Guest Blogger: Marc from Nova Scotia
Quietly delivered to select nightclubs as a now-rare promo 12″ single on his birthday that year, the aggressively sexual “Gett Off” (at this point still a work in progress in its maiden ‘Damn Near 10 Minutes’ version) was a glorious return to the more deliciously hedonistic side of his musical brain. Like “When Doves Cry”, “Kiss”, “Batdance” and “Thieves In The Temple” before it, “Gett Off” was a last-minute addition to its corresponding album. So last-minute, in fact, that on ‘Diamonds And Pearls’ packaging, the song that it replaces (‘Horny Pony’) still appears on the track listing, scribbled in red to indicate its intended placement on the album. Lyrically, Prince spits out one bawdy pickup line after another, referencing James Brown’s “Mother Popcorn”, Dudley Do-Right and even an Almond Joy chocolate bar in his attempt to seduce his latest conquest; this is Prince at his most hilariously filthy. As singularly ‘Prince-like’ as the composition may be, its production hints at his renewed desire to share the limelight. Similar in spirit to another of his many classic singles (“1999”), the chorus finds him trading lines with two of his new recruits, soul songstress Rosie Gaines and rapper Tony M. The tune also boasts an irresistible flute hook courtesy of long-time collaborator Eric Leeds. Fittingly, Prince himself sends the song into orgasmic overdrive in its final seconds, delivering an explosive guitar solo that practically makes you want to light a cigarette to better enjoy the afterglow left in its wake.
“Gett Off” holds a peculiar distinction as the single which I own in the most formats. While I may not possess that original 12″ vinyl pressing, I did buy both the original cassette single and cassette maxi-single back in the day, the latter being later replaced by its CD version. I even managed to find a used VHS copy of the single’s video album years ago as well. Collectively, these numerous commercial releases offer Prince fans several irresistible variations on the original recording, keenly demonstrating that his songs were living things, constantly morphing and evolving in new directions both in the studio and onstage. Even by his lofty standards, though, the “Gett Off” remixes and b-sides are an embarrassment of riches: along with the epic ‘Extended Remix’ (which remains my all-time favourite version to this day), we’re treated to a couple of upbeat reworkings by pioneering house remixer Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley (‘Houstyle’ and ‘Flutestramental’), which further showcase Gaines’ jazzy vocals and Leeds’ flute playing, and three altogether different songs that use the drum track from “Gett Off” as a jumping-off point. Two of these tunes (‘Gangster Glam’ and ‘Clockin’ The Jizz’) allow his new N.P.G. bandmates to stretch their musical legs, but it’s the third new track that’s the real keeper of the bunch: in the feverish ‘Violet The Organ Grinder’, Prince abandons the comparative restraint he demonstrates in “Gett Off”. No longer the confident Casanova from a few minutes ago, he sounds more desperate here, his primal urges bubbling over into something resembling obsession. He’s practically pleading with the object of his affection by song’s end, delivering the final chorus in a hushed, defeated moan that turns the whole maxi-single on its head.
All that…and I haven’t even gotten into the accompanying videos for these tracks, including the infamous Roman orgy-themed clip for “Gett Off” itself! Pound for pound, this is Prince at his most musically generous. I can’t think of another 12″ single that builds so satisfyingly from its originating song (and that’s saying a whole hell of a lot, considering the rich collection of 12 inchers he rewarded us with during his lifetime).
I’d like to end this post by quickly thanking both Richie for including me in this fantastic month-long tribute (not to mention his tireless efforts to keep Prince’s music fresh in people’s minds all these years) and of course His Divine Purpleness himself, Prince Rogers Nelson. Trying to summarize what his music has meant to me over these past three decades is a futile venture. Besides, if you’re reading these posts, chances are good you already get it.
May we all live 2 see the dawn.
The B Side:
The Billboard Charts:
|Chart||Debuted||Debut Pos.||Peak Pos.||Wks on Chart|
|Hot Black Singles||7/27/91||55||6||17|
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Enjoy and get it on!