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 an unpronounceable "Love Symbol" (also known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince). 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 single was released in February 1994 in the United Kingdom, and remains Prince's only number one single on 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.

"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
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)

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. The outcome of this dispute resulted in the removal of the song from all digital storefronts and streaming platforms.[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. This version on The Gold Experience was performed live during the 1994 World Music Awards ceremony.

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

Andy Healy from Albumism noted the song's "lush, rich serving of '70s soul and '90s pop." He stated that "everything about this song is well crafted perfection", noting that it "easily seduces the listener, it's at once romantic and passionate, and manages to just swirl around you, sweeping you away with its beauty."[6] AllMusic editor Daniel Browne called it a "dreamy slice of soul-pop" in the style of Delfonics mastermind Thom Bell.[7] Another editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the song has a "more immediate" melody, describing it as a "Philly soul tribute".[8] Troy J. Augusto from Cashbox commented, "Never one to sit idly by. Prince returns after a short sabbatical with this new funky single, released through a new deal with Al Bell's Bellmark Records". He also noted, "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."[9] Greg Sandow from Entertainment Weekly called it "buoyant".[10] Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger described it as a "high, heady, perfume-drunk ballad drawing from the well of Thom Bell's work with the Delfonics and Stylistics." He added further, "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."[11]

Lars Nielsen from Gaffa declared it as a "pop-pearl".[12] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian said "it's a deft homage to the super-soft 70s soul of the Delfonics and the Stylistics".[13] Music writer James Masterton wrote in his weekly UK chart commentary, that this "gorgeous ballad" is "probably his most MOR recording since Diamonds and Pearls [and] proving that behind all the raunch and funk lies a soul talent that is second to none."[14] Mark Carlson from The Michigan Daily picked the song as one of the "highlights" from the album and described it as "super-sappy (yet somehow wonderful)".[15] Alan Jones from Music Week gave it five out of five, picking it as Pick of the Week. He added that it "is his most direct and accessible in ages. A love song which he renders in his prettiest falsetto, it's all over radio already, and is likely to make a huge impact on the main chart, as well as topping the indie listings."[16] John Kilgo from The Network Forty stated that it "may be Prince's strongest" since "Cream".[17] A reviewer from Perthshire Advertiser called it a "stunning tune and a massive hit too!"[18] Porcys listed it at number five in their ranking of "100 Singles 1990-1999" in 2012.[19] Rolling Stone wrote that "the gorgeous falsetto-steeped ballad has clean funk guitar touches and keyboards, but Prince lets his gift for melody do most of the work."[20] Tim Marsh from Select noted that the song "displayed a confident touch".[21]

Personnel[22]Edit

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

Music videoEdit

The accompnying music video for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" was directed by Prince and American film director and producer Antoine Fuqua.[23] It depicts different women reminiscing about their past while watching their personal footage in a special room.

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 and Michele Vicin co-wrote the song "Takin' Me to Paradise", published in 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 were internationally distributed. An Italian court ruled in 2003 that Prince's 1994 hit, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", had plagiarized 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, was given in May 2015. Italian collecting society SIAE recognizes Bergonzi and Vicino as the authors of the song's music.[24]

Charts and certificationsEdit

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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