Classic Rock Wiki

"Let's Go Crazy" is a 1984 song by Prince and The Revolution, from the album Purple Rain. It was the opening track on both the album and the film Purple Rain. "Let's Go Crazy" is one of Prince's most popular songs, and is almost always a staple for concert performances, often segueing into other hits. When released as a single, the song became Prince's second number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and also topped the two component charts, the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[2] and Hot Dance Club Play charts,[3] as well as becoming a UK Top 10 hit. The B-side was the lyrically controversial "Erotic City". In the UK, the song was released as a double A-side with "Take Me with U".

Common to much of Prince's writing the song is thought to be exhortation to follow Christian ethics, with the "De-elevator" of the lyrics being a metaphor for the Devil.[4]

The extended "Special Dance Mix" of the song was performed in a slightly edited version in the film Purple Rain. It contains a longer instrumental section in the middle, including a solo on an apparently out-of-tune piano and some muddled lyrics, repeating the track's introduction.



  • 1 Musical style
  • 2 Track listing
  • 3 Cover versions
  • 4 Sampling
  • 5 Charts
  • 6 References in other media
  • 7 YouTube controversy
  • 8 References

Musical style[edit][]

The song was also notable for opening with a funeral-like organ solo with Prince giving the "eulogy" for "this thing called life." That eulogy ends with a distinctive drum machine pattern and then quickly becomes a hard rock number with heavy guitar, bass and synthesizers. The song's percussion was programmed with a Linn LM-1 drum machine, an instrument frequently used in many of Prince's songs. The song is also known for its two guitar solos both performed by Prince.

Track listing[edit][]

7" Warner Bros. / 7-29216 (US)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (edit) – 3:46
  2. "Erotic City" (edit) – 3:53
7" Warner Bros. / W2000 (UK)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (edit) – 3:46
  2. "Take Me with U" – 3:51
12" Warner Bros. / 0-20246 (US)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (Special Dance Mix) – 7:35
  2. "Erotic City ("make love not war Erotic City come alive")" – 7:24
12" Warner Bros. / W2000T (UK)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (Special Dance Mix) – 7:35
  2. "Take Me with U" – 3:51
  3. "Erotic City ("make love not war Erotic City come alive")" – 7:24

Cover versions[edit][]

  • Alternative rock band Incubus covered the song on their 2 CD greatest hits/rarity album, Monuments and Melodies, released in 2009.
  • A cover by the Riverboat Gamblers was included on the 2009 tribute compilation Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.[5]
  • Punk rock band Green Day performed a cover of the song at a stop on their 21st Century Breakdown World Tour.
  • Orianthi performed a cover of the song during The Glam Nation Tour.


  • Two segments of Prince's unaccompanied guitar solo in the song's coda were sampled into Public Enemy's single "Brothers Gonna Work It Out".
  • Sinbad's "Brain Damaged" sampled the introduction to this song for his 1990 comedy album of the same name.
  • Heavily sampled by hip-hop group Get Busy Committee in their song, "Opening Ceremony".


Chart (1984) Peak


New Zealand Singles Chart 13
UK Singles Chart 7
Netherlands Singles Chart 11
Australian Singles Chart 10
Canadian Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1

References in other media[edit][]

  • In the American animated sitcom, American Dad in the episode, "Iced, Iced Babies", when Roger disguises himself as a college literature professor he recites part of the spoken opening verse as follows: "This class isn't about literature! It's about life! Electric word: life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you there's something office hours. It's from Tuesday to Thursday from 1 PM to 3 PM."
  • The Minnesota Twins have played the song when a Twins player hits a home run since they moved to Target Field in 2010. Likely a nod to Prince's Minnesota roots
  • A cover of the song is performed at the fourth version of Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue at Universal Studios Florida.

YouTube controversy[edit][]

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz, a writer and editor from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to "Let's Go Crazy" and posted a 29-second video on the video-sharing site YouTube. Four months after the video was originally uploaded, Universal Music Group, which owned the copyrights to the song, ordered YouTube to remove the video enforcing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Later in August 2008, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, California ruled that copyright holders cannot order a deletion of an online file without determining whether that posting reflected "fair use" of the copyrighted material. Lenz notified YouTube immediately that her video was within the scope of fair use, and demanded that it be restored. YouTube complied after six weeks—not two weeks, as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—to see whether Universal planned to sue Lenz for infringement. Lenz then sued Universal Music in California for her legal costs, claiming the music company had acted in bad faith by ordering removal of a video that represented fair use of the song.[6]