Prince, a musical film in the works

Prince, some of the best covers of “Purple Rain”

Forty years ago – June 25, 1984 – Prince public “Purple Rain” (read the review here), the sixth album of his career and the second with the Revolution. It is the album that transforms the Prince of Minneapolis into a true global superstar: 15 million copies sold in the USA, over 25 million in the rest of the world and 13 platinum records. But not only that: the album will remain at the top of the Billboard 200 for 24 consecutive weeks and in total it will remain in the charts for 167 weeks, thanks also to the success of the singles “When Doves Cry” And “Let’s Go Crazy” who will win the first position and of “Purple Rain” which will stop at number two.

Maurilio Giordana (blog owner “MyWay”)

“Purple Rain” it is also the soundtrack of the film of the same name directed by Albert Magnoli which will arrive in cinemas a month later and which will win the Oscar for best soundtrack. A film that sees the same Prince protagonist on the screen, supported by Apolloniaone of the many female voices launched by the Minneapolis artist.

The album ends with the 8 minutes and 40 seconds of the title track, one of the most loved power ballads in the history of music and one of the absolute masterpieces of his career. It will become the singer’s most performed live song, very often at the end of his legendary shows. It will also be the last song that Prince will perform live, at the conclusion of the concert on April 14, 2016 in Atlanta, a week before his death.

The title of the song, however, was not entirely new: the expression “purple rain” had already been used in 1972 by America in a verse of the hit “Ventura Highway”.

Prince he also had doubts about the musical originality of the piece. He feared it looked too much like “Faithfully” of the Journey, released the year before. It will be the same Jonathan Cainthe group’s keyboard player and author of the song, to reassure him, after having listened to the demo of the song on the phone.

“Purple Rain” is also the most “covered” of the Prince’s songs. And there is no shortage of memorable versions.

Bruce Springsteen – Purple Rain

The Boss performed the song on three occasions. The first was on April 23, 2016, immediately after Prince’s death, opening the concert at the Barclays Center in New York.

Big Daddy – Purple Rain

It is the first cover in chronological order, but also one of the most original. Big Daddy – a Californian band specializing in rock’n’roll and doo woop style remakes – included it in their 1985 debut album.

Waterboys – Purple Rain

Mike Scott’s band released the cover for the first time in 1998, on the live album “The Live Adventures of The Waterboys”. In 2016 a studio version was released in the compilation “Sound of the 80s – Volume 2”.

Dolly Parton – Purple Rain

The queen of country covered Prince’s classic in the album “Rockstar” (read the review here) released at the end of 2023.

Madonna & Stevie Wonder – Purple Rain

The 2016 Billboard Music Awards ceremony closes with this tribute to Prince (who had passed away a month earlier).

Not just “Purple Rain”: many other tracks on the album can also boast memorable covers.

Patti Smith – When doves cry

The punk poet rearranges the song, eliminates the synthesizers and adds short guitar solos. The cover was published in 2002 and appears as unreleased in the collection “Land 1975 – 2002” (read the review here).

Foo Fighters – Darling Nikki

Cover that Dave Grohl’s band released in 2003 as the B side of the single “Have It All”.

Marshall Crenshaw – Take Me With U

The Detroit rocker released the cover in 2003 on the album “What’s in my bag?”.

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – I Would Die 4 U

Cover contained in the album “Under the cover vol 3” published in 2013.