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"Raspberry Beret" is a chart-topping hit song by Prince and The Revolution. It was the first U.S. (and second UK) single from their 1985 album, Around the World in a Day. The sound was different from any previous Prince track, incorporatingMiddle Eastern finger cymbals, stringed instruments, and even a harmonica on the extended version. The song was also more in the pop vein than ever before, though the 12-inch single and video of the song feature a funky intro. Although the song was originally recorded in 1982, Prince drastically reworked it with The Revolution to give it more of an international sound. The string section was: Novi Novog on violin, Suzie Katayama and David Coleman on cello. Wendy & Lisa composed and conducted the strings on Raspberry Beret. Wendy & Lisa provided backing vocals, and the rest of the song was performed by Prince.
The song tells of a teenage romance and first sexual experience with a girl who wears the titular hat. The video for the song was Prince's first since his short-lived "ban" on music videos. The song quickly became a fan favorite, and a staple in nearly every Prince tour. The extended version was included on Ultimate in 2006. While this song hit #1 in Cash Box and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, it only reached #25 on the UK Singles Chart.
The US B-side, "She's Always in My Hair", is a rock and roll number, with guitar and organs and emotional lyrics screamed toward the end. The song would finally be performed live for the first time in 1993. This song is also said to be about Susan Moonsie of Vanity 6, but a glimpse of Prince's feelings towards the end of their relationship. "She's Always in My Hair" is actually about background singer and protégé Jill Jones, while "Private Joy" from Controversy is about Moonsie.
The UK B-side was "Hello", which was included on the US release of "Pop Life".
The 12" version has an incorrect time listing on the label. It is listed as 7:25, when the actual length of the song is 6:35.
- 2 Cultural references
- 3 References
- 4 External links
- An alternative rock cover version of "Raspberry Beret" was recorded and released in 1990 by the Hindu Love Gods, (composed of all members of R.E.M. except Michael Stipe, with Warren Zevon providing lead vocals) and achieved moderate popularity. This version, which also appears on Zevon's compilation album Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon, has fewer lyrics than the original.
- D'Angelo covered the song as a B-side for his single "She's Always In My Hair" in 1997 and it appeared on the Scream 2 soundtrack.
- In 2006, Scottish glam rock band El Presidente covered "Raspberry Beret" and released it as a B-side for their 2006 single "Turn This Thing Around". Their version was more rock-based, faster and more uptempo, and includes a guitar solo at the end. The band often plays the song live in concert.
- Australian pop singer Kate Ceberano covered the song for her 2007 album, Nine Lime Avenue.
- A cover of the song was also recorded by The Derailers with a rock/country sound.
- James McNew, bassist for Yo La Tengo, recorded a cover of the song under the name Dump for his album That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?
- Neil Hannon, lead singer and songwriter of Irish band The Divine Comedy, has proclaimed the song as his favorite ever, and has been known to play it live.
- Beck has covered "Raspberry Beret" live on multiple occasions.
- In a bootleg Daft Punk hybrid DJ/PA set recorded at The Arches in Glasgow (1997), a sample of the main lick can be heard looped over Thomas Bangalter's drum machine and the song "Da Jacker" by Jack the Ripper. Bangalter has also been known to play the song in his DJ sets.
- Ben Nichols of the band Lucero has also covered the song live.
- John Mayer performed this live at several concerts in 2010.
- Warren Zevon also frequently covered the song live.
- Justin Timberlake samples the drums in his 2007 single "Until the End of Time", from his 2006 album, FutureSex/LoveSounds.
- The group The Lightning Seeds named themselves after a misheard lyric in the song: "Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees."
- The Fruit Bats' song "Earthquake of '73" mentions the song with the lyric "You lost your voice singin' along to Raspberry Beret..."
- "Raspberry Beret" was used in the 1996 film Girl 6.