America

Album: Around The World In A Day (1985)
Charted: 46

Songfacts®:

  • Recorded at the converted warehouse Prince used as a recording studio in Eden Prairie, Minnesota on July 23, 1984, this rock and roll funk song finds him critiquing America and worrying about a nuclear Armageddon. Such concerns were a common theme in Prince's lyrics in the 1980s, most notably on "1999."
  • "America" was culled from an epic group performance involving:

    Prince - vocals, assorted instruments
    Brown Mark - bass guitar
    Wendy Melvoin - guitar
    Lisa Coleman - keyboards
    Dr. Fink - keyboards
    Bobby Z. - drums and percussion.

    Prince's staff engineer Susan Rogers recalled to Uncut: "They would jam it for 15, 20, 30 minutes, We were working at the top of a reel of tape of 30 in a second, which gave us roughly 16 minutes; we ran until the tape run out. The band would get a groove going and just play, he might call out changes, and the song would fall from rehearsal."
  • "America" was cut to 3:40 on the album, though the 12-inch single runs for 21:46.
  • The video is a 10-minute live version that was shot on October 27, 1985 at Théâtre de Verdure in Nice, France. It was played on MTV during an entire segment dedicated to the single.
  • This was the third and final single from Around The World In A Day, following "Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life." The album showed up on April 22, 1985, just 10 months after his blockbuster Purple Rain. Prince had played the album for his distributor, Warner Bros. Records, but wouldn't let them run a promotional campaign - the album simply showed up in record stores, shocking fans.

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