“Purple Rain” is one of rock music’s artist Prince’s most infamous and incredible songs. Originally the song was recorded during a benefit concern for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the First Avenue Nightclub in Minneapolis on 3rd August 1983, but the song was officially released as a track 11 months later on the “Purple Rain” album by Prince and the Revolution. Sadly, the musical legend passed away on the 21st April 2016 at the age of 57 of an accidental fentanyl overdose and sent ripples of shock and despair through not only the music world, but the globe.
“Purple Rain” is also a film Prince starred in, where it simultaneously managed to win an Academy Award for “Best Original Song Score” as well as get nominated for “Worst Song” in the Razzie Awards. The song narrates a relationship between two people where one felt more than friendship for the other – essentially unrequited love. “I never wanted to be your weekend lover / I only wanted to be some kind of friend / Baby, I could never steal you from another / It’s such a shame our friendship had to end”, in the second verse Prince admits that he never felt love towards his friend, and that their relationship or perhaps a previous romantic experience that happened between the two was never more than just a fling to him. According to music publication and website NME, Prince has only provided one (albeit, slightly confusing) explanation of the track: “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple… purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain”. The guitar solo Prince plays in the track is one of the most recognised and critically praised of all time.
A majority of Prince’s music was removed from YouTube but a user under the name of “The Codfather” uploaded the scene where from the “Purple Rain” film where the track is sung on a stage with purple lights in front of an audience. The video was uploaded a day after the singer’s death was announced. It has over 94 million views as of November 2018.
Release Date: 25th June 1984
Producer/s: Prince and the Revolution
Genre: Soul Pop, Rock, Blues
Label: Warner Bros
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Awards: Has sold over 100 million records worldwide (which makes him one of the best-selling music artists of all time), has won 8 Grammy Awards, 6 American Music Awards, 1 Golden Globe Award, and 1 Academy Award for the “Purple Rain” film. It has Gold certifications in the UK, US and New Zealand, ranked #144 on the “Rolling Stone” magazine list of the “500 Greats Songs of All Time”, #40 in “Q” magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and the song is also included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.