U (a.k.a. You) is the sixth track on Paula Abdul’s second album Spellbound (seventh track on the UK and Japanese editions), and was written, produced, and largely recorded by Prince (credited to Paisley Park).
The track was initially recorded (as You) between 10-21 July 1979 at Mountain Ears Sound Studio in Boulder, Colorado, during sessions for The Rebels album, with Gayle Chapman singing lead vocals (the same set of sessions that produced Too Long, Disco Away, Thrill You Or Kill You, If I Love You Tonight, The Loser, Hard To Get, an untitled instrumental by Dez Dickerson and an untitled instrumental by André Cymone ). This version, a hard rock track, contained many different lyrics.
While specific recording dates for the released version are not known, basic tracking took place in October 1987, at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota (and may have been updated later). The song was mentioned in an early draft (from October 1987) of Graffiti Bridge. In this script, U was supposed to be sung by the character "Camille", played by Prince. It was not included on any known configuration of the Graffiti Bridge album, however
The song was sent to Paula Abdul at some point between 1988 and 1990, when she added her vocals at Studio Masters, Los Angeles, California; her vocals were produced by Peter Lord and V. Jeffrey Smith; who produced much of the album.
Background vocals on her version of the song were performed by Sandra St. Victor, with whom Prince would work in Summer 1995 (co-writing Sanctuary (later renamed Soul Sanctuary), Love Is (later renamed Van Gogh), I’ll Never Open My Legs Again (later renamed ’ll Never B Another Fool), How We Livin’ (renamed Livin’ 2 Die) and Nothing Left To Give).