What Were Prince’s Biggest Hit Songs of All Time?

Prince had too many hit songs to count. Here’s the five Prince songs which performed the best on the Billboard Hot 100. You might be surprised to learn which songs don’t make the list.

Prince wearing a scarf
Prince| Virginia Turbett/Redferns

5. ‘Batdance’

Batman and Prince are an odd combination. They’re both American icons, however, there’s not a lot of similarities between Prince’s prime funk and Batman’s Gothic heroism. Regardless, the world got “Batdance,” one of several famous songs from the soundtrack of Tim Burton’s Batman.

“Batdance”

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The combination of Batman and dance music could have led to something unintentionally campy like the “Macarena” but instead “Batman” has an infectious Herbie Hancock-style groove. Many soundtrack singles get forgotten quickly. “Batdance,” on the other hand, was popular enough decades after its release to warrant mention in The Lego Batman Movie

4. ‘Cream’

Sexuality was a trademark of Prince’s lyrics and none of his big hits were as risque as “Cream.” The track has some incredibly unsubtle innuendos, for example “You got the horn so why don’t you blow it.” In the hands of another artist, these lyrics might be campy or even creepy. However, Prince’s restrained vocal performance makes these lines sound downright seductive. 

“Cream”

3. ‘Let’s Go Crazy’

Party songs are an essential part of pop music. Great hits from “Dancing in the Street” to “Just Dance” have captured the appeal of a good party. “Let’s Go Crazy” stands out from the bunch by having a more epic tone than virtually all other party songs.

“Let’s Go Crazy”

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The track begins with an immortal spoken word section. At the beginning of it, Prince says “Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today/To get through this thing called life.” This gives the rest of the song a sense of urgency. Prince and company aren’t just partying for the sake of partying. They’re partying because they need to get some release in order to weather the bad times. That gives “Let’s Go Crazy” emotional weight most party songs don’t have.

2. ‘Kiss’

Many great Prince songs are complex on an instrumental level. “Purple Rain,” for example, manages to combine several different instruments and musical sections into a cohesive whole. “Kiss,” on the other hand, has an incredibly simple groove.

“Kiss”

The minimalism of “Kiss” is precisely what makes it work. Listen to that beat once and you’ll never forget it. The lyrics of “Kiss” are charming as well, with Prince saying you don’t need to be beautiful to turn him on — you just have to be there for him.

1. ‘When Doves Cry’

What does the phrase “This is what it sounds like when doves cry” actually mean? Who knows? Who cares? It sounds cool. Fortunately, Prince was able to create a beat as cool as the title.

“When Doves Cry”

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The chorus of “When Doves Cry” is a touch cryptic but they make the song all the more fascinating. On top of that, “When Doves Cry” has a synth riff that’s out of this world. “When Doves Cry” arguably isn’t Prince’s best song (“Purple Rain,” anyone?) but it deservedly became a huge success.