When it comes to Prince, all of his songs are essential. Hands down one of the most prolific musical geniuses of his generation, the Minneapolis icon gave us so many anthems that even in his absence it feels as if he's still here. From For You to HITnRUN Phase Two and everything in between, there are so many great tracks that we wanted to share our favorites beyond the classical pantheon with a list of covers and songs that he wrote for other artists.
Lena Dunham's Pick:
My boyfriend turned me on to this amazing performance by Tom Petty and Prince doing a cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which they played alongside George's son Dahni Harrison. I always think of Prince as a singer and a lyricist and I love that this clip shows what a virtuoso and tuned-in guitar player he was. His antics during this solo are so incredible that you can see Dahni smiling and nearly laughing, like "holy shit that's Prince!" Prince's red chapeau is just the cherry on top.
Jenni Konner's Pick:
I discovered this yesterday! Thank you Spotify. Wanting, needing to wallow in the world that is Prince – the first human to make me feel deeply sexual feelings just by performing – I went to Spotify. And, as always, it had a lesson to learn. This lesson was that my favorite feminist sex God had done a cover of my favorite feminist angel voice, Joni Mitchell. It was almost too much for me to take. Prince, Joni. It's like my heart has a Venn diagram. Oh how lucky we were to witness him.
Mikki Halpin's Pick:
People think of "Nothing Compares 2 U" as a Sinead O'Connor song, and her rendition of it is devastating, but Prince wrote it and often played it live. When he sang it he made it his own —and even made it joyful, especially in this clip of him performing with Mary J. Blige. I've been flipping back and forth between the two versions since I heard the news, and feeling both feelings. They both make me cry.
Laia Garcia's Pick:
"Waiting Room" is a little gem of a song buried all the way at the end of No Doubt's excellent – but underrated – Rock Steady. The first time I heard it, I immediately fell in love with it, the beats were well… FUNKY! And Gwen's singing was alternatively sassy and hopelessly-devoted-to-you-desperate. As I got older, especially, and actually had to deal with relationships, the song became a constant staple of my playlists, a piece of armor for my heart. The best part of listening to this song in my headphones is being able to hear Prince singing in the background, every single time a gift. s clip of him performing with Mary J. Blige. I've been flipping back and forth between the two versions since I heard the news, and feeling both feelings. They both make me cry.
Dianca London's Pick:
Radiohead's "Creep" has always been iconic, especially for those of us who can empathize with the experience of being an outsider or a "weirdo." The '93 chart-topper is one of the few songs that never fails to grab my attention whenever I hear it. My nearly lifelong affinity for the track was multiplied times a billion when I stumbled across Prince's 2008 cover of it. Performed at Coachella, Prince's reimagining of the grunge essential is pure impassioned genius. And no, it is not an exaggeration to say that watching the video of his performance (which was originally unavailable on YouTube) feels like a religious experience. Prince's "Creep," unlike its predecessor, is comprised of soul and the sort of yearning that could never be mistaken for mere angst or malaise. With each riff and lyric, it wields a redemptive and curative power. In his hands the song, much like the legend himself, is unforgettable.