Ephemera, 1981-1982 Patreon Exclusives

Patreon Exclusive: You’re My Love

What makes “You’re My Love” work now when it wouldn’t have worked then is its sense of novelty: simply put, it sounds like nothing else Prince was recording at the time.

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By Zach

Recovering academic. Music writing at Slant, Spectrum Culture, and elsewhere. Arguably best known as the author of Dance / Music / Sex / Romance, a song-by-song chronological blog about the music of Prince.

5 replies on “Patreon Exclusive: You’re My Love”

Awww. Yer a TEASE, Zach! Getting me all riled up for nothing. I’ll share what I wrote about it on my blog for free:

QUOTE>>>The one track I was reading about prior to this album’s release that was a total shock was the song that Prince had written for… Kenny Rogers??!! If ever there was an artist diametrically opposed to the Purple One, it would have to be the Silver-Haired Primate himself. Anything the man recorded after “Just Dropped In [To See What Condition My Condition Was In” with The First Edition [in 1967] was eminently missable in my book. And yet, when asked by Rogers [a fan, apparently] if he had any songs for him, “You’re My Love” was the senses-shattering result. That Prince sang this in the lowest register I’ve ever heard him sing in leaves no doubt in my mind that he wrote this expressly for Rogers! That the song itself was a perfect Kenny Rogers pastiche suggests that Prince took the challenge on just to see if he could hit the target. I have to say that this song is as turgid and bathetic as any Kenny R. love ballad I’ve ever had the misfortune to hear. The result was a head-scratching curio that is just here to show that Prince could hit any target he wished to; no matter how ill-conceived.<<<UNQUOTE

Thank you for sharing this–I read your review when you posted it and meant to comment that the last line in particular made me laugh. It really is like peeking into bizarro world!

A world where even the unthinkable [Prince being smarmy] is possible. That’s why I really think that this one was him aiming for the Kenny target. Let’s not forget, that in the period of ’80-83, Kenny Rogers had a lock on the top 20 with his greatest levels of pop success. Lots of big, massive pop hits from the guy. It’s PRN’s vocal on this one that so strongly suggests a guide vocal with Rogers name on it, that I have no doubt in my mind that it was written expressly for that artist.

…But if it wasn’t, then Prince had done something that I wish every artist I like had done when they write an artistically atypical song [kind words for crassly commercial] that they nonetheless think will be a huge seller. He flogged it off to an artist who was appropriate for it instead of “diluting the brand” and issuing it himself [and reaping every possible cent]. I wish that Tom Bailey had that lightbulb over his head when he came up with “Hold Me Now!” That was the line in the sand for Thompson Twins.

Yeah I don’t know if it was for Kenny specifically (the gap in time between his and Kenny’s version seems too long if so, but maybe it was like a bucket-list thing?), but it definitely feels like he had someone else in mind for it–and not even his usual stable of proteges, since it’s not in any of their thematic or vocal range. All in all it’s fascinating to me, and does feel like evidence of how calculating and image-conscious an artist he was at that point in time.

I know, I know. The four years between the recording and Roger’s rendition sends red flags, but it’s not remotely in the PRN wheelhouse – but a bullseye squarely in the Kenny Rogers zone! Kenny sez’ he asked a friend to ask if he had material but has not indicated when that was done. I can’t imagine Rogers knowing of Prince before the “Dirty Mind” bomb blew up with the ***** Rolling Stone review. And even then, I can’t imagine him wanting a Prince-written track at any time prior to “Purple Rain.”

So then we roll back into the eerie “Prince-is-compelled-to-record-3-to-4-songs-a-day-comulsion-zone!” No matter what they sound like!!!! Prince wrote and demoed a song not remotely in his [or his stable of mouthpieces] aesthetic purview and years later thought “here’s one for Kenny Rogers!”


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