With Prince’s shocking death, the monumental scope of his influence on music is just starting to become clear.
The rock, funk and R&B icon has inspired dozens of today’s award-winning artists and has crafted numerous albums that ended up greatly reshaping our current musical landscape. He is not just Prince; he is a king.
And unlike some royalty, Prince loved to share his wealth, writing numerous songs for his fellow artists and allowing his music to be covered by other performers as well.
Some of Prince’s successful pieces may surprise you, especially since he doesn’t sing a word on the tracks. Read on for ten songs you probably know, but never knew were written by Prince.
1. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O’Connor
Perhaps The Purple One’s best known outside effort, this 1990 single, complete with bald, teary video, gave Sinead O’Connor a worldwide hit. Prince originally wrote and composed “Nothing Compares 2 U” for his funk band side project, The Family, but the song was never released as a single.
2. "Manic Monday" by The Bangles
Prince wrote this weekday lament in 1984 as a duet for the band Apollonia 6, but the song was never put on a record. Two years after crafting the catchy creation, Prince offered the song to The Bangles under the pseudonym “Christopher,” because he liked the song “Heroes Take the Fall” and was reportedly attracted to the group’s rhythm guitarist Susanna Hoffs.
3. "Love Song" by Madonna
Prince helped Madonna cowrite this song for the 1989 album Like a Prayer. Madonna traveled to The Studio at Paisley Park in Minnesota, where Prince was pronounced dead, to come up with the piece. Along with helping to write the track, Prince also sang and played guitar on “Love Song.”
4. "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks
Prince paired up with Nicks to help her write this top five hit. The Fleetwood Mac singer has often shared the interesting birth story behind this single from her solo career. According to Nicks, she was inspired to create the song after listening to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette.” When she went to record “Stand Back”, she called Prince about the song, and he showed up at the studio that night to help finish up the track.
5. "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan
While Khan was not the first one to this song, she made the most memorable version. Prince originally wrote the song for Patrice Rushen but ended up recording the song himself and putting it on his 1979 self-titled album. “I Feel For You” went on to be covered by The Pointer Sisters and Mary Wells, but it was Khan’s 1984 version that became the hit to withstand the test of time.
6. "The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E.
Like “Manic Monday,” Prince first wrote this song for Apollonia 6. The creation was eventually given to the singer and percussionist Sheila E., who transformed the song into a top dance hit.
7. "Jungle Love" by The Time
The rival band in Purple Rain is actually playing plenty of Prince songs. “The Kid” wrote many songs for the Minneapolis-based band, who were also close friends and collaborators with the artist in real life. Prince helped pen “Jungle Love,” one of the group’s most popular songs, in 1983 and also played multiple instruments on the track.
8. "With This Tear" by Celine Dion
Prince wrote the 1992 song as a gift to Dion, who put the present, backed by her stunning voice, on her self-titled album.
9. "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton
Ditching his previous pseudonym “Christopher” for the new name “Alexander Nevermind,” the disguised Prince wrote this U.S. dance hit for Easton in 1984.
10. "Love… Thy Will Be Done" by Martika
Prince co-wrote this single with Maritka for her 1991 debut album Maritka’s Kitchen. The track went on to top pop charts in numerous countries.
11. "How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?" by Alicia Keys
Prince wrote and recorded this ballad in 1982 as a b-side to his single “1999,” but the track didn’t become a commercial success until Keys covered the song in 2002, retitling it “How Come You Don’t Call Me.” Keys’ version went on to appear on several charts across the world.