Starfish And Coffee is the sixth track on the first disc of Prince's ninth album Sign O' The Times. In 2002, a brief live piano version was also included (titled Starfish & Coffee) as the fourteenth track on the second disc of One Nite Alone... Live!, Prince's first live album (along with recordings of One Nite Alone..., Free and Sometimes It Snows In April from the same show).
Initial tracking took place on 20 April 1986 at Prince's Galpin Blvd Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA (three days after Crystal Ball), without the school alarm bell sound effect opening the song, which was added later. The track was initially included as the ninth track on the late April configuration of the Dream Factory album. It was kept for inclusion as the eighth track on the first disc on the 3 June 1986 configuration and the seventh track on the 18 July 1986 configuration. When the album developed into the triple-album Crystal Ball, the alarm bell opening was added, and the song was included as the sixth track on the first disc on the 30 November 1986 configuration, which was eventually pared down and became Sign O' The Times. Prince re-recorded the song in Autumn, 1995, at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA, and it is likely that this version of the song was planned for inclusion on the 1996 children's album Happy Tears, but this information is unverified. It is likely that his (lip-synced) performance of the song on The Muppets Tonight TV show recorded in September 1996, was planned to be broadcast to coincide with the album's release, but the album was ultimately abandoned when Prince and Mayte's son died from complications caused by Pfeiffer Syndrome a week after his birth on 16 October 1996.
The lyrics are based on Susannah Melvoin telling Prince about a girl she and Wendy went to school with. All the details; the name Cynthia Rose, the names of the classmates, the teacher miss Kathleen and Cynthia's favorite number being 20 as well as the starfish for breakfast and the happy face she drew were all from Susannah telling Prince about her weird classmate in school. Susannah Melvoin received a writing credit for being the originator of the story. References
The Vault: The Definitive Guide to the Musical World of Prince (2004)
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