On this day in music history: May 15, 1985 – “Raspberry Beret” by Prince & The Revolution is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the twenty second single release for the R&B and pop music icon from Minneapolis, MN. With many of the songs on “Around The World In A Day” written and recorded during a hugely prolific period in Prince’s career, the musician would often reach back to unreleased songs to “re-imagine them”. “Raspberry Beret” is one of those compositions. It is originally recorded in April of 1982, during the sessions for the “1999” album. Unsatisfied with it, it is set aside. The narrative of “Raspberry Beret” follows a young man “working part time in a five and dime”, when he encounters a woman (wearing the title apparel) he is instantly attracted to. The basic track is re-cut with The Revolution in September 7, 1984, at their rehearsal space on Flying Cloud Drive in Eden Prairie, MN. Prince revamps “Beret”, coming up with a new arrangement. A stand out from the outset when “Around The World In A Day” is released, it is not the musicians’ first choice as a single. He tells his label Warner Bros Records that he wants “Paisley Park” to be the single. Many US stations favor “Raspberry Beret” from the beginning, giving it heavy play as an LP cut. A compromise between Prince and Warner Bros is reached, with “Paisley Park” being issued outside the US, and “Raspberry Beret” in North America. The decision proves to be a wise one, as the catchy song quickly becomes a hit. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #37 on May 18, 1985, and #52 on the R&B singles chart on May 25, 1985, it peaks at #2 on the Hot 100 on July 13, 1985, and #3 on the R&B chart on July 6, 1985. A 12" single featuring extended versions are released on June 19, 1985, peaking at #4 on the Club Play chart on August 10, 1985. “Beret” is accompanied by a colorful video directed by Prince, with animation by Colossal Pictures co-founder Drew Takahashi. The B-side of “Raspberry Beret” features the non-LP cut “She’s Always In My Hair”. The funky, rock influenced track, is inspired by singer and actress Jill Jones, with whom the musician had shared a long relationship with. The basic track for “Hair” is originally recorded at Sunset Sound on December 29, 1983, during the sessions for “Erotic City” and “We Can Funk”. Additional overdubs are recorded on January 8, 1984 at Sunset, and another version (left unreleased) is recorded on August 15, 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive warehouse. The song becomes a fan favorite, and is performed live by Prince frequently, on tours between 1993 and 2015. Also issued as the B-sides of “Paisley Park” and “Girls And Boys”, “She’s Always In My Hair” makes its CD debut on the compilation “The Hits / The B-sides” in 1993.12" extended versions of it and “Raspberry Beret” are issued on CD on “Ultimate Prince” in 2006.
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