04/21/2016 06:49 EDT | Updated 04/21/2016 06:52 EDT

Prince Songs That Meant Everything

Long live the sexual and spiritual, masculine and feminine mortal formerly known as Prince.

Prince has left us for the after world, a place he described in "Let's Go Crazy" as a world of never ending happiness where U can always see the sun, day or night. But there's something else he left us, his music, which will be around forever, and that's a mighty long time.

Prince Rogers Nelson was all things. He was sexual and spiritual, masculine and feminine. A singer who could play every instrument. A world citizen who stayed in his Minneapolis hometown. An anti-corporate rebel who recorded a "Batman" album. A radio star prone to releasing double albums.

An artist formerly known as a symbol, who made rock, R&B, soul, jazz and funk, and convinced us all it was pop because, of course, it was.

He was sexual and spiritual, masculine and feminine.

A week before Prince died, he performed what would be his final show in Atlanta. His final song was "Purple Rain," a moment that now seems almost as perfectly scripted as when a downpour erupted during his performance of the same song at that Super Bowl halftime show.

But Prince lived his life like he was starring in his own movie — who else would follow two shows in one night in Toronto last month with an eight-song afterparty set at 4:15 a.m.? It made sense, since it was his semi-autobiographical film "Purple Rain" that transcended him into a superstar who could seemingly never dim. Until now.

Here's a look at some of the songs that define Prince's musical legacy and will continue to be ingrained in the soundtrack of all our lives.

"I Wanna Be Your Lover"

This 1979 disco jam from Prince's self-titled second album was his first proper hit, topping R&B charts and kissing the top 10. It introduced his falsetto and outre sexuality, promising listeners "there ain't no other / that can do the things that I'll do to you."

"I Feel For You"

The first of many Prince songs to be famously covered by others. Chaka Khan's smash version five years after the original would later earn the Purple One yet another Grammy to display at Paisley Park.

"Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad"

Prince may have emerged from the disco-funk scene, but he would become one of the world's greatest rock guitarists of his generation. This 1980 hit was our first taste of what he could do with his axe.


Reveling in his dichotomies and the rumours about his fluid sexuality, Prince tackled the public whispers on this 1981 funk jam that asks "Am I black or white? / Am I straight or gay?" living up to its title by detouring into the Lord's Prayer.


It may be a call to arms for anyone who has ever partied, but it's actually a Cold War relic from 1982 about the fear of nuclear holocaust: "Yeah, everybody's got a bomb / We could all die any day / But before I'll let that happen / I'll dance my life away."

"Purple Rain"

The song, yes, but also the whole album. It's the platonic idea of a movie soundtrack. Backed by band The Revolution, Prince begins with the famous opening line of "Let's Go Crazy" — "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today." Every song that follows is perfect, from the dirty-minded "Darling Nikki" to the tear-jerking "Beautiful Ones," to the untouchable, bassline-free "When the Doves Cry" and that title track that is now synonymous with epic.

"Sign o' the Times'

Prince digs into the dark side of the 1980s, singing about AIDS, crack, heroin, gun-toting teens, urban poverty and even the Challenger explosion.


Women, not girls, rule Prince's world on this indelible falsetto pop jam that pretty much every person in the world can sing the chorus to.


Yes, it's a novelty song. It's also the best novelty song.


My personal favourite of Prince's lesser-known hits comes from his early '90s days. He dabbles in Middle-Eastern sounds and brings back the apocalyptic imagery of "1999" with a more biblical bent. Indeed, Prince had a savoir-faire that "no one in the whole universe / will ever compare."

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