451: Baby Go-Go

Unreleased (1986)
I occasionally feel like I’m on a fool’s errand with this list, especially when demo songs are judged alongside fleshed out album tracks. Admittedly all ‘best of’ lists are semi ridiculous – an attempt to carve in stone something that is both subjective and in flux – but additionally there’s something faintly unfair about comparing songs in various states of completion. Like judging oil paintings against preliminary sketches. My initial idea was to consider only official releases but that forced an inclusion of songs that I’m not totally in awe of and how disingenuous would a 500 greatest song list be if it featured, say, Round and Round and not Big Tall Wall? It would be turning a blind eye to some of the higher peaks of his output. One such track that makes it onto this all-encompassing list is Baby Go Go, an unpolished demo with heart-quickening pulses of cascading synths that breathe life into the slow, rigid beat. It’s undercooked but has a lot to love about it. The vocals are what you expect from Prince in his prime and the bassline is a peach in velvet. There exists, and this can only be of interest to the seriously hardcore fan, a Sign o’ the Times rehearsal bootleg that features almost forty minutes of Prince teaching this song to his post-Revolution band and is a fascinating insight into its development, showing glimpses of what a powerful track it could have ended up as if he had kept hold of it. Instead he gave it to Nona Hendryx whose version saw an official release but lost something in the process. Mark Berry’s Superstitious mix however is 80s-tastic, with a bassline more MJ than Stevie and worth an aural gander.