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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, 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 Wal-Mart 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, "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.
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.
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.
Gary Lewis and the Playboys had 7 Top-10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.