328: Adonis & Bathsheba

Unreleased (1986)
Visions of a loved-up Prince playing with his toy box of mythological figurines in a garden of flowers, taking the Greek God of beauty and the biblical wife of King David and smooshing them together to see what happens. Two symbols of lust’s desire, making out. “Mwah! Mwah! What’s this? No bed? Then we’ll just have to stand”. There’s an innocent playfulness about Adonis & Bathsheba; a vulnerability which didn’t help it survive after getting dashed on the rocks of cynicism late on in its gestation. When Susan Rogers, Prince’s engineer at the time, first heard it she burst into laughter believing it to be “sappy and just plain silly” and this reception is the most likely reason for it being subsequently left to gather dust. An unfortunate fate as it truly gets better with every listen and what sounds saccharine during first impressions sounds divine by the third date. Prince may have quickly abandoned the song but he thought highly of the lyrics, reprinting them as a poem in a one-off magazine seven years later and telling Eric Leeds that they were some of the best he’d ever written. And with sumptuous phrases like “for them there is no morning, only night decisions so grand” or the Manic Monday reminiscent “crystal blue stream of desire and erotic rebellion that parades through their hearts and minds”, you can see he’s got a point. The beanfeast of sugary harp, horns and guitar may be over the top, yes, but so’s catwalk fashion and opera and Christmas! There’s a time and place for moderation and this swirling mass of halcyonic loveliness isn’t one of them.

  • Feamelwen

    You’re right about Christmas being over the top even when it’s most coy, and this song would be perfect for a hypothetical Prince Christmas compilation (along with “Adore”, “Still Would Stand All Time” and a few others)! You can just imagine swirling snow and the smells of the Christmas party table when listening to those songs.