Fans around the world are remembering Prince for the music that made him famous – sexually charged stories with sultry and danceable arrangements that were radio catnip.
Perhaps lesser known were hits Prince wrote but didn't perform – songs for Morris Day & the Time, Chaka Khan and a host of others. All have a similar power, and if you listen closely you can almost hear his Purple Badness at work behind the lyrics and music.
This song about a wrenching heartbreak and pleading for a lover's return showcases Sinead's incredible voice and her ability to expose raw, genuine emotions. Those tears are real.
This song about being late to work was originally written for Prince's girl group Apollonia 6, but went soft pop with The Bangles who made it a No. 2 hit at the same time Prince's own smash "Kiss" hit No. 1. Susanna Hoffs sings the lyrics so innocently you might almost miss the reason why she's late to work.
Prince wrote this song as a demo for Patrice Rushen and recorded it himself for his 1979 eponymous album. But Chaka Khan made it a hit, delivering a Grammy to Prince for Best R&B Song in 1985. The harmonica probably sounds familiar.
After starting a band together in high school, Prince and Morris Day collaborated on several big projects in the mid-1980s (with Day serving as a comedically vain antagonist to Prince's characters in his films Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge), and this was one of them. Prince is credited as "Jamie Starr" on this title, with writing credits also going to Day and Jesse Johnson.
Tell me baby ... why you wanna go and break Alicia Keys' heart? Is it because Prince didn't write this for her, that she only covered the song as a hit in 2001? Prince originally recorded it himself for the B-side to the 1982 single "1999." Stephanie Mills (1983) and Joshua Redman (1998) also covered the song, among others.
Of all these songs, this one bears the strongest resemblance to Prince's major hits in the early and mid-1980s. Sheila E showcases her acrobatic percussion skills in this, the title track to her 1984 debut album. The song is a cynical look at materialism and vanity, concluding "without love, it ain't much." She and Prince collaborated on his "Purple Rain" and they had a brief relationship.
Prince was known for sexually charged lyrics, but this song drew the attention of histrionic televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Tipper Gore, the wife of Sen. Al Gore, who went on a national campaign against suggestive lyrics in the mid-1980s with the Parents Music Research Center. "Sugar Walls," featuring Easton making an offer few would refuse, made the PMRC's "Filthy Fifteen" list, which likely helped it become a bigger hit. Prince is credited on this track as "Alexander Nevermind."