Single Stories: Prince and the Revolution, “I Would Die 4 U”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Single Stories: Prince and the Revolution, “I Would Die 4 U”

33 years ago today, Prince and the Revolution released the fourth single from the original motion picture soundtrack of Prince’s movie debut, Purple Rain.

Written – no surprise here – by Prince, “I Would Die 4 U” wasn’t composed specifically for PURPLE RAIN. While the specific timeframe of its composition is unknown, it’s been documented that Prince played it during one of his soundchecks during the CONTROVERSY tour, which means that it was written at some point prior to April 1982.

Remarkably, the version of “I Would Die 4 U” which appears on PURPLE RAIN was recorded live at First Avenue in Minneapolis on August 3, 1983, although the 12” single features a version which was recorded at some point in either October or November 1984. No matter which version you prefer, if you were fortunate enough to have seen Prince in concert, then there’s a decent chance that you saw him perform the song live, since he played it about as often as any song in his discography. Indeed, it proved to be one of the songs in his final full concert on April 14, 2016, at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Oh, yes, and “I Would Die 4 U” was also a hit. In fact, it was the fourth consecutive top-10 hit from the PURPLE RAIN soundtrack, climbing to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has also been covered by a number of different artists over the years, including Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, White Lies, Lydia Loveless, Of Montreal, Chvrches, Nick Jonas, Bloc Party, and Haim.

But enough of our yakkin’ already. Here’s the man himself performing it!

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