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Hear Prince's Acoustic 'I Feel For You' Demo, Fresh From The Vault

In 1984, Chaka Khan enjoyed a career-revitalizing smash with "I Feel for You," a spangly, funky, Grammy-winning R&B crossover that featured a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder and a guest rap from Melle Mel. The track had already been covered on records by The Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson, as well as Prince's self-titled second album, but Khan's version is the one that became a classic. Before any of those versions, though, the song existed only as an unreleased acoustic demo by Prince, who was just 20 at the time.

Friday morning, the late icon's estate dropped Prince's demo as a surprise release, available via streaming services and as the A-side of a 7" single. (Prince's original studio recording is the B-side.) The spare demo, which captures the singer and his acoustic guitar back in the winter of 1978-79, turned up on a cassette in Prince's massive recorded archives, which promise to yield treasures such as this one for many years to come.

"I Feel for You" is available on 7" for a limited time via Prince's website.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)