I’m going on 140 of these posts and I’m never sure who’s reading and who’s not. When a song like “I’m Yours” comes up do I write about it like you’ve read everything else I’ve written in the past five months or like you’re just seeing this site for the first time? I tend to give a little background with each song, but I feel like I’ve written about Prince’s 1978 debut album For You four times already. You know why? Because I have.
For You only has nine tracks, and today marks the fifth one that’s appeared on the Daily Prince Song Randomizer. I’m 55% done with For You and I haven’t gotten a single track from Lovesexy yet. I just wrote about this album a week ago. I’ll give you the 30,000 foot view of For You. Prince was a multi-instrumentalist teen phenom. He recorded a long list of songs himself in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1976 and 1977. Warner Brothers signed him to a deal and he went to Los Angeles, where he re-recorded the earlier songs along with some new stuff. In 1978, two months before his 20th birthday, those songs became Prince’s first album, For You.
One of the songs originally recorded back in 1976 was “I’m Yours.” It is the final track on the album and shows off Prince’s musical chops more than any other on the album. When I hear this song I think of a story told by Prince’s first manager, Owen Husney. I don’t know what song he heard specifically, but when he first heard Prince he was with engineer and producer Chris Moon, who worked with Prince at Moon Sound Studios in Minneapolis. Husney heard the song and said, “So, who’s the band here?” Moon replied, “It’s not really a band.” Husney expressed some disappointment about having to work with studio musicians. Moon then told him, “No, it’s not a studio band. It’s one kid. He’s just turned 18 and he’s singing everything and playing all the instruments.” I like to imagine the song they were listening to was “I’m Yours.”
Right out of the gate you hear the bass and a complicated drum riff and already think, “Wait, that’s all one person? And he was 18 when he did this???” Then the electric guitar kicks in. I know “Let’s Go Crazy” was the song that cemented Prince’s guitar God status, but he’s flashing those exact skills on “I’m Yours.” I don’t necessarily think this song is particularly good, but it’s an amazing showcase for everything Prince was capable of. He gives a strong vocal performance and flexes on guitar, drums and bass throughout the song, but it kind of reminds me of Mannheim Steamroller. Every time I hear this song I expect it to turn in to a neo-classical version of “Deck the Halls” accompanied by a laser light show. That probably doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but that’s what I hear. Amazing skills on a decent song.
Good song or not, when you hear “I’m Yours” you understand why people couldn’t wait to hear what this precocious phenom would do next. When I was 18 I thought getting a hundred sacks in a season with Reggie White on Super Tecmo Bowl was an accomplishment. Prince had bigger ideas. There’s no better display of his big ideas at 18 than “I’m Yours.” I just wish I liked the song better.