By Amanda Wicks
With the shocking news that Prince passed away at the age of 57 on April 21st comes an immense outpouring of emotion across all social media channels. On Twitter alone, news of Prince’s death amassed over 800,000 tweets in a matter of minutes.
To say Prince was a game changer would be an understatement. His influence reached far and wide, impacting artists of his own time and those who would eventually come after, as well as all music genres. Here are 10 covers that detail Prince’s immense influence.
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”
The ways in which Irish singer Sinead O’Connor pushed boundaries mirrored Prince’s own label-defying artistry. She recorded his original composition “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1990, but the song first appeared on the 1985 album The Family, released by Paisley Park Records.
The Goo Goo Dolls, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”
Alt-rock band Goo Goo Dolls may have made their mark in the 1990s with a series of angsty hits that showcased John Rzeznik’s throaty vocals, but they changed pace with a cover of Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.” The song appears on the band’s third studio album Hold Me Up, and keeps the fast-paced rhythm while integrating a larger rock feel.
LeAnn Rimes, “Purple Rain”
Country crooner Leann Rimes might seem to share little in common with Prince, but she covered one of his most famous songs “Purple Rain” on her third studio album Sittin’ On Top of the World. With a country-leaning guitar, and Rimes’ voice swinging in and out of her southern accent, it lends the song an entirely different style.
Mariah Carey, “Beautiful Ones” feat. Dru Hill
A collaboration between Carey and Dru Hill for her sixth studio album Butterfly, the pop diva slowed things down for her take on Prince’s “Beautiful Ones.” The cover doesn’t stray far from the original, although it does incorporate the slick R&B styles that were influencing the decade’s end, and Carey’s unique vocals provide it with an overall airy feel.
Tom Jones, “Kiss”
The “What’s New Pussycat” singer himself covered Prince’s iconic tune “Kiss,” maintaining the underlying sexuality that fuels the song. Even though Jone’s cover does away with the song’s inherent eroticism that Prince so effortlessly infused into the entire composition, his take is a lighthearted if slightly cheesy cover that nonetheless shows off just how widely Prince’s influence reached.
The Bangles, “Manic Monday”
As much as he was adept at writing his own hit singles, Prince showed how attuned he was to the 1980s pop atmosphere when he wrote “Manic Monday” and gave it to The Bangles. He kept his influence hidden, though, using the pseudonym Christopher instead. From its bouncy rhythms to the piano that keeps the melody moving forward, the song has Prince’s touch all over it.
Phish, “Purple Rain”
Jam band Phish turned the icon’s legendary song “Purple Rain” into a thoughtful, roving cover that exceeds 6 minutes. Trey Anastasio begins the song with a more staid attitude, but that quickly changes halfway through as the band incorporates different vocal sound effects and noises to transform the sound into an animalistic endeavor.
D’Angelo, “She’s Always in My Hair”
Appearing on the Scream 2 soundtrack, D’Angelo’s cover of “She’s Always in My Hair” skillfully transforms the funky jam into something befitting a horror movie thanks to chords that bend and shift to feel slightly chilling. With D’Angelo’s trademark vocals whirling around the melody, the R&B singer shone a new light on the song.
Alicia Keys, “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore”
Another R&B singer, Keys’ powerful vocals and piano prowess interpret Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” with her usual flare. Her impressive vocal runs alone are enough to twist Prince’s ballad into a blend of pop and R&B flash that still exhibits the immense impact longing can have over someone.
Patti Smith, “When Doves Cry”
Smith’s alto voice maintain the restrained emotional quality that launched Prince’s song “When Doves Song,” but the pulsing guitar and her straightforward vocals infuse the song with an electric folk/punk quality that keep things surprisingly subdued. Smith’s cover appeared on her 2002 compilation album Land.