The late, great Prince was an incredibly prolific songwriter. Since he wrote under various names, finding out just how many he wrote is a head-scratcher. Lowball estimates put the number at a mere 500. One thing is known – musicians and performers loved his songs. There are a lot of covers of Prince songs out there. More are added every day, making Prince live forever in his music. Here are the 10 best covers of Prince songs.
# 10 – Tom Jones and Art of Noise: Kiss
Prince’s hit from 1986 was soft and slinky. And then there’s Tom Jones and Art of Noise’s version, which came out in 1989. The pairing of Art of Noise and the heartthrob of middle-aged housewives, Tom Jones, does a thunderous take on the song. Not only was “Kiss” a hit for Prince but also was for Tom Jones and Art of Noise. When Tom Jones finally met Prince, he thanked him for the song. It is unknown what Prince thought of this version – and Tom Jones said in interviews that he never asked Prince what he thought, because he did not want to know the answer. Another cool fact – Prince and Tom Jones share the same birthday, June 7. You can find this version from the 1988 album At This Moment.
# 9 – Kenny Rogers: You’re My Love
You read that right. Kenny Rogers did a Prince song because he was a Prince fan. He contacted Prince to get a song from him and the Purple One did not disappoint – but used the name Joey Coco. This is a basic sweet pop song with lots of 80s synthesizers. Here Prince as Joey Coco was able to write silly love songs without living up to the expectations of a provocative Prince song. El DeBarge did backing vocals on both the Prince demo and the final version by Kenny Rogers. This can be found on Kenny Rogers’ 1986 album, They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To.
# 8 – Alicia Keys: How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?
This is a gospel-flavored song of lost love that originally appeared as the B-side to Prince’s monster hit single, “1999.” Alicia Keys got hold of it in 2001, tweaked the title and fixed the spelling to “How Come You Don’t Call Me” and made it more bluesy. She also added a drum track. Her version works just as well as the first, although hers was more popular. It was the third single off of her hit 2001 album, Songs in A Minor. Alicia Keys has said in interviews that she loved the song’s raw and truthful feel.
# 7 – The Bangles: Manic Monday
Most fans send letters. Prince sent songs. Prince sent The Bangles two original songs after seeing and enjoying a concert of theirs in Hollywood. The Bangles were thrilled to get the songs, since they were Prince fans. “Manic Monday” was different for Prince as it really toned down any mention of sex. It seemed a slightly updated version of Dolly Parton’s 1980 hit “9 to 5”. Not only was this song a hit for The Bangles topping out at number two, but also earned Prince’s approval. The Bangles’ version appeared on their 1986 album Different Light.
# 6 – Chaka Khan: I Feel for You
This super-funky little love song appeared on Prince’s 1979 album Prince. He’d often perform this live. Chaka Khan added even more synthesizers, a heavier beat, had Stevie Wonder on harmonica and Grandmaster Melle Mel for a rap that emphasized her name. The result was a gold record. It also won a Best R&B Vocal Performance Grammy. It would be her biggest hit. Prince was asked to contribute to the track, but he was too busy at the time. This appeared on Chaka Khan’s 1984 album I Feel for You.
# 5 – Incubus: Let’s Go Crazy
This is a harder rocking version of the Prince hit, which is pretty hard rocking to begin with. It’s an affectionate cover that does not deviate much from the original. It includes the pseudo-sermon at the beginning and a copy of Prince’s guitar solo at the end. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, especially if you’ve had a hard day. This version appears as a bonus track on Incubus’s 2009 compilation album Monuments and Melodies.
# 4 – Sinead O’Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U
Despite being in the music business for decades, Sinead O’Connor is – let’s face it – a one-hit wonder. Her biggest (and basically only) hit was with a song she didn’t write. This was an obscure 1985 song Prince write for a short-lived band on his label called the Family until Sinead O’Connor got a hold of it. Despite not changing much about the tune, her powerful voice brought out the heart-breaking nature of the song. When this came out in 1990, it seemed you could not go ten minutes without hearing this somewhere. The video would win 3 MTV Video Awards – which shows you how bad the videos were in 1990.
# 3 – The Jesus and Mary Chain: Alphabet Street
Arguably one of Prince’s happiest hits, the Jesus and Mary Chain make this creepy and sultry with guitar feedback and vocal distortions. Somehow, they managed to bring out a great new side top the song without changing the basic tune. Although there is no attempt at trying any of Prince’s piercing cries that punctuate his version, there is an “ooo, ooo” background chant similar to that from the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” This version appeared on 1994 album Stoned and Dethroned.
# 2 – Choir! Choir! Choir!: When Doves Cry
More of a concept than an actual choir, it consists of two guys who help organize proceedings, Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adileman – and anybody who wants to sing at an event. In this case, the event was a tribute to Prince. 1999 people showed up to Massey Hall in Toronto on May 2, 2016 and spent a couple of hours to learn their parts before a final performance. It’s not the most conventional of covers, but it is perhaps the most heartfelt on our list.
# 1 – Blue Rubies: When You Were Mine
This was a heavy little rocker from Prince’s 1980 album Dirty Minds. The folk duo Blue Rubies took it and turned it into a sad and yet funny look at lost love. The girls did change the lyrics about to make it more logical for girls to sing. They also added an introduction of the classic hymn “From Whom All Blessing Flow”. This is an even more radical interpretation of a Prince song than done by the Jesus and Mary Chain. You can find this gem on the 1989 compilation album Legacy: A Collection of New Folk Music. These Blue Rubies are not to be confused with the rock band The Blue Rubies.
10 Best Covers Of Prince Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to republish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission.