From Chaka Khan to Stevie Wonder: Prince’s ultimate party playlist
‘Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last.” — Prince.
There aren’t many artists in the history of music that has been able to fuse so many genres into one catalogue. Prince, however, manages to cram the pain and poignancy of balladry, the bravado of rock and the rhythm of the night all into one small package.
The Purple One can certainly find a groove in every single song out there but where he feels most comfortable as at the party. In fact, it’s in the middle of the party. Whether it’s his own birthday party or celebrating the Millenium, Prince always knows how to throw a real shindig.
Despite his ability to melt into any genre’s steely casing, the ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ singer has always had one thumping heartbeat that powers all his music, a steady dose of unbridled funk. It’s what made his most iconic hits pop out of the already vibrant scene and it’s what made his deep cuts travel right the way down to the bone—funk was at the centre of everything Prince did.
It has made Prince a welcome name on the playlist for any DJ. Safe in the knowledge that any party charged with the electrifying sounds of Prince would run all night, often those behind the decks will find special moments for a hit of ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ or ‘Controversy’, happy to find the space between jams and let Prince work his magic on the dancing audience. Long after his death Prince will still be the King of parties.
Off-record too, Prince was a positive party aficionado. Famed for their lavishness and often featuring a performance from Prince himself, the singer’s birthday parties were the stuff of rock and roll legend—but what would the Purple One play for his guests at the event, what would the ultimate Prince party playlist look like?
First picked up by Boing Boing, Spotify user Jamie East has given us a taste of what a Prince party might sound like. When the singer appeared in a 2013 episode of Zoey Deschanel sitcom New Girl he provided the producers with a real look at the party playlist he used for gatherings at Paisley Park. It makes for some of the funkiest noises you’re ever likely to hear.
If you need a snapshot of Prince’s undoubted influences then you needn’t look any further. The singer selects his tracks from a distinct seventies set of influences, namely acts from before Prince’s own debut record in 1978.
There’s room on the list for Sister Sledge, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Bootsy Collins, Curtis Mayfieldld and more. If you were looking for a more Prince orientated playlist then look no further than Giorgio Moroder’s ultimate disco playlist.
It reads as a who’s who of the seventies soul world and is, as you might expect, charged with a funkiness that is impossible to resist. At a time when we’re all trapped indoors, we need a little joy in our lives, and you won’t do much better in terms of sonic joy than listening to a list comprised of Prince’s favourite party songs.
Prince’s favourite songs:
‘City in the Sky’ – The Staple Singers
‘Country John’ – Allen Toussaint
‘Fire’ – Ohio Players
‘Happy House’ – Shuggie Otis
‘Higher Ground’ – Stevie Wonder
‘I Was Made to Love Him’ – Chaka Khan
‘Listen to the Music’ – The Isley Brothers
‘The Lord is Back’ – Eugene McDaniels
‘Lost in Music’ – Sister Sledge
‘The Pinocchio Theory’ – Bootsy Collins
‘Rubber Duckie’ – Bootsy Collins
‘Rumpofsteelskin’ – Parliament
‘Skin Tight’ – Ohio Players
‘We’re Gettin’ Too Close’ – The Soul Children
‘Wild and Free’ – Curtis Mayfield
‘After The Love Has Gone’ – Earth, Wind & Fire
‘Back in Baby’s Arms’ – Allen Toussaint
‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight’ – The Isley Brothers