Starfish And Coffee

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Starfish And Coffee

from the album Sign O’ The Times
Song details
Performer: Prince
First Released: 30 March 1987 - Sign O’ The Times album
Album(s): Sign O’ The Times

One Nite Alone... Live!
Sign O’ The Times Super Deluxe Edition

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

Starfish And Coffee is the sixth track on the first disc of Prince’s ninth album Sign O’ The Times. In 2002, a brief live piano version was also included (titled Starfish & Coffee) as the fourteenth track on the second disc of One Nite Alone... Live!, Prince’s first live album (along with recordings of One Nite Alone..., Free and Sometimes It Snows In April from the same show).

Basic tracking took place in the night of 19 to 20 April 1986 at Prince’s Galpin Blvd Home Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota (three days after Crystal Ball), without the school alarm bell sound effect opening the song, which was added later. The track was initially included as the ninth track on the late April configuration of the Dream Factory album. It was kept for inclusion as the eighth track on the first disc on the 3 June 1986 configuration and the seventh track on the 18 July 1986 configuration. When the album developed into the triple-album Crystal Ball, the alarm bell opening was added, and the song was included as the sixth track on the first disc on the 30 November 1986 configuration, which was eventually pared down and became Sign O’ The Times. Prince re-recorded the song in Autumn, 1995, at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and it is likely that this version of the song was planned for inclusion on the 1996 children’s album Happy Tears, but this information is unverified. It is likely that his (lip-synced) performance of the song on The Muppets Tonight TV show recorded on 28 October 1996, was planned to be broadcast to coincide with the album’s release, but the album was ultimately abandoned when Prince and Mayte’s son died from complications caused by Pfeiffer Syndrome a week after his birth.

The lyrics are based on Susannah Melvoin telling Prince about a girl she and Wendy went to school with. All the details; the name Cynthia Rose, the names of the classmates, the teacher miss Kathleen and Cynthia’s favorite number being 20 as well as the starfish for breakfast and the happy face she drew were all from Susannah telling Prince about her classmate in school. The only difference being that the real Cynthia Rose talked about "starfish and pee-pee," which was changed to "starfish and coffee." Susannah Melvoin received a writing credit for being the originator of the story.

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
19/20 April 1986 Galpin Blvd Home Studio,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Track mix, including instrumental
Autumn, 1986 Galpin Blvd Home Studio,
Chanhassen, MN, USA (assumed)
School alarm sound effect added to song’s opening
Autumn, 1995 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Recording Personnel

Sign O’ The Times version

  • Prince - all vocals and instruments

Unreleased 1995 version

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Starfish And Coffee 2:51 Sign O’ The Times Studio
Starfish And Coffee 2:51 Sign O’ The Times (Super) Deluxe Edition Studio Remastered in 2020
Starfish & Coffee 1:07 One Nite Alone... Live! Live 29 April 2002, Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
Video Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Starfish And Coffee 1:04 Lovesexy Live 1 VHS Live 9 September 1988, Westfallenhalle, Dortmund, West Germany
Broadcasts/streaming (only)
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Starfish And Coffee 2:34 Delayed lip-sync TV broadcast Studio 28 October 1996, Muppets Tonight, Raleigh Studios, Hollywood, California, USA; lip-sync over brief clip of 1995 re-recording
Unreleased Versions
Title Version Additional Info
Starfish And Coffee (Instrumental) Studio Instrumental mix
Starfish And Coffee Re-recording 1995 re-recording, possibly intended for Happy Tears
Additional Information

See also Trivia


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