“Purple Rain”, Prince playing tomorrow | 40 years of a key album

“Purple Rain”, Prince playing tomorrow | 40 years of a key album
“Purple Rain”, Prince playing tomorrow | 40 years of a key album

Dearly beloved…

It is no coincidence that Prince opened his sixth album -that disco- with the first invocation of the priest at a wedding: the dark-skinned man from Minneapolis was always a blender of the sacred and the profane, and purple rain offers a perfect synthesis between that liturgical beginning and the procacities of “Darling Nikki”, which brought him some problems with American radio stations. And especially with Tipper Gore, who used that issue as a banner to start his infamous campaign for the label of “Explicit lyrics” on the discs. Still, the rest of the songs had enough power to break through and make the 26-year-old musician (26 years old and did PurpleRain!) in the great star of 1984, capable of competing for the pop scepter with none other than Michael Jackson.

Prince, a prodigy, multi-instrumentalist and producer of his own affairs, had already been showing the industry that they should let him make his own decisions. Commercial success was still elusive, beyond some minor hits and the good progress of 1999 and the single “Little Red Corvette.” What did she do? purple rain such a devastating tank? Perhaps something that his own musicians pointed out, and that led him to include The Revolution’s signature for the first time: filter into its universe the contributions of guitarist Wendy Melvoin and keyboardists Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink, be more than the despotic conductor. You see some of that in the film – because you have to remember that purple rain It is, strictly speaking, the soundtrack of the naïve film directed by Albert Magnoli-, where The Kid ignores Wendy & Lisa’s ideas until they become “Purple Rain”, that song-monument.

But beyond the interpretations and assumptions is the heart of the matter: the sound of PurpleRain. Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones had conquered the universe with the perfection of Thriller; Prince returned a perverse rereading of ’80s pop, in which the funk could fit James Brown, the soul of Wilson Pickettthe sweet melodiousness of Stevie wonder and the electric, unhinged fury of Jimi Hendrix: the solo of “Darling Nikki” and the opening of “When Doves Cry” are a sample of what Prince could do with his main instrument in his hands.

At times, purple rain It is a kind of autobiographical exercise. “Maybe I’m too demanding / Maybe I’m like my father, too rough / Maybe you’re like my mother, always dissatisfied / Why do we yell at each other? / That’s what doves sound like when they cry,” sings on that first single, and the film is quite explicit in that sense. But with Prince nothing is so linear, and it’s likely that his family history, and his feelings regarding the way he was viewed in the industry -the misunderstood genius, the one condemned to failure for his radical ideas- They were just a thread to pull to get to what really interested him. Beyond his religious issues, Mr. Nelson had only one god, and that was music. It was the only place where everything worked, where nothing escaped his control. Hence his manias and his defects, his inability to communicate adequately with the rest of the universe: his famous scandal in River 1991, when he left the stage at 77 minutes, it also originated from that. If the audience did not tune in as they thought they should to what was coming from the stage, it diluted their interest, they gave it up for lost.

That level of obsession translates into purplerain, and in the masterpieces that would arrive immediately after. Because we must remember that this was the most commercially successful album (to this day it scratches the 30 million copies sold), but it is also the beginning of a gold chain which includes in just four years Around the World in a Day, Parade and the monumental double Sign ‘O’ the Times, that sold less but had a planetary artistic influence elderly. And even later there would be time for other gems like Graffiti Bridge -also double- and Diamonds and Pearls, and even more.

In purple rain they are just nine songs, from the festive opening of “Let’s Go Crazy” to its climax that titles the album and closes it up there. In the middle they parade wicked and magnetic hymns, martians like “Computer Blue”, “Take Me with U” and “I Would Die 4 U”, dance invitations like “Baby I’m a Star” and wicked ballads like “The Beautiful Ones” and the much-discussed “Darling Nikki” . But above all, what parades is Pibe Púrpura and his band of musicians who rise to the challenge, putting in a piece of plastic what they Julio Cortazar put it into the mouth of Johnny, that other pursuer of the impossible: I’m playing this tomorrow.

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