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Six Diverse Versions of ‘When Doves Cry’

Musician Prince performs onstage
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

I love a great cover song. Especially if it’s a cross genre cover, like a jazz version of a pop song. It’s great when it’s mixed up with a little hint of the original.

The song “When Doves Cry” was a massive hit for Prince in 1984. It’s gone on to gain true classic status. That means that there are a lot of cover versions of the song. A lot. Mostly by well meaning YouTube singers chasing the Charlie Puth dream.

But, over the years there have been several very good covers. Here are six of them, and one weird rap version.

1) First is the song that sent me down this purple path, Ginuwine‘s version from his 1996 debut album, The Bachelor. It striped down, signature Timbaland beat with real dove sounds.

2) Next is a version by jazz artist Bob Belden with vocals by Cassandra Wilson. It’s off Belden’s 1994 album When the Doves Cry: The Music of Prince.

3) This is a nice house music version by the artist Finnebassen.

4) Punk Poet Laureate Patti Smith included a version oh her 2002 compilation album Land. It’s a smoothed-out, late night jam with the singers deep emotion floating on a sweet bass-line.

5) This version by Belgian artist Stan Van Samang using buckets and trashcans.

6) I really enjoy this airy and energetic version by Alex Clare.

Alex Clare – When Doves Cry (Director’s Cut) from Wolfgang Schröder on Vimeo.

Finally, from 1984, right after the original came out, Captain Rapp put out this rap version of “When Doves Cry” that is one of the most 1984 sounding things ever.

For good measure, here’s an 8-bit cover:


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