One of the greatest aspects of Prince is his never ending supply of good music. Just when you get mildly done with a year, you can pick a new one. Or you can pick a new artist he worked with. But in the 80s he was prolific. Writing hundreds of songs that other artists would perform. Sadly he never had the time to record all the songs himself. Even though he usually didn’t worry about recording techniques. Most of the time he’d simply slap up some mics to get the song down as quick as possible as to not interrupt the vibe. But sometimes he’d toss them to his protÃ©gÃ©s or friends to get them released even faster. And sometimes they were songs he just didn’t want on a record or it simply wasn’t time.
Below are my favorite songs Prince either produced and/or wrote for other artists. And for the most part, Prince plays or sings on most of these. Most notably the backing track.
- Blue Limousine – Apollonia 6
Why this wasn’t a Top 10 hit is beyond me. What a hook. Sure Apollonia’s voice wasn’t her strongest asset, but this song cooks. “He likes ’em pretty, he likes them in their lingerie.” Totally a track from the Purple Rain era.
- The Dance Electric – AndrÃ© Cymone:
Pretty much a Prince song with his voice taken out and AndrÃ©’s voice put in. You can hear Prince doing the backups. Stellar Linn Drum programming, if you didn’t notice. From 1985.
- G Spot – Jill Jones
One of Prince’s strongest voices and definitely less of a protÃ©gÃ©s. Jill actually started her career as a backup vocalist for Teena Marie.
- The Glamorous Life – Sheila E.
One can’t not love the synth horn hits giving us one of the 80s most dance-able hits. This cut was also originally intended for Apollonia 6. And did I mention the crazy ass Linn Drum programming on top of Sheila’s amazing percussion. This is one of those songs I never get sick of and wonder what a disaster this would have been with Apollonia 6.
- He’s So Dull – Vanity 6
While I do think their original name: The Hookers was a more fitting name, Vanity 6 works too. Not to mention Vanity’s original name was Vagina. What was Prince thinking?! But basically Apollonia 6 came from Vanity 6’s ashes, minus Vanity, of course. People always said Vanity had a better voice, and I guess she did, but the songs weren’t as strong, in my opinion. I really like this song’s “When You Were Mine” style. Like a few of Prince’s entourage, Vanity became a Born Again Christian.
- High Fashion – The Family
Prince on drums. It’s his trademark funk beat. Not to mention that James Brown funky guitar in the left channel. Their live band was essentially the Time after they broke up the first time with St. Paul (nice MPLS reference) and Susanna Melvoin (Wendy’s sister) on vocals.
- Jungle Love – The Time
Perhaps the reason why Prince kept writing for The Time. They knew how to get people dancing. Sho’ nuff. What’s notable is that Morris Day and Jesse Johnson actually did help write this song with Prince.
- Manic Monday (Extended Mix) – The Bangles
Besides the Bangles being a completely underrated 80s band and Susanna Hoffs being a complete babe and awesome guitarist, this song is such a gem. It was actually originally written for Apollonia 6 in 1984 and was recorded but was given to the Bangles in 1986. And rightfully so. It’s much better with Susanna Hoffs singing. This song reached #2 on the charts, ironically behind Kiss at #1.
- 100MPH – Mazarati
It’s amazing how a simple drum machine beat like this can still sound so much like Prince. Is it the Linn Drum? I wish Prince still used the Linn Drum like he used to. Prince is all over the background vocals here. I love this funk gem.
- Bang Bang – Brown Mark
Mark was the 2nd bassist for the Revolution. He also had two records out on Motown in the 80s. Of course the strongest songs were the ones Prince was part of. This is no exception. Thank you pitch shifter. This almost sounds like a Time or Camille outtake from 1988. Little else is known about this song.
Kiss – Mazarati
This song was originally cut as a demo by Prince. A simple blues song. Prince on vocals and acoustic guitar. And it was only one verse and one chorus recorded on a dictaphone. Prince gave the demo to Mazarati and producer David Z. They developed the song in to a funk/dance paradise. Prince then heard it, was amazed with their arrangement and basically stole it back while virtually only adding a guitar solo and his falsetto vocals. It then became his next #1 single. You can still hear Mazarati’s background vocals on Prince’s version.
Nothing Compares 2 U – The Family
This song was written in 1985 for The Family’s debut record. It was subsequently re-arranged and recorded by SinÃ©ad O’Connor in 1990 and went to #1 on the charts. Prince finally released a rather soulful live version singing a duet with Rosie Gaines in 1993 on his 3-disc hits collection. Perhaps it was released out of jealousy from the attention SinÃ©ad O’Connor received.