"Alphabet St." was the first single from Prince's 1988 album, Lovesexy, and the album's only top 10 single, reaching the top-10 in both the UK and US. Initially written as an acoustic blues song, the song's final version includes a rap by Cat Glover and is full of samples. 'Alphabet St.' generally repeats themes from Lovesexy; Within the context of the album, "Alphabet St." is meant to stand in contrast to the gospel of "I Know", which plays off of Christian ethics describing Prince's personal belief in Christian concepts of Heaven, Hell, the Devil, and God; emphatically stating "No" to the previous stated praise (and laud of a preacher's voice in the background) and launching into the sensual, provocative lyrics of "Alphabet St."
The B-side is a remix of "Alphabet St." called "Alphabet St. ("This is not music, this is a trip")". The title and other phrases are repeated at the beginning of the song, but essentially, it's an instrumental with a few minor changes.
"Alphabet St." was the first Prince single released as a CD, albeit only in the UK and Japan. A promo CD was issued in the US.
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||8|
- 7" single
- A. "Alphabet St." (edit) – 2:25
- B. "Alphabet St." (cont.) – 3:14
- 12" / CD single
- "Alphabet St." (album version) – 5:38
- "Alphabet St. ("This is not music, this is a trip")" – 7:48
- CD promo
- "Alphabet St." (edit) – 2:25
- "Alphabet St." (LP version) – 5:38
- "Alphabet St." (extended version) – 5:40
- "Alphabet St. ("This is not music, this is a trip")" [Listed as "Alphabet St."] – 7:48
The video features Prince wearing trousers with his name on them, and wearing multicolored eyeshadow.
In the video, there are hidden messages. The first appears after the end of the first verse ("She'll want me from my head to my feet"), where there is a split second image with the hidden message "Don't buy The Black Album, I'm sorry." The second one is after Prince drives the Thunderbird; the message says "H is 4 Punks". Another message appears at 0:38 of the video; the letter B has the word as Beautiful and after a second, there is a message on top of the B saying "Heaven Is So Beautiful". The 3rd message scrolls by when Prince is driving the white car, saying "If U Don't Mind".
- Scottish noise pop band, The Jesus and Mary Chain covered this song which appears on their 1994 single "Come On".
- Sufjan Stevens provides a cover on his second Christmas collection Silver & Gold.
- Nine Inch Nails sampled "Alphabet St." for the song "Ringfinger" from their 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine.
- Part of the rap section was used in the 1990 Ween song "L.M.L.Y.P.". Prince's "No!" scream intro also cuts the word "shit" on their 1993 song "Push th' Little Daisies".
- 1990s hip-hop group Arrested Development sampled a word from "Alphabet St." for their breakout song "Tennessee" in 1992. The group were sued for their unauthorised use of the word "Tennessee" and had to pay Prince $100,000.
- in 1992, Czech singer Lucie Bílá sampled the beat and guitar riff for her song "Láska je láska" which became the most successful hit of the year in Czech Republic.