When I was young, the music of the ’80s seemed kind of weak compared to the music of the ’60s and ’70s, which had brought us Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors. It’s sad to report that it wasn’t until I was older that I realized what a genius Prince was, and moreover what a masterpiece the whole Purple Rain album is. Being ten years old in Reagan-era Montgomery, Alabama and seeing that little man in his high-collared, purple-glitter trench coat writhing around, staring straight into the camera, and playing genre-defying music begat a mixture of awe and admiration and confusion and bewilderment. I didn’t what he was doing, but I knew I wanted to keep watching.
It was thirty-five years ago this summer, in 1984, Purple Rain was released. Among the hits from the album, “When Doves Cry” held the number-one spot for five weeks throughout July and into August, only to be ousted by Ray Parker, Jr.s sing-along theme song for Ghostbusters.