Purple Rain (8:41)

Cover of The Very Best of Prince

From The Very Best of Prince and 52 other releases

“Purple Rain” is a power ballad by Prince and the The Revolution. It was his third US single (second UK) and title track from the 1984 album of the same name, which in turn was the soundtrack album for the 1984 film of the same name. The song is an emotional combination of rock and roll, pop and gospel music. It reached #2 in the U.S., and is widely considered Prince’s signature song.

The song was recorded live at the Minneapolis club First Avenue in 1983. The performance was the live debut of Wendy Melvoin, and also netted the final three songs of the Purple Rain album, although the songs would undergo studio overdubs later. Purple Rain’s original lyrics contained an extra verse about money, which was edited out, as it diluted the emotional impact of the song.

“Purple Rain” opens with a lone guitar quickly followed by live drumming and a prominent organ, evoking images of church gospel music. Three verses are followed by a chorus, with a building emotional delivery. After the final chorus, a guitar-solo takes over the song. The song ends with a piano solo and orchestral strings.

The emotional lyrics have multiple meanings; on the surface, they seem to be an apology from a man who has been carrying on an illicit love affair with a woman; though on a deeper level, they become more of a spiritual allegory.

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