Around The World In A Day

Album: Around The World In A Day (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • Can you really go around the world in a day? In your mind you can. On this track, Prince is once again inviting us to look beyond the ether and see possibility, not limitation. "Open your heart, open your mind," he tells us.
  • This is one of the few Prince songs he didn't write entirely on his own. It started off as a song recorded by David Coleman, the brother of Revolution band member Lisa Coleman and a talented multi-instrumentalist in his own right. Prince gave David some recording time at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles as a birthday gift, which is where he demoed the initial version of "Around The World In A Day." When Prince heard the song, he asked to use it, and David complied, earning a writer's credit on the track (John Nelson, who is Prince's father, also has a credit - Prince sometimes gave him credits so he would earn royalties).

    Prince re-worked the song but kept the title. David Coleman played on the final version, adding cello, finger cymbals and two Middle Eastern instruments: darbuka and oud. Coleman died of an enlarged heart in 2004.
  • "Around The World In A Day" is the title track and first song on Prince's seventh album, which was released on April 22, 1985, just 10 months after his groundbreaking mega-seller Purple Rain. Prince initially planned to release no singles from the album, figuring radio stations would just play the songs they wanted. When they didn't, Prince issued "Raspberry Beret" as a single, followed by "Pop Life" and "America." The album didn't reach the commercial or artistic heights of its predecessor, but still went to #1 in America, where it sold over 2 million copies. This title track holds up as a fan favorite, with a groovy, Indian-flavored soul sound that stands out in his catalog.
  • Prince's staff engineer, Susan Rogers, recalled to Uncut: "David had this song, he played it for Prince, and Prince just loved it. He loved the theme and its little bit of exoticism. We played David's original cassette at the warehouse, with cello and finger cymbals. I remember it had the chorus and the tagline. Prince certainly wrote the verses."
  • Prince's own version was recorded with his band the Revolution at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesotta (which was converted into a recording studio) on August 16, 1984. He later added vocals and further embellishment and removed elements too. "I was handed a rough mix of the title track, that had a full rhythm section on it," Prince's saxophonist Eric Leeds recalled to Uncut. "Obviously, that never ended up on the final mix. I was disappointed. I asked Prince later why he took off the rhythm section. He said it was just the way he wanted it to be. I thought the original version was much hipper! But he was in his minimalist mode at that point."
  • Prince opened every show on his 1986 Parade tour with this song.

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