25 Essential Prince Songs

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

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"Alphabet Street" (1988)

The lead single from 1988's Lovesexy shows how Prince could create fully realized funk from bare-bones elements. Jagged funk guitars and Levi Seacer Jr.'s bouncing bass line combine with Prince's street-corner cool for a track that sounded absolutely bracing in the increasingly cacophonous context of late-Eighties pop radio. An extended breakdown featuring horns and an exhilarating rap by Prince protégé-choreographer Cat Glover turn up the heat and extend the party. The legacy of "Alphabet St." continued through samples – hippie-hop collective Arrested Development's much-lauded 1992 single "Tennessee" caused them to pay Prince $100,000 for their unauthorized repurposing while beloved weirdos Ween used Prince's song-opening "No!" to mask the naughty words in their breakthrough "Push Th' Little Daisies."

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