Credit: Prince

Watch Prince searing performance of 'I Wanna Be Your Lover' in rare footage from 1981

The late, great, and forever purple maestro Prince had one of the most incredibly varied and artistically challenging career’s in pop music’s history — there is no debate. His meticulous work in the studio and on the stage is what will always stand him alongside some of the greats. While in the booth, he was not only a perfectionist but a soothsayer of the latest trends. On the stage and under the spotlight, he was just pure perfection.

We are digging into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at one moment where Prince outdid even his own high standards. One song which has always been able to hold up as both a personal and shared listening experience is the joyful bounce of ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’. In this rare footage from 1981, the singer delivers a simply scintillating performance of the track, and it acts as a reminder of his blistering talent.

Even in Prince’s early days, back in 1979, the singer would still be able to bring a dancefloor to the driving force that welcomed the entering of a new decade. Unlike any other artist, Prince Rogers Nelson skirted the edges of funk, soul, disco and pop to make tunes that weren’t just the freshest sounds on the street in ’79 but still fill dancefloors over 40 years later.

Taken from Prince’s self-titled second album, ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ was the singer’s first major hit in the US and marked him out as an unusual talent. While he possessed a huge amount of dedicated craft, he also moved naturally like a seasoned performer; this was the song that proved it. It’s all here. Everything Prince needed to become an undying legend. 

The singer’s pop sensibilities, his uncanny ear for a hook, the kind of funk spirit that always makes your feet move and the craft to put it all together.

While performing in the confines of a studio is all well and good, and likely how the greatest truly succeed, Prince was a born performer and each song needed to have a special performance attached to it. In 1981, with Prince still very much in the infancy of his career, the Purple One delivered an astounding rendition o the track which, even many decades later, lands with the ferocious intensity of Prince’s bubbling genius.

There bounce, rhythm and general groove that Prince lays down would become a trademark as he interspersed spontaneous licks with rehearsed dance routines to garner a reputation as one of the finest live acts on the planet.

Below, you can witness one of those very first moments as Prince performs ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ back in 1981.