The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker

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The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker

Sott.jpg
from the album Sign O' The Times
Song details
Performer: Prince
First Released: 30 March 1987 - Sign O' The Times album
Album(s): Sign O' The Times

One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain't Over

Writer(s): Prince
Producer(s): Prince
Live Appearances
First and last live appearance:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:

The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker is the fourth track on the first disc of Prince's ninth album Sign O' The Times. In 2002, a live version was included as the seventh track on the live release One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain't Over (titled only Dorothy Parker).

Initial tracking took place on 15 March 1986 at Prince's Galpin Blvd Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA (four days before And How and Power Fantastic). It was the first track he recorded in his newly installed home studio.

The track was initially included as the fourth track on a late April 1986 configuration of Dream Factory, and as the album expanded, it was kept as the fourth track on the first disc on the 3 June 1986 and 18 July 1986 configurations. It was kept for inclusion as the fourth track on the first disc as the album developed into the triple-album Crystal Ball on the 30 November 1986 configuration, which was eventually pared down and became Sign O' The Times.

The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker was planned as a single release also (likely as the album's fifth commercial single), but this release was abandoned.

The whole song sounds somewhat dull and murky because of a technical problem. The console for the newly built home studio arrived from Los Angeles as a skeleton, with the wires hanging out and all the parts in boxes. Everything was hooked up, but there was never any music ran through the console, before recording commenced. While installing there was a loss of power in the house. The console had one power supply for the positive side and another for the negative side, and unbeknown to technician Susan Rogers one of the power supplies didn’t come back up. Rogers noticed the music sounding flat, but didn’t want to ask Prince to stop recording so thing could be checked out. Not until after the day long recording session Rogers found out what the problem was. However Prince professed to like the recording.

Eric Leeds added a saxophone part to the song which was discarded. The song was also sent to Clare Fischer for his input and an elaborate horn arrangement was recorded, but Prince ended up not using it.

The song's title seemingly refers to Dorothy Parker, an American writer and poet, born 1893, "best known for her wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles", but this was unintentional. Prince wrote the song following a dream he had. He must have heard the name somewhere, but allegedly when asked at the time, it appeared he did not know about the writer Dorothy Parker.

The song also references Joni Mitchell's Help Me ("Help me, I think I'm falling in love again") from her 1974 album Court And Spark (also released as a single in 1974).


Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
15 March 1986 Galpin Blvd Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA Initial tracking
Late March 1986 Galpin Blvd Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA (assumed) Saxophone overdubs by Eric Leeds
1986 Unknown Studio Orchestral overdubs by Clare Fischer orchestra
Recording Personnel

Released version


Unreleased version


Versions
Released Versions
Title Length Released on Version Additional info
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker 4:04 Sign O' The Times Studio
Dorothy Parker 6:16 One Nite Alone... The Aftershow: It Ain't Over Live 21 April 2002 (a.m.): House Of Blues Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, CA, USA
Video Versions
Title Length Released on Version Additional info
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker 3:53 NPG Music Club Edition # 4 .mov download Live 4 May 2001 (mat.), The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, NBC Studio 3, Burbank, CA, USA; includes Four (uncredited)
Sampled, Referred to, Quoted in...
Title Length Released on Version Additional info
Letitgo (Sherm Stick Edit) 5:42 Letitgo single Remix Contains looped samples from The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker; remix by J-Sw!ft
Letitgo ((-)Sherm Stick Edit) 5:42 Letitgo single Remix Instrumental version of Letitgo (Sherm Stick Edit); contains looped samples from The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker; remix by J-Sw!ft
Unreleased Versions
Title Version Additional Info
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker Studio Includes saxophone overdubs by Eric Leeds, removed for release
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker Studio Includes saxophone overdubs by Eric Leeds and orchestral horn overdubs by Clare Fischer, removed for release
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker Extended version Extended version planned for 12" single release
 
Additional Information

See also Trivia


References
The Ball   < < < All Songs Unreleased Songs > > >   Baltimore