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6 Songs You Probably Didn’t Know Were Written by Prince

April 25, 2016

The late Prince was a prolific singer-songwriter, writing and performing dozens of hit songs for himself. But he wrote so much material that he couldn’t record it all himself (or he didn’t feel it was right for him). Here are some Prince songs best known for not being “Prince” songs.
Manic Monday and other songs you didn't know Prince wrote.

The Bangles, “Manic Monday”

Prince caught a show in Los Angeles by the rock band the Bangles in the early ‘80s when the band was just starting to perform live. He reportedly developed a crush on lead singer Susanna Hoffs, and went into the studio to write and record a song just for her. Prince sent the Bangles the demo, and they re-recorded it. It went to #2 on the pop chart.

Stevie Nicks, “Stand Back”

While on a road trip in 1982, the Fleetwood Mac singer became transfixed with Prince’s 1982 hit “Little Red Corvette,” particularly the keyboard parts. The soulful way he used a sometimes robotic instrument inspired Nicks to write a keyboard driven song of her own called “Stand Back.” Nicks got ahold of the reclusive Prince (which she could do…because she was Stevie Nicks), he was so honored that he met with Nicks and helped her finish writing the song…including some more keyboard parts.

Chaka Khan, “I Feel For You”

Chaka Khan hadn’t had a hit since 1978. In 1984, she had a #3 hit with “I Feel For You.” Suggested by her producer Arif Mardin, it’s a cover of a little-known Prince song from 1979, when he was just starting out. (He wrote it about another R&B star he was trying to date: Patrice Rushen, best known for the hit “Forget Me Nots.”)

Kenny Rogers, “You’re My Love”

Prince was nothing if not versatile. In 1986, he even recorded a country song. Writing under the pseudonym “Joey Coco,” he wrote a song for, surprisingly enough, Kenny Rogers.

Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”

The Prince-style abbreviated spelling is a big clue that this was not originally written for O’Connor. Prince wrote it in 1985 for the Family, a side project consisting of individual musicians he’d worked with on other recordings. The Family’s version was never a single and remained relatively obscure. Not O’Connor’s. It spent four weeks at #1.

Tevin Campbell, “Round and Round”

Prince gets a few cents every time Top Chef airs. Why? The cooking competition show samples Tevin Campbell’s 1990 hit “Round and Round.” Prince wrote and produced the song, which appeared on the soundtrack for Prince’s movie Graffiti Bridge.

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George McDowell
George McDowell

Manic Monday was written for, and recorded by, Apollonia for possible inclusion on the Apollonia 6 album that accompanied the Purple Rain film. Prince correctly decided the song was too musical to be wasted on her meager vocal talents and later gave the song to The Bangles. And the song “U” by Paul Abdul, which I realize is not on your list, but since so many others are getting it wrong, was written and recorded (though not released) in 1980 by Prince, so it could not have been written “for” Paula Abdul as she herself claimed last week. Oh, and… Read more »

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