A Dance Floor Encounter With a Supermodel Inspires Prince’s ‘Cindy C': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
When a stranger danced up to supermodel Cindy Crawford at a New York City club, she had no idea the experience would inspire a song. But that stranger was Prince, and 1994’s Black Album included the light-hearted but racy track “Cindy C.”
“I was out at this club called Nell’s on 14th Street in New York, dancing with my friend and all of a sudden there was this little-er person that came and started dancing with me,” Crawford told W. “And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Prince. So cool.'”
The supermodel continues, “And then cut to not that long after and someone was like, ‘Do you know Prince wrote a song about you?’ And it’s on the Black Album, which I still have, and it had a song on it called ‘Cindy C.’ And now I know what was going through his mind as we were dancing.”
Of course, there were other rumors that suggest Prince wrote it after the model refused meeting with him. Either way, Prince may have danced around it with Cindy, but the song’s lyrics don’t. “In the middle of the night (Oh, Cindy C) / Will you f—- with me” and “Cindy C, play with me / I will pay the usual fee” get to the heart of the song. But he also jokes “I’m gonna see you in (look at me) / your birthday suit tonight / She doesn’t look as good as I do.”
The song was originally recorded in 1987, intended to be released as part of a dance floor-focused new Prince album – a follow-up to his highly praised Sign O’ the Times double album – without a title or even credit. The album was sent to record label executives with only a cover that read “something by somebody.” It was Prince himself who ultimately decided the album, dubbed the Black Album because of its plain black cover, featured subject matter too dark and negative, and pulled it before release. Shortly thereafter, Prince recorded the much more positive, spiritually-focused Lovesexy album. The video for the record’s first single, “Alphabet St.” featured a brief message about its abandoned predecessor, “Don’t Buy the Black Album. I’m Sorry.”
But in 1989, “Cindy C” was broadcast on the “New Power Generation Radio Show,” which was co-hosted by Prince. The Black Album was finally released by Warner Bros. Records in 1994, as part of Prince’s efforts to be released from his record contract.
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