Prince Fans Hear a Revolution Reunion Within ‘The One U Wanna C': 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.
One of the most buoyant and joyous songs in Prince’s catalog, “The One U Wanna C" bridges the gap between the psychedelic pop of Around the World in a Day and the funky more traditional rock found on the latter half of “Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden” from the Purple Rain deluxe edition. It sounds like a long lost track from the heyday of Prince and the Revolution for good reason: Prince’s 32nd album, 2007's Planet Earth, was the first to feature contributions from Wendy and Lisa in more than a decade. Sheila E., who also appeared the previous year on 3121, contributed more of her signature percussion to the album.
For diehard fans in 2007, the possibilities of a full-blown Revolution reunion seemed imminent. The year before, Wendy and Lisa appeared with Prince on-stage at the Brit Awards for a blistering medley centered-around “Fury”. A few other live appearances followed suit on both sides of the pond. When the album was released, Wendy, Lisa and Sheila were credited in the liner notes as contributors, but not formally linked to any song. Their presence, however, is felt all over the disc, from the still-urgent eco-politics of the title track to the rousing album closer, "Resolution," and especially on the Wendy-and-Lisa-esque chorus on “Lion of Judah” (it could be them or some combination of Sheila E. and Shelby J., and PrinceVault suggests that Bria Valente, the Twinz (Maya and Nandy McClean) and Marva King may have also been involved).
Any daydreams of Wendy and Lisa jamming in the studio with Prince were dashed when Wendy Melvoin admitted to Jon Bream in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (July 13, 2007) that their contributions to five songs were made by e-mail. This method is nothing new for the Artist, who liked to collaborate from afar: He sent tapes by parcel to Kate Bush (creating two tracks including Emancipation’s “My Computer”) not to mention countless orchestral enhancements with Clare Fischer, whom he never met in person.
Like many Prince albums, Planet Earth was shrouded in controversy. While Columbia Records signed a worldwide distribution deal (following up on the success of Musicology), Prince arranged to give it away for free in the U.K. as a cover mount in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. This inspired many U.K. record stores to protest; Columbia refused to distribute it there. In the U.S., the album was a commercial and critical success, landing at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. A few years later, Prince took the cover mount concept to even more partners in more U.K. countries for 20Ten, surprisingly bypassing the States altogether.
“Power Fantastic”, included on Disc 3 of The Hits and B-Sides collection, might be the last track Prince and the Revolution recorded together; “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night” on Sign O’ the Times might be the Revolution’s last stand on a Prince album while he was alive, but ”The One U Wanna C," with its rollicking bass line and sing-along chorus, served as a fitting final tribute to the fantastic power of Prince’s creative energy with Wendy and Lisa.
However, the song's title does bring up an interesting question: Given how Prince famously used numerals and capital letters in place of words (e.g. "Nothing Compares 2 U," "When 2 R In Love," "I Would Die 4 U"), why did he not use "1" in place of "One" in the title of "The One U Wanna C" (or, for that matter, on "The Beautiful Ones," "The One" and his charity Love 4 One Another)?
It's been speculated, but never confirmed, that he spelled out the number due to its Biblical significance as a reference to God. The only Prince song to use the numeral is "1+1+1 Is 3," from 2001's The Rainbow Children. And yet, Prince included a live version of the song a year later on One Nite Alone... Live!
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