Bow down because this weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the cultural phenomenon that all artists aspire to create but few can attain: Purple Rain. All hail the artist formerly known as the symbol who was formerly known as Prince!
On July 27, 1984, Prince’s semi-autobiographical film debut hit theaters and cemented the Minneapolis, Minnesota artist as a superstar on and off screen. From his on-stage booty shake (my favorite) to his Lake Minnetonka purification ceremony with Apollonia, fans ate it up and Purple Rain topped the box office while the corresponding album, which hit shelves on June 25, 1984, has sold over 20 million copies to-date, according to Billboard. “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” reached number one the Hot 100 pop chart and the soundtrack sat atop the Billboard Albums chart for 24 weeks, also known as six months, which meant America didn't get a Prince breather until sometime in the winter of 1985. But let's be honest, by then, middle America and the South were probably just getting wind of the tiny talent and the Purple Rain parade probably marched it's way into Fargo territory and then below the Mason-Dixon line. Let you never again wonder why there are such rabid Prince fans among us.
His Purpleness created many, many memories with this film and NME created a long list of unknown Purple Rain facts (for casual Prince fans) that may surprise you. Here are a few gems:
Prince initially asked Stevie Nicks to write lyrics for 'Purple Rain'. "It was so overwhelming, that 10-minute track... I listened to it and I just got scared," she said. "I called him back and said, 'I can't do it. I wish I could. It's too much for me.” And so Prince went his own way and ‘Purple Rain’ was born.
Prince was so worried that the song sounded too similar to Journey’s ‘Faithfully’ that he called Jonathan Cain and asked him what he thought. Cain OK'd it because the power ballads only shared a few chords. Bet he's kicking himself now.
The lead female role was supposed to be Prince’s girlfriend Vanity but she left Prince just before filming. After Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) turned down the role, Apollonia 6 was drafted in, and pretty good she was too.
Rumor has it Morris Day, arguably the star of the film, wasn't invited to its premiere. He had to rely on Pepe Willie, the founder of funk group 94 East married to Prince’s cousin, to get him a ticket. Ouch.
This story echoes another favorite tidbit of mine about Prince, his epic tension with Rick James which culminated in Prince refusing to sign an autograph for James' mother. I'm pretty sure eyeliner and glitter went flying ... oh, to be a fly on the coke-spattered wall.
Now Kinja, I challenge you to post your favorite Prince gifs and videos. As for those of you itching to post some Under The Cherry Moon gems: