Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The #35 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Purple Rain" by Prince & the Revolution

Prince inspired many performers after him with his great blend of rock, funk and R&B.  Prince & the Revolution have the next entry in The Top 100 Albums*.

The rule for the database is there are no soundtracks allowed unless one artist does all the songs and they are new to the mass public.  Purple Rain, being solely composed by Prince, qualifies as an exception.  Some of the tracks on the album were recorded live at the First Avenue Club in Minneapolis.  Prince did the show as a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater.  The album surged into the Top 10 in its second week and dethroned Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. in just its fourth week of release.  That tells us a lot.  So although the Boss has a spot in The Top 100, the album is not going to pass Purple Rain because it could not hold to #1 for more than four weeks while Purple Rain reigned.

Born in the U.S.A. eventually came back to #1, but not after Prince had spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1.  Purple Rain remained in the Top 10 for 31 weeks and on the album chart for 72.  It held off albums like Make It Big and Like a Virgin in addition to Born in the U.S.A, a remarkable feat.  To date, Purple Rain has sold 13 million copies and has an excellent Track Rating* of 9.00.

"When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" not only went #1 but are both in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  The title track to Purple Rain went to #2.  That's a lot of firepower in the first three singles.  "I Would Die 4 (sic) U (sic)" and "Take Me with U (sic)" were also released as singles.  "The Beautiful Ones" and "Darling Nikki" (although it was responsible for earning a Parent's Advisory sticker) are both excellent tracks. I would just say do not play the latter around your children.  

On top of its outstanding chart performance, sales, airplay and Track Rating*, Purple Rain was one of the most honored albums of the Rock Era.  Prince won two Grammy Awards for Best Vocal Performance by a Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and was nominated for Album of the Year.  He received an unprecedented 11 American Music Award nominations for Purple Rain, winning three of them--Favorite Rock Album, Favorite R&B album and Favorite R&B Song ("When Doves Cry").  Prince was also nominated for Favorite Rock Male Artist, Favorite Male R&B Artist, Favorite Rock Video Artist, Favorite Male R&B Video Artist while "When Doves Cry" was also nominated for Favorite Rock Song, Favorite Rock Video and Favorite R&B Video.  Prince also won an Oscar for Best Original Song From a Motion Picture.

Purple Rain:
(All songs by Prince except where noted.)

Side one
1.  "Let's Go Crazy" --4:39
2.  "Take Me with U (sic)" --3:54
3.  "The Beautiful Ones" --5:13
4.  "Computer Blue" (words by Prince, music by Prince, John L. Nelson, Wendy & Lisa and Dr. Fink) --3:59
5.  "Darling Nikki" --4:14

Side two
1.  "When Doves Cry" --5:54
2.  "I Would Die 4 (sic) U (sic)" --2:49
3.  "Baby I'm a Star" --4:24
4.  "Purple Rain" --8:41

Prince played guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, piano and drums on the album as well as being the chief songwriter and vocalist.  Members of the Revolution all helped with vocals.  Brown Mark also played bass, Lisa Coleman played keyboards, piano and sitar, Wendy Melvoin played guitars, Dr. Fink contributed keyboards and organ and Bobby Z. played drums and percussion on the album.

David Coleman played violin, Suzie  Katayama and Novi Novog played violin and viola and Apollonia Kotero sang vocals on "Take Me with U (sic)".

Purple Rain was recorded at First Avenue, the St. Louis Park Warehouse and Sunset Sound in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The album was released June 25, 1984 on Warner Brothers Records.

Prince comes in next with this great album at #35--Purple Rain.

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