Music

My favorite 100 albums of all time: #49 ("Purple Rain")

Album cover "Purple Rain" by PrinceAs I pulled together my list of my 100 albums, I definitely wrestled with a few of the choices. Where to rank certain albums, whether to include an album or not, and whether I can exclude certain albums or groups. Ultimately I've left off a lot of albums that I recognize as great albums, but they're not terribly important to me personally. One album that's never been in doubt, is Prince And The Revolution's Purple Rain.

Purple Rain came out while I was still in junior high, and it was one of the few albums that seemed to be embraced by everybody in my age group. The punk kids, the goth kids, the kids who mostly listened to metal, or country… everybody took notice of Purple Rain.

Writing more about Prince, or Purple Rain feels a bit superfluous so soon after Prince's death in April. I feel like whatever I have to add about his contributions is fairly insignificant compared to the mountains of (deserved) memorials and analysis that have been published so recently.

In lieu of musical analysis, please allow me to share my one good celebrity story about Prince.

A few years ago, I was attending a conference where everything was in the same hotel. So, just before lunch, I headed back to my room to drop off my backpack so I didn't have to take it with me. As I was walking down the hall to my room, I noticed someone a few doors down from my room who looked vaguely familiar. This person was holding the door of their room open slightly while leaning out to get the newspaper.

You know the moment when you recognize someone, but you don't know why you recognize them, or from where? That happened here. So, to be safe, I did the polite wave thing – enough, I hoped, to be polite without actually encouraging any kind of prolonged conversation.

My counterpart looked slightly confused, and offered a similar half-hearted wave, and then ducked back into the room and closed the door. A moment later, the door in the adjoining room popped open and a fairly large fellow glared at me, seemed to note that I was unthreatening, and also popped back into the room.

Somewhere between the half-hearted wave and the door closing, it dawned on me… the person who looked familiar for reasons I couldn't place? It was Prince. If I had been slightly faster on the uptake, maybe I could have actually met Prince and got an autograph. Or maybe his bodyguard would have discouraged that.

I assume most humans who have more than a passing interest in music have listened to most or all of Purple Rain. If not, sadly, it's not easily accessed via streaming services. Most of Prince's catalog is unavailable on Spotify, Google Music, etc. If you don't already own a copy, I encourage you to just hop onto Amazon or drive to your local record store and get a copy. You won't regret it.

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