Home Music Music Lists

15 Great Prince Songs That Were Hits for Other Artists

The purple touch that helped the Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, Chaka Khan and more

Tom Jones; the Bangles; Sinead O'Connor

Tom Jones, the Bangles and Sinead O'Connor have all found success with Prince songs.

Minneapolis' favorite son was a whirlwind of creativity that knew no bounds, the purple-minded genius releasing dozens of albums on his own, but also mentoring and producing dozens of bands like dirty-minded girl group Vanity 6 and synth-funk dynamos the Time. His songs became massive pop hits for stars as disparate as Sinead O'Connor, Chaka Khan, the Bangles and Tevin Campbell. He turned his personal treatises on sexual persona, spiritual angst and social unrest into a universal art that spoke to millions, no matter their race, class, or gender. Few pop artists over the past four decades were as universally beloved as Prince. These are some of the best Prince songs that became hits for others.

Play video

Alicia Keys, “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” (2001)

Hot 100 Chart Position: Number 59

On her seven-times platinum debut Songs in A Minor, Alicia Keys interpreted this classic Prince B-side. It wasn't the first time a woman had covered his breakup ballad – just months after he originally issued "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" as the flipside to "1999," Stephanie Mills recorded a version with distinctly gospel tones in 1983. But Keys represented a new generation embracing the genius of Prince. The 19-year-old prodigy added a steady and pulsing bass line to the piano arrangement, and hummed and growled huskily in homage to her hero, while adding new details like, "I always thought you'd be by my side, poppa, and now you're gone … and I'm not trying to hear that shit). " She subsequently became friends with the legendary guitarist, and when he entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, Keys inducted him. "There are many kings … but there is only one Prince," she said. "[He wrote] songs that made me look at songwriting as stories that are untold passions dying to be heard."

Show Comments