Prince -The 15 best remixes!

Prince - 15 Best Remixes - Header (apoplife.nl)

Introduction

As far back as 1979 Prince released remixes/’extended versions’/’alternate versions’ of his songs. As was the case with the B-sides, these versions have set many on an exciting search for (oftentimes rare) vinyl. Following the Prince – The 25 best live bootlegs! and Prince – The 15 best B-sides! articles, today the A Pop Life Panel presents the 15 best remixes.

What is a remix?

A remix is a (re)edited version of an existing piece of music. Originally, the remix stems from the world of reggae and became hugely popular around the time of the rise of dance music.

A remix can differ quite extensively from the original song, by adding musical codas, instruments, lyrics, rhythms, musical styles, etc. Generally speaking, remixes are done by others, as in the remixer oftentimes isn’t the same entity as the creator of the original song.

Prince - 12 Inch Volume 1 - Bootleg (discogs.com)

Prince – 12 Inch Volume 1 – Bootleg

Prince remixes

As stated above, Prince released his first remix as early as 1979. By and large, Prince remixed his own work himself and recorded additional instruments and/or vocals by himself as well.

For this article we interpreted the term ‘remix’ as ‘alternate version’, in other words, a version of a song that differed from the first release or album version of that particular song.

Obviously, one can probably debate on whether or not some choices fully cover the term ‘alternate version’, but that’s the liberty we have taken.

Prince - 12 Inch Volume 2 - Bootleg (discogs.com)

Prince – 12 Inch Volume 2 – Bootleg

Why a top 15?

In 2019 the A Pop Life Panel published the article Prince – The 25 best live bootlegs!, midway 2020 followed by Prince – The 15 best B-sides!. Putting together the lists/articles in combination with the many reactions and comments made us decide to do this again. So, now we can present our third article that has been put together by the A Pop Life Panel.

Bram, Edward, Herman, Leon, Rick and me went to work with great zeal and tried to compile our own personal top 15.

Before going to the list, some remarks:

  • The remix with the highest score won and so on. The points were calculated as follows:
    • Number 1: 15 points
    • Number 2: 14 points
    • Etc

    All points are added up, which results in the definitive list.

  • If more than 1 remix ends up with the same number of points, the sorting order is expanded with the date of the remix’s first release (old to new) and the song title (alphabetically).
  • The image and the date of release shown with each remix refers to the promotional advertisement for the first release of the remix in question, as much as possible.

With pride and sincere gratitude to Bram, Edward, Herman, Leon en Rick, we give you Prince’s 15 best remixes!

Prince And The Revolution - America - Single ad (diffuser.fm)

Prince And The Revolution – America – Single ad

1. America

(Extended Version, 10/02/1985)

Remarks

Bram America: a favorite for all eternity! Nevertheless, I always was a bit wary of this variant of this song. But re-listening has allayed my hesitation. I am amazed to hear more variety in this version than I thought was possible. Prince’s loud screaming is just so unbelievable again, the sloppy bass and the guitar parts not to be dismissed. Joy galore I say.
Edward The fourth and last single from the album Around The World In A Day. A considerably critical look at the USA, confirmed by the threatening underlying guitar work. Moreover: a sardonic attack on the United States, referring, among other things, to communism, the disturbing threat of nuclear war that was going on and the (already discussed at the time) less opportunities for people with an ethnic background. Lyrics that still matter. That being the reason the boy is depicted on the cover of the single with a dark skin color. The extended version on the 12-inch is notable for its running time of almost 22 minutes, even billed in the ad at the time as ‘terrifying’. Despite the serious tone lyrically, America is a wonderfully driven song, surprisingly enough keeping your interest going for 22 minutes through various guitar solos by the master.
Erwin The funk of America proves to be irresistible. Proto Revolution, proto 1985. The 22 minutes are all exctiing as hell. I wouldn’t have minded if it had lasted even longer!
Herman
Leon Prince to the max, almost 22 minutes of glorious jamming to a pulsating groove. Funky guitar, rock guitar, pounding staccato beat and lyrics that matter to top it off. Listen + repeat + listen + repeat…
Rick Almost 22 minutes long. It starts off like the album version, and then it turns into a long jam. It contains a guitar and keyboard solo. And a number of themes have been added.
Prince And The Revolution - Paisley Park - Single ad (stickitonyourwall.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Paisley Park – Single ad

2. Paisley Park

(Remix, 05/24/1985)

Remarks

Bram O man, the start of this song with that guitar… This is what an extended version should be like.
Edward The Around The World In A Day singles and B-sides benefited from ambitious remixes. Likewise, Paisley Park, released only in Europe, got a striking, unconventional adaptation. Paisley Park is Prince’s version of a 60’s ‘love in’, and an invitation to a (presumably) imaginary place. Well, not quite: 2 years later, his studio complex of the same name opened its doors. Despite the peaceful lyrics, the 12″ starts off with almost 2 minutes of screeching guitars over heavy drums. Followed by the message of peace and ending with strange animal sounds and ocean waves. A wonderfully bold remix.
Erwin The extras here hit all the right spots. Paisley Park belongs to the best within Prince’s entire body of work, but with the added screaching guitars it’s pure bliss!
Herman Whereas many of Prince’s ‘extended’ plays were ‘merely’ the original version and the album version ‘merely’ an edit, this is an actual extension mixed after the fact. But it SOUNDS like an original version and to me, it’s miles better than the original, which was already a perfect pop song. But there are some reasons this versions lifts above the rest; the crazy introductory voices, the soundscapes mixed into the song, but most of all, an amazing guitar solo that makes this song stretch time. This version has spent so much time on top of my favourite list, and was played on walk-mans so often, it is one I can play in my mind. Every time I play it, it stilll stretches time as it takes me places. It’s one of those songs that made me realise I love Prince better than any other artist and I never tire of hearing this. It’s a total joyful song to me.
Leon
Rick
Prince - Eye Wish You Heaven - Single ad (lansuresmusicparaphernalia.blogspot.com)

Prince – Eye Wish You Heaven – Single ad

3. I Wish U Heaven

(Part 1, 2 & 3, 09/20/1988)

Remarks

Bram In ’88 Prince couldn’t disappoint me once! And certainly not when he came up with this stunning 12″. Hypnotic and addictive at the same time.
Edward
Erwin A beautiful remix, that enriches the original song. The additions are a song in itself. The introduction of his blue Cloud gitaar is fantastic: “Say hello to my little friend, the Blue Angel!”.
Herman Prince’s recording studio Paisley Park was opened in 1987 and offered him a place to nurture his songs in ways he had not done before and behold; the first album to bear fruit was a funk gospel album that was produced in ways no other Prince album had been produced before. It gave Lovesexy its slick sound that Eric Leeds calls over-produced, but many, many fans rate this album as their favourite or, in my case, rate it highly for its insular sound in the Prince discography.
I Wish U Heaven is not one of the songs that has alternate versions floating around, like other songs from that era that were heavily worked on until they reached the released version, so the album version sounds like one of those songs Prince just poured onto tape as he heard it in his mind, but that is just conjecture on my part.
But then it became Lovesexy‘s last single and it got worked on extensively; the original song got a thicker beat and got called Part 1, and two extra Parts were recorded, which show Prince’s funky side, with soundbits that would make it into his 1988 live sets. Part 2 has got Prince name his Cloud guitar The Blue Angel and Part 3 incorporates an updated version of an earlier song called Take This Beat. And when he calls his own song “so fine”, I can do nothing else but agree; it’s funky and fine.
Leon This is almost like an opera, a story line with different characters, from sweet to gospel, from rock to funk with a shout-out to Scarface (how does someone even come up with it): “say hello to my little friend, the blue angel!”
Rick This is the odd one. It’s not a remix or extended version, but three songs flowing into each other. Pieces of these songs were also used in the Lovesexy tour.
Prince And The Revolution - Mountains - Single ad (ininet.org)

Prince And The Revolution – Mountains – Single ad

4. Mountains

(Extended Version, 05/21/1986)

Remarks

Bram The Revolution that keeps on playing. That’s just more than welcome. ‘Guitars and drums on the 1, HUGH!’
Edward The only bombastic song from the otherwise sparsely arranged Parade album. The generously applied spun version on the (white vinyl) 10-inch and 12-inch takes a whopping 10 minutes. It elaborates on the single but focuses more on an extensive range of instruments being reviewed. A true Revolution classic. Mountains is so delightfully pulsating, I can’t sit still when I hear the song.
Erwin The extended version of Mountains makes the song even more irresistible than it already is. The extended musical codas are all equally brilliant!
Herman
Leon
Rick To me this is nostalgic because this was the first Prince maxi single I bought and many more would follow. This is an example of the type of alternative versions that most appeal to me, the extended versions. Usually the track starts like the album version, and then it turns into a jam. The same goes for this version, it starts off like the album version and then flows into a jazzy instrumental improvisation of about six minutes.
Prince And The Revolution - Computer Blue performance in the movie Purple Rain (twitter.com/princemuseum)

Prince And The Revolution – Computer Blue performance in the movie Purple Rain

5. Computer Blue

(“Hallway Speech” Version, 06/23/2017)

Remarks

Bram
Edward The version that hardcore fans were waiting for for 30+ years: the full version with ripping guitars. Prince at the top of his game. Widely regarded as a masterpiece, this original unedited version features the infamous “Hallway Speech” comparing emotions to different rooms you walk into. Including an entertaining break in which Wendy & Lisa (rightly) state: ‘poor lonely computer, it is time someone programmed U’. Strangely enough, this song is not that far removed from the current world in terms of lyrics as it deals with the relationship between man and computer.
Afterwards a second edit followed (7:30 min) with the middle section W&L still intact but the speech had disappeared by now; I personally like that version even more in terms of dynamics and in that form, would have been perfect on the Purple Rain LP. Well, that not being an officially released version, I wasn’t allowed to choose that one. Prince originally came up with this version for the album until he recorded Take Me With U and it had to be edited down again in order to get that song on the LP. So a 3rd edit of Computer Blue followed which resulted in the existing 4 minute LP version where unfortunately much of the screaming guitar work was wiped out at the end to ensure a fast, dynamic transition to Darling Nikki.
Erwin The version, that was well known through bootlegging, finally saw its official releaase in 2017. Even though Prince denied it at the time, he really does sound like Hendrix here.
Herman
Leon Full on distortion, roaring guitars, raw vocals, the familiar Prince screams, I love it! Suddenly a piano melody emerges, great musical break and then we’re back at the roaring guitars again.
Rick At the time when this version was only available on bootleg, I already preferred it to the album version. It’s a longer, heavier and more guitar driven version. And when Prince is going wild on his guitar it’s always a good thing.
Prince And The Revolution - I Would Die 4 U - Single ad (lansuresmusicparapernalia.blogspot.com)

Prince And The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U – Single ad

6. I Would Die 4 U

(Extended Version, 12/19/1984)

Remarks

Bram
Edward This extended version of I Would Die 4 U is actually the first 10 minutes of a rehearsal jam of more than 30 minutes. In contrast to the short pop version on the album, this 12″ mix has a significant Caribbean touch with a lot of percussion, giving the song more energy, punch and character, considerably enhanced with an entire new live feel to it. It was a pleasant surprise in the winter of 1984 when this US remix came out on 12″ I remember.
Erwin Completely different version of I Would Die 4 U, which is more danceable than the original version, due to the many latin influences.
Herman
Leon Wow, this is a great energetic full-on song. The power of a live performance at the pinnacle of stardom.
Rick This is a nice long rehearsal version of the song. The percussion and the saxophone solo play the leading role in this version.
Prince - Thieves In The Temple - Single ad (pinterest.com)

Prince – Thieves In The Temple – Single ad

7. Thieves In The Temple

(Remix, 08/02/1990)

Remarks

Bram The extended part in this song really is incredible. That’s the part where the song really takes off. If I’m in the mood for Thieves In The Temple, then play me this version please!
Edward
Erwin The ultimate Thieves In The Temple version. The “You’ve done me wrong!” screams are spine tingling. Goosebumps, over and over again.
Herman As with Letitgo (and When Doves Cry, for that matter), Thieves In The Temple is the last recorded song for a new album that became its first single. Thieves In The Temple became a tantalising teaser for Graffiti Bridge, a failed movie and a soundtrack that for the first and only time featured other artists as well, something not often hailed as his best choice.
But it’s hard to fault Thieves In The Temple, which is a tight song and captures the overall sound of the album. The remix is a Prince production and doubles its playing time where Prince uses his voice in ways that I just love, using his lower register for the start of the ‘Moses’ vocal, and he screams and squeals his way through the extended bit. Love it.
Leon
Rick Ok, this version is called the remix, but it is something between a remix and an extended version. And that worked out well. It more or less starts off as the single version and then there is a long added part afterwards that makes it a lot more interesting than the album version.
Prince - U Got The Look - Single ad (lansuresmusicparaphernalia.blogspot.com)

Prince – U Got The Look (incl. Housequake 7 Minutes MoQuake) – Single ad

8. Housequake

(7 Minutes MoQuake, 07/21/1987)

Remarks

Bram This groove never tires, right? These seven minutes are a real treat. All bliss I say.
Edward Housequake is an explosion of funk, a Prince party of the highest order, with a hollow thumping beat. In addition, a declaration of independence from the recent past; it was recorded the day after the Revolution left. Prince experiments with a high pitched voice, the then new Camille character. Initially, Housequake was conceived for the Camille project in October 1986, which then became Crystal Ball, which eventually resulted in Sign O’ The Times. Specifically, this mix is a fairly instrumental take on the original mix which has a lot more vocals.
Erwin Can anyone ever hear enough Housequake?
Herman
Leon For anyone who doesn’t know what Prince funk entails, listen to Housequake… Prince will talk you through it. “Everbody jump up and down”… Nice for the neighbors when living in a flat.
Rick
Prince And The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy - Single ad (pinterest.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy – Single ad

9. Let’s Go Crazy

(Special Dance Mix, 08/29/1984)

Remarks

Bram
Edward One of the most exciting, if not the most electrifying Prince remix. This 12″ mix features a longer instrumental section in the middle with a drumming guitar riff, an atonal piano solo, some confused spoken word intros and deliciously digestible funk. Extremely danceable, dynamic and superfunky. This was my favorite 12-inch in 1984 b/w with the evenly funky Erotic City. You can read more about this 12″ HERE.
Erwin
Herman There aren’t many Prince albums I played more often than Purple Rain; I played it so often that I can play it in my mind; it was the album that made me a fan and for a tiny year it was the only Prince album I owned. Then seeing the movie blew my mind, as Let’s Go Crazy was longer than on the album! How amazing! It was only a short time later, when I started reading Uptown, when I found out that this longer version was the actual recorded song, which got then edited into the album version I knew so well.
It’s a total Revolution song; a total funk/rock stomper, but the ‘extended’ version is the version I play, when compared to the edit. It is the actual song. So, I only get to hear the album version when I play my vinyl copy of Purple Rain, but on my digital playlists it is all about the longer version.
Leon A classic, this version emphasizes the symphonics even more. This song is stuffed, the more you listen the more sounds/notes you’ll disover. After this song 1 minute of downtime is required… titled appropriately: Let’s Go Crazy (in a positive way).
Rick
Prince - Little Red Corvette (Pre-release 12-inch acetate given to Vanity by Prince) (pinterest.com)

Prince – Little Red Corvette (Pre-release 12-inch acetate given to Vanity by Prince)

10. Little Red Corvette

(Dance Remix, 02/09/1983)

Remarks

Bram My number 1 of this list. But why…? Those other 14 are just as good, right? It’s just the smallest things that I am drawn to… To begin with, those delightful sounds that I hear; the low bass at 6:40 minutes for example (first low in the mix at 5:20 minutes by the way). Those nice guitar licks, that crazy French accent, Prince’s incredible screaming, the cry for help… Insecurity, humour, desire and frustration. It is all there!
Edward After some daring releases, Little Red Corvette was just naughty enough for Prince to keep his edgy reputation, but radio-friendly enough to score a big hit. The metaphors with cars and horses were not understood by the average pop lover anyway. And with the newly emerging MTV and the carefully composed multi-racial band, Prince And The Revolution couldn’t go wrong anymore. Little Red Corvette‘s extended 8 1/2 minute mix is especially entertaining: towards the end, Prince is in a manic fear of losing his sweetheart. ‘Mayday Mayday!’
Erwin Prince sounds angry. I never was a particular fan of Little Red Corvette, but this version is outstanding. Great bass!
Herman
Leon
Rick
Prince - Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (napster.com)

Prince – Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic

11. Beautiful Strange

(Remix, 04/30/2001)

Remarks

Bram
Edward Psychedelica! A track by Prince that first appeared in 1998: beautifully mysterious & spooky at the same time, with an erratic screaming guitar in the background. Prince singing a bit anxious, even modest. Only a 5 minute video appeared, unfortunately nothing on record or CD. A big disappointment for me as a fan back then. Three years later, in 2001, Prince recorded a new version for the CD remix album Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic. Thank God.
Erwin
Herman Back in the day it was easy to miss this, as the original version was released on a video and this ‘remix’, basically an alternate mix, was released on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic‘s remix album, which was released without much fanfare and until its re-release last year it was basically a collector’s item.
The greatest shame is that this song wasn’t on the original album, as it is the prettiest song on both Rave albums combined; a bluesy work-out with amazing guitar work, a chilling vocal, delivering the kind of lyrics I love Prince for. Never fails to give me goosebumps. And the kinda song that makes non-fans go “What is THIS?” every time I put it on mixtapes.
Leon Psychedelic, flowing like a lava lamp. A bit obscure even… this is not for everyone, but I think it’s a real late night song… Might have lasted half an hour: close your eyes and drift away.
Rick
Prince - Let's Work - 12 inch (eil.com)

Prince – Let’s Work – 12 inch

12. Let’s Work

(Dance Remix, 02/17/1982)

Remarks

Bram Those bass parts! That groove! ‘WORK IT! WORK IT!’
Edward
Erwin The first Prince remix that actually contributed to the song, not merely an extended version, but extra music and lyrics that enhances the song.
Herman
Leon Definitely 1 of the greatest basslines I know, stripped down funk and still (or it it because of it) extremely catchy. Keep on working!
Rick This is also a more or less longer version than a real remix. Let’s Work‘s fat bass line alone is a good reason to justify this longer version.
Prince - The Future - Single promo cd (sleevographia2.free.fr)

Prince – The Future – Single promo cd

13. The Future

(Remix, 05/18/1990)

Remarks

Bram
Edward
Erwin
Herman This song was one of the biggest reason why I love the Batman soundtrack; The Future is as haunting a commentary as Sign O’ The Times was, with a relentless beat (that was used on the Nude Tour‘s opening medley) and Prince delivering a drop-dead amazing synthesizer landscape, layered with countless subtle soundbits that make it a joy to listen to on headphones. And one of the best utilizations of Clare Fisher orchestrations in a Prince song outside of the Parade era album and outtakes.
So if a remix builds on that and comes out as strong as the original; nothing short of amazing. The best remixes not done by Prince are the ones that take the core of the song, but then transcend it into its own genre. And that is what this one does, it replaces the original beat and most synthesizer work with a new relentless beat, fit for dancefloors. An amazing job by William Orbit.
Leon
Rick Around the Batman album and beyond, more and more remixes, instead of extended versions, of songs were released. For me, most of those remixes don’t add much to the original. Most of them aren’t that good or interesting and I don’t listen to them often. But I like this remix, it’s a different but cool edition of the original version. And to make sure there are not only extended versions in my top 15, I place this one at the number four position.
Prince - The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale (discogs.com)

Prince – The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale

14. She Spoke 2 Me

(Extended Remix, 08/24/1999)

Remarks

Bram
Edward
Erwin
Herman A brilliant track, hidden away on a Spike Lee soundtrack in an edited form, but later unleashed in its luscious longer form on ‘throw-away’ album The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale, an album Prince sent to Warner Brothers to fulfill his contract and got not much exposure at all, even though many tracks on this album are awesome and fit very well in Prince’s discography and deserve more plays.
This longer version of the song is a joyous, sexy, sultry NPG band effort, and even though most band members get their own chance to show their skills, it shows why Prince was such a fan of Sonny T. on the bass.
And I do not know who to thank for that sexy horn arrangement, but it’s swell and the horn section on this song is one of the reasons why the NPG live was so awesome in the early ’90s.
Leon
Rick What makes this version better than the original released version is that this version is a lot longer and there are additional breaks and solos added to the track. To me it makes this version more interesting to listen to.
Prince And The Revolution - Raspberry Beret - Single ad (lansuresmusicparapernalia.blogspot.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Raspberry Beret – Single ad

15. Raspberry Beret

(New mix, 06/19/1985)

Remarks

Bram The ultimate single from Around The World In A Day. No wonder it was a big hit. Thank God it also exists in an ultimate long version.
Edward
Erwin
Herman I realise that my top 15 is Around The World In A Day-heavy; Prince And The Revolution were in a creative growth spurt after Purple Rain and it gave us so many pearls that it is not strange there are some more from the era than any other.
Raspberry Beret is a timeless song in its album edit, but this is seemingly the actual version Prince And The Revolution recorded in 1984, based on an earlier Prince solo version. But the vibe with The Revolution, in this case with Lisa Coleman, was extraordinary, and it creates a playful song with added layers and playful coughs. It sounds weird when you try to put it in words, so best you play this. And sing along, cuz it’s that kinda song.
Leon
Rick

 

Interpretation and justification

So, there it is: the 15 best Prince remixes according to the A Pop Life Panel. Of course, there are things to be said about the list.

Prince - 15 Best remixes - Graph - Results (apoplife.nl)

Prince – 15 Best remixes – Graph – Results

Numbers

Out of over 180 remixes/’alternate versions’ a total of 43 were nominated for inclusion in the top 15. What immediately stands out is that none of the remixes has been nominated by all 6 members. With previous A Pop Life Panel articles consensus, especially when talking about the top 3 nominations, was much higher.

Prince - 15 Best remixes - Graph - Decade overview (apoplife.nl)

Prince – 15 Best remixes – Graph – Decade overview

Decades

Of all releases and nominations by decade, the majority stems from the 1980s, well, for the top 15 anyway. When all nominations are totaled the difference between the 1980s and 1990s is much smaller. Also nice to see that both decades in the current century have also led to nominations, even if the 2017 nomination, Computer Blue – “Hallway Speech” Version, should in fact be counted as a 1984 entry.

Prince - 15 Best remixes - Graph - 1980s overview (apoplife.nl)

Prince – 15 Best remixes – Graph – 1980s overview

1980s

No less than 3 nominations in the eventual top 15 stem from 1985, making that year the purveyor of all remixes, followed by 1984 and 1990 with 2 nominations each.

When looking at the total score (the top 15 and the rest) 1985, 1988 and 1994 have 4 nominations each, followed by 1986, 1987, 1990 and 2001 with have 3 nominations each.

Points

As can be seen in the complete list below, the number 1 and 2 positions are undisputed, for both have a 50(+) points score.

Of all the A Pop Life Panel members, 67% of Erwin’s nominations ended up in the top 15, followed by Bram, Edward and Rick (60%) and Herman and Leon (53%).

The complete list

For everyone that just can’t get enough, below the complete list, sorted by the number of points, release date and song title, can be viewed. Click the text below to show the complete list.

The individual lists

All lists come with personal commentary, remarks and memories. All lists are enclosed below. Click on one or more lines below.

In closing

A Pop Life Panel

Just like our previous A Pop Life Panel articles Prince – The 25 best live bootlegs! and Prince – The 15 best B-sides!, we had a great time compiling this list. My sincere thanks to all involved!

Of course we are curious about reactions, remarks, compliments and your opinions. Use the comment form at the bottom of this article and get in touch. It truly is highly appreciated!

We have plans to publish more of this kind of articles in the future. Should you have wishes or suggestions, we’d love to hear them. Please be so kind as to report them by clicking the mail icon on the A Pop Life Panel page.

N.B.:
English translation of the individual lists were made by the respective A Pop Life Panel members themselves (with the exception of Leon’s list).

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince -The 15 best remixes!. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

More Prince?

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!