Prince reigned with Purple Rain. Already known for “1999” and “Little Red Corvette,” the 26-year-old pop prodigy made his feature-film debut in the pulsating 1984 rock drama. His line-reading might not have been as expert as his guitar-playing, but he achieved box-office success and made soundtrack history.
The Purple Rain soundtrack, featuring nine songs by Prince and his then newly-formed backing band, the Revolution, won an Oscar, two Grammys and a whole lot of fans. The collection spawned five hit singles, including “When Doves Cry,” and, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, sold 13 million copies. That’s more than any other 1980s soundtrack.
Then as now, it’s easy to see –– and hear –– why Purple Rain made it rain.