1999 (song)

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For other music named 1999, see 1999 (disambiguation).
"1999"
US 7" single (1982)
Single by Prince
from the album 1999
B-side Original: "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
"D.M.S.R." (UK 12")
"Let's Pretend We're Married" (DEU 12")
"Uptown", "Controversy", "Dirty Mind", "Sexuality" (AUS 12")
Re-release: "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
"D.M.S.R."
Released September 24, 1982 (original)[1]
November 3, 1998 (re-release)
Format 7" single
12" single
CD single (re-release)
Recorded Sunset Sound, 1982
Genre
Length 6:22
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Do Me, Baby"
(1982)
"1999"
(1982)
"Little Red Corvette"
(1983)
Prince (UK) chronology
"Let's Work"
(1982)
"1999"
(1982)
"Little Red Corvette"
(1983)
Prince (1999) chronology
"NYC Live"
(1997)
"1999"
(1998)
(UK only re-release)
"1999: The New Master"
(1999)
Prince (UK) (1999) chronology
"The Holy River"/"Somebody's Somebody"
(1997)
"1999"
(1998)
"1999: The New Master"
(1999)
1999 track listing
"1999"
(1)
"Little Red Corvette"
(2)
Alternative cover
UK 12" single (1998 rerelease)

"1999" is a song by Prince, the title track from his 1982 album of the same name. The song is one of Prince's best-known, and a defining moment in his rise to superstar status.

The apocalyptic yet upbeat party anthem saw chart success in 1983 (particularly in Australia, where it peaked at #2), but it did not make it into the Top 40 in the US or the UK on the first attempt. The song originally peaked at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1982. However, upon being re-promoted after "Little Red Corvette" hit the Top 10, it peaked at #12 in the US in July 1983, and at #25 in the UK in January 1983 (reaching #2 in the UK when re-released in 1985).[2]

The B-side, the piano ballad "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?", became a fan favorite. It has been covered by many artists, including single releases by Stephanie Mills in 1983 and Alicia Keys in 2001.

Recording[edit]

The album version of the song starts with a slowed-down voice, reassuring the listener "Don't worry, I won't hurt you. I only want you to have some fun." Prince shares lead vocals on the track with members of his band The Revolution, namely Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones. Originally conceived to be a three-part harmony, it was later decided to separate out the voices that started each verse.

Prince created "1999" around the central riff of the 1966 song, "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas. Prince, writing under the pseudonym "Christopher", reused the verse melody in the song "Manic Monday", recorded by The Bangles.[3]

Reception[edit]

Some music critics have suggested Phil Collins' 1985 song "Sussudio" sounds very similar to "1999".[4] Collins confirmed this claim,[5] and remembers listening to "1999" frequently while he was on tour with Genesis.[6]

Rolling Stone ranked the song #215 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Performances[edit]

On New Year's Eve 1999, Prince (his stage name at that time still being an unpronounceable symbol) held a concert titled Rave Un2 the Year 2000 at his Paisley Park Studios Soundstage, and he later vowed never to play it again. However, in August 2007, as part of his Earth Tour, he reintroduced the song to his set after an absence of almost eight years.

On Dec. 31, 1998, the song was played after the Cirque Du Soleil "O" show for the night had finished, at the Bellagio Hotel, Paradise, Nevada. Attendees found a bottle of champagne and confetti under their chairs.

On Sept. 30, 1999, when the San Francisco Giants played their last game at Candlestick Park, the song played after the game.

On Dec. 31, 1998, in Los Angeles almost all the music stations in the city played the song at midnight, and again on Dec. 31, 1999, for the lyrics: two-thousand zero zero party's over oops outta time.

Re-release[edit]

In 1985, "1999" was released as a 12" single in the U.S. with "Little Red Corvette" as the B-side, and "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"/"D.M.S.R." in the UK.

The song was re-recorded at the end of 1998 with The New Power Generation, reusing portions of the original recording, and was released the following year as 1999: The New Master.

"1999" was re-released in the UK and the U.S. in late 1998 to accompany the song's namesake year. It was released on 12" vinyl with the same tracklist as the original 12" single: the album version, along with "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" and "D.M.S.R." A CD single was also issued with the same tracklist, except the edit of "1999" was substituted for the album version. It was also re-released again towards the end of its namesake year. The original version re-charted at #40 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming Prince's last top 40 hit to date.

Track listing[edit]

7"
  1. "1999"
  2. "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
12" UK
  1. "1999"
  2. "D.M.S.R."
12" Germany
  1. "1999"
  2. "Let's Pretend We're Married"
12" Australia
  1. "1999"
  2. "Uptown"
  3. "Controversy"
  4. "Dirty Mind"
  5. "Sexuality"
12" - 1985 re-release
  1. "1999"
  2. "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
  3. "D.M.S.R."

Cover versions[edit]

  • Gary Numan recorded a cover of "1999" during sessions for his 1991 album Outland, but the track ended up being a B-side on his 1992 single, "Machine + Soul Part Two". The track re-appeared as a bonus track on the 1998 CD re-issue of the Machine + Soul album.
  • A cover version was recorded in 1999 by Bif Naked, Econoline Crush, Age of Electric, and Matthew Good and was part of a CD called 1999 - Year of the Fox released by Vancouver radio station CFOX-FM.
  • A cover of the song by American singer Adeva was included on the 1999 Prince tribute compilation Party o' the Times.
  • A cover of the song by American alt rock band Volcano Suns was recorded live on WERS and appears as the last track on 2009 re-release of the album The Bright Orange Years.
  • Dump (solo project of Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew) included a cover of the song on "That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?," an album consisting entirely of Prince covers.
  • A cover of the song by avant-garde band The Residents was recorded for the album Dot.Com.

Live cover performances[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
New Zealand Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 21
UK Singles Chart 2
Netherlands Singles Chart 14
Australian Singles Chart 2
Canadian Singles Chart 6
US Billboard Hot 100 12
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles 4
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1

References in other media[edit]

  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of "Gangsta's Paradise" called "Amish Paradise" he states "tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699," referring to "1999".
  • In the season seven episode of The Simpsons called, "Homerpalooza," when Otto's shoes are talking to him, they say, "Don't worry, we won't hurt you. We only want to have some fun." This recalls the introductory lyrics to the song in the extended album version.
  • Another reference to this song on The Simpsons occurs on the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (also a season seven episode), when Apu closes the Kwik-E-Mart so he can go to a party, he says, "For the next five minutes, I'm going to party like it's on sale for $19.99."
  • In the Weezer song "Troublemaker," one of the lines is "And when it's party time, like 1999," referring to the song.
  • The song is mentioned in "Homer the Great", a Season Six episode of The Simpsons. Homer tells Lisa that America's Founding Fathers were Stonecutters. In the flashback, John Hancock signs the Declaration of Independence and says, "Now, let's party, like 'twere 1799."
  • In live performances of the song "Jet Black New Year" by the band Thursday, vocalist Geoff Rickly ends the song by repeating the line "gonna party like it's 1999."
  • In the Will Smith song "Will2K", at the end of the first verse, K-Ci starts to sing "..and we gonna party like it's 19..", before being interrupted by a sample of a record skipping and Smith exclaiming, "Hold up, it is." (Smith's album Willennium was released on November 16, 1999.)
  • In the Family Guy episode "Untitled Griffin Family History", during the sequence where a caveman version of Peter invents and successfully sells the first wheel, he tells his wife Lois, "You and me are gonna party like it's 9."
  • In the Futurama episode, "Hell is Other Robots", Fry says during the Beastie Boys concert, "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999—again."
  • In the episode "It's a Wonder-Phil Life" of Phil of the Future, one of Vice Principal Hackett's clones says, "Let's party like it's 2199!"
  • Business 2.0 magazine, in the 2002 edition of their list 101 Dumbest Moment In Business, had a number of items titled "Still Partying Like It's 1999", referring to companies who had failed due to excesses in the style of the then already busted dot-com bubble.
  • On the song "Dead Wrong" from The Notorious B.I.G. album Born Again, Rapper Eminem uses the line "I got a lion in my pocket, I'm lyin', I got a nine in my pocket..." similar to Prince's "I got a lion in my pocket and baby he's ready to roar..."
  • In the video game Gears of War 2 there's an achievement called "Party like it's 1999".
  • After the defeat of Andariel in the computer game Diablo 2, one can talk to the merchant Gheed in the rogue camp and he'll exclaim that he'll party like it's 999.
  • The song is referred to in the chorus of Ricky J's single "Whatta Night".
  • In the 2010 single "2012 (It Ain't the End)" by Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj, a line in the chorus uses the line "We're gonna party like, like it's 2012", structured similarly to "1999".
  • In the game Fruit Ninja, one of the swords' descriptions is "It may not be 1999, but you can party anyways."
  • In the episode of 30 Rock entitled "Greenzo", the page Kenneth states that he intends to "party like it's 1999", a year which, according to his Bible, will occur in seven years.
  • In Thomas Pynchon's novel Bleeding Edge, a ludicrously expensive dotcom party is held in early September 2001, with Prince's song one of its themes, because to techies "party like it's 1999" means "party like the dotcom bubble hasn't burst yet."[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X
  1. ^ Uptown, 2004, p.37
  2. ^ 1999 Songfacts
  3. ^ Sigerson, Davitt (April 24, 1986). "Prince Strips Down". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Mark, Caro (May 1, 2007). "Yes, Phil Collins' 'Sussudio' Ripoff of Prince's '1999' is Included". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Keegan, Hamilton (February 17, 2009). "Phil Collins, No Jacket Required". Second Spin. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Sussudio review". Allmusic. 
  7. ^ Pynchon, Thomas (2013). Bleeding Edge. Penguin Press. p. 302. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
December 4, 1982 - December 11, 1982
Succeeded by
"The Look of Love" by ABC