8 songs you didn't know Prince wrote
I wrote about Prince shortly after his death for CBC.
Prince’s versatility as an artist is instantly recognizable listening to his wide-ranging discography. From his debut in the '70s to his last release, the genius with which Prince was able to compose music to life is beyond compare.
But Prince didn’t just write for himself — he was a prolific songwriter for other artists, too. Able to imagine situations as a storyteller beyond his own experience, Prince found success in mentoring, producing and writing for female artists. He formed girl groups and wrote many songs for Sheena Easton. And, interestingly, some of the songs on this list found more success as covers by female artists than as the originals released by Prince himself.
Here are eight songs, performed by an array of amazing women, that you didn’t know were written by Prince.
Nothing Compares 2 U,' Sinead O’Connor
Many Prince fans are well aware that Sinead O’Connor's breakout single was actually a Prince cover. But it bears repeating that Prince's gift as a songwriter extended to many successful hits aside from his own. O'Connor's version of the song hit number one in 19 countries.
'Waiting Room,' No Doubt
No Doubt’s 2001 album, Rock Steady, encompassed so many musical genres, it’s no wonder they called in Prince for the R&B contribution to the album: "Waiting Room." You can hear Prince’s vocals on the track.
'Yo Mister,' Patti LaBelle
A 1989 R&B top 10 hit, Patti LaBelle’s "Yo Mister" was written by Prince. You can hear him on the backing vocals of the track and he plays several instruments on the track, too. The song is LaBelle’s highest-charting R&B hit.
'Love… Thy Will Be Done,' Martika
"Love… They Will Be Done" reached the top 10 on pop charts in the U.S., the U.K., France and Australia in 1991. Prince co-wrote the song with Martika and went on to perform it on tour occasionally. Other artists who've covered the song include Jessie Ware and Delta Goodrem.
'Manic Monday,' the Bangles
The Bangles’ first hit was the first single from their second album, Different Light. Prince originally wrote it for his protégés, girl group Apollonia 6. "Manic Monday" launched the Bangles into stardom — though it only reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The number one slot was reserved by Prince and the Revolution’s "Kiss."
'I Feel For You,' Chaka Khan
Prince wrote this song for his 1979 self-titled album but it didn’t emerge as a big hit. That honour was left to Chaka Khan, who brought the song to number on singles charts in the U.K. and Ireland, as well as the U.S. Billboard Dance and R&B charts. Prince won one of his first Grammys for this song, which took home the best R&B song statue in 1985.
'How Come You Don’t Call Me,' Alicia Keys
Originally released in 1982 by Prince as a non-album B-side to "1999," this song was released by Alicia Keys in 2001 on her debut album, Songs in A Minor. Keys’ version stays true to Prince’s original.
'When You Were Mine,' Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper was at the height of her success in 1985 when she performed her version of this Prince song at the American Music Awards. Written by Prince for his 1980 album, Dirty Mind, the song also appeared as a B-side on his 1981 single "Controversy."