Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Prince

Nothing Compares 2 U

First recorded by The Family (1985).
Hit version by Sinead O’Connor (US #1/UK #1/CAN #1/IRE #1/AUS #1 1989).
Also recorded by Prince & The New Power Generation (1993), fDeluxe (aka The Family) (2016).

From the wiki: “‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ was written and composed by Prince for one of his side projects, The Family. It was later made famous by Irish recording artist Sinéad O’Connor, whose arrangement was released as the second single from her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. This version, which O’Connor co-produced with Nellee Hooper, became a worldwide hit in 1990.

“The Family’s origins started with the disintegration of The Time in 1984. Lead singer Morris Day had left the band to pursue a solo career and guitarist Jesse Johnson became the de facto band leader. Prince invited the remaining members of The Time – Jellybean Johnson, Jerome Benton, and Paul Peterson – to his home and presented them with his new project. They agreed to become a new band called The Family, with Peterson renamed ‘St. Paul’ as the new frontman and bassist. The Family was a relatively important album in Prince’s musical career because it allowed him to test several musical concepts that he would later fully integrate in his music. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ appeared on the album but it was not released as a single, and received little recognition. (A mix of the song, featuring Prince on vocals, was released in 1993 under the guise of The New Power Generation.)

Manic Monday

First recorded (as a demo) by Apollonia 6 & Prince (1984).
Hit version by The Bangles (US #2/UK #2/CAN #2/IRE #2/GER #2/AUS #3 1986).

From the wiki: “‘Manic Monday’ was written by Prince, using the pseudonym ‘Christopher’. Originally intended for the group Apollonia 6 in 1984, he recorded it as a duet for Apollonia 6’s self-titled album. However, Prince eventually pulled the song. Two years later, he offered the song to The Bangles.

Betcha By Golly, Wow

First recorded (as “Keep Growing Strong”) by Connie Stevens (1970).
Hit versions by The Stylistics (US #3/R&B #2/UK #13 1972), Prince (US #31/R&B #10/UK #11 1996).

From the wiki: “Thom Bell and Linda Creed wrote the song that was originally recorded by Connie Stevens as ‘Keep Growing Strong’ and released on the Bell Records label in 1970 with no chart impact. But, the composition scored a hit when it was covered by the Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics in 1972 peaking in the US Top 10 and UK Top 20. (Surprisingly, Bell produced both the Stevens’ and Stylistics’ recording sessions.)