The convoluted recording history of “Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me?” takes front and center on episode 142 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast. Besides who Prince offered this song to and how many times he recorded it over the span of 10 years, there are some lyrics worth discussing as well.
“Wouldn’t you love to be with me alone? Wouldn’t you love to have me for your very own?”
1976: The Anderson home demo version of the song sounds very little like the versions we’d get over the next ten years. Even the verses are completely different, although the sentiment of the choruses remains the same. Wouldn’t it be great if you loved me?
1977: Prince implores us to “look into my big, brown eyes” on the heavy synthesizer and drum machine mid-tempo jam from the Loring Park sessions. While clearly a demo, it also appears to be pretty close to being finished; I think this would have been a substantial addition on the For You track listing or, at the very least, a B-side. Prince’s confidence and swagger are evident throughout the lyrics as he tells a prospective lover that he’s what she’s looking for in a man. The Stevie Wonder and Parliament influences are strong with this song, and maybe that’s why it didn’t make the cut. “Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me’s” infectious groove hypnotizes throughout its lengthy run time, but I never got bored of it—a winner for sure.
1981: Now, this version completely rips. I’m so glad the Prince Estate chose to put this version of the song on 2019’s Originals release instead of the ’86 version. I had never heard this before until that release, and it quickly became one of my favorites. Hearing Prince doing “Jungle Love,” “Manic Monday,” and “The Glamorous Life” were cool and all, but they sounded like the released versions, all massive hits in their own right, so there were no surprises. This sounded nothing like Taja Sevelle’s ’87 release, and that’s why this is an absolute gem.
1986: This version isn’t bad, per se. It’s just not my favorite. It’s got a Caribbean feel to it, thanks to the synth, and it’s also way poppier. For me, it’s simply a matter of preference. I prefer early ’80s pop songs to late ’80s pop songs, and the way Prince transformed this track between ’81 and ’86 is essentially crystallizing the differences that only five years make into a single song’s metamorphosis. If Prince were to press pause on this song for another five years, I’m sure he would have transformed it into a New Jack Swing banger.
As I again recommend listeners to check out Zach Hoskins’ blog post in the podcast episode, here’s a quick link: Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me? – Dance / Music / Sex / Romance (princesongs.org)
The goal of each episode of Press Rewind is to:
- Take a track by track look at the lyrical content of Prince’s discography
- Discuss my own interpretation of each song’s lyrics along with any guest I may have
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!