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"1999" is a song by Prince, the title track from his 1982 album 1999. The song is one of Prince's best-known, and a defining moment in his rise to superstar status. The apocalyptic yet upbeat party anthem saw chart success in 1983, however it didn't make it into the Top 40 on the first attempt, but did upon re-release after "Little Red Corvette" hit the Top 10, peaking at #12 in the US and #25 in the UK (reaching #2 in the UK when re-released in 1985).  The album version of the song starts with a slowed-down voice, reassuring the listener "Don't worry, I won't hurt you. I only want you to have some fun." Prince shares lead vocals on the track with members of his band The Revolution, namely Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones. Originally conceived to be a three-part harmony, it was later decided to separate out the voices that started each verse.
Prince created "1999" around the central riff of the 1966 song, "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas. The verse melody of "1999" was reused by Prince (writing under the name "Christopher") in the song "Manic Monday", recorded by The Bangles.
Some music critics have suggested Phil Collins' 1985 song "Sussudio" sounds very similar to "1999". Collins himself has agreed with this claim, and remembers listening to "1999" frequently while he was on tour with Genesis.
The synth chords inspired Marillion's "Incommunicado". Also, the patterns of this chords are used in 1990's "Hang in Long Enough", another song by Collins.
The B-side, the piano ballad "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?", became a fan favorite. It was covered first by Stephanie Mills, then by Alicia Keys and performed by Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila.
In 1985, "1999" was released as a 12" single in the U.S. with "Little Red Corvette" as the B-side, and "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"/"D.M.S.R." in the UK.
The song was re-recorded at the end of 1998 with The New Power Generation, reusing portions of the original recording, and was released the following year as 1999: The New Master. This new version re-charted at #40 on the US chart, becoming Prince's last top forty hit to date. It was again re-released in December, 1999, and re-charted at #56.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Prince (his stage name at that time still being an unpronounceable symbol) held a concert entitled Rave Un2 the Year 2000 at his Paisley Park Studios Soundstage, and he later vowed never to play it again. However, in August 2007, as part of his Earth Tour, he reintroduced the song to his set after an absence of eight years.
Rolling Stone ranked the song #212 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
"1999" was re-released in the UK in late 1998 to accompany the song's namesake year. It was released on 12" vinyl with the same tracklist as the original 12" single: the album version, along with "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" and "D.M.S.R." A CD single was also issued with the same tracklist, except the edit of "1999" was substituted for the album version. It was also re-released again towards the end of its namesake year.
- Gary Numan recorded a cover of "1999" during sessions for his 1991 album Outland, but the track ended up being a B-side on his 1992 single, "Machine + Soul Part Two". The track re-appeared as a bonus track on the 1998 CD re-issue of the Machine + Soul album.
- A cover version was recorded in 1999 by Bif Naked, Econoline Crush, Age of Electric, and Matthew Good and was part of a CD called 1999 - Year of the Fox released by Vancouver radio station CFOX-FM.
- A cover of the song by American singer Adeva was included on the 1999 Prince tribute compilation Party o' the Times.
Live cover performances
- At their 1998 Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve show, Phish opened with 1999 and teased it throughout the night.
- Limp Bizkit covered "1999" during the MTV New Year's Bash welcoming in the year 1999. Around that time Limp Bizkit also wrote a song called "9 teen 90 Nine" on their Significant Other album, which is an original of theirs and isn't a cover of the Prince song.
- Singer La Toya Jackson performed "1999" during her "Live at Balley's" concert. This is the second Prince track she has covered, the first being "Private Joy", from his Controversy album.
- A live version by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard was posted on video website youtube in 2008.
- Welsh indie-rock band Kids in Glass Houses played the song as their opening song at the Kidney Wales Charity Concert in Cardiff, New Year's Eve 2008.
References in other media
- In "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of "Gangsta's Paradise" called "Amish Paradise" he states "tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699," referring to "1999".
- In the season seven episode of The Simpsons called, "Homerpalooza," when Otto's shoes are talking to him, they say, "Don't worry, we won't hurt you. We just want to have some fun." This recalls the introductory lyrics to the song in the extended album version.
- Another reference to this song on The Simpsons occurs on the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (also a season seven episode), when Apu closes the Kwik-E-Mart so he can go to a party, he says, "For the next five minutes, I'm going to party like it's on sale for $19.99."
- The song is mentioned in "Homer the Great", a Season Six episode of The Simpsons. Homer tells Lisa that America's Founding Fathers were Stonecutters. In the flashback, John Hancock signs the Declaration of Independence and says, "Now, let's party, like 'twere 1799."
- In live performances of the song "Jet Black New Year" by the band Thursday, vocalist Geoff Rickly ends the song by repeating the line "gonna party like it's 1999."
- In the Will Smith song "Will2K", at the end of the first verse, K-Ci starts to sing "..and we gonna party like it's 19..", before being interrupted by a sample of a record skipping and Will exclaiming "Hold up, it is". (Will's album Willennium was released on 16 November 1999.)
- In the Family Guy episode "Untitled Griffin Family History", during the sequence where a caveman version of Peter invents and successfully sells the first wheel, he tells his wife Lois, "You and me are gonna party like it's 9."
- In the Futurama episode, "Hell is Other Robots", Fry says during the Beastie Boys concert, "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999—again."
- In the episode "It's a Wonder-Phil Life" of Phil of the Future, one of Vice Principal Hackett's clones says, "Let's party like it's 2199!"
- Business 2.0 magazine, in the 2002 edition of their list 101 Dumbest Moment In Business, had a number of items titled "Still Partying Like It's 1999", referring to companies who had failed due to excesses in the style of the then already busted dot-com bubble.
- On the song "Dead Wrong" from The Notorious B.I.G. album Born Again, Rapper Eminem uses the line "I got a lion in my pocket, I'm lyin', I got a nine in my pocket..." similar to Prince's " I got a lion in my pocket and baby he's ready to roar...".
- In the video game Gears of War 2 there's an achievement called "Party like it's 1999".
- After the defeat of Andariel in the computer game Diablo 2, one can talk to the merchant Gheed in the rogue camp and he'll exclaim that he'll party like it's 999.
- In the Brad Neely video "Washington", at around 1 minute in, the taller character raps "Sue me if I go too fast" as a reference to "1999"'s line "I was dreaming when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast".