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The Real Story Behind Prince's 'Little Red Corvette'

Illustration for article titled The Real Story Behind Princes Little Red Corvette

There’s no way around it: 2016 is continuing its status as the Great Asshole Year by taking music legends away from us. Today, it was Prince, because apparently David Bowie wasn’t enough for this ghoulish year. From a gearhead perspective, Prince may be best known for his song “Little Red Corvette.” That song was inspired by a car, but, oddly enough, not a Corvette.


It seems that Prince came up with the idea for the 1983 song while he was sleeping in Lisa Coleman’s (you know, from Wendy & Lisa) pink Edsel, after an all-night recording session. This comes from the book Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks, which was published in 2011.


From the book, which can be previewed on Google Books here:

Another morning, after recording all night, Prince sat in Lisa Coleman’s pink Edsel. At this point, Lisa—a platonic bandmate—was sometimes staying in his home, or with one of his ex-girlfriends, and continued to appear in some of his songs. He was dozing off, but an idea arrived. “I guess I should have known by the way you parked your car sideways that it wouldn’t last,” he thought.

As more lyrics came, he jotted them down between short naps. He started creating a track filled with pensive synthesizer, and a lyric called “Little Red Corvette.”

That’s right, an Edsel. A pink Edsel. The sort of car you’re most likely to associate with the terribly cheesy art on the walls of some strip-mall ‘50s-style diner than you are with the lyrics:

I guess I must be dumb

‘Cause you had a pocket full of horses

Trojan and some of them used

But it was Saturday night

I guess that makes it all right

And you say what have I got to lose?

Right? I mean, “Little Pink Edsel” just wouldn’t have worked. Understanding that you need to swap the car to one more appropriate than the one you were dreaming in when you wrote this is what made the man such a pro.


Though, to be fair, I’d much rather sleep in an Edsel than a Corvette.

RIP, Prince.

UPDATE: This is not true! The car was not an Edsel! Go here to see my corrected follow-up. Thanks.


Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:

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General Mayhem

Please... do NOT call them Ford Edsels! Edsel was separate division just like Mercury and Lincoln. It’s just “Edsel”, mkay? Saying “Ford Edsel” is as stupid as saying “Toyota Lexus” or “Chrysler Dodge”.