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Rear View Mirror: Prince's First Hit, 'Little Red Corvette'

Alex Redekop

Each week on Rear-view Mirror, Rich Terfry and the Radio 2 team look back at a great song from the good ol' days. Today, it's "Little Red Corvette" by Prince.

In 1982, Prince wrote and recorded a great song very quickly. And although it was put together very fast, it lasted a very long time.

Rear View Mirror - Prince "Little Red Corvette"

Rich Terfry shares the story behind Prince's first big hit song


Prince had a studio built in his basement in 1982. When construction was finished, he was excited to get to work. By six o'clock p.m. on the first day the studio was up and running, he wrote and recorded the song that would become his first hit: "Little Red Corvette".

The story goes that the idea for the song came to him while taking a cat nap in a car parked outside. It was a car he had bought for one of his backup singers - not a Corvette, but a 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder.

After its release and as the song climbed the charts at the end of '82 and beginning of '83, demand to see Prince live grew enormously. At the start of the tour, he was playing theatres. By the end, he was selling out arenas. "Little Red Corvette" was a highlight of Prince's live show. During the instrumental break in the song, Prince would perform acrobatic dance moves - spins, splits and leaps from risers.

In an interview earlier this year, Prince's former percussionist, Sheila E. suggested that those moves took a toll on Prince's hip, which lead to a lifetime of physical pain and his addiction to pain killers. Prince died from a fentanyl overdose on April 21st, 2016 at the age of 57.

Here's the song that came to Prince in a dream - a song which made him a star and which may have - indirectly - brought him down: this is "Little Red Corvette" on Rear View Mirror.

More Editions of Rear View Mirror:

Fastball - "The Way"

Marvin Gaye - "I Want You"

Steve Miller - "The Joker"

Ian & Sylvia - "Four Strong Winds"

Darrell Banks - "Open the Door to Your Heart"