Meaning Behind the Love Triangle “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors

It was one of the biggest songs of 1992. The music video for the track spawned about a million copy-cats who wore knit winter hats and oversized wool sweaters. Yes, it’s the song, “Two Princes,” by the Spin Doctors, that track you still hear on classic rock stations today. Below is the story behind the loquacious love-triangle song of “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors.

Videos by American Songwriter

Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Released in 1991, Pocket Full of Kryptonite was the debut album from the Spin Doctors. The group, which was born between Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City, was fronted by Chris Barron, who was himself originally born in Hawaii.

But while the album ended up a hit, thanks to singles like “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes,” it was not so popular at its outset. The record was a slow burn, only later becoming a pop culture smash. While it only sold some 60,000 copies to start, it eventually rose to acclaim, going five-times platinum and hitting No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

[RELATED: Chris Barron Talks The Spin Doctors, Songwriting, and His Caturday Engagement with Fans]

1992

While the Spin Doctors’ debut album was released in the summer of 1991 (and recorded the year prior), “Two Princes” wasn’t officially released as a single until 1992. The track, which hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, hit the top spot on the charts in countries like Iceland and Sweden. It also earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Love It Or Hate It

In some ways, the Spin Doctors end up the butt of jokes. Like other groups from the East Coast in the ’90s—bands that did not embrace the sullen mood of grunge groups like Nirvana—Spin Doctors got made fun of for its plucky attitude and jovial demeanor. Frontman Barron wore goofy hats, sang with a loose joy and went against the brooding nature of popular bands at the time.

This is why some outfits have put “Two Princes” in high regard and others have reviled it. Spin Doctors, which came up with other NYC-via-Princeton band Blues Traveler even included Blues Traveler frontman John Popper on “Two Princes” as a backing vocalist. But this partnership couldn’t stop Blender from including “Two Princes” on its 50 Worst Songs Ever list (at No. 21). But VH1 did have “Two Princes” on its 100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s list.

The Lyrics

As the song’s title suggests, it’s about two people fighting over a love interest. One of the people involved is the song’s singer/narrator. From that perspective, Barron sings in his typical loquacious even stream-of-consciousness manner to open the song,

One, two princes kneel before you
That what I said now
Princes, princes who adore you
Just go ahead now
One has diamonds in his pockets
That’s some bread, now
This one said he wants to buy you rockets
Ain’t in his head, now

This one he got a princely racket
That’s what I said now
Got some big seal up on his jacket
Ain’t in his head now
You marry him, your father will condone you
How ’bout that now
You marry me, your father will disown you
He’ll eat his hat, now

Marry him, marry me
I’m the one that loved you baby can’t you see?
Ain’t got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be
I know what a prince and lover ought be

Final Thoughts

Along with the quirky rom-com-esque music video, “Two Princes” was a hit track from the early ’90s. At a time when gangsta rap and grunge were all the rage, it was groups like Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band and more that kept the sunny side of the sonic street alive. Though it may have felt like something of a love triangle for fans, songs like “Two Princes,” if at least for a time, lasted and brought mirth to music.

Photo by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

4 Music Stars from the 1940s Who Are Still Famous Today

Review: The Buzz is on as The Hives Deliver a Stinging Return