11 Songs We're Betting You Didn't Know Were Written by Prince

Nicolas Genin From Paris, France / Wikimedia Commons
Nicolas Genin From Paris, France / Wikimedia Commons

Prince's Pipings

Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince, was one of the most prolific songwriters in the music business. His uncanny sense of melody, distinctive voice and production techniques consistently spawned hits, and most sounded like no other musician on earth could have recorded them.

Interestingly, when other artists recorded his work, it was frequently hard to tell that Prince had been involved until you read the album credits. When other artists recorded his songs, they tended to fit seamlessly into that artist’s catalog. Here’s our list of songs written by Prince—who would have been 66 years old this month—and performed by other artists, which sometimes resulted in the artist’s signature song.

Manic Monday, Bangles
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1. "Manic Monday" by the Bangles

1986
Initially, the Bangles weren’t supposed to record this song at all, as Prince intended it to be for the group Apollonia 6. The Bangles ended up recording it instead, and the rest is history. Prince wrote it under the pseudonym "Christopher," which coincidentally was his character's name in his 1986 movie “Under the Cherry Moon.”

I Feel for You, Chaka Khan
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2. "I Feel for You" by Chaka Khan

1984
Initially released by Prince on his self-titled 1979 album, Chaka Khan's version became a massive hit in 1984, climbing to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It had previously been recorded by the Pointer Sisters in 1982 and buried in the middle of side two on the album “So Excited,” which, one assumes, prioritized the single “I’m So Excited” instead. That left the gates open for Chaka Khan’s version, which remains one of her best-known songs.

The Glamorous Life, Sheila E.
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3. "The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E.

1984
This song was written and co-produced by Prince, who performed the latter service under the pseudonym “The Starr Company.” Sheila E. received the other half of the co-production credit, and the 1984 song went on to top the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Since then, numerous artists have recorded the song, but it remains one of Sheila E.’s most popular tracks.

Sugar Walls, Sheena Easton
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4. "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton

1984
“Sugar Walls” was written by Prince under the pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind,” and the Sheena Easton recording would stay on the U.S. charts for 16 weeks in 1984. It also had the distinction of being singled out by the Parents’ Music Resource Center for inclusion in the “Filthy Fifteen,” a list of songs the group found objectionable. This list also included “Possessed” by the band Venom, and the lyrics are drop-dead hilarious.

Stand Back, Stevie Nicks
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5. "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks

1983
Stevie Nicks' 1983 hit "Stand Back" is credited to Nicks alone as the songwriter. At the same time, she agreed to split all royalty payments from it with Prince, whom she described as crucial to the single’s success. She had been so inspired by his song “Little Red Corvette” that she invited Prince to the studio where she was recording, and asked him to play keyboards on “Stand Back." She felt the song owed such a stylistic debt to him that she offered him half the royalties. He said yes but kept his name off the product.

Jungle Love, The Time
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6. "Jungle Love" by The Time

1984
"Jungle Love" was written by Time singer Morris Day, guitarist Jesse Johnson, and a mysterious, enigmatic figure credited as “Jamie Starr” (psst, it was Prince). A perfect hybrid of funk, new wave and hard rock, the song peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It still plays a prominent role at the band’s live concerts 40 years later.

You're My Love, Kenny Rogers
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7. "You're My Love" by Kenny Rogers

1986
Originally recorded as a demo by Prince in 1982, this song was covered by Kenny Rogers in 1986 and credited to “Joey Coco.” If you didn’t know Prince had written it, you would never believe it. Rogers’ version of the song is drowning in anachronistic 1980s overproduction that recalls some of the incidental music in the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy “Kindergarten Cop.”

A Love Bizarre, Sheila E.
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8. "A Love Bizarre" by Sheila E.

1985
Another collaboration between Prince and Sheila E., this song was a hit and a signature song for the mighty Ms. Escovedo. The song was featured in the 1985 movie “Krush Groove,” and it reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her appearance in the film during a performance scene, which was used partly for the music video, gave her even greater exposure to the public.

When You Were Mine, Cyndi Lauper
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9. "When You Were Mine" by Cyndi Lauper

1983
"When You Were Mine" was recorded by Prince and included on his 1980 album “Dirty Mind.” Cyndi Lauper must have owned a copy and loved the song because she covered it on her debut album, "She's So Unusual," at a slightly more sedate tempo. She must have had genuine faith in the song, as it shares space on the album’s side one with such hits as "Money Changes Everything," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," and "Time After Time." It holds up, too.

Love... Thy Will Be Done, Martika
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10. "Love... Thy Will Be Done" by Martika

1991
Like "You're My Love" by Kenny Rogers, you would never know Prince had anything to do with "Love... Thy Will Be Done" by Martika, much less that he co-wrote it. Indeed, one must ask if this rendition of the song was intended to attract the attention of the 4AD label, as it has some ethereal Cocteau Twins vibe. At the same time, it also features backing vocals reminiscent of “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. Perhaps we may never know what was intended, but we’re happy that Prince received royalty payments for it.

U, Paula Abdul
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11. "U" by Paula Abdul

1991
“U” originates from a demo called “You” that Prince recorded in the 1970s. It didn’t see the light of day on a released album until Paula Abdul recorded it for 1991’s "Spellbound." The album eventually sold three million copies in the U.S., bringing the sound of Prince’s songwriting to even more ears and further ensuring that his music would not go away anytime soon, in any form, no matter who recorded it.

Prince Paraphernalia, Fifth Avenue, Minneapolis
Sakkawokkie/istockphoto

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