1999 (album)

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Prince's studio album


October 27, 1982


January 14, 1982 - August 14, 1982

Label (s) Warner Bros. Records

Format (s)

Double album, LP, CD

Genre (s)

R&B , dance , funk , pop , rock , rockabilly

Title (number)


running time

70:33 (double album, CD)
40:08 (LP)
62:16 (first CD edition)

  • Prince - All songs were produced, arranged, composed and performed by him. His band members added the following to the recordings:
  • Jill Jones - Backing Vocals in 1999 , Automatic , Free , Lady Cab Driver
  • Vanity - Backing Vocals in Free
  • Dez Dickerson - backing vocals in 1999 , Little Red Corvette and Little Red Corvette guitar
  • Lisa Coleman, Brown Mark, Peggy McCreary, Carol McGovney, Jamie Shoop and "Poochie and the Count" - backing vocals and handclaps in DMSR
  • second sound engineer - Don Batts
  • Photography - (not mentioned)
  • Personal management from Prince - Bob Cavallo, Joe Ruffalo, Steve Fargnoli



Studio (s)

Kiowa Trail Home Studio ( Chanhassen )
Sunset Sound ( Los Angeles )

1999 Purple Rain
Single releases
September 24, 1982 1999
February 9, 1983 Little Red Corvette
17th August 1983 Delirious
August 1983 Automatic
November 23, 1983 Let's Pretend We're Married

1999 is the fifth studio album by the American musician Prince . It was released on October 27, 1982 as a double album on the Warner Bros. Records label . With this album Prince succeeded in the crossover in the USA in 1983 ; 1999 was his first album, which reached the top ten of the US charts and sold over four million times. The album also includes Little Red Corvette, his first top ten single hit in the US. The 1999 tour was also commercially successful, grossing $ 10 million at the time.

Guest singers on the album include Jill Jones , Lisa Coleman , Vanity and Wendy Melvoin . The music from 1999 belongs to the genre R&B , dance , funk , pop , rock and rockabilly . Music critics rated the double album very positively and in 2008 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 .

On November 29, 2019, Warner Bros. Records and NPG Records posthumously released a revised version of the album called 1999 Deluxe .


In 1982, Prince began recording the 1999 album . He recorded most of the songs in Los Angeles , California, on Sunset Sound, using a Linn LM-1 drum computer , which was new to the market at the time, for almost every song . The Linn LM-1 drum machine enabled Prince to record his songs and albums faster than before in years. Peggy McCreary, among others, worked as a sound engineer . Parallel to the album recordings in 1999 , Prince also worked on albums from his side projects at the time for the bands The Time and Vanity 6 .

On January 14, 1982 Prince recorded the song International Lover on Sunset Sound , which he originally featured on the album What Time Is It? (First published: August 1982) by The Time. He later made up his mind. Posthumously a version of International Lover with Morris Day by The Time on drums was released on the album 1999 Deluxe in November 2019 . In addition, the album Piano & A Microphone 1983 (2018) features an acoustic version that Prince recorded in October 1983 and only plays on the piano . This version differs significantly from the 1999 version .

The first song that Prince recorded specifically for the album in 1999 was All the Critics Love U in New York in early 1982 . The exact recording date is unknown to the public, but he recorded the piece at his then private home studio called Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen , Minnesota, when he was on his controversy tour at the time. From March 25, 1982 to April 9, Prince was back at Sunset Sound and recorded Let's Pretend We're Married on March 30, 1982 .

From April 20, 1982 to May 10, Prince rented the Sunset Sound Studio again for three weeks and played six more songs for the 1999 album ; on the first day he recorded DMSR , with Carol McGovney and Jamie Shoop, who then worked for Prince's management , and Peggy McCreary doing the backing vocals . On April 25th, Prince recorded the piece Free and the backing vocals were performed by Jill Jones , Lisa Coleman , Vanity and Wendy Melvoin . A day later, Prince recorded How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? on. When he recorded this song he had had a little alcohol. Prince had asked McCreary to bring him a bottle of wine to record the song in order to get in the right mood for the love song. According to McCreary, Prince was “in a really great mood” and “you can hear his feet on the piano pedals”. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? placed Prince as the B-side of the 1999 single released in September 1982 , and another version can be heard on 1999 Deluxe . On April 28th he recorded Something in the Water (Does Not Compute) , the original version was also placed on 1999 Deluxe . Prince Automatic recorded on May 2, 1982 , with Jill Jones and Lisa Coleman singing the backing vocals. The sixth song he recorded on May 9th Delirious in Sunset Sound.

On May 20, 1982, Prince Little Red Corvette recorded at his private recording studio, Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen. Little Red Corvette was Prince's first song that he recorded on an Ampex MM1200 24-track recorder . He also played in the summer of 1982 the song Horny Toad , which was released in August 1983 as the B-side of the single Delirious .

In July 1982 Prince rented the Sunset Sound in Los Angeles again for a few days and recorded the song Lady Cab Driver on July 7, with Jill Jones singing the backing vocals. In contrast to the other songs from the 1999 album , Prince played traditional drumming with Lady Cab Driver and did not use a Linn LM-1. He also reworked some songs and focused on sound effects ; he added an intro to Free with marching boots and a beating heart, added traffic noise to Lady Cab Driver and a babbling baby to Delirious .

During the album recordings Prince decided to want to release as a double album in 1999 , about which the chief executive officers at Warner Bros. Records were skeptical; they argued that the selling price for a double album could be too expensive for potential buyers. Prince's then managers Bob Cavallo and Steve Fargnoli managed to convince Warner of the opposite. Cavallo described Prince's reaction as follows: "He yelled at us, and then he went back to Minneapolis and kept recording."

On August 7, 1982 Prince recorded the last song for the album with the title track 1999 at the Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen . Prince, Dez Dickson and Lisa Coleman originally sang the first verses together. When Prince mixed the song , he decided to separate the individual vocal tracks so that everyone sings a single verse.

Prince finished the final work for the 1999 album from August 10 to August 14, 1982 at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. Sound engineer Peggy McCreary described the collaboration with the musician as mostly "exhausting" because Prince was a " workaholic " and also worked "at four in the morning". The pressure was "incredible". Keyboardist Dr. Fink said of the album recordings after Prince's death in 2016: “For 1999 , I recorded next to nothing. Dez Dickerson played a little guitar in Little Red Corvette, and there were a few backing vocals , but Prince did most of it himself. He could do everything by himself. "

When Prince took a four-week break from his 1999 tour of the United States in January 1983, he flew to Los Angeles and recorded a maxi single by Little Red Corvette on Sunset Sound from January 7 to January 14, 1983 . He played the song Irresistible Bitch on September 15, 1983 in Sunset Sound. Prince originally recorded the piece in 1981 - this version was placed on 1999 Deluxe - but completely reworked it. Irresistible Bitch was released in November 1983 as the b-side of the single Let's Pretend We're Married .

Design of the cover

The design of the record cover was designed by Prince himself and for the first time he gave the color purple a greater meaning; the cover has a purple hue with a multitude of small white dots. It only contains the inscriptions "1999" and "Prince", with the addition of "Prince and The Revolution " in tiny letters in mirror writing in the letter "i" of his name . 1999 is the first Prince album that does not have a portrait photo of him on the front. In addition, the lyrics are printed for the first time on the inner sleeve of the LP and in the CD booklet. There is also a picture of Prince lying naked on his stomach in a bed. Only a duvet covers his lower body.

The cover of the single LP, however, which shows a photo of Prince standing in a room, does not contain the addition "and The Revolution".


Musical style

The 1999 album is characterized by the use of the Linn LM-1 drum computer and dominant synthesizer sounds . Nevertheless, Prince again combines different musical styles with one another; For example, the title track as well as DMSR and Lady Cab Driver can be assigned to the funk and dance genre, Little Red Corvette is from the pop area , Delirious has a rockabilly approach and International Lover is an R&B ballad.

Lyrics and singing

Although Prince describes fears of nuclear wars in the title track , this apocalyptic theme is not representative of the album. In the lyrics , Prince deals mostly with sexual issues. However, in contrast to his previous albums, Prince occasionally gains a humorous component from this. For example, the song Little Red Corvette is not about a sports car , but about a vagina . Cars, horses and jockeys serve as metaphors for pleasure in this case. Let's Pretend We're Married is a winking hymn to anonymous sex . In the songs Automatic and Lady Cab Driver, however, Prince deals with the subject of dominance and submission .

In addition to his characteristic falsetto singing , Prince also uses lower voices on the 1999 album . Through the use of electronic devices, his voice in the title track sometimes sounds alien.

List of titles and publications

No. song author length
01 1999 Prince 6:18
02 Little Red Corvette Prince 4:55
03 Delirious Prince 3:58
04th Let's Pretend We're Married Prince 7:21
05 DMSR Prince 8:16
06th Automatic Prince 9:28
07th Something in the Water (Does Not Compute) Prince 4:01
08th Free Prince 5:06
09 Lady Cab Driver Prince 8:18
010 All the Critics Love U in New York Prince 5:58
011 International lover Prince 6:37

On October 27, 1982, 1999 was released as a double double album with eleven songs on record . On March 7, 1983, the album was also released as a single record with seven songs, with the four songs DMSR , Automatic , All the Critics Love U in New York and International Lover deleted. The first editions on compact disc do not contain DMSR , but later CD pressings contain all eleven songs. On November 29, 2019 published Warner Bros. Records and NPG Records with 1999 Deluxe , a revised version of the double album.


Five singles were released from the album. The title track 1999 was released on September 24, 1982 as a single edit version, which is 3:36 minutes long. The B-side song How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? was previously unpublished. The single Little Red Corvette was released on February 9, 1983 and is 3:08 minutes long, All the Critics Love U in New York serves as the B-side , which was shortened to 3:15 minutes.

Delirious was released as the third single on August 17, 1983. The song was also released in a shortened single edit version with a length of 2:56 minutes and the previously unreleased piece Horny Toad is available as the B-side . The single version of Automatic is shortened to 3:38 minutes and was only released in Australia in August 1983. Something in the Water (Does Not Compute) serves as the B-side. Let's Pretend We're Married was released on November 23, 1983 and the single version has been shortened to 3:40 minutes. Irresistible Bitch is the third song that was previously unreleased and served as the B-side of a single. Let's Pretend We're Married was not released in Europe.

Music videos

Prince released four music videos for songs from the 1999 album with 1999 , Little Red Corvette , Let's Pretend We're Married and Automatic . The 1999 music videos , Let's Pretend We're Married, and Automatic were filmed in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Armory in early November 1982 . In the videos for 1999 and Let's Pretend We're Married , Prince can be seen with his band at the time performing the songs on stage. Director of the video was the British film director Bruce Gowers . The 1999 video also features Jill Jones . 1999 was one of the first music videos by a black artist in December 1982 to be shown on MTV . The music video for Automatic is over eight minutes long and ends with a bondage scene between Prince, Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones. The director is again Bruce Gowers.

At the end of January 1983, director Brian Greenberg produced a music video for Little Red Corvette , which was filmed at the Lakeland Civic Center during rehearsals for the 1999 tour in Lakeland , Florida and shows Prince performing the song with his backing band in playback vocals. No music video was produced for the single Delirious .

Cover versions

Various musicians recorded cover versions of songs from the 1999 album , the title track being the most frequently reinterpreted. For example, Dynamite (1990), Gary Numan (1992), Bif Naked (1999), Matthew Good (1999) and Party Animals (2005) were re-recorded by Big Audio in 1999 . Little Red Corvette has been covered by Sandra Bernhard (1989), Bob Belden (1993), Paul Kelly (2001) and Jeanne Added (2011) , among others . The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed both 1999 and Little Red Corvette in 1995 . The song Let's Pretend We're Married interpreted Tina Turner (1983), School of Fish (1991) and Self (1997). Delirious re- recorded jazz musician David Helbock (2012).

The B-Sides How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? and Irresistible Bitch were also covered; How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? recorded Stephanie Mills (1983), Joshua Redman (1998), Alicia Keys (2001) and Bilal (2001). Irresistible Bitch was interpreted by Mellow Man Ace (1999).


Typical setlist of the 1999 tour from
11 November 1982 to 10 April 1983
  1. Controversy
  2. Let's work
  3. Do me baby
  4. DMSR
  5. With You (played as an instrumental version)
  6. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?
  7. Lady Cab Driver
  8. Automatic
  9. International lover
  10. 1999
Prince is the author of all songs

The 1999 tour began on November 11, 1982 in Chattanooga , Tennessee, and ended on April 10, 1983 in Chicago , Illinois. The tour took place exclusively in the USA, included 83 concerts and grossed ten million US dollars. The motto of some concerts was "The Triple Threat"; Prince's side projects Vanity 6 and The Time appeared as opening act , with Vanity 6 playing for about 20 minutes and The Time for about 40 minutes. Then Prince followed as headliner for 60 to 75 minutes. Prince's backing band consisted of the following six members:

Bobby Z., Brown Mark, Dr. Fink and Lisa Coleman were also members of Prince and The Revolution from 1983 to 1986 .

Prince did not include the song Little Red Corvette on the setlist until 1983, after it was successful in the US hit parade. He only played Delirious sporadically on the 1999 tour. In 1983, tension arose between Prince and the band members during the tour; Guitarist Dez Dickerson was absent from some of the soundchecks and The Time did not appear as opening act on the 1999 tour - there was no official explanation. There was also tension between Prince and the band Vanity 6. In addition, Prince was increasingly shielded by his personal bodyguard Charles Huntsberry (* 1941; † April 2, 1990) - nicknamed "Big Chick".



The reviews of the 1999 album were partly very positive. The US music magazine Rolling Stone named Prince "Artist of the Year 1982"; Michael Hill wrote about the album that Prince managed to "keep the energy level of the songs up and also to incorporate imaginative shock moments and surprises." He also said: "After disco , punk and new wave, finally hot stuff again". Hill gave the album four stars out of five. The music journalist Mikal Gilmore of the US daily Los Angeles Herald-Examiner found, due to the mixture of different musical styles, that Prince “moves confidently and successfully between pulsating funk and artful pop”. Tony Michell of the British music magazine Sounds was of a similar opinion and praised that the music style of the album lifted Prince "beyond the conventional categorization". The Chicago Sun-Times speculated: "If you consider that Prince has what it takes to be one of the greatest stars in music history, he still seems to be on the way up." Miles Davis wrote of Prince's music in his 1990 autobiography that it was "the most exciting" that he heard in 1982.

In 1982, Prince only gave an interview to do music promotion for the 1999 album . This interview appeared on November 21, 1982 in the national US daily Los Angeles Times and was conducted by Robert Hillburn. Prince was very taciturn, but took the opportunity to address some of the rumors that were circulating about him in public at the time. Among other things, he said: “First, my name is really Prince” and emphasized that the name “did not invent”. “Second, I'm not gay . And third, I am not Jamie Starr ”. Jamie Starr was a pseudonym of Prince at the time, which he deliberately denied in the 1980s. Prince did not give interviews again until 1985.

After Prince's death in April 2016, the music journalists Albert Koch and Thomas Weiland from the German music magazine Musikexpress reviewed the album in 1999 and gave it almost the highest score with five and a half out of six stars. Among other things, you wrote that Prince reached “full operating temperature”. Many of the songs on the album still sound “ very up-to-date” “because of its references to new wave and punk funk”.


Charts Top ranking Weeks
Chart placements
Germany (GfK) Germany (GfK) 37 (1 week) 1
Austria (Ö3) Austria (Ö3) 72 (1 week) 1
Switzerland (IFPI) Switzerland (IFPI) 26th (4 weeks) 4th
United Kingdom (OCC) United Kingdom (OCC) 28 (26 weeks) 26th
United States (Billboard) United States (Billboard) 7th (163 weeks) 163

In 1982 the album could not place in the German, Austrian and Swiss charts. It ranked 9th in the US in 1983 and 30th in the UK in 1985, with the highest ranking in the two countries being achieved in May 2016 after Prince's death. The ones in Germany, Austria and Switzerland result from December 2019 through the revised version of 1999 Deluxe , because these sales figures are added to the original album.

year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1982 1999 - - - UK25 (8 weeks)
US44 (12 weeks)
1983 Little Red Corvette - - - UK54 (11 weeks)
US6 (22 weeks)
1999 - - - - US12 (15 weeks)
• Re-entry on June 4, 1983
Delirious - - - UKnvUK US8 (18 weeks)
• Not decoupled worldwide
Let's Pretend We're Married DEnvDE ATnvAT CHnvCH UKnvUK US52 (10 weeks)
• Not decoupled in Europe
Automatic DEnvDE ATnvAT CHnvCH UKnvUK USnvUS
• Only decoupled in Australia
1984 1999 / Little Red Corvette - - - UK2

(11 weeks)UK
Republication as double A-side
• UK: January 11, 1985: Silver (200,000+)
1998 1999 (album version) DE86 (4 weeks)
- - UK10 (9 weeks)
US40 (1 week)
• Re-release as a CD single
2016 1999 DE75 (1 week)
- - UK49 (1 week)
US27 (2 weeks)
Posthumous re-entry on April 29, 2016
Little Red Corvette - - - UK70 (1 week)
US20 (2 weeks)
• Posthumous re-entry on April 29, 2016

In the USA, the title song was released in September 1982 as a pre-release single in 1999 and initially reached number 44 in the charts. In April 1983 Prince was able to record his first top ten hit of his career in the USA with the second single Little Red Corvette . This success returned to the charts in 1999 and reached number twelve.

In 2010, the US music magazine Rolling Stone selected the 500 best songs of all time , in which Little Red Corvette made it to number 109 and 1999 to number 215.

Sales figures and awards

Country / Region Award Sales
Awards for music sales
(country / region, Award, Sales)
Canada (MC) Canada (MC) Gold record icon.svg gold 50,000
New Zealand (RMNZ) New Zealand (RMNZ) Gold record icon.svg gold 7,500
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) Platinum record icon.svg 4 × platinum 4,000,000
United Kingdom (BPI) United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum record icon.svg platinum 300,000
All in all Gold record icon.svg2 × gold
Platinum record icon.svg5 × platinum

Main article: Prince / Music Sales Awards

  • CA: Gold October 1, 1983
  • NZ: Gold on October 23, 1983
  • US: 4 × platinum on March 24, 1999
  • UK: Platinum October 17, 2008

In 2008 the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and in 2012 the US music magazine Rolling Stone selected the album at number 163 of the 500 best albums of all time .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Booklet of the Prince and the Revolution CD 1999 , Warner Bros. Records, 1982
  2. a b Nilsen (1999), p. 279.
  3. a b Nilsen (1999), p. 98.
  4. a b c d e Nilsen (1999), p. 262.
  5. Nilsen (1999), p. 99.
  6. Tudahl (2018), p. 5.
  7. Horny Toad. In: Princevault.com. November 29, 2017, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  8. a b Nilsen (1999), p. 100.
  9. Nilsen (1999), p. 101.
  10. Nilsen (1999), pp. 101-102.
  11. a b Hahn (2016), p. 84.
  12. 1999. In: Princevault.com. March 12, 2018, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  13. Nilsen (1999), pp. 99-100.
  14. Azhar (2016), p. 23.
  15. Tudahl (2018), pp. 4-6.
  16. Tudahl (2018), p. 17.
  17. Tudahl (2018), pp. 167–169.
  18. Nilsen (1999), p. 103.
  19. Greenman (2017), p. 89.
  20. a b c d Seibold (1991), p. 51.
  21. Album cover of Prince's 1999 vinyl single LP , Warner Bros. Records, 1983
  22. a b c Hahn (2016), p. 85.
  23. Hahn (2016), p. 126.
  24. Marc Deckert: Let's freak out. In: Sueddeutsche.de. May 17, 2010, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  25. a b Ewing (1994), p. 43.
  26. a b Uptown (2004), p. 37.
  27. Uptown (2004), p. 41.
  28. Uptown (2004), p. 45.
  29. Automatic. In: Princevault.com. November 24, 2017, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  30. Uptown (2004), p. 46.
  31. a b c Uptown (2004), p. 622.
  32. Mischke (1994), p. 44.
  33. Little Red Corvette. In: Princevault.com. December 22, 2017, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  34. Discover the original. In: Coverinfo.de. Retrieved March 30, 2018 ( Enter Prince in "Search" ).
  35. Prince on WhoSampled
  36. SecondHandSongs - a cover songs database. In: Secondhandsongs.com. 2018, accessed on March 30, 2018 .
  37. a b c d e Uptown (2004), p. 38.
  38. Tudahl (2018), p. 61.
  39. Uptown (2004), p. 37. u. P. 43.
  40. ^ Uptown (2004), p. 38.
  41. ^ Charles Huntsberry (1941–1990). In: IMDb.com. 2018, accessed on March 30, 2018 .
  42. Ewing (1994), p. 46.
  43. Tudahl (2018), p. 35.
  44. Mischke (1989), p. 107.
  45. a b c d Nilsen (1999), p. 109.
  46. Greenman (2017), p. 156.
  47. ^ ME editors: From the big Prince special - an overview of all albums. In: Musikexpress.de. May 22, 2016, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  48. Prince. officialcharts.de, accessed on February 16, 2019 .
  49. Prince. austriancharts.at, accessed on December 11, 2019 .
  50. Prince. hitparade.ch, accessed on February 16, 2019 .
  51. Prince. officialcharts.com, accessed February 16, 2019 .
  52. ^ Prince - Chart History. billboard.com, accessed February 16, 2019 .
  53. Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  54. Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In: Rollingstone.com. April 7, 2011, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  55. musiccanada.com. 2018, accessed on March 30, 2018 .
  56. ^ The Official NZ Music Charts. October 23, 1983, accessed February 21, 2019 .
  57. Draper (2016), p. 37.
  58. Certified Awards Search. British Phonographic Industry , 2018, accessed March 30, 2018 .
  59. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame. In: Grammy.com. 2018, accessed April 12, 2018 .
  60. Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In: Rollingstone.com. May 31, 2012, accessed March 30, 2018 .