Pop Life is the seventh track on Prince’s seventh album Around The World In A Day, the second to be credited to Prince and the Revolution, and three months after the album’s release, Pop Life was released as the album’s third single (second in North America). In 1993, it was also included as the second track on Prince’s first compilation album The Hits 1 (also included as the first disc of The Hits / The B-Sides). In 2006, Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix) was included as the fourth track on the second disc of the compilation album Ultimate.
Basic tracking took place on 19 February 1984 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California (after completing overdubs on Another Lonely Christmas). The recording session lasted until around 6:15 a.m. the following morning, 20 February 1984.
Sheila E.’s remix of the track was mixed on 22 and 23 June 1985, most likely also at Sunset Sound.
In 1994, Kirk Johnson remixed the track at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and the remix, while unreleased, was partially included in the Kirk J’s B Sides Remix medley.
Rumors have suggested incorrectly that the booing crowd sampled in the song is from Prince’s infamous opening act for the Rolling Stones, from October 1981. The samples actually come from a Jac Holzman’s 1964 sound effects album titled Authentic Sound Effects Volume 4 (namely “Prize Fight, Large Arena” and “Barroom Brawl”). During a Love4oneanother.com “? of the week” in 1999, a fan asked what the significance of “the interspersion of (what sounds like) a boxing match”, saying they have wondered about this for years, to which Prince replied, “Good ? - Me 2 :)”
Pop Life is the earliest track to be released with two different versions on 12" releases (albeit in different territories): The US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand received Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix) (remixed by Sheila E.), while the UK, received Pop Life (Extended Version), which was Prince’s own original version.
Like A Love Bizarre, the Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix), remixed by Sheila E., contains an interpolation of Frère Jacques.