346: Violet the Organ Grinder

Gett Off single (1992)
On this Gett Off refix Prince may sing “I’m the one that lives in your heart” but for a ten year period Violet the Organ Grinder lived in my brain. At least once a week the chorus would bubble up out of my subconscious and loop incessantly, choking inner monologue. Forget ear-worms, this refrain is an ear-anaconda and just hearing the word ‘violet’, ‘organ’ or ‘grind’ was enough to put me in its hold for days. The hook is so powerful that it’s served neat for the first eight bars of the song. Twenty seconds of pure, undiluted acapella which, barring the vocal workouts of Solo and An Honest Man, only the anthemic 7 has attempted to replicate and even then with a dash of finger cymbals. Other Prince intros that deploy the acapella ($ from Lotusflower, a handful of songs on Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic) usually manage no more than a couple of bars before the backing music clicks in like the dead-air trigger on radio stations. Violet the Organ Grinder stares you down daring you to interrupt. It’s a shame the track is buried on a maxi-single, lost in a sea of Gett Off iterations. The orchestral strings make up for its borrowed beat and it is one flute riff away from usurping the A-side. Maybe it’s too dangerous for mass consumption. Re-listening for the first time in years has resulted in the tourettes-like outbursts of “her name is Violet…” to return. The kraken has re-awoken and now taunting me with its mantra of “I’ll die, but I won’t go away”.

  • Cynthia Lewis

    “Twenty seconds of pure, undiluted acapella which, barring the vocal workouts of Solo and An Honest Man, only the anthemic 7 has attempted to replicate”

    What about Thunder, from the Graffiti Bridge album??

    • 500 Prince Songs

      Good call! I’d overlooked Thunder. It has only a four bar intro compared to 7 and Violet’s 8 bars. But the slow bpm does inch it close to 20 seconds.