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1999, 1982

Lady Cab Driver (Rearrange)

Of the 11 songs that would eventually make their way onto Prince’s fifth album, “Lady Cab Driver” appears to have had the longest gestation period. The song was completed at Sunset Sound on July 7, 1982, the day after “Moonbeam Levels”; but, as the recent Super Deluxe Edition of 1999 revealed, its seeds had been planted during a break in the Controversy tour over half a year earlier on December 8, 1981, in the form of a different song called “Rearrange.”

According to an interview with sessionographer Duane Tudahl for the Minneapolis Public Radio podcast The Story of 1999, “Rearrange” was long known to researchers by its title alone: “it was one of those songs that we’d heard existed, but I didn’t think it was actually a song,” Tudahl told host Andrea Swensson. “I thought it was just some shuffling of his stuff”–a studio note indicating a literal rearrangement of tapes. As it turned out, of course, it was real–though it was also little more than an admittedly funky sketch: a stark, mid-paced groove with a slick rhythm guitar hook similar to the Time track “The Stick.”

Given this similarity–not to mention Prince’s guitar solo, which plays neatly to Jesse Johnson’s combustive style–it seems likely that “Rearrange” was at least provisionally mooted for that group. But this is just speculation; ultimately, says Tudahl, we “don’t know whether it was intended for 1999, whether he was searching for a voice for 1999, or whether he was saying, ‘I gotta record another Time album soon.’ But either way it was something that was not planned. He just thought, ‘I’m in the studio, I gotta record… This is what I’m gonna do’” (Swensson 2019 Episode 2).

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Dystopian Movie Party Podcast: 30 Years Under the Cherry Moon

As promised/threatened, I’m once again interrupting the usual flow for a Prince-related feature from our sister site Dystopian Dance Party. Today, Callie and I talk about our mutual, misguided, only semi-ironic love for the second installment of Prince’s cinematic saga, Under the Cherry Moon, which released 30 years ago this Monday. Tune in for lots of incredulous laughter, and one moment in which I actually compare the film to Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (don’t worry, it makes slightly more sense in context). And of course, feel free to check out Dystopian Dance Party, which is where I write about whatever I feel like writing at any given time (though, unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of Prince on there, too). Show notes here. See you next week!