“Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)” by Prince (1981)

I’m pretty sure we’ve already had a “Prince’s B-sides were better than most people’s A-sides” discussion somewhere before, right? So no need for me to go that route again.

As Prince was on the verge of breaking through in the UK with the Dirty Mind LP, Warner Brothers released “Gotta Stop” in that territory. It fit right in with Dirty Mind musically and lyrically. It’s got a bouncy new wave flavor, very heavy on the high-end synthesizers and rumbling punk guitars. The lyrics concern a very insatiable woman. Homegirl is fuckin’ errbody (four guys in a week! Good for her!)

Prince is attempting to tell her that she’s much too fast (a topic he’d revisit with much more commercial success just a year and a half later). Turns out that Prince was really just complaining about her appointment calendar because he wanted a turn. In the meantime, he’s been “playing with (my) toy so much/I’m gonna go blind”. At any rate, it wasn’t the song that made Prince a superstar in England. The lyrics were probably a concern. The Brits are even more repressed than we Americans are.

I didn’t discover “Gotta Stop” until it was released on the Hits/B-Sides box in ’93. Prior to that point, it’d only been available to American consumers as the B-side of the “Let’s Work” 12″ single. So it was about as rare as rare could get for a commercially released Prince track, considering a) it was the flip side of a song that wasn’t a big pop hit, b) it was released only on the 12″ single, not the 7″, and c) by the early ’90s, most folks had dispensed with their record players.

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