Prince & The Revolution – Kiss
You don't have to be rich to be my girl
You don't have to be cool to rule my world
Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your kiss
On February 5, 1986, a very famous song came out. It was the first single from Prince’s eighth album, which was to be released in March. The album was “Parade”, and followed the previous “Around the world in a day” alter less than one year. “Kiss”, the song that he chose to drive the album’s sales later became one of the most famous songs of Prince’s entire career.
According to urban legends, Prince did not have a huge reputation for being a reliable person, especially sentimentally, having had various stories, professional and less professional, with the women who had really become his clan, such as Sheila E, Vanity, Apollonia and others. Let us say that they received generally less than what was generally promised.
And the story of this song also seems to reveal a rather opportunistic side of the Minneapolis genius. Prince had composed a track of just over a minute, a kind of demo. One of his producers was working also with a young funk band, the Mazarati (which I think sounds like Maserati cars), and tried to put them in touch with Prince to get a song from him. Without thinking too much, Prince gave them the demo. Mazarati, who were bassist Brownmark and some of his friends, took the track and rearranged it, both musically and electronically, and essentially the demo track became “Kiss”.
When Prince heard the hit in the new version, he decided to take it back, and convinced Brownmark not to sing it and return it, in exchange for being mentioned among the authors of Prince’s song. Brownmark agreed, and Prince chose Kiss as the lead single, although the label disagreed.
Brownmark later reported that not only was he never credited among the authors of the song, but he never received a penny of royalties. Actually, he didn’t even insist on having his merits: he had become the bass player of The Revolution, the group that backed up Prince, and this gave him a fame and visibility that he never expected. In a way he considered this fame and the life that came from accompanying Prince on records and tours, as the right recognition for his contribution to the song.
We also need to say that Prince had already composed a part of the song, so Brownmark may have reworked it, and he may have added a verse, but he’s not the main author. Who knows who is the author of that fantastic verse of the song that mentions the cult series of the 80s “Dynasty”, remember, Blake Carrington!
It was an immense success; “Kiss” went on top of the charts (which Prince only achieved with “When doves cry” and “Let’s go crazy”, but for example failed to do with “Purple rain“, which never managed to overcome the sales of Wham’s “Wake me up before you go-go“) and became one of Prince’s iconic songs and perhaps of the entire 80s. Many artists covered it, including Art of Noise with Welsh legend Tom Jones, who tried to rejuvenate his image. Tom Jones was born on June 7 as Prince.
Certainly the success of the song was also helped by a very particular and unforgettable video. In a huge, virtually empty venue, Prince sings and dances sensually flanked only by Wendy Melvoin, also part of The Revolution, the girl who in the video for “Purple rain” received a kiss from Prince and seemed almost disgusted, and who in 1987 would create the group “Wendy and Lisa” with Lisa Coleman, to record their great hit “Waterfall“.
Prince is not alone, however, in dancing sensually in the video, because at one point the other real protagonist enters the stage, the dancer wrapped in a veil and sunglasses, performing a truly memorable dance. Monique Mannen later became an actress and starred in films such as “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy, or in TV series such as “JAG” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” with Will Smith. The director of the video was Rebecca Blake, whom Prince met casually while she was in the company of Sheila E.
“Kiss” is one of the songs that was most often mentioned in films and TV shows in the following years. Impossible to forget Julia Roberts’ out-of-tune version in the bathtub in “Pretty Woman” in front of Richard Gere. But it was already 1990.
Prince on Wikipedia