Before Lady Gaga and after Elton John, there was one artist who consistently pushed the envelope while wearing avant-garde fashion and performing memorable tunes: Prince.
He was born in 1958 in Minnesota. Prince's parents were already involved in the music scene - his father, John L. Nelson, was a jazz musician, and his mother, Mattie Shaw, was a jazz singer - and they helped him get early exposure. He released his first album at the age of 20 and became known for his raw, sensual lyrics. In 1985 he became an Academy Award winner: "Purple Rain" was his film debut, and it earned him many awards and accolades.
As the entity that was Prince became larger than life, he started to face troubles, including a name change: after having disputes with his recording label, he legally changed his name to a symbol so he could sign with a new label and release singles at the pace that he was requiring. On April 21, 2016, Prince suddenly passed away in his Minnesota home at the age of 57.
So do you think you can remember the lyrics to some of Prince's songs? Throw on that raspberry beret, rev up your little red Corvette, and head on out to the Grafitti Bridge!
If you're looking for an alternate version of Prince's "Darling Nikki," the Foo Fighters covered this song in 2003. When they approached Prince about releasing this version to American audiences, Prince refused to give them those rights, saying they should write their own songs. But then in 2007, he performed "Best of You," a Foo Fighter staple, to a Super Bowl crowd.
A memorable scene in the film "Pretty Woman" incorporated one of Prince's most recognizable songs. Julia Roberts's Vivian Ward performs an off-key performance of "Kiss" while soaking in a sudsy bathtub.
Prince had two songs on the soundtrack for Tim Burton's "Batman." The first, "Batdance," spent 12 weeks on the charts, reaching the number two slot at its zenith. The second, "Partyman," wasn't as successful, but it featured sound bites from both Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger, who played the Joker and Vicki Vale, respectively.
Originally performed by Sinead O'Connor, Prince and the New Revolution performed "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1993. Other artists have performed covers of this tune, including former Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell.
As part of the "Purple Rain" soundtrack, "Let's Go Crazy" hit number one and then re-charted following his death. Some fans have speculated that this song is about heaven and hell.
Unlike many of Prince's songs that are mainly about sex, "Little Red Corvette" was a song that encouraged a young woman to slow down and find a love that was worthy of her time and energy.
"7" was released on the "Love Symbol Album" in 1992, right after Prince had his fallout with Warner Bros. It was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best R&B video, losing to En Vogue's "Free Your Mind."
In addition to supplying the vocals to "U Got the Look," Sheena Easton, who performed with Prince as part of his band, The Revolution, has had many successes since the band broke up. She's had several different acting roles on television and portrayed Rizzo in a Broadway production of "Grease."
After the success of "Purple Rain," Prince released "Around the World in a Day." Under the guise of a pop song, "Pop Life" took a hard look at the culture of the hard-partying 1980s. Prince recorded this cynical and often overshadowed work that showcased his songwriting skills.
With a late spring release, "Raspberry Beret" was a perfect summer jam. Talking about a teenage crush and love, this funky song won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography.
If you're looking for an alternative to the last night on Earth party song, "1999," you can visit the version recorded by hippy band Phish. Released in 1982, "1999" was one of many songs discussing the end of the world: "99 Luftballoons" was released in 1983 by German artist Nena, and "It's the End of the World As We Know It" was released in 1987 by R.E.M.
At the time of the release of "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," Mayte Garcia, Prince's wife at the time, released "The Most Beautiful Boy in the World," which was recorded on the NPG label. After the release of that single, she performed on a handful of television shows.
In 1985, Prince was able to add an Academy Award to his mantle. "Purple Rain" won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song Score. Out of the nine tracks on this soundtrack, six of them are still popular today.
"Breakfast Can Wait" was a track off of Prince's "Art Official Age" album, released in 2014. This was the second collaboration between the Warner Bros. label and his NPG label. The first? 1995's "The Gold Experience."
As part of the "Purple Rain" soundtrack, "When Doves Cry" was certain to get some kind of radio attention. Unsurprisingly, when it came to the video, network executives were a little rattled: they thought that the video made to accompany this raw sensual song was a little too risque.
As the title track of Prince's 13th album, "Diamonds and Pearls" was a sweet song about a man pledging his love to his prospective mate. Contrary to its title, "Diamonds and Pearls" didn't promote materialistic gifts: it illustrated the desire to give the world to the one you love.
"Black Sweat" was released as a download first, before it came out as a track on Prince's album "3121." A live version of the track was Prince's last official release before he died in 2016.
After "Diamonds and Pearls," Prince wanted to shake things up instead of putting out something safe. The "Love Symbol Album" was released as a response and the first track didn't fail in this quest. With a title like "Sexy MF," there was no way that this song would get regular play on the radio unedited. A censored version of this song was created for broadcasting, where instead of saying the title, a signature Prince shriek was played.
A song off of the "Graffiti Bridge" soundtrack, "Thieves in the Temple" was one of the only good things to come from that experience. Rotten Tomatoes ranks "Graffiti Bridge" at a 19%, making it only slightly better than "Howard the Duck," which scores 15%.
Prince's 1991 "Diamonds and Pearls" album had a recurring theme: materialism doesn't matter, love does. "Money Don't Matter 2 Night" makes no exception, but in the case of this song, Prince also gets a little political: he briefly discusses a child fighting for oil, which many consider one of the main factors in the Gulf War.
The final track off of the "Purple Rain" soundtrack, "Take Me With U" took the 25 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and the 40 slot on the Billboard Hot Black Singles Chart.
"Cream" was a single from Prince's 1991 album, "Diamonds and Pearls." It won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Dance Video in 1992, beating out Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations" and En Vogue's "Never Gonna Get It."
Looking for an alternative version of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U"? Missing Persons' Dale Bozzio made a new remix of the song in 1999, Brit rocker Space Cowboy reinvented it in 2002, and most recently, Lydia Loveless added a country spin on it in 2015.
"'Sometimes It Snows in April" was a track off off Prince's "Under the Cherry Moon" soundtrack. "Under the Cherry Moon" was filmed in black and white, an homage to film noir. It featured Prince as well as Kristin Scott Thomas, who went on to get roles in "Gosford Park" and "The English Patient."
With a song titled "Controversy," it should be no surprise that Prince would prove that he was an expert in creating scandals and trouble wherever he went. Some of his controversies included minute things, like his use of makeup on stage (something that was unheard of until the 1980s), and later, his dispute with Warner Bros. would be something that any soap opera would admire.
Interesting fact: After seeing George Clinton & the Parliament-Funkadelic perform, Prince recorded "Erotic City." In 1996, George Clinton & the Parliament-Funkadelic performed a cover of that song. Kinda cool, huh?
"I Feel for You" was originally recorded by Prince on his debut album in 1979, however in the 1980s, Chaka Khan had immense success with this song: it spent 26 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked in the number three slot.
In 2017 the Love Symbol guitar, more than likely used to perform "My Name Is Prince," was set to be auctioned at Guernsey's Auction House. The opening bid? $100,000. Other items that had been auctioned in the past included boots, guitars and handwritten notes.
"For You" was Prince's debut album, featuring "So Blue," recorded in 1977. Prince obsessed over this project. Aside from the horn section, Prince played every instrument on the album.
"Soft and Wet," from Prince's debut album "For You," reached 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the first of many hits of his life. Not too bad for a first try!
"I Wanna Be Your Lover," which appeared on the album "Prince," was his first Top 40 hit on the Billboard charts. It made its way all the way up to the number 11 slot.
"When You Were Mine" was a track off of Prince's 1980 album "Dirty Mind." As a B-side to the more successful "Controversy," it gained more steam when performed by a different artist. Cyndi Lauper released "When You Were Mine" as the final single off of "She's So Unusual."
"How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore?" appeared on the soundtrack for the Spike Lee film, "Girl 6." Alicia Keys's "Songs in A Minor" featured a cover version that helped secure her as a mainstay in the R&B community.
While this is not 100% Prince, he collaborated with Madonna to create "Love Song," a sultry song on Madonna's album, "Like a Prayer." A song about a lover's quarrel, this duet insists that it isn't a love song throughout.
Because "Batdance" is part of the soundtrack for Tim Burton's "Batman," Prince was able to sample several lines from the movie. In its sister song, "Partyman," only a few lines were used; however about half of "Batdance" are lines from the film spliced together.