Prince's catalog of Hot 100 hits, which includes huge smashes like "Purple Rain," "Kiss" and "When Doves Cry," is staggering. The Purple One has claimed 47 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, including 19 top 10s -- with five of those going all the way to No. 1. In the 20 year span between 1980 and the end of 1999, Prince charted more Hot 100 entries (44) than any other act.
With his classic album and film 'Purple Rain' turning 30 this week, we're celebrating his amazing career with an exclusive countdown of his top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hits.
The ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
Hot 100 Peak: 12, Peak Date: July 23, 1983
More than a decade before the millennium, Prince envisioned the year 2000 as a plum-colored apocalypse. "The sky was all purple," he sings on the single from the album of the same name. "There were people runnin' everywhere. Tryin 2 run from the destruction. U know I didn't even care." Why? Because he was ready to go out with a bang! With blaring synths and an irresistible beat, he rocks out like he never will again. The song holds the honor of being Prince's longest-charting Hot 100 hit, having spent 28 weeks on the weekly tally in three separate chart runs.
"I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man"
Hot 100 Peak: 10, Peak Date: February 6, 1988
Cautious of a lonely woman he met on a summer night, Prince warns her that he's got no intention of replacing her ex. The tune, from Prince's 1987 double album "Sign 'O' The Times," notched a top 10 spot on the Hot 100 early the following year.
Hot 100 Peak: 8, Peak Date: June 25, 1988
Prince picks up a cutie in his daddy's Thunderbird and what follows is a funky, rap-laden dialogue between the two that hit the top 10 in 1988.
Prince and The New Power Generation
Hot 100 Peak: 7, Peak Date: February 27, 1993
Over soft guitar strums and a whipping bass line Prince leads an army of the cool and the intelligent to battle against those with hate in their hearts. "They stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all," he sings. Fittingly, the title of the track predicted its Hot 100 peak, lucky No. 7.
"I Would Die 4 U"
Prince and The Revolution
Hot 100 Peak: 8, Peak Date: February 2, 1985
On top on bouncing keys, Prince professes his undying love for someone who might not even deserve it. Though his love is a sinner, he still sings that he'd make the ultimate sacrifice for that person.
Hot 100 Peak: 8, Peak Date: October 22, 1983
When Prince's lover holds his hand, he sings on this song, his "body gets so weak." The up-tempo third single from the "1999" album kept up a streak of top 10 hits Prince scored in 1983.
Prince and The Revolution
Hot 100 Peak: 7, Peak Date: September 21, 1985
This mid-tempo single followed "Raspberry Beret" on Prince and the Revolution's 1985 "Around the World in a Day" album. On it he sings to those living lives with no real thrills. Some are snorting and addicted. Others are just clueless and bored. Really, they just need positivity.
"Thieves in the Temple"
Hot 100 Peak: 6, Peak Date: September 22, 1990
On this single from his 1990 "Graffiti Bridge" soundtrack, Prince is in terrible need to make sure he protects his love. With villains amongst him, kicking and beating, it's a battle he won't win unless love saves the day.
"Diamonds And Pearls"
Prince and the N.P.G.
Hot 100 Peak: 3, Peak Date: February 15, 1992
Prince promises his love that he's here to stay in this ballad from the 1991 album of the same name. "This will be the day that you will hear me say that I will never run away," he sings with assurance. He may not have a treasure chest's worth of jewels to give, but his he does have his love to offer.
"Little Red Corvette"
Hot 100 Peak: 6, Peak Date: May 21, 1983
Prince warns a girl she's "movin' too fast," but she's got a body "on the verge of being obscene" and it's a Saturday, so he grabs the keys and goes for a ride anyway.