Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain

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Monday, August 4, 2014
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Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain

Remember back on June 25 when we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain? Well, given what a seminal record it is – not just in Prince’s back catalog, but in popular music, period – we figured it was also worth noting another of the album’s anniversaries, specifically the one which takes place today: the 30th anniversary of when it first ascended to the uppermost spot of the Billboard Top 200.

It might be surprising to some of you that there were several weeks between Purple Rain’s release and when it hit #1, but there are two very important things to keep in mind, the first of which is that it was a soundtrack album for a film that no one had ever seen until July 27…which is to say that the fact that the album entered the top spot the week after the film hit theaters is almost certainly not a coincidence. Additionally, between the release of the album and the release of the film, “Let’s Go Crazy” came out as a single and began working its way up the charts. You know how, even 30 years later, no matter where you are, you instantly have the urge to dance whenever that song comes on? Then you can probably understand a bit better now why, as more people were hearing the song, more people were deciding that they should probably go ahead and invest in a copy for themselves. From there, the title track was released as a single, followed by “I Would Die 4 U” and “Take Me with U,” and the next thing you know, the album’s gone platinum 13 times over.

Given today’s anniversary… Sorry, what’s that? You say you know we’re going to try to use this as an excuse to get you to listen to Purple Rain again, but the joke’s on us because you don’t need an excuse to listen to Purple Rain? Boy, is our face red! Still, even as we slink away in embarrassment, at least we can bask in the comfort that you’re going to be listening to something worthwhile when we’re gone.