Prince's 5 most iconic songs
Posted April 27, 2016
Updated April 28, 2016
THE MUSIC REALM — Whether you were a fan of Prince or not, his influence on music and culture has been ubiquitous and undeniable. For me, Prince became an influence in my life when I was 12 years old, the year I received my first Sony Walkman as a Christmas present with the add-on gift from my well-intentioned aunt and uncle who sent me my first two cassette tapes, ZZ Top’s “El Loco” and Prince’s “Purple Rain:” two albums that, at the time, could not have seemed to have been more at odds with each other.
As a naïve pre-teen, I will admit I was truly confounded by some of the concepts I was introduced to by Prince as I listened through the "Purple Rain" album for the first time. The lyrics to the song “Darling Nikki” especially made for some awkward questions directed towards my parents from the back of the family station wagon as we road tripped through Idaho. Maybe not coincidentally “Darling Nikki” was the same song that prompted the black and white “Parental Advisory” stickers now seen on the cover of albums containing mature themes.
Most of Prince’s biggest hits were released in the 80’s and some 20 years later, his songs are still streamed and sold online by the millions. As a testament to his timeless appeal, here is a list of his five most enduring songs streamed since 2005, according to Nielson Entertainment:
5. '1999' (1982) 8.9 Million streams
Almost two decades would pass before the actual year 1999 and Prince was already predicting an apocalyptic 21st century just around the corner. With his signature mix of synth and danceable beats, none of us could have known how close we were to dancing into destruction if only the Y2K bug would have actually been a thing.
4. 'Little Red Corvette' (1983) 9.2 million streams
Quite possibly the worlds best unintentional jingle for a Chevy product, Prince warns a young woman that she is “movin’ too fast” and that she is “on the verge of being obscene.” A bold statement for even Prince, but the song struck a chord with people who like great dance music and things that are fast.
3. 'Kiss' (1986) 12.4 million streams
It’s inevitable that with experience comes wisdom. As such, we should consider the song “Kiss” Prince’s velvet-funk bullet-pointed list of essential qualities required of women interested in ruling his world, of which wealth and a foul mouth are not required skills.
2. 'Purple Rain' (1984) 12.8 million streams
With a guitar that seems to cry as Prince screams, “Purple Rain” was a power ballad that was able to invoke a sense of longing for something not yet experienced. The song “Purple Rain” was also part of the soundtrack that won an Academy Award in 1985 for the film of the same name in which Prince was the star. With 12.8 million streames since 2005, the internet has seen a torrent of “Purple Rain.”
1. 'When Doves Cry' (1984) 16.5 million streams
“When Doves Cry” contains arguably one of the most recognizable and iconic opening guitar riffs ever played. After its release, the world saw Prince not just as a singer and performer, but also as a one of the most inventive rock guitar soloists of all time. Somehow — against all logic — “When Doves Cry” also unified ZZ Top and Prince as relevant to each other beyond the fact that they were both my very first introduction into the world of contemporary music that wasn’t influenced by my mother.
At the time, I could not have known how much of a space songs like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” would occupy in my teenage years, nor could I have predicted the memories they would inspire in me as an adult. A lot has changed since 1984; however, Prince is not one of them. His presence is constant, his persona is large, his talent is unparalleled and his face never aged.
John has been writing about movies, news, sports and pretty much anything awesome for more than five years. John is the co-host of the Flix Junkies podcast and will always entertain you with his stories.