Today would have been Prince’s 59th birthday. It’s been a little bittersweet, knowing that his catalog will FINALLY get the remastering touch it has needed desperately for the past 20 years. All of this will begin with the remastered version of his seminal Purple Rain album, which will become a double CD set with all of the B-Sides and, get this Prince-philes, unreleased material that nearly made the album. This will be some of the first ventures into The Vault for material that he recorded and discarded either because he had written better stuff, it no longer fit his vision for the album or it was intended for some project that Prince just plain got bore of.
I think at this point in my life, I would love to be the curator, or one of them according what Prince’s first wife Mayte Garcia states in her autobiography that I am currently reading. It’s an interesting read, but I would only recommend the book to the hardcore Prince fans. Otherwise, it might come off trite and blinded by love. Still, Miss Mayte seems to be a very sweet soul who suffered, along with Prince, what no new parents should – the death of a child. For that, she will always have my sympathy and prayers for strength. Still, many of the other authors of Prince biographies have made similar descriptions of this actual thing that is a vault that allegedly filled to the ceiling with tapes and videos of by-gone projects and live recordings. Yet, I would savor the opportunity to be part of a team to organize and categorize this material.
Today, I would like to give you My List of 25 Rare Prince Songs. These songs were either unreleased, part of a movie’s soundtrack, a B-Side to a single released in the vinyl era, part of his three-CD compilation of unreleased material entitled Crystal Ball or a single-CD comp called From The Vault, on the 1990s package called The Hits/The B-Sides, or released as internet-only singles.
Without any further adieu, here are 25 of My Favorite Rare Prince Songs. Enjoy the list and try to find some of them on TIDAL, or one of the other streaming companies that will shell out big bucks in order to add Prince to their libraries that will only increase the value of Prince’s estate. I can’t wait to hear much of this on higher quality releases than the ones I currently have. Viva Prince! The songs are listed in alphabetical order according to their titles.
“All My Dreams” (1987 unreleased). Originally intended to be the closing song of Prince’s masterpiece Sign ‘o’ the Times. It was pulled at the last moment. It fits perfectly.
“Crystal Ball” (1998 Crystal Ball). Before Prince released Sign ‘o’ the Times, he went through many song groupings, including this epic song as the centerpiece of a triple-album set. The record company got cold feet and made Prince reduce his impending release down to a double-album.
“Dream Factory” (1998 Crystal Ball). Yet, another title song of an album that became SOTT.
“Electric Intercourse” (1984 unreleased). One of the last songs cut from the playing order of Purple Rain. A good song, but a bit overrated by collectors.
“Erotic City” (1984 B-Side “Let’s Go Crazy”). This song was a dance floor hit, even though it was a B-Side during the summer of 1984. It battled Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” for B-Side of the Year. Plus, does he drop an F-bomb or does he not?
“Extralovable” (1984 unreleased). Yes, this was finally released in the 2000s as an internet-only single duet between His Purple Badness and Angie Stone. But, the real version has been sitting in the Vault for over 30 years.
“F.U.N.K.” (2007 internet-only single). In the mid-2000s, Prince rediscovered da funk, and, for a couple of years, his music flourished.
“FALLINLOVE2NITE (featuring Zooey Deschanel)” (2014 internet-only single). This version of the song was recorded for a scene on the episode of New Girl that Prince made an appearance. This is the sound of Prince rediscovering the fun in his music.
“Feel U Up” (1989 B-Side “Partyman”). Sure, the Batman soundtrack had “clean” songs on them, so the dirty songs were relegated to B-Sides.
“FREEURSELF” (2015 internet-only single). Prince was beginning a new era of creativity as he was working on three album simultaneously and releasing singles left and right. This is another example of the increasing quality of the music he was creating before his death.
“Good Love” (1987 Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack). One of the few Prince songs to be released on a soundtrack that did not star Prince in the movie.
“Hide the Bone” (1998 Crystal Ball). This slice of funk is from the 1985-1989 creativity peak.
“If Eye Could Get Ur Attention” (2016 internet-only single). This ended up being the last single release by The Purple One before his untimely death.
“Love or Money” (1986 B-Side “Kiss”). I understand that this great song did not fit the mood of the Parade album, but could have Prince found a better outlet for this song than a B-Side?
“Neon Telephone” (1987 unreleased). Here is yet another gem from Prince’s first phase of massive creativity.
“Power Fantastic” (1993 The Hits/The B-Sides). This song was recorded with Miles Davis, even though neither artist work together, let alone saw each other. Instead, the track was completed by sending the song back and forth between two of the greater artists of their respective generations.
“The Ride” (1998 Crystal Ball). Prince can handle any genre of music, including the blues.
“She’s Always in My Hair” (1985 B-Side “Raspberry Beret”). Can you imagine how much better that crazily uneven Around the World in a Day would have been if Prince had included the B-Sides like this one on the album proper. This song remains my personal favorite of these types of songs.
“Shockadelica” (1987 B-Side “If I Was Your Girlfriend”). Sure, Prince nicked the song’s title from the album title of former-Time guitarist Jesse Johnson’s upcoming album at the time. Still, it remains one of Prince’s five greatest B-Sides.
“Splash” (1986 unreleased). This song may have been a farewell to the Purple Rain-era sound.
“Teacher Teacher” (1987 unreleased). I think Prince knew how to better handle the hair metal bands with songs like this one than he knew how to incorporate hip hop into his sound.
“Train” (1987 unreleased). Yet another gem from his most creatively fertile era.
“17 Days” (1984 B-Side “When Doves Cry”). This song was the perfect foil to the A-Side.
“18 & Over” (1998 Crystal Ball). You know, most of the songs that were unreleased during his first burst of huge creativity were never going to fit any of the projects in which he was working. Still, a person outside of the Paisley Park inner circle might be able to create some fantastic albums from songs such as this one.
“4 the Tears in Your Eyes” (1985 We Are the World – The Album). Okay, can we all agree that Prince made a huge commercial mistake by not performing on that lame fundraiser of a song called “We Are the World”. Then, probably in an attempt to save face, Prince & the Revolution donated this gem of a song from the Around the World in a Day sessions. See what I mean about that album being much better if Prince had really used the best songs he had on that uneven album?
Personally, I will probably never get tired of writing about Prince. And, I am so very sorry that I will probably never get tired of writing about Prince. Sure, the man was an enigma, but a talented one at that. I suggest you add these songs to your Prince collection so you can gain a greater insight into one of Minnesota’s rock stars (remember, Bob Dylan is from there as well!