The Cross

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The Cross

from the album Sign O’ The Times

promo single sleeve for The Cross
Song details
Performer: Prince
First Released: 30 March 1987 - Sign O’ The Times album
Album(s): Sign O’ The Times

Girl 6
Sign O’ The Times Deluxe Edition and Super Deluxe Edition

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

The Cross is the fifth track on the second disc of Prince’s ninth album Sign O’ The Times. The Cross was released as a promotional single in South Africa only in 1987. In 1996, the track was included as the tenth track on the soundtrack album Girl 6 (a compilation of music by Prince and associated artists for the movie Girl 6, directed by Spike Lee).

A live version was also included as the closing track on the concert movie Sign O’ The Times (switching places with It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night in the usual concert setlist, perhaps due to the message of this song).

Basic tracking took place on 13 July 1986 at Sunset Sound, during the same one-day session that produced Everybody Want What They Don’t Got. The track was initially included as the first track of the second disc on a 18 July 1986 configurations of Dream Factory (by Prince and the Revolution).

It was kept for inclusion as the fifth track on the third 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.

As Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness, he began to change the lyrics when performing the song live, reflecting his newer beliefs that Jesus died on "stauros" (a single stake, rather than a two-beamed cross), and the song became known as The Christ, causing some controversy among Prince’s online fanbase. The song was performed this way, with contributions from Larry Graham and Chaka Khan, on the 11th annual Essence Awards in 1998.

Recording Information
Recording Sessions
Date Studio Additional info
13 July 1986 Sunset Sound - Studio 3,
Hollywood, CA, USA
Tracking, mix
Recording Personnel
  • Prince - all vocal and instruments

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
The Cross 4:46 Sign O’ The Times

The Cross promo
Girl 6

The Cross 4:46 Sign O’ The Times Deluxe Edition and Super Deluxe Edition

Sign O’ The Times - The Singles‎

Studio Remastered in 2020
The Cross 7:44 Sign O’ The Times Super Deluxe Edition Live 20 June 1987: Stadion de Galgenwaard, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Video Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
The Cross 6:39 Sign O’ The Times VHS/DVD Live See Sign O’ The Times for details
The Cross 5:00 Lovesexy Live 1 VHS Live 9 September 1988, Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, West Germany
The Christ 4:19 Rave Un2 The Year 2000 VHS/DVD Live 18 December 1999, Paisley Park, Chanhassen, MN, USA
Broadcasts/streaming (only)
Title Length Released Version Additional info
The Cross 4:34 Delayed live recording radio broadcast
Live 02 August 1993, Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, England
The Christ T.B.C. Delayed performance TV broadcast Live 10 April 1998, 11th annual Essence Awards, Madison Square Garden Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Sampled, Referred to, Quoted in...
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Democrazy 6:07 Come 2 My House Studio The lyrics of the chorus (Lies to my left, wrong to my right, compassion unknown, this must be the twilight zone. A grizzly affair, caught unaware, why am I so scared? Where have all the flowers gone?) echo the lyrics of The Cross (Ghettos to the left of us, flowers to the right).
Art Official Cage 3:41 Art Official Age Studio The line Ghettos to the left of me, malls to the right is a reference to the lyrics of The Cross (Ghettos to the left of us, flowers to the right).
Additional Information

See also Trivia

  • At the aftershow performance on 31 March 1995, am at The Pod in Dublin (owned by U2’s Bono and The Edge), the show opened with Bono joining Prince and the band to sing The Cross. This was likely Bono’s song suggestion, as the song had not been performed by Prince for two years previously, and lyrically the song contains similar themes to some of Bono’s own lyrics. This is the only time Prince has performed with any member of U2.

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