From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The Bird" is a song from The Time's third album, Ice Cream Castle. The song was initially recorded in the studio in 1983 with all instruments by Prince, except guitar, which was performed by Jesse Johnson. This version was replaced by a live recording with the full band at the First Avenue on October 4, 1983. This is the first Time song to be released both live and featuring The Time as a band, rather than Prince.
The title of the upbeat number refers to a dance in which the arms are flapped, mimicking a bird's wings. Morris Day also squawks throughout the song. The song suggests that by "doing the bird", one can overcome their troubles. "The Bird" is a funk-rock offering, using both a drum machine and live drumming by Jellybean Johnson. Guitar takes the background for a funk effect, while keyboards play a dominant role in the song. After the main lyrics, there is an extended instrumental section to allow the band to dance. A "Dance Remix" of the song was released as a 12" single. The B-side to the single was the rocker, "My Drawers".
The song has become a signature number for the band and continues to be played in every Time concert to this day. In addition, two additional live versions have since been released: one on Prince's Rave Un2 the Year 2000 DVD and one recorded at the House of Blues in 1998 for Morris Day's 2004 album It's About Time.
In the media
- Played in the 1984 movie Purple Rain.
- Sampled on "The Latest Fashion" for the Graffiti Bridge album.