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Top 10 Prince B-Sides of All Time

Prince
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Prince has often placed his most personal, and some of his best songs as B-sides. Although these Top 10 Prince B-sides of All Time were not initially released on any Prince album, on their own or listened to as a compilation, they are classics and must-haves — not only for a Prince fan, but also for any fan of great music. The following B-sides are listed in chronological order starting with the 1982 release of 'How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore' and closing with the 1989 release of 'I Love U in Me.' Enjoy!


Prince 1999

'How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore'

 
 

Released: Sept. 24, 1982; B-side of '1999' Single


Prince recorded this B-side at Sunset Sound Studios in L.A. during the making of the '1999' album. This one is a beautiful four-chord progression acoustic piano ballad that showcases Prince’s vocals and lyrics. A touch of jazz and a healthy dose of Gospel make this an instant Prince classic. Although a B-side, Prince performed 'How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore' live during the 1999 and Purple Rain tours and continues to play it today.

 
Prince Let's Pretend We're Married

'Irresistible B-----'

 
 

Released: Nov. 23, 1983; B-side of 'Let’s Pretend We’re Married'


The original version of 'Irresistible B-----' was recorded in December 1981 soon after Prince started exclusively using the Linn LM-1 drum machine. The song begins with a 40-second instrumental funk of bass and drums before Prince begins to share all the things he likes about this irresistible girl. He can’t stop thinking about her -- even though his friends suggest he let her go -- as he explains, "they don't know the things you do to me when we're alone." A great, sparse Prince funk track with a stellar bass line. Not only a Top 10 Prince B-side, but a Prince classic.

 
Prince When Doves Cry

'17 Days'

 
 

Released: May 16, 1984; B-side of 'When Doves Cry'


The original demo of '17 Days' was recorded in 1983 with Brenda Bennett on vocals at Prince’s home studio in Minneapolis. Just like 'Irresistible B----,' '17 Days' starts with 40 seconds of pure funk, driven by a drum machine and bass line with two guitar chords, before Prince expresses his loneliness and desire for his girl whose been away for “17 days and 17 long nights." The song is also a preview to Prince’s interest in the cleansing power of rain as he sings “let the rain come down, let the rain come down."

 
Prince Let's Go Crazy

'Erotic City'

 
 

Released: July 18,1984; B-side of 'Let's Go Crazy'


This is a classic Prince funk track driven by a drum machine beat, a thumping bass and some nice rhythm guitar. 'Erotic City' is one of the first songs in which Prince speeds up his vocal track under his pseudonym Camille. Sheila E. joins Prince on the chorus: "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." Although played on radio stations, there is some debate among Prince fans if the lyric is “funk”, or another four-letter word.

 
Prince I Would Die 4 U

'Another Lonely Christmas'

 
 

Released: Nov. 28, 1984; B-side of 'I Would Die 4 U'


A definitive blues influence is apparent in 'Another Lonely Christmas.' You will also note a definite echo effect on Prince’s vocals in the song, which is the reason why he rarely performs it live. Particularly unusual for Prince, the song kicks off with the chorus. On the fifth verse, Prince sings the noteworthy lyric: "My mama used to say always trust your lover / But now I guess that only applies to her / 'Cause baby, you promised me / Baby, you promised me / you'd never leave / Then you died on the 25th day of December."

 
Prince Raspberry Beret

'She's Always in My Hair'

 
 

Released: May 15, 1985; B-side of 'Raspberry Beret'


'She's Always in My Hair' is an upbeat rock song that was reportedly inspired by Jill Jones. Prince delivers a great guitar hook that, when performed in live shows, always extends into an amazing solo that brings down the house. 'She's Always in My Hair' utilizes a high-pitched organ and the Linn LM-1 drum machine to accompany the amazing guitar work. You can hear the beginnings of some material that made it onto 'Around the World in a Day' and 'Parade.'

 
Prince America

'Girl'

 
 

Released: Oct. 2, 1985; B-side of 'America'


Prince originally recorded this tune at his in-home studio in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1982. 'Girl' marks a beautiful, blues-inspired Prince song with a fairly stripped-down, basic arrangement. In many ways, 'Girl' was a precursor to 'Scandalous,' which would come many years later on the 'Batman' album.

 
Prince Mountains

'Alexa De Paris'

 
 

Released: May 7, 1986; B-side of 'Mountains'


'Alexa De Paris' was recorded at Washington Avenue Warehouse in Minneapolis, Minn. in July 1985. This track is a great instrumental by Prince with wonderful guitar work and a drum solo by Sheila E.; Clare Fischer’s orchestra is also featured on the song. 'Alexa De Paris' builds in intensity, as the tempo gradually increases until the crescendo, when Prince rips the guitar and Sheila drops her drum solo. The song then slows it back down to its original tempo, leaving us screaming for more.

 
Prince Partyman

'Feel U Up'

 
 

Released: Sept. 15, 1989; B-side of 'Partyman'


The original demo of 'Feel U Up' was recorded in 1981. The released version is an updated version recorded at Sunset Sound in L.A. in October 1986 during the 'Camille' sessions. Although some prefer the original version of 'Feel U Up' that was recorded in 1981 -- whose synthesizer line was later used on Newpower Soul’s 'Eye Like Funky Music' -- some still prefer the funkier, revamped version with horns. Either way, this song is certainly a front-runner for the Top 10 Prince B-sides of All Time.

 
Prince The Arms of Orion

'I Love U in Me'

 
 

Released: Oct. 16, 1989; B-side of 'The Arms Of Orion'


'I Love U in Me' was recorded during the period Kim Bassinger moved in with Prince in Minneapolis. A few days after this recording session, the duo recorded the classic 19-minute, three-part extended version of 'Scandalous' entitled 'The Scandalous Sex Suite.' Although some may claim 'I Love U in Me' is saccharin and not a true Prince classic ballad, the lyrics and the fact it was written about Prince’s romance with Kim Massinger help spring this keyboard ballad into the Top 10 Prince B-Sides of All Time.

 

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