"I Wanna Be Your Lover" is a song by American recording artist/musician Prince. It was recorded in 1979, and was part of a group of hastily written songs Prince recorded after Warner Bros. asked for a follow-up to For You. The album in question struggled to sell well and did not enter the Billboard Top 100 (peaking at No. 163), and did not have a pop hit single. Warner Bros. wanted Prince to make one, and he in return recorded "I Wanna Be Your Lover", frustrated at his lack of success. The song was also written with R&B songstress Patrice Rushen in mind, on whom Prince had a huge crush.

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" was released on August 24, 1979, as the lead single from his sophomore self-titled albumPrince. The song became his first success, gaining heavy radio airplay and chart success; the song scored two weeks at No. 1 on the R&B Singles chart in December 1979, and peaked at No. 11 on the United States Billboard Hot 100, becoming Prince's first Top 40 pop hit. Prince promoted the song by appearing on Dick Clark's popular show American Bandstand, where he raised controversy for refusing to speak and using only his hands to communicate.

The song was also Prince's debut single released in the UK; it was successful, reaching No.41 on the UK Singles Chart. However, when Prince tried to promote it with shows in London, he was forced to cancel due to poor attendance. It wouldn't be until Purple Rain (1984) that Prince would break big in Europe.

The song additionally reached No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and No. 2 in New Zealand.

Musically, it is a disco-pop song sung exclusively in falsetto, detailing Prince's love for a woman and how he would treat her better than the men she is with, and frustration that she thinks of him as "a child". The single edit stops after 2:57, but the album version goes off on a tirade of keyboards and synthesizers, played by Prince.

Prince included a sample of this song in the opening of his 1992 hit single "My Name is Prince".


 [hide*1 Music video

Music video[edit]Edit

There are two versions of the music video of the hit single. The main version has Prince in an unbuttoned leopard shirt and jeans singing alone in a black background with only a mic, notably with straight/wavy hair and a departure from his afro from a year before. Various shots show him playing the instruments by himself.

The other version, which has not aired and was not featured on The Hits Collection compilation shows Prince and his band members performing the song in a painted room. The video was pulled due to skimpy clothing and a sexually suggestive theme (Prince was clad in blue stockings and a tan shirt, and frequently throughout the performance kisses his female keyboardist). The video is widely sought after by collectors.

Track listings[edit]Edit

7" single
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "My Love Is Forever" – 4:08
7" single (UK)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "Just as Long as We're Together" (edit) – 3:25
7" single (DEU)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" – 3:49
12" single (UK)
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" – 5:47
  • B. "Just as Long as We're Together" – 6:24
12" promo
  • A. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (edit) – 2:57
  • B. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" – 5:57

Cover versions[edit]Edit

  • In 1991, rap artist M-Doc sampled this song in his single "Are U Wid It?".
  • In 1994, former Neighbours actors twins Gayle & Gillian Blakeney covered the song, which was entitled "Wanna Be Your Lover". It peaked at number 62 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • In 2009, Patrick Stump, singer of the band Fall Out Boy, did a cover of the song in a exclusive video.
  • Millie Jackson also covered the track, changing the opening line to "I've got plenty of money..."
  • Haywoode, a British R&B artist, covered the song on her 1985 album "Arrival".
  • Rapper 50 Cent added his own verse to the song, dubbing the resulting song "Your Favorite".
  • In 2011, Corinne Bailey Rae released a cover of the song on her The Love E.P.
  • In 2011, Guga Neiva released a cover as lead single on debut album, 17.
  • In 2011, Max Tundra put out a version that sounds like it was recorded lower and slower and then sped up to achieve a falsetto effect on the lead vocal.
  • In 2012, the song was performed as part of a Prince medley on the reality singing contest The Voice by the judges (Christina AguileraCee Lo GreenAdam Levineand Blake Shelton), with Adam Levine performing his solo part on this song.
  • Singer/Songwriter Kimbra has performed "I Wanna Be Your Lover" numerous times in her live shows, later stating in an interview that she felt the song was "incredible." A video of her performance was posted on her official YouTube channel, but was later taken down for copyright reasons, which has happened numerous times with videos featuring Prince's compositions.
  • In 2013 on the 12th Annual Honda Civic Tour, Pop Rock band Maroon 5 performed the song regularly as a part of their set.
  • Corinne Bailey Rae released a cover version of "I Wanna Be Your Lover" on her "The Love E.P" released in 2011
  • The song was also used at the beginning of the Ice Cube film Are We There Yet?


Chart (1979) Peak


US BillboardHot 100 11
US BillboardHot R&B Singles 1
US BillboardHot Dance Club Songs 2


  1. Jump up^ Allmusic: List of Post-Disco songs. Rovi Corporation. Accessed 06-29-2014

External links[edit]Edit

Preceded by

"Still" by The Commodores

Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number one single

December 1–8, 1979

Succeeded by

"Do You Love What You Feel" by Rufus and Chaka

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