Purple Rain (song)
U.S. 7" single
|Single by Prince and The Revolution|
|from the album Purple Rain|
"God" (Instr.) (UK 12")
|Released||September 26, 1984|
|Recorded||Live, First Avenue, Minneapolis, August 3, 1983|
|Genre||Rock, pop, gospel, orchestral|
|Length||7" edit: 4:05
|Certification||Gold (RIAA) - December 5, 1984|
|Prince and The Revolution singles chronology|
"Purple Rain" is a song by Prince and The Revolution. It is the title track from the 1984 album of the same name, which in turn is the soundtrack album for the 1984 film of the same name, and was released as the third single from that album. The song is a combination of rock, pop, gospel, and orchestral music. It reached #2 in the U.S., and is widely considered one of Prince's signature songs. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, shipping 1 million units in the United States.
The song was recorded during a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis on August 3, 1983. The performance was guitarist Wendy Melvoin's live debut with The Revolution, at age nineteen. City Pages described the 70-minute performance as Prince's "sweatiest and most soulful hometown concert yet", and drummer Bobby Z stated, "it certainly was one of the best concerts we ever did".
The concert was recorded by David Rivkin using a mobile recording unit brought in from the Record Plant in New York City, staffed by engineers Dave Hewitt and Kooster McAllister. The basic tracks for three songs were used on the Purple Rain soundtrack: "Purple Rain", "I Would Die 4 U", and "Baby I'm a Star". Prince performed overdubs and re-recorded the vocals while working at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles from August–September 1983. A solo and verse from the original recording were edited out, changing the length from eleven to eight minutes. The extra verse was about money, but was removed because it diluted the emotional impact of the song.
After recording the song, Prince phoned Jonathan Cain from Journey asking him to hear it, worried it might be too similar to "Faithfully", a Journey single composed by Cain which had recently been in the charts. Cain reassured Prince telling him the songs only shared the same four chords.
Song structure 
"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. In the context of the film, each verse ties into a different strained relationship Prince's character has and his desire to reconcile. The first verse is dedicated to his father, then his ex-girlfriend (Apollonia), and then his band mates. After the final chorus, a guitar solo takes over the song. The song ends with a piano solo and orchestral strings. Prince's vocal range spans from the low note of F3 to the high note of A5.
The song is a staple of Prince's live performances. He has played it on nearly every tour since 1984, except for a period after his name change when he avoided his older hits for a few years. At Super Bowl XLI's halftime show, in which he was the featured performer, "Purple Rain" was featured as the last song of his set and was, appropriately, played during a downpour at the stadium, which combined with the purple stage lighting created the song's signature image. Prince performed the song as the opening of a medley of his hits with Beyoncé at the 2004 Grammy Awards, and also at the 2006 Brit Awards.
As a single 
In order to be released as a single, the song was shortened from 8:45 to 4:05.
The B-side, "God", is a much more overtly religious number (Prince's most religious to date), recalling the book of Genesis. The song also features extensive vocal experimentation. Towards the end, Prince mentions "The Dance Electric", which was a song given to former band member André Cymone. In the U.K., the 12" single also included an instrumental of "God", also known as "Love Theme from Purple Rain", from which an edited portion appears in the film.
Track listing 
- A. "Purple Rain" (edit) – 4:02
- B. "God" – 3:59
- A. "Purple Rain" – 8:45
- B. "God" – 3:59
12" (UK) 
- A. "Purple Rain" (long version) – 7:05
- B1. "God (Love Theme from Purple Rain)" (instrumental) – 7:54
- B2. "God" (vocal) – 3:59
Shaped picture disc (UK) 
- A. "Purple Rain" (edit) – 4:02
- B. "God" – 3:59
7" promo (US) 
- A. "Purple Rain" (edit) – 4:02
- B. "Purple Rain" (edit) – 4:02
7" promo (UK) 
- A. "Purple Rain" (radio edit) – 4:19
- B. "Purple Rain" (long radio edit) – 5:37
12" promo (US) 
- A. "Purple Rain" (edit) – 4:02
- B. "Purple Rain" (LP version) – 8:45
Chart performance 
|UK Singles Chart||8|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
Awards and accolades 
Stacy Francis version 
|Single by Stacy Francis|
|Released||May 29, 2012|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues, soul|
|Label||Donovan Noel Productions|
"Purple Rain" became the debut single of American recording artist and The X Factor's season one finalist, Stacy Francis. She first performed the song on The X Factor Judges' Houses episode, in front of her mentor Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias. Her powerful vocal performance received positive feedback, with Iglesias commented "I think the neighbors can hear that!".
Francis eventually released a studio version of the song as her debut single on May 29, 2012. She dedicated the single to her supporters who have been supporting her ever since she was eliminated from the competition and motivated her to do a studio cover of the song.
Track listing 
Release history 
|United States||May 29, 2012||Digital download||Donovan Noel Productions|
Other cover versions 
- Country music singer LeAnn Rimes included a cover of the song on her 1998 album Sittin' on Top of the World.
- Swedish performer Stina Nordenstam recorded a reworked rendition for her 1998 cover song album, People Are Strange.
- Serbian punk rock band KBO! covered the song on their 2001 cover album (Ne) Menjajte Stanicu ((Do Not) Change the Station).
- A jazz cover by Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole and saxophonist Bob Belden was included on the 2005 compilation Blue Note Plays Prince. It was also later included on the European import edition of Cole's 2005 album Holly Cole Collection Vol.1.
- Danish a cappella group baSix covered the song with the Herning Boys Choir, produced by Deke Sharon for the 2005 compilation Cosmosonica - Tom Middleton Presents Crazy Covers, Volume 1.
- Brazilian singer Danni Carlos recorded a cover for her 2005 album Rock 'n' Road All Night.
- Etta James on her 2006 release All the Way.
- Norwegian group The White Birch recorded a cover of the song for the 2008 tribute album Shockadelica - 50th Anniversary Tribute to the Artist Known as Prince.
- A cover by folk music group Lavender Diamond was included on the 2009 tribute compilation Purplish Rain. A free download of the song was offered by Spin magazine.
- A cover by soul singer Randy Crawford was included in the album Naked and True.
- Ben Harper and Relentless7 recorded the song but never released it. It can be found on his website as well as MySpace.
- Trey Songz has a song titled Yo Side of the Bed which is very similar in sound to "Purple Rain". At the 2010 BET Awards, he incorporated Prince's song into his performance of his song.
- Elkie Brooks included a cover on her 2010 album Powerless.
- The Waterboys' live concert album The Live Adventures of the Waterboys from 1998 included a cover of the song.
- Minneapolis lo-fi country band Sandusky covered the song on their 1997 album, Sandusky Sells Out. The band substitutes "Norman Fell" for each instance of the song's title.
- Papa VS Pretty recorded a cover for their 2009 live studio performance online video series From The Bunker.
- Stacy Francis sang "Purple Rain" at the Judges' Homes during the first season of the American version of The X Factor.
Live cover performances 
- The song has been performed live by many artists, including Tori Amos, Kate Nash, Fantasia Barrino, Maroon 5, Darius Rucker, Martin Sexton, The Hollies, of Montreal, John Petrucci, Amanda Palmer, and the Mexican singer Christian Chávez.
- Singer Peter Murphy has covered "Purple Rain" live, including a version on the bootleg disc Exotic, recorded in Milan in 1988.
- The Foo Fighters have played the first verse of the song, with guitarist Pat Smear on vocals. The encore of their show on August 29, 1997 at Memorial Stadium as part of the Bumbershoot festival featured Krist Novoselic on bass, and was also the first time Smear, Novoselic and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl played together since the last Nirvana show on March 1, 1994.
- The band Phish did a rendition of "Purple Rain" with drummer Jon Fishman's mom Marian Fishman playing a vacuum cleaner. Phish also played the song with guitarist Trey Anastasio taking over on drums for Fishman as he played the vacuum cleaner solo at the end.
- Television talent show The X Factor has featured four performances of the song. In 2008, Ruth Lorenzo performed it in the fifth series and has since been credited as the best performance of the series by judge Dannii Minogue. As a result of the performance, the original single by Prince re-entered the UK Singles Chart at #76. The following year, Danyl Johnson performed the song on the sixth series. In 2010, Treyc performed "Purple Rain" in the seventh series. In 2011 Misha B performed "Purple Rain" in the eighth series. In 2010, the song was featured in the Hungarian version, called X-Faktor, performed by Nikolas Takács. In 2011 during the first season of The X Factor USA Stacy Francis performed the song during the "Judges Houses" portion of the competition.
- In 2009, Stan Walker, winner of Australian Idol, performed the song. He later recorded a cover version of the song for his debut album Introducing... Stan Walker.
- At the 2010 BET awards, Patti Labelle performed the song for a Prince tribute, commemorating his Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Neo-fusion band Niacin performed an instrumental version of "Purple Rain" on their live album Live! Blood, Sweat & Beers.
- Natasha Bedingfield performed a cover of "Purple Rain" during her Less is More Tour.
- Tom Jones performed a cover on The Right Time in 1992, with David Gilmour playing lead guitar.
- Blues guitarist Hadden Sayers performed "Purple Rain" at his concert in the Murphy Theater in Wilmington, Ohio, April 14, 2012.
- The singer Enrique Iglesias performed "Purple Rain" during his Euphoria Tour Live in Paris.
- Greg Proops sang a section of "Purple Rain" during a live recording of his 'Smartest Man in the World' podcast (episode "Supremes", recorded at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on June 28, 2012), vamping on the live echoey bits of Prince's vocal in the song's opening.
- The chilean band Teleradio Donoso sang "Purple Rain" during a concert in the Teatro Oriente.
- The Bizzy Bone song "Murdah Me" heavily samples "Purple Rain".
- The backing track of the 2007 Alicia Keys song "Like You'll Never See Me Again" is based on the final section of "Purple Rain".
- Rapper Yo Gotti sampled the chorus of "Purple Rain" for his song "Pure Cocaine".
- One parody cover was "Coleman's Train", played by a Detroit radio station just after "Purple Rain" was released. It referred to the controversy over Mayor Coleman Young's plan for the Detroit People Mover.
- Comedian Rodney Carrington performed his rendition of the chorus of "Purple Rain" on his live CD Hangin' with Rodney.
References in other media 
- In the Mortal Kombat video game series, the character Rain wears a purple outfit; Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon is a known Prince fan. Rain is also referred to as the "Prince" of Edenia.
- In Digimon, the Digimon Prince Mamemon has a special move called 'Purple Rain'.
- A traffic sign featured in National Lampoon's "True Facts" column and compilations thereof (e.g., appearing on Page 107 of National Lampoon Presents True Facts: The Big Book) points to the locales of Princeton and Prince, the caption for this photograph is "Beware of Purple Rain".
- BMX company Odyssey BMX manufactured bicycle parts called "Purple Rain". These parts had purple and black splatter paint.
- A Rocket to the Moon makes a reference to this song in their song "Like We Used To".
- Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon on 95.8 Capital FM sing "Showery Rain" to the tune of "Purple Rain" when the weather is going to be rainy.
- MD 20/20, a low-end fortified wine manufacturer produces a wine called "Purple Rain".
- On an episode of Martin, Gina and Martin are having trouble in their relationship. Martin, saddened by the outcome, arrives at Gina's apartment stating "I have your favorite movie Purple Rain and popcorn". To this she replies "Purple Rain is not my favorite movie, The Color Purple is."
- On an episode of The Golden Girls, as Sophia is resting out on the lanai, she picks up her nearby Walkman and presses play. A few seconds later she belts out the chorus of "Purple Rain".
- "American single certifications – Prince – Purple Rain". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
- Nilsen, Per (2003). Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: The First Decade. SAF Publishing, pp. 153–155 ISBN 0-946719-64-0
- Daley, Dan (January 1, 2009). "Classic Tracks: Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain"". Mix. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- "Hitlåtens historia, "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, Extramaterial: Prince trodde att han hade snott låten". svt.se. January 30, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "Prince - Purple Rain Sheet Music". musicnotes.com. Arrangement Details. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain" (in German). austriancharts.at. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain" (in German). hitparade.ch. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain". danishcharts.com. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Purple Rain". ChartStats.com. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Purple Rain > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles" at Allmusic. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Cosmosonica - Tom Middleton Presents Crazy Covers, Volume 1: (disc 2) by Various Artists". last.fm. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Rock 'n' Road All Night - Danni Carlos" at Allmusic. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Shockadelica - 50th Anniversary Tribute to the Artist Known as Prince". ccrecords.musikkonline.no. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Get Your FREE Copy of SPIN's Prince Tribute!". Spin. June 12, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Covers of Songs Originally Recorded by Prince". home.earthlink.net. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "Purple Rain". ghettowine.com. August 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2011.