It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since Prince died at the age of 57, and his music is still fresh in my mind and on the iPod in my car. I half-joke with people that 80s music is all I know. I couldn’t build you a chair, I suck at most sports, I don’t know crap about cars, and I couldn’t draw you a comic book, but I can give you more info on most 80s music than you ever wanted to know. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just what I know.
It’s funny – whenever one of my friends has a question about an 80s song, they usually come to me first for the answer. And, most times I’ll have an answer at the ready. What’s even more funny is when I learn something new about a song (or songs) I have loved for many, many years. The song I’m referring to (in this case) is “Love Song” by Madonna & Prince.
I don’t know how I ever missed this, but there is a line in “Love Song” that goes, “Time goes by so slowly for those who wait…” That line ended up being a prominent line used in Madonna’s 2005 hit, “Hung Up” (from her amazing CONFESSIONS ON A DANCE FLOOR album). “Hung Up,” which heavily samples ABBA’s 1979 hit, “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight),” reached No. 7 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 here in the U.S., and still holds the Guinness World Record for reaching No. 1 in the most countries – 41. It was also the biggest BILLBOARD Dance hit for the entire 00s decade.
“Love Song” appeared on Madonna’s brilliant fourth studio album, 1989’s LIKE A PRAYER, which is my favorite Madonna album of the 80s. Prince, as it turns out, played guitar on three songs on the album, all uncredited – “Act Of Contrition,” “Keep It Together” and the album’s No. 1 title track. In addition, Prince and Madonna collaborated on what would be the album’s third of 11 songs, “Love Song.” They recorded the song at Prince’s Paisley Park studio, and though they were friends, they had never worked together before. They wrote a bunch of songs together, but the only one that clicked for her was “Love Song.”
Though “Love Song,” co-written and co-produced by Madonna & Prince, was never released as a single, it did help propel the LIKE A PRAYER album to No. 1 on the album charts in at least 12 countries, including the U.S., where it spent 6 weeks at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Top 200 album chart from late April through early June 1989.
In the wake of Prince’s sad passing, his music is being discovered and rediscovered by people all over the planet, which is truly great but bittersweet at the same time. Even Madonna mentioned the last line in “Love Song” in her tweet about Prince. The last line in “Love Song” goes, “This is not a love song that I want to sing…” Well, it’s a love song everyone’s singing again now, including yours truly…