MUSIC

The Definitive Ranking Of Prince’s Many Aliases

When it came to his creative output, Prince was a man of multiple masks

MUSIC
Which Prince is the best Prince? — Jonathan Daniel
Apr 23, 2016 at 11:46 AM ET

While Prince is immediately associated with his songs like “Purple Rain” and “Raspberry Beret,” he’s generally less known for writing songs like “Manic Monday,” which was made famous by the Bangles. But there’s a reason for that: Wanting to separate the personality from the music, he frequently worked under a variety of aliases. He used a handful names for various projects.

More A Playlist Of The Best Songs Prince Wrote For Other People

He explained in a 1999 interview:

I was just getting tired of seeing my name. If you give away an idea, you still own that idea. In fact, giving it away strengthens it. Why do people feel they have to take credit for everything they do? Ego—that’s the only reason.

Using completely non-scientific methods, we have ranked the Purple One’s pseudonyms, based on quality, creativity and general flair:

  1. PartyMan: Refers to a song off the Batman soundtrack, and cameo appearance in the film. It’s also an all around great name.
  2. Alexander Nevermind: Prince wrote Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls” under this moniker.
  3. Rocker Happyfeller: How he’s credited for playing keyboard Easton’s “Eternity.”
  4. Freddie “The Phantom”: For guitar work on “Eternity.”
  5. Joey Coco: Prince used this alias in his work with Sheena Easton and Sheila E. He also used it for some bootleg work.
  6. Camille: As Camille, Prince recorded an eponymous album. Camille was never released.
  7. Jamie Starr: Prince used this name for some of his early production work on his own albums. It was also used for some of the music he made with Apollonio 6, Vanity 6, Sheila E., and The Time.
  8. Christopher: He wrote the Bangles’ “Manic Monday” under this name.
  9. Christopher Tracy: The protagonist in Prince’s 1998 film, Under The Cherry Moon. 
  10. Paisley Park: How Prince credited himself for production on Martika’s album.
  11. Azifwekaré: How Prince voiced the “jobless pothead” on a song on The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.
  12. Tora Tora: Prince adopted this one on the New Power Generation album, Exodus. 
  13. John Lewis: The very basic name credited with playing various instruments on the Madhouse album, 16 (New Directions In Garage Music). Surprise! It’s Prince.
  14. Ecnirp: Prince backwards, obviously.
  15. Prince logo.svg (The Artist Formerly Known as Prince): Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen. Nothing to see here.