Little Red Corvette
Writer(s): Prince (see lyrics here)
Released: February 9, 1983
First Charted: February 26, 1983
Peak: 6 US, 6 CB, 5 RR, 11 RB, 17 AR, 2 UK, 5 CN, 8 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 0.9 US
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 9.0 video, 29.77 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
BBC News says “‘Little Red Corvette’ is the song that made Prince a star” BBC and All Music Guide even says it “may be his very best.” AMG He’d actually gone as high as #11 on the charts with “I Wanna Be Your Lover” in 1979, but this was his first top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This one also was more radio-friendly because it featured “more shiny keyboards and less raw funk.” SF
Songfacts.com suggested that while some of his earlier songs were too blatantly sexual to be embraced by radio, this one was “just ambiguous enough not to offend most listeners.” SF However, All Music Guide calls this “one of the most sensual and frankly explicit hits ever to crack the charts.” AMG It is “just on the verge of being obscene, [but] it never succumbs to blatant tastelessness.” AMG
Everything about this “after-dark masterpiece…is suggestive, from its moaning synthesizers to its bump-and-grind rhythm to the orgasmic squeals which punctuate Prince’s vocals.” AMG It’s hard to imagine listeners didn’t pick up on the automobile metaphors as references to a one-night stand and even more laughable to think that people didn’t catch on that a line such as “she had a pocketful of horses, Trojans, some of them used” was a reference to condoms.
The story goes that Prince fell asleep in the back of keyboardist Lisa Coleman’s car “after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps.” SF However, Coleman says he was always borrowing her car, which she called “the perfect cruise mobile on a beautiful day in Minneapolis.” BBC She said he and then-girlfriend Vanity would be “making out, or doing whatever, in the back seat and they probably had a wonderful moment of afterglow, which is when he got the seed of the idea…But it’s not a red Corvette, it’s a pink Mercury!” BBC
The title song for the 1999 album was released as the first single, but stalled at #44. After the success of “Little Red Corvette,” “1999” was re-released and hit #12.
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First posted 10/7/2021.