Books

Making of Purple Rain Makes a Great Read

Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain By Alan Light Atria Books, 304 pp., $26.

If you were a Warner Brothers movie studio executive, you had damn good reason to be nervous in July 1984, awaiting the release, critical reception and box-office fortunes of a film called Purple Rain.

Here was a semi-autobiographical movie about an ambiguously sexual musician not many people had heard of, with a cobbled-together script, punctuated by lengthy concert sequences, and spoken by largely untrained actors. It was also filmed mostly in cold Minneapolis by a first-time director (Albert Magnoli), and the star refused to do much in the way of publicity when the film was complete.

Sounds like a recipe for success? Nope. But Purple Rain the film (and the soundtrack album and tour) helped chisel Prince's thin mustachioed visage on the Mount Rushmore of '80s music, joining Michael, Bruce and Madonna.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero