Little Red Corvette
|"Little Red Corvette"|
US 7" single (1983)
|Single by Prince|
|from the album 1999|
|Released||February 9, 1983|
Kiowa Trail Home Studio, May 20, 1982 (basic tracking)|
Sunset Sound, August 11–12, 1982 (editing for album version)
1983 and 1984 (Purple Rain era studio sessions)
4:58 (album version)
|Prince singles chronology|
|Prince (UK) singles chronology|
"Little Red Corvette" is a song by American musician Prince. Released as a single from the album 1999 in 1983, the song was his biggest hit at the time, and his first to reach the top 10 in the US, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was also his first single to perform better on the pop chart than the R&B chart.
The song combines a drum machine beat and slow synth buildup for the verses and a full rock chorus. Backing vocals were done by Dez Dickerson and Lisa Coleman and the guitar solo was also played by Dickerson. In the song, Prince narrates a one-night stand with a beautiful but promiscuous woman (the "Little Red Corvette" of the title); although he enjoys the experience, he urges her to "slow down" and "find a love that's gonna last" before she destroys herself. In addition to the title, he uses several other automobile metaphors, for example comparing their lovemaking to a ride in a limousine.
A 12" dance remix of the song was released to accompany the single, and it continues where the album version fades out. The US single was originally released with the album track "All the Critics Love U in New York" as the B-side, while in the UK two separate single releases had it backed with "Lady Cab Driver" or "Horny Toad". Separate UK 12" releases had the song paired with "Automatic" and "International Lover", or "Horny Toad" and "D.M.S.R.". Later, it was released as a double A-side with "1999", thus peaking at number two in the UK in January 1985.
The single was released with another 1999 track, "Let's Pretend We're Married".
Following Prince's death in April 2016, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number 29. It rose to number 20 one week later. It has sold 1.08 million digital copies in the United States.
"Little Red Corvette" is written in the key of D♭ major and moves at a tempo of 123 beats per minute in common time. Prince's vocals span from A♭2 to A♭5 in the song. The lyrics use car imagery as a double entendre for sex  also making use of horse-related imagery for similar purposes.  Slate has noted that the song is about "ambivalence, vulnerability, and fear" of casual sex.  With the site also noting that the lyrics possess post disco themes, stating "Disco lived by the myth that Saturday night never ends. “Little Red Corvette' not only insists that it does, it reminds us that a lot of what took place in the darkened corners of clubs and alleys was shadowy, fumbling, detached, or often worse."
"Little Red Corvette" (directed by Bryan Greenberg and released in February 1983) was Prince's second music video played on MTV. The first was "1999" the previous year before Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and after Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie".
Prince got the idea for the song when he dozed off in band member Lisa Coleman's pink Mercury Montclair Marauder after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually, he was able to finish it without sleeping.
Awards and accolades
- Rolling Stone ranked the song #108 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- The guitar solo, played by band member Dez Dickerson, was ranked #64 by the readers of Guitar World as one of the 100 best guitar solos of all time.
- The song is currently ranked as the 153rd greatest song of all time as well as the third best song of 1982, by Acclaimed Music.
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