If I Was Your Girlfriend

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"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
U.S. 7" single
Single by Prince
from the album Sign “☮” the Times
B-side "Shockadelica"
Released May 6, 1987
Format 7" single
12" single
Recorded Sunset Sound; November 2, 1986
Genre R&B, pop, funk, slow jam
Length 7" edit: 3:46
Album/12": 4:54
Label Paisley Park
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Sign “☮” the Times"
(1987)
"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
(1987)
"U Got the Look"
(1987)
Sign “☮” the Times track listing
"U Got the Look"
(10)
"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
(11)
"Strange Relationship"
(12)

"If I Was Your Girlfriend" was the second single from Prince's 1987 double album Sign “☮” the Times. The song was a hit in the United Kingdom but was only a minor hit in America. It was originally from the Camille project of 1986, which was to be released under the guise of an alter ego named Camille (see Prince's poem in the Lovesexy tour program), rather than by Prince. The song is from a male perspective to a woman, wherein Prince explores the possibilities of a more intimate relationship if he were his lover's platonic girlfriend and asks if she would open up to him more if he was a female friend rather than her actual boyfriend. Trouser Press names the song as one of the album's highlights, noting that it "redefines a relationship in a surprisingly mature way".[1] It is believed that "If I Was Your Girlfriend" deals with the jealousy Prince felt at the close bond shared between then girlfriend/fiancee Susannah Melvoin with Wendy Melvoin.[2]

Musically, the song is based on a sparse bass and drum machine pattern, punctuated by a keyboard line that evokes sadness. The opening seconds include a sound collage that includes an orchestra tuning up, a salesman and a sample of Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". Prince's sped-up vocals are intensely emotional and heartfelt throughout. According to engineer Susan Rogers, a rare technical error on her part led to distortion—albeit only on certain words. As recounted in Alex Hahn's book Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, Rogers thought Prince "was going to rip my head off" for the mistake. Yet, after hearing the playback, Prince loved the effect, which is featured on the released version.

The song was released on May 6, 1987, and reached #67 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was more successful in the UK, reaching #20 on the chart in that country.

"Shockadelica"[edit]

The B-side to the track was another "Camille" track, "Shockadelica". The track was actually written in response to an album of the same name by former Time member, Jesse Johnson. Prince heard Johnson's album before its release, and commented that a great album should have a great title track. Johnson disagreed, so Prince recorded the track and had it played on a Minneapolis radio station before the release of Johnson's album. The public perception would be that Johnson was copying Prince's idea, and this caused tension between Johnson and Prince.

When the "Camille" project was scrapped in favor of Crystal Ball, "Shockadelica" again made the cut, but was deleted from the tracklist when the set was trimmed to Sign “☮” the Times. The track was released as a B-side, and later on The Hits/The B-Sides.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  • A. "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (edit) – 3:46
  • B. "Shockadelica" – 3:30
12" single
  • A. "If I Was Your Girlfriend" – 4:54
  • B. "Shockadelica" (extended version) – 6:12

Cover versions[edit]

Sampling[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and the B-side "Shockadelica" both appear in Demi Moore's 1996 film, Striptease.
  • Richard Marx praised the song as "seriously sexy" on his Twitter account.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Green, Jim; Ira Robbins. "Prince". Trouser Press. Trouser Press LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  2. ^ Jason Draper (2008). "Prince: Life & Times". Jawbone Press. 

External links[edit]