Prince Woos Kristin Scott Thomas on ‘Girls & Boys': 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.
Prince's music was loved the world over, but he also made films that even his most ardent fans struggle to defend. While Purple Rain is universally lauded as the gold standard for a rock film, his subsequent films (both released, and squirreled away in the legendary vault) left much to be desired from critics and fans, alike.
That is not to say that they don’t have their redeeming qualities. Although Graffiti Bridge is hard to defend, Sign O' the Times works because it focuses on the music more than the vignettes. And Under the Cherry Moon deserved a fate far better than it met. Set in the Côte d'Azur in the south of France, the film follows the antics of Christopher Tracy (Prince) and his partner Tricky (Jerome Benton), as they woo (and fleece) the wealthy women of Nice, eventually meeting their match in the lovely Mary Sharon, played by future Academy Award nominee, Kristin Scott Thomas, in her first starring role. While there is an abundance of style over substance in the film, the comedic moments between Prince and Jerome are natural, and hilarious.
In possibly the most memorable scene, Christopher and Tricky meet Mary out for dinner and attempt to expose the sheltered heiress to “their world,” a brilliant bit of set up that introduces “Wrecka Stow” (“If you wanted to buy a Sam Cooke album, where would you go?”) to the universe, and segues into the performance of “Girls & Boys.” Whether a conscious nod, or just joy in repetition, there is even a choreographed dance that plays into the repeated mentions of birds in the verses (not unlike the Time’s “The Bird.”)
PrinceVault has the initial tracking for the song taking place early in July 1985, and notes that Clare Fischer wrote and recorded orchestration for the song at some point in mid-to-late 1985, but that the arrangement was never used. The increased influence of classical music felt elsewhere on Parade is noticeably absent from “Girls & Boys,” possibly attributed to where it’s placed in the film.
The lean, energetic and funky track, built largely around Eric Leeds’ sax line, finds Prince exactly where he is in the film: trying to convince the object of his affection that they should be together. There’s a significant nod to the influence the film had to the record, with an entire interlude being spoken completely in French, and again with the hook “Vous êtes très belle, mama, girls and boys.”
"Girls & Boys" was released as a single in Europe—with the extended version of “Erotic City” on the b-side—and also ended up on the b-side of the U.S. release of “Anotherloverholenyohead.” That said, “Girls & Boys” was a concert staple since its release, and even appears on both officially released live albums (One Night Alone… and Indigo Nights.)
Prince Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness