I Would Die 4 U is the seventh track on Prince’s sixth album Purple Rain, the first album to be credited to Prince and the Revolution. Five months after the album’s release, I Would Die 4 U was released as the album’s fourth single. The track is also featured in the movie Purple Rain.
In 1993, the track was included as the eighth track on the compilation album The Hits 2 (also included as the second disc of The Hits / The B-Sides).
In 2001, the track was included as the seventh track on the compilation album The Very Best Of Prince.
In 2006, the track was included as the seventh track on the first disc of the compilation album Ultimate.
The song dates back to at least 1982 when it was tried out in soundcheck during a Controversy Tour show (on 15 February 1982 at San Francisco Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA). Together with Baby I’m A Star, it was (possibly first) rehearsed with The Revolution on 15 June 1983 at The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. A rehearsal take of the track was then recorded with the band on 21 June 1983 at The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, which remains unreleased.
The song was then cut live on 3 August 1983 at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota (at the same concert where Baby I’m A Star and Purple Rain were also recorded).
It was included as the seventh track on a tentative 7 November 1983 configuration of the album, and the sixth track on the 23 March 1984 configuration, but became the seventh track on the final 14 April 1984 configuration after some tracklist changes to the album.
A tour rehearsal jam version of the song was recorded on 25 October 1984 for release on the single’s 12". The full take lasted over 30 minutes, but was edited down by two-third before release.
The 12" single version of the track was included as the eleventh track on the first disc of an early configuration of the compilation album Ultimate before the album was reworked for release.