1981′s “Do Me Baby” was Prince’s first certified Slow Jam Classic. There were ballads on his three previous albums, but I daresay that no song on For You, Prince or Dirty Mind scales the same heights of mood-setting that “Do Me, Baby” does.
That piano glissando lets you know right from the beginning that Mr. Nelson ain’t fuckin’ around. The falsetto vocals paint a clearer picture “here we are in this big ol’ empty room/staring each other down.” The lustful desire is palpable.
I could easily repeat Miles Davis’s thoughts on how disarming Prince’s falsetto was when he was singing dirty (I quoted them in the “Dirty Mind” entry just a couple days ago), and “Do Me, Baby” provides an excellent case study. Again, imagine this song coming from Rick James or Teddy Pendergrass. Not the same vibe. They certainly wouldn’t have come across as sensitive or as vulnerable as Prince does. That’s got to be a good reason why female artists feel so comfortable covering Prince songs. Even when he’s singing about sex, the hyper-masculine bravado that marked so much R&B (and rock) back then is largely absent. Certainly, neither Rick nor Teddy would’ve murmured “I’m so cold…” at the song’s conclusion.
Though it’s doubtful that anyone-man, woman, child or beast, could conjure up screams as passionate as the ones Prince unleashes throughout this song.
“Do Me, Baby” was only a minor R&B hit when initially released at the top of 1982 (as the third single from Controversy), but it got tons of airplay on Quiet Storm radio, and New York’s Meli’sa Morgan turned it into a chart topper (and her introductory hit) four years later. There’s also a bit of controversy (heh) regarding “Do Me, Baby”’s origin. It has been alleged (in print and online) that Prince’s childhood buddy and bassist Andre Cymone (who left Prince’s employ shortly before this song’s release) actually wrote the song, but…none of us were there, we can’t call it. And Prince’s name is on the credits. So there ya go.