The 12 Best Singles by Prince

His Purple Majesty's Finest

American musician Prince (1958 - 2016) plays guitar as he performs at The Ritz during his 'Dirty Mind' tour - New York City, 1981.
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Prince Rogers Nelson is one of the most successful musicians of all-time, selling over 100 million records worldwide. He was one of the few entertainers to win a Grammy and an Oscar, and he was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prince achieved five No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, eight chart-topping singles on the R&B chart.

Prince passed away on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57. Take a look back at 12 of his greatest songs.

01
of 12

'When Doves Cry'

Prince
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Year released: 1984

From the album: "Purple Rain"

Key lyrics: "How can you just leave me standing alone in a world so cold, maybe I'm just too demanding, maybe I'm just like my father, too bold."

"When Doves Cry" was the first single from Prince's Purple Rain soundtrack which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The song also won an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single. It was the best selling single of 1984, selling over two million copies in the United States.

02
of 12

'Little Red Corvette'

Year released: 1983

From the album: "1999"

Key lyrics: "I guess I should've closed my eyes when you drove me to the place where your horses run free, Cuz I felt a little ill when I saw all the pictures of the jockeys that were there before me."

This song is about a man who's intimidated by being with a woman who is far more experienced in dating and sex. "Little Red Corvette" was Prince's first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 6.

03
of 12

'Let's Go Crazy'

Year released: 1984

From the album: "Purple Rain"

Key lyrics: "Let's go crazy, Let's get nuts, Let's look for the purple banana 'Til they put us in the truck."

A party song, but one that's filled with religious and spiritual overtones. "Let's Go Crazy" was among the songs Prince performed during his performance on Feb. 4, 2007 at Super Bowl 41 in Miami, Florida. "Let's Go Crazy" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, R&B, and Dance charts.

04
of 12

'1999'

Year released: 1982

From the album: "1999"

Key lyrics: "2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time/So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

The title tune of Prince's "1999" album became the ultimate party song, and has been covered by several artists, including Alicia Keys.

05
of 12

'Cream'

Year released: 1991

From the album: "Diamonds and Pearls"

Key lyrics: "Cream, Get on top/Cream, You will cop/Cream, Don't you stop."

A double entendre song with erotic and also motivational interpretations, "Cream" hit No. 1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

06
of 12

'Gett Off'

Year released: 1991

From the album: "Diamonds and Pearls"

Key lyrics: "Tonight you're a star—and I'm the Big Dipper."

A funky erotic gem from Prince that became his seventh No. 1 hit on the Billboard Dance chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

07
of 12

'7'

Year released: 1992

From the album: "Love Symbol"

Key lyrics: "All 7, we will watch them fall/They stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all/With an intellect, and a savoir-faire, No one in the whole universe will ever compare."

Appropriately, "7" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It features a sample of the 1967 Otis Redding/Carla Thomas duet, "Tramp."

08
of 12

'Erotic City'

Year released: 1984

From the album: "The Hits/The B-Sides (1993)"

Key lyrics: "If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time/Thoughts of pretty you and me, Erotic City come alive/We can (funk) until the dawn, making love 'til cherry's gone, Erotic City can't you see, thoughts of pretty You and me."

"Erotic City" was released as the B-side to the 1984 single "Let's Go Crazy." George Clinton covered "Erotic City" for the 1994 film "PCU."

09
of 12

'Purple Rain'

Year released: 1984

From the album: "Purple Rain"

Key lyrics: "I never wanted to be your weekend lover, I only wanted to be some kind of friend/Baby I could never steal you from another, it's such a shame our friendship had to end."

Prince kicked off his performance at the 46th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2004 singing his signature song, "Purple Rain," with Beyonce. The song won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

10
of 12

'Money Don't Matter 2 Night'

Year released: 1991

From the album: "Diamonds and Pearls"

Key lyrics: "Money don't matter tonight, it sure didn't matter yesterday/Just when you think you've got more than enough, that's when it all up and flies away."

The song explores how money, and the lack of, impacts society, leading to greed, and poverty. 

11
of 12

'Sign O' the Times'

Year released: 1987

From the album: "Sign O' the Times"

Key lyrics: "In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name, by chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same."

AIDS, drug abuse, gangs, war, and natural disasters are explored in this song. It became Prince's fifth number one single on the Billboard R&B chart. Chaka Khan covered the song on her 2007 album "Funk This."

12
of 12

'Alphabet St.'

Year released: 1988

From the album: "Lovesexy"

Key lyrics: "I'm goin' down... to Alphabet Street."

The term Alphabet St. is a euphemism for performing oral sex.

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