Little Red Corvette

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"Little Red Corvette"
Prince LRC.jpg
US 7" single (1983)
Single by Prince
from the album 1999
  • "All the Critics Love U in New York"
  • "Horny Toad" (UK)
  • "Lady Cab Driver" (UK)
  • "D.M.S.R." (UK 12")
  • "Automatic" (UK 12")
  • "International Lover" (UK 12")
  • "1999" (U.S. picture disc)
ReleasedFebruary 9, 1983[1]
RecordedMay 20, 1982 (basic tracking)
August 11–12, 1982 (mixing)[2]
1983 and 1984 (Purple Rain era studio sessions)[3]
StudioKiowa Trail Home Studio (basic tracking), Sunset Sound (mixing)
Length5:02 (album version)
3:08 (single)
8:27 (dance remix)
LabelWarner Bros.
Prince singles chronology
"Little Red Corvette"
Prince (UK) singles chronology
"Little Red Corvette"
"When Doves Cry"
Music video
"Little Red Corvette" on YouTube

"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 6 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".

On Prince's 2006 compilation album, Ultimate, the dance remix of "Little Red Corvette" was a featured track.

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.[5]


"Little Red Corvette" is written in the key of D major[6] and moves at a tempo of 123 beats per minute in common time. Prince's vocals span from A2 to A5 in the song.[7] The lyrics use car imagery as a double entendre for sex [8] also making use of horse-related imagery for similar purposes. [9] Slate has noted that the song is about "ambivalence, vulnerability, and fear" of casual sex. [10] 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."[10]

Music video[edit]

"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".[11]


Prince got the idea for the song when he dozed off in band member Lisa Coleman's 1964 pink Mercury Montclair Marauder after an exhausting all-night recording session.[12] The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually, he was able to finish it without sleeping.[13]

Awards and accolades[edit]



  1. ^ Uptown, 2004, p.41
  2. ^ Tudahl, Duane.
  3. ^ Rowman et Littlefield, 2018.pp 4-5.
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Prince – 1999". Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ "Hip Hop Single Sales: Prince, Desiigner & Drake". HipHopDX. April 30, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "Little Red Corvette by Prince @ Song Key Finder". Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  7. ^ Prince. "Prince "Little Red Corvette" Sheet Music in Db Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  8. ^ "25 Essential Prince Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  10. ^ a b Hamilton, Jack. "Prince Was Our Bard of One-Night Stands, and "Little Red Corvette" Was His Masterpiece". Slate. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  11. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides Ltd. p. 819. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Leeds, Alan (1993). CD insert booklet. Prince The Hits 2.
  14. ^ "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". Acclaimed Music. May 27, 2009.
  15. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ a b c 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. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  • Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X

External links[edit]