Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Prince

Script written by Q.V. Hough Nothing compares to the helping hand of a fellow artist. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Prince. For this list, we’re focusing on musical numbers that Prince wrote but became bigger hits by other artists. While he did play background instruments on some of the following tracks, the primary vocals were delivered by fellow pop singers. Special thanks to our users Matthew Nada, To Too and Gary Huskey for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Prince


Nothing compares to the helping hand of a fellow artist. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Prince.

For this list, we’re focusing on musical numbers that Prince wrote but became bigger hits by other artists. While he did play background instruments on some of the following tracks, the primary vocals were delivered by fellow pop singers.

#10: “When You Were Mine” (1983)
Cyndi Lauper


Written and recorded by Prince for his 1980 release Dirty Mind, this love song takes on an entirely new meaning when sung by a woman. So leave it to Cyndi Lauper to cover “When You Were Mine” for her provocative 1983 debut, keeping the original set of lyrics and placing the song between two of her more popular hits. It’s a unique type of love triangle ballad, especially for the pop culture landscape of the early '80s, and the song ultimately became Cyndi Lauper’s seventh and final single off “She's So Unusual”.

#9: “Sugar Walls” (1985)
Sheena Easton


This time around Prince opted to use a pen name, adopting the moniker “Alexander Nevermind” for this top 10 hit by Sheena Easton. As you might’ve guessed given the author, the walls don’t represent those of a traditional home, but rather something more personal. And when Sheena Easton notes that “blood races to your private spots” and offers an invitation within the titular walls, well, the message becomes that much clearer. The song becomes even more interesting when you imagine Prince with a pen in hand, perhaps anticipating a more PC world but unwilling to tame down his lyrical content.

#8: “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?” (2002)
Alicia Keys


Originally released as a b-side on Prince's 1999 single, this song was picked up by future superstar Alicia Keys for her acclaimed debut album, Songs in A Minor. Serving as the third single, “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” conveyed more of a retro feel for Alicia Keys, fitting as the original came out when she was less than a year old. With a rich set of lyrics communicating feelings of isolation and confusion, the musical aesthetic has both a playful and bluesy tone, making the song ideal for live shows.

#7: “Yo Mister” (1989)
Patti LaBelle


Today, a song with a title like this might not exactly work for an R&B artist well into their 40s, and that’s what makes this collaboration so unique. With a raw message for unassuming fathers, “Yo Mister” chronicles the plight of young Cara, as Patti Labelle so forcefully brings Prince’s words to life. It’s not your typical R&B song of the time, but even so, it still managed to do some damage on the charts. The street-smart lyrics are hard to ignore, especially when paired with the vocals of Patti Labelle.

#6: “With This Tear” (1992)
Celine Dion


By writing “With This Tear” specifically for Celine Dion, Prince demonstrated not only his lyrical proficiency but his ability to match his content with the right artist. It’s a gentle, romantic production, and through the formal set of lyrics and accessible structure, “With This Tear” evolved into a classic musical document of lost love, made even better through the intonations of young Celine. From conceptualization to final product, Prince and Ms. Dion nailed it.

#5: “The Glamorous Life” (1984)
Sheila E.


Years after first meeting Prince at a concert, Sheila E. provided backup vocals for his 1984 album “Purple Rain”. Soon after, her debut album was in production, and “THE artist” penned the ideal pop song to close out the record. With “The Glamorous Life”, Prince utilized a formulaic narrative of material excess, yet he added just the right amount of timely descriptions for Sheila E. to build upon. As a result, Prince and his protégé formed a close bond as the song paved the way for Grammy nominations and another successful collab with 1985’s “A Love Bizarre”.

#4: “I Feel for You” (1984)
Chaka Khan


All right, so one may not equate Prince with late '70s disco, but he did, in fact, release a disco-like song on his 1979 sophomore album. Incidentally, R&B songstress Chaka Khan released an updated version five years later, complete with an opening verse by hip-hop icon Melle Mel. Lyrically, “I Feel for You” is relatively simple, but when combined with the superstar charisma of a Prince or Chaka Khan, it takes on a more powerful effect. The purple one even took home a Grammy for Best R&B Song, proving that music is sometimes about the overall experience rather than a transcendent set of lyrics.

#3: “Donald Trump (Black Version)” (1990)
The Time


Written by Prince for The Time's unreleased Corporate World album and ultimately released on their 1990 effort Pandemonium, “Donald Trump (Black Version)” helped explore the idea of an Afro-American retelling of Wall Street. Oozing with all the sexuality you'd expect from Prince such as on tracks like “Jerk Out”, the song also touches on notions of wealth and power and is far more soft-core Cinemax sensual than anything involving Donald Trump should be. It's hard to imagine how the Donald felt about this R&B shout out, but either way his reaction was bound to be YUGE.

#2: “Manic Monday” (1986)
The Bangles


In what has to be one of the most bizarre scenarios of mid-80s pop culture, this track was originally composed for “Purple Rain” stars Apollonia 6, but it just wasn’t meant to be. A fan of their first album, Prince instead offered the song to the Bangles which may or may not have been an attempt to woo the band's guitarist Susanna Hoffs. With writing attributed to Christoper, Prince's character from “Under the Cherry Moon”, the song provided to be a massive top 10 hit for the band in ten countries, and was only prevented from hitting #1 by Prince himself who was topping the Hot 100 with “Kiss”.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Waiting Room” (2001)
No Doubt

“Love… Thy Will Be Done” (1991)
Martika

“The Big Pump” (1993)
George Clinton

“You’re My Love” (1986)
Kenny Rogers

#1: “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
Sinead O’Connor


Though the two artists in question didn’t meet until after this song’s release and reportedly didn’t get along too well when they did, that doesn’t minimize the potency of this 1990 cover. Originally recorded by the Prince-formed band The Family, it was picked up by Sinead O’Connor for her sophomore release. While many even today may not have known who the song's author was, the abbreviated title, which Prince was known for, should have tipped listeners off. Kicking off the '90s, this Prince composition has become one of the most easily identifiable and emotional songs ever recorded.


So, do you agree with our selections? What’s your favorite song that Prince wrote for another artist? For more musical Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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