20 million copies worldwide of the album were sold, the song spent 24 consecutive weeks at number one on Billboard’s album chart; the movie opened in 900 theatres across the USA, won two Grammys and an Oscar, etc.
Beyond those impressive numbers put in their context, the purple rain is diluvian. That kind of rain is a pouring rain, floodlike, which comes with so many exquisite memories such as a first kiss, a first slow dance with a bf during a teen party, the sweet and comforting arm of a big brother. That kind of rain is the sound of something so new, so funky coming from a guitar who belongs to a manhood artist who dresses like a woman. A true “revolution” which is the name of the band in the bright shadow of an enigmatic prince.
“By the end of 1984, even Rolling Stone had proclaimed a winner, naming Purple Rain the Record of the Year in its year-end issue. The magazine called the album “essential listening” and dubbed its maker “a true original” – in a recap that ran just above the capsule on Born in the USA, reversing the order in which the original reviews had appeared” (p.189). During the promotion which preceded the release of Purple Rain, Prince didn’t give any interview: some things will never change, won’t they? But I am sure he never meant to cause us (his fans) any sorrow, he never meant to cause us any pain and that he only wanted to one time see us laughing, he only wanted to see us laughing in the Purple Rain.
Purple Rain is an epic adventure, a saga which Alan Light – senior editor of Rolling Stone – invites us to live through his book “Let’s Go Crazy”. He takes the reader back to the 80s, in the freezing cold of Minneapolis, on the stage of First Avenue and even in front of the Warner Bros management who wonders if Prince is really such a big star and suggests to ask John Travolta to play the Kid (p.105).
Every detail is mentioned, including exclusive interviews of many artists during a time where four gods ruled the world of music despite so many creative artists around them. The four gods being: Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson (well I’d rather write Quincy Jones between us), Madonna and… Prince.
Among the last words of the author, chapter eleven “Thank u 4 a Funky Time”, Prince remains a mystery: “was his ambition to be the world’s biggest cult artist, or to be a global superstar – as Bob Cavallo put it, to be Miles Davis or Elvis Presley?”
Let’s Go Crazy by Alan Light