As reported, Prince has died at the age of 57. Tributes have flooded in across social media, with fans discussing their favourite songs – we at NME compiled of our 20 favourites – but it wasn’t just his own recordings, such as ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ‘Purple Rain’, that became classics. Plenty of other musicians had hits with Prince songs, whether they were covers or tracks that he gifted them. Here are 10 of the best.
‘Manic Monday’, The Bangles
The Purple One wrote this song for Apollonia 6, the girl group he put together, but decided to hang onto it. It became a huge hit for The Bangles in 1986 and is perhaps most extraordinary for featuring lyrics about running late for work and catching the train. Since when did Prince live in the real world?
‘I Feel For You’, Chaka Khan
This smooth number originally appeared on Prince’s self-titled 1979 album, and was given new life by Chicago R&B singer Chaka Khan, who released her own version in 1984. It won a Grammy for Best R&B Song the following year and revitalised her career.
‘Sugar Walls’, Sheena Easton
“Come and spend the inside my sugar walls,” Scottish singer Sheena Easton implores on this 1984 track, and there are no prizes for guessing what she’s getting at here. Who else but Prince could have written such an outrageous lyric?
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‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, Sinead O’Connor
Possibly the most famous song Prince made massive by another artist, this grade-A weepy was originally a little-known album track for his side project The Family in 1985. Re-recorded by Sinead in 1990, it became one of the most beloved heart-wrenching songs of all time.
‘Jungle Love’, Morris Day and the Time
Co-written by Prince, Morris Day and Jesse Johnson (the guitarist in The Time), this unmistakably ’80s-sounding funk song became a huge hit for Morris D and the Time, who appeared in the classic Prince movie Purple Rain.
‘When You Were Mine’, Cyndi Lauper
Featured on Prince’s 1980 album Dirty Mind, this track was made massive by New York singer Cyndi Lauper. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also – in true Prince style – sexy as hell, charting a threesome gone wrong. Prince invited some bloke over for a bit of three-way action, and it turns out the girl liked his mate better.
‘Stand Back’, Stevie Nicks
We’re almost in ’80s power ballad territory here, but Prince could even pull of this most beleaguered of genres with class. Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks did write the song, but later said it “belongs” to Prince because he wrote and recorded the synth parts that make it so memorable.
‘Love Song’, Maddona
Pop royalty Prince and her Madgesty teamed up for this sultry slow jam, recorded at Prince’s Paisley Park Studio in Minnesota. Madonna later said: “We ended up writing it long-distance, because I had to be in L.A. and he couldn’t leave Minneapolis, and quite frankly I couldn’t stand Minneapolis. When I went there it was like 20 degrees below zero, and it was really desolate. I was miserable and I couldn’t write or work under those circumstances.” The song, at least, is red hot.
‘Sex Shooter’, Appollonia 6
As we’ve mentioned, Prince made like a Simon Cowell-style pop svengali and formed this girl group consisting of singers Patricia Kotero, Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie. They released on self-titled album and this was released as a single. The lyrics – “I’m a sex shooter, shooting love in your direction… I need you to come and pull my trigger, babe, I can’t do it alone” – are classic Prince.
‘Round and Round,’ Tevin Campbell
Released in 1990, this Prince-penned R&B number is uncharacteristically U-rated, an ode to making it “in the big city” and striving to actually make something of yourself because “nothin’ comes from dreamers but dreams”. These were words Prince lived by, as his extraordinary career and achievements prove.