Let's Go Crazy

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This article is about the Prince song. For the 1951 film, see Let's Go Crazy (film). For the Clash song, see Sandinista!
"Let's Go Crazy"
Prince Crazy.jpg
US 7" single
Single by Prince and The Revolution
from the album Purple Rain
B-side "Erotic City"
"Take Me with U" (UK)
Released July 18, 1984[1]
Format
Recorded The Warehouse, St. Louis Park, Summer 1983
Genre Hard rock, new wave, funk rock
Length 4:39
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince [2]
Producer(s) Prince and the Revolution
Certification Gold (RIAA) - November 7, 1984
Prince singles chronology
"When Doves Cry"
(1984)
"Let's Go Crazy"
(1984)
"Purple Rain"
(1984)
Prince UK singles chronology
"I Would Die 4 U"
(1984)
"Let's Go Crazy"/"Take Me with U"
(1984)
"Paisley Park"
(1985)
Purple Rain track listing
"Let's Go Crazy"
(1)
"Take Me with U"
(2)

"Let's Go Crazy" is a 1984 song by Prince and The Revolution, from the album Purple Rain. It was the opening track on both the album and the film Purple Rain. "Let's Go Crazy" was one of Prince's most popular songs, and was almost always a staple for concert performances, often segueing into other hits. When released as a single, the song became Prince's second number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and also topped the two component charts, the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[3] and Hot Dance Club Play charts,[4] as well as becoming a UK Top 10 hit. The B-side was the lyrically controversial "Erotic City". In the UK, the song was released as a double A-side with "Take Me with U".

Common to much of Prince's writing, the song is thought to be exhortation to follow Christian ethics, with the "De-elevator" of the lyrics being a metaphor for the Devil.[5]

The extended "Special Dance Mix" of the song was performed in a slightly edited version in the film Purple Rain. It contains a longer instrumental section in the middle, including a solo on an apparently out-of-tune piano and some muddled lyrics, repeating the track's introduction.

Following Prince's death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number 39 and rose to number 25 by the week of May 14, 2016. As of April 30, 2016, it has sold 964,403 copies in the United States.[6]

Musical style[edit]

The song was also notable for opening with a funeral-like organ solo with Prince giving the "eulogy" for "this thing called life." The introduction's words are overlapped with each other on the single version. The song climaxes with a distinctive drum machine pattern and then features a heavy guitar outro leads, electronic drums, bass and whirring synthesizers and a climatic drum outro. The song's percussion was programmed with a Linn LM-1 drum machine, an instrument frequently used in many of Prince's songs. The song is also known[by whom?] for its two guitar solos both performed by Prince.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

7" Warner Bros. / 7-29216 (US)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (edit) – 3:46
  2. "Erotic City" (edit) – 3:53
7" Warner Bros. / W2000 (UK)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (edit) – 3:46
  2. "Take Me with U" – 3:51
12" Warner Bros. / 0-20246 (US)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (Special Dance Mix) – 7:35
  2. "Erotic City ("make love not war Erotic City come alive")" – 7:24
12" Warner Bros. / W2000T (UK)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (Special Dance Mix) – 7:35
  2. "Take Me with U" – 3:51
  3. "Erotic City ("make love not war Erotic City come alive")" – 7:24

Cover versions[edit]

Sampling[edit]

  • Two segments of Prince's unaccompanied guitar solo in the song's coda were sampled into Public Enemy's single "Brothers Gonna Work It Out".
  • Sinbad's "Brain Damaged" sampled the introduction to this song for his 1990 comedy album of the same name.
  • Heavily sampled by hip-hop group Get Busy Committee in their song, "Opening Ceremony".
  • The intro is sampled on the Ragga Twins' 1991 track "Hooligan '69".

Charts[edit]

Chart (1984-85) Peak
position
New Zealand Singles Chart 13
UK Singles Chart 7
Netherlands Singles Chart 11
Australian Singles Chart 10
Canadian Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold (Physical) 1,000,000 (Physical)
964,403 (Digital)[6]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References in other media[edit]

  • In the American animated sitcom, American Dad! in the episode, "Iced, Iced Babies", when Roger disguises himself as a college literature professor he recites part of the spoken opening verse as follows: "This class isn't about literature! It's about life! Electric word: life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you there's something else...my office hours. It's from Tuesday to Thursday from 1 PM to 3 PM."
  • The Minnesota Twins have played the song when a Twins player hits a home run since they moved to Target Field in 2010, since it was a nod to Prince's Minnesota roots.
  • During Game 6 of a first round series of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Dallas Stars, the Minnesota Wild used "Let's Go Crazy" as their goal song as part of a series of tributes to Prince that night. The team ultimately chose to make the change permanent for the 2016-17 season.[9]
  • A cover of the song is performed at the fourth version of Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue at Universal Studios Florida.
  • Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu used "Let's Go Crazy" as the music for his short program in the 2016-2017 figure skating season.

Lenz v. Universal[edit]

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz, a writer and editor from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to "Let's Go Crazy" and posted a 29-second video on the video-sharing site YouTube. Four months after the video was originally uploaded, Universal Music Group, which owned the copyrights to the song, ordered YouTube to remove the video enforcing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Later in August 2008, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, of San Jose, California, ruled that copyright holders cannot order a deletion of an online file without determining whether that posting reflected "fair use" of the copyrighted material. Lenz notified YouTube immediately that her video was within the scope of fair use, and demanded that it be restored. YouTube complied after six weeks—not two weeks, as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—to see whether Universal planned to sue Lenz for infringement. Lenz then sued Universal Music in California for her legal costs, claiming the music company had acted in bad faith by ordering removal of a video that represented fair use of the song.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X
  1. ^ Uptown, 2004, p. 50
  2. ^ The original single release credits the authors of the song as Prince and The Revolution, but the song's authorship is registered with ASCAP as solely by Prince.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 471. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 208. 
  5. ^ Woodworth, G.M.; University of California, Los Angeles (2008). "Just Another One of God's Gifts": Prince, African-American Masculinity, and the Sonic Legacy of the Eighties. University of California, Los Angeles. p. 268. ISBN 9781109120745. Retrieved 2015-06-22. 
  6. ^ a b "Hip Hop Single Sales: Prince, Desiigner & Drake". HipHopDX. April 30, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Get Your FREE Copy of SPIN's Prince Tribute!". SPIN.com. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  8. ^ "American single certifications – Prince – Let's Go Crazy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 31, 2016.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  9. ^ "Minnesota Wild officially change their goal song to Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy'". SB Nation. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Egelko, Bob (August 21, 2008). "Woman can sue over YouTube clip de-posting". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
Preceded by
"Missing You" by John Waite
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 29, 1984 – October 6, 1984
Succeeded by
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Preceded by
"Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean
Billboard's Hot Soul Singles number one single
October 6, 1984
Succeeded by
"I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Preceded by
"No Favors" by Temper
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(with "Erotic City")

September 29, 1984
Succeeded by
"The Medicine Song" by Stephanie Mills