Call me up whenever u want 2 grind
"Darling Nikki" by Prince off the album and movie soundtrack Purple Rain.
When I was in high school and my early days of college I was a headbanger. My record collection (yes, this was before the days of compact disks or MP3 players) was filled with bands like AC/DC, Van Halen, Cinderella, Ratt, etc.
I had heard Prince songs on the radio and at dances, but wasn't a fan by any stretch. Us headbangers made fun of Prince, long before he changed his name to a symbol and back again, which provided plenty of fodder for fun-poking. And I certainly didn't buy any of his music. My money went to things I found much more important, like Bo Derek posters, Old Milwaukee beer and Swisher Sweet cigars.
Somehow, in the summer of 1984, the endless summer that ended far too soon after graduating from high school, I got talked into going to see the movie "Purple Rain," against my will. I was with my best friend, a fellow headbanger, and, if memory serves, his family. Although the more I think about it, I may be hazy on all the facts, but I'm pretty sure his stepsisters where in on this humiliation. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, the girls outnumbered and outvoted us. They wanted to see the Purple One in all his tight outfitted splendor. I'm sure we pouted all the way into the theater. Well, maybe we could sit way in the back so no one would see us walking in to see that particular movie.
But no, that didn't work, because the place was packed. We had to walk past all those filled seats. Fortunately we had perfected the disinterested teen slink in the preceding years, so as to make it obvious to everyone there that we were far too cool to see this movie (despite the fact that we were not cool enough to avoid being pussy whipped into seeing "Purple Rain.") The only seats we could find to fit our throng were right in the front row.
There's nothing like having to lay down to watch a movie, but that's what it took to see the screen from about 6 feet away. Trying to follow the action on screen was like trying to watch a tennis match played on the ceiling, rolling our heads back and forth. Of course, from that distance, Apollonia's tits were HUGE. And I was a goner from that moment on in the movie. I was 18 for fuck's sake! I got a hard-on when the wind blew! Seeing tits? Oh my God, I'm surprised I didn't make a huge wet spot in my Levi's 501s. Between scenes featuring Apollonia's bare breasts or gratuitous cleavage shots, I was spellbound. Well, that and the not so subtle lesbian vibe from Revolution musicians Wendy and Lisa.
Wendy: "Yes, Lisa."
Lisa: "Is the water warm enough?"
Wendy: "Yes, Lisa."
Lisa: "Shall we begin?"
Wendy: "Yes, Lisa."
From "Computer Blue" off the Purple Rain soundtrack
Hell yes! Begin already. We want to watch! OK, I want to watch.
But it wasn't Apollonia or Wendy&Lisa that led to the moment that forever changed me during that movie. Prince rode a motorcycle, and I rode a motorcycle, so maybe the little fucker wasn't such a pussy after all. But that wasn't it either. It was the music that got me. I ended up buying the soundtrack, and one song in particular blew me away.
The song was "Darling Nikki." I had never heard a song like that before. Prince actually wrote about and sang about masturbation in that song. It was the most blatantly sexual song I had ever heard. I recorded the album onto a cassette tape so I could listen to it at high volume in my car. I couldn't listen to it in my parents' house, but the car, now that was freedom.
And a song about sex and masturbation? I mean, OK, I knew about masturbation. Been there, done that. But I never ever talked about masturbation. Not my masturbation anyway. Never confessed to doing THAT! OK, there were the cruel jokes and taunts about other guys pounding their pud, but I never admitted I would do what is probably the most natural act for a teenage boy to do besides breathing! And here Prince was singing about it.
Over the years, the Purple Rain album collected dust in a record crate that became useless with the advent of CDs and the death of my turntable. And the song faded from memory.
Until one day I had the radio on and I heard it. "Darling Nikki." ON THE FUCKING RADIO! But it was different somehow. Good, but different. I later learned it was the Foo Fighters' cover of the song, and 20 years after it was first recorded, the frank sexuality of "Darling Nikki" was passe enough for broadcast radio.
Times certainly have changed. And I suppose I have too. But spotting a girl in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine would still get my attention. I might even pop wood like a teenager all over again.
Yea, I know even the Foo Fighters' version was all over the airwaves a year ago or more, and this is old news. But I got to thinking about this song and the movie the other day. I heard a radio show dedicated to cover songs on the radio, and they played the Foo Fighters' version of "Darling Nikki" and told the story of the song and why the band recorded it (they also played Foo's cover of "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty).
So, I got to thinking about the song, and the summer of '84 and the people I spent it with. And the fact that one of my old best friend's "evil" stepsisters and I had dinner Saturday night also had me in a nostalgic frame of mind. The song and the friend all took me back to a wonderful time when Purple Reigned and music could still shock and surprised without saying a single dirty word.