Prince reaches the top of the world with Purple Rain, the album, the movie and the tour

Prince 1984 (rockandpop.cl)

Prince 1984

Prince knew this was going to be it. He was ecstatic when he finished it.

Susan Rogers

Introduction

Part 3 in the 5-part mini-series ‘Classic releases in the month of June 1984‘.

1984 was the year of Prince’s worldwide breakthrough. With his band The Revolution he made the classic Purple Rain. His sound, titled Minneapolis sound, would prove highly influential on the charts for years to come. A lot of Prince songs were released in 1984, even though the large majority of the audience was unaware of that fact:

  • 05/16/1984: Prince And The Revolution: When Doves Cry single (B-side, 1 song)
  • 06/04/1984 Sheila E: The Glamourous Life
  • 06/08/1984:The Time: Ice Cream Castles (B-side, 1 song)
  • 06/25/1984: Prince And The Revolution: Purple Rain
  • 07/09/1984: The Time: Ice Cream Castle
  • 07/18/1984: Prince And The Revolution: Let’s Go Crazy single (B-side, 1 song)
  • 09/07/1984: Sheena Easton: A Private Heaven (1 song)
  • 09/10/1984: Prince And The Revolution: Purple Rain single (B-sides, 2 songs)
  • 10/01/1984: Apollonia 6: Apollonia 6
  • 11/26/1984: Prince And The Revolution: I Would Die 4 U single (B-side, 1 song)
The Time - Dancing (prince.org)

The Time – Dancing

Only releases containing new material, are mentioned above. Multiple singles containing Prince’s music were also released (like The Time‘s Jungle Love, Sheila E.’s The Belle Of St. Mark). Covers of Prince songs were also released, like the Chaka Khan single released in August 1984: I Feel For You, a song that was originally released on the 1979 album entitled Prince. At the end of 1983 Cyndi Lauper had placed When You Were Mine (coming off the 1980 album Dirty Mind) on her hit album She’s So Unusual . The song Prince gave to Sheena Easton, Sugar Walls, was released as a single in 1984.

The songs released by The Time were accredited to members of The Time or the fictitious character Jamie Starr, the same way the songs on Sheila E’s album were accredited to Sheila E. and Jamie Starr. Sugar Walls was accredited to Alexander Nevermind. In reality, it was Prince who wrote, recorded and played almost everything.

In total, 34 new Prince songs were released in 1984.

Content

Besides the release of Purple Rain the album, there was also the release of Purple Rain the movie and the launch of the Purple Rain Tour. therefore, this article is divided into three parts:

  1. Purple Rain, the album
  2. Purple Rain, the movie
  3. Purple Rain, the tour

Previously

Prince on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, April 1983 (rollingstone.com)

Prince on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, April 1983

Introduction

As 1999 had shown, Prince was on his way up. The double album was a success, the tour that ended in early April 1983 was named the best tour of the year and his music was hailed by critics as the hope for the future.

In The Netherlands Prince wasn’t really known. He had had minor hits with the Controversy and 1999 singles, which had sold decently. His 1981 live debut in Europe hadn’t really packed the venues, and the local press was moderately positive. At the time, I had never heard of him as I moved in different (musical) circles. I loved Joy Division, Japan, but no real dance music yet (except for New Order’s Blue Monday). Like I have published earlier on this blog my first real Prince moment was the day I first heard When Doves Cry.

But, let’s go back first. We start this journey mid April of 1983, the ending of the 1999 tour. At the end of that same month Prince would reach a major milestone. He (with Vanity) would appear on the cover of the, at that time still, relevant and influential Rolling Stone magazine. He got ever closer to where he wanted to be.

Prince notebook Dreams (pinterest.com)

Prince notebook Dreams

Dreams

While on the 1999 tour, Prince had many talks with his personal manager Steve Fargnoli on his wish of making a movie. It was to be a somewhat autobiographical movie, with lots of music. Prince carried a notebook around on tour, in which he scribbled outlines of the story and ideas (the notebook was on display at the My Name Is Prince exhibition). But there was concern, not with Prince, but with Prince’s management team, ‘Cavallo, Ruffalo and Fargnoli’. Although Prince was definitely en route, he most certainly wasn’t movie material. The team was convinced Prince wasn’t ready for it, and more importantly, the audience wasn’t also. Who was waiting for a movie about a relatively unknown black artist who had just had his first hit?

But Prince was in the position to play his cards and he did. His contract with his management team was up for renewal. Because of the high probability of Prince making it big in the near future, the team desperately wanted to continue working with Prince. Prince said he’d renew if, and only if, they made a deal with a large film company.

Using Warner Bros., possibility presented itself to make a start. Willam Blinn, who had won Emmy Awards for his writing, was hired to make a first draft. Blinn hung around in Minneapolis and came up with the idea to make the story about the father/son relationship. After some problems, a first draft was delivered at the end of May 1983. Following a second version, Blinn was asked back to work on the hit show Fame, which was granted a new season after all. Exit Blinn.

Click on the pages of the Purple Rain script to enlarge them.

From Dreams to Purple Rain

Luckily, the search for a replacement didn’t last too long. Albert Magnoli, who wasn’t really experienced, agreed to read the script. He thought it was way too introverted and dark and politely refused. Upon request he agreed to have a lunch meeting with Rob Cavallo, who offered ample room to adjust the script the way he saw fit. Magnoli: “And within 10 minutes, I had convinced myself that this would be an extremely exciting film to make”. The meet with Prince went great as well. According to Magnoli, Prince observed: “I don’t get it. This is the first time I’ve met you but you’ve told me more about what I’ve experienced than anybody in my life”.

At the beginning of June 1983 Magnoli moved to Minneapolis and hung out, observed and planned the story. After a month he locked himself in a hotel room and rewrote Dreams and made the first Purple Rain script. Could Prince’s dream really turn into reality?

Prince - News on the upcoming album and movie (prince.org)

Prince – News on the upcoming album and movie

Preparations

To prepare everybody elaborate acting- and dance classes were organized, starting in April 1983 running all the way up to the last day of shooting in December 1983. Most of the time, everybody involved into the movie, went to those classes. In the first versions of Dreams and Purple Rain Vanity played the girlfriend of The Kid (Prince’s character), but with only a few days left before shooting started, she quit because she wanted to get paid a lot more than she was offered. Luckily, a replacement was found very quickly: Patricia Kotero, renamed Apollonia by Prince.

Satellite acts

In the movie, the rivalry between Prince and The Time plays a big part in the story. In real life, however, the band was more dead than alive. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were gone, followed by Monte Moir (see the story on The Time), and replacements were brought in, but virtual band leader Morris Day was done with it all. Immediately following the last days of shooting, he would leave the band and Minneapolis. Vanity 6 played a part in the movie as well, but with Vanity now absent, the group was renamed to Apollonia 6. The material the group got became increasingly less quality wise.

The Revolution

The Revolution - Logo (axs.com)

In Prince’s own band there was turmoil as well. Dez Dickerson, playing guitar for Prince ever since the early days, was fired. Dez grew ever more uncomfortable with the sexually explicit material Prince played and became a bore: “I dealt with it by being a jerk. I guess if I’d been him, I would probably have fired me”. Dez did play a guest role in the movie though.

The replacement for Dickerson was found in Wendy Melvoin. She regularly played along with the band during rehearsals for the 1999 tour, which Dickerson didn’t want to attend anymore. It gelled. Melvoin’s personality fit perfectly, especially with Prince, who seemed very much at ease around her. Wendy and Lisa Coleman would play a pivotal role in Prince’s musical life for the coming three years.

Prince’s band was officially named as well: The Revolution, and would be accredited accordingly on the upcoming album. It marked the first time Prince would share credits with anybody else than himself.

N.B.: The name The Revolution was also part of the cover to the 1999 album. As a mirrored image and not clearly visible, but it was there.

Purple Rain, the album

Prince Purple Rain Header (officialprincemusic.com)

Introduction

In between wrapping up the 1999 tour, writing and proofreading and editing the movie script, acting lessons, dancing lessons and keeping his band and his satellite acts busy, new music had to be written and recorded as well. More and more, Prince got into a flow that enabled him to write and record song after song after song. Between December 1982 (following the 1999 release) and October 1984 (the launch of the Purple Rain tour) Prince would record more than 100 new songs, including all, but one, songs of Purple Rain‘s successor, which would be released in 1985.

Many of the songs were recorded at his home studio at Kiowa Trail. He had rented a space in a concrete office building for band rehearsals, called The Warehouse at St. Louis Park, Minneapolis. During the summer of 1983 the band was drilled for a major concert.

Prince - 08/03/1983 (Jim Steinfeldt Michael Ochs Archives)

Prince – 08/03/1983

August 3rd, 1983

Prince - 08/03/1983 ad (apoplife.nl)

Prince – 08/03/1983 ad

It was billed as a special benefit and it would turn out to be one of the most important (and, according to many, best) shows of Prince’s entire career. On August 3rd, 1983, Prince And The Revolution played their very first show (even though ads for the concert marked it as Prince And Friends).

The club where it all went down was First Avenue in Minneapolis, the same club that was used for many recording sessions for the movie. Parked outside First Avenue was a mobile recording studio, that put the show to tape. The set was made up of a few well known songs, a cover, and no less than six new songs.

The night’s entire financial revenue was given to the Minnesota Dance Theater. The other revenue, the recordings, would change the future of Prince, his band and his career forever.

Prince - Thank You for 08/03/1983 (City Pages 08/10/1983) (blog.thecurrent.org)

Prince – Thank You for 08/03/1983 (City Pages 08/10/1983)

Setlist

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • When You Were Mine
  • A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • Computer Blue
  • Delirious
  • Electric Intercourse
  • Automatic
  • I Would Die 4 U
  • Baby I’m A Star
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Purple Rain
  • D.M.S.R.

The concert was Wendy Melvoin’s very first Prince show ever, she was more excited than nervous. The show was very successful, was very good and was very energetic. The new songs worked great in that setting.

Susan Rogers

A special mention to Susan Rogers who was appointed as Prince’s new engineer immediately following the August 3rd show. One of her first tasks was stripping Prince’s home studio from the Kiowa Trail residence and setting it up at The Warehouse. Contradicting all engineering rules, the band played on a concrete floor without any separation between the engineer and the band, The Warehouse was turned into a recording studio and a lot of, now classic, material was recorded there.

Susan Rogers and Prince had a perfect working relationship and developed some kind of instinctive connection. Rogers would remain Prince’s engineer until the end of 1987. Very intense years, but worth it very day, according to Rogers. Nowadays she works as a professor at Berklee, college of music in Boston. I was present when at both of her lectures in May of 2017 in The Netherlands. She told a lot of nice, informative and funny stories and I managed to talk to her ever so briefly. Two great days. Very sympathetic woman.

The complete route to Purple Rain

Based on the available data, the route to Purple Rain looks as follows:

Prince the route to Purple Rain (apoplife.nl)

Prince the route to Purple Rain

Release

Purple Rain is the 6th studio album by Prince and was released on June 25th, 1984 in the US. Three days earlier, on June 22nd, the album was available in The Netherlands. Yet, it would take some time before it entered the Dutch charts. The first date the album was on the Dutch charts was August 4th, 1984. I bought the album at a later time, only after I had bought the When Doves Cry maxi-single.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain (youtube.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain

Review

And, does this album deserve all the praise? Yes, and more! Is it common sense then that this album got as popular as it was? Well, no, I don’t think so. Musically and lyrically, a lot of the songs were far removed from what was deemed acceptable at the time. The prudish part of the US would respond. More on that below.

All songs written by Prince, unless noted otherwise.

Prince And The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy - Video stills (hq-music-videos.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy – Video stills

Let’s Go Crazy

The album opens with the classic Let’s Go Crazy. In Holland, it’s the song that enabled the ‘cool’ wavers and punks to dance to Prince music. In many alternative disco, Prince was ignored, yet this song came along a few times during the night. It rocks, is up-tempo, filled with heavy guitar parts and has a magical ending. The closing solo is manic, wild and genius. The perfect introduction to Prince the rocker.

It is rather funny that this song in particular was favored by the in-crowds, because the song has an overtly religious theme. In 1997 Prince was quoted as saying he initially wanted to make it an explicit religious song, but ended up not doing so, because it wasn’t considered ‘cool’ at the time.

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here 2 tell u
There’s something else
The afterworld

A world of never ending happiness
U can always see the sun, day or night

So when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
U know the one – Dr Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

‘Cuz in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own

And if de-elevator tries 2 bring u down
Go crazy – punch a higher floor

© Prince 1984

The first recording of the song stems from May 1983, when Prince recorded the framework at his home studio at Kiowa Trail. The August 3rd recording wasn’t to Prince’s liking and it was recorded again on August 7th at The Warehouse with The Revolution. The full version of the song was part of a previous configuration of Purple Rain. At a later time the song was shortened. The full version was subtitled Special Dance Mix and was later released on the maxi-single.

Prince And The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy (single and maxi-single) (rockitpoole.com/back2black.nl)

Prince And The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy (single and maxi-single)

The song was released as a single on July 18th, 1984 in the US (in Europe on February 15th, 1985). The maxi-single was released on August 19th, 1984. In part, the (maxi)single is widely known for its phenomenal B-side: Erotic City.

The maxi-single version of Let’s Go Crazy had a fantastic middle section with funky guitars and frantic solo-ing. Highly recommended!

Prince And The Revolution - Take Me With U - Video stills (hq-music-videos.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Take Me With U – Video stills

Take Me With U

Originally intended for the Apollonia 6 album, before it was pulled. The reasoning behind that decision is not very clear to me. It is an okay song, but obviously the odd one out on the album. Unfortunately, the song started appearing during several tours, ultimately earning a regular spot at almost every Prince show since 2002.

The song has a nice flow, but doesn’t add much, except for maybe establishing a much clearer link between the album and the movie(‘s narrative).

I don’t care where we go
I don’t care what we do
I don’t care pretty baby
Just take me with u

© Prince 1984

The song was recorded at Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood on January 27th, 1984. Due to the placing on the album, both Let’s Go Crazy and Computer Blue had to be edited down.

Prince And The Revolution - Take Me With U (single) (twitter.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Take Me With U (single)

The song was released as a single on January 25th, 1985 in the US and New Zealand only. The official video to the song is a live recording. The second part of the song is really fantastic. Prince delivers a dazzling guitar solo and provides the song with a heavy rock feel.

The Beautiful Ones (source unknown)

The Beautiful Ones performance in Purple Rain (the movie)

The Beautiful Ones

Well, The Beautiful Ones. Number 3 in my Prince song top 50. What can I say?

This is so incredibly good, it makes you go silent. The music is pure genius. The drum motif from the Linn drum machine, the synthesizers that keep on intensifying during the course of the song, the background noises, the guitars and the vocals. To this day, it can move me to tears. The story goes that it was written for Susannah Melvoin (guitar player Wendy Melvoin’s twin sister).

When Susan Rogers first started working for Prince (at his home studio at Kiowa Trail), Prince had just written the song. She said she kept on hearing Prince playing it at the piano, over and over. When it was time to record, they put all the music to tape, upon which Prince recorded his vocals. As always, he recorded it by himself, sitting behind the console, giving him full control. Coming through the door Rogers could hear his ecstatic screaming. How lucky to have been present during the recording of songs like that and seeing the ideas coming to fruition before your very eyes.

The song is about the love for a woman who is either still in a relationship, or is in serious doubt. Slowly, yet inevitably, Prince builds the tension up, and up, and up, until it’s out of control and Prince literally screams:

Do u want him?
Or do u want me?
Cause I want u
Said I want u
Tell me, babe
Do u want me?
I gotta know, I gotta know
Do u want me?
Baby, baby, baby
Listen 2 me
I may not know where I’m going (babe)
I said I may not know what I need
One thing, one thing’s 4 certain baby
I know what I want, yeah
and if it please u baby
please u, baby
I’m begging down on my knees
I want u
Yes I do
Baby, baby, baby, baby
I want you

Yes I do

© Prince 1984

Just seeing the lyrics like that incites goose bumps. Prince’s total surrender is so overwhelming, so real and so emotional, it silences the listener. Prince isn’t particularly known for his emotions, but in this song they attack the listener from every angle.

The song was recorded at Sunset Sound in September of 1983. Ever since the 1980’s a longer version is in circulation on bootleg. In that version the song’s finale is longer. Even more screaming. Beautiful!

Essential listening for anybody with even the tiniest interest in Prince.

Prince And The Revolution performance of Computer Blue in the movie Purple Rain (twitter.com/princemuseum)

Prince And The Revolution performance of Computer Blue in the movie Purple Rain

Computer Blue

(written by John L. Nelson, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin and Prince)

Wendy?
Yes Lisa
Is the water warm enough?
Yes Lisa
Shall we begin?
Yes Lisa

© Prince 1984

The opening is iconic and easily recognizable, among Prince lovers anyway. The second genius song on this album. The beat is irresistible. The instrumentation is weird, funky, rocking, cold, warm and bold. The song consist of three parts. The beginning with the (minimal) lyrics, the mid section with the musical theme written by John L. Nelson (Prince’s father) and the end that sees Prince unleashing the music and makes his guitar howl. And all that over the course of just 3:59 minutes. Breathtakingly good!

The first recording of the song was done at the famous August 3rd, 1983, show. On August 8th, (one day after the Let’s Go Crazy recordings) the song was recorded at The Warehouse, with The Revolution. One week later the song was worked on at the Sunset Sound studio in Hollywood by Prince, Wendy, Lisa and others. Eventually, the song developed into a very complex 14 minute suite. In a somewhat shortened version, the song was placed on the first configurations of Purple Rain, but was ultimately edited down to 4 minutes, due to the arrival of Take Me With U.

In 2017, the 12:18 minutes version was released on Purple Rain Expanded, titled Computer Blue (‘Hallway Speech’ Version). A beautiful and impressive piece of music that clearly demonstrates Prince’s musical ability and boldness.

Prince And The Revolution - Darling Nikki live (greensboro.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Darling Nikki live

Darling Nikki

A song that not only sounds sleazy, but really is sleazy as well. A solo performance by Prince, this song about a woman who uses Prince for her own lusts, only to leave him afterwards. The music is heavy and relates to hard rock, when Prince explodes the song with double bass drums and squealing guitars and a synthesizer wall of sound. On top of that the maniacal screaming of Prince: “Come back Nikki, come back / Your dirty little Prince / wanna grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind”. An incredibly wild, ecstatic, exciting and original song.

I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess u could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine
She said “how’d u like 2 waste some time?”
And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind

© Prince 1984

The song was recorded in the summer of 1983 at Prince’s own Kiowa Trail and the Sunset Sound studios.

The song ends with a reversed played a-capella piece. When reversed back (to its normal state) the lyrics “Hello, how R U? I’m fine, cause I know that the Lord is coming soon, coming, coming soon” are audible. Sex and God went hand in hand in Prince’s work before, but never like this.

Prince And The Revolution - When Doves Cry - Video stills (hq-music-videos.com)

Prince And The Revolution – When Doves Cry – Video stills

When Doves Cry

I will not spend too many words on this. I have written and published many times about this song. It’s my favorite Prince song, making it my favorite song of all time.

In the following articles I have addressed (my love for) When Doves Cry:

How can u just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that’s so cold?
Maybe I’m just 2 demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father 2 bold
Maybe you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

© Prince 1984

Prince And The Revolution - When Doves Cry (single and maxi-single) (pinterest.com/store.prince.com)

Prince And The Revolution – When Doves Cry (single and maxi-single)

The song was released as a single on May 16th, 1984 (June 22nd in Europe), before the album. The B-side is the brilliant 17 Days. The maxi single was released on June 13th, 1984.

Prince And The Revolution - I Would Die 4 U - Video stills (hq-music-videos.com)

Prince And The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U – Video stills

I Would Die 4 U

Not too exciting, yet I love hearing it. I like its rhythm and sparse sound. It may sound somewhat simple, but it’s a well written, clever song. I think it’s about Jesus. Once again a clear religious reference.

I’m not a woman
I’m not a man
I am something that you’ll never understand

I’ll never beat u
I’ll never lie
And if you’re evil I’ll forgive u by and by

© Prince 1984

The base recordings on this song stem from the August 3rd, 1983, show. Edits and overdubs were added, but the song’s base comes from that legendary show.

Prince And The Revolution - I Would Die 4 U (single and maxi-single) (genius.com/amazon.com)

Prince And The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U (single and maxi-single)

The song was released as a single on November 28th, 1984 (2 days earlier in Europe) and had Another Lonely Christmas as its B-side. The maxi-single was released on December 19th. It contained a shortened version of a live version, played by Prince, the Revolution and Sheila E.’s band during a rehearsal on October 5th, 1984.

Prince And The Revolution - Baby I'm A Star performance in the movie Purple Rain (apoplife.nl)

Prince And The Revolution – Baby I’m A Star performance in the movie Purple Rain

Baby I’m A Star

An irresistibly funky, steamy and stomping song with a glorious beat, which can go on for hours. Prince is sure of himself, a bit cocky, but mainly festive. It was (in combination with I Would Die 4 U) used as the closing section of the movie Purple Rain. He had overcome all his problems and had arrived. He, his band and their music was accepted and revered. All’s well that ends well.

Hey, look me over
Tell me do u like what u see?
Hey, I ain’t got no money
But honey I’m rich on personality

© Prince 1984

The song was recorded as early as 1981 or 1982 at the Kiowa Trail studio. The base recordings for the released version stem from the August 3rd, 1983, show. Edits and overdubs were added, but the song’s base comes from that legendary show.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain - Video stills (hq-music-videos.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain – Video stills

Purple Rain

The song that made Prince conquer the rock market. Essentially it’s a standard rock ballad, but it has that extra something. Every time I heard it live (and I have heard it many, many times) I thought ‘not again, please’, but every time it got to me. There’s something about the song that moves me. Of course it has that legendary solo. Delivered beautifully, it offered Prince the opportunity to go all the way in a live setting. The times he did go all the way, are among my most cherished memories of Prince live.

I never meant 2 cause u any sorrow
I never meant 2 cause u any pain
I only wanted 2 one time see u laughing
I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain

© Prince 1984

The base recordings on this song stem from the August 3rd, 1983, show. Edits and overdubs were added (the third verse was scrapped), but the song’s base comes from that legendary show.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain (single and maxi-single) (twitter.com/bilborecords.be)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain (single and maxi-single)

It was released as a single on September 26th, 1984 (in Europe it was September 10th), and had the song God as its B-side. The English release of the maxi-single contained an extra B-side God (Love Theme From Purple Rain).

Purple Rain is placed at number 35 in my Prince song top 50.

N.B.: Prince was worried about Purple Rain. He had the idea it was rather similar to Journey’s 1983 song Faithfully. Early 1984 Prince called Jonathan Cain, the writer of the song, requesting him to listen to the song and if Prince could release Purple Rain without plagiarizing. After listening Cain said “Man, I’m just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you’re that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it’s gonna be a hit.”

Contributions by others

Everything on the album is played and performed by Prince, with the following exceptions:

  • The Revolution:
    • Bobby Z. – drums and percussion
    • Brown Mark – bass and vocals
    • Wendy Melvoin – guitar and vocals
    • Lisa Coleman – keyboards and vocals
    • Matt Fink – keyboards and vocals

    on Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me With U, Computer Blue, I Would Die 4 U and Purple Rain

  • Apollonia – vocals on Take Me With U
  • David Coleman – cello on Take Me With U, Baby I’m A Star and Purple Rain
  • Novi Novog – violin and viola on Take Me With U, Baby I’m A Star and Purple Rain
  • Suzie Katayama – cello on Take Me With U, Baby I’m A Star and Purple Rain
  • Jill Jones – vocals on Baby I’m A Star (uncredited)
Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain - LP Sticker (apoplife.nl)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain – LP Sticker

Extra songs

No less than 5 singles were culled from Purple Rain, resulting in just as many B-sides. Those could only be listened to by purchasing the single or maxi-single.

Prince And The Revolution - 17 Days (bron onbekend)

Prince And The Revolution – 17 Days (B-side When Doves Cry)

17 Days

The B-side to the When Doves Cry single, its full title is 17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose).

An enchanting song. The rhythm, the music, the lyrics. It’s just a perfect pop-song. Prince has been left behind and revels in self pity.

So here I sit in my lonely room
Lookin’ for my Sunshine
But all I’ve got is two cigarettes
And this broken heart of mine

So let the rain come down
The rain come down
Let the rain come down, down

© Prince 1984

The first version Prince recorded stems from August 1983. In the beginning of 1984 the song was re-recorded, to which background vocals were added by Wendy & Lisa. The song’s writers are officially registered as Prince, Lisa Coleman, Dr. Fink and Wendy Melvoin .

The song is at number 7 in my Prince song top 50.

The song was also a part of the 1993 ‘greatest hits’ compilation The Hits / The B-Sides.

Prince And The Revolution - Another Lonely Christmas (maxi-single) (discogs.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Another Lonely Christmas (B-side I Would Die 4 U)

Another Lonely Christmas

The B-side to the I Would Die 4 U single.

The only Christmas themed song Prince recorded. It’s about the love Prince had for a girl who died on the first day of Christmas. Ever since that day he spends his Christmases alone. Lyrically sincere and moving in the way Prince addresses life’s little everyday details.

The song was also a part of the 1993 ‘greatest hits’ compilation The Hits / The B-Sides.

Prince And The Revolution - Erotic City (maxi-single) (musicstack.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Erotic City (B-side Let’s Go Crazy)

Erotic City

The B-side to the Let’s Go Crazy single. The 12-inch version in particular, titled Erotic City (“Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive”), is phenomenal.

A real funk classic with an irresistible groove. The bass is addictive, the keyboards subtle and funky. The guitar is all of the above. Prince sings with a distorted voice (both slowed down and sped up) in this sex oriented song. Overtly sex oriented song, that is. It is rather remarkable that this song was played on American radio stations. There was some speculation about the wording: did he say funk or fuck? By the time the handwritten lyrics showed up, all doubt was gone: fuck then…

According to Prince the song was recorded after he had witnessed Parliament-Funkadelic live at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles. The song was recorded on March 25th, 1984 as a duet between Prince and Sheila E. After the recordings were done Prince encouraged Sheila E. to start a career of her own, something she was reluctant or insecure about. Prince persuaded her and a new project was underway, the route to Sheila E.’s debut album: The Glamourous Life.

Every time I comb my hair
Thoughts of you get in my eyes
You’re a sinner, I don’t care
I just want your creamy thighs

If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time
Thoughts of pretty you and me, Erotic City come alive
We can fuck until the dawn, making love ’til cherry’s gone
Erotic City can’t you see, thoughts of pretty you and me

© Prince 1984

The song is number 4 in my Prince song top 50.

The song was also a part of the 1993 ‘greatest hits’ compilation The Hits / The B-Sides.

In 2006 Warner Bros. was compiling the compilation Prince Ultimate. The second disc contained remixes and extended versions. Warner Bros. planned on placing Erotic City onto that disc. At the request of Prince personally, the song was scrapped from the configuration. Probably due to the lyrical content.

Prince - God (rockitpoole.com)

Prince – God (B-side Purple Rain)

God

The B-side to the Purple Rain single.

The first song that is blatantly devoted to God. It tells the tale of the creation of the earth and the Lord’s everlasting power. Lyrically, it’s not my cup of tea, but vocally Prince does things with his voice that are humanly almost impossible. An impressive arsenal of sounds and melodies that leave the listener completely stunned.

The song’s base was recorded on Sunday August 19th, 1984.

The song was also a part of the 1993 ‘greatest hits’ compilation The Hits / The B-Sides.

Prince - God (rockitpoole.com)

Prince – God (Love Theme From Purple Rain) (B-side Purple Rain)

God (Love Theme From Purple Rain)

The B-side to the English Purple Rain maxi-single.

An instrumental that’s part of the Purple Rain movie soundtrack. A beautiful moody song.

It was recorded in February of 1984 and features Sheila E. on drums.

Syndicate

Prince And The Revolution - Syndicate (single) (princevault.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Syndicate (single)

I had never heard of this one before, but the incredible and reliable source princevault.com states that another single was released, entitled Syndicate. It was released as a promo only in Japan at the end of November 1984 and contained the song Another Lonely Christmas as its A-side. The B-side consisted of a number of spoken texts by Prince, Sheila E. and Apollonia, that could be used by radio stations:

  • Sheila E. introducing The Belle Of St. Mark
  • Sheila E.’s Christmas Message
  • Apollonia’s Message to Japan
  • Apollonia introducing Sex Shooter
  • Apollonia introducing Blue Limousine
  • Apollonia introducing Happy Birthday Mr. Christian
  • Prince introducing Purple Rain

Album cover

The cover consists of flowers on a white background. On the front a picture of Prince is placed over the flowers. Prince is pictured on a purple motorcycle at the back of the First Avenue club in Minneapolis. Apollonia can be seen at the top of a flight of stairs near an open door. The name of the album and the name Prince and the Revolution are placed on top of that. The font used on the cover was originally intended just for the movie. Graphic designer Jay Vigon edited it for use on the album cover.

Prince - Handwritten instructions for the album cover (apoplife.nl)

Prince – Handwritten instructions for the album cover

The album’s back cover contains the names of the songs and a dialogue:

Dig if u will the picture – of u and I engaged in a kiss. The sweat of your body covers me. Can u picture this, my darling? An ocean of violets engulf our persons. A bird screams. At 1st, I think it’s u and u thought it was me. Oh, if only violets could talk. Insecurities. Do u know who u are? Then it doesn’t matter who screamed 1st. Did it matter who ate of the apple 1st? The end result was negative. Can u pass me the pepper? Why, because u told me salt was bad 4 me. I thought u liked eggs. I thought u liked me. Well, eggs are the only thing I can make besides a baby. Why do u look at me like that? What are u thinking? I know u better than u think I do. There’s this purple suspicion that lurks in the anals of my mind that u and I are alike in more ways than 6. Can u relate? oh yeah? Then what’s the difference between a beautiful man and an ugly man with money? Nothing – as far as you’re concerned. Do u still want 2 spend the night? Good. Come on. U said u would wash my hair. Shall we go swimming 1st? U can’t swim. Wonderful. “I’ll teach u 2 swim, I’ll teach u 2 try, I’ll teach u 2 laugh, but not 2 cry. I’ll teach u 2 trust me when u think I lie, I’ll teach u 2 love me until we die.” It’s from a song I wrote. Do u believe that? U do? Well, I lied. I just made it up. Pretty good, huh. It’s not nice 2 lie. I think we’re on the right track. Shall I wash u 1st or shall u wash me?

© Prince 1984

Reception

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain - Ad July 1984 (prince.org)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain – Ad July 1984

By the time the album was released in the US, all 1.3 million copies that were pressed, were sold out within 3 days. To meet the demand the record plants were working overtime. On August 4th it reached the top of the album charts, and would remain there for the rest of the year. On August 4th the single When Doves Cry occupied the first position of the singles charts for the fifth consecutive week. Purple Rain the movie, which was released the week before, was the main box office movie that week. Number 1 in the album, single and movie charts. All coming from that, recently turned, 26 year old little man from Minneapolis.

The single When Doves Cry was the perfect introduction for the album, which was (internationally) lauded for its musicality, boldness, experimentation and top songs. In the US the album was regarded as Prince’s crowning achievement (just like Europeans regarded Lovesexy the pinnacle of Prince’s career 4 years later). For most Europeans Purple Rain was their first encounter with the phenomenon that was Prince. Most European critics knew who he was, but he wasn’t followed closely, like in the US. Purple Rain changed all that.

In August 1984 Purple Rain was certified platinum. Just 3 months later Purple Rain was certified no less than 8 times platinum, and 9 times platinum in January 1985. In 1996 the album was officially certified 13 times platinum, resulting in the diamond status for Purple Rain. Until Prince’s untimely passing, world wide sales for Purple Rain counted up to 25 million copies.

Prince And The Revolution won 1984 Grammy Awards for the song Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media and the album was nominated for the album of the year (but didn’t win). Prince also won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song, due to Chaka Khan’s cover of his I Feel for You.

Conclusion

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain - Songs (hetplaathuis.nl)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain – Songs

So, what was my opinion on the album at the time? Truth be told, I can’t really remember. I do know my initial reaction to every album following that one, but unfortunately not Purple Rain. I clearly remember my initial response to the When Doves Cry single, where I was when I first heard it, how I reacted, etc. The album did make a profound and lasting impression, because I missed out on the broadcast of the March, 30th, 1985 Syracuse show as part of the German Rockpalast (German television stations were not available in my home town at the time) and I was very unhappy about that.

I do remember my initial favorites:

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • Computer Blue
  • Darling Nikki
  • When Doves Cry
  • Purple Rain

With the exception of the addition of Baby I’m A Star the list remains intact. All the songs are standards within the Prince song book. Are the other songs no good, then? Absolutely not. This album doesn’t contain one bad song, but the songs mentioned above are Princely genius, and that really is another categorization for music in general. In fact, words are unable to do them justice.

If I was asked to grade this album, I would rate it 9.5 (out of 10) (Take Me With U does not get a 100% score). Even though it’s not the highest praise for a Prince album (by me), it is an undisputed essential album and comes highly recommended for all who love music. A truly classic album.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain - Gold award (julienslive.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain – Gold award

Prince Purple Rain Footer (officialprincemusic.com)

Purple Rain, the movie

Purple Rain - Clapperboard (justcollecting.com)

Purple Rain – Clapperboard

Introduction

As written before, the script was done mid-1983. Albert Magnoli would direct the movie, his debut.

Filming

The majority of the filming took place in Minneapolis from November 1st to December 22nd, 1983. Prince was there every day, at every shoot. Although not immediately visible, but most of the filming was done under miserable (weather) circumstances. Temperatures were below zero from the start. It is said that it rained a lot as well, making a lot of the crew members coming down with frozen fingers and/or hands after the long days of filming.

Exterior recording ended on November 27th, moving everybody inside: the Minneapolis club First Avenue, which was let for 25 days, and subsequently closed. First Avenue was paid $ 100,000.-. All music performances were cut in the club. Because Prince wanted a ‘live feel’, the club was filled with extra’s every day.

A few days prior to New Year’s Day, Prince moved shop to Los Angeles. The last exterior shots were filmed there (temperatures were more agreeable) and Prince spent every free minute in his favorite studio Sunset Sound. During that period he recorded two songs that would end up in the movie (and album): When Doves Cry and Take Me With U.

Purple Rain - Movie opening sequence (unknown)

Purple Rain – Movie opening sequence

The story

The Kid, played by Prince, is a talented, yet problematic, leader of his band The Revolution. His father physically and verbally abuses his wife and is unable to face life. His mother is a victim who seems unable to alter her hopeless situation. To avoid the daily arguments and fights, The Kid spends all his time on his music and performing at First Avenue. The club has three spots for bands, which are occupied by The Revolution, The Time and The Modernaires (Dez Dickerson’s band) at the start of the movie.

Meanwhile Apollonia, filled with a desire to make it in the music business, has arrived in Minneapolis. She visits First Avenue for the first time as The Revolution performs Let’s Go Crazy. She is intrigued. The Kid and Apollonia meet and fall in love. When asked if The Kid is willing to help her with her career, he refuses.

Morris Day, charismatic leader of The Time, plots to replace The Revolution by an idea he concocted, a woman’s group. He hasn’t met the ideal front woman yet, until he meets Apollonia. She accepts Morris’s invitation. When she tells The Kid, he gets very angry and hits her. The son follows in his father’s footsteps.

Meanwhile, Lisa and Wendy are fed up with The Kid’s refusal to play their music. At the next performance he humiliates Apollonia by singing a song about her (Darling Nikki), angering the band, the club owner and the audience who all hate the song. It seems likely The Revolution will lose their spot to Morris Day’s new group: Apollonia 6.

Purple Rain - Movie cards (rrauction.com)

Purple Rain – Movie cards

The Kid takes Apollonia away from a drunk Day. After yet another fight, Apollonia leaves him. Upon returning home, he finds his mother crying on the sidewalk. When he enters the house, his father shoots himself in the head.

The Kid loses it in their basement and annihilates the room completely and discovers a chest full of sheet music, his father’s. As The Kid awakens the next morning, he plays the cassette by Wendy and Lisa, containing Slow Groove, the first setup to Purple Rain.

That night in First Avenue The Kid says that the song they’re gonna play is “a song the girls in the band wrote” and dedicates it to his father, who is in the hospital, badly injured. Next up is the emotional apotheosis to the movie. The audience connects with The Kid and they want more. The next two songs show everything turns out fine in the end. The band is unified, Apollonia is back and even Morris Day is dancing in the audience.

Purple Rain alternative photo shoot (rrauction.com)

Purple Rain alternative photo shoot

Actors

  • Prince as The Kid
  • Apollonia Kotero as Apollonia
  • Morris Day as Morris
  • Olga Karlatos as mother
  • Clarence Williams III as father (Francis L.)
  • Jerome Benton as Jerome
  • Billy Sparks as Billy
  • Jill Jones as Jill
  • Dez Dickerson as Dez
  • Wendy Melvoin as Wendy
  • Lisa Coleman as Lisa
  • The Revolution
  • The Time
  • Apollonia 6
Purple Rain movie credits (rrauction.com)

Purple Rain movie credits

Music in the movie

  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince And The Revolution
  • Jungle Love – The Time
  • Take Me with U – Prince And The Revolution and Apollonia
  • Modernaire – Dez Dickerson and the Modernaires
  • Possessed – Prince And The Revolution
  • The Beautiful Ones – Prince And The Revolution
  • God (Love Theme from Purple Rain) – Prince
  • When Doves Cry – Prince
  • Computer Blue – Prince And The Revolution
  • Darling Nikki – Prince And The Revolution
  • Sex Shooter – Apollonia 6
  • The Bird – The Time
  • Purple Rain – Prince And The Revolution
  • I Would Die 4 U – Prince And The Revolution
  • Baby I’m a Star – Prince And The Revolution
Prince at the Purple Rain - Premiere 07/26/1984 (medium.com)

Prince at the Purple Rain premiere 07/26/1984

Reception

At the time the movie was surprisingly well received in the US. In fact, the movie is rather thin and contains some dubious scenes, in which Prince doesn’t really portray the best things about being a man. Morris Day was pointed out as the one unschooled actor with promise, his charisma and humor stood out. Except for the two professional actors, the general acting skills were poor. But the musical performances radiated and were highly entertaining. Some publications even dubbed the movie the best rock and roll movie ever.

Purple Rain - Premiere invitation (icollector.com)

Purple Rain – Premiere invitation

During the months June and July the movie was played in small number of theaters to get a feel of the public’s reaction to it. The movie was rated very high by the audience and the critics, who wrote rave reviews in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Hollywood Reporter en Daily Variety. Purple Rain was upgraded, the number of theaters it would open in was drastically raised.

The movie’s premiere took place on July 26th, 1984, at Graumann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The entire event was filmed and broadcast by MTV. The guest list was impressive, people like Eddie Murphy, Steven Spielberg and Little Richard were present. Morris Day, who had officially left The Time and Minneapolis, was present as well. All of the people that were interviewed, were extremely enthused by the movie and Prince.

In 1985 Purple Rain won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.

Conclusion

Purple Rain wins an Oscar (twitter.com)

Purple Rain wins an Oscar

What did I think of the movie back then? I saw it at the local movie theater and was deeply impressed. I thought the movie was very entertaining and the Morris Day scenes were refreshing and really funny. Day was the perfect comedian. The violence towards women does the movie a disservice, now even more than back then. The story is rather thin and cliché, but the movie works anyway. Prince isn’t the greatest actor in the world, but the live performances are magical. The energy, the craftsmanship and the pure joy radiate from the screen. At the time the movie was marketed as the greatest rock and roll movie ever. A somewhat exaggerated statement, but should you some time to kill: watch it!

The movie has some remarkable scenes:

  • the password sketch
    Morris Day and his personal valet Jerome Benton have to come up with a ‘password’. The confusion of tongues in that scene is hysterical and gives Morris Day ample room to show his great comic timing
  • the love scene
    I personally thought the love scene between Prince and Apollonia was arousing, but that obviously says more about me than about the scene. Critic Nick Schager wrote:
    “According to director Albert Magnoli’s audio commentary on the ‘Purple Rain’ DVD, the love scene between frills-fond pop superstar Prince and leading lady Apollonia was shot in G, PG and R-rated versions, the last of which was ultimately used for the film. More preferable, however, would have been to ditch the scene altogether, as it radiates all the heat of sticking one’s groin in the freezer. Lasting just over one tortuous minute, this get-together is primarily notable for featuring Prince — decked out in the same puffy shirt Jerry Seinfeld would later mock on his sitcom — stroking Apollonia through her panties, grabbing her bustier-encased breasts, and, after erotically rubbing his face in her long hair, giving her open-mouthed kisses with the type of unnatural deliberateness usually reserved for Cinemax soft-core. If Prince seems mechanical carrying out such staged sensuality, Apollonia is downright wooden, ‘enjoying’ her rock star beau’s groping with an absolute minimum of expression save for the unintentionally amusing moment in which her tightly closed eyes suddenly open in a look of sleepy surprise. Mercifully, a fade to blue sky (and dreadful morning-after chit-chat) spares the world the further embarrassment of having to watch these two unsexy, overdressed robots actually bump and grind.”
  • Lake Minnetonka
    After refusing to help Apollonia with her career, The Kid states that she wouldn’t pass the initiation anyway. “You have to purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka”, followed by Apollonia stripping and jumping into the water. When she is on dry land again The Kid says “That ain’t Lake Minnetonka”. This scene and another one where a woman is literally thrown into a dumpster were rejected by a some critics and advocates for women’s rights
    N.B.: the scene was filmed in November 1984 in the vicinity of Minneapolis. It was freezing cold that day

The one thing that still astounds me to this day, is that Prince made it all look like there was an actual scene in Minneapolis, where multiple acts had to fight for their existence. It’s definite proof of his talent and genius, that the whole scene was made up and was just Prince playing around and creating his own competition.

Maybe the closing sentence of the review that was published in Dutch newspaper NRC at the time, sums it up the best:

A monster of a film that no lover of dance movies and rock music is allowed to miss.

Alfred Bos, NRC Handelsblad, 14-09-1984

See the trailer to the movie hier.

Purple Rain, the tour

Purple Rain Tour (princevault.com)

The Purple Rain tour took place from November 4th, 1984, to April 7th, 1985. Over 100 shows were played. Within that busy schedule several charity shows and events were organized for handicapped children, offering the proceedings to various good causes.

The show was put together in the summer and autumn of 1984, when the band was rehearsing endlessly. Sometimes rehearsals were cut short to play a show in smaller venues, like the famous birthday show on June 7th, 1984.

The tour started in Detroit, as a thank you to the large and loyal fan base he had had there for years on end. On December 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th and 28th he played in Minnesota, in Minneapolis’ twin city St. Paul. The Minnesota governor had officially declared those days as Prince Days.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain tour - Curtain design (rrauction.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain tour – Curtain design

The support act was Sheila E. and her band. Sheila E. didn’t play a part in the movie, nor did her music, but her album was released on June 4th, 1984, and was a huge success, thanks to the fantastic singles The Glamourous Life and The Bell Of St. Mark. The set was short, but very powerful, played with a lot of fire and showed Sheila E. had more to bring to the table than the previous female satellite acts.

On February 23rd, 1985, Bruce Spingsteen and Madonna guested on stage at the show at The Forum, Inglewood, California. The last show was held in Miami on April 7th, 1984, and was played to a crowd of 55,000 spectators.

Prince And The Revolution - Live Purple Rain tour (wfdd.org)

Prince And The Revolution – Live Purple Rain tour

Setlist

The songs that were part of the setlist almost every night during the Purple Rain Tour were:

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • Delirious
  • 1999
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Take Me With U
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Do Me, Baby
  • How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
  • Let’s Pretend We’re Married
  • International Lover
  • God
  • Computer Blue
  • Darling Nikki
  • When Doves Cry

Encore:

  • I Would Die 4 U
  • Baby I’m A Star

Encore 2:

  • Purple Rain

Syracuse, March 30th, 1985

Prince And The Revolution - Live (video) (prince.org)

Prince And The Revolution – Live (video)

The show on March 30th, 1985, was recorded and globally televised and later released as a VHS video. The show was filmed professionally, but doesn’t really convey the way it must have sounded at the venue. The sound was remarkably bad (as it still is today): no constant sound level and lots of noise/hiss. Surprising, as bootlegs of every other show of the tour (including the stunning tour finale) showcased an entirely different sound, perfectly balanced, providing ample space for the individual instruments.

However, at the March 30th, 1985, show one of the very best performances of Purple Rain was played, particularly when the guitar solo starts, which is long, emotional and pure joy. Highly recommended!

Reception

Contrary to the earlier Prince tours, the Purple Rain Tour wasn’t unanimously hailed. The show contained enough brilliance, but the production’s scale had sacrificed the intimacy. The show was rather grand. A large stage with lots of purple lighting and little room for improvisation. But all shows sold out in the blink of an eye, the venues changed to larger halls and stadiums and it was very profitable. No small feat, for The Jacksons had also started their Victory tour and Bruce Springsteen had started his Born In The U.S.A. tour, which would go on for an astounding 2.5 years.

Pray for Prince (unknown)

One of the goals Prince had set for at the beginning of his career was to gain a diversified audience. By now, the cross-over was complete, at times even crossing over too much. It seemed Prince was losing touch with his black audience.

In Minneapolis and Miami in particular, representatives of Christian groups (who are usually first in line to disallow others the rights they think they are entitled to) rallied outside the Prince shows. They were angered by the content and image of Prince as a satanic porno star, who dared to play his filth around the holidays of Christmas and Easter.

For the first time in his career reviews were mixed and at times even contained some criticism.

Still, the tour was very successful and brought in the most money of all the tours in 1984 and 1985. Prince’s star had risen to astronomical heights and had dethroned Michael Jackson. From that moment on both were continuously compared to each other. A rather stupendous comparison, since the only thing they had in common, was the color of their skin. Sound wise, image wise, method of work wise and musically they were miles and miles apart.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain tour - Live (insidehook.com)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain tour – Live

Conclusion

What did I think of the tour? It isn’t my favorite Prince tour, at all. The slower parts are a distraction to the music and kill the flow of the show, particularly during the first half. Because there wasn’t much room for improvisation, the show sounds somewhat static. I really love The Revolution era, but I have to say they do sound a bit sloppy at times. Then again, The Revolution wasn’t there for their virtuosity, but more for the personality, experiments and widening the musical scope.

I rarely listen to bootlegs of a Purple Rain Tour show. I think that says it all.

After Purple Rain

A lot of the things happening after Purple Rain, was firmly rooted in that period.

Prince stops performing live, April 1985 (newsbots.eu)

Prince stops performing live, April 1985

Stopping performances

On April 2nd, 1985, when still on the Purple Rain Tour, manager Steve Fargnoli announced that Prince would stop performing live-shows: “Prince is withdrawing from the live performance scene for an indefinite period of time. Prince’s concert April 7 at Miami’s Orange Bowl will be his last performance for an interminate number of years. I asked Prince what he planned to do. He told me: ‘I’m going to look for the ladder’. I asked him what that meant. All he said was, ‘Sometimes it snows in April'”.

No Europe, again

Europe was forced to make do with the Syracuse show and the subsequent video. Prince And The Revolution would not tour Europe. Prince was just midway in his tour, when he already was so tired of the whole concept, he couldn’t wait for it to be over. He had much more fun, exciting and new music waiting to be released. He wanted to turn his attention to that instead of rehashing Purple Rain, which may have been new to the world, but was old news to Prince himself. He didn’t enjoy the tour very much.

Warner Bros. and his management were not very pleased with his decision. The Purple Rain concept had definitely earned more money if only Prince was prepared to make the tour a genuine world tour.

We Are The World

In the night of January 25th and 26th, 1985, immediately following the Grammy Awards Show many artists came together to record a single designed to raise money to end the famine that swept across Ethiopia. Prince was asked to participate, but refused. He asked if it was okay to donate a song to the album, which was okay. After a show he recorded the song 4 The Tears In Your Eyes.

What did Prince do? Probably the stupidest thing he could do. He went out, which of course generated a lot of coverage, for he wasn’t able to do such a thing unnoticed anymore. To make matters even worse his bodyguards got into a fight with a couple of pushy paparazzi. The incident was all over the news. Prince argues about a photograph while partying, at the same time when all the other artists showed their altruism. Not good, at all.

New album

Even before the Purple Rain Tour started, the sequel to Purple Rain was done, bar one song. In December 1984 the album was completed. After the tour Around The World In A Day would be released. That album was very far removed from the music on Purple Rain.

PMRC

PMRC logo

Thanks to Darling Nikki (1984)

When Tipper Gore heard the song Darling Nikki on the Purple Rain album, she was so shocked, she formed the Parents Music Resource Center, with the purpose of warning listeners (read: parents of) for sexual and/or violent material. To strengthen her cause she compiled a filthy 15 list. It contained two Prince songs. Darling Nikki and Sheena Easton’s Sugar Walls, also written by Prince. Because of Darling Nikki the Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics stickers were introduced.

The Time

It wasn’t before long that the life had vanished from The Time. The day following the announcement of the band’s break-up, Prince had a new idea for a new band: The Family. More info on the this great group and their stunning debut album at a later time.

Sheila E.

Sheila E. had introduced herself perfectly during the Purple Rain Tour. It was obvious that this was a satellite act that could be able to fulfill high expectations.

Influence

The movie Purple Rain has been invaluable to the black communities. For the very first time a black artist, and a relatively unknown as well, told his own story, got it financed and subsequently conquered the world with it. Film makers like Spike Lee are forever in debt to Prince, because Prince showed them it was possible.

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rush volumes 1-7, 31 discs filled with Purple Rain material (discogs.com/apoplife.nl)

Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rush volumes 1-7, 31 discs filled with Purple Rain material

Purple Rush

Purple Rain was and remains proof of pure genius, showing Prince working at the best of his ability. Many magnificent songs were recorded and released at that time. Painting a full picture of everything Prince was doing at the time is captured on the impressive bootleg series Purple Rush, comprised of 7 parts and several discs, containing studio recordings, rehearsals, one-off shows and a number of Purple Rain Tour shows. The 31 (!) discs contain roughly 35 to 40 hours worth of music. A beautiful document!

Prince - Purple Rain tour - Live (nytimes.com)

Prince – Purple Rain tour – Live

In closing

Should you want read more on Purple Rain, please consider the following resources:

  • The fantastic book Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions – 1983 and 1984 by Duane Tudahl. A meticulously crafted report on all the things was up to leading up to Purple Rain until the end of 1984. Very highly recommended!
  • The book Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light. A highly informative book aimed at the movie in particular
  • the on-line source princevault.com, recommended reading for Prince music lovers

What’s your take on Purple Rain? Let me know; it is very much appreciated!

may u live 2 see the dawn

© Prince 1984

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince reaches the top of the world with Purple Rain, the album, the movie and the tour. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

Prince White cloud guitar (julienslive.com)

Prince White cloud guitar

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!