Sure you know these classic jams, but did you know Prince wrote them?
So you bought Prince’s entire discography on iTunes and you still want more?
Well, good luck finding it online because Prince was adamant about the exclusivity of his nearly 40 years of musical output. Late last year, Prince removed his entire discography from all streaming services except for Tidal. Over the Summer he tweeted:
"Spotify is co-owned by record labels, who hold 20 percent of the company’s stocks."
– The Daily Beast http://t.co/qQtZ02OOZr
— Prince (@prince) June 25, 2015
In an interview with Ebony he made clear a part of this move was his admiration of Jay Z’s swag:
[Beyoncé and Jay Z] have taken a lot of abuse, their family has. A historic amount of abuse between the two of ‘em. And when we win on this, none of us’ll gloat. He’s not the gloating type anyway. He’s slick with his. He says to brush the dirt off your shoulder. “Y’all just need to stop. Just calm down! Everybody calm down! There ya go.”
Tidal still remains the only place you stream his entire catalog, but that free trial month you got to listen to The Life of Pablo has probably run out so maybe we just give in and subscribe? No, no that’s crazy, there must be plenty random uploads on YouTube right?
Wrong. Prince was incredibly vigilant towards making sure his songs never found their way to YouTube, so forget about searching for that OfficialPrinceVEVO channel. There are, however, a few great live performances including an entire concert in 1982, his live performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to George Harrison as well this very Prince-esque cover of “Creep” he performed at Coachella in 2008 which Radiohead allowed to be re-uploaded on YouTube in the wake of his death. The NFL also reposted his Super Bowl halftime performance from 2007.
So where do we turn? It’s 2016. You’re telling me we have to actually BUY it? 39 studio albums, 5 soundtrack albums, 4 live albums, 5 compilation albums, 17 video albums, 12 EP’s, and 104 singles and you can’t even find a decent Daily Motion upload. How do we mourn for free?! But wait! Don’t fret, there is something you can do. Prince was generous enough to offer his genius to a number of other artists by writing, producing, and performing on songs for their albums. Once you find out he had something to do with the track you’re bound to adjust your thinking and call it “basically a Prince song.”
Here’s a collection of some of his greatest collaborations with others.
Sinead O’Connor | “Nothing Compares 2 U”
“Nothing Compares 2 U” was originally written and composed in 1985 by Prince for The Family, a side project composed of musicians from The Time after Morris Day went solo. In 1990, Sinead O’Connor found mainstream success covering the song, topping charts around the world. In an interview with Norwegian station NRK in November 2014 O’Connor said:
“He summoned me to his house after ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’ I made it without him. I’d never met him. He summoned me to his house—and it’s foolish to do this to an Irish woman—he said he didn’t like me saying bad words in interviews. So I told him to **** off … He got quite violent. I had to escape out of his house at five in the morning. He packed a bigger punch than mine.”
The Bangles | “Manic Monday”
Originally intended for the Prince-created girl group Apollonia 6 in 1984, Prince offered the song to The Bangles in 1986 using the pseudonym “Christopher,” a character he played in the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon. Bangles guitarist Susanna Hoffs was quoted saying:
“I knew it was a Prince song and I wanted to do a great job on it … (He) came to our rehearsal after the record was done, and he was really thrilled with how it came out. I think he might have said something like, ‘Oh, I was surprised you guys didn’t use my track,’ or something. But he was very happy with it.”
Stevie Nicks | “Stand Back”
On January 29, 1983 Fleetwood Mac singer/witch Stevie Nicks got married and that night in the honeymoon suite she wrote “Stand Back.” Nicks was inspired after hearing “Little Red Corvette” and set out to make a song with the same vibe.
“I phoned Prince out of the blue, hummed a melody, and he listened … I hung up, and he came over within the hour. He listened again, and I said, ‘Do you hate it?’ He said, ‘No,’ and walked over to the synthesizers that were set up, was absolutely brilliant for about twenty five minutes, and then left. He was so uncanny, so wild, he spoiled me for every band I’ve ever had because nobody can exactly re-create – not even with two piano players – what Prince did all by his little self.”
Prince didn’t ask for a dime and received no official credit on the track.
Vanity 6 | Nasty Girl
Vanity 6 was the original girl group Prince created before lead singer Vanity left and Prince transformed the group into the aforementioned Apollonia 6. Prince gave the songwriting credit to Vanity, although he was the writer and composer. “Nasty Girl” shot up to #1 on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart where it remained for four weeks in November 1982 until was knocked off by Prince’s “1999.”