Prince Predicts His Own Bright Future in ‘Baby, I’m a Star': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
This is perhaps the last moment before the gumption-filled overachiever of Prince's youth transformed into someone who questioned every element of fame.
His next album would be a bold move against expectations. Not long after that, he'd dissolve the Revolution, another unexpected move considering their shared role in his new celebrity. Within a few years, he wouldn't even want to be called Prince anymore. But all of that was very far away in the period leading up to the career-making Purple Rain album and film – and you hear it in every breathless moment of "Baby, I'm a Star."
There was really no denying where Prince was headed, even if he risked of sounding like a braggart: Fame, at this point, was his blatantly stated goal. "Might not know it now ... but baby, I'm a star," Prince sang. "I don't want to stop, 'til I reach the top."
There's a reason he sounded so hungry. "Baby I'm a Star" actually dates back to well before the sessions for Purple Rain. It grew out of a solo piano version Prince cut at his home studio on Kiowa Trail in Chanhassen, Minn., while working on a remix for "Let's Work" from 1981's Controversy. It wasn't complete, however, until the Revolution had added their unique pop/funk-orchestra stamp to the proceedings. The album version was recorded live on Aug. 3, 1983 at First Avenue in Minnesota, during a show that also provided "I Would Die 4 U" and the title song for the finished Purple Rain track listing.
It's notable, too, that this show served as Wendy Melvoin's debut. "Baby I'm a Star," as much as it punctures the messianic bubble of the preceding "I Would Die 4 U," also showcases the drum-tight ensemble playing that made Prince's time with the Revolution so extraordinary. Later, he added overdubs, including backwards, very prescient dialogue to "Baby I'm a Star" that reportedly said "So, like, f--- them, man! What do they know?"
In the end, of course, "Baby I'm a Star" became a self-fulfilling prophesy for Prince – beginning with its placement as the closing song in Purple Rain, a moment that marked the start of his widest possible renown.
Prince and the Revolution then performed "Baby, I'm a Star" at the next year's Grammy Awards, where they picked up statues for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, and for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special. In a sign of things to come, however, Prince finished the performance with many of those in the audience joining him onstage, then unexpectedly vanished down the stairs used for award winners.
Prince Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness