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)
Released February 9, 1983[1]
Recorded Sunset Sound, 1982
Genre Pop[2]

5:03 (album version)

4:58 (single version)
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Little Red Corvette"
Prince (UK) chronology
"Little Red Corvette"
"When Doves Cry"
1999 track listing
"Little Red Corvette"

"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".

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

Following Prince's death, 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 919,131 copies in the United States.[3]


"Little Red Corvette" is written in the key of D major[4] and moves at a tempo of 123 beats per minute in common time. Prince's vocals span from A2 to A5 in the song.[5] The lyrics use car imagery as a double entendre for sex [6] also making use of horse related imagerary for similar purposes. [7] Slate has noted that the song is about " ambivalence, vulnerability, and fear" of casual sex . [8] 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."[8]

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".[9]


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.[10] The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually, he was able to finish it without sleeping.[11]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Cover versions[edit]



Influences on other songs[edit]

  • 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."


  1. ^ Uptown, 2004, p.41
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Prince – 1999". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Hip Hop Single Sales: Prince, Desiigner & Drake". HipHopDX. April 30, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Little Red Corvette by Prince @ Song Key Finder". Retrieved 2016-04-23. 
  5. ^ Prince. "Prince "Little Red Corvette" Sheet Music in Db Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Retrieved 2016-04-23. 
  6. ^ "25 Essential Prince Songs". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Hamilton, Jack. "Prince Was Our Bard of One-Night Stands, and "Little Red Corvette" Was His Masterpiece". Slate. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  9. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides Ltd. p. 819. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Leeds, Alan (1993). CD insert booklet. Prince The Hits 2. 
  12. ^ "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". Acclaimed Music. May 27, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Nylons". Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "Little Red Corvette - Jerry Williams - Song Info - AllMusic". Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  15. ^ "Matt Nathanson covers "Little Red Corvette" by Prince". Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  17. ^ 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

External links[edit]