WGSN celebrates Prince: The curated playlist

As the news of Prince’s death broke, the WGSN global offices were filled with staffers who couldn’t quite believe the news, and after we got over the shock we started to email each other, it was a mixture of our favourite Prince outfits, and a stream of Youtube and Spotify links as we all tried to find the songs that most resonate, the ones that we loved, the ones that truly moved us, and boy was there a rich back catalogue to choose from.

So, the London office would like to share with you the songs, the memories and the impact the great music maker had on us.

Below are all the reasons we love the tracks, and at the bottom of the article (scroll down) is the full honourary mega mix.

We hope you enjoy these tracks on our curated Prince playlist and blast them loudly.

1. Sign ‘O’ The Times- Dio Kurazawa, WGSN Denim Director

It’s a song about what’s going on at the time, it covers so much ground from Aids, to politics, to gang life and drugs, some real serious stuff. But Prince had a way with words, he could shine a light on the most uncomfortable topics and make you think, but his delivery was cool, calm and collected, he gave it that magic touch.

2. Erotic City- Samuel Trotman, WGSN Senior Editor, Denim

This track reminds me of warehouse parties when I first moved to London, DJ’s used to drop it as a curveball, but it was always guaranteed to get people dancing. His style, his voice, the seductive lyrics- they all just worked so well together, it’s the ultimate Prince track for me.

3. Cream- Petah Marian, WGSN Senior Editor, Retail Intelligence

I loved this track, I used to dance around the lounge to it as a kid. It’s from the Diamonds and Pearls album, which was the second CD I ever owned and dancing around to the song, I would practice the splits. Looking back, the lyrics probably weren’t appropriate for a 7-year-old, but it remains one of my favourite albums.

4. I Wanna Be Your Lover, Jen Kettle, WGSN Lead Sub Editor

I discovered this track long after developing a love for Prince’s most influential hits. I like it because it shows how well he could craft a fun, ludicrously catchy and deceptively simple pop song with lyrics that show his signature mix of confidence, sex appeal and heartfelt vulnerability.

5. When Doves Cry, Katharine Smith, WGSN Senior Events Editor

Cringeworthy, but “When Doves Cry” takes me back to my teens when it featured in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet. A completely different, choir-infused version, but the lyrics are so fitting to the tragic Shakespearean storyline. And immediately after hearing it I wanted to know what musical talent had written the original, that was my first introduction to Prince.

6. If I was your girlfriend, Allison Goodfellow Ash, WGSN Associate Editor, Kidswear

I was a tween when this track was in the UK charts, I remember recording it from the top 20 countdown show with Bruno Brooks on my tape recorder. Thinking about this track makes me realise:

A ]How incredibly lucky I was to have had Prince to listen to at such an impressionable age

B] Like I’m officially from another era.

C] What a musical legacy he leaves behind

7. Purple Rain, Faye Howard,  WGSN Associate Editor, Retail & Buying

This reminds me of my Mum getting ready and psyching herself up to go out. Bear in mind this was the early noughties (she loves a retro playlist) BUT she still looked like Cher and was a huge fan of spray glitter and shoulder pads of course. She must have used half a can of hair spray each time (she clearly wanted volume like Prince) because that’s all I can smell when I hear this song.

8. Girls & Boys, Jane Monnington Boddy, WGSN Director Colour & Womenswear 

It HAS to be Girls & Boys, as it was the first single I ever bought, on vinyl of course, and played on repeat until the vinyl was all scratched up.

9. Controversy, Nick Paget, WGSN Senior Menswear Editor

It’s a travesty that you are only letting me pick one, I love every song from Baby, I’m a Star to U Got The Look and I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man. But, I’m going to go with Controversy because in my mind this is Prince at his raw best, smashing the boundaries of music, sexuality and race. Prince’s appearance and sexual presence made my parents squirm and it only made him appeal to me even more. Sorry Mum and Dad…

10. P U R P L  E    R  A  I N,  Poonam Dhuffer, WGSN Associate Editor of Lifestyle & Interiors

I remember my cousin introducing me to this song when I was younger, and will never forget that feeling when I heard the intro and those high notes! Gives me the feels every time! Such a legend, I can’t believe that he’s gone, I’ll be playing his songs all weekend long.

11. 1999, Clare Varga, WGSN Active Director

Prince provided the soundtrack to my youth and early adulthood and I can probably recall some memory, romance or land mark event tied to every one of his early songs. I grew up in a shipbuilding town in the North West of England and my best friend David and I were very arty. We favoured second hand clothing, headwear and vintage diamanté and had no interest becoming welders (even after we saw ‘Flashdance’). We didn’t really fit in with the rest of the town, we always felt at odds so when Prince came along, he just spoke to us. I mean,  we weren’t ‘minorities’ in the classic sense but we did feel ‘different’ in our own way.

‘And Prince made that OK – OK to dress a little different, to be an individual and not fit neatly in a box – he really championed that.
As for his music – it just blew my mind. I have memories of playing the 12 inch of 1999 / Little Red corvette over and over in the school common room till it started a fight. RIP Prince and thank you.


At WGSN, we celebrate the impact Prince made on society, pop culture, music and fashion here.



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