Top 10 songs by Prince

Purple Rain (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
(A masterpiece. I love the album a lot more than the accompanying movie. I can’t get enough of the album, and it's fast becoming among my favorites of the 80s. Works as both a love song and a religious allegory, “Purple Rain” takes us full circle, ending the record in the church from the album opener “Let’s Go Crazy”.
Fans have been trying to work out the meaning of "purple rain" for decades now. Some believe it’s about the end of the world, a theme Prince was interested in mid-80s. This quote from His Royal Badness suggests the apocalypse wasn’t far from his mind:
“When there’s blood in the sky - red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god" guide you through the purple rain”
According to band mate Lisa Coleman, the song symbolizes “a new beginning. Purple, the sky at dawn; rain, the cleansing factor")

The Beautiful Ones (or listen here) by Prince (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
(Beautiful production. Continues to give me chills. A haunting tale of emotional longing and unrequited love. My favorite part is the lyric “Do you want him, or do you want me?” )

Take Me With U (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
(I probably shouldn't rank this ahead of his signature songs, but I just love it to bits. This tune just puts me in a good mood every time. Unfortunautely I couldn't find a video of the full song. Features during the motorcycle ride in the movie, and I can’t think of a more fitting scene. The best Prince song to listen to on the road)

Little Red Corvette (From 1982’s 1999)
(The song was his biggest hit at the time. Arguably one of the best pop songs of the 80s. Prince got the idea for the song when he dozed off in Lisa Coleman's pink Edsel after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. There’s a timeless quality to the lyrics “But it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it all right”)

1999 (or listen here) (From 1982’s 1999)
(What an epic intro. An apocalyptic yet upbeat party anthem. Prince created "1999" around the central riff of the 1966 song, "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas. 17 years later, on New Year’s Eve, the song received a comeback, for obvious reasons)

Let’s Go Crazy (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
(I moved this up from 15th in the top 50. An iconic opening to the Purple Rain album. Video I found unfortunately doesn’t include the longer spoken word intro from the album. In an interview with Chris Rock Prince revealed that the song is about god and satan, and you couldn’t say those words on the radio, so he used the phrase “elevator” instead. According to Prince the track is about staying happy and focused, and then you can beat the elevator)

If I Was Your Girlfriend (From 1987’s Sign O’ The Times)
(An unforgettable song. Prince developed a feminine alter ego known as Camille while working on Sign O’ The Times album. He used the persona on the single “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” and achieved the effect by slowing down the tape as he sang in his normal register, and then speeding the tape up in playback. He reportedly recorded an entire album as Camille, but eventually scrapped it along with plans to film a movie about the character)

Dirty Mind (or listen here) (From 1980’s Dirty Mind)
(At this stage in his career he wanted his music to be “pure sexuality”. No wonder the musicians and crowd are dancing and having a good time in the video. Such a great beat)

Raspberry Beret (From 1985’s Around the World in a Day)
Director Steve McQueen listed the song as a favorite of his on BBC’s radio show Desert Island Discs, and you can understand why. It’s incredibly catchy)

When Doves Cry (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
(A signature song from his career, and deserves to be in the top 10. The lyrics center on a young man’s fear that he’s becoming like his emotionally unavailable parents. The year’s top-selling single)

This post concludes my top 50 Prince songs! Agree or disagree? Which are your favorites from these Prince albums? As always, comments are welcome


  1. Oh, those are pretty much the essential in terms of what Prince does. Raspberry Beret is among my 5 favorite songs.

    There's also a great cover of Darling Nikki by the Foo Fighters that is truly one that needs to be heard.

    1. @thevoid99: Yep, I realize most of my top 10 are “safe” choices, from his greatest hits and from his best album. I wonder if anyone has a statistic if there was an increase in sales mid-80s of raspberry berets, motorcycles like the one in Purple Rain, and little red corvettes :)
      Thanks for the info about Foo Fighters, I’ll give it a listen!

  2. So glad you did this series. I really enjoyed reading through it. Tried to rank my faces. I only went to, that was tough. And it would probably be different if I did it next week. Anyhoo, what I came up with...

    1. When Doves Cry
    2. Raspberry Beret
    3. Let's Go Crazy
    4. Little Red Corvette
    5. Darling Nikki
    6. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
    7. If I Was Your Girlfriend
    8. 1999
    9. I Wanna Be Your Lover
    10. Adore
    11. Starfish and Coffee
    12. The Beautiful Ones
    13. Kiss
    14. Controversy
    15. Purple Rain
    16. America
    17. Insatiable
    18. Pop Life
    19. Scandalous
    20. I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm a Star
    21. Get Off
    22. Soft and Wet
    23. Sexy MF
    24. Walk, Don't Walk
    25. Thieves in the Temple

    1. @Wendell Ottley: Great choices, thanks for sharing your top 25! We have a few in common and a handful of those I need to go back and listen to again. Darling Nikki, Kiss, Adore & Scandalous were close to making mine. I decided to leave them off since I already had a lot from his 80s peak, and I wanted to diversify and highlight lesser known songs from the 90s and 2000s.

      I was thinking of doing a post of honorable mentions that missed my top 50. I’ll just share them here with links:

      Kiss (From 1986’s Parade - Music From The Motion Picture Under The Cherry Moon)
      Darling Nikki (From 1984’s Purple Rain soundtrack)
      4 The Tears In Your Eyes (From 1993’s The Hits/The B-Sides)
      Girl (From 1993’s The Hits/The B-Sides)
      Adore (From 1987’s Sign O’ The Times)
      Delirious (From 1982’s 1999)
      I Feel For You (From 1979’s Prince)
      Girls & Boys (From 1986’s Parade - Music From The Motion Picture Under The Cherry Moon)
      Cindy C (From 1994's The Black Album)
      In a Large Room With No Light (1986’s Dream Factory)
      Alphabet St. (From 1988’s Lovesexy)
      Sign O’ The Times (From 1987’s Sign O’ The Times),sign-o-the-times,surlu.html
      All The Critics Love U in New York (From 1982’s 1999)
      How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore (B-side to the single 1999),how-come-u-dont-call-me-anymore,vrl05.html
      And God Created Woman (From 1992’s Love Symbol)
      Alexa De Paris (B-side to the 1986 single Mountains)
      I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (From 1987’s Sign O’ The Times),i-could-never-take-the-place-of-your-man,qxr8qm.html
      Thieves in the Temple (from 1990’s Graffiti Bridge)
      Cinnamon Girl (from 2004’s Musicology)
      Scandalous (From 1989’s Batman soundtrack)
      Let’s Work (From 1981’s Controversy)
      Nothing Compares 2 U (From 1993’s The Hits/The B-Sides)
      Housequake (From 1987’s Sign O’ The Times)
      Thunder (From 1991’s Diamonds and Pearls)
      7 (From 1992’s Love Symbol)
      Way Back Home (From 2014’s Art Official Age)
      Musicology (long version) (From 2004’s Musicology)
      Crimson and Clover (Tommy James & the Shondells cover) (from 2009’s Lotusflow3r)

    2. How could I have forgotten Alphabet St.?

      I'm glad you do have so many of his more recent songs on your list. That gives me a chance to revisit work of his I haven't listened to as much as the earlier stuff. Thanks.

    3. @Wendell Ottley: Alphabet St is a strong track, no doubt. Was pretty hard work yet also enjoyable making my way through Prince's discography, the guy has released so many albums. Unfortunately several of the studio albums I couldn't get from spotify or the library such as Girl 6 (1996) Crystal Ball (1998) and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999).


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