FROM WARNER BROS.
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Story highlights

Prince's legacy: Five No. 1 songs. Twelve Top 10 hits. Four No. 1 albums.

Recall just a few of his major singles: "1999," "Purple Rain," "Little Red Corvette" and "Alphabet Street"

CNN —  

When a musician dies, interest in his or her catalog skyrockets. Imagine that response on steroids now that Prince has passed away.

Five No. 1 songs. Twelve Top 10 hits. Four No. 1 albums. All over a career that spanned almost 40 years.

But if you’re trying to stream Prince, good luck. Even as the Beatles gave in, Prince was among a handful of holdouts who fiercely dictated how you could access his work – unless you’re a subscriber to hip-hop mogul Jay’s Z’s music service, Tidal.

In 2015, he pulled his ample collection of music from Spotify and other services. In a tweet on June 25, he said: “Essentially, streaming has offered labels the ability to pay themselves twice while reducing what is owed to artists.”

Or you could drop by your local vinyl or CD shop and pick up a few of his albums, often constructed as complete works of art.

Old school, yes, but the man who cited Miles Davis, James Brown, Stevie Wonder & Sly and the Family Stone as influences would surely approve.

The definitive playlist

Choosing a “definitive” Prince playlist is like trying to compile a list of your own most important memories.

A few obvious picks stand out, but the more you delve into the subject, the richer, more connected and endlessly fascinating it all seems.

That in part sums up the musical mastery of Prince, an artist whose career popped, sparkled and funked in endless directions while dominating the pop music landscape like few others.

In his commercial heyday of the ‘80s and ‘90s, his sound was everywhere – not just in his own megahits, but in radio staples he wrote for Sinead O’Connor (“Nothing Compares 2 U”), The Bangles (“Manic Monday”), Chaka Khan ("I Feel For You”) and many others.

Nothing will ever compare to Prince, as our starter list of his biggest hits and stellar album cuts proves.

Little Red Corvette (1983)

I Wanna Be Your Lover (1979)

Kiss (1986)

1999 (1982)

Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

When Doves Cry (1984)

Let’s Go Crazy (1984)

I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (1987)

Pop Life (1985)

Raspberry Beret (1985)

She’s Always in My Hair (1985)

U Got the Look (1987)

Alphabet Street (1988)

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (1994)

Gold (1995)

Purple Rain (1984)

I Would Die 4 U (1984)

Cream (1991)

7 (1992)

What do you think about this list? Be a “Peach” and add your comments and favorite Prince songs below.