In the fall of 1982, a relatively unknown singer named Prince saw his single “1999” released…and promptly ignored. Not only didn’t it register in the collective public’s consciousness, it didn’t even crack the top 40 (…which means, of course, good ol’ Casey Kasem, who we ♥, didn’t get to sing its praises).
Alas, young Prince (only 23 at the time) seemed destined to a life of obscurity–his music ignored by the masses. But Warner Bros. had faith in their guy, and they released his next single “Little Red Corvette” early in 1983. After that song shot up the charts to #6, WB decided to give “1999” another shot, and the rest…well, the rest is history.
Written at the beginning of 1982, “1999” is Prince’s ode to the Cold War. He sings, “The sky was all purple / There were people runnin’ everywhere”, and he’s not talking about a happy time. Armageddon was weighing heavily on our man’s mind, and this zippy little ditty addressed it head on. “Everybody’s got a bomb / We could all die any day…” Heavy stuff, dude.
The re-released “1999” went on to spend 28 weeks on the charts, peaking at #12 in July 1983, and it secured Prince’s vaunted place on the musical landscape. It’s such a timeless song, in fact, that when its namesake year rolled around, “1999” made its way back onto the charts again, seventeen years after we first heard it; on January 16, 1999, it hit #40 for a one-week-only stint.
It was Prince’s final Top 40 hit until his passing in April 2016, at which point eight of his hits (including “1999”) re-entered the charts one last time.
But we don’t want to bring you down. Life is just a party, right? And even though parties weren’t meant to last, as long as “1999” is on the hi-fi, count us in.
We ♥ 1999.