Prince Admits He Thinks About ‘It’ All the Time: 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
With a title better suited to an Abbott & Costello routine than a funk jam, “It” was found on Prince’s Sign O’ the Times. Despite the simplicity of its name, and the singularity of its lyrical purpose, “It” had always served an important role in Prince’s vision, serving as the fifth song in two configurations of Dream Factory, both of which Prince pulled back, and the triple-LP Crystal Ball, which was rejected by Warner Bros., before settling into that spot on Sign.
Recorded on May 11, 1986 at Sunset Sound with Prince playing all the instruments, “It” is pure, simple genius, both in title and sound. A Fairlight drumbeat sets the pace as Prince growls hungrily for the “it” he thinks about all the time, the thing that feels so good it must be a crime. Jabbing synths and lightning strikes of electric guitar pulsate the track just over the five-minute mark. Even though Prince was very comfortable dropping the f-bomb in his songs, sometimes less is more. “It” leaves whatever “it” is up to the imagination; and whatever it was, Tom Cruise surely didn’t want it in 1983’s Losin’ It.
Its greatest moment, perhaps, is in Prince’s greatest cinematic achievement, Sign ‘O’ The Times: The Motion Picture. Although “It” isn’t even listed in the set list, it’s there. As Prince and the band stretch out an acoustic-guitar based version of “Forever in My Life” with a rhythmic chant of that track title, the late Boni Boyer takes the mic for an epic solo during which the chant segues to “all right, all right”. After demanding proper respect for Ms. Boyer, Prince unleashes the most ferocious, carnal growl of his career while taking “It” into the heavens by delivering a full James Brown-style funk workout. The whole band is front and center during this performance; it’s one of the few times we have ever seen the Dr. Fink, playing a tambourine, beyond his bank of keyboards.
Prince Year by Year: 1977-2016 Photographs