Prince Perfects His Slow Jam Formula With ‘Do Me, Baby': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
Ah, the Prince slow jam. Almost a sub-genre in and of itself, Prince’s catalog of steamy ballads ranks right up there with the repertoire of such celebrated love men as Al Green and Barry White.
While songs like 1979’s “When We’re Dancing Close & Slow” must have taken up real estate on a few folks’ “slow jam” mix tapes back in the day, it was 1981’s “Do Me, Baby” that established Mr. Nelson as a musician who, with just a few whispered words (and maybe a well placed scream), wormed his way right into bed with you and your partner(s).
“Do Me, Baby” originally appeared on 1981’s Controversy album, although it has been stated that the song’s origins date back a few years prior. It’s also been said (though not officially confirmed) that the song was actually written by Prince’s childhood friend and one-time bassist Andre Cymone.
While “Do Me” quickly became a favorite of live performances, it wasn’t a substantial hit when released as a single in early 1982. The song actually became best known when covered by soul singer Meli’sa Morgan. In early 1986, Morgan’s version of “Do Me, Baby” topped Billboard’s R&B list.
The blatantly sensual song is not only notable for kicking off Prince’s lengthy string of sensual slow grinders, but it was also one of the first times listeners heard Prince’s full repertoire of coos, screams and assorted vocal tics. Since Prince’s death, it has been noted that many of the sexual songs he wrote portrayed his female partner as the aggressor, and “Do Me, Baby” is a prime example of that.
In an era when R&B singers such as Teddy Pendergrass were aggressive and traditionally masculine, the vulnerability Prince shows throughout the song was novel. His song-ending request to be held is not something you’d normally expect to hear from a heterosexual male singer.
While “Do Me, Baby” doesn’t respect the apex of Prince’s romantic musical offerings (a list that includes “Adore”, “International Lover”, “Insatiable”, “Scandalous” and too many other songs to enumerate in this article), it certainly established him as a serious contender in the R&B love man sweepstakes. And it's a safe bet that that three and a half decades later, lovers are still willing to allow “Do Me, Baby” to soundtrack their sexual interludes.
Prince Year by Year: 1977-2016 Photographs