Prince’s estate has shared the singer’s original 1979 version of “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” which Prince would later revisit years later for Sign O’ the Times. The stripped-down demo appears on the upcoming, massive reissue dedicated to Prince’s 1987 double-album.
The 1979 version of “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” is structurally similar to the finished take, with Prince using the same verses and chorus on both renditions. However, on the Sign O’ the Times rendition, Prince would amplify the song’s party atmosphere and double the track length by employing a scorching guitar solo and instrumental breaks.
Prince originally recorded “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” at Hollywood Sound Recorders, Studio A on May 23, 1979, when he was working on his 1979 self-titled EP. Prince would un-Vault and rerecord the track in June 1986 while constructing his Dream Factory and Crystal Ball, which later morphed into Sign O’ the Times.
The 1979 track is the oldest recording on the Sign O’ the Times reissue, a massive collection that also features more than 45 unreleased studio recordings, a disc compiling the album’s single mixes, edits and B-sides; a 1987 live gig in Utrecht, the Netherlands; and a bonus concert film from Prince’s New Year’s Eve 1987 show at Paisley Park.
The Prince estate also shared his handwritten lyrics for the single:
— Prince (@prince) July 16, 2020