While Prince is no longer with us, his musical legacy not only remains, but continues to unfold and grow. And while his own catalogue is overwhelmingly huge, what some may fail to grasp is the true scale of the elusive artist’s truly prolific output. There’s no doubt more music that will never see the light of day, but here’s seven times the purple one’s musical genius has almost slipped under the radar.
Why Should I Love You – Kate Bush
While collaboration between the Chicago-born Prince Rogers Nelson and Kent-born Kate Bush seems unlikely, there’s a certain creative eccentricity which no doubt struck a chord between the two. Prince laid down guitar and keys on this track from Bush’s seventh album The Red Shoes in 1994. Bush would later return the favour by featuring on equally oddball track My Computer in 1996.
Star 69 (PS With Love) – Common
Alongside Bilal, Prince teamed up with fellow Chicago native Common to cut a track for 2000 LP Electric Circus. The album’s experimental hip hop may have been a bit hit-and-miss with critics and fans, but the track’s explorative studio oddity seems right up Prince’s alley. If Star 69‘s musical pedigree wasn’t already interesting enough, it was also produced by ?uestlove, Poyser and J Dilla.
Waiting Room – No Doubt
After just missing out on the cut for No Doubt’s Return To Saturn, Waiting Room found a home on 2001 follow-up Rock Steady. While the track might initially struggle to find the mark, the moment Gwen Stefani’s vocals meet Prince’s it becomes obvious why this song needed to see the light of day.
Though Shalt Not Kill feat. Snoop Dogg and Tray Dee – Mobb Deep
It’s taken nearly a decade for the information to emerge, but band member Havoc has now revealed details of Prince’s contribution on this 2007 track. After a casual request to give the group some feedback on a beat, Prince laid down a keyboard riff and left without so much as saying goodbye. Snoop and Moss Deep opted to keep the Prince’s contribution, the rest is history.
A Love Bizarre – Shiela E
Cut from the second LP by Sheila’s E Romance 1600, the track features guitar, songwriting contribution and backing vocals from the man himself. Given that Prince’s commercial ascendancy in the mid-1980s, it’s little surprise that Sheila’s flamboyant track became an instant hit. Given Sheila’s longstanding association with Prince, it’s hard to tell where Prince stops and pop diva starts. Whether or not the Sheila was simply a well disguised Prince side-project remains a matter of contention, but it’s difficult to deny that this was almost a Prince track in and of itself.
Manic Mondays – The Bangles
One of the biggest hits of the ’80s was secretly written by Prince. But here’s where it gets strange, Prince approached the band under the false name ‘Chrisopher’, allegedly out of affection for the group’s rhythm guitarist. Regardless of the song’s origins, its offhanded pop genius is a true testament to Prince’s distinctive songcraft.
The debut album by jazz-fusion act Madhouse was Recorded in 5 days in the fall of 1986. Prince went to great pains to hide his involvement nominating woodwind player Eric Leeds as a fictitious frontman. Yet sans Leeds’ sax and flute overdubs this album is pure Prince. The jazz-funk fusion of opener One shows Prince was more than adept at taking his music outside of the pop formula.
Like A Prayer – Madonna
Prince’s production fingerprints run all across the Madonna’s Like A Prayer, but it seems Prince was reluctant to take too much credit from his friend and ‘80s contemporary, seeking only direct credit for duet Love Song. Most notably Prince provided the guitar riffs for Keep It Together, Act of Contrition and the iconic title track Like a Prayer.
Image Source: USA Magazine