Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover

This song is sometimes forgotten in the shadows of his Prince’s hits but this was his first hit single. Prince was only 21 when this song peaked in January of 1980.

I Wanna Be Your Lover was the first single from Prince’s second self-titled album Prince. It was his breakout hit, going to #1 on the R&B chart, #11 on the Billboard 100, #2 in New Zealand, #62 in Canada, and #42 in the UK. The song became a live favorite and a staple of his early setlists.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” was written after Warner Bros. requested a follow-up to Prince’s debut album For You, which had underperformed commercially. In response, Prince recorded “I Wanna Be Your Lover.”

From Songfacts

According to the liner notes in the Prince compilation album The Hits / The B-Sides, this song was inspired by Patrice Rushen, an R&B singer/songwriter (“Forget Me Nots”) who did some work programming synthesizers on Prince’s debut album For You. Apparently, Prince was smitten, but nothing came of it.

He offered both “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “I Feel For You” to Rushen, but she turned them down.

Prince is rather humble in this song, explaining off the top that he’s not a rich man, but he’s the guy who won’t let her down. Unlike his first single, “Soft and Wet,” this one is far more innocent and radio-friendly. This being Prince, there is still some sexual double meaning, as he sings, “I wanna be the only one you come for.”

This was the first Prince song to get a video. It’s a fairly basic clip showing Prince performing the song with a variety of different instruments.

I Wanna Be Your Lover

I ain’t got no money
I ain’t like those other guys you hang around
It’s kinda funny
But they always seem to let you down
And I get discouraged
‘Cause I never see you anymore
And I need your love, babe
That’s all I’m living for, yeah

I didn’t want to pressure you, baby
But all I ever wanted to do

I want to be your lover
I want to be the only one that makes you come, running
I want to be your lover
I want to turn you on, turn you out
All night long, make you shout
Oh, lover, yeah!
I want to be the only one you come for

I want to be your brother
I want to be your mother and your sister, too
There ain’t no other
That can do the things that I’ll do to you

And I get discouraged
‘Cause you treat me just like a child
And they say I’m so shy, yeah
But with you I just go wild, ooo ooo ooo

I didn’t want to pressure you, baby, no
But all I ever wanted to do

I want to be your lover
I want to be the only one that makes you come, running
I want to be your lover
I want to turn you on, turn you out
All night long make you shout
Oh, lover, yeah!
I want to be the only one you come for, yeah