Alphabet St.

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Alphabet St.

from the album Lovesexy
Alphabetst single.jpg
single art for Alphabet St.
Song details
Performer: Prince
First Released: 15 April 1988 - Alphabet St. single (UK release)
Album(s): Lovesexy

The Hits 1
The Hits / The B-Sides
The Very Best Of Prince
One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over
Indigo Nights

Writer(s): Prince
Producer(s): Prince
Live Appearances
First and last live appearance:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:

Alphabet St. (a.k.a. Alphabet Street) is the second track on Prince’s tenth album Lovesexy, and, three weeks before the album’s release, Alphabet St. was released as the album’s first single.

In 1993, the track was included as the 14th track on Prince’s first compilation album The Hits 1 (also included as the first disc of The Hits / The B-Sides).

In 2001, the track was included as the twelfth track on the compilation album The Very Best Of Prince. In 2006, the track was included as the eleventh track on the first disc of the compilation album Ultimate.

In 2002, a live version (as Alphabet Street) was included as the fifth track on the live release One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over.

In 2008, a 2007 live recording of the track was included (as Alphabet Street) as the tenth track on Prince’s fourth live album Indigo Nights.

In 2011, a live version from the 3 August 2011 show in Oslo Spektrum was available as an mp3 download on Shelby J.’s Facebook page the day after the show (the meta-data attached to the track gives an album name of "Live In Oslo", but this is likely not an indication of an actual album).

Basic tracks were recorded on 30 December 1987 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota (the day before the 31 December 1987 show where Prince and Miles Davis performed together for the first and only time).

The line "Put your love down baby when your money get shot" was originally used in the unreleased song Bloody Mouth, recorded the previous month.

Alphabet St. is a blues-based pop/rock number distinguished by a scratchy rhythm guitar part played in a style reminiscent of Bo Diddley. The rhythm section features a simple drum machine beat, handclaps, and a popping bass line. The song includes a "yeah, yeah, yeah" chorus. The song expands from a sparse opening as layers of instrumentation build, creating a complex musical track.

Cat provides a rap (also borrowed from Bloody Mouth) introducing the "Lovesexy" theme, before the song goes into an expanded vamp with a discordant horn motif to the fore. Ingrid Chavez ends the track with a recitation of the alphabet, from A to H (without G*), followed by "I... love u".

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
30 December 1987 Paisley Park Studios - Studio A,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
18 April 1988 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
‘Rough mix for guitar reference’
1994 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Remix by Kirk Johnson
Recording Personnel

Indigo Nights version

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Alphabet St. 5:38 Lovesexy

Alphabet St. single
The Hits 1
The Hits / The B-Sides
The Very Best Of Prince

Alphabet St. (Edit) 2:25 Alphabet St. single

The Crown Jewels promo


Alphabet St. (Cont.) 3:14 Alphabet St. single Edit Second half of the song, continuing from where the single/radio edit ends
Alphabet St. (Edit) 5:33 Nothing Compares 2 Him promo Edit
Alphabet St. (This Is Not Music, This Is A Trip) 7:48 Alphabet St. single Remix Mostly instrumental 'dub' mix
Alphabet Street 2:54 One Nite Alone…The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over! Live 20 April 2002 (a.m.): The Highlands Hollywood, Hollywood, CA, USA
Alphabet Street 6:09 Indigo Nights Live 22 September 2007 (a.m.): 3121 at The IndigO2, London, England
Alphabet Street 13:15 Shelby J.’s Facebook page mp3 download Live 3 August 2011, Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway
Video Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Alphabet St. (Edit) 2:25 The Hits Collection VHS/DVD Promo video See Alphabet St. video for more details
Alphabet St. 6:31 Lovesexy Live 1 VHS Live 9 September 1988, Westfalenhallen (Halle 1), Dortmund, West Germany
Broadcasts/streaming (only)
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Alphabet St. T.B.C. Live concert radio broadcast Live 22 July 1990, Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain
Alphabet St. T.B.C. Delayed concert TV broadcast Live 29 July 1990, Estadio Santa María del Mar, La Coruña, Spain
Alphabet St. T.B.C. Delayed concert TV broadcast Live 31 August 1990, Tokyo Dome (東京ドーム), Tokyo, Japan
Alphabet St. T.B.C. Live TV appearance Live 17 November 1999, Nulle Part Ailleurs, Studios Canal+, Paris, France
Sampled, Referred to, Quoted in...
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix) 6:02 Partyman single Remix Remix by Femi Jiya and Prince; Includes sampled clips of Sexy Dancer, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Head, Partyup, Let’s Work, 1999, Raspberry Beret, Erotic City, Kiss, U Got The Look, Housequake, Alphabet St., The Future and a chant from Batdance
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix) 5:58 The Scandalous Sex Suite EP Remix edit As above, missing The Joker’s opening dialogue
Purple Medley 11:03 Purple Medley single Studio medley See Purple Medley for more details
Unreleased Versions
Title Version Additional Info
Alphabet St. Demo Blues 'demo' of the song, featuring just Prince and an acoustic guitar.
Alphabet St. (This Is Not Music, This Is A Trip... Part 2) Remix Second part of the extended remix of the song. originally intended to be released as one long 15 min mix with a 'false fade' halfway through.
Alphabet St. Remix Remixed version of the track by Kirk Johnson containing new beats and keyboard lines. Remixed sometime in 1994
Additional Information

See also Trivia

  • The recitation of the alphabet by Ingrid Chavez at the end of the song misses out the letter 'g'. When asked about this on a "Ask The Artist" fan question on 30 April 1998, Prince answered "She was being kissed at the time, and got flustered, Eye suppose."
  • The lyrics make mention of a "horny pony". Other tracks from the era mentioning a pony in the title or lyrics include Horny Pony, Le Grind, My Pony, Ponyride and She Pony.
  • A sample from Alphabet St. was looped throughout the song “Tennessee” by hip hop group Arrested Development, which song hit number six on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S., and earned the band a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The band used the sample without asking for permission. Instead of demanding co-writing credit or forcing the removal of the sample, Prince allowed the band to use the clip for a one-time fee of $100,000.

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