7 of the Most Iconic ‘80s Lyrics Written by Prince

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. In that first organ note, Prince opens “Let’s Go Crazy” as a musical sermon. The 1984 Purple Rain hit is merely a glimpse at one of the most spellbinding songwriters and the songs written by Prince throughout his 40-year career.

“What’s missing from pop music is danger,” said Prince in a 2006 interview. “There’s no excitement and mystery.” 

Danger, mystery, sex, obsessive and tepid loves, memories, and more sentimental snapshots—in his own words, Prince wrote it all.

In honor of one of Prince’s favorite numbers, here are seven of the best lyrics written by the Purple One, pre-The New Power Generation.

“Little Red Corvette” (1982)

I guess I should’ve closed my eyes
When you drove me to the place where your horses run free
‘Cause I felt a little ill when I saw all the pictures
Of the jockeys that were there before me

Believe it or not, I started to worry
I wondered if I had enough class
But it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it all right
And you say: “Baby, have you got enough gas?”

“Purple Rain” (1984)

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing


I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

…I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend, hey
Baby, I could never steal you from another

It’s such a shame our friendship had to end

Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It’s time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too
You say you want a leader
But you can’t seem to make up your mind

“When Doves Cry” (1984)

Dream, if you can, a courtyard
An ocean of violets in bloom
Animals strike curious poses
They feel the heat
The heat between me and you


How can you just leave me standing
Alone in a world that’s so cold? (So cold)
Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father, too bold
Maybe you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied (she’s never satisfied)
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like 
When doves cry


Touch if you will my stomach
Feel how it trembles inside
You’ve got the butterflies all tied up
Don’t make me chase you
Even doves have pride

“Let’s Go Crazy” (1984)

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld

A world of never-ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby’

Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don’t like the world you’re living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

“I Would Die 4 U” (1984)

I’m not your woman
I’m not your man
I am something
That you’ll never understand
I’ll never beat you
I’ll never lie
And if you’re evil
I’ll forgive you by and by’

Cos you
I would die for you, yeah
Darlin’, if you want me to you
I would die 4 you

I’m not your lover
I’m not your friend
I am something that you’ll
Never comprehend
No need to worry
No need to cry
I’m your Messiah and you’re
The reason why

“Nothing Compares 2 U” (1985)

It’s been seven hours and 15 days
Since you took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all-day
Since you took your love away
Since you been gone, I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I choose

I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
But nothing
I said nothing can take away these blues
‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you


It’s been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me, baby, where did I go wrong?
I could put my arms around every boy I see
But they’d only remind me of you


I went to the doctor, guess what he told me
Guess what he told me
He said, “Girl you better try to have fun, no matter what you do”
But he’s a fool’


Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you

“Kiss” (1986)

Women, not girls, rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age mama, not your shoe size

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