25 Essential Prince Songs

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

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"Diamonds and Pearls" (1992)

A sultry ballad of a title track off Prince's 1991 album, "Diamonds and Pearls" was a Number Three hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and, more importantly, one of the most prominent instances in which the Purple One's new backing band, the New Power Generation, stepped to the forefront. With NPG singer Rosie Gaines providing backing vocal support atop seductive synthesizer, Prince sings: "If I gave you diamonds and pearls/Would you be a happy boy or girl?" echoing the nearly-identical lyrics he'd sung a decade earlier on 1982's "International Lover." The album was largely panned as Prince's response to hip-hop, but Diamonds and Pearls' title track intricately wedded the singer's love of glitz and glamour with a distinct, ever-evolving pop-R&B sensibility.

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