"Raspberry Beret" is a chart-topping hit song by Prince and The Revolution. It was the first U.S. (and second UK) single from their 1985 album, Around the World in a Day. The sound was different from any previous Prince track, incorporatingMiddle Eastern finger cymbalsstringed instruments, and even a harmonica on the extended version. The song was also more in the pop vein than ever before, though the 12-inch single and video of the song feature a funky intro. Although the song was originally recorded in 1982, Prince drastically reworked it with The Revolution to give it more of an international sound. The string section was: Novi Novog on violin, Suzie Katayama and David Coleman on cello. Wendy & Lisa composed and conducted the strings on Raspberry Beret. Wendy & Lisa provided backing vocals, and the rest of the song was performed by Prince.

The song tells of a teenage romance and first sexual experience with a girl who wears the titular hat. The video for the song was Prince's first since his short-lived "ban" on music videos. The song quickly became a fan favorite, and a staple in nearly every Prince tour. The extended version was included on Ultimate in 2006. While this song hit #1 in Cash Box and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, it only reached #25 on the UK Singles Chart.

The US B-side, "She's Always in My Hair", is a rock and roll number, with guitar and organs and emotional lyrics screamed toward the end. The song would finally be performed live for the first time in 1993. This song is also said to be about Susan Moonsie of Vanity 6, but a glimpse of Prince's feelings towards the end of their relationship. "She's Always in My Hair" is actually about background singer and protégé Jill Jones, while "Private Joy" from Controversy is about Moonsie.

The UK B-side was "Hello", which was included on the US release of "Pop Life".

The 12" version has an incorrect time listing on the label. It is listed as 7:25, when the actual length of the song is 6:35.


 [hide*1 Cover versions

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Live cover performances[edit]Edit

  • Neil Hannon, lead singer and songwriter of Irish band The Divine Comedy, has proclaimed the song as his favorite ever, and has been known to play it live.
  • Beck has covered "Raspberry Beret" live on multiple occasions.
  • In a bootleg Daft Punk hybrid DJ/PA set recorded at The Arches in Glasgow (1997), a sample of the main lick can be heard looped over Thomas Bangalter's drum machine and the song "Da Jacker" by Jack the Ripper.[2] Bangalter has also been known to play the song in his DJ sets.[3]
  • Ben Nichols of the band Lucero has also covered the song live.
  • John Mayer performed this live at several concerts in 2010.
  • Warren Zevon also frequently covered the song live.


Cultural references[edit]Edit

  • The group The Lightning Seeds named themselves after a misheard lyric in the song: "Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees."
  • The Fruit Bats' song "Earthquake of '73" mentions the song with the lyric "You lost your voice singin' along to Raspberry Beret..."

In films[edit]Edit

  • "Raspberry Beret" was used in the 1996 film Girl 6.
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