Sign o' the Times
Prince Sign single
single by Prince
B-side "La, La, La, He, He, Hee"
Released 18 February 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded Home studio, Minneapolis and Sunset Sound; March – December 1986
Label Paisley Park
Writer by Prince
Producer Prince
Duran Duran cover song

"Sign o' the Times" (also stylized as "Sign "☮" the Times") is the lead single off Prince's 1987 album of the same name and has been covered by Duran Duran in concert.

About the songEdit

The song was constructed by Prince almost entirely on the Fairlight sampling synthesizer (see The Shape of Things That Hum), which provides the primary keyboard riff and sampled electronic bass sounds heard on the track. Unlike some artists, Prince did not program new sounds for this song. He simply used the stock sounds the Fairlight offered, including the famed "orchestra hit" towards the end of the composition. The single marked a shift from those pulled from the Parade and Around the World in a Day albums, with a spare, electronic-based arrangement, simple drum machine hits and minimal stacked synth patterns, as well as a bluesy, funk-rock guitar part (cut from the single edit of the song). The record was noticeably bluesier and more downcast (both melodically and lyrically) than any of Prince's previous singles, addressing various socio-political problems including AIDS, gang violence, natural disasters, poverty, drug abuse, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and impending nuclear holocaust.

Duran Duran covered the song at the Smirnoff Experience Concert in Paris (France) on 2 July 2008, with Mark Ronson.

Other related appearancesEdit



Oh yeah

In France a skinny man

Died of a big disease with a little name

By chance his girlfriend came across a needle

And soon she did the same

At home there are seventeen-year-old boys

And their idea of fun

Is being in a gang called The Disciples

High on crack, totin' a machine gun

Time, time

Hurricane Annie ripped the ceiling of a church

And killed everyone inside

U turn on the telly and every other story

Is tellin' U somebody died

Sister killed her baby cuz she couldn't afford 2 feed it

And we're sending people 2 the moon

In September my cousin tried reefer 4 the very first time

Now he's doing horse, it's June

Times, times

It's silly, no?

When a rocket ship explodes

And everybody still wants 2 fly

Some say a man ain't happy

Unless a man truly dies

Oh why

Time, time

Baby make a speech, Star Wars fly

Neighbors just shine it on

But if a night falls and a bomb falls

Will anybody see the dawn

Time, times

It's silly, no?

When a rocket blows up

And everybody still wants 2 fly

Some say a man ain't happy, truly

Until a man truly dies

Oh why, oh why, Sign O the Times

Time, time

Sign O the Times mess with your mind

Hurry before it's 2 late

Let's fall in love, get married, have a baby

We'll call him Nate... if it's a boy

Time, time

Time, time

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