Video: Alphabet St.

From Prince Vault
Jump to: navigation, search
1987: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man Music Videos
Music Videos
(Related Artists)
1988: Glam Slam
Alphabet St.

Alphabet St. music video selected snapshots

Music Video details

First aired: April 1988
Producer(s): Prince, Michael Barnard
Director: Patrick Epstein
Related home video/DVD: The Hits Collection
First (Commercially) Released: 14 September 1993


Date Institution, Country Award
7th Annual Minnesota Black Musicians & Artists Awards, USA 1 Oct. 1988 Best Video

Alphabet St. is a Prince video released for broadcast and to promote the single.

It is a very basic video which has Prince performing the song against a computer generated background of messages and letters floating around. The white Ford Thunderbird mentioned in the song (unlike the lyrics suggest actually a 1968 4-door Ford Thunderbird Landau Sedan), is also featured.

Of note it is the first video to show the white custom Auerswald Model C guitar. Alphabet St. is also famous for its hidden “Don’t buy The Black Album, I’m sorry” message. the video contains several other messages, among them “ecstasy”, “H is 4 punks”, “heaven is so beautiful”, “God I love U”, and “Dance 4 the light”, most of them referring to the scrapped release of the “The Black Album”.

The decision to make a video was a spur of the moment thing, after Prince had a change of mind on 20 March 1988 about not wanting do a video for the song. It was a snowy Sunday afternoon, when Prince called Alan Leeds to say that he wanted to do the video. Leeds searched all day and finally found local video producer Michael Barnard prepared to come and do the shoot. Sheila E. and Cat were also commissioned initially, although Cat was later told she was not needed. The women’s legs seen in the video are those of Sheila E.. Equipment was rented from a local cable-tv company.

The video shoot commenced at 7:00 p.m. and was shot using four cameras with 2/3" tubes, shooting on 3/4" U-matic cassettes. According to Michael Barnard, Warner Bros. was not impressed with the video and dispatched Tim Clawson from Propaganda Films to come to Minneapolis to shoot additional 35mm film footage of Cat doing her rap to add to the video. Clawson and Barnard went location scouting in Minneapolis for the projected additional 35mm film shoot. But it was decided that it would not be practical to add a 35mm film section to the already shot video, and as Prince didn’t really want the addition anyway, the plan was scrapped.

Alphabet St. was included on The Hits Collection in 1993.

Shooting Information
Shooting Sessions
Date Location Additional info
20 March 1988 Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA
21 March 1988 ?, Los Angeles, CA, USA Editing (assumed)
  • Prince, Michael Barnard - producers
  • Patrick Epstein - director, camera
  • Peter D. Beyt - editor

Released Versions
Title Length Released Version Additional info
Alphabet St. 2:29 The Hits Collection (1993)

Prince streaming video platforms (2017)
Released for sale as separate track on iTunes (2017)

Additional Information

See Also Quotation & triva


  • Footage of Alphabet St. was later included in the Purple Medley video.

I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
Music Videos (Prince) Music Videos (Related Artists) 1988
Glam Slam