Little Red Corvette
|"Little Red Corvette"|
US 7" single (1983)
|Single by Prince|
|from the album 1999|
|B-side||"All the Critics Love U in New York"
"Horny Toad" (UK)
"Lady Cab Driver" (UK)
"D.M.S.R." (UK 12")
"Automatic" (UK 12")
"International Lover" (UK 12")
"1999" (U.S. picture disc)
|Released||February 9, 1983|
|Recorded||Sunset Sound, 1982|
|Genre||New wave, synthpop, pop rock|
|Prince singles chronology|
"Little Red Corvette" is a song by the American musician Prince. Released as a single from the album 1999 in 1983, the song was his biggest hit at the time, and his first to reach top-10 status in the U.S., peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was also his first single to perform better on the pop chart than the R&B chart, due to the pop/rock format of the song.
The song combines a drum machine beat and slow synth buildup for the verses and a full rock chorus. Backing vocals were done by Lisa Coleman and the classic guitar solo was played by Dez Dickerson. In the song, Prince narrates a one-night stand with a beautiful but promiscuous woman (the "Little Red Corvette" of the title); although he enjoys the experience, he urges her to "slow down" and "find a love that's gonna last" before she destroys herself. In addition to the title, he uses several other automobile metaphors, for example comparing their lovemaking to a ride in a limousine.
A 12" dance remix of the song was released to accompany the single, and it continues where the album version fades out. The U.S. single was originally released with the album track "All the Critics Love U in New York" as the B-side, while in the UK two separate single releases had it backed with "Lady Cab Driver" or "Horny Toad". Separate UK 12" releases had the song paired with "Automatic" and "International Lover", or "Horny Toad" and "D.M.S.R.". Later, it was released as a double A-side with "1999".
The single was released with another 1999 track, "Let's Pretend We're Married".
"Little Red Corvette" (directed by Bryan Greenberg and released in February 1983) was one of the first two videos by a black artist played in heavy rotation on MTV, after Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".
Prince got the idea for the song when he dozed off in Lisa Coleman's pink Edsel after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually, he was able to finish it without sleeping.
Awards and accolades
- Rolling Stone ranked the song #108 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- The guitar solo, played by band member Dez Dickerson, was ranked #64 by the readers of Guitar World as one of the 100 best guitar solos of all time.
- The song is currently ranked as the 87th greatest song of all time, as well as the third best song of 1982, by Acclaimed Music.
- Sandra Bernhard sang a slow arrangement of the song in her one-woman show Without You I'm Nothing, which was released as a double-album in 1987 and later adapted into a motion picture.
- Canadian a cappella group The Nylons covered the song on their 1992 album Live to Love.
- A cover of the song appears on the 1992 album Can't Have Nothing Nice by Minnesotan indie band Gear Daddies.
- Swedish singer Jerry Williams included a cover of the song on his 2002 album Sweet Sixty.
- In 2001, Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly performed the song live on air as part of the Andrew Denton Breakfast Show Musical Challenge. It later appeared on the Musical Challenge Volume 2: Even More Challenged compilation CD.
- American singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson performed a version of the song in July of 2011 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.
- Southern rap artist Lil' Troy samples the song on the track "Wanna Be a Baller" from his 1998 album Sittin' Fat Down South.
- Hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony samples the song in their 2000 single, "Change the World".
Influences on other songs
- Stevie Nicks got the idea for her 1983 song "Stand Back" from "Little Red Corvette." She heard Prince's song in her car, wrote "Stand Back" that night, and called Prince, who came into the studio and played keyboards.
- Alter Ring's song "Infinitely Gentle Blows", which is featured at the end of the 2000 Sundance winning film, Groove, borrows liberally from "Little Red Corvette".
- The line "little red love machine" can be heard in the title track of Saliva's Survival of the Sickest album from 2004.
- The chorus is the basis for Chad in Portland's song "Mike in Wichitard" on The Jim Rome Show.
- Uptown, 2004, p.41
- Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides Ltd. p. 819. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0.
- "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". 27 May 2009.
- "Matt Nathanson covers "Little Red Corvette" by Prince". Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X