(Words and music by Rick Springfield)

The father giveth
And the father taketh away
Johanna prays in her bed
He drinks his beer
To the t.v. chatter
Thinks dark thoughts in his head

When the house that he keeps
With his hard won pay
Is finally asleep after his brutal day
He turns his eyes on his beautiful prize

Johanna watches her door
Open just a crack
And a hand that once held her
Runs down the length of her back
Her fallen angel
Lies down on her bed
So much confusion
In her beautiful head
Johanna closes her eyes

In a house full of secrets
The truth doesn't matter
Johanna buries her shame
And dreams of redemption
They just scatter
She grows numb to the pain
She can't remember how it was before
And she doesn't know who she is anymore
She's in disguise as his beautiful prize

Johanna watches her life from the outside
And she dreams that one day
She'll fly free from this mess
She's a hawk trying to soar with a broken wing
She doesn't talk anymore about anything
She just closes her eyes

She just can't stand his anger
She just can't bear is heat
She takes a long hard look
At a life on the street, yeah

In a house full of secrets
The truth doesn't matter
Any dreams of salvation
They just shatter

Johanna watches to world from the outside
And she dreams of the day
She'll fly free from this mess
She doesn't know what she's waiting for
''Cause there's nothing left in this house anymore
And in his eyes she's just a beautiful prize

Oh, Johanna
Just a beautiful prize

Yeah, Johanna

(total playing time 3:56)

Rick says:
A song about incest I wrote after a meeting with a victim. It's my take on it, with input from what I was hearing from the woman I spoke with. -

Rick also says: ....about incest. About a story of a girl that I met up in Denver, a couple of years ago - and she was nineteen and still living in this house. Where she had been the victim of incest since she was like nine years-old, and it was really intense.....But I tried to lighten it up musically, because it's some pretty heavy subject matter. And, like Bill said, if you hit it too hard it would be interpreted as a kind of Love Gone Wrong song, kind of thing. And in which it is. It definitely is. -

Song Facts:
This song appears on Karma. Rick attempted to perform this song live at the Second Chance Prom in Arlingon, VA on 5/13/00


According to US

I heard the title to this song before I heard this song. What I mean is, you hear and/or see the words "Beautiful Prize" and you're thinking rainbows and kittens, or some warm and fuzzy thought such as that. The melody comes out to you as so soothing, and Rick's voice sounds so smooth the words kind of wash over you with a cuddle that edges out the harshness of the lyrics. 

This song brought forth so many emotions inside of me, and it still does. When the realization of what Rick was singing about in this one finally hit me, I was astounded. Again, Rick manages to pen a song that sounds so much like he knows, ya know? I realized it was very similar to the way I felt when listening to Rick's music as a teenager. I missed that feeling, and was glad that it was back. Here was the Rick Springfield of my youth, back to comfort me now as an adult. However, I was alarmed at myself for liking this song so much considering the subject matter. I am not a victim like Johanna nor did I know anyone like her, yet I felt I could relate to her. So then I would listen, and hum along - and try not to think of the words. Then that horrified me even more - thinking that I was doing the same thing that the world does to people who are abused in any manner; it's acknowledged that it's there, yet we refuse to realize it. 

Before this album was released, and Rick was talking about the songs in Tucson - he had stated that this song would be the first single. Then he started performing IAS live, and the next thing you know, IAS was the first single. When I finally got the chance to ask Rick about it, Karma had been out a while and I really had time to listen to BP - and loved it. Rick stated that it was mentioned to him that the subject matter may be too harsh for radio, and IAS was then suggested as the first release. He had hoped however, to eventually release it as a single as he felt it was a good song also. Well, we all know the ending to that story...

After Rick told me that, I got to thinking that there have been other songs on the radio that had done well that had some pretty heavy subject matter. Such as "Freshmen" by Verve Pipe, and "Lightening Crashes" by Live (just to name two off the top of my head - I had like a whole list I was ready to send to someone in Rick's camp -anyone who gave him that advice) and the issues sung by these artists just made the song more appealing in my opinion. I really hate that there are the music executives out there who get to decide what kind of music I'd like to listen to on my radio.

So there you have it, my hodge podge of mixed emotions for this song.  - Michelle P.

I've been struggling with the review on this song for a long time. It's a beautiful song about a horrible thing. It's hard to admit you like it and you sing along with it because often singing is kind of like a celebration and certainly no one would be celebrating this. The very first time I listened to this song I was on an air plane on my way to see Rick Springfield live for the first time in 15 years (from 1985 to 2000). So I had the lyrics in my hands and I was reading along (something I don't normally do) and I "got it" the very first time I listened to it. I knew exactly what the subject matter was.
I love the instrumental part of this song. It has such a soothing tone to it. Very ironic because that is such a clash with the story.
It starts out so interesting - "The Father giveth and the Father taketh away" - at first listen it sounds like a religious theme, however it's more like this particular father gave life, but in effect has taken the life away, making it not worth living any more.
Rick paints such a vivid picture of the routine of "the act". You can see a "movie of the week" in your head of the girl laying in her bed, waiting for the dreaded moment to come, as the door finally cracks open.
I also love the "hawk" reference. A lot of things can be used to symbolize freedom, and the hawk seems to be Rick's ultimate symbol for that, seeing how he had it tattooed on his shoulder.
He does such a great job of tackling this subject. I'm totally in awe. I really like this song, although I do skip it occasionally if I'm not in the mood to deal with the subject matter. - rlh