The apocalyptic yet upbeat party anthem saw chart success in 1983 (particularly in Australia, where it peaked at #2), but it did not make it into the Top 40 in the US or the UK on the first attempt. The song originally peaked at #44 on the BillboardHot 100 in December 1982. However, upon being re-promoted after "Little Red Corvette" hit the Top 10, it peaked at #12 in the US in July 1983, and at #25 in the UK in January 1983 (reaching #2 in the UK when re-released in 1985).
The B-side, the piano ballad "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?", became a fan favorite. It has been covered by many artists, including single releases by Stephanie Mills in 1983 and Alicia Keys in 2001.
The album version of the song starts with a slowed-down voice, reassuring the listener "Don't worry, I won't hurt you. I only want you to have some fun." Prince shares lead vocals on the track with members of his band The Revolution, namelyDez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones. Originally conceived to be a three-part harmony, it was later decided to separate out the voices that started each verse.
Prince created "1999" around the central riff of the 1966 song, "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas. Prince, writing under the pseudonym "Christopher", reused the verse melody in the song "Manic Monday", recorded by The Bangles.
Some music critics have suggested Phil Collins' 1985 song "Sussudio" sounds very similar to "1999". Collins confirmed this claim, and remembers listening to "1999" frequently while he was on tour with Genesis.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Prince (his stage name at that time still being an unpronounceable symbol) held a concert titledRave Un2 the Year 2000 at his Paisley Park Studios Soundstage, and he later vowed never to play it again. However, in August 2007, as part of his Earth Tour, he reintroduced the song to his set after an absence of almost eight years.
On Dec. 31, 1998, the song was played after the Cirque Du Soleil "O" show for the night had finished, at the Bellagio Hotel, Paradise, Nevada. Attendees found a bottle of champagne and confetti under their chairs.
On Dec. 31, 1998, in Los Angeles almost all the music stations in the city played the song at midnight, and again on Dec. 31, 1999, for the lyrics: two-thousand zero zero party's over oops outta time.
"1999" was re-released in the UK and the U.S. in late 1998 to accompany the song's namesake year. It was released on 12" vinyl with the same tracklist as the original 12" single: the album version, along with "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" and "D.M.S.R." A CD single was also issued with the same tracklist, except the edit of "1999" was substituted for the album version. It was also re-released again towards the end of its namesake year. The original version re-charted at #40 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming Prince's last top 40 hit to date.
- "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
- 12" UK
- 12" Germany
- "Let's Pretend We're Married"
- 12" Australia
- 12" - 1985 re-release
- "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
- Gary Numan recorded a cover of "1999" during sessions for his 1991 album Outland, but the track ended up being a B-side on his 1992 single, "Machine + Soul Part Two". The track re-appeared as a bonus track on the 1998 CD re-issue of the Machine + Soul album.
- A cover version was recorded in 1999 by Bif Naked, Econoline Crush, Age of Electric, and Matthew Good and was part of a CD called 1999 - Year of the Foxreleased by Vancouver radio station CFOX-FM.
- A cover of the song by American singer Adeva was included on the 1999 Prince tribute compilation Party o' the Times.
- A cover of the song by American alt rock band Volcano Suns was recorded live on WERS and appears as the last track on 2009 re-release of the album The Bright Orange Years.
- Dump (solo project of Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew) included a cover of the song on "That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?," an album consisting entirely of Prince covers.
- A cover of the song by avant-garde band The Residents was recorded for the album Dot.Com.
- Phish opened with "1999" at their 1998 Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve show, and teased it throughout the night.
- Limp Bizkit covered "1999" during the MTV New Year's Bash welcoming in the year 1999. Around that time Limp Bizkit also wrote a song called "9 teen 90 Nine" on their Significant Other album.
- Singer La Toya Jackson performed "1999" during her "Live at Balley's" concert. This is the second Prince track she has covered, the first being "Private Joy", from his Controversy album.
- A live version by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard was posted on video website YouTube in 2008.
- Welsh indie-rock band Kids in Glass Houses played the song as their opening song at the Kidney Wales Charity Concert in Cardiff, New Year's Eve 2008.
- On one of the opening episodes of the second season of The Voice, coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton performed the song in a Prince medley, which also included "Little Red Corvette," "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and "Kiss."
- Marilyn Manson would perform a vocal only version as an intro to the song, "Little Horn" during their 1996-1997 Dead to the World Tour, but it was never officially recorded.
- At the 2013 Bonnaroo Music Festival as part of the Rock N' Soul Superjam, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James performed this song with John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
|New Zealand Singles Chart||4|
|Irish Singles Chart||21|
|UK Singles Chart||2|
|Netherlands Singles Chart||14|
|Australian Singles Chart||2|
|Canadian Singles Chart||6|
|US BillboardHot 100||12|
|US BillboardHot R&B Singles||4|
|US BillboardHot Dance Club Songs||1|
|||This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2012)|
|This section contains information of unclear or questionable importance or relevance to the article's subject matter. Please help improve this article by clarifying or removing superfluous information. (July 2012)|
- In "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of "Gangsta's Paradise" called "Amish Paradise" he states "tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699," referring to "1999".
- In the season seven episode of The Simpsons called, "Homerpalooza," when Otto's shoes are talking to him, they say, "Don't worry, we won't hurt you. We only want to have some fun." This recalls the introductory lyrics to the song in the extended album version.
- Another reference to this song on The Simpsons occurs on the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (also a season seven episode), when Apu closes the Kwik-E-Mart so he can go to a party, he says, "For the next five minutes, I'm going to party like it's on sale for $19.99."
- In the Weezer song "Troublemaker," one of the lines is "And when it's party time, like 1999," referring to the song.
- The song is mentioned in "Homer the Great", a Season Six episode of The Simpsons. Homer tells Lisa that America's Founding Fathers were Stonecutters. In the flashback, John Hancock signs the Declaration of Independence and says, "Now, let's party, like 'twere 1799."
- In live performances of the song "Jet Black New Year" by the band Thursday, vocalist Geoff Rickly ends the song by repeating the line "gonna party like it's 1999."
- In the Will Smith song "Will2K", at the end of the first verse, K-Ci starts to sing "..and we gonna party like it's 19..", before being interrupted by a sample of a record skipping and Smith exclaiming, "Hold up, it is." (Smith's album Willennium was released on November 16, 1999.)
- In the Family Guy episode "Untitled Griffin Family History", during the sequence where a caveman version of Peter invents and successfully sells the first wheel, he tells his wife Lois, "You and me are gonna party like it's 9."
- In the Futurama episode, "Hell is Other Robots", Fry says during the Beastie Boys concert, "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999—again."
- In the episode "It's a Wonder-Phil Life" of Phil of the Future, one of Vice Principal Hackett's clones says, "Let's party like it's 2199!"
- Business 2.0 magazine, in the 2002 edition of their list 101 Dumbest Moment In Business, had a number of items titled "Still Partying Like It's 1999", referring to companies who had failed due to excesses in the style of the then already busted dot-com bubble.
- On the song "Dead Wrong" from The Notorious B.I.G. album Born Again, Rapper Eminem uses the line "I got a lion in my pocket, I'm lyin', I got a nine in my pocket..." similar to Prince's "I got a lion in my pocket and baby he's ready to roar..."
- In the video game Gears of War 2 there's an achievement called "Party like it's 1999".
- After the defeat of Andariel in the computer game Diablo 2, one can talk to the merchant Gheed in the rogue camp and he'll exclaim that he'll party like it's 999.
- The song is referred to in the chorus of Ricky J's single "Whatta Night".
- In the 2010 single "2012 (It Ain't the End)" by Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj, a line in the chorus uses the line "We're gonna party like, like it's 2012", structured similarly to "1999".
- In the game Fruit Ninja, one of the swords' descriptions is "It may not be 1999, but you can party anyways."
- In the episode of 30 Rock entitled "Greenzo", the page Kenneth states that he intends to "party like it's 1999", a year which, according to his Bible, will occur in seven years.
- In Thomas Pynchon's novel Bleeding Edge, a ludicrously expensive dotcom party is held in early September 2001, with Prince's song one of its themes, because to techies "party like it's 1999" means "party like the dotcom bubble hasn't burst yet."