The Beautiful Ones

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"The Beautiful Ones"
Song by Prince from the album Purple Rain
Released June 25, 1984
Format CD
Recorded September 1983
Sunset Sound, Los Angeles
Length 5:13
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Purple Rain track listing
"Take Me with U"
"The Beautiful Ones"
"Computer Blue"

"The Beautiful Ones" is the third track on Prince and The Revolution's soundtrack album Purple Rain. It was one of three songs produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Prince. The others were "When Doves Cry" and "Darling Nikki". The song was recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles by Peggy Mac and David Leonard in early September 1983.

"The Beautiful Ones" is a haunting musical tale of emotional longing and unrequited love. Starting out as a slow falsetto ballad, with Prince's piano and organ-sounding synthesizers providing a lush backdrop, it gradually builds in volume and intensity, and by the end of the song, Prince is screaming out "Do you want him, or do you want me? 'Cause I want you." The song comes to a quiet close, with Prince's keyboards and drum solo serving as the closing instrumentation.

The song replaced "Electric Intercourse" on the Purple Rain album.[1] It was originally written for Susannah Melvoin (Revolution band member Wendy's twin sister) to woo her away from her then-boyfriend.[2]

In the film, Prince sings the song directly from the stage to Apollonia, who is sitting with his rival Morris Day. The song is a direct and urgent appeal to Apollonia to choose Prince as her lover—and it is a direct challenge to Day. Ultimately, as the song ends and Prince lies, apparently spent, on the floor of the stage, Apollonia leaves in tears. (Later, she surprises him when he is unlocking his bike to leave.)

The version on the Purple Rain album is slightly cut; a longer version of the song exists.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Mariah Carey included a cover of the song (recorded as a duet with Dru Hill) on her 1997 album Butterfly.
  • Dump recorded the song on their 2001 album of Prince covers, That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?
  • Teena Marie includes a line from the song ("the beautiful ones always smash the picture, always every time") in her song "Black Rain", from her 2004 album La Doña.
  • A cover by indie band Fol Chen was included on the 2009 tribute compilation, Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.[3]
  • Beyoncé performed a cover of the song during her I Am... Yours performances in Las Vegas, and later whilst headlining at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2011. She also performed a cover of the song on some stops during her Formation World Tour in 2016.


  1. ^ "Everybody Want What They Don't Got", Uptown #44 (September 8, 2000). Accessed December 22, 2008.
  2. ^ Nilsen, Per. Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: The First Decade (SAF Publishing Ltd., 1999). ISBN 978-0-946719-64-8
  3. ^ Spin Staff. "Get Your FREE Copy of SPIN's Prince Tribute!," Spin website (June 12, 200).