Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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:
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