When You Were Mine

Song Review by

The highlight of Dirty Mind, and widely considered one of Prince's best early songs, "When You Were Mine" drops the funk and soul sound of most of the rest of the album in favor of a clean, bright take on new wave pop, complete with jangly lead guitars and a twiddly synthesizer line that's the song's primary musical hook. It could have been at least a minor radio hit, although barely-hidden in the lovelorn lyrics is the reason why Prince is so upset that his girl left him: he'd invited this guy over for a threesome and it turned out that she liked him better. Prince sings this goofy tale of lost love in his best falsetto, which actually gives the song some pathos, surprisingly enough. "When You Were Mine" was one of several covers on Cyndi Lauper's debut album She's So Unusual; somewhat surprisingly (considering the lyrical changes on her versions of the Brains' "Money Changes Everything" and Robert Hazard's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"), she doesn't change the lyrics at all, making it (unintentionally?) sound as if her boyfriend has left her for another guy.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Dirty Mind 1980 Warner Bros. 3:47
No Image 1981 Warner Bros.
The Hits 1 1993 Paisley Park 3:43
The Hits/The B-Sides 1993 Paisley Park 3:43
4Ever 2016 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:45