How Prince Took ‘Take Me With U’ Back: 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.
On Jan. 22, 1984, Prince entered the studio looking to drum up ideas for the debut album for his latest protege group, Apollonia 6. What he wound up with instead was the final puzzle piece for his own Purple Rain soundtrack.
According to the Duane Tudahl's fantastic and highly detailed daily studio journal Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions 1983 and 1984, director Albert Magnoli realized that the film need a romantic duet sung by Prince and his co-star, Apollonia. After a few sessions working on this and other unspecified songs, Prince did the basic tracking and overdubs for the song on Jan. 27 and brought Apollonia in the next day to record her vocals.
"Apollonia was not a singer," explained Lisa Coleman. "She was an actress. So the poor thing was thrown into the studio: 'Here, you have to sing this.' She was like, 'Oh my God, I don't know how to sing.' And she did the best she could. I doubled her vocals on 'Take Me With U' to make it sound a little better."
Jill Jones was also recruited to help by providing a ghost track for Apollonia to follow. "It wasn't ever to take anything away from her," said Jones. "It was just to strengthen her so she would come back and approach the studio differently. I believe that's how he felt about it, because we saw a difference. Like, 'Oh, wow, she's getting there.' And it made for better performances in the studio, and he could discover their style."
After spending seven hours getting the vocal overdubs right on Jan. 30, and five more perfecting the final mix the next day, Prince sequenced the song as the opening track on the proposed Apollonia 6 album. However, on April 14, he decided to move it over to the Purple Rain soundtrack.
"He did that occasionally," engineer Peggy McCreary told Tudahi. "He'd give a song away and then take it back. He did it with 'Kiss.' We never knew what anything was for. It was all part of his master plan. ... I mean, all of it was his stuff. They were all his songs and he could do what he wanted with them."
"I'm not upset that it wasn't on the album," agreed Apollonia 6 singer Brenda Bennett. "It got more exposure on Purple Rain." She was less pleased when another future smash, "Manic Monday," was also removed from the album a few months later and eventually given to the Bangles. "It really disappointed me. ... It's a great Top 40 song and I think it would have been great on the Apollonia 6 album."
In order to fit "Take Me With U" on the single disc soundtrack, Prince also had to make further cuts to the already dramatically edited "Computer Blue." It wasn't until 2017, with the release of the expanded edition of Purple Rain, that the full version of that song was made available to the public.
"Take Me With U" was released as Purple Rain's fifth and final single on Jan. 25, 1985, peaking at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.