Hear Prince’s ‘I Need a Man’ From ‘Sign O’ the Times’ Box Set
Prince originally wrote the song in August 1981 for the Hookers, the girl group that morphed into Vanity 6 when Denise Matthews and Brenda Bennett were recruited to replace Jamie Shoop and Loreen Moonsie. But that record never came out, and "I Need a Man" didn't make Vanity 6's self-titled 1982 album, their only release.
After seeing Bonnie Raitt in concert, Prince decided to give the track to her. He pulled the six-year-old song off the shelf and, on Jan. 22, 1987, he and engineer Susan Rogers went into the Washington Avenue Warehouse and re-recorded it with live drums, keyboards, horns and a guide vocal.
You can listen to the 1987 version below.
PrinceVault notes that Prince also offered Raitt "Jealous Girl," "Promise to Be True" and "There's Something I Like About Being Your Fool." Although Raitt didn't record any of the songs Prince submitted, the next album she put out, Nick of Time, rebooted her career. It reached No. 1, won three Grammys including Album of the Year and sold 5 million copies.
Arriving Sept. 25, the Sign O' the Times box set adds B-sides, alternate mixes, 45 unreleased studio recordings and concerts from Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Paisley Park. The Prince Estate has released several preview tracks from the upcoming box: "Cosmic Day," two takes on "Witness 4 the Prosecution" and early versions of "Forever in My Life" and "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man."