Prince Has ‘Adonis & Bathsheba’ Waltz Through a Garden Quickie: 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.
In Prince's sex-obsessed universe, even two historical people from different religious traditions were capable of getting it on with each other. "Adonis & Bathsheba," an unreleased track from the period between Parade and Sign O' the Times, envisions steamy sex between the characters from Greek mythology and the Old Testament.
Even though he was the product of an affair between his mother and her father (a union that happened because of a curse placed by Aphrodite, the goddess of love), Adonis turned out so incredibly handsome that Aphrodite took him as her lover for one-third of every year. However, he was killed by a wild boar, and his blood combined with nectar poured into his wound by Aphrodite. It landed in the soil, resulting in the blooming of the anemone flower.
Numerous Renaissance paintings, most famously by Titian, and an early William Shakespeare poem, pair Adonis with Venus, the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite. But Prince created an altogether different mismatch by having Adonis going biblical with someone from the actual Bible.
As told in 2 Samuel, Bathsheba was married to Uriah the Hittite, who was at war, when King David spotted her sunbathing on her roof and has her brought to him. This leads to a pregnancy, and the king puts a plan into action that would lead to Uriah being killed in battle so that he can marry Bathsheba. Their child dies shortly after birth, but she bears him a second child, Solomon.
The encounter in "Adonis & Bathsheba," one of the comparatively few times in his catalog where he used a waltz rhythm, takes place in a garden, where "they dance by the crystal blue / Streams of desire and erotic rebellion that parades through their hearts and minds." They spy a gazebo, and they run towards it while they're undressing. But, upon reaching it, they see there's a slight problem:
"There is no bed / How will they ever?"
Of course Prince has the answer:
"They decide 2 stand."
Even though the track had not been officially released, it made its way throughout his hardcore fanbase via bootlegs. In 2000, Prince unveiled plans for Crystal Ball Volume II, a two-disc companion to his 1998 three-CD set of previously unreleased tracks. He offered up 22 tracks and allowed fans to vote for what they wanted, with the top 17 making the final cut. PrinceVault notes that, in addition to "Adonis & Bathsheba," "Electric Intercourse," "Eye Wonder," Others Here With Us," "Xtraloveable" and an extended version of "Kiss" were short-listed (and it's possible that "Wonderful Ass" was too), while "Girl" and Gotta Stop (Messin' About)" were among those that didn't receive enough votes. But for unknown reasons, the project never came to fruition.