"Pop Life" is a song by Prince and The Revolution. It was the second U.S. (and final UK) single from their 1985 album,Around the World in a Day, reaching #7 in the U.S. charts. The song starts with a faded-in synth line and quickly starts the main tune. The easy groove is achieved with a smooth bass guitar and piano embellishments. A drum machine provides handclaps to make the song danceable. "Pop Life" was recorded before Purple Rain was completed, indicating the new direction Prince wanted to take after the success of that album and film. Drums on the song were played by Sheila E., andWendy & Lisa provide backing vocals. The rest of the song was performed by Prince.
Unlike most Prince hits, no music video was produced for this song.
The song was released in two extended versions. The U.K. 12" single version is a 9-minute extension of the tune, and ends with a similar synth sound as the beginning. The U.S. received a "Fresh Dance Mix", which is a remix (by Sheila E.) that included some portions of the longer UK version. It clocks in at 6:16, and was included on the 2006 compilation album, Ultimate.
The U.S. B-side of the track was "Hello", written quickly as a response to those who criticized Prince's lack of participation in the "We Are the World" event. The angry lyrics lambaste the prying media and false friendships, and is driven by a pulsing beat. The extended version of the song ends with a spoken word by Prince, which contain some self-humor about his high-heeled shoes. The UK B-side was "Girl", which the U.S. had as the B-side of "America".
Elvis Costello once planned to do a cover version of the song, with altered lyrics, but Prince refused. Costello later recorded the song "The Bridge I Burned," which borrows the chord sequence from "Pop Life".
- The first artist to sample "Pop Life" was Black, Rock and Ron with their song "Rap Life" from their 1988 release Stop The World.
- Big Daddy Kane sampled this tune in his 1991 single "The Lover in You".
- G-Unit used elements from "Pop Life" for the song "Coke Life" for their mixtape "Sabrina's Baby Boy (G-Unit Radio Part 25)".
- 2Pac sampled "Pop Life" on the unreleased song "Pac's Life", a remix of which was later released with a complete different beat in 2006 on Pac's Life.
- Ja Rule sampled it for his song "Thug Life". It was originally planned to be on his album The Last Temptation, but didn't make it due to Prince's disapproval.
- Life Without Buildings recorded a cover of the song for the 2001 various artists compilation "Homesleep Home2 - Cover Songs".