For a year before this movie hit, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” had ruled the radio airwaves and the TV screens turned to MTV. A month or so before the movie came out, the soundtrack to “Purple Rain” was released and suddenly, there was a different set of songs dominating the radio. The first time I can remember hearing “When Doves Cry” was when I was browsing the aisles of the Alhambra Bookstore on Main Street, killing time and feeding another one of my habits, book buying. The stereo system at the bookstore was not particularly elaborate, after all they sold books not music, but it was loud enough that when the percussion on the song kicked in, everybody looked up and our bodies started unconsciously moving to the music. This would be the soundtrack for our lives in the Summer of 1984.
“Purple Rain” has been praised for it’s innovative shooting of concert footage and clever editing of montages, and it has been criticized for it’s amateurish acting and ham-fisted story line. I’m going to concur on both counts but forgive the later because the music and the former are so overwhelmingly positive. Continue reading