Remembering songs that feature the combined talents of musical luminaries, but that were either never singles or whose chart lives paled in comparison to the artists’ legacies.
Amid all the retrospectives of Prince’s legendary catalog, one song has perhaps been largely overlooked.
Oh, only that duet between … Prince and Madonna.
Prince and the Queen of Pop recorded “Love Song” for Madonna’s Like a Prayer album (which was ruling the Billboard 200 on this date in 1989). Despite its blinding starpower, the collab was never released as a single. And, considering the strength of Like a Prayer, it’s hard to say that “Love Song” should’ve been one. Driven more by its funky groove than a pure-pop hook, the song took a back seat to the set’s five hit singles: the title cut, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks (and was also No. 1 on this date 27 years ago), “Express Yourself,” “Cherish” (both of which reached No. 2), “Oh Father” (No. 20) and “Keep It Together” (No. 8).
Among other Like a Prayer songs, “Dear Jessie” was a U.K. top 10 single, while “Till Death Do Us Part” is hooky Madonna pure-pop , while “Promise to Try” and “Pray for Spanish Eyes” are sweet ballads.
Meanwhile, rounding out the set, and much like “Love Song,” the album’s “Act of Contrition” would be an extremely atypical single choice, as it features Madonna reciting the Catholic prayer of the same name.
How did “Love Song” come about, by the way? “We were friends and talked about working together, so I went to Minneapolis to write some stuff with him, but the only thing I really dug was ‘Love Song,'” Madonna has recalled. “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. 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.”
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So, a song by two of pop music’s biggest icons remains largely an afterthought … which is kind of amazing. Imagine if the Beatles and Elvis had teamed up for a song (instead of merely meeting one night in 1965) … and it was never released as a single. (Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney duetted, and, conversely, scored the No. 2 Hot 100 hit “The Girl Is Mine” and the six-week No. 1 “Say Say Say.” And, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, both of whom owned the Hot 100 in the ’90s, spent a record 16 weeks at No. 1 in 1995-96 with “One Sweet Day.”)
In the spirit of songs that feature the combined talents of musical luminaries, let’s remember some in addition to “Love Song” that were either never singles or whose chart lives paled in comparison to the artists’ legacies. Ultimately, they remain essentially hidden gems among star acts’ hit-packed catalogs.
When asked for examples on Twitter, you came up with some good ones (including more by Madonna).
Read the full article at Billboard