To say Purple Rain was a cultural phenomenon in 1985 is like saying there’s a vacuum in space. You know it to be true you just don’t quite understand why.
Now I’ll be the first to say I am not, have never been, will probably never be a Prince fan. That’s a personal preference and has nothing to do with the skill this Minneapolis native has with anything musical.
Born Prince Rogers Nelson this young musician was a relative unknown in certain musical circles around the country before the release of the film, Purple Rain. Although his October of ’79 self-titled album, Prince, reached No.4 on the Billboard Top R&B/Black Albums charts, and No.22 on the Billboard 200; until I heard When Doves Cry on the radio, I’d never heard of the guy.
The film is tied into the album of the same name, which spawned two chart-topping singles: “When Doves Cry” and the opening number “Let’s Go Crazy“, while “Purple Rain” reached #2. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The soundtrack sold over 10 million copies in America alone, and 20 million worldwide.
I’ll be the first to tell you I am by any means a music critic, expert, or go-to guy for all things music. At the end of the day I am a consumer. I have a diverse taste that spans many genres from hard rock to classical to blues and jazz. What that means is my opinion and a buck fifty will get you a cup of Waffle House coffee. It doesn’t mean Jack.
Was Purple Rain winning the Oscar for Best Original Song Score a surprise? Maybe-maybe not. Considering the competition came down to Kris Kristofferson – Songwriter, and Jeffrey Moss – The Muppets Take Manhatten, I’m not surprised at all. Had it been up against Yentl or Out of Africa, I’m convinced the results would have been quite different.
Instead… Prince takes the Oscar – March 25, 1985.