25 Essential Prince Songs

The best of the Purple One's world-changing, genre-defying hits

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"Raspberry Beret" (1985)

When it first debuted in Spring of 1985, with Purple Rain's earth-moving electro-funk guitar-epic success mere months earlier, "Raspberry Beret" sounded way too … simple. Prince as a part-time counter-boy seducing a customer with great chorus, one could dig; but after Bobby Z's crazy electronic drums opened the account, why retreat into plain acoustic guitar and simplistic keyboard strings? Compared to its now almost-as-legendary B-side, "She's Always in My Hair," "Raspberry Beret" felt like a drop-step. Now, it seems obvious that it was a chance to explore more psychedelic pop songwriting. That too became part of Prince's arsenal – the same one that would manifest itself in the Bangles' hit "Manic Monday" – not deep personal thoughts, but a day's diary set to music. After the seemingly limitless aspirations of Purple Rain, it was this simpler poetry that actually proved that maybe Prince's creativity had no limits.

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