Every now and again, I come across somebody on planet Earth who has never listened to Prince. Yup. Apparently there are people out there whose only connection to The Artist is that The Time feature in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and it makes me sad. If you are one of those people, don't worry, I am here to help you fix your life.

Before we get to the actual music, you need to understand a little bit about Prince. Firstly, you know how there are things in life that absolutely nobody could hope to get away with without destroying all credibility, like out-parodying their own parody Twitter account, making a cameo on New Girl or pairing steampunk goggles with an electric blue jumpsuit? Well, Prince has done all those things. And has done them with more beauty and sass than Beyoncé in a wind tunnel. Secondly, he as good as owns the colour purple. What have you done with your life?

Although he never stopped producing material, the last twelve months has brought great change for Prince. Having finally made peace with the fact that the Internet exists (and is now better at it than everybody else), he has kicked off in a fresh direction and 2014 is set to bear witness to his 26th studio album, a world tour and possibly an appearance or two on the UK festival circuit.

Yeah, you heard. 26 studio albums, bitch, and they only comprise about half his overall creative output. It's an intimidating catalogue of work to sift through, so, from the obvious Purple Rain to the pseudonymous (songs he wrote for The Time, Sheena Easton and innumerable others) and even his dodgy gospel era (which spanned a longer period of time than I would care to acknowledge), here is a rundown of the most essential tracks you need to be able to recognise before you spend your summer in a dank field vomiting Stella Cidre into your mate's Hunters.

  • Tracklisting:
  • 1. Let's Go Crazy
  • 2. When Doves Cry
  • 3. Sexy Dancer
  • 4. 1999
  • 5. Little Red Corvette
  • 6. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
  • 7. U Got The Look
  • 8. Dirty Mind
  • 9. I Wanna Be Your Lover
  • 10. Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
  • 11. Sign O' The Times
  • 12. Diamonds And Pearls
  • 13. I Would Die 4 U
  • 14. Purple Rain