Prince’s Biggest Hits As A Singer And Songwriter

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Prince’s Biggest Hits As A Singer And Songwriter

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Prince, 1982 (Photo by David Tan/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

If Prince wasn’t prolific enough in his own right, his chart career was even more impressive when you factor in all the songs he wrote that were hits for other artists. 

Here are six of his best chart positions in Australia for songs he performed, followed by another six that he wrote for others. 
 
1. “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World”
Released: 1994
Peak: number 1 (two weeks)

By 1994, Prince was going by an unpronounceable symbol and released this ballad, which would end up being included on 1995’s The Gold Experience. Inspired by Mayte Garcia, the dancer he would go on to marry, the song would turn out to be Prince’s last major hit in Australia.

 
2. “When Doves Cry”
Released: 1984
Peak: number 1 (one week)

The song that turned Prince into a superstar was his first number 1 in Australia (and the US, where it was the top song for the whole year). Taken from the quasi-biographical film Purple Rain, “When Doves Cry” was notable for its lack of bass, with Prince deciding to omit that element in the final mix.

3. “Cream”
Released: 1991
Peak: number 2 (four weeks)

Coming hot on the heels of “Gett Off”, the sexual innuendo-filled “Cream” actually came across as rather tame by comparison. On high rotation throughout the summer of 1991-92, the Diamonds & Pearls track was held off the number 1 spot by “Black Or White” by Michael Jackson and Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” for two weeks each.

4. “Batdance”
Released: 1989
Peak: number 2 (one week)

Although it featured on Prince’s soundtrack to Batman, “Batdance” didn’t actually appear in the 1989 superhero movie. The song was cobbled together by Prince from various pieces of music he was working on, as well as sounds and bits of dialogue from the film.

5. “1999”
Released: 1982
Peak: number 2 (one week)

Prince had first charted in Australia with “Controversy”, which reached number 15 in 1982, but this title track of his fifth album gave him his first top 10 hit locally. The female vocals on “1999” were handled by Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman (later of Wendy & Lisa) and Jill Jones. A deluxe edition of the 1999 album has been announced for November 29 and includes a stack of previously unreleased material. Get it here. 

6. “Kiss”
Released: 1986
Peak: number 2 (one week)

The original version of a song that has reached the ARIA top 10 for two different artists, “Kiss” was a last-minute inclusion on Parade. The album was the soundtrack to Under The Cherry Moon, Prince’s second movie project, which was nowhere near as well received as Purple Rain.

1. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor
Released: 1990
Peak: number 1 (eight weeks)

This remake of a 1985 album track by Prince signing The Family broke the record for the biggest jump to number 1 in Australian chart history – it leapt from number 37 to the top in its second week. It also ended the year as the country’s highest-selling single.

2. “Love… Thy Will Be Done” by Martika
Released: 1991
Peak: number 1 (one week)

Martika has described the process of collaborating with Prince on this original track as “strange”, with the inspiration for the ballad coming from a prayer she had written in her lyric book. After an initial meeting, Prince borrowed her book and expanded on her ideas, sending his input to her in LA, where she completed the song.

3. “Manic Monday” by The Bangles
Released: 1986
Peak: number 3

At one point intended for another of Prince’s side projects, girl group Apollonia 6, “Manic Monday” was one of two songs on a cassette he gave to The Bangles after he’d attended one of their gigs. The song was released with the writer credit of “Christopher”, the name of Prince’s Under The Cherry Moon character.

4. “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan

Released: 1984
Peak: number 4

Originally recorded by Prince himself, “I Feel For You” had featured on his 1979 self-titled album. It had subsequently been covered by The Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson, but it was Chaka Khan who turned it into a hit, with a little help from Stevie Wonder on harmonica and a rap by Melle Mel – an inclusion Chaka was initially unsure about.

5. “Kiss” by Art Of Noise featuring Tom Jones
Released: 1988
Peak: number 8

Like “I Feel For You”, “Kiss” had, of course, been originally recorded by Prince, but in this case it had already been a very successful single. The song was taken back into the ARIA top 10 in early 1989 when it was transformed by Art Of Noise (at this stage, just Anne Dudley and JJ Jeczalik) and provided Welsh singer Tom Jones with his first chart appearance in 12 years.

6. “The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E
Released: 1984
Peak: number 11

Another track at one point earmarked for Apollonia 6, “The Glamorous Life” was instead given to percussionist and singer Sheila E with which to launch her solo career. Earlier in 1984, Sheila had sung on “Erotic City”, the B-side to “Let’s Go Crazy”.

These tracks by other artists, and more, can also be found on Originals. 15 songs written by Prince for other artists, collated here in their original form for the first time. 

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