In the recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, where different artists rank their favorites in diffrent categories, Jimmy Fallon's band director and the leader of The Roots' Questlove ranked his favorite Prince tracks.
Below is Quest's top ten list with his commentary. Agree? Disagree?
What is your top ten tracks by his royal badness?
"Baby I'm a Star" (Live from Landover, Maryland,Purple Rain tour) 1984
His "James Brown on The T.A.M.I. Show doing 'Night Train' " moment. He's the best bandleader of his generation — and if I ever need to prove that to someone, this is my surefire crash course.
"Movie Star" 1986
Prince's best display of humor, quirkiness, self-mockery and a dash of funk. This was originally a demo intended for the Time, but I can't see Morris Day waxing poetic about potato chips like this.
"Irresistible Bitch" 1983 "Tricky" 1984 "Cloreen Bacon Skin" 1983
A three-way tie between songs that share DNA: funky drums and a bass line in the key of A. No way I could separate 'em.
"Little Red Corvette" (12-inch extended version) 1983
A major face-lift: Prince transforms the song into this sweaty funk-out and — sorry, Diddy! — invents the remix.
"Lady Cab Driver" 1982
1999 was the kind of album where you couldn't just bite one chip, and this was the mightiest chip.
"The Bird" (Rehearsal demo) 1983
I'm certain Prince would be chagrined by this list of hard-to-find classics (in his eyes: illegal), but practicing and absorbing this song has shaped many a musician's life, including mine — it was all the college I needed. He builds a groove here from the ground up, note by note. This one shows that even the smallest detail is crucial to a song.
"The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" 1987
If Graham Central Station's Release Yourself and Joni Mitchell's Hissing of Summer Lawns fell in love, got married and had a baby.
"The Sex of It" (Demo for Kid Creole and the Coconuts) 1987
Our hero reflects on his dead-end relationship, feeling like a used piece of meat — but don't cue the strings, because we'd all love for women to just want us "for the sex!" This brings his vulnerability to light.
"How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" 1983
A bare-bones song that shows off his gospel side (the piano), his soul side (the falsetto) and his jazz side (the way he phrases his ad-libs toward the song's fade-out). This song has wound up on every mope/breakup mix I ever made.
"Erotic City" 1984
This is one of his most popular B sides. It's his ode to P-Funk, and it makes for the perfect counterbalance to its A side, "Let's Go Crazy." It also marks the beginning of him singing as a helium-voiced female character named Camille.