What is the origin of this expression? What does it mean? When I first heard it, I thought it was a temporal expression meaning to party as though the world might fall apart when the clocks hit '00. But I heard the reference only yesterday on a TV show, so it is still being used. Maybe I misunderstood what it meant.
The expression comes from the Prince song “1999”, released sometime in the early 80s. And yes, it meant what you think it meant…let’s party, because when the millenium comes it’s party over.
But the song can still be referenced even though it’s already 2004.
It’s from the Prince song, 1999.
Hit submit too soon. More specifically, from the lyrics:
War is all around us, my mind says prepare 2 fight
So if I gotta die, I’m gonna listen 2 my body 2night
Yeah, they say 2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time!
So 2night I’m gonna party like it’s 1999! (Yeah, yeah)
Was he still Prince then or had he already changed his name to )O-> ?
Of course, now he’s back to being Prince, so maybe the question is moot.
He was still Prince, not the Artist Known As Something Noone Could Ever Remember Or Give A Shit About.
Nothing to add, but every time I scroll through GQ, I see 1 and 999 close together and I get very nervous.
Didn’t Prince retire the song? Go so far as to not sing it again, or ask radio stations not to play it anymore?
The exact reference is to nuclear war nihilism:
"Everybody’s got a bomb, we could all die any day (Oh)
But before I let that happen, I’ll dance my life away…
Mommy, why does everybody have a bomb?"
This song came out during the Ronnie Raygun administration, where the idea of nuclear war being imminent was quite a concern. Hence the reference to the bomb. If someone thinks nuclear armageddon will happen soon, might as well party hearty until the end of the world.
That song was cool back when I was! Recovering former serious Prince fan, here.
I came to find it ironic that the song turned out to make sense, in that 1999 was a heady time, with the dotcom boom and general prosperity, with a general crash shortly thereafter. It seems more on target than 1984 (not that we’re not getting there…)
Back in 1999, I remember hearing that The Artist Formerly Known As Whatever said that New Years Eve, 1999 would be the last time he would sing that song. I don’t remember hearing that he asked radio stations to stop playing it, but I might have forgotten.