Prince Rogers Nelson, a.k.a. Prince is, perhaps, the most vocally gifted musician to ever be heard. His vocal range is comparable to anybody that you can suggest. Another plus on his side is that he usually is 100% responsible for most of his songs. He writes, sings, and in many cases he performs all instruments. Prince has also written many songs for other artists; songs like Manic Monday – The Bangles, Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor, plus much of Sheila E and Sheena Easton’s material. He deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He deserves to go down in history as one of the finest musicians to ever be born. As for his ten best songs, well there was so much to choose from; an overwhelming lot to be specific, but I’ve narrowed it down to just ten. And here they are.
#10 – Batdance. I know, I know, it isn’t on the same creative level as the rest of what he has done, but I love this song. It is a guilty pleasure from a great movie. Each time I hear this song it takes me back to my childhood. The song is well produced, mixed, and sung. It is an icon of an era. I couldn’t leave it off the list.
#9 – Take Me With You. This is the first of many entries from the Purple Rain soundtrack. It’s on my list for two reasons; first – I really like it, and second – the way Prince duets on the song works beautifully. You can really hear the lady of the evening telling him that she doesn’t care where they go, as long as he takes her with him. Great song.
#8 – I Would Die 4 U. Also from Purple Rain, I Would Die 4 U is another look into Prince’s soul. He doesn’t just sing the Purple Rain songs, he gives birth to them. They are his children. This one is no different. It may not be his favorite child, but he likes it nonetheless.
#7 – Let’s Go Crazy. This song is so great that it should have been higher on my list. Songs 1, 2, and 3 are simple choices for me, as were 10, 9, and 8. The middle four songs are all on the same level. They are interchangeable. This list is the hardest list I’ve done for just that reason. I love all Prince songs, almost equally. The guitar solo in Let’s Go Crazy was my childhood favorite. It still remains one of the best solos ever. The pure speed and range of the solo is what put this song on the map. It will live forever, or as long as parties exist.
#6 – Darling Nikki. This was the dirtiest song of the 80’s. It is the song that got all those Parental Advisory labels on records. It was Tipper Gore’s personal nemesis. It is the most sensual song I’ve ever heard. I love this song. I used to fall asleep, listening to the Purple Rain soundtrack in my headphones, and every time the end of Darling Nikki would begin, the part where Prince starts ‘chanting’ (you know it if you’ve heard it) it would wake me up; every single time. I always wondered what magazine Nikki was using.
#5 – The Beautiful Ones. The part where Prince screams, “What’s it gonna be baby? Do you want him…or do you want me? Cause I want you” is the saddest, most powerful, and most heartfelt lyrics I’ve ever heard sung in any song ever. It brings tears to the eyes. Prince doesn’t sing this song, he pleads for life. This is a must hear.
#4 – When Doves Cry. What can be said about this one that hasn’t? The gutsy lack of a bass line, the haunting video, the vocal arrangements, the words about mom, the way he sings it? This is one of the biggest songs of the decade and that isn’t just my opinion.
#3 – U Got The Look. I don’t know what it is about this song that I love so much. Maybe it’s the fact the Sheena Easton sings on the track. I don’t know. There is just something intangible that makes this one of my favorite songs ever.
#2 – Kiss. This song continues to grow on me. Even after 20 years since it was released, it gets better each time I hear it. All the other songs on this list were instantly recognizable as great, to me. This one just keeps growing. It also has the greatest vocal range on any song I’ve ever heard. Prince hits notes that Mariah Carey can only dream of.
After no debate, I came up with the obvious choice for number one. Every song on this list is perfection to the extreme, but my choice for the most perfect is…
#1 – Purple Rain. From the moment you hear the first note of the song, a chord that is next to impossible to play (incredible stretching of the fingers) on guitar, you know what you have. That first note may stand as the greatest single moment of recorded music. Purple Rain is one of my five favorite songs of all-time (by anybody). I will never grow tired of hearing it. It is the most powerfully beautiful song of the past 30 years. It is a masterpiece that comes along once in a few generations. Many of the greatest musicians of all-time never achieved a level of greatness with any songs that they recorded. This song is a testament to all that is and was right with music.