I Would Die 4 U

Album: Purple Rain (1984)
Charted: 58 8
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Songfacts®:

  • Prince is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice on this Purple Rain track, where he declares a religious level of devotion. The enigma that was Prince is embodied in the opening lines:

    I'm not a woman
    I'm not a man
    I am something that you'll never understand
  • Prince used his LM-1 drum machine to create the rhythm on this track. Released in 1980, the LM-1 was the first programable unit that used real samples, not synthesized sounds. About 500 were made, sold for $5000 each, which kept them in the hands of serious musicians. By 1984, more advanced machines were on the market, but Prince was still using his LM-1. He had a talent for running the beats through guitar effects and embellishing them with other studio tricks, making him one of the best drum machine programmers of his time.
  • On the Purple Rain tour, this was a showcase song for Sheila E., who served as Prince's opening act and also joined him on stage. Her live percussion on "I Would Die 4 U" compensated for the beats that couldn't be generated outside of the studio.
  • The "4 U" is Prince language. Another example is "Nothing Compares 2 U."
  • Purple Rain served as the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. In the film Prince performs it on stage, wowing the crowd.
  • Justin Timberlake performed part of this song at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesotta. A projection of Prince ran while a recording of him singing the song was blended with Timberlake.

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