Number One Albums: #6

Prince_Purple_Rain

  • PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION Music From The Motion Picture “Purple Rain” (Warner Bros.)
  • Week Ending 4th August (For 9 Weeks)
  • Total Weeks On The Top 30 – 49

There I was, in the summer of 1984, soaking up all the Frankie Goes To Hollywood mania that I possibly could, as Two Tribes towered and powered over everything else in my pop universe…..when suddenly, a mind-blowing weather front came in from the West.

Purple Rain had arrived. And metaphorically-speaking, it rained every week until early October.

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Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the longest-running #1 album of them all…

I wasn’t alone in my addiction to this album; in the US it spent an incredible 24 consecutive weeks at #1. Here in the UK, there was a slower take-up, despite the Top 5 success of its lead single When Doves Cry. Although Prince was into his seventh year as a recording artist, he had yet to make much of a dent on the British album charts, so Purple Rain was pretty much building from somewhere just above ground zero. Its debut position of #21 was followed by several weeks of mooching up and down the lower half of the Top 20.

PR_Ourprice

Oh really? You might want to relay that information to some of your staff…..

Yes, it’s time for me to bring up the story about my “retail experience” when buying the Purple Rain LP in my local branch of Our Price. The guy at the counter clearly hadn’t got the memo, but at least I’ve been reminded of the likely reason I chose to get it from there (and not in WH Smiths)!

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My purple awakening prevented the Blancmange album from rebounding to the top of the chart, boosted by The Day Before You Came‘s release as a single, and ended Into The Gap‘s second stint at the summit. It’s curious that for all its dominance on my charts, and on my psyche, through that late summer of 1984, Purple Rain never returned to #1. Or perhaps that’s part of the reason why. Warner Bros continued to take singles from it, well into the Spring of 1985, detouring along the way to reissue 1999 and Little Red Corvette as a double A-side (which fared better on the UK Top 40 than any of the Purple Rain tracks!), but crucially deviated from the US order of release.

In America, Let’s Go Crazy raced up to the #1 spot, and was easily the most immediate moment on the whole record. Over here, we got the ponderous title track instead, which across the pond was held back until the 4th choice. It’s possible my passion for everything Purple Rain-related might not have faded as fast had Let’s Go Crazy been allowed to do its thang in the UK during September and October and 1984.

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