Prince has written and recorded A LOT of songs himself so it should come as no surprise that songs of his are often covered by other artists. Among the most successful of these homages are Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You" [#3US/1984] and Sineaid O'Connor's "Nothing Comapres 2 U" [#1US/1990]. On this day (June 5) in 2001, Alicia Keys added to the list of Prince covers when she included his "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" as "How Come You Don't Call Me" on her debut album, Songs In A Minor.
The track was the third and final single from the album and due to the success of #1 "Fallin'" and Top 10 "A Woman's Worth", it wasn't relased until nearly a year after the album - June 4, 2002, to be exact. Although it barely creased the Top 60 in the U.S., "How Come You Don't Call Me" went Top 10 in several other countries. The single was available in various configurations with a Neptunes remix, radio edits and instrumentals spread across both the vinyl and digital releases.
But Keys was not the first female singer to cover the song - Stephanie Mills had included it as the opening track on her 1983 album Merciless. Released as a single, her version just barely missed the R&B Top 10. While Mills upper register is ideally suited for the vocals and ad-libs, the passion and downright despair are missing from her performance - it comes off as almost upbeat which is not entirely her fault as the smoky, jazzy aspect of the music is played up. HERC includes the song in his library for variety and because he really kind of likes it.
When it comes down to HERC's favorite version of the song, he has to go with Prince's original with the Unplugged or Piano & I performances by Keys a close second although the latter performance feels just a little schmaltzy but her voice sounds so good. The Unplugged album is a good listen all the way through too though so make sure you peep that as well.
The original, released as the b-side on "1999".