Sunday Spin: Purple Rain


Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to hail stiletto booted royalty. And get through this thing called life, too. This week in 1984, Prince achieved his second No. 1 hit from the soundtrack album for his film Purple Rain with "Let's Go Crazy." Without a doubt, the well-reviewed, already cultish Minneapolis boy had hit the big time. Despite the many outfits, hairstyles and albums released in the intervening 24 years, the frilly shirt, purple clad, silent film star pencil moustache sporting, vaguely damp looking image Prince put forth around this film and record is how he will always be cemented in the minds of millions in our soundbite culture. It was his moment in the sun, hitting the Top 10 around the world and selling more than 13 million copies to date.

Purple Rain refined his "punk-funk" style into something both outsiders and the mainstream could get down with, and in the process single-handedly changed popular music forever. Without both the creativity and the voluminous success of Purple Rain it's unlikely we'd have Gnarls Barkley, Outkast and many others that took their cues from this album (and many subsequent releases from Prince). But, forget for a minute its cultural and commercial importance and just slip this one on. Maybe light a few candles, fire up your smoke machine and put on something silky. Go on, no one is watching (unless you leave the curtains open…). Prince begins by welcoming us into his church, a place full of beloved folks and purple bananas, where Dr. Feelgood gonna makes everything alright. In just nine tracks, he throws us on the back of his motorcycle for a highly personal journey that also works as general purpose entertainment. Even expressly dirty stuff like "Darling Nikki" is so smilingly inviting it's hard not to be an enthusiastic voyeur. And this last point is key: Prince makes us watch and listen with pointer dog attentiveness on Purple Rain. Babies, he IS a star and he was ready for everyone to know it. Mingling rock and soul in ways only Sly Stone and a handful of others had managed before him, Prince found lines of connection between New Wave and Old School, punk blasts and Motown croon. It is a highly modern stew that we're still shoveling down with tremendous gusto, even if the man himself has trouble hitting the charts anymore.

Purple Rain track list

1. Let's Go Crazy
2. Take Me with U
3. The Beautiful Ones
4. Computer Blue
5. Darling Nikki
6. When Doves Cry
7. I Would Die 4 U
8. Baby I'm a Star
9. Purple Rain

Here's Prince and his Revolution with a nearly 18-minute live assault on "I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm A Star."

Dig, if you will, a picture of genuine salacious oddness as Prince crawls from his bathtub and into our hearts in the original video for "When Doves Cry."

Let's punch a higher floor with the video for "Let's Go Crazy."

[Published on: 9/28/08]

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travpf Sun 9/28/2008 07:01AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This album is a great choice. I've seen Prince many times over the years and saw him most recently at Coachella back in April this year where he put on an amazing performance that everyone was talking about. For the Coachella show Prince brought along Morris Day and Sheila E and it was like 1984 all over again. You can't argue his credibility as a writer, producer and performer. Not very many artists in the world write every song and perform every single instrument on an album that has sold over 13 million copies. From beginning to end this is a classic.

MaSonDiego starstarstar Sun 9/28/2008 08:23AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I'd love to see Prince doing Radiohead's Creep at Coachella but he made all the video hosting sites like youtube take it down! What an ass!

lovejahlive Sun 9/28/2008 09:19AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Whenever we are jamming at the shack my three year old always requests Purple Rain,no doubt she gets her great sense of what is and what isn't awesome from daddy...

peaton Sun 9/28/2008 10:03AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I'm really glad people do not knock prince on jambase. In terms of live performance, he is one of the best ever. If you like Purple Rain, check out the Sign of the Times DVD, I think it even 1-ups Purple Rain. "Shoot the J. SHOOT IT!"

leroyjustice Sun 9/28/2008 04:00PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

check out this cover of p raaaaiiinnn, it's been on some prince blogs. people seem to dig it:

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Mon 9/29/2008 05:35AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

the man has talent, whether you like him or not.

Purple rain was one of the best POP releases of its time.

uhoh Mon 9/29/2008 06:54AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


game blouses

kidadam starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/29/2008 07:49AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great album but his greatest is still Sign O the Times!

phalluscooper Mon 9/29/2008 09:59AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Charlie Murphy talks about Prince and basketball:

manjotar starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/29/2008 09:20PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


great videos, i honestly listen to prince albums a couple times a week...

HoodooVoodoo Mon 9/29/2008 10:58PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This Prince guy sounds like the new My Morning Jacket album. What a fucking thief ;)

Here's a link to the Prince version of Creep.

thehurricane23 Tue 9/30/2008 01:00PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Man I remember when this shit hit...awesome. At ten years old it really changed how I viewed music and life in general. Unless you were around you can't really grasp what this man did for music. Pop music ruled at the time but Prince changed what POP meant. His songs were not bubblegum and cotton candy. We had beat up wives, masturbation, s/m, androgeny, artificial intelligence, ect. as song material. Phish covered him: enough said...

thehurricane23 Tue 9/30/2008 01:16PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Thanks for the links too, I'm digging the covers hoodoo and leroy

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/1/2008 02:14PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The man is a musical genius. Good idea phallus cooper, Next to the Rick James bit. The Prince basketball bit is the funniest shit they did on that show.