|First posted 6/28/2019.|
Peak: # US, # UK, # CN, # AU
Sales (in millions): ? US, ? UK, ? world (includes US and UK)
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)
“By the mid-1980s, Prince was dominating the charts” AZ not just as a performer, but “with songs he’d composed and recorded for others.” AZ He “was fiercely protective of his songs – if you ventured to cover his material, it had to be on his terms.” BB “Instead of handing others rough sketches to build on, Prince delivered fully fleshed-out tracks, leaving very little up for interpretation.” BB Sometimes those demos would guide other artists through the recording process, and at other times”Prince’s original demo recordings would be used as master takes on their albums, with only minor alterations to the instrumentation and a replacement of the vocal tracks.” AZ
Prince’s new posthumous album, Originals, “features his self-recorded versions of 15 songs made famous by others – and startlingly, some of these ‘demos’ sound full-fledged enough to dominate the charts themselves.” BB “Some of these Prince-assisted acts, like Vanity 6, Apollonia 6 and the Time, were curated protégés…Others, like [Sinéad] O’Connor and the Bangles, were formidable artists with or without his songs. But they all share the presence of the fastidious, ultra-prolific Purple One hovering in the background of their legacies.” BB
“Originals pulls back the curtain to reveal the origins of these familiar songs, in addition to deeper album cuts such as Vanity 6's Make-Up, Jill Jones’ Baby, You're a Trip, and Kenny Rogers’ You’re My Love. The album also features Prince's majestic original 1984 version of Nothing Compares 2 U, released in 2018 as a standalone single.” AZ
Recorded by Apollonia 6 for Apollonia 6 (1984).
“What’s different? Vocals. A carnal rocker from the 1984 classic Purple Rain, ‘Sex Shooter’ was recorded almost solely by Prince under the alias The Starr Company.” BB He recorded it on April 30, 1983 at his Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. PV Plans to include it on Vanity 6’s second album were scrapped when Vanity left the Prince party and his Purple Rain co-star Patricia “Apollonia” Kotero stepped in to front the newly-christened Apollonia 6. Prince seems to have recorded all this himself and simply replaced his vocals with hers. BB
Recorded by The Time for Ice Cream Castle (1984).
“What’s different? Vocals. The Time, a crack combo of Minneapolis soul, pop and funk musicians, was another Prince-curated band that appeared in Purple Rain.” BB Prince wrote the song with Jesse Johnson, although it is credited to Morris Day, who sang lead. Prince recorded it on March 26, 1983 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. PV Time members’ Jesse Johnson, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis were all in the studio, but it isn’t clear if they contributed to the recording. PV
The Time’s “version of ‘Jungle Love,’ a four-on-the-floor joint that hit No. 20” BB and spent a whopping 57 weeks AZ “on the Billboard Hot 100.
Recorded by the Bangles for Different Light (1985).
“What’s different? Vocals, instrumentation, production.” BB Prince recorded this “gorgeous, ‘60s-tinted pop gem” BB on February 4, 1984 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. It was initially intended for Apollonia 6, but Prince sent it to the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs after catching them at an early Los Angeles show. PV They stayed close to Prince’s original arrangement, BB but re-recorded most of the song – although Brenda Bennett and Jill Jones’ backing vocals can still be heard on it. PV The Bangles reached #2 on the Hot 100 and its parent album also hit the runner-up slot.
Recorded by Sheila E. for The Glamorous Life (1984).
“What’s different? Vocals, instrumentation, production. Prince and drum legend Sheila E. co-wrote this song about their relationship at the time.” BB He initially recorded it on February 13, 1984 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. PV Sheila E’s version “is full of squelchy period synths; Prince’s piano-led demo is more intimate and restrained, a ballad for the wee small hours.” BB Her version was released as the third single from her debut album, but didn’t chart.
Recorded by Vanity 6 for Vanity 6 (1982).
“What’s different? Vocals, instrumentation, arrangement.” BB Prince wrote this song for Vanity 6, “a girl group with Denise Matthews (or ‘Vanity’) at the helm.” BB This “winking list of cosmetic products from blush to base” was what Prince biographer called “the raunchier, female expression of his sensibility.” BB The basic tracking was laid down in the summer of 1981 at Prince’s Kowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The song was a B-side for the group’s singles “He’s So Dull” and “Drive Me Wild.” PV
Recorded by Mazarti for Mazarati (1986).
“What’s different? Vocals. Led by Prince and the Revolution bassist Brownmark, Mazarati wasn’t a wholesale creation of Prince like others on this list. Still, their sole charting song, ‘100 MPH,’ was written and almost completely recorded by him. Sans lead vocals by Sir Casey Terry and backing vocals by the rest of Mazarati, the two versions are virtually identical.” BB Prince initially recorded it at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in June 1984. PV
”You’re My Love”
Recorded by Kenny Rogers for They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To (1986).
“What’s different? Vocals, production, instrumentation.” BB Country singer Kenny Rogers was looking for material for his new album and Prince gave him this “scrap from his vaults” BB which he’d recorded in March 1982 at his Kiowa Trail Home Studio. PV “While Rogers’ band played it in an adult-contempo style fitting his voice, it hews strongly to Prince’s demo.” BB The song, which was credited to the Prince pseudonym of “Joey Coco,” was released as the B-side of Rogers’ “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” single with Ronnie Milsap.
Recorded by Sheila E. for the Krush Groove soundtrack (1985).
“What’s different? Vocals. It doesn’t get more 1985 than this.” BB “Holly Rock” is “a high-energy rap…plucked from an aborted song by the Family” BB (“Feline”) PV “to soundtrack the film Krush Groove, a loose dramatization of the story of Russell Simmons and Def Jam Recordings. Sheila E. was cast in the movie as a love interest for Simmons; in the original scene, the music is identical to Prince’s version, but the lovably dated pep is all her.” BB Prince recorded his version on April 24, 1985 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California “amid the highly productive sessions that yielded a lot of songs for Parade. PV
”Baby, You’re a Trip”
Recorded by Jill Jones for Jill Jones (1987).
“What’s different? Vocals.” BB Prince recorded the song on July 8, 1982, at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. PV When Jill Jones signed to Prince’s label, Paisley Park Records, she added this song to her eponymous album, overdubbing her vocals alongside Prince’s guide vocals. PV It was also released as the B-side of her single “For Love.”
”The Glamorous Life”
Recorded by Sheila E. for The Glamorous Life (1984).
“What’s different? Vocals, extra instrumentation.” BB Prince recorded it at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, on December 27, 1983. PV Like “Manic Monday,” it was intended for Apollonia 6, until Prince “swiped it away – this time, for his lover and collaborator Sheila E. Its two versions begin with a saxophone wail from Larry Williams; the ensuing music is roughly identical, too, except for some extra rimshot percussion from E.” BB She released her version as the lead single for her debut album of the same name and it hit #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the dance charts.
”Gigolos Get Lonely Too”
Recorded by The Time for What Time Is it? (1982).
“What’s different? Vocals.” BB Although this “ballad about a male escort craving true love” BB was solely written by Prince, it was credited to Morris Day when it appeared on The Time’s second album. PV The basic tracking for this completed demo likely occurred at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, on January 11, 1982 PV and then Day’s vocals were substituted for Prince’s. BB The Time hit #77 on the R&B chart when the song was released as the third single from What Time Is It?
”Love…Thy Will Be Done”
Recorded by Martika for Martika’s Kitchen (1991).
“What’s different? Vocals. This spare, emotive ballad is a clear highlight of Originals. Besides Martika’s lead vocals, the two versions are about flush with each other.” BB Prince recorded it in January 1991 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. PV Her version was “a top 10 hit in France, Australia, the UK and the USA.” AZ
Recorded by Sheila E. for Romance 1600 (1985).
“What’s different? Vocals, production, arrangement. Recorded in between dates on the 1985 leg of the Purple Rain tour with Prince on all instruments, ‘Dear Michelangelo’ is a highlight of Sheila E.’s Romance 1600. Prince’s original demo sounds drier and funkier; befitting a song about the gardens of Florence and the colors of dreams.” BB He recorded it in January 1985 at Master Sound in Atlanta Georgia while there for the Purple Rain tour. PV “E.’s version of ‘Dear Michelangelo’ is ethereal and mellow without dampening Prince’s hook.” BB
”Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me?”
Recorded by Taja Sevelle for Taja Sevelle (1987).
“What’s different? Vocals, production, arrangement.” BB Chronologically, this is the earliest track from this album, PV dating back to 1976, a year before Prince’s debut album For You. BB He made a demo “on a basic cassette recorder, featuring some lyrics that were changed or removed for later recordings.” PV In the summer of 1978, he recorded it twice at his France Avenue Home Studio in Edina, Minnesota – once with himself on vocals and once with Sue Ann Carwell. In June 1981, he recorded the version featured on this album at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California. PV
He started from scratch on the song in April 1982,e ventually submitting it to Michael Jackson to use on his album Bad. PV When it wasn’t used, Prince gave it to Minneapolis singer/songwriter Taja Sevelle. She simply replaced her vocals for his and released it on her 1987 self-titled debut and as a single in early 1988. PV It failed to chart, but Sevelle did have a Hot 100 hit with “Love is Contagious.” BB
”Nothing Compares 2 U”
Recorded by The Family for The Family (1985).
“What’s different? Vocals, production, arrangement. This ode to Prince’s housekeeper had many lives: as an obscurity by the Family, a No. 1 hit by Sinéad O’Connor, and here, the 1984 demo that started it all. Play all three chronologically, and you hear a clear progression: from Prince’s stripped-down ballad to the Family’s warbling, synthesized take to O’Connor’s emotive hit version. After O’Connor made ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ a hit, Prince made an about-face. He introduced it to his live sets for the first time – and performed it over 400 times until his death.” BB
He recorded it on July 15, 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. PV A live version with shared lead vocals with Rosie Gaines was released on The Hits 1 in 1993. The original 1984 version that appears on this album was released as a single in April 2018. PV
Below is a list of the top 1000 albums of all time, according to Dave’s Music Database. To see more details about the creation and goals of this list, click on the appropriate link below or just head straight to the list.
How This List Was Created:
When I set out to create this list as the 20th century was drawing to a close, my aim was to compile a “best of the best” list; that is, combine all the other “best-of” lists out there into one. The goal in averaging multiple lists together was to weed out the idiocyncrisies of individual lists and create a more objective, definitive best-of list. Here are links to the lists, chart information, and sales data that went into the creation of the DMDB 1000:
Representing Multiple Genres:
One of the huge bonuses in compiling lots of lists is the better representation of multiple genres of music. Most lists are very skewered toward post-‘50s rock and roll. By pooling lists from multiple sources, the DMDB 1000 represents classical, show tunes, jazz, folk, country, R&B, rock and roll, adult contemporary, pop, rap, and more.
Multiple Versions of the Same Album or Work:
Representing multiple genres poses a challenge, however. There are cases where there are multiple versions of the same work. When that occurred, all versions are compiled into one entry. This possibility most likely occurred in one of three situations:
What Constitutes an Album:
In addition to the aforementioned re-definings of what makes an album an album, the DMDB also wanted to be as inclusive as possible in different formats of albums. Some best-of lists, for example, disregard compilations or live recordings and focus only on studio efforts. As such, the DMDB 1000 list contains standard studio albums alongside “specialty albums,” such as compilations, box sets, live recordings, soundtracks, cast albums, various artist collections, classical works, operas, and Christmas recordings.
Why Chronological and Not Ranked:
The more inclusive approaches described above diminished the merits of presenting this as a ranked list. Any list generates enough heat about what makes the cut and what doesn’t without a debate over why an album is ranked at #999 instead #998. However, a debate over whether Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is a more important work than Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is most likely to keep people firmly entrenched in their genre camps. By not focusing on where an album is on the list, the focus becomes, more appropriately, why it makes the list. Since all the albums link to individual DMDB pages, you can check out those justifications for yourself and see if you think the album is list worthy.
Another benefit of presenting this list chronologically is how it shows the emergence of new public tastes and the development of the album over the years. Combined with the no-genres-excluded approach, this makes for a fascinating observation of how entire musical genres dominated at different times. In a nutshell, one can see the following trends:
Compilations and live albums are listed by the date of recording instead of release. For example, The Beatles’ 1 is a greatest hits collection released in 2001, but it covers 1962-1970 so its date notation is (compilation: 1962-70, released 11/14/2000), meaning the album is listed under ‘1970.’
These are albums formerly in the DMDB 1000 which have since been bumped, but are still acknowledged with an honorable mention.