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On Friday, which would have been his 61st birthday, Prince gives us a gift from the afterlife: “Originals,” a collection of songs written by the revolutionary legend that were first released by other artists. The album is exclusively available on Tidal until going wide on June 21.
We break down who did it better on five tunes:
Cooing with a coquettish falsetto over the sleazy groove, Prince is straight-up sexier than all three members combined in Apollonia 6, who sang this come-on in the “Purple Rain” movie released 35 summers ago.
With a beast of a beat, this was a “Purple Rain” highlight right up there with the Prince and the Revolution stuff. His Purple Majesty clearly laid down the funk for the Time to follow, but Morris Day brought his own special chili sauce to make this one his own.
Winner: the Time
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It’s refreshing to hear Prince sounding so relaxed and carefree on his demo of The Bangles’ 1986 hit, but Susanna Hoffs — who was romantically linked to the songwriter — and her all-girl band radiate a certain sunniness that takes this tune to the pop heavens.
Winner: The Bangles
“The Glamorous Life”
This saxed-up jam became a hit for Prince protégée Sheila E. in 1984, but his demo, which sets a vocal flow that she would closely reference, isn’t produced enough to fairly compare the two versions. What’s definitely missing, though, is her fierce, funky drumming that made this an epic percussion workout.
Winner: Sheila E.
“Nothing Compares 2 U”
The psychedelic soul of Prince’s demo easily beats the take on this tune that was first released by Minneapolis band the Family in 1985. Of course, the most famous version of this song is the one that became a No. 1 smash for Sinéad O’Connor in 1990.