's a great song. I was in the fourth grade when this album came out. I remember buying the record with money I won in a drawing to reward those of us who sold X amount of candy bars in a school fundraiser. I hung the poster that came with it on my wall and then shortly afterwards my mom scratched up this track on my record up with a hair pin when she heard the lyrics. Then she did the same thing with the b-side of my "Let's Go Crazy" 45, "Erotic City". I was very upset and learned to hide my "dirty" records after that. If she only knew then what would happen lyrically in music over the next 20 years.....This was actually pretty shocking in 1984 and I believe this was the song that taught me the word "masturbating", which I probably would have ignored had my mom not freaked out.Shawn - Lansing, Mi
Is NOT riduclous @ all. It's only in YOUR mind. This was the original "BAD" song that lead 2 everything with a stciker now. Everyone oneelse tried 2 top this songs dirty lyrix with cusses and bad words. This man has style!Vincent - Littleredcorrvette.com, United States
Prince, in my mind, is very unique. I love the way he expresses his thoughts about sex and current events. I think his lyrics are amazing.Jake - Philadelphia, Pa
Foo Fighters darling nikki is really good i heard it on o rock and i loved it so i downloaded it... its a lil bit perverted, but its better than prince's version.Amanda - Palm Coast, Fl
this song is awesome. i like the foo fighters version also.Derrick - Linden, Ca
My favourite song on the Purple Rain album.
"She said sign your name on the dotted line, lights went out Nikki start to griiiind"
FUNKY!
Jam Kemal - Lindua, South Africa
Prince commented that this was the "coldest song ever written." He also stated that the Revolution was the perfect band for it.Mike - Seattle, Wa
I think prince is one of the music industries biggest sex symbols.Austin - Charlotte, Nc
When the Foo Fighters recorded the new version of this song Prince asked Dave Grohl not to put it on the new album "One By One", so the Foo Fighters just gave the song to radio stations to play. You could also download this song off of the Foo Fighters website.Randell - Mounds, Ok
At the very end "Darling Nikki", on the Purple Rain album, it sounds as if there is a choir singing a bizzare, foreign language, in almost a "jazz-scat meets gospel" style. Actually, Prince used a technique called backmasking to record this. Played forwards, it just sounds merely like a strange gospel chorale. Played backwards, the choir is actually singing "HELLO! HOW ARE YOU? I'M FINE, 'CUZ I KNOW THAT THE LORD IS COMING SOON...COMING, COMING, SOON!" It is a very clear example of intentional backmasking. You can verify this using a computer containing software that can reverse wav or mp3 files. Prince also used backmasking on many songs off the Purple Rain album, and subsequent albums to follow.Dave - Marieta, Ga
Compared to what's out there now, seems riduclous to make such a big deal about a song that wasn't even released as a single.Michael - Bohemia, Ny