BEHIND THE GROOVES: a music blog by Jeff Harris

On this day in music history: May 16, 1984 - “When Doves Cry” by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, the song is the first single from the film and soundtrack album for “Purple Rain”. The final song completed for the film, it is one of three songs Prince writes overnight when director Albert Magnoli requests an additional song to underscore a particular scene. Prince will enter Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, recording and mixing the song in a single 36 hour session. During the mixing stage, Prince will come up with the idea of removing the bass line from the already spare track. Warner Bros. will initial be hesitant to the release the song, but the artist will insist that it be issued as is. It will be an instant smash upon its release, becoming the fastest selling single in the history of the label, selling over a million copies in its first five days. Part of the initial press run of 45’s will be pressed on purple vinyl. “When Doves Cry” will hit #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on June 30th (spending 8 weeks at the top) and top the Hot 100 (spending 5 weeks at the top), selling over 3 million copies (certified Platinum by the RIAA) in the US alone and will be ranked the top single of 1984.

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