The Purple Rain movie offered an opportunity for Prince to show off the musical talents of not just himself and the Revolution, but also his friends in the Minneapolis scene, including the Time and Apollonia. But Jill Jones wasn’t as fortunate. Her planned moment in the spotlight, a song called “Wednesday,” wound up on the cutting room floor.
Jones, who sang backup on the 1999 album and the ensuing tour, played a waitress in the film, but as engineer Susan Rogers explained in Duane Tudahl’s Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions 1983 and 1984, her character was supposed to be “madly in love” with the Kid (Prince). One scene that was filmed featured her at the piano playing the tune, where she sings, “If you’re not back by Wednesday / There’s no telling what I’ll do” as a way of revealing her frame of mind.
“I shot a portion of it in the movie,” director Albert Magnoli said. “I put the camera like an inch off the ground. And was able to track across a very shiny floor right up to her legs and face playing the piano. Freaking gorgeous, but that’s before Prince shows up and says, ‘What’s cooking?'”
But ultimately, Magnoli felt that the scene didn’t serve the main story they were trying to tell.
“She’s great, great, great — she’s beautiful — but where the hell is it going?” he continued. “It was like a different movie.”
Prince’s version, recorded at the studio on Oct. 24, 1983 at his home on Kiowa Trail in Chanhassen, Minn., appears on the upcoming Piano & a Microphone 1983. But by the time it got to Jones for the movie, he had changed the lyric “I contemplated suicide” to “I contemplated your embrace.”
In Graffiti Bridge, the 1990 sequel to Purple Rain, Jones reprised her role, and now she was the Kid’s girlfriend. It was a part she had played in real life at one point. She inspired Around the World in a Day‘s “She’s Always in My Hair.”
“Jill was around at that time, and he really loved her,” Rogers continued. “He had a lot of affection for her but, as he said, ‘She was always in his hair.’ She was one of those women who wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was always there, telling him how much she cared and he said it with a great deal of affection. He really cared for her a lot.”
In 1987, Jones released her self-title debut album on Prince’s Paisley Park label, but that also wound up changing things between the two of them.
“When you got an album completed, you were done as a romantic interest [in Prince’s mind],” Jones said. “Like, you were still there but he was putting you in a place where you weren’t going to just be a happy power couple. You were given your wings to go do your thing. … Some guys send you flowers, Prince would just give you an album.”