Computer Blue

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"Computer Blue"
Song by Prince and the Revolution
from the album Purple Rain
Released June 25, 1984
Format CD
Recorded August 3, 1983 (live recording)
First Avenue, Minneapolis
September 1983 (studio)
Sunset Sound, Los Angeles
Length 3:59
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Prince, John L. Nelson, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Matthew Robert Fink
Producer(s) Prince
Purple Rain track listing
"The Beautiful Ones"
(3)
"Computer Blue"
(4)
"Darling Nikki"
(5)

"Computer Blue" is the fourth track on Prince and the Revolution's soundtrack album, Purple Rain. In the film, the song represents Prince's angst at the budding relationship between the characters played by Morris Day and Apollonia. The song was composed by Prince, with credit to his father, John L. Nelson for the guitar solo based on a piano instrumental written by Nelson and Prince. Prince titled the piece "Father's Song" and recorded it on piano for the film, though on screen it was portrayed as being played by Prince's on-screen father, actor Clarence Williams III. On the box-set Purple Rain Deluxe (2017) a different and longer recording of "Father's Song" is included.

"Computer Blue" was originally recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles in early September 1983. Prince along with Wendy & Lisa and sound engineer Susan Rogers set about recording what would later end up being placed on the album Purple Rain, albeit in a very heavily edited form.

The song begins with spoken lyrics by Wendy & Lisa which suggest a dominatrix-type relationship.[1] The song then becomes a very guitar-oriented number with rock music screams. The released version only has one verse. The version of the song that debuted at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, Minnesota had a second verse, as did the song as it was originally recorded.

Outtake[edit]

Originally conceived as a 14-minute opus, "Computer Blue" would later be edited down several times for inclusion on Purple Rain; the song was edited from a fully mastered 7:30 down to its current length when "Take Me with U" was added to the album at the last minute.

The full-length version of the song contains extended instrumental solos and additional lyrics. Also present is a repeated synthesizer segment with a sing-a-long phrase "nah nah nah nah nah", which was often played in live versions of the song. The synth part, without the vocals, even made it into the film Purple Rain as the Revolution was rehearsing while waiting for Prince to arrive. The track ends with three full minutes of screeching feedback. A shorter version, 12 minutes in length, was the one edited down to the album's version, and the feedback from this version forms the segue to "Darling Nikki" on Purple Rain itself. Widely regarded by the hardcore fan base as a musical masterpiece, the original unedited recording features the infamous "Hallway Speech" (as termed by fans) about emotions likened to different rooms. During the Purple Rain performances at the end of the song before "Darling Nikki", the "Righteous 1" speech spoken by Wendy & Lisa cut from the final version of the track is played.
A 12:18 edit of the "Hallway Speech" version was officially released on disc two – From the Vault & Previously Unreleased - of the 2017 three-disc edition of Purple Rain.

Cover versions[edit]

A cover by of Montreal was included on the 2009 tribute compilation Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.[2]

References in other media[edit]

In a "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories" sketch on Chappelle's Show, "Computer Blue" is referenced as the name of a play drawn up by Prince (Dave Chappelle) while playing Murphy in basketball.

References[edit]

External links[edit]