Pop Life (Prince song)

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"Pop Life"
Prince PopLife.jpg
US 7" single
Single by Prince and the Revolution
from the album Around the World in a Day
  • "Hello" (US)
  • "Girl" (UK)
ReleasedJuly 10, 1985
RecordedFebruary 19, 1984
StudioSunset Sound
Length3:42 (7"/Album Version)
6:16 (Fresh Dance Mix)
9:07 (UK Extended Version)
LabelPaisley Park, Warner Bros.
Prince and the Revolution singles chronology
"Raspberry Beret"
"Pop Life"
Prince (UK) singles chronology
"Raspberry Beret"
"Pop Life"

"Pop Life" is a song by Prince and the Revolution. It was the second US (and final UK) single from their 1985 album, Around the World in a Day, reaching number 7 in the US charts, becoming Prince's eighth top-ten hit in a two-year span.


The song starts with a faded-in synth line and quickly starts the main tune. The easy groove is achieved with a smooth bass guitar and piano embellishments. A drum machine provides handclaps to make the song danceable. "Pop Life" was recorded before Purple Rain was completed, indicating the new direction Prince wanted to take after the success of that album and film.

"Throw the bum out!"[edit]

The song includes a portion that features the sound of bell ringing for a boxing match, followed by the sound of a restless crowd with someone yelling "throw the bum out!" This was rumored to be taken from an actual concert in 1981 when Prince opened for the Rolling Stones in Los Angeles. Relatively unknown at the time, the crowd booed him off stage. He returned for the second show, getting a better reception, but with still some booing; Prince quit the tour shortly after. In reality, the bits are from a sound effects library; the same riot crowd sound effect can be heard in the 1982 horror film Alone in the Dark in the scene where a store is being looted (even the line "throw the bum out" can be heard at 35 minutes and 50 seconds into the movie). The reason for the sample's inclusion is unknown even to Prince himself; when asked about it on his online forum, Prince responded "Good ? - Me 2 :)" ("good question, me too :)").[2]


The song was released in two extended versions. The UK 12" single version is a 9-minute extension of the tune, and ends with a similar synth sound as the beginning. The US received a "Fresh Dance Mix", which is a remix (by Sheila E.) that included some portions of the longer UK version. It clocks in at 6:16, and was included on the 2006 compilation album, Ultimate.

The US B-side of the track was "Hello", written quickly as a response to those who criticized Prince's lack of participation in the "We Are the World" event. The angry lyrics lambaste the prying media and false friendships, and is driven by a pulsing beat. The extended version of the song ends with a spoken word by Prince, which contain some self-humor about his high-heeled shoes. The UK B-side was "Girl", which the US had as the B-side of "America".

Elvis Costello once planned to do a cover version of the song, with altered lyrics, but Prince refused. Costello later recorded the song "The Bridge I Burned", which borrows the chord sequence from "Pop Life".[3] Alternative rock band Local H recorded a cover of the song, but it has since gone unreleased.[4]


Chart (1985-1986 and 2016) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 67
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 34
Germany (Official German Charts)[7] 65
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 44
UK Singles (OCC)[9] 60
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 7
Chart (2016) Peak
France (SNEP)[11] 116


  1. ^ "Salute To The Purple One: Top 10 Prince Songs". theurbandaily.com. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ http://princeonlinemuseum.com/love4oneanother/liberty/qotw/a-qotw-menu.htm
  3. ^ Everingham, John. "The Elvis Costello Home Page - Biography". elviscostello.info. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Indie Press – Scott Lucas Interview". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 239. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Prince & The Revolution – Pop Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Prince & The Revolution – Pop Life". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Charts.nz – Prince & The Revolution – Pop Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Prince: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "Prince Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  11. ^ "Lescharts.com – Prince & The Revolution – Pop Life" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 9, 2016.

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