Prince gets freaky in S&M-themed music video for ‘Automatic’
02:56 pm
Prince gets freaky in S&M-themed music video for ‘Automatic’

1999 inner sleeve photo
“Automatic” is one of the eleven songs that appear on Prince’s fifth record—and first double album—1999 (1982). The track was released as a single in edited form, though only for the Australian market. The album version includes a steamy interlude that was acted out for the accompanying video, which hasn’t been easy to see—until now.

The “Automatic” music video was shot in Minneapolis during November 1982, as Prince and his band were rehearsing for the 1999 tour. You’ll probably notice it resembles other Prince clips from the era, due to the fact that videos for “1999” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” were also shot at this time, with the same director at the helm, Bruce Gowers (“Little Red Corvette” came later, and was directed by Bryan Greenberg). The album version of “Automatic” is nearly nine-and-a-half minutes long, and was chopped by a minute for the video. It’s a standard Prince performance clip from this period, until about halfway through, when a bed is rolled out onto the stage. From here, it starts to gets pretty damn kinky.
Automatic 45
The video was issued as a promo-only VHS to establishments that had video screens—like bars and dance clubs—as well as outlets willing to play more racy content, like the Playboy Channel. The unedited version of “Automatic” was certainly too risqué for MTV (an edited clip was also made available). 

Prince’s official YouTube channel was recently reactivated, delighting his fan base with uploads of his official music videos in pristine quality. “Automatic” is one of the latest to appear. Assuming many of you haven’t seen this rare clip, we won’t give much more away, other than that it includes a segment in which Prince is tied up and whipped—!