BEHIND THE GROOVES: a music blog by Jeff Harris

On this day in music history: June 25, 1984 - “Purple Rain”, the sixth album by Prince (first officially credited to Prince & The Revolution) is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, MN, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA and Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from August 1983 - March 1984. Serving as the soundtrack to Prince’s motion picture debut, recording of the music for the film will begin on August 3, 1983 when Prince & The Revolution perform a live benefit show at the famed nightclub First Avenue in Minneapolis. The performance will mark the debut of new guitarist Wendy Melvoin to the band, with the master versions of “I Would Die 4 U” (#8 Pop, #11 R&B), “Baby I’m A Star” and the title track being recorded at this show. These performances will appear on the finished album with only minimal post production overdubbing afterward. The film and album’s rousing opener “Let’s Go Crazy” (#1 Pop and R&B) will be recorded at Prince’s rehearsal space “The Warehouse”, after Prince asks recording engineer Susan Rogers to pull the recording console and 24-track tape machine out of his home studio, and install it in the rehearsal space. The basic track will be cut live in spite of having no isolation between the musicians, and electrical interference from various appliances in the building. The track “Take Me With U” (#25 Pop, #40 R&B), the artist’s duet with Apollonia Kotero is originally slated to appear on Apollonia 6’s eponomously titled album, but Prince will change his mind and include it on “Purple Rain”. Prior to the album’s release, it will go through a couple of different running orders, including longer versions of “Let’s Go Crazy” (released as a 12” single in August of 1984), “Computer Blue” (still officially unreleased but has been widely bootlegged), and the instrumental “Father’s Song”. Original LP copies will be packaged with a poster of Prince & The Revolution (photo taken during the band video shoot for “When Doves Cry”), with limited number of US promotional copies (some commerical copies in foreign territories) being pressed on purple vinyl. Released four weeks ahead of the film, the soundtrack will be an instant critical and commercial smash, launching Prince into worldwide superstardom. The album will spin off a total of five singles including “When Doves Cry” (#1 Pop and R&B), and the title track (#2 Pop and #4 R&B), becoming the sixth best selling soundtrack album of all time. It will also win two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score in 1985. The album will also be inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011, and in 2012 will be added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress for its “ongoing cultural and historic importance”. “Purple Rain” will spend 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, 19 consecutive weeks at #1 on the R&B album chart, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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    “Purple Rain”, the sixth album by Prince
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