If I Was Your Girlfriend

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"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
US 7" single
Single by Prince
from the album Sign o' the Times
B-side "Shockadelica"
Released May 6, 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded Sunset Sound; November 2, 1986
Genre R&B, funk, slow jam
Length 7" edit: 3:46
Album/12": 4:54
Label Paisley Park
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Sign “☮” the Times"
(1987)
"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
(1987)
"U Got the Look"
(1987)
Sign “☮” the Times track listing
"U Got the Look"
(10)
"If I Was Your Girlfriend"
(11)
"Strange Relationship"
(12)

"If I Was Your Girlfriend" was the second single from American musician Prince's 1987 double album Sign o' the Times. The song was a hit in the United Kingdom but was only a minor hit in America. It was originally from the Camille project of 1986, which was to be released under the guise of Prince's alter ego named Camille. The song is delivered from an androgynous male perspective to a woman, wherein Prince explores the possibilities of a more intimate relationship if he were his lover's platonic girlfriend. Trouser Press names the song as one of the album's highlights, noting that it "redefines a relationship in a surprisingly mature way."[1] It is believed that "If I Was Your Girlfriend" deals with the jealousy Prince felt at the close bond shared between then girlfriend/fiancée Susannah Melvoin with her sister Wendy.[2]

Musically, the song features Prince's pitched-up, androgynous vocals over a sparse bass and drum machine pattern, punctuated by a keyboard line. The opening seconds include a sound collage that includes an orchestra tuning up, a salesman and a sample of Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". According to engineer Susan Rogers, a rare technical error on her part led to distortion—albeit only on certain words. As recounted in Alex Hahn's book Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, Rogers thought Prince "was going to rip my head off" for the mistake. Yet, after hearing the playback, Prince loved the effect, which is featured on the released version.

The song was released on May 6, 1987, and reached number 67 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was more successful in the UK, reaching number 20 on the chart in that country.

"Shockadelica"[edit]

The B-side to the track was another "Camille" track, "Shockadelica". The track was actually written in response to an album of the same name by former Time member, Jesse Johnson. Prince heard Johnson's album before its release, and commented that a great album should have a great title track. Johnson disagreed, so Prince recorded the track and had it played on a Minneapolis radio station before the release of Johnson's album. The public perception would be that Johnson was copying Prince's idea, and this caused tension between Johnson and Prince.

When the "Camille" project was scrapped in favor of Crystal Ball, "Shockadelica" again made the cut, but was deleted from the track list when the set was trimmed to Sign “☮” the Times. The track was released as a B-side, and later on The Hits/The B-Sides.

Track listings[edit]

7" single

  • A. "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (edit) – 3:46
  • B. "Shockadelica" – 3:30

12" single

  • A. "If I Was Your Girlfriend" – 4:54
  • B. "Shockadelica" (extended version) – 6:12

Cover versions[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Prince - Composer, Arranger, Producer[3]

Sampling[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and the B-side "Shockadelica" both appear in Demi Moore's 1996 film, Striptease.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 14
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[5] 17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 48
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[7] 15
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 20
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 67
Chart (2016) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[10] 188

References[edit]

  1. ^ Green, Jim; Ira Robbins. "Prince". Trouser Press. Trouser Press LLC. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  2. ^ Jason Draper (2008). "Prince: Life & Times". Jawbone Press. 
  3. ^ "Song Credits". Discogs.com. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ultratop.be – Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Prince: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "Prince – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Prince. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  10. ^ "Lescharts.com – Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 9, 2016.

External links[edit]