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1999 by Prince

1999 by Prince


Song Meaning and Background to 1999 by Prince

When Prince recorded the hit song 1999, he would go all day and all night without resting and eating as it would make him tired.

The single’s first release didn’t make the Top 40, but Prince put it out again after “Little Red Corvette,” and it was finally a hit, reaching the Top 20 in 1982.

1999's critical and commercial success propelled Prince and marked the beginning of heightened fame.

"1999", is a protest song against nuclear proliferation and reached the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 12. It has since become one of Prince's most recognizable compositions.

According to Prince’s then drummer, Bobby “Z” Rivkin, the inspiration for the song came from an documentary Prince and his band watched one night on tour.

Titled The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, it was “about Nostradamus and the prediction of the end of the world, 1999, and we’re all blown away by this thing”, Rivkin told Minneapolis radio station The Current in 2018.

“You could feel it in the hotel room. Just glued to the TV.” Recalling how the documentary became a talking point the next day, Rivkin noted that Prince’s reaction was to write a song about it.

“We’re all going ‘wow’ and then he just embodied the whole thing with 1999… So there explains the difference between mere mortals and Prince.”

1999 offers six minutes of hedonistic revelry in the face of Armageddon.

Speaking to Larry King as the 1990s came to a close, Prince recalled the documentary that had inspired the song, and how his response differed to those of his bandmates.

“I just found it real ironic how everyone that was around me whom I thought to be very optimistic people were dreading those days, and I always knew I’d be cool,” he told the TV host.

“So I just wanted to write something that gave hope, and what I find is that people listen to it. And no matter where we are in the world, I always get the same type of response from them.”

Lyrics and Guitar Chords for 1999 by Prince



Bm A D G


[Verse 1]

Bm      A         D           G

Hold me close and say you care

      Bm     A         D              G

Cause I'm in love with your brown hair

    Bm      A        D         G

The way you touch me is a curse

    Bm      A          D              G

And I'm not willing to let it all hurt



Bm A D G


[Verse 2]

Bm         A         D             G

Watch your mouth and wash with soap

       Bm     A        D            G

'Cause I just hate the way you spoke

      Bm        A    D              G

Green eyes make everything feel numb

    Bm      A          D             G

And I'm not willing to give it all up



Bm A D G


[Verse 3]

Bm          A       D         G

And I'm not wasting time again

Bm      A       D  G

Closure instead of sex

    Bm      A       D         G

And I'm not wasting time again



Bm A D G



Bm                A      D               G

You said I fucked up and ruined your life

    Bm             A        D

But little did you know you ruined



Release Date







Warner Bros

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