Happy Anniversary: Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Happy Anniversary: Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain

Here’s a piece of information that’ll make you go crazy: today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain.

Now, when we say Purple Rain, in this particular instance we’re talking about the soundtrack to the film rather than the film itself, which didn’t hit theaters until July 27, 1984, but you probably already guessed that. Either way, though, the second you saw this post pop up, we’d guess that you instantly had at least one of the album’s songs running through your brain, most likely the title track, if only because, well, the title’s right there in front of you. That said, it’s not like there aren’t enough other unforgettable options to choose from, starting with the very first track.

Seriously, do opening salvos get any better than the opening moments of “Let’s Go Crazy”? Even presented in paragraph form, it reads like a life-affirming sermon.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. An electric word, life. It means forever…and that's a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you there’s something else: the afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness, you can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills – you know the one: Dr. Everything’ll Be All Right – instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby. ‘Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld. In this life, you’re on your own. And if the elevator tries to bring you down? Go crazy: punch a higher floor.”

The soundtrack’s first single, though, was actually the very last track recorded for the album: “When Doves Cry,” which also proved to be Prince’s first number one single. From there, “Let’s Go Crazy” gave him his second number one single, while a trimmed-down version of the title track made it to #2. After that, it was time for the two “U” singles (we speak, of course, of “I Would Die 4 U” and “Take Me with U”), which made it to #8 and #25, respectively.

Of the album’s remaining four tracks, there probably won’t be much in the way of argument if we suggest that “Darling Nikki” received the most attention, if not necessarily in the best of all possible ways. Tipper Gore may not have approved of the song’s risqué lyrics, but we’ll say this much for the PMRC: their antics were directly responsible for a whole lot of kids paying way more attention to what Nikki was doing with that magazine than they ever would have otherwise. Beyond that, though, we’ll note that “The Beautiful Ones” has gotten a lot of play as a result of Mariah Carey and Dru Hill covering it as a duet and Beyonce featuring it in her live set a few years back, Tina Turner did a pretty great cover of “Baby I’m a Star” back in 2000, and “Computer Love” is…well, let’s just say there’s nothing else like it on the album.

Given that it’s gone platinum 13 times over in the United States alone, we realize that you could probably grab your own copy of the soundtrack as easily as you could click on the Spotify link we’ve provided, but it’s there for your listening pleasure nonetheless, so if you feel like celebrating Purple Rain hitting the big 3-0, don’t say we didn’t give you another chance to go crazy.