Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Prince and The Revolution and is the soundtrack album to the 1984 film Purple Rain. It was released on June 25, 1984 by Warner Bros. Records.

Purple Rain is regularly ranked among the best albums in music history. Time magazine ranked it the 15th greatest album of all time in 1993, and it placed 18th onVH1's Greatest Rock and Roll Albums of All Time countdown. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the second-best album of the 1980s and 76th on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All TimeZounds magazine ranked it the 18th greatest album of all time. Furthermore, the album placed 4th in Plásticos y Decibelios' list of The Greatest Albums of All Time. Finally, in 2007, the editors of Vanity Fair labeled it the best soundtrack of all time and Tempo magazine named it the greatest album of the 1980s.[1] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #2 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s" behind only Michael Jackson's Thriller.[2] That same year the album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States."[3]

The two main songs from Purple Rain, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy", would top the US singles charts and were hits around the world, while the title trackwould go to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

The 1000th issue of Entertainment Weekly dated July 4, 2008 listed Purple Rain at number one on their list of the top 100 best albums of the past 25 years.[4] TheRIAA lists it as having gone platinum 13 times over.[5] To date, it has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.[6]


 [hide*1 Background


Purple Rain was released by Warner Bros. Records on June 25, 1984, and was Prince's sixth album. Prince wrote all of the songs on the album, some with the input of fellow band members. "I Would Die 4 U", "Baby I'm a Star" and "Purple Rain" were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release.[7] The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince's band, The Revolution.


"The Beautiful Ones"MENU   0:00 A sample of Prince and The Revolution's "The Beautiful Ones" from Purple Rain----
Problems playing this file? See media help.

Purple Rain was the first Prince album recorded with and officially credited to his backing group The Revolution. The resulting album was musically denser than Prince's previous one-man albums, emphasizing full band performances, and multiple layers of guitars, keyboards, icy electronic synthesizer effects, drum machines, and other instruments. Musically, Purple Rain remained grounded in the Minneapolis sound and R&B elements of Prince's previous work while demonstrating a more pronounced rock feel in its grooves and emphasis on guitar showmanship. As a soundtrack record, much of the music had a grandiose, synthesized, and even—by some evaluations—a vaguely psychedelic sheen to the production and performances. The music on Purple Rain is generally regarded as the most pop-oriented of Prince's career, though a number of elements point towards the more experimental pop/psychedelic records Prince would record afterPurple Rain. As with many massive crossover albums, Purple Rain's consolidation of a myriad of styles, from pop rock to R&B to dance, is generally acknowledged to account in part for its enormous popularity.

In addition to the record's breakthrough sales, music critics noted the innovative and experimental aspects of the soundtrack's music, most famously on the spare, bass-less "When Doves Cry".[citation needed] Other aspects of the music, especially its synthesis of electronic elements with organic instrumentation and full-band performances (some, as noted above, recorded live) along with its landmark consolidation of rock and R&B, were identified by critics as distinguishing, even experimental factors. Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic writes that Purple Rain finds Prince "consolidating his funk and R&B roots while moving boldly into pop, rock, and heavy metal" and identifies the record's nine songs as "uncompromising...forays into pop" and "stylistic experiments", echoing general sentiment that Purple Rain's music represented Prince at his most popular without forsaking his experimental bent.[8]

"Take Me with U" was originally written for the Apollonia 6 album, but was later pulled for Purple Rain. The inclusion of this song necessitated cuts to the suite-like "Computer Blue". The full version of this song was not subsequently given an official release, although a portion of the second section can be heard in the film Purple Rain, in a sequence where Prince walks in on the men of The Revolution rehearsing. The risqué lyrics of "Darling Nikki" contributed to the use of Parental Advisory stickers and imprints on album covers that were the record labels answer to complaints from Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [8]
BBC Music (favorable)[9]
Blender [10]
Robert Christgau A−[11]
Entertainment Weekly B[12]
IGN (10/10)[13]
Rolling Stone (2000) [14]
Rolling Stone (2004) [15]
Spin (9/10)[16]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[17]

Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan's cover of "I Feel for You". Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

Purple Rain sold 13 million units in the United States, including 1.5 million in its debut week,[18] earning a Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Billboard magazine, the album spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard album charts (August 4, 1984 to January 18, 1985) becoming one of the top soundtracks ever. Purple Rain traded the #1 album chart position with Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. twice, during 1984 and 1985. The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.[6]

Singles from the album became pop hits worldwide, with Prince scoring four US Top 10 singles from the album. Of them, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" reached #1, "Purple Rain" reached #2, and "I Would Die 4 U" reached #8. The fifth and final single "Take Me with U" reached #25.

The album is credited to raising Prince to iconic status and dethroning Michael Jackson as the King of the 1980s. By the end of the 80s Prince recorded 28 Top 20 hits and 5 number 1 albums worldwide making him the most successful charting artist of the 1980s.[19] Prince also is critically acclaimed as the number one artist of the 1980s.[20]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by Prince except "Computer Blue" by Prince, John L. NelsonWendy & Lisa and Dr. Fink

No. Title Length
1. "Let's Go Crazy"   4:39
2. "Take Me with U(with Apollonia Kotero) 3:54
3. "The Beautiful Ones"   5:13
4. "Computer Blue"   3:59
5. "Darling Nikki"   4:14
6. "When Doves Cry"   5:54
7. "I Would Die 4 U"   2:49
8. "Baby I'm a Star"   4:24
9. "Purple Rain"   8:41

Early configurations[edit]Edit

7 November 1983 configuration[edit]Edit


Side one

  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (7:37 minutes version)
  2. "The Beautiful Ones"
  3. "Computer Blue" (7:23 minutes version)
  4. "Darling Nikki"
  5. "Wednesday"

Side two

  1. "Purple Rain"
  2. "I Would Die 4 U"
  3. "Baby I'm a Star"
  4. "Father's Song"

12 March 1984 configuration[edit]Edit

Side one

  1. "Let's Go Crazy" (Longer version) – 7:37
  2. "The Beautiful Ones" – 5:15
  3. "Computer Blue" (Longer version) – 7:23
  4. "Darling Nikki" – 4:15

Side two

  1. "When Doves Cry" – 5:52
  2. "I Would Die 4 U" – 2:51
  3. "Baby I'm a Star" – 4:20
  4. "Purple Rain" – 8:45


  • Prince - all other vocals and instruments
  • Wendy Melvoin - guitar and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Lisa Coleman - keyboards and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Matt Fink - keyboards (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Brown Mark - bass (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Bobby Z. - drums and percussion (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Novi Novog - violin and viola (2, 8, 9)
  • Suzie Katayama, David Coleman - cello (2, 8, 9)
  • Apollonia - co-lead vocals (2)


Chart history[edit]Edit

Chart (1984) Peak


Australian Kent Music Report 1
UK Albums Chart 2
US Billboard 200 1
US Billboard R&B Albums 1
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[22] 6× Platinum 600,000^
France (SNEP)[23] Platinum 338,600[24]
Germany (BVMI)[25] Platinum 500,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[26] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] 13× Platinum 13,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

  1. "When Doves Cry"
  2. "17 Days"
  1. "Let's Go Crazy"
  2. "Erotic City"
  1. "Purple Rain"
  2. "God" (vocal)
  3. "God" (instrumental) — UK version only
  1. "I Would Die 4 U"
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas"
  1. "Take Me with U"
  2. "Baby I'm a Star"
  • "Let's Go Crazy" and "Take Me with U" were released as a double A-side single in the UK in 1985.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.