The sound of the song expanded upon previous Prince arrangements, incorporating stringed instruments (a recurring accompaniment over the years), Middle Eastern finger cymbals, and even a harmonica on the extended version. The song was also more in the pop vein than ever before, though the 12-inch single and video of the song feature a funky intro. Although the song was originally recorded in 1982, Prince drastically reworked it with The Revolution to give it more of an international sound. The string section was: Novi Novog on violin, Suzie Katayama and David Coleman on cello.
The song tells of a teenage romance and first sexual experience with a girl who wears the titular hat. According to watchmojo.com, this was inspired by a deleted scene from Purple Rain, where The Kid and Apollonia made love in a barn. The video for the song was directed primarily by himself, with animation created by Colossal Pictures co-founder Drew Takahashi. The song quickly became a fan favorite, and a staple in nearly every Prince tour. The extended version was included on Ultimate in 2006. While the song hit number 1 in Cash Box and reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, behind "A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran, according to his singles discography, it only reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.
The US B-side, "She's Always in My Hair", is a rock and roll number, with guitar and organs and emotional lyrics screamed toward the end. The song would finally be performed live for the first time in 1993. This song is said to be about Susan Moonsie of Vanity 6, with a glimpse of Prince's feelings towards the end of their relationship. Others say that "She's Always in My Hair" is actually about background singer and protégée Jill Jones, while "Private Joy" from Controversy is about Moonsie.
The UK B-side was "Hello", which was included on the US release of "Pop Life".
The 12" version of "Raspberry Beret" has an incorrect time listing on the label. It is listed as 7:25, when the actual length of the song is 6:35.
Following Prince's death, "Beret" re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 33 on the chart dated the week of May 14, 2016. As of April 30, 2016, it has sold 691,421 copies in the United States.
A mishearing of the lyrics inspired the band name of The Lightning Seeds.
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||13|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||25|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||35|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||23|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||2|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||25|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|