Darling Nikki

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"Darling Nikki"
Song by Prince and The Revolution from the album Purple Rain
Released June 25, 1984
Format CD
Recorded 1983
Sunset Sound, Los Angeles
Genre Hard rock, funk metal
Length 4:14
Label Warner Bros.
Writer Prince
Producer Prince
Purple Rain track listing
"Computer Blue"
"Darling Nikki"
"When Doves Cry"

"Darling Nikki" is a song produced, arranged, composed and performed by American musician Prince and originally released on his Grammy Award-winning 1984 album, Purple Rain. Though the song was not released as a single, it gained wide notoriety for its sexual lyrics and in particular a reference to masturbation. Partly because of the lyrical content of "Darling Nikki", Tipper Gore founded the Parents Music Resource Center,[1][2] which eventually led to the use of "Parental Advisory" stickers and imprints on album covers.[3] Compared with the slick production of the other songs on the album, "Darling Nikki" was deliberately engineered to have a raw, live feel.

The song tells the story of a "sex fiend" named Nikki who seduces the singer. In the film Purple Rain, the song is directed toward Apollonia Kotero's character when she decides to work with Prince's character's rival, played by Morris Day.

Near the end of the song, the music stops into the sound of rain and wind. There is singing, but played in reverse. The vocals, unreversed, are Prince singing,

"Hello, how are you?
Fine fine 'cause I know that the Lord is coming soon
Coming, coming soon."[4]

During the Purple Rain Tour performances of "Darling Nikki", the recording at the end was played forward. This can be heard in the live video Prince and the Revolution Live.

Parents Music Resource Center[edit]

Reportedly, Tipper Gore co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985, because she witnessed her then 11-year-old daughter listening to Prince's "Darling Nikki".[5]


A circulating outtake of "Darling Nikki" contains an instrumental subdued section in the middle of keyboard onslaught at the end of the song. Also, it does not have the backmasking segment tacked on to the end; instead, Prince performs an extended hard guitar solo devoid of any other instruments.

Cover versions and sampling[edit]

Rihanna performing "Darling Nikki" on her 2011 Loud Tour.
  • In 1995, Whale released a cover on their "Pay for Me" single.
  • In 1996, the band Chum released a cover version on their Century Media release Dead To The World.
  • In 1998, as part of the compilation Do Me Baby: Austin Does Prince, the Asylum Street Spankers released an acoustic version of this song.
  • Chicago punk-band Apocalypse Hoboken recorded a cover of the song, which appeared on their 2000 album Microstars.
  • In 2003, the alternative rock band Foo Fighters recorded a cover of the song, which they included as a B-side on their single "Have It All". Though their version of "Darling Nikki" was never officially released as a single, it found success at American modern rock radio, peaking at number 15 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. This version was performed on the MTV Video Music Awards with Cee Lo Green guesting on vocals. This version was later released on the vinyl-only compilation album Medium Rare.
  • Tech N9ne's song "Freaky", on his 2005 album Vintage Tech, interpolates "Darling Nikki".
  • In 2006, jazz band Sex Mob performed "Darling Nikki" with John Medeski at live at Willisau album.
  • Model/actress Rebecca Romijn recorded a cover of "Darling Nikki" for the 2006 compilation album, Electro Goth Tribute to Prince.
  • A cover by electro music group Chairlift was included on the 2009 tribute compilation Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.[6]
  • In the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Did the Earth Move for You?", Will Smith does his own version of the song with his lyrics saying "I'm stuck in a basement, sittin' on a tricycle, girl gettin' on my nerves/Goin' outta my mind, I thought she was fine, don't know if her body is hers."
  • West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur used a sample of "Darling Nikki" for the song "Heartz of Men" on his 1996 album All Eyez on Me.
  • The song "Blow Ya Mind", appearing on the album Pink Friday by Queens-based rapper Nicki Minaj, contains an interpolation of "Darling Nikki".
  • Hard Rock band Talisman recorded a version for their 1998 album Truth.
  • Rihanna covered the song on her 2011 Loud Tour.
  • Actress and comedian Maya Rudolph performed a cover of the song with friend Gretchen Lieberum and musical group The Roots on the September 19, 2012 episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in honor of Fallon's 38th birthday.
  • In 2008, both Name and White Lord Jesus made a cover for the 81-track Norwegian Prince-tribute Shockadelica.
  • Beyoncé posted a video on YouTube to the tune of "Darling Nikki" to show appreciation of Nicki Minaj for being apart of the TIDALX1020 performance.


  1. ^ "PMRC". April 6, 2003. Archived from the original on April 6, 2003. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Page 11". Joesapt.net. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (November 2, 2006). "All-TIME 100 Albums - Purple Rain". TIME. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ Poundstone, William (1986). Big Secrets. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 231. ISBN 0-395-45397-6. 
  5. ^ Miss Cellania (2 January 2012). "Tipper vs. Music". Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music. The Bathroom Reader Institute. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Get Your FREE Copy of SPIN's Prince Tribute!". SPIN.com. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]