Twenty-five Years of Prince and "Purple Rain"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Twenty-five-years-ago, an upstart from Minnesota shot into superstardom with the release of "Purple Rain," the film and its accompanying soundtrack. The album produced hits like the title track, “Let’s Go Crazy” and its biggest hit, “When Doves Cry.” Brian Raftery is a contributing writer for SPIN Magazine, and he has the cover story on its next issue commemorating Purple Rain’s 25th anniversary. It includes interviews from most of the major players involved in the groundbreaking film and album.

Because of copyright restrictions, we can't show you the real video for "When Doves Cry." Instead, here is Clay Aiken singing the famous song. Yes, this is the problem with copyright law.

To see Dave Chapelle's take on the iconic Prince, watch the video below. (Warning: Some content may be not safe for work. Also, there's a lot of bleeping.)


Brian Raftery


David J Fazekas

Comments [32]


Clay did an excellent job with this song. Prince and Clay are both very talented and I enjoyed this performance.

Jun. 28 2009 12:14 PM

Sad to say; while he covers everyone from U2 to Elvis in concert, when he went into the studio RCA forced him to cover Richard Marx and company...

Why he refused to re-sign when his contract ran out.

Jun. 27 2009 08:34 AM

Wake up people this guy is the best vocalist on the music scene today. His rendition of "When Doves Cry" is second to none. Check out Clay on Youtube, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise. In person those pipes blow you away.

Jun. 26 2009 01:28 AM

Holy smokes!!! That was HOT!!!

Thanks for that video; I think I need to run over to YouTube and look for some more of his stuff.

Where have they been hiding this guy?

Jun. 25 2009 11:23 PM

Good voice, but that is about it. He sings as if he has no emotional connection to the song.

Jun. 25 2009 11:13 PM

No need for the snide remark about Clay's covering "When Doves Cry." Clay does a fantastic job on ANY song he covers, usually better than the original artist. For myself, thanks for putting that video up, snide remark and all; don't really care about his sexual preferences, he still turns me on!

Jun. 25 2009 09:13 PM

Wow, I thought I had watch just about every video of Clay Aiken singing on YouTube. I really liked hearing Prince sing this song, however, I believe Clay is now my favorite. He has such great vocals and amazing range! He even did a little bit of dancing, I'm impressed!!

Jun. 25 2009 08:58 PM

I really like Prince's music and love When Doves Cry. I did not know what to expect when I started the video of Clay Aiken singing it. Wow!!! He did a great job. Love the voice. I can see why you picked his version for this post. Thanks for sharing it.

Jun. 25 2009 08:06 PM

Uh...I was totally diggin' that!!

He didn't do a cover of that song on any of his cd's did he???
I must go out and buy this cd.

Jun. 25 2009 07:42 PM

That Clay Aiken can sing! He is really underated isn't he? Off to youtube!
Thanks for the video!

Jun. 25 2009 05:14 PM

I'm a huge Prince fan & admit I was skeptical when I heard Aiken was performing this song in concert. But my sister took my nieces & I to Aiken's Jukebox Tour a few summers ago & we were all very impressed with his range & versatility. He handled material from 5 different decades & many genres with excellence. I'd still rather watch Prince do his own stuff, but it has perplexed me since then that Aiken is never given his due as a phenomenal vocalist & by my own witness, an outstanding entertainer.

Jun. 25 2009 04:52 PM

I heard Clay Aiken sing "When Doves Cry" live at one of his concerts.

He did an incredible job with it. I was blown away as were most of the other people in the 8,000+ crowd. That man can sing!!!

Jun. 25 2009 04:26 PM

Why would anyone hate to admit that Clay is good? I think he's amazing. I've been a fan since day one. If more people got a chance to hear him or see him live they would see how extremely talentd and versatile he is. People have pre-conceived ideas about Clay. He can sing anything and is has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire body. If you go on to Youtube you can see so many amazing Clay videos. There is just nobody like him.

Jun. 25 2009 03:09 PM

Yes, that's Clay. It's nice to see that maybe people other than Clay fans get a chance to see how great a singer he really is (and a good entertainer). We can do without the snide remarks by the co-authors! That's part of the problem with the bad press on Clay.

Jun. 25 2009 02:54 PM

Great song! Both singers do an amazing job with it. Kudos for Prince on writing a song that is still such a show stopper.

Jun. 25 2009 01:30 PM

I love Prince's When Doves Cry.....but I really love this version. I saw Prince sing this in concert and I saw Clay sing it in concert - both AWESOME! Kudos to both Prince and Clay!

Jun. 25 2009 01:16 PM

I loved Princes' "When Doves Cry" way back in the day! But when I saw Clay Aiken sing it live, I was blown away by the resonance in his voice which you don't hear in this recording all that well. His voice is spectacular and shows well with this song.

Jun. 25 2009 01:13 PM

My goodness, I do remember Prince singing When Doves Cry, but I have to admit that the version you are showing here is far superior. Wow, can that guy sing...

Jun. 25 2009 12:07 PM

I love When Doves Cry. That's Clay Aiken? He's good.

Jun. 25 2009 11:56 AM

I like Prince and I loved Clay Aiken's performance of his song. Clay is SEXY singing that song, and talented!

Jun. 25 2009 11:26 AM

I can't believe it's been 25 years since Purple Rain. That album was the soundtrack for my college years.

Jun. 25 2009 11:15 AM

Prince is an amazing man. He has a great deal of talent.

I loved the clip of Clay Aiken. He can really sing.

Jun. 25 2009 11:10 AM

That's Clay Aiken? I hate to admit it but he's very good.

Jun. 25 2009 11:01 AM

Wow I love Prince but Clay Aiken did a really good job with this song.

Jun. 25 2009 10:15 AM

I remember the first day I heard "When Doves Cry" on the radio and seeing the video. The song and video were almost hypnotic. The clothes, the androgynous look of the Revolution; it was one of those moments in pop history.

I remember my mother saying she would rather just skip all of the dialogue in the movie and just see the live music scenes. In the era of "Thriller" and MTV, which was instrumental in breaking Prince's music to the mainstream, the movie was the perfect vehicle for a long-form music video.

Some have also pointed out that "Purple Rain" brought back the "black movie" after the era of "blaxploitation" movies had disappeared and with Spike Lee still being a few years from his first films.

"The Kid" kinda explains Prince's career:

great music but arrogance, image and bad decisions have probably cost him a lot of record sales and the notoriety he deserves. Yet, the musical creativity has always been there, particularly between the years 1982 and 1996.

Jun. 25 2009 10:07 AM

First, a correction. The man's REAL first name IS Prince, so he could never be the "artist formerly known as Rogers Nelson". His father's stage band was called the "Prince Rogers Trio" so he bestowed upon his son that name.

I remember the anticipation of that album well. I was in my first year of high school and the previous LP, "1999", had given Prince a new crossover audience that he previously didn't have. Up to that point, although he had a wide array of fans, he was still considered a "black artist".

It's funny, here's a guy wearing high heels, mascara, a pompadour, eyeliner and panties, but you were asking for a fight in the early 80's if you suggested Prince may have been gay.

I remember walking to the record store and buying "Purple Rain" on June 25th, 1984, like the other 1.3 million people who bought it that day.

Thanks for the review. It IS hard to believe it's been a quarter of a century.

Jun. 25 2009 10:01 AM
Hugh Sansom

You said "Purple Rain" and I heard "Purple Haze".

I'm impressed how well Purple Rain has stood the test of time. I just don't see the 80s seeing a retro revival -- so much of it was so abysmally bad.

Jun. 25 2009 09:40 AM

The guy has an amazing voice. Thanks for including this.

Jun. 25 2009 09:04 AM

I absolutely love that version. He is great! Thanks for including it.

Jun. 25 2009 08:36 AM

Wow, that was super. He certainly has the chops for that song.

Jun. 25 2009 08:18 AM

Wow! I think he did a great job on that song. He certainly has the vocals for it.

Nice way to start off the day. Thank you.

Jun. 25 2009 07:12 AM

This implies there's only one problem with copyright law, of course.

Jun. 25 2009 07:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.