|The Hits 1 is the first compilation album by Prince. It was released simultaneously with The Hits 2, The Hits / The B-Sides and The Hits Collection home video in September 1993, and the disc itself was also included as the first disc of The Hits / The B-Sides.
In conjunction with The Hits 2, the album contains most of Prince's most well-known songs from 13 studio albums, released originally between 1978 and 1993 (Batman being the only album not represented). With the exception of Soft And Wet, the more explicit material was saved for The Hits 2 to avoid a "Parental Advisory" label on The Hits 1.
The album also contained two songs which were previously-unreleased by Prince: Nothing Compares 2 U (which had initially been released by The Family, but was made famous worldwide by Irish singer Sinead O'Connor) and Pink Cashmere. Adore, which had not been released as a single, was included in a previously-unavailable edited form.
The previously-unreleased tracks were recorded at different points in Prince's career. Nothing Compares 2 U is included here as a January 1992, live version, although Prince's original unreleased studio version was recorded in July 1984. Pink Cashmere was recorded in June 1988.
Warner Bros. had initially considered releasing a larger 4-5 disc box set, but this was quickly rejected as the retail price was considered to be prohibitive.
Prince contributed six previously-unreleased songs to the whole set, and at one point wanted to be more involved in the release, but Warner Bros. were already behind schedule on the set, and in the end paid Prince not to be involved.
Pink Cashmere was released as a single two weeks before the album's release, and Nothing Compares 2 U was also available as a promotional release in the USA two months later.
The album reached number 46 on The Billboard 200 Chart, and number 14 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart. The album has sold well since its release, and was certified platinum (1,000,000 copies shipped) in 1995.