Today's song went top ten in 1984. It's from the soundtrack to an epic musical movie that grossed over $72 million worldwide, against its $7.2 million budget. The soundtrack has sold over 25 million copies.
The singer is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice on this track, where he declares a religious level of devotion. The enigma that was Prince is embodied in the opening lines:
I'm not a woman
I'm not a man
I am something that you'll never understand
A band member interpreted the lyrics this way: "I think he had a moving experience with respect to the idea of who Jesus is, or was, and he wanted to express it in a song. It's not a very cloaked lyric. It says what it says: He's saying he is Jesus."
This musical genius used his LM-1 drum machine to create the rhythm on this track. Released in 1980, the LM-1 was the first programmable unit that used real samples, not synthesized sounds. About 500 were made, sold for $5000 each, which kept them in the hands of only serious musicians. By 1984, more advanced machines were on the market, but he was still using his LM-1. He had a talent for running the beats through guitar effects and embellishing them with other studio tricks, making him one of the best drum machine programmers of his time.
Justin Timberlake performed part of this song at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show in this superstar’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A projection of him ran while a recording of him singing the song was blended with Timberlake.