Saturday, February 4, 2017

"When Doves Cry" by Prince

#1 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1931
Date:  06/02/1984
Debut:  57
Peak:  1 (5 weeks)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Rock, Soundtrack

(Does Tidal even still exist? Bleh...)

Pop Bits:  While touring in support of his 1999 album, Prince came up with an idea for a movie. He got his management to seek a production deal and before long filming commenced on Prince's first movie Purple Rain. Inspired by his own life, the semi-autobiographical film featured a soundtrack that was fully credited to Prince and the Revolution. Prior to the film and soundtrack getting released, this first single got issued. It was an immediate sensation that soared up to the top spot on the Pop chart and stayed there for five weeks. It would end up being the #1 Pop chart single for 1984. The song would also get to #1 at Dance and R&B. With this major hit along with the box office success of the film, the soundtrack easily grabbed the #1 spot and would remain there for twenty-four consecutive weeks. It would also net Prince an Oscar and two Grammy awards.

ReduxReview:  Debuting one week after Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," this created a double blast of brilliance that would last the rest of the summer of '84. I remember first hearing this song and thinking - this is freakin' brilliant. I got the single as soon as I could followed by the album and then seeing the film. Now, the movie was fine and a fun watch, but the soundtrack was just bat shit crazy good. When I saw the movie I was in Boston and the theater was sold out. It was the only time I had ever been to the movies where folks got out of their seats and danced during the musical parts. It was something. Although most reader and magazine rankings put "Purple Rain" at the top of the list of best Prince songs, for me this was the best. He was at the pinnacle of his powers and even though he would continue to do brilliant work, this was the song that put him at the top of the mountain. What has always mystified me is that none of the singles from the soundtrack ever got Grammy nods. As the #1 song of '84, it was really strange that this one missed out on Song and Record of the Year. Also, none of the songs were individually nominated for an Oscar. The soundtrack won for the now-abandoned Best Original Song Score category (the year he won was the last go-around for that category). Regardless, this song and the album are both classics for the ages. (Note: Even after his passing, his material is still not on most streaming sites or YouTube. Hence, no listen link here. But I'm sure you know the tune...)


Trivia:  Quad Shot!  1) This was the last song written for the film. While production was underway, the director (Albert Magnoli) asked Prince for a new song that would play over a specific part of the film. The following day, Prince had two songs written. One of them was "When Doves Cry."  2) The flip side of this song is titled "17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose, if U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose)." It holds the record for the longest b-side titled on a single at 85 characters.  3) What helped create this song's unusual sound and atmosphere? Easy - no bass. Prince originally recorded a bass line for the song, but later thought it made the recording sound a bit basic and similar to other songs issued at the time. He took away the bass, which then made the song quite unique. 4) At the time, Prince was the first artist to have the #1 single, #1 album, and #1 film in the country in the same week.


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