I Wanna Be Your Lover

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For the song by the Italian disco band, see La Bionda.
"I Wanna Be Your Lover"
U.S. 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Prince
from the album Prince
Released August 24, 1979
Recorded Alpha Studios, Burbank, California, April–June 1979
Genre Funk[1]
  • 7" edit: 2:57
  • 12" album: 5:57
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Certification Gold (RIAA) – March 18, 1980
Prince singles chronology
"Just as Long as We're Together"
"I Wanna Be Your Lover"
"Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?"
Prince (UK) chronology
"I Wanna Be Your Lover"
"Sexy Dancer"

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" is a song by American recording artist Prince. It was recorded in 1979 as part of a group of songs Prince hastily wrote and recorded when Warner Bros. asked for a follow-up to his debut album, For You, which did not fare well on the pop charts (peaking at No. 163) and did not contain a hit single. For You did contain a hit single on the R&B charts, "Soft and Wet". In response, Prince recorded "I Wanna Be Your Lover." It turned out to be his first successful single and first top 40 hit, scoring two weeks at number one on the R&B singles chart in December 1979 and peaking at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" was released on August 24, 1979 as the lead single from his second album, Prince. Musically, it is a funk song sung exclusively in falsetto, detailing Prince's love for a woman and how he would treat her better than the men she is with, and frustration that she thinks of him as "a child". The single edit stops after 2:57, but the album version goes off on a jam of keyboards and synthesizers, played by Prince. It was later revealed that the song concerned a crush Prince had at the time on singer Patrice Rushen.[3]

Prince promoted the song by lip-syncing it with his band on The Midnight Special and American Bandstand, where he gave host Dick Clark an awkward interview, answering his questions with one-word answers.[4] Prince claimed to be 19 but was 21 at the time.[5] Clark later said, "That was one of the most difficult interviews I've ever conducted, and I've done 10,000 musician interviews."[6]

The song was also Prince's debut single released in the UK; it was successful, reaching No. 41 on the UK Singles Chart. However, when Prince tried to promote it with shows in London, he was forced to cancel due to poor attendance. It wouldn't be until Purple Rain (1984) that Prince would break big in Europe.

The song additionally reached No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and No. 2 in New Zealand.

Prince included a sample of this song in the opening of his 1992 hit single "My Name is Prince".

Music video[edit]

There are two versions of the music video of the hit single. The main version has Prince in an unbuttoned leopard shirt and jeans singing alone in a black background with only a mic, notably with straight/wavy hair and a departure from his afro from a year before. Various shots show him playing the instruments by himself.

The other version, which has not aired and was not featured on The Hits Collection compilation shows Prince and his band members performing the song in a painted room. The video was pulled due to skimpy clothing and a sexually suggestive theme (Prince was clad in blue stockings and a tan shirt, and frequently throughout the performance kisses his female keyboardist). The video is widely sought after by collectors.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "My Love Is Forever" – 4:08
7" single (UK)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "Just as Long as We're Together" (edit) – 3:25
7" single (DEU)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" – 3:49
12" single (UK)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" – 5:47
  • B. "Just as Long as We're Together" – 6:24
12" promo
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" – 5:57

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1991, hip hop artist M-Doc sampled this song in his single "Are U Wid It?".
  • In 1994, former Neighbours actors twins Gayle & Gillian Blakeney covered the song, which was entitled "Wanna Be Your Lover". It peaked at number 62 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • In 2009, Patrick Stump, singer of the band Fall Out Boy, did a cover of the song in a RollingStone.com exclusive video.
  • Millie Jackson also covered the track, changing the opening line to "I've got plenty of money..."
  • Haywoode, a British R&B artist, covered the song on her 1985 album Arrival.
  • Rapper 50 Cent added his own verse to the song, dubbing the resulting song "Your Favorite".
  • In 2011, Corinne Bailey Rae released a cover of the song on her The Love E.P.
  • In 2011, Guga Neiva released a cover as lead single on debut album, 17.
  • In 2011, Max Tundra put out a version that sounds like it was recorded lower and slower and then sped up to achieve a falsetto effect on the lead vocal.
  • In 2012, the song was performed as part of a Prince medley on the reality singing contest The Voice by the judges (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton), with Adam Levine performing his solo part on this song.
  • Singer Kimbra has performed "I Wanna Be Your Lover" numerous times in her live shows, later stating in an interview that she felt the song was "incredible." A video of her performance was posted on her official YouTube channel, but was later taken down for copyright reasons, which has happened numerous times with videos featuring Prince's compositions.
  • In 2013 on the 12th Annual Honda Civic Tour, pop rock band Maroon 5 performed the song regularly as a part of their set.
  • The song was also used at the beginning of the Ice Cube film Are We There Yet?.
  • English band Fenech-Soler began covering the song for their Los Angeles residency in September 2014. They have since recorded the cover and released it for free.


Chart (1979–80) Peak
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[7] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 11
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[citation needed] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs[citation needed] 2
Chart (2016) Peak
France (SNEP)[9] 25


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[10] Gold 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

List of number-one R&B singles of 1979 (U.S.)


  1. ^ "Prince > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 471. 
  3. ^ "I Wanna Be Your Lover by Prince Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  4. ^ Howard, Greg. "This Performance By A 21-Year-Old Prince Proves He Was Never Not Sexy". Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  5. ^ Thorne, Matt. Prince, Faber and Faber Ltd, London, UK. October, 2012, ISBN 9780571273263
  6. ^ Bream, Jon. "Clark long remembered his tough interview with a quiet Prince," StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN, May 3, 2013. Retrieved on December 18, 2015.
  7. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Prince – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Prince. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  9. ^ "Lescharts.com – Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  10. ^ "American single certifications – Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]