Nothing compares 2 Prince: His top tracks and musical influence
Grammy-winning singer wrote many chart-toppers for himself and other artists
Grammy-winning artist Prince died Thursday morning at his home recording studio in Chanhassen, Minn., leaving behind an impressive track list of hit songs and an indelible musical influence.
For the dearly beloved gathered today to get through Prince's death, here are some examples.
When Doves Cry
Rolling Stone magazine listed When Doves Cry as No. 52 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The track was Prince's first No. 1 single in the U.S., topped the charts for five weeks and was the last single released by a solo artist to receive certified platinum status, given to records or singles that sell more than one million copies.
All-girl group The Bangles owe the success of Manic Monday, one of their first major hits, to Prince, who wrote the song under the pen name Christopher — the name of the character he played in the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon. The song soared to No. 2 on the Billboard charts and was certified silver — selling over 60,000 copies — in the U.K.
Let's Go Crazy
Imbued with Christian themes and a eulogy-like opening filled with organs and an address to a gathering of "dearly beloved," Let's Go Crazy was Prince's second No. 1 single and a staple in his live shows, including his set at Super Bowl XLI, lauded as one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime performances.
The Glamorous Life
Recorded and performed by Sheila E. on her debut album, The Glamorous Life was written by Prince and explored a Gatsby-like critique of decadence and materialism with lyrics like, "She wants to lead the glamorous life, without love it ain't much," and "money only pays the rent, love is forever, that's all your life, love is heaven sent."
Described by Bobby Z of the Revolution as almost country, almost rock and almost gospel, Prince's Purple Rain was completely a hit, one of his most well-known. Listed by Rolling Stone as the 144th greatest song of all time, it netted the singer an Oscar for best original song score for the film of the same name, which he starred in, and certified gold status after selling more than 500,000 copies.
I Feel for You
Originally appearing on his 1979 self-titled album, a rendition of Prince's I Feel for You appeared in Chaka Khan's 1984 album named after the song. Accompanied by rapping from Melle Mel and harmonica by Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan's track peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 100, and helped the album reach platinum.
Opening with the line, "I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend, I met her in a hotel lobby, masturbating with a magazine," Prince's Darling Nikki was as instantaneously popular as it was controversial. In fact, Tipper Gore, wife of former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, co-founded the Parents Music Resource Centre in 1985 after seeing her 11-year-old daughter listening to the track.
Ranked by music magazine NME as the fourth greatest song of all time, and voted best single by the same publication in 1986, Kiss reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart and has been covered by myriad of performers, such as Céline Dion, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Richard Thompson.
Little Red Corvette
His first single to reach top 10 on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 6, Little Red Corvette is listed as No. 108 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs list. The music video was only the second by a black artist to be prominently played by MTV, after Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks wrote Stand Back — on her wedding day, no less — but she attributes much of the inspiration for the song that reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts to Prince. Nicks says she and her husband were driving in California when they heard Little Red Corvette on the radio, and she wrote and demoed Stand Back later that night. When she told Prince the story, he came to the studio where she was recording the song and played the synthesizers on the track, for which he was uncredited.
Nothing Compares 2 U
Arguably Sinead O'Connor's biggest hit, placing No. 162 in Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time list, Nothing Compares 2 U was written and composed by Prince. Along with Prince's signature use of the letter "U" to replace the word "you," his fingerprints can also be found in the song's theme of heartbreak and melancholy.
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Along with reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 100 charts and selling more than 700,000 copies in the U.S., reaching certified gold status, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World remains Prince's only No. 1 single in the U.K. singles charts as a singer. He did reach the top of the U.K. charts two other times as a songwriter, for Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U and Chaka Kahn's I Feel for You.