Once Upon A Time

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Once Upon A Time

Times Squared
from the album Times Squared
Song details
Performer: Prince; Madhouse; Eric Leeds
First Released: 19 February 1991 - Times Squared album
Album(s): Times Squared
Writer(s): Prince and Eric Leeds
Producer(s): Prince and Eric Leeds
Live Appearances
First and last live appearance:
  • This track is not believed to have been performed live by Prince
Performed regularly on tour:
  • none
Performed occasionally in shows:
  • none

Once Upon A Time (formerly known as Bobbi Jo and later 26) is the eleventh and final track on Eric Leeds’ first album Times Squared (on the CD release, tenth track on other formats).

A solo piano version of the track (as Bobbi Jo) was recorded by Prince in December 1987 (most likely at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota) as a gift for Ingrid Chavez, with whom he was working at the time (the inspiration for the name is unknown). He re-recorded the track on 4 January 1988 at Paisley Park Studios (during sessions for the Lovesexy album).

In August and September 1989, Prince asked Eric Leeds to compile tracks from the vault for a third Madhouse album. This track was one of ten selected and, in keeping with previous Madhouse releases, tracks were given tentative numerical titles of 17 to 26 (the album would be titled 26) - this track was given the title of 26 as the tenth and final track on the album at the time. When Leeds reworked and developped the piece, he asked Prince to play a piano part. Prince refused and suggested that he contact Ricky Peterson instead.

When Prince suggested the album should be released as a solo album by Eric Leeds, Leeds came up with titles for each track, in Spring 1990 (and recorded a new track, Lines, which became the new opening track); this track became known as Once Upon A Time and the album became known as Times Squared.

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
December 1987 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA (assumed)
Tracking (Bobbi Jo solo piano version)
4 January 1988 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Re-recording of Bobbi Jo
August - September 1989 Paisley Park Studios,
Chanhassen, MN, USA
Overdubs (retitled 26)
Recording Personnel

Once Upon A Time (formerly titled 26)

Bobbi Jo

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Once Upon A Time 7:19 Times Squared Studio

Unreleased Versions
Title Version Additional Info
Bobbi Jo Studio Solo piano version recorded December 1987
Bobbi Jo Studio re-recorded on 4 January 1988 before overdubs and re-recording for 26
Additional Information

See also Trivia

  • "Once upon a time" is a stock phrase that has been used in some form since at least 1380 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) in storytelling in the English language.

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