Little Red Corvette
|"Little Red Corvette"|
US 7" single (1983)
|Single by Prince|
|from the album 1999|
|Released||February 9, 1983|
|Recorded||Sunset Sound, 1982|
|Prince 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, due to the pop/rock format of the song.
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".
The single was released with another 1999 track, "Let's Pretend We're Married".
"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 number 108 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- The guitar solo, played by band member Dez Dickerson, was ranked number 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.
- Sandra Bernhard sang a slow arrangement of the song in her one-woman show Without You I'm Nothing, which was released as a double-album in 1987 and later adapted into a motion picture.
- Canadian a cappella group The Nylons covered the song on their 1992 album Live to Love.
- A cover of the song appears on the 1992 album Can't Have Nothing Nice by Minnesotan indie band Gear Daddies.
- Swedish singer Jerry Williams included a cover of the song on his 2002 album Sweet Sixty.
- In 2001, Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly performed the song live on air as part of the Andrew Denton Breakfast Show Musical Challenge. It later appeared on the Musical Challenge Volume 2: Even More Challenged compilation CD.
- In 2008, Mike Zito performed the song on his album Today.
- American singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson performed a version of the song in July 2011 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.
- Southern rap artist Lil' Troy samples the song on the track "Wanna Be a Baller" from his 1998 album Sittin' Fat Down South.
- Hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony samples the song in their 2000 single, "Change the World".
Influences on other songs
- Stevie Nicks got the idea for her 1983 song "Stand Back" from "Little Red Corvette." She heard Prince's song in her car, wrote "Stand Back" that night, and called Prince, who came into the studio and played keyboards.
- Alter Ring's song "Infinitely Gentle Blows", which is featured at the end of the 2000 Sundance winning film, Groove, borrows liberally from "Little Red Corvette".
- The line "little red love machine" can be heard in the title track of Saliva's Survival of the Sickest album from 2004.
- The chorus is the basis for Chad in Portland's song "Mike in Wichitard" on The Jim Rome Show.
- The song "Three Small Words" from the soundtrack to the film Josie and the Pussycats contains the line "no one's little red Corvette."
- Uptown, 2004, p.41
- "Hip Hop Single Sales: Prince, Desiigner & Drake". HipHopDX. April 30, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
- "Little Red Corvette by Prince @ Song Key Finder". www.songkeyfinder.com. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Prince. "Prince "Little Red Corvette" Sheet Music in Db Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides Ltd. p. 819. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0.
- Torchinsky, Jason (2016-04-24). "Everybody Was Wrong About the Car That Inspired Prince's 'Little Red Corvette'". Jalopnik. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
- Leeds, Alan (1993). CD insert booklet. Prince The Hits 2.
- "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". Acclaimed Music. May 27, 2009.
- "Matt Nathanson covers "Little Red Corvette" by Prince". Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Trust, Gary; Caulfield, Keith (April 25, 2016). "Prince's 'Purple Rain' Is the Week's Top-Selling Song, as 6 of His Classics Re-Enter Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X