Darlene Marie is an unreleased track initially recorded in early November 1978 at Prince’s France Avenue Home Studio in Edina, Minnesota and again in late May 1979, at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California (around the time Prince was recording overdubs for the Prince album). The track was written for Darlene, a girl Prince met in San Francisco, California in September 1978 and was seeing at the time. Her middle name was Maria, but was written as Marie on her baptismal record. Prince liked Marie better than Maria, or found it better suited the lyrics. He first wrote the song as a present for her around her birthday (1 November) and recorded a version of it in early November 1978 in his France Avenue Home Studio in Edina, Minnesota.
Apparently the song was renamed Darling Marie when re-recorded in May 1979 and tentatively placed as the last track of an early configuration for the Prince album. It has a relatively simple arrangement and features Prince accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, while the lyrics include the line "Darlene Marie... why don’t you marry me?" This likely refers to the fact that Darlene was engaged to be married when they met. Prince wanted her to marry him instead.
Darlene also inspired the song Head.