Prince's Hidden Gems: 12 Hit Songs You Didn't Know He Wrote and Produced

Throughout his illustrious career, the Purple One has crafted numerous hit songs for artists such as Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Madonna, and many more.

Prince. The name alone exudes creative genius and musical excellence. Since releasing his debut album For You in 1978, the Minneapolis native has been regarded as one of the most talented artists of all time who never wavered on maintaining his artistic freedom.

A renowned multi-instrumentalist, who played nearly every instrument on his recordings, released 39 studio albums, sold over 100 Million records, and was a major progenitor of the Minneapolis Sound during his lifetime.

One of the hallmarks of Prince’s artistry was his versatility. With prolific proficiency he created R&B, rock, soul, jazz, blues, new wave folk, country, and pop songs all with equal dexterity. Without question, Prince was one of one and his influence is still felt in the world 8 years after his passing.

In addition to his career as a recording artist, Prince composed and produced hits for numerous solo acts and groups who enjoyed chart success after “His Royal Badness” put his magic on their projects. Whether it was known or if he used one of his many pseudonyms, Prince has had a long track record of success in bringing the best out of other artists.

In honor of what would have been his 64th birthday, here are 12 Songs You Didn’t Know Was Written and Produced By Prince.

  • I Feel For You- Chaka Khan (1984)

    Originally written for Patrice Rushen, "I Feel For You" was included on Prince’s self-titled album in 1979. The Pointer Sisters, Mary Wells, and Rebbie Jackson each covered the song but the standout is Chaka Khan’s version. Released in 1984,  "I Feel for You" featured an early R&B and rap collaboration with a guest verse from Melle Mel and a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder. Chaka’s otherworldly vocals took the composition to another level as “I Feel For You” went on to sell more than one million copies in the US and UK, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart right behind Prince's "Purple Rain." The hit also won two Grammys for Best R&B Song (with Prince as its songwriter) Chaka won for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. An essential song at any Black cookout, “I Feel For You” is one of Prince's most beloved songs.

  • Do Me Baby- Meli'sa Morgan (1986)

    A seductive ballad with unapologetic sexual energy, “Do Me Baby” was the final single from Prince’s fourth album Controversy. R&B singer Meli'sa Morgan released a cover of "Do Me, Baby" in 1985 on her debut album of the same name, and her version became a quiet storm classic. The song went to number on the US Hot Black Singles chart, spending 24 weeks on the chart in 1986. Also, “Do Me Baby” became Morgan’s only Billboard Hot 100 entry, peaking at number 46. Eventually, the song was included on Prince’s compilation The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993 and remains a fan favorite.

  • Nothing Compares 2 U- Sinead O’ Connor (1990)

    A masterful composition, “Nothing Compares 2 U” is a showcase of Prince’s magnificent songwriting and his ability to evoke emotion with every note. Originally penned and composed in 1984, "Nothing Compares 2 U" was given to The Family, one of the first acts signed to Paisley Park. The track appeared on their self-titled album but the song was never released as a single. In 1990, Sinead O’Connor covered “Nothing Compares 2 U” on her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got and it spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming a worldwide hit.  In 1993, Prince released a live version of "Nothing Compares 2 U", with Rosie Gaines on guest vocals, on his compilation album The Hits/The B-Sides. In 2018, Prince’s 1984 demo was released as a single from the compilation Originals in 2019. “Nothing Compares 2 U" remained a staple in Prince’s live shows.

  • The Glamorous Life- Sheila E. (1984)

    An acclaimed percussionist and member of Prince’s band, Sheila E. was also a successful solo artist. “The Glamorous Life” is one of her signature songs. Released in 1984 as the title track of her self-titled LP and written and produced by Prince, the song is critical of the materialism that was rampant in the 80s. Who "wants to lead a glamorous life" but "without love, it ain't much,” she sings. The track peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, received two Grammy Award nominations, and three MTV Award nominations.

  • Manic Monday- The Bangles (1986)

    This weekday musing about not wanting the return to the monotony of life was penned in 1984 as a duet for Apollonia 6, but it was never officially released. Prince offered the song to The Bangles in 1986 and the song capitulated the fledgling band into superstardom when it was released on their second studio album, Different Light.  Written under the pseudonym "Christopher," named after the character he played in the 1986 film Under the Cherry Moon, it was speculated that Prince submitted the song to the group because he was infatuated with Susanna Hoffs, the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist. The song shot all the way to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became one of The Bangles most well-known tracks all thanks to Prince.

  • Round and Round- Tevin Campbell (1990)

    At just 13 years old and already a vocal powerhouse, Tevin Campbell had the ultimate co-sign from Prince who wrote and produced his first solo single “Round and Round.” Appearing on Campbell’s debut album T.E.V.I.N. and Prince’s  Graffiti Bridge soundtrack, “Round and Round” peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 and No. 3 on the US R&B chart. With Prince giving his take on New Jack Swing, “Round and Round” helped to establish Campbell as one of the emerging voices in music with this bop.

  • How Come You Don’t Call Me- Alicia Keys (2001)

    A beloved B-side that originally appeared on Prince’s “1999” album. The 1982 single “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” has seen many incarnations. The song was covered by Stephanie Mills (1983), Joshua Redman (1998), and Prince rereleased the track on the Girl 6 soundtrack which he executive produced in 1996. The most popular rendition of the song was done by Alicia Keys and appears on her debut album Songs In A Minor. Retitled “How Come You Don't Call Me”, Keys's version is a soulful cover, produced by Kerry “Krucial” Brothers. It peaked at 59 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

  • Nasty Girl- Vanity 6 (1982)

    Released in 1982, Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl" was originally recorded for their self-titled debut studio album on Warner Bros. Records. A funk classic with Prince’s impeccable guitar work, drum programming, and a bubbling baseline, the song is an assertion of woman’s sexual power and desire. "Nasty Girl'' would be Vanity’s signature song before the group was reformed as Apollonia 6 after Vanity (Denise Katherine Matthews) departed for a solo career. The song landed and stayed at number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart for four weeks in November 1982 until it was knocked out of the number one position by Prince's own "1999."

  • Stand Back- Stevie Nicks (1983)

    While recording material for her second album The Wild Heart in 1983, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac realized that one of her songs was quite similar to “Little Red Corvette” because the melody was stuck in her head. Eventually, she got Prince on the phone and explained to him how his work inspired “Stand Back” and invited him to a studio in Los Angeles to hear it. After hearing the song Prince rearranged the track, played guitar, and added synthesizers to it in under an hour. When the song was officially released it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Top Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The track has also been a part of Fleetwood Mac's tours set lists since 1987. Prince could do it all.

  • Love... Thy Will Be Done- Martika (1991)

    In 1991, Prince began working with Martika and ended up composing/ co-writing four tracks on her sophomore album, Martika’s Kitchen. One of the Prince-produced songs was “Love… Thy Will Be Done”. Based on one of Martika’s poems, it is her most successful song to date peaking at number 10 on the Billboard 100. In an interview, Martika reflected on working with the Purple One. “I was very young when I first got successful. We went to Paisley Park on a strictly professional trip to work on music for the second album. I’m really glad my mum and I got to go there and meet him there in his world, it was quite an honor,” she recalled.

  • Yo Mister- Patti LaBelle (1989)

    On Be Yourself, Patti LaBelle’s ninth album, Prince wrote and produced two songs: "Love 89" and “Yo Mister.” A cautionary tale about the danger of domestic violence, “Yo Mister”  was the perfect introduction of LaBelle to a new generation with Prince drawing upon the influences of New Jack Swing. Always hands on, Prince played synthesizers, electric guitar, bass guitar, handled the drum programming, and provided background vocals. "Yo Mister" landed in the top ten on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and it peaked at number six, becoming one of LaBelle's biggest R&B hits.

  • 777-9311- The Time (1982)

    The Time was easily one of the top funk acts of the early 80s. Formed by Prince out of a popular band in Minneapolis called Flyte Tyme, the group boasted a star-studded lineup of Morris Day as lead singer, Jellybean Johnson on drums, Jimmy Jam and Monte Moir on keyboards, Terry Lewis on bass, Jesse Johnson on guitar, and Jerome Benton as Day’s cosmic foil. Of all of Prince's music for The Time, “777-9311” is an essential example of the Minneapolis sound. Featuring Prince’s mastery of the LinnDrum machine and Day’s pleading vocal delivery, “777-9311” is a funk masterpiece.

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