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The Greatest Romance Ever Sold

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"The Greatest Romance Ever Sold"
Prince stands with his arms out while wearing a brown robe in front of a golden portrait displaying the title of the song
Single by Prince
from the album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic
B-side "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" (Adam & Eve Remix)
Released October 5, 1999
Format
Recorded June 1998–September 1999; Paisley Park Studios (Chanhassen, Minnesota)
Genre
Length 5:29
Label
Songwriter(s) Prince
Producer(s) Prince
Prince singles chronology
"Extraordinary"
(1999)
"The Greatest Romance Ever Sold"
(1999)
"One Song"
(1999)
"Extraordinary"
(1999)
"The Greatest Romance Ever Sold"
(1999)
"One Song"
(1999)

"The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" is a song recorded by American musician Prince, under his unpronounceable stage name called the "Love Symbol". It was released as the lead single from his twenty-third studio album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999). It was issued on October 5, 1999 in several different formats, including a 12-inch single, CD single, and a maxi single. Prince solely wrote and produced it, while Mike Scott provided guitar strings for the track. Several music critics found the single reminiscent to the works on his previous studio album, Diamonds and Pearls (1991).

The track is a smooth hip hop and soul ballad, featuring Prince's multi-layered vocals in the chorus. A B-side remix of the single entitled "Adam and Eve", featured a guest rap from Eve, while a The Neptunes remix featured a guest rap from Q-Tip. The former version was included on Prince's first remix album, Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic (2001). The single became a minor hit, peaking at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. An accompanying music video was created shortly after Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic became available for purchase.

Composition and release[edit]

Musically, "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" is a smooth hip hop and soul ballad, unlike his previous pop music efforts.[1][2] It was solely written and produced by Prince himself, but he enlisted the help of Scottish musician Mike Scott for a guitar verse.[3] The singer uses multi-layered vocals, a deep falsetto, and a downtempo melody throughout its chorus.[1] The album version of the single has a duration of five minutes and twenty-nine seconds, while the radio edit lasts for four minutes and thirty seconds.[4]

Several different physical releases of the single occurred shortly after its release on October 5, 1999, as it was marketed as Prince's "comeback" song.[5] A 12" included eight different versions of the song, including the radio edit, the album version, the "Adam & Eve" remix, plus five additional remixes.[6] The US CD single included the radio edit and Jason Nevins Remix of the track, plus a ten-second "Call Out Research Hook".[7] Also, the Spanish CD single only contained the radio edit of the song.[8]

Reception[edit]

The track was generally well received by music critics. Chuck Taylor, a columnist for Billboard, called the single "entirely satisfying" and appreciated it for being unlike other songs on the radio.[1] Entertainment Weekly's Chris Willman enjoyed the recording's seductiveness and its overall production.[9] Toure from Rolling Stone was more mixed in his review, stating that it "sound[ed] like [a] refugee from Diamonds and Pearls, the least-great of Prince's great records".[10] Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club agreed: "[it] is more Diamonds and Pearls good than Sign O' the Times great."[2]

After its release, "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" was moderately successful. The single peaked at number sixty-three on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Prince's highest peaking song on the chart since "I Hate U" (1995).[11] The song also fared well on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs component chart, where it peaked at number twenty-three and lasting a total of twenty weeks on the chart.[12] Elsewhere, the track peaked in the lower regions of several charts. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at position sixty-five, during February 2000.[13] It also charted in Germany and the Netherlands, peaking at numbers seventy-nine and seventy-one, respectively.[14][15]

Promotion[edit]

An accompanying music video for the song was produced and created in late 1999.[16] The visual features the singer performing in a dark room with several other female dancers; for the final segment of the video, Prince stands in front of a bullseye backdrop and a waterfall. In terms of live performances, the singer sang "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" for his direct to video VHS film Rave Un2 the Year 2000.[17] The aforementioned rendition was recorded live on December 31, 1999 from Paisley Park Studios.[18]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic liner notes[3]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1999–2000) Peak
position
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 79
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 71
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[20] 75
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 65
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 63
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[12] 23

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Chuck (October 23, 1999). "Singles". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 111 (43): 31. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (November 9, 1999). "Prince: Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (liner notes). Prince (musician). NPG Records, Arista Records. 1999. 
  4. ^ a b The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (Vinyl) (Liner notes/ CD booklet). The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Arista, NPG (Barcode: ARDP-3764). 1999. 
  5. ^ Nilsen, Per; Mattheij, JooZt (2004). The Vault. The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince. Sweden: Uptown Sweden. p. 718. ISBN 91-631-5482-X. 
  6. ^ a b The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (CD) (Liner notes/ CD booklet). The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Arista, NPG (Barcode: 07822-13750-1). 1999. 
  7. ^ a b The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (CD) (Liner notes/ CD booklet). The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Arista, NPG (Barcode: ARPCD-3775). 1999. 
  8. ^ a b The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (CD) (Liner notes/ CD booklet). The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Arista, NPG (Barcode: 74321715002). 1999. 
  9. ^ Willman, Chris (November 19, 1999). "Music: Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ Toure (January 20, 2000). "Prince: Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Prince – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Prince. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Prince – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Prince. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 2000-02-26" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – The Symbol – The Greatest Romance Ever Sold". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – The Symbol – The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  16. ^ "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold – Prince". MTV Base. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  17. ^ Rave Un2 the Year 2000 (CD liner notes). Prince. Eagle Vision. 2000. EREDV121. 
  18. ^ Griffith, JT. "Prince – The Artist: Rave Un2 the Year 2000 [Video/DVD]". AllMusic. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  19. ^ The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (CD) (Liner notes/ CD booklet). The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Arista, NPG (Barcode: 74321-70665-2). 1999. 
  20. ^ "Archive Chart: 2000-02-20". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved September 1, 2016.

External links[edit]