The Story Behind Prince’s Forgotten Collaboration With Madonna

Madonna and Prince rarely worked with big-name pop stars — but they collaborated with each other. Somehow, their collaboration languishes in obscurity. Madonna opened up about the song she made with Prince, which had its origins in an unproduced musical.

Prince wearing a tie
Prince | Virginia Turbett/Redferns

Why Madonna and Prince’s musical fell through

In 1989, Bill Zehme of Rolling Stone interviewed Madonna. Zehme asked Madonna about vocalists she admired. Madonna expressed her love of Prince’s singing. She then discussed her Prince collaboration: “Love Song.”

“[W]e’ve been friends for years and admirers of each other’s work,” Madonna said. “So we’d always talked about getting together to write. And, in fact, there was a moment last year when we were possibly going to write a musical together. I went to his studio in Minnesota and worked on some stuff, just to get the feel of what it would be like to collaborate.”

Madonna in a dress
Madonna | Chris Walter/WireImage

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Madonna said writing songs with others is an intimate process for her. She recalled how she’d tried to write songs with a number of other people and sometimes was not able to do so. Madonna’s first attempts to work with Prince did not result in any completed songs. After working with Prince a few days, she left his studio. She was no longer interested in writing a musical with him.

What finishing the song was like

Later, Madonna played a role in the Broadway play Speed-the-Plow. Prince came to see her perform. Then, he brought her a demo of one of their collaborations. Madonna liked the song and wanted to complete it for her album Like a Prayer. The two worked on “Love Song” when they were far apart because Madonna didn’t want to go to Minneapolis to work with the Purple One.

“Love Song”

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“We ended up writing it long-distance, because I had to be in L.A. and he couldn’t leave Minneapolis, and quite frankly I couldn’t stand Minneapolis,” Madonna told Yahoo! News. “When I went there, it was like 20 degrees below zero, and it was really desolate. I was miserable and I couldn’t write or work under those circumstances.”

What Madonna thought of Prince

Madonna and Prince were two of the biggest stars of the 1980s, so a duet between them could certainly have been a big hit. However, Billboard reports “Love Song” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s amazing to think a video vanguard like the Queen of Pop never made a video with Prince after creating a song with him. Regardless, Madonna had some fond memories of working with the Purple One.

Madonna on a couch
Madonna | Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

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“He’s very private, you know, and very shy,” she told Rolling Stone. “He’s great when you get to know him. Charming and funny, in his own way. More than anything, he really comes alive when he’s working.”