Prince's "Purple Rain" is one of the greatest power ballads in pop-music history. The original version of the song was recorded live in concert at the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue during the filming of Purple Rain and became the third single released from the 1984 soundtrack album.
Over nearly nine minutes, "Purple Rain" builds majestically from solo acoustic guitar to fervent gospel-tinged vocals, from Prince's searing electric guitar solo to a neo-classical coda of piano and orchestral strings. Edited for single release, "Purple Rain" reached Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number Four on the magazine's R&B singles chart.
The Twin Cities soul man continued to perform "Purple Rain" in concert, most memorably during his galvanizing halftime show at Super Bowl XLI. On February 4, 2007, Chicago journalist Dave Hoekstra wrote, "Prince played to the biggest audience of his life - 140 million television viewers - and he delivered like Peyton Manning."
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will celebrate Prince Day on Tuesday, June 7 with "Let's Go Crazy: A Prince Dance Party." The free event will feature live DJs, food, drinks, costume contests, trivia and more.
A look at a few items from the Beatles on display inside of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
It's virtually impossible to overstate the initial impact of "A Day In The Life". Not simply a climax to the revolutionary Sgt. Pepper's album, its position following the reprise of the title track separated it from the preceding concept. To many listeners, the Beatles seemed to be saying that was an act. This is where it gets real. Oh boy...
The piece originated as a John Lennon composition with the working title "In the Life Of..." It took shape at EMI's Abbey Road studios early in 1967. Lennon had a stunning beginning and end, but no middle. McCartney, in an unrelated effort, had already written middle. His 'woke up, fell out of bed' fit perfectly between Lennon's halves. "A Day in the Life" is thus a Lennon/McCartney composite rather than collaboration. In that spirit, McCartney donated another loose jewel, the ethereal tag 'I'd love to turn you on'. The material dictated equally adventurous recording. Consider the majestic, seemingly eternal piano chord which draws song and album to a close. As John, Paul, Ringo Starr and ...
Photo from the Philadelphia Inquirer collection at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Library & Archives
“I don’t believe you. You’re a liar.”
“Play f*cking loud.”
This was the simple yet striking dialogue between a fan and Bob Dylan 50 years ago (May 17, 1966) at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, and in my opinion this is the single greatest moment captured on tape at a rock concert.
The voice of the betrayed fan is a like a shot in the dark, accusing Dylan of turning his back his protest-song-singing past, which in retrospect barely lasted four years. However, it was a transition that the folk community that accepted and propelled Dylan was unwilling to recognize.
When I was a new Dylan fan in the mid-1990s, this concert was the bootleg to acquire. At that time there was still a debate over where the show actually took place – in Manchester or at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I ended up buying a compilation of tracks from the May 1966 tour of England, and I didn’t hear the full concert until it was released by Columbia as the 4th volume of Dylan’s Bootleg Series ...
As detailed in Clinton Heylin's biography Behind the Shades, musician Tony Glover visited Bob Dylan's New York apartment in early October 1963 and stumbled across the lyrics to a new song, "The Times They Are A-Changin'." When Glover expressed reservations about the line "Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call," Dylan countered, "Well, you know, it seems to be what the people want to hear."
Dylan had recorded a publishing demo the previous month and recorded the song officially on October 24. Though the Times They Are A-Changin' album wasn't released until mid-January 1964, Dylan performed the song in concert throughout the fall of 1963.
His ambivalence about the song colors his divergent recollections. Discussing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the notes for the mid-Eighties Biograph retrospective, Dylan stated, "This was definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and for whom I wanted to say it to.... I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, ya know, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way....I had to play this song the same night that President Kennedy died. It ...
I'd say that 100 percent of music is political, that music either supports the status quo or challenges the status quo, so every artist is political. Now, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez probably don't self-identify as political artists, but their music, while often very entertaining and loved by their fan bases, is the bread and circuses of our times. If you're not questioning authority, you're tacitly submitting to authority. That's not to say that I don't have a long list of booty-shaking jams on my iPod, and there's certainly a place for that, but I'm also conscious of the fact that in my own work, that what you say and what you do matters, that you are a historical agent, and that if you don't have your hands on the steering wheel, somebody else does.
I always want to go and see things for myself. That's why I ended up during the famine in Ethiopia. That's why I ended up in central America during the problems there in El Salvador and even in Nicaragua. I just want to go, I just want to see for myself.
I see things that are very hard to explain. That words, perhaps if I was a better writer, maybe I could just write journalism. But I'm blessed because I'm part of the U2 group and they're really good. They have an ability to express inexpressible thoughts. When I explained to Edge what I've been through in El Salvador, he was able to – with a nod to Jimi Hendrix actually – try and put some of that fear and loathing into his guitar solo.
We strapped my feelings to the [U2] song "Bullet the Blue Sky." I've been there; it was an American movement that were… wonderful people who were offering solace to refugees from the war in El Salvador. I was with one of those groups visiting. It was just a few of us. We went out into the hills and maybe that ...
You know what, 57 years is a long time. And if anything is gonna make life in whatever way better for the Cuban people, then it needs to happen. I happen to think that as long as that government is there, some things may change, but they are still taking repressive measures.
Even the day that President [Obama] landed in Cuba. The Ladies in White, which are these ladies that protest every Sunday very peacefully, walking silently with a flower were beaten and jailed. Gorki [Aguila], one of the top rap artist in Cuba now that is very vocal against the Cuban government but wont leave. He stays in Cuba to be there and to have his message come through. He was arrested that day. There were cameras on them. There were journalists covering it. It was kind of Castro's way of saying: "We don't care if you come here."
As you notice, Raúl Castro did not greet the President at the airport. He was greeted not even by the vice president, but by somebody in the diplomatic mission. [Castro] had very subtle ways of telling [Obama]. And then we saw, obviously, the op-ed that Fidel Castro ...
I don't know if music has the power to change people's minds as far as about political ideas, about issues, things like that. I do think it has the power to unify people who are maybe slightly undecided, maybe slightly feeling a certain way but haven't been able to articulate it. Music does a good job of articulating something and how something feels more than kind of an editorial. It's really good at explaining how it feels and people who haven't had those feelings articulated, that they feel a certain way about something, music will do that. And then they realize that there are other people that music helps do that, that feel the same way they do. So, it creates a kind of group with a kind of like mind. Which isn't really changing anybody's mind, but it's kind of bringing people with like minds together.