April 1985: Prince Releases "Around the World in a Day"

LOS ANGELES - JULY 26 : Singer song-writer and musician Prince performs at the Hollywood Palace to promote the opening of his film 'Purple Rain' on July 26, 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sherry Rayn Barnett /Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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(Warner Bros)Sherry Rayn Barnett /Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

 

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The album's psychedelic undertones and exotic instrumentation lead some critics to believe that Prince was reacting to the breakout success of the Purple Rain. That was hardly the case.

"I think the smartest thing I did was record Around the World in a Day right after I finished Purple Rain," Prince told Rolling Stone in September 1985. "I didn’t wait to see what would happen with Purple Rain. That’s why the two albums sound completely different. I don’t want to make an album like the earlier ones. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to put your albums back to back and not get bored, you dig?"

"Raspberry Beret" was released on May 15, 1985, as the first single from the album. A huge hit, the song would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 for the week of July 20, 1985. The song that blocked it from #1: Duran Duran's James Bond theme, "A View to a Kill."

THE LADDER

"What they say is that the Beatles are the influence. The influence wasn’t the Beatles," Prince explained, "They were great for what they did, but I don’t know how that would hang today. The cover art came about because I thought people were tired of looking at me. Who wants another picture of him? I would only want so many pictures of my woman, then I would want the real thing. What would be a little more happening than just another picture [laughs] would be if there was some way I could materialize in people’s cribs when they play the record."

The second single from Around the World in a Day was "Pop Life." While the song didn't come with a music video to support it, the track would peak at #7 on the Hot 100 for the week of September 21, 1985. The #1 song in the country that week: Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing." "Pop Life" would mark Prince's eighth top 10 Hot 100 hit in a two-year span.

When pressed about the record sounding "psychedelic": I don’t mind that, because that was the only period in recent history that delivered songs and colors. Led Zeppelin, for example, would make you feel differently on each song."

Prince would turn things up considerably with "America," the high-energy third and final single from Around the World in a Day. The politically-charged track was too much for the charts to bear, peaking at #46 over the first week of November 1985. The song's anti-pop sentiment was pushed even further with a 10-minute live concert music video.

"What they fail to realize is that is exactly what we want to do," Prince would say in 1985. "It’s not silliness, it’s sickness. Sickness is just slang for doing things somebody else wouldn’t do. If we are down on the floor doing a step, that’s something somebody else wouldn’t do. That’s what I’m looking for all the time. We don’t look for whether something’s cool or not, that’s not what time it is. It’s not just wanting to be out. It’s just if I do something that I think belongs to someone else or sounds like someone else, I do something else."

Around the World in a Day would soar to #1 for the first week of June 1985. It would hold the spot for three weeks, finally dethroned on June 22, 1985 by the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

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