I Would Die 4 U

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"I Would Die 4 U"
Prince Die4U.jpg
US 7" single
Single by Prince and The Revolution
from the album Purple Rain
B-side
  • "Another Lonely Christmas"
  • "Free" (UK 12")
ReleasedNovember 28, 1984
Recorded
Genre
Length2:51 (Album Version
2:57 (Single Version)
10:15 (12-Inch Version)
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Prince
Producer(s)Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Purple Rain"
(1984)
"I Would Die 4 U"
(1984)
"Take Me with U"
(1985)
Prince (UK) singles chronology
"Purple Rain"
(1984)
"I Would Die 4 U"
(1984)
"Let's Go Crazy"/"Take Me with U"
(1985)

"I Would Die 4 U" is a song by Prince and The Revolution, and the fourth single in the US from their 1984 album, Purple Rain. The up-tempo dance song was a top 10 hit—the final one from the album—in the US, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song's lyrics evoke Jesus Christ's message to his followers: "U—I would die 4 U, darling if U want me 2;" as well as, "if you're evil I'll forgive you", "all I really need to know is that U believe," and, "I'm your messiah and you're the reason why."[1]

"I Would Die 4 U" is often played in sequence with "Baby I'm a Star", the track following it, on Purple Rain. As of April 30, 2016, it has sold 561,772 copies in the United States.[2]

"Another Lonely Christmas"[edit]

The B-side, "Another Lonely Christmas", is a melancholy account of a man mourning his lover, who had died from pneumonia on a previous Christmas Day. Prince recorded "Another Lonely Christmas" in February 1984.[3] Although during that period of his life Prince was socially very solitary, he insisted that "Another Lonely Christmas" was a fictional story.[3][4] The song has been compared to the song "Sometimes It Snows in April," from the 1986 album Parade.[3] He only performed "Another Lonely Christmas" live one time, on the day after Christmas, December 26, 1984, at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota.[4][3]

Alternate versions[edit]

The extended version of "I Would Die 4 U" is actually a rehearsal jam on the song with The Revolution and musicians from Sheila E.'s band, Eddie M (on sax) and Miko Weaver (guitar), along with Sheila E. herself recorded some time before the Purple Rain Tour. The jam features some overdubbing and fades at the end; a longer version, nearly 31 minutes long, was never released officially, but has been bootlegged. The extended mix was also used as the B-side of the 1989 "Erotic City" single (the artwork of which features the same image of Prince that was used for this single's cover).

The B-side of the UK 12" single release includes "Another Lonely Christmas" as well as the 1999 track "Free".

Personnel[edit]

Track listing[edit]

7": Paisley Park / 7-29121 (US)[edit]

  1. "I Would Die 4 U" (Single version) – 2:57
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas" – 4:51

12": Paisley Park / 9 20291-0 (US)[edit]

  1. "I Would Die 4 U" (Extended version) – 10:15
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas" (extended version) – 6:47

12": Warner Bros. / W9121T (UK)[edit]

  1. "I Would Die 4 U" (Single version) – 2:57
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas" – 4:51
  3. "Free" – 5:00

Charts[edit]

Chart (1984–85) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 11
Canadian Singles Chart[6] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 7
UK Singles (OCC)[8] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 8
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[10] 11
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[11] 50

Cover versions[edit]

  • Indie band Cush included a cover of the song on their 2002 EP Spiritual 1, featuring vocals by Richard Swift.[12]
  • The song was covered by French music artist Space Cowboy on his 2003 album Across The Sky.[13]
  • Mariachi El Bronx released two recordings of the song. One was included on the 2009 tribute compilation Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.[14] Later, the other recording appeared on Colette No. 10.[15]
  • The synthpop band Chvrches covered the song during their live performances since 2012, titled as 'I Would Die 4 V', as a reference to the V in their band name.[16]
  • Neo-soul singer Raheem DeVaughn released a cover on his 2010 mixtape "Mr. February aka March Madness."[17]
  • British indie rock band White Lies released a cover of the song on their 2013 extended play Small TV.
  • American singer Lydia Loveless covered the song on a single released together with Cory Branan in 2015. She also released a cover version on the 2017 album Boy Crazy and Single(s).
  • California Pop band Hotel Apache released a cover of the song following Prince's death in April 2016.[18]
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Rose Cousins covered the song on an EP that preceded her 2020 album,Bravado. Also appearing on the cover were Bear's Den and Christof van der Ven.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saunders, Martin. "I Would Die 4 U: The Christian themes in Prince's lyrics," Christian Today (22 Apr 2016).
  2. ^ "Hip Hop Single Sales: Prince, Desiigner & Drake". HipHopDX. April 30, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Ross, Alex Robert. "Prince's Only Christmas Song Is Still Completely Devastating," Vice (Dec. 11, 2018).
  4. ^ a b Needham, Jack. "The story behind Prince's lost Christmas song," Red Bull (December 20, 2019).
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – Prince and the Revolution – I Would Die 4 U" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Lwin, Nanda. Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (2000).
  7. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Prince and the Revolution – I Would Die 4 U" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Prince Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "Prince Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "Prince Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "cMusicWeb.com: Spiritual 1 EP".
  13. ^ "Space Cowboy — I Would Die 4 U — Listen and discover music at Last.fm".
  14. ^ "Get Your FREE Copy of SPIN's Prince Tribute!". Spin.
  15. ^ "Colette No. 10". AllMusic.
  16. ^ "CHVRCHES – I Would Die 4 V (Prince Cover) - All Things Go".
  17. ^ "Mr. February aka March Madness - 368 Music Group". 368 Music Group. 15 January 2010.
  18. ^ "hotelapache". Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Rose Cousins Shares Cover of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U"". Killbeat Music. Retrieved 24 February 2021.

External links[edit]