Christopher Tracy’s Parade

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Christopher Tracy’s Parade

from the album Parade
Song details
Performer: Prince and the Revolution
First Released: 31 March 1986 - Parade album
Album(s): Parade
Writer(s): Prince and John L. Nelson
Producer(s): Prince (credited to Prince and the Revolution)
Live Appearances
First and last live appearance:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:

Christopher Tracy’s Parade (a.k.a. Wendy’s Parade) is the first track on Prince’s eighth album Parade, the third to be credited to Prince and the Revolution. The track is also played in Prince’s second feature film, Under The Cherry Moon, and is named after his character in the movie, Christopher Tracy.

Basic tracking (as Wendy’s Parade) took place on 17 April 1985 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, with Prince recording the drum track in sequence of Wendy’s Parade, New Position, I Wonder U and Under The Cherry Moon, all in one take. He then layered other instruments over all four tracks.

The song was named after Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin.

Clare Fischer arranged and recorded orchestration for the song in early July 1985 at Monterey Sound Studios in Glendale, California. Recording dates for the revised vocals of Christopher Tracy’s Parade are not known, although it is likely these were recorded after September 1985.

Prince’s father, John L. Nelson, receives co-writing credit, although his input is uncertain.

Of note is that the title and lyrics of the track were changed to match Prince’s character in the Under The Cherry Moon movie. The original lyrics referenced Little girl Wendy’s guitar -- which rhymes with evil car in the next line. In the released version this line is replaced by Christopher Tracy’s piano, which doesn’t rhyme.

Also, the album version of Kiss contains Prince saying the phrase "Little girl Wendy’s parade" to introduce a guitar solo (actually played by Prince himself).

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
17 April 1985-19 April 1985 Sunset Sound- Studio 3,
Hollywood, CA, USA
Tracking (17th); overdubs (18th); overdubs and mix (19th) (as Wendy’s Parade)
22 April 1985-24 April 1985 Sunset Sound - Studio 3,
Hollywood, CA, USA
Wendy & Lisa vocal overdubs, mix (22nd); overdubs, mix (23rd); overdubs (John Liotine, Steve Madaio, Carleton Smith), mix (24th)
July 1985 (estimate) Monterey Sound Studios,
Glendale, CA, USA
Orchestra recording by Clare Fischer
11 or 12 November 1985 (estimate) Advision Studios,
London, England
18 November 1985 (estimate) Pumacrest Mobile Recording Unit (from Advision Studios)
in Nice, France
Mix (Wendy & Lisa, probably with Prince)
16 December 1985 Sunset Sound - Studio 3,
Hollywood, CA, USA
Mix and strings only mix
December 1985 or January 1986 Sunset Sound - Studio 3,
Hollywood, CA, USA (assumed)
Vocal overdubs (as Christopher Tracy’s Parade)
Recording Personnel

Clare Fischer Orchestral Players:

  • Violins - Isabelle Daskoff, Francine Walsh, Mari Botnik, Pam Gates, Janice Gower, Karen Jones, Betty Moor, Irma Neumann, Assa Drori, Bill Hymanson, Oscar Chasow, Ron Clark, Henry Ferber, Erne Granat, Ed Green, Bill Hybel, Reggie Hill, Pat Johnson, Don Palmer, Sheldon Sanov, Joe Schonbrun, Terry Schonbrun and Harold Wolf
  • Violas - Pam Goldsmith, Margot Maclaine, Carol Mukagawa, Myer Bello, Alan Deverich, Norman Forrest, Alan Harshman, Jorge Moraga and David Stock
  • Cellos - Jim Arkatoff, Ray Kelley, Ray Kramer and Fred Seykora
  • Basses - Chuck Dominico and Arni Egilsson.
  • Woodwinds - Gene Cipriano, Don Ashworth, John Clarke, Dave Edwards, Gary Foster, Jim Kanter, John Lowe, Dick Mitchell, Jack Nimitz, Joe Soldo and Bob Tricarico
  • Trumpets - Ray Brown, Rich Cooper, Bob Findley, Larry Ford, Bob O’Donnell and Al Vizutti
  • Trombones - Garnett Brown, Charles Loper, Morris Repass and Bill Watrous
  • French Horns - Marni Johnson, David Duke, Joe Myer, Brian O’Connor, Calvin Smith and Jim Thatcher
  • Tuba - Tommy Johnson
  • Tympani and percussion - Brent Fischer

Omitted from released version

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Christopher Tracy’s Parade 2:11 Parade Studio
Christopher Tracy’s Parade 1:44 NPG Ahdio Show # 4 mp3 (not available as a separate track) Live 31 August 1986, Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg, West Germany
Video Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Christopher Tracy’s Parade T.B.C. Live concert TV broadcast Live 7 June 1986, Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI, USA
Christopher Tracy’s Parade 2:23 Under The Cherry Moon DVD Studio Studio version with an extra-bridge not included on the Parade album

Unreleased Versions
Title Version Additional Info
Wendy’s Parade studio Original 1985 track before lyric changes
Christopher Tracy’s Parade studio Track before orchestral overdubs
Christopher Tracy’s Parade studio Strings only mix
Additional Information

See also Trivia

  • The {Bizarre!} sample used in this song is originally from 'Our Bizarre Relationship' by Frank Zappa (from Uncle Meat 1969). It was one of the preset samples in the Fairlight CMI sample-synthesizer and Prince took it from there. It was utilized in quite a few songs recorded between 1985 and 1987: All My Dreams, Bob George, Christopher Tracy’s Parade, Lovesexy, and Madhouse songs Nine and 6 (The End Of The World Mix) all contain this sample.

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