March 27, 2009

"Raspberry Beret"

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Raspberry Beret" is the first U.S. (and second UK) single from Prince and The Revolution's 1985 album, Around the World in a Day. The sound was completely different from any previous Prince track, incorporating Middle-Eastern finger-cymbals, stringed instruments, and even a harmonica on the extended version. The song was also more in the pop vein than ever before, though the 12-inch single and video of the song feature a funky intro. Although the song was originally recorded in 1982, Prince drastically reworked it with The Revolution to give it more of an international sound. The song has several notable features including its use of finger cymbals and flange effect.

Random thoughts and memories triggered by the video:

  • I obsessively anticipated the world premiere of the "Raspberry Beret" video on my once beloved MTV. I was not disappointed.
  • I didn't like his hairstyle - I could only think "Liza Minneli."
  • Having purchased the album a few weeks before the release of the "Raspberry Beret" video (listening to it from sunrise to sunset), the beginning of the video was disconcerting, due to its being so different from the album version.
  • Being a huge Beatles fan at the time, I was hopeful Prince was about to launch the second coming of Beatlesque psychedelic music with songs such as "Raspberry Beret." I still hear "Here Comes the Sun" in the violin section.
  • The Middle-Eastern finger-cymbals? Awesome! I wanted some!!
  • "Raspberry Beret" was the last 45 I ever bought, solely for the B-side - "She's Always in My Hair," still one of my favorite songs of all time.
  • Here I am with an old Galveston pal and college fraternity brother in my UT dorm room, circa 1985. I'm wearing a vintage, 1960s-era paisley shirt purchased in a little boutique located along Champs-Élysées Avenue when I went to Paris (I was actually in Nice around the same time Prince was filming Under the Cherry Moon) the previous summer with a close friend. I bought it because Prince had made paisley cool and fashionable again. I still have the shirt.


    Gilligan said...

    That's funny you thought the song would bring another Beatlesque psychedlic wave - I thought the same thing with "Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears, and more recently with The Flaming Lips.

    I've since learned to not get so hopefull. I think now the best we can hope for is something better than "My Humps".

    Chris said...

    Well, no, there you go -- Prince did launch a sort of psychedelic rebirth. There was "Seeds of Love," or "Fly High Michelle," "Manic Monday" (a Prince song), and others, might not have been released if not for Around the World in a Day.