The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Prince song)

"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" is the lead single from the 1994 EP The Beautiful Experience by Prince, and his 1995 album The Gold Experience. In his singles chronology, it was his third major release since changing his stage name to "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" or "TAFKAP." In his albums chronology, it along with the EP was his second release after changing his name. With the consent of Prince's usual record distributor Warner Bros. Records, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" was released by NPG Records and Edel Music, and independently distributed by Bellmark Records, under the control and guidance of Music of Life, as a one-off single, topping five different charts.

"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"
PrinceTheMostBeautifulGirlInTheWorld.jpg
Single by Prince
from the album The Beautiful Experience and The Gold Experience
B-side
  • "Beautiful"
  • "Beautiful" (Extended Club Mix by Simon Harris) (UK 12")
  • "Beautiful Beats" (UK 12")
ReleasedFebruary 24, 1994
Format7" single
12" single
Cassette single
CD single
Recorded1993
Genre
Length4:07 (single edit)
4:37 (original mix)
4:25 (Gold Experience version)
LabelNPG, Bellmark, Edel
Songwriter(s)Prince
Producer(s)Prince, Ricky Peterson
Prince singles chronology
"Peach"
(1993)
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"
(1994)
"Pope"
(1994)
Music video
«The Most Beautiful Girl in The World» on YouTube
Prince (UK) singles chronology
"Controversy"
(1993)
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"
(1994)
"Letitgo"
(1994)

The single was released in February 1994 in the United Kingdom, and remains Prince's only number one single in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and was shortly followed by an EP of remixes titled The Beautiful Experience that also charted on #18 in the chart in the United Kingdom. The version that was released on The Gold Experience is a different mix of the song.

There has been a long running copyright dispute since 1995 and a court in Italy ruled that Prince had plagiarized the song, giving writing credit to those other than Prince. [2]

DevelopmentEdit

The original track is a slow-grooving ballad that serenades a beautiful woman, his soon-to-be fiancé, Mayte Garcia. The song was played during the Miss USA pageant in 1994, but not in full. It was widely advertised in news and trade magazines that a new song from Prince would be premiered at the pageant. The ads had Prince sitting in a chair with a hat pulled down over his face, and Garcia standing next to his chair. The song was officially released on February 24, 1994. It later appeared on The Gold Experience.

The version on The Gold Experience is remixed. The drums are more crisp in the mix, and there are slight instrumental changes. There are also added sound effects and instrumental breaks in the second version. The bridge is slightly more robust as well. The song is still based in light guitar, keyboards and live drums. Although most of the song is sung in falsetto with Prince reaching some extremely high notes, the final bridge has him using his regular voice as well as a lower baritone range in one small segment.

The song was a worldwide hit and established Prince's ability to succeed commercially under his new name, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified gold by the RIAA and sold 700,000 copies domestically.[3][4] However, the song was his last top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 during his lifetime.[5]

It became his first and only United Kingdom No. 1 single under any name as a performer.[1] He did have two other United Kingdom number ones as a songwriter: the 1984 hit single "I Feel for You" covered by Chaka Khan and Sinéad O'Connor's 1990 cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U". Prince danced to his own song "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" after the World Music Awards at an after show event with Kylie Minogue in 1994.

Critical receptionEdit

AllMusic editor Daniel Browne called it a "dreamy slice of soul-pop in the style of Delfonics mastermind Thom Bell."[6] Editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote in his review of The Gold Experience, that it has a "more immediate" melody and described it as a "the Philly soul tribute".[7] Cashbox wrote about the song, "Never one to sit idly by. Prince returns after a short sabbatical with this new funky single, released through a new deal with A1 Bell's Bellmark Records (...) Already making waves at Urban and top-40 radio, this keyboard-heavy, lushly produced track breaks no new ground for Prince, but looks like a sure bet for chart success. Expect to hear this song of female worship at the junior prom come June."[8] Tom Ewing from Freaky Trigger described the song as a "high, heady, perfume-drunk ballad drawing from the well of Thom Bell's work with the Delfonics and Stylistics." He added, "Prince disciplines himself, staying almost throughout at the absolute top of his register, a high-wire act he pulls off without a hitch but also without any moment which completely sells the decision. The music is opulent boudoir funk, the best line – "How can I get through days when I can't get through hours?" – is very good, and there's a casual classiness to the record."[9] Lars Nielsen from Gaffa called it a "pop-pearl".[10] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian said "it's a deft homage to the super-soft 70s soul of the Delfonics and the Stylistics".[11] Mark Carlson from The Michigan Daily picked it as one of the "highlights" from the album and described the song as "super-sappy (yet somehow wonderful)".[12] John Kilgo from The Network Forty said that the single "may be Prince's strongest since "Cream"".[13] In 2012, Porcys listed the song at number 5 in their ranking of "100 Singles 1990-1999".[14] Tim Marsh from Select noted that it "displayed a confident touch".[15]

Personnel[16]Edit

  • Prince - all vocals and instruments, except where noted
  • Ricky Peterson - additional keyboards (as "Ricky P.")
  • James "Jimi" Behringer - additional guitar

Music videoEdit

The music video for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" was directed by Prince and American film director and producer Antoine Fuqua.[17]

Track listingsEdit

Single
  1. "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (single edit) – 4:06
  2. "Beautiful" (single edit) – 3:54
United Kingdom 12"
  1. "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" – 4:07
  2. "Beautiful" – 3:57
  3. "Beautiful" (extended club mix by Simon Harris) – 6:25
  4. "Beautiful Beats" - 3:30

Plagiarism caseEdit

Bruno Bergonzi co-wrote with Michele Vicino the song "Takin' Me to Paradise", published on 1983 by Warner Chappell Italy. The session vocalist was Raynard. J, the pseudonym of Jay Rolandi. The song appeared on a number of compilations, which was internationally distributed. An Italian court ruled on 2003 that Prince's 1994 hit, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", was a plagiarism from the song by the two Italian writers. Bergonzi and Vicino won on appeal in 2007. The third and final sentence, by the Court of Cassation of Rome, arrived in May 2015. Italian collecting society SIAE recognizes Bergonzi and Vicino as the authors of "The Most Most Beautiful Girl in the World" music.[18]

ChartsEdit

Mayte versionEdit

Mayte Garcia later recorded her own version called "The Most Beautiful Boy in the World". The song appears on her album Child of the Sun. It has the same instrumental backing track with extra reverb, and her vocals, with a few slight ad-lib changes. It was released by NPG Records.

Cover versionsEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Uptown: The Vault – The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince: Nilsen Publishing 2004, ISBN 91-631-5482-X

ReferencesEdit

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