Brow Beat

The Six Best Covers of Prince’s “When You Were Mine”

Cyndi Lauper, Prince.
Cyndi Lauper, Prince.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty, Photo Illustration by Slate

Some of Prince’s songs are inextricably linked to His Royal Badness—there will never be a great cover of “Purple Rain,” for instance. Others have always called out to other artists, none more than “When You Were Mine,” from 1980’s Dirty Mind, one of the first recorded indications of Prince’s interest in classic pop.

The best known cover is Cyndi Lauper’s, from her 1983 debut She’s So Unusual:

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’60s garage rocker Mitch Ryder had a late-career hit with the song that same year:

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Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew, who releases solo work under the name Dump, included a lo-fi version on his 1998 EP of Prince covers That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?

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Indie mopesters Crooked Fingers turned the song into a banjo-and-double-bass dirge in 2002:

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Electronic minimalists Casiotone for the Painfully Alone recorded it for a B-side in 2005:

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And Canadian popsters Tegan and Sara made it a standby of their live set:

In that last video, Tegan and Sara dedicate their version to Lauper—a sign of how far the song traveled from Prince, while remaining unmistakeably his.

Read more from Slate on Prince.

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