Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by American pop/rock musician Prince, the second with the Revolution as his backing band. It acts as the soundtrack for the 1984 film of the same name. It was released through Warner Bros. Records on June 25, 1984.
It won the Grammy Awards for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. The Title Track even won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 57th Academy Awards.
Commercially, Purple Rain lifted Prince to megastardom. The album went 13-times Platinum in the United States (later certified Diamond by the RIAA), and also double-Platinum in the United Kingdom. Globally, it has sold over 25 million copies, including 700,000 in 2016, the year Prince died. It is the third biggest-selling soundtrack album of all time.
The album produced five singles: "When Doves Cry", "Let's Go Crazy", "Purple Rain", "I Would Die 4 U", and "Take Me with U". "When Doves Cry" was Prince's first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Let's Go Crazy" following suit. "Purple Rain" would hit #2, and "I Would Die 4 U" hit #8. The first three and "Take Me with U" were all Top Ten hits on the UK Pop chart. "Let's Go Crazy" was certified Platinum by the RIAA, while "Purple Rain" was certified Platinum by the BPI.
While not released as a single, the track "Darling Nikki" did gain just as much notoriety thanks to it being a favorite of Kareana Gore Schiff, daughter of senator and later vice president Al Gore's daughter. Al's wife, Tipper, caught a then-eleven-year-old Kareana singing along to the song, and, horrified that her child was singing along to such a blatantly sexual song, co-founded the Parent's Music Resource Center in 1985 with the aim of imposing an MPAA-like rating system on music releases. While the plan didn't work out due to accusations of censorship from the music industry, which came to a head in a court hearing in August that featured counterargument testimonies from the likes of Frank Zappa, Dee Snyder, and John Denver, the PMRC did succeed in forcing the music industry to start applying warning stickers to the packaging of albums with explicit lyrics.
So, to put a long story short, this album indirectly caused the creation of the Parental Advisory sticker. Ironically, Purple Rain never received one.
It was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2012.
- "Let's Go Crazy" (4:39)
- "Take Me with U" (3:54)
- "The Beautiful Ones" (5:13)
- "Computer Blue" (3:59)
- "Darling Nikki" (4:14)
- "When Doves Cry" (5:54)
- "I Would Die 4 U" (2:49)
- "Baby I'm a Star" (4:24)
- "Purple Rain" (8:41)
"This is what it sounds like when tropes cry":
- All Women Are Lustful: "Darling Nikki""I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you could say she was a sex fiend"
- Break-Up Song: "When Doves Cry"
- Color Motif: Purple, of course. It's right there in the title.
"Let's reach for the purple banana until they throw us in the truck."
- From "Let's Go Crazy":
- Cool Bike: It's right there on the cover.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: "Darling Nikki", to the point where it caused a government hearing."I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine"
- A God Am I: "I Would Die 4 U""I'm your Messiah and you're the reason why"
- Gray Rain of Depression: "Purple Rain"
- The Grim Reaper: Mentioned in "Let's Go Crazy""Better live now before the Grim Reaper comes knocking on your door"
- "I Am" Song: "Baby I'm A Star"
- In the Style of...: Prince and Bob Seger's tours tended to be intersecting at the time. Prince didn't understand his appeal but tried to write a song in what he thought was Seger's style, resulting in "Purple Rain."
- Let's Duet: "Take Me With U", with Appollonia.
- Longest Song Goes Last: The album closes off with the 8:41 Title Track.
- One-Woman Song: "Darling Nikki"
- Power Ballad: "Purple Rain," "The Beautiful Ones."
- Purple Is Powerful: It's in the title, it's a Prince record, it comes with the territory.
- Rhymes on a Dime: "Let's Go Crazy""Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill"
- Rock Star Song: "Baby I'm A Star"
- The Shrink: Type 2 in "Let's Go Crazy""So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll-Be-Alright"
- Siamese Twin Songs: "I Would Die 4 U" —> "Baby I'm A Star"
- Silly Love Songs: "Take Me With U," "Purple Rain," "The Beautiful Ones"
- Spoken Word in Music: The album begins with a sermon at the start of "Let's Go Crazy".
- Title Track: "Purple Rain"
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: "Take Me With U"
- Letters 2 Numbers: "I Would Die 4 U"