146: The Bird

Unreleased (1983) / Ice Cream Castle (1984)
Maybe Prince thought Morris looked a little too smooth performing The Walk because for their next “brand new dance” he had The Time frontman squawking and waving his arms like a rattled rooster. On the scale of foolish to cool, The Bird sits at the midpoint between The Tweets’ The Birdie Song and MIA’s Bird Song. It’s ego-pricking daft fun – a rubber chicken thrown into Narcissus’s pond – yet it still funks seriously hard. We’re told “this dance ain’t for everybody, only the sexy people” (a line reused on Salt & Pepa’s Push It) but the beat is addictive enough to get the most self-conscious wallflower flapping along like a Bluth. What you hear on The Bird single, Ice Cream Castle album and Purple Rain film is a live recording – the only song on The Time’s third album not performed by Prince – yet an unreleased studio version exists if you want to cut out the middlemen and bask in the purple wellspring. Prince would write a third dance craze for The Time years later with Murph Drag but that only sits on the hard drives of hardened collectors. If you only want to learn one Time dance in your life there’s a reason why, in the words of that other Minneapolis band The Trashmen, everybody’s heard about The Bird.