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Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Prince, the second to feature his backing band The Revolution, and is the soundtrack album to the 1984 film of the same name. It was released on June 25, 1984 by Warner Bros. Records. To date, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.[1]

Purple Rain is regularly ranked among the best albums in music history, and is widely regarded as Prince's magnum opus. Time magazine ranked it the 15th greatest album of all time in 1993, and it placed 18th on VH1's Greatest Rock and Roll Albums of All Time countdown. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the second-best album of the 1980s and 76th on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The first two singles from Purple Rain, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy", topped the US singles charts, and were hits around the world, while the title track went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The RIAA lists it as having gone platinum 13 times over.[2]

In 2007, the editors of Vanity Fair labeled it the best soundtrack of all time, and Tempo magazine named it the greatest album of the 1980s.[3] The 1,000th issue of Entertainment Weekly dated July 4, 2008, listed Purple Rain at number one on their list of the top 100 best albums of the past 25 years.[4] In 2013, the magazine also listed the album at number two on their list of the 100 Greatest Albums ever.[5] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #2 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s" behind only Michael Jackson's Thriller.[6] In the same year, the album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important".[7]

Background

Purple Rain was released by Warner Bros. Records on June 25, 1984, and was Prince's sixth album. Prince wrote all of the songs on the album, some with the input of fellow band members. "I Would Die 4 U", "Baby I'm a Star" and "Purple Rain" were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release.[8] The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince's band, The Revolution.

"Take Me with U" was intended for the Apollonia 6 album, a full band recording with the Revolution and Jill Jones on backing vocals, but Prince pulled it for his own album. "Computer Blue" was a full band studio recording as well with various cuts some that are at least 14min long. "The Beautiful Ones", "Darling Nikki" and "When Doves Cry" are all Prince recordings.

Music

Template:Listen Purple Rain was the first Prince album recorded with and officially credited to his backing group The Revolution. The resulting album was musically denser than Prince's previous one-man albums, emphasizing full band performances, and multiple layers of guitars, keyboards, icy electronic synthesizer effects, drum machines, and other instruments. Musically, Purple Rain remained grounded in the R&B elements of Prince's previous work while demonstrating a more pronounced rock feel in its grooves and emphasis on guitar showmanship.

As a soundtrack record, much of the music had a grandiose, synthesized, and even—by some evaluations—a psychedelic sheen to the production and performances. The music on Purple Rain is generally regarded as the most pop-oriented of Prince's career, though a number of elements point towards the more experimental records Prince would release after Purple Rain. As with many massive crossover albums, Purple Rain's consolidation of a myriad of styles, from pop rock to R&B to dance, is generally acknowledged to account in part for its enormous popularity.

In addition to the record's breakthrough sales, music critics noted the innovative and experimental aspects of the soundtrack's music, most famously on the spare, bass-less "When Doves Cry".[9] Other aspects of the music, especially its synthesis of electronic elements with organic instrumentation and full-band performances (some, as noted above, recorded live) along with its landmark consolidation of rock and R&B, were identified by critics as distinguishing, even experimental factors. Stephen Erlewine of AllMusic writes that Purple Rain finds Prince "consolidating his funk and R&B roots while moving boldly into pop, rock, and heavy metal," as well as "push[ing] heavily into psychedelia" under the influence of the Revolution.[10] Erlewine identifies the record's nine songs as "uncompromising...forays into pop" and "stylistic experiments", echoing general sentiment that Purple Rain's music represented Prince at his most popular without forsaking his experimental bent.[10]

"Take Me with U" was written for the Apollonia 6 album, but later enlisted for Purple Rain.[11] The inclusion of that song necessitated cuts to the suite-like "Computer Blue", the full version of which did not earn an official release, although a portion of the second section can be heard in the film Purple Rain, in a sequence where Prince walks in on the men of The Revolution rehearsing. The risqué lyrics of "Darling Nikki" contributed to the use of Parental Advisory stickers and imprints on album covers that were the record label's answer to complaints from Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center.[12][13][14]

"There's every emotion from the ballad to the rocker," observed Jon Bon Jovi. "All the influences were evident, from Hendrix to Chic."[15]

Critical reception

Template:Album reviews Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan's cover of "I Feel for You". Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

Purple Rain sold 13 million units in the United States, including 1.5 million in its debut week,[16] earning a Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Billboard magazine, the album spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard albums chart (August 4, 1984 to January 18, 1985), becoming one of the top soundtracks ever. Purple Rain traded the #1 album chart position with Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. twice, during 1984 and 1985. The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.[1] The album further established him as a figurehead for pop music of the 1980s. The album sold 69,000 equivalent copies (62,000 in pure album sales) in the week following Prince's death,[17] thus allowing the album to re-enter the Billboard 200 at number 2.[18]

Singles from the album became pop hits worldwide, with Prince scoring four US Top 10 singles from the album. Of them, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" reached #1, "Purple Rain" reached #2, and "I Would Die 4 U" reached #8. The fifth and final single "Take Me with U" reached #25, but became a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, meaning all Purple Rain singles became worldwide hits.

Legacy

Purple Rain is generally ranked as one of the greatest albums in music history, and is regarded as Prince's masterpieceTemplate:By whom?. All five singles off of the album became worldwide hits, and with the success of the massively successful movie of the same name and tour, Prince would become arguably the biggest musical superstar on the planet, next to Michael Jackson. Rolling Stone ranked Purple Rain at #76 on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and at #2 on the 100 Best Albums of The 80s.[19][20] In June 2013, Entertainment Weekly listed Purple Rain at #2 of the Greatest Albums of All Time. According to Billboard magazine, Purple Rain stayed at #1 on the Billboard 200 for 24 consecutive weeks, the 4th longest in the charts history. Purple Rain sold over 1.5 million copies its first week in stores, and has sold over 13 million copies in the United States alone, with a total of 25 million copies sold worldwide.[21][22] In 2011, Purple Rain was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of recordings that "are culturally, historically, and aesthetically important".[23] In April 2016, the album re-charted at #2 on the Billboard 200 after Prince's death, selling over 69,000 copies in the following week.[24] In October 2016, according to Billboard, it has been confirmed that Purple Rain will be re-released as a deluxe edition, although the exact content of this has not been confirmed.[25]

Track listing

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Personnel

  • Prince – lead vocals, Linn LM-1 (with LinnDrum EPROMs) and various instruments
  • Wendy Melvoin – guitar and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Lisa Coleman – keyboards and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Matt Fink – keyboards (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Brown Mark – bass (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Bobby Z. – Oberheim DMX (with Linn LM-1 EPROMs), Linn 9000, Oberheim DX Stretch, LinnDrum (with Linn LM-1 EPROMs), MXR-185 (with Oberheim DMX EPROMs), drums and percussion (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Novi Novog – violin and viola (2, 8, 9)
  • David Coleman – cello (2, 8, 9)
  • Suzie Katayama – cello (2, 8, 9)
  • Apollonia – co-lead vocals (2)
  • Jill Jones – background vocals (2) [8]

Early configurations

Prince configured at least two unique track listings of Purple Rain prior to setting the final running order.[26] The 7 November 1983 and 12 March 1984 configurations are listed below. The majority of changes are edits to "Let's Go Crazy" and "Computer Blue" in order to include "When Doves Cry" and "Take Me with U" in the final running order.

Singles

  1. "When Doves Cry"
  2. "17 Days"
  • "Let's Go Crazy" (US #1, US R&B #1, US Dance #1, UK #7, Australia #10)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy"
  2. "Erotic City"
  1. "Purple Rain"
  2. "God" (vocal)
  3. "God" (instrumental) — UK version only
  1. "I Would Die 4 U"
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas"
  1. "Take Me with U"
  2. "Baby I'm a Star"
  • "Let's Go Crazy" and "Take Me with U" were released as a double A-side single in the UK in 1985.

Charts

Certifications

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Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[51] 6× Platinum 600,000^
France (SNEP)[52] Platinum 338,600[53]
Germany (BVMI)[54] 3× Gold Expression error: Missing operand for *.^
Japan Template:Sdash 197,000[32]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[55] 5× Platinum 75,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[56] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[58] 13× Platinum 13,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also

References

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  19. Prince and the Revolution, 'Purple Rain' | 500 Greatest Albums of All Time | Rolling Stone
  20. 100 Best Albums of the Eighties | Rolling Stone
  21. Ask Billboard: Prince Of Album Sales | Billboard
  22. Prince Creates A Winner With 'Purple Rain' - Nytimes.Com
  23. Complete National Recording Registry Listing - National Recording Preservation Board | Programs | Library of Congress
  24. Prince Rules at No. 1 & 2 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart With ‘Very Best Of’ & ‘Purple Rain’ | Billboard
  25. Prince Estate Advisers Exploring Music-Licensing Proposals: Source | Billboard
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External links

Preceded by
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Billboard 200 number-one album
August 4, 1984 – January 18, 1985
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
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Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
August 13 – 19, 1984
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
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Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
October 27, 1984 – November 19, 1984
Succeeded by
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Template:Prince albums Template:Prince

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