In 1984, Prince released the album “Purple Rain” and it was met with commercial success. The title track off of the album, “Purple Rain,” reached number one on the Billboard charts and has been cited as one of the greatest songs ever recorded. So what is the meaning behind Purple Rain? PURPLE RAIN is an acronym for “People Using Real Life Purposes to Elevate Kane” which was created by Prince himself. It is said that the song is about how artists should use their gifts to help others. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Prince said “I wrote ‘Purple Rain’ because I wanted to see my name in lights. I wanted a big hit… But I also wanted to say something important.” The song is truly a masterpiece and its meaning is just as profound today as it was when it was first released over 30 years ago.
All we know that Prince is one of the best R&B producers ever. In 1985 he presented to the world their outstanding brilliant performance — Purple Rain.
As the Prince says, “purple rain is blood on the sky. Blue and red — you get purple. It is beautiful, and it is like the end of the world — when only love for God or a loved one will lead you through the purple rain.” Prince’s fans are still arguing about the meaning of the song’s name “Purple Rain”. Someone thinks that it means the end of the world. Someone – that we are talking about – the birth of something new, still unprecedented in this world. The third is a symbol of love. There is also a group of people who are sure that this is just an expression with a beautiful epithet without any hidden meaning. The musician himself did not give an exact interpretation, giving listeners the opportunity to interpret it in their own way.
Here only you will understand the real meaning behind the song, but for a better connection now you sure will be inspired by the story behind this masterpiece, and it is awesome!
The story behind the song «Purple Rain» — Prince
The story behind the “Purple Rain” song began during a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater that took place on August 3, 1983, at a nightclub on First Avenue in Minneapolis. Initially, the composition lasted as long as eleven minutes, but later the chorus and the next verse were cut out of it:
Honey, I don’t want your money, no, no.
I don’t even think, I want your love.
If I wanted either one I would take your money and,
I want the heavy stuff
There is no wonder, so his song in 1985 won a nomination in the category “Album of the Year” and also received two Grammy Awards for the album, in the categories “Best Soundtrack for a Film” and “Best Vocal Rock Performance by a Duo or Group”. And in the same year, Prince also won the 3rd Grammy Award as the author of the song “I Feel for You” by singer Chaka Khan. Purple Rain also won an Academy Award in the category of Best Film Music.
Prince sold 13 million album copies in the US, including 1.5 million on the first week after unleashing, receiving diamond status from the RIAA.
The album took the top place on the Billboard-200 chart and led for a record 24 weeks in the nationwide Billboard magazine chart, becoming the most successful soundtrack in music history.
The song, which is a combination of rock, pop, and orchestral music, is considered one of the Prince’s iconic works.
Understanding the meaning behind the song «Purple Rain» — Prince
The “Purple Rain” song, written in 1983, was originally conceived as a country-style song. At the same time, Prince wanted it to be sung by Fleetwood Mac soloist Stevie Nicks – not a country singer – who was making a successful solo career at the time. “It was unusual”, – says Nix. “I listened to the demo. It was a long instrumental track, about ten minutes long. And he asked me to write the words down and come up with a melody. To be honest, I was just scared – it was really “not mine”. I called him back and said: “I can’t write it down. I would love to, but it’s all too much for me.” And I’m so glad I didn’t record what eventually turned into the hit “Purple Rain” – it definitely wasn’t mine.”
During the Prince band & The Revolution period, soloists asked the musicians to look at a new idea. “I want to try something before we finish the rehearsal. This is a sketch of the song,” – according to the memoirs of the band member Lisa Coleman, Prince addressed his colleagues. – “We started playing something calm, slow, but then he changed the tempo of the song. It happened after Wendy Melvoin started playing guitar chords. He immediately reacted – the song sounded in a new way.
We all started playing harder and harder. The Revolution first heard “Purple Rain” at a warehouse in Minnesota, where most of the album was recorded. “It was on Highway 7, in the middle of nowhere,” Coleman says. “Prince was playing guitar, giving out chords. And then Wendy started playing something unusual, in her own way, and he liked it! Wendy’s introduction and her interpretation of these chords turned out to be beautiful, just gorgeous, and similar to the work of Joni Mitchell.
“I came up with string parts. During the day – maybe, or even several days – we played over and over again. The song just flew right out of us,” says Wendy. And as a result, we played it for about 6 hours. Already at night, the composition was completed. Then we recorded it.”
After the arrangement was finished, Prince was concerned that the song turned out to be similar to the song of another band. It seemed that the song turned out to be similar to the song of the band Journey “Faithfully”. Prince was so concerned about this that he called Jonathan Kane, Journey’s keyboardist, to make sure that the similarity of the tracks was insignificant. He asked Kane to listen to the demo and tell him if there were any problems. Kane instantly dispelled Prince’s doubts.” It was clear that Prince had absolutely his own melody, and it was cool,” – says Kane. “I told him, I’m flattered that you called. It says that you’re a cool guy. Good luck with the song. I feel like it’s going to be a hit.” That’s exactly what happened!
In August 1983, there was a mobile truck with the equipment of the Record Plant studio in front of the hall on First Avenue. It was so hot on the playground that everyone was just melting, very sultry. “It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air was filled with heat, cigarette smoke, and much more,” recalls Bobby Zee. Coleman recalls that the club was “just filled to capacity.” The band was exhausted working on the album and the film, which enhanced the atmosphere.
They were also going to perform music that these people hadn’t heard yet. After the opening acoustic chords of Melvoin, Bobby’s drums came in – using a Linn drum machine in the overall mix. All this happened while the prince was singing during the first few minutes of the song. “It was a huge shock for the performer to perform this music for the first time in front of a large audience,” says the drummer. “I remember these couple of minutes. It was deathly quiet, except for the band playing. The prince simply disappeared into everything that surrounded him, we were all with him too, and it was an extraordinary place. It’s better to say that it was even another dimension.”
“That night, everyone was soaring above the clouds,” Coleman says, “everyone was silent. For the Prince, this song was something special. By the end of the performance, the song hooked the audience, and the guitar solo just eclipsed. The mere memory of that day gives me goosebumps. Coleman knew how the audience felt. “I remember how Prince’s guitar attracted me. And later, when it was time for the finale, we made the audience sing along with us, it was just an unimaginable sight. Also, I felt such feelings and emotional shock from this music,” she laughs. “It was necessary for me to continue to play my role and be attentive.”
Although Prince himself did not talk much about his songs, in an interview with NME, he said: “When you see blood in the sky, its red color mixes with the blue of the sky and turns purple. And the rain of this color seems to mean the end of everything, the end of the world. And only your faith allows you to go through this rain – to go to your beloved. Faith leads you through Purple Rain.”
In this interview, Prince also mentions that he has “apocalyptic feelings about this color,” which is why he so often refers to it in his work.
In this atypically similar rock epic (this album lasts about nine minutes after Prince cut one of the verses) there are as many intense feelings as there is freedom of life. Coleman’s string arrangements, played by her that night on Movie FX keyboards, with the addition of a string quartet in the studio, have some kind of calming effect, you feel weightless, the achievement of which is similar to the effect of listening to classical music. During the performance, the soloist’s voice and his instrument soar to unprecedented heights. “Combining the incompatible in this song made it so powerful,” says Coleman. “It’s a very powerful composition,” Bobby Z reflects. Even if you go to a casino and some crazy band plays this song, there’s still something distinctive about it,” Zee notes.
“Purple Rain” is the last song that Prince performed on stage during his Piano tour & Microphone Tour on April 14, 2016. On April 21, 2016, he died.
The concept of the Purple Rain today
There is no doubt that Prince’s masterpiece lives today, and it continues to strengthen the Faith of people who see “the blood in the sky” and try to reach the loved one, doesn’t matter if this is a person or the Lord. The only aim is to melt in the Purple Rain…