7 Hits Prince Wrote for Badass Female Singers

For all the number-one singles Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Adele churn out, the pop world is still incredibly male-dominated behind the scenes — often in twisted and unhealthy ways, as Kesha’s recent legal troubles have proven.

Prince — who just reportedly passed away at the age of 57 — was the rare male musician who encouraged women to become musicians in their own right. Even when artists covered his songs, there was space for them to make each track fully their own. But it wasn’t always so simple.

Here are 7 awesome songs that Prince collaborated on with iconic female musicians, along with some of the sometimes weird, sometimes cool, sometimes creepy stories that took place during the process of making them.

1. Madonna

Prince and Madonna dueted on “Love Song,” a track off her 1988 album, Like a Prayer, and then, in 2005, when Madonna used lyrics directly from the song for an updated new jam called “Hung Up.” The pop stars reportedly dated for a bit in 1985, but ended up making headlines for a nastier type of relationship. In 1994, Madonna threw shade at Prince in an interview, calling him a “little troll,” after recounting a story where he wouldn’t eat at a dinner date.

“He was just sipping tea, very daintily,” she said. “I have this theory about people who don’t eat. They annoy me.”

Then at a concert in 2007, Prince talked shit about Madonna.

“I got so many hits y’all can’t handle me,” he bragged. “I got more hits than Madonna’s got kids.”

But the two apparently squashed the beef by 2011, Rolling Stone reported, when Madge attended a Prince concert and he gave her a friendly shoutout during his set. She also just Instagrammed a throwback photo of the two of them, captioned, “He Changed The World!! A True Visionary. What a loss. I’m Devastated.”

2. Sinead O’Connor

Prince really wrote some of the best breakup music, and this track he wrote for Sinead O’Connor is no exception. But the road to recording wasn’t so simple, apparently. In an interview with Norwegian radio station NRK, Sinead described her experience working with the artist.

“He summoned me to his house after ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’ I made it without him. I’d never met him. He summoned me to his house — and it’s foolish to do this to an Irish woman — he said he didn’t like me saying bad words in interviews. So I told him to fuck off,” Sinéad said. She added that things quickly became physical between the two: “He got quite violent. I had to escape out of his house at five in the morning. He packed a bigger punch than mine.”

3. Sheila E.

Sheila E. was a Prince’s protégée in the 80s, and also his ex-fiancee. Prince wrote “The Glamorous Life,” a song that propelled the songstress to fame, and then soon ended up causing a few more issues for Sheila. In 2014, she opened up to ET about some of her time spent with Prince, which started out as a mutual romantic and creative relationship, then spiraled her into bankruptcy.

In her memoir, she details how the relationship started to go sour during the Purple Rain tour, especially as the headlining singer was constantly partying and surrounded by a “harem” of women. When they finished, she was hit with the bill for all the expenses that tour management had made no prior mention of. She ended up owing over a million dollars.


4. Cyndi Lauper

This track is a b-sides from Cyndi’s breakthrough album She’s So Unusual. She covered this one instead of working directly with Prince, so any potential issue was avoided.


5. Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks worked with Prince after breaking up from her band Fleetwood Mac, and recorded “Stand Back,” which ended up being a hit. Prince did the synths for the song, and even sent her the demo for Purple Rain afterwards. Nicks recalls that she was taken completely aback by the song.

“It was so overwhelming,” Stevie said. “I listened to it and I just got scared. I called him back and said, ‘I can’t do it. I wish I could. It’s too much for me.’ I’m so glad that I didn’t, because he wrote it, and it became ‘Purple Rain.’”

Nicks also mentioned a night the two spent together after a Fleetwood Mac concert, where Prince tried to Prince her by driving her really fast in his purple Camaro.

“We get into his purple Camaro and bomb out onto the freeway at 100 m.p.h. I’m terrified, but kind of excited too,” she recalled, but quickly added that things stayed platonic. “I get on the plane and the rest of the band are like [drum fingers, rolls eyes],” she laughed. “I’m like, ‘What? Nothing happened.’”


6. TLC

This song covers a different kind of Prince song. The singer apparently had a female alter-ego named Camille, a moniker that he wrote a full album under, but never released. One of the songs, “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” was covered by 90s girl group TLC later on. You may also recognize the song from a Beyoncé sample in her duet with hubby Jay Z, “03 Bonnie and Clyde.”

7. Chaka Khan

Originally written for another singer named Patrice Rushen, “I Feel for You” is a song that ended up making both Prince and Chaka Khan super famous.

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