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30th Anniversary of Purple Rain

Purple Rain, the movie soundtrack by Prince and the Revolution, is marking its 30th anniversary, first entering the Billboard album charts at No. 11 on July 13, 1984 before a long reign at No. 1. "When Doves Cry" was the top-selling single of 1984, and the album has sold 13 million copies.

But the album's artistic achievements are more impressive than its sales. The album was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011, a designation for 25 recordings each year that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It regularly turns up in the list of greatest albums and movie soundtracks.

There are many ways to explore the album and it's significance, starting with the CD itself (CD 40) and the movie (DVD 13) that has been largely overshadowed by the music. We have scores, both piano/vocal/guitar (MP1630.P756 P8 1984 and MP1630.P756 P8 2010) and full transcription (MP1615.P756 P8). We have a handful of books about Prince at ML420.P756. The most heavily used is also the largest, Matt Thorne's biography simply entitled Prince (ML420.P756 T46 2012). We also have a book on history and criticism of the movie by John Kenneth Muir (PN1997.P886 M85 2012), part of the Music on Film series.

Go even further with articles from journals and magazines:

To learn about the album:

To replicate the music:

  • Brislin, Tom. "Play it! Hot Solo - Prince's "When Doves Cry"." Keyboard 02 2009: 40.
  • Gress, Jesse. "How 2 Play Like PRINCE." Guitar Player 2011: 90,96, 98, 100. 

To get scholarly:

  • ​Woodworth, Griffin. "Prince, Miles, and Maceo: Horns, Masculinity, and the Anxiety of Influence." Black Music Research Journal 33.2 (2013): 117-50.
The variety of approaches to this subject demonstrates the far-reaching impact of this masterpiece.

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