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PrinceWhyYouWannaTreatMeSoBadLUMPENPROLETARIATWhy you wanna treat me so bad when you know I love you?


Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” (1980) by Prince [1] [skip to c. 3:36 to bypass muted portion] [censored by a capitalist motive as of 00:40 PDT 2 MAY 2016]

There’s some talk going ’round town
That you really don’t give a damn
They say you really put me down
When I’m doing the best I can
I gave you all of my love
I even gave you my body
Tell me, baby, ain’t that enough?
What more do you want me to do?
I play the fool when we’re together
But I cry when we’re apart, yeah
I couldn’t do you no better
Don’t break what’s left of my broken heart, baby

Why you wanna treat me so bad
When you know I love you?
How can you do this to me
When you know I care?
Why you wanna treat me so bad
When you know I love you?

You know, I try so hard
To keep you satisfied
Sometimes you play the part
Sometimes you’re so full of pride
And if it’s still good to ya
Why you wanna treat me so bad?
You used to love it when I’d do you
You used to say I was the best you’d ever had

I play the fool when we’re together
I give you everything I can, yeah
And if it’s still good to ya
There’s something that I can’t understand


“Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


[1]  “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” (recorded in 1979; released in 1980) is the U.S. follow-up single to Prince‘s first big hit, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1979).  It is also Prince’s first rock and roll-inspired single release.  It did not make the Top 40 of the charts, although it did reach #13 on the R&B Singles charts.  The lyrics are self-explanatory from the title, and deal with a cruel lover.  The song prominently features guitar and bass, with the keyboard featured in a less prominent role.  A highlight of the song is a soaring guitar solo at the end, played by Prince, himself.

The song was played live on Prince’s first three tours, always being the second number.  The extended lyrics on the live version continue the main theme, although, later on the Dirty Mind tour, these were replaced by screaming “bitch!” and following this with a blazing guitar solo.  The B-side of the song was “Baby” (from For You) in the U.S. and “Bambi” in New Zealand.

Prince’s music has not been as freely available online as that of others.  You can’t blame an artist for protecting one’s livelihood.  (Of course, online scrubbing of Prince content may change posthumously, as Prince’s estate shifts hands and his body of work progresses toward the public domain.  Although, as of 2 MAY 2016, 00:38 PDT, this video has been censored from public view.  The capitalist swine somehow controlling Prince’s body of work must get paid with the currency of choice before the people’s humanity may benefit from this life-affirming human expression.  All apologies.  In the words of Christopher Tracy:  We had fun, didn’t we?)

But we can hear (prior to 2 MAY 2016) most of this 1979 televised American Bandstand broadcast, including “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?”  The first song, “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, which was Prince’s first big hit, is muted from minute 0:54 to 3:36.  But you can hear a brief interview with self-described 19-year old Prince (actually aged 21) admitting to refusing record deals from different record labels since he was 15 years old because they wouldn’t allow him artistic control of his musical recordings.  Indeed, Prince initially experienced record company bidding wars over the opportunity to exploit him.  Price refused.

Unlike most recording artists (and their profit-driven, capitalistic, record companies), who seem to have long-surrendered, at least tacitly, their copyrights to video sites, such as YouTube, when it comes to Prince, you’ll have to go out and purchase a copy of the music to listen to the artist’s brilliant work, unless your local library has some Prince recordings you can check out.  I wish I could share with you all of my favourite Prince songs because they have been so meaningful over so many years for so many of us.  But a few archival clips must suffice.  At least, here, in this American Bandstand broadcast, Prince was forced to lip synch, so we can hear the album version of “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?”


[The cover art for Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? by the artist Prince is associated with a cover art copyright, which is believed to belong to the label, Warner Bros., or the graphic artist(s).  The entire cover is used in this article because the image is cover art, for which the entire image is needed to identify the product, properly convey the meaning and branding intended, and avoid tarnishing or misrepresenting the image.  The copy is of sufficient resolution for commentary and identification, but lower resolution than the original cover.  Use of the cover art in this article complies with Wikipedia non-free content policy and fair use under United States copyright law as described above.] 

[The cover art image is used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work, for which it serves as cover art.  It makes a significant contribution to the user’s understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed by words alone.  The image is placed in the infobox at the top of the article discussing the work, to show the primary visual image associated with the work, and to help the user quickly identify the work and know they have found what they are looking for.  Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the artist’s providing graphic design services to music concerns and, in turn, marketing music to the public.]

[PRINCE lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.  “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” lyrics are provided here for educational and personal use only.]

[28 APR 2016]

[Last modified 12:40 PDT  2 MAY 2016]