PRINCE (1958 - 2016)

By Mark Nobes

2016 is certainly going to be remembered as an annus horribilis. So many big stars that we all grew up with are now only in our memories - David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Paul Daniels, Terry Wogan, Glenn Frey, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood. Alas, on April 21st 2016 we lost another, this time it was a true pop megastar, Prince Nelson Rogers, aged just 57. 

During his comprehensive pop music career, the musician was known by many names - one of them being a symbol - but in the 80's, he was, thankfully, just known as Prince.

His discography is colossal, and includes 39 studio albums, over 100 singles and 3 live albums. In between the quite brilliant song-writing, Prince also managed to perform in 28 tours.

Prince on the cover of Record Mirror 24 Nov 1984
Record Mirror 24th Nov 1984

Prince in the 80s

Prince's musical career started in 1978, but his first UK success came in 1983 with the first release of the single and album 1999. The single was even more successful when it was re-released in 1985 and reached No.2 in the UK charts. It was re-released again in time for the 1999 New Year celebrations, although would only just scrape into the Top 40 in the UK.

Real UK success came in 1984 with the Purple Rain soundtrack album. It featured the hit single When Doves Cry, which is one of my personal favourites, and also Prince's biggest US hit single. The album also featured Let's Go Crazy which also reached No.1 in the U.S. Also released as singles were the title-track Purple Rain and I Would Die 4 U.

Prince's success continued throughout the 1980's with five more albums. In 1985 he released the hit album Around The World In A Day which featured the hit singles Raspberry Beret (No.2 - U.S.) and Paisley Park which was also a Top Ten U.S. Hit.

1986 saw the release of the next hit studio album Parade. The first single Kiss shot to No.1 on the Billboard Top 100 in the U.S. At the same time, Manic Monday by the Bangles - which was written by Prince under the name "Christopher" - also went to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Two more highly successful albums Sign O' The Times (1987) and Lovesexy (1988) went platinum in the U.K.

In 1989 Prince released the Batman soundtrack album which featured the hit singles Batdance, Partyman and The Arms Of Orion (with Sheena Easton).

Prince was renowned for keeping tight control of his catalogue, and refused to release his albums to Spotify or upload any official videos on to Youtube. Of those that are available, you are quite likely to find that the sound has been wiped off them by Universal.

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Best-Selling Prince Albums in the 80s

1. Purple Rain (1984) - 13x Platinum US

2. 1999 (1983) - 4x Platinum US

3. Batman Soundtrack (1989) - 2x Platinum US

4. Sign Of The Times (1987) - 2x Platinum US

5. Around The World In A Day (1985)

6. Parade - Music From The Motion Picture (1986)


Released as the lead single from the Purple Rain album, this single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark off the top spot. Over two millions copies of the single were sold. Rolling Stone magazine once listed the track at #52 in their feature "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". When Doves Cry peaked at #4 in the UK.


This was the second single to be released from the 1984 album Purple Rain. It was Prince's second consecutive single to reach No.1 in the U.S. and was the opening track on both the album and the film Purple Rain. In the UK this was released as a double-A side along with Take Me With U and reached #7.


This was the lead single from the album Around The World In A Day, reaching #25 in the UK and #2 in the U.S. The song was first recorded in 1982, but was re-worked by Prince and The Revolution for this single release. The American B-side was a rock 'n' roll track entitled She's Always In My Hair, whilst in the UK a different track was included entitled Hello

Other artists who have released Prince songs as singles during the 1980s

Chaka Chan - I Feel For You (1984) #1

The Bangles - Manic Monday (1986) #2

Age Of Chance - Kiss (1987) #50

Taja Sevelle - Wouldn't You Love To Love Me? (1988) #59

Tom Jones ft. Art Of Noise - Kiss (1988) #5

Simple Minds - Sign O' The Times (on the Amsterdam EP) (1989) #18

And although this was released in 1990, I just had to mention Sinead O' Connor with Nothing Compares 2 U which reached #1.

Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain poster advert July 1984 from Smah Hits

Poster advert for Purple Rain album from Smash Hits 19 July - 1 Aug 1984

Prince Dirty Mind

Dirty Mind (1980) 

Prince - Controversy (1982)

Controversy (1981) 

Prince 1999 (1982 album sleeve)

1999 (1982)

Prince Purple Rain album

Purple Rain (1984) 

Prince Around The World in a Day (1985) album

Around The World in a Day (1985) 

Prince - Parade Music from the motion picture Cherry Moon (1986)

Parade - Music from the motion picture Cherry Moon (1986) 

Prince - Sign O' The Times (1987) album

Sign O' The Times (1987) 

Prince - Lovesexy (1988) album sleeve

Lovesexy (1988) 

Batman (1989) 


Prince on the front cover of Sky Magazine June 1987