25 Essential Prince Songs

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

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"Let's Go Crazy" (1984)

After "When Doves Cry" dominated pop radio throughout the late summer and early fall of 1984, the Number One smash "Let's Go Crazy" was as much a victory lap as an advertisement for the Purple Rain feature film. The full-bodied funk rock flourishes and allusions to Jimi Hendrix were made with the help of the Revolution, who briefly became the most famous backing unit in America. "Some of the band members came up with their own parts," engineer Susan Rogers told Billboard, noting Matt Fink's jazzy piano solo in the middle of the track. "Matt, knowing Prince so well and knowing what he liked, got that solo on the third take and we kept replaying it over and over again, because it was just great to listen to."

When the enormous success of Purple Rain generated murmurs that Prince was selling out to the AOR crowd, he told MTV in 1985, "I was brought up in a black and white world. Yes, black and white, night and day, rich and poor, black and white. I listened to all kinds of music when I was young… I always said that one day I was gonna play all kinds of music, and not be judged for the color of my skin, but the quality of my work, and hopefully that will continue."

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