Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Starfish and Coffee

"If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you'd understand."--Prince, "Starfish and Coffee"

I always liked Prince's "Starfish and Coffee" but only recently did I learn the full meaning behind this catchy and deceptively simple song. The song's Cynthia Rose character is based on a childhood friend of Susannah Melvoin's; Melvoin was not only a member of Prince's band Revolution but at one time she was engaged to Prince and she also reportedly inspired him to write the song "Nothing Compares to U" (which became a number one hit for Sinead O'Connor but never sounded better than when it was performed by Prince and Rosie Gaines). Prince and Melvoin co-wrote the "Starfish and Coffee" lyrics describing a girl who "always stood at the back of the line/A smile beneath her nose." Cynthia Rose had a favorite number (20), she wore different-colored socks and if you asked her what she had for breakfast she would reply, "Starfish and coffee/Maple syrup and jam/Butterscotch clouds, a tangerine/And a side order of ham." Most people know at least one person like Cynthia Rose, someone who proudly and unashamedly marches to the beat of a different drummer. The song lyrics encourage Cynthia Rose to be herself and not try to conform: "Go on, Cynthia, keep singin.’"

Prince videos can be difficult to find on the internet due to copyright restrictions but here is Prince performing a version of "Starfish and Coffee" on the Muppet Show in 1997:



  2. Good post. Thanks for sharing. Starfish & Coffee is the jam.

  3. Cynthia is actually my older sister. She is defiantly a Prince fan and is aware of the song and loves to tell people about how he wrote and song about her. Cindy is autistic, but not intellectually challenged. She's actually a very accomplished musician herself. She went to grade school with the Melvoin twins back in the 70's, but hasn't kept in touch with them sense. She's happy and healthy, but doesn't have much of a digital life, it simply doesn't interest her, and we, her family don't want a bunch of fans bothering her.

    1. Lel:

      Thank you for sharing! I am glad to hear that Cynthia is happy and healthy.

  4. To Cynthia's sibling - thank you so much for sharing that with us. Go on, Cynthia - keep singin' <3


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