Song of the Day 9/29

Posted: September 29, 2011 in J.C. Personal
Tags: ,

The album version of this song was the soundtrack to my drive in this morning. From the 1984 album of the same name which was also the soundtrack to the film of the same name, this power ballad was the third single released from the album. The song, album and film are from Prince Rogers Nelson, a.k.a Prince, formerly the artist formerly known as Prince and it’s called “Purple Rain”. The song went to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified gold. This is the first album to be credited to Prince and the Revolution. The album is commonly ranked among the best albums in pop music, ranked 15th by Time, 18th by VH1, number 2 on Rolling Stone’s best albums of the 80s, 72 on their 500 greatest albums of all time and Vanity Fair said it is the best soundtrack of all time. The album also picked up Grammys for Best Rock Vocal Performance and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and was nominated for Album of the Year.

The song combines rock, pop, gospel and orchestral music and has become one of Prince’s signature songs. The song title along with Prince’s penchant for purple stage outfits has given Prince one of his many nicknames “The Purple One”.

Originally recorded at a benefit concert in Minnesota, “Purple Rain” contained an extra verse about money that was later removed because it lessened the emotional impact of the song. This changed the length of the song from eleven to eight minutes with the radio edit clocking in at just over four minutes.

Prince played the song at the end of his Super Bowl performance in the same year the Colts won.

“Purple Rain” has been covered by many artists and in many genres. Country singer LeAnn Rimes, jazz singer Holly Cole, Swedish performer Stina Nordenstam, Serbian Punk band KBO!, Danish a cappella group baSix, Etta James, folk group Lavendar Diamond, Ben Harper and Relentless7, soul singer Randy Crawford, Tori Amos, Kate Nash, Foo Fighters, Fantasia Barrino, Maroon 5, Darius Rucker, The Hollies, Phish with Marian Fishman on the vacuum and Natasha Bedingfield to name a few, have covered the song.

The song is divided into three parts that fit into the context of Purple Rain, the movie. Prince or “The Kid” is thinking about three strained relationships he hopes to reconcile. The first verse is about his father and their strained relationship as sung about in “When Doves Cry”, it is an apology of sorts. The second verse is to his ex-girlfriend Apollonia where he laments the loss of her friendship. The third verse is to his band mates who from the lyrics say they want a leader but can’t seem to make up their minds. You’ll have to watch the movie to see if The Kid reconciles the relationships.

There are many interpretations of the phrase “Purple Rain” and I hold to the most obvious, it is a metaphor for the joy that can only be experienced on the opposite side of heartbreak and pain. What does Purple Rain mean to you?

See ya on the “b” side.


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