Prince's Purple Rain preserved by National Recording Registry
No matter how well (or poorly) you think Prince and the Revolution's Purple Rain has aged over the years, the Library Of Congress has just seen to it that the Purple One's seminal 1984 album will live on forever. Purple Rain, along with 24 other recordings, has just been selected for induction into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, and will be preserved for countless generations to come.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington praised the preservation project as well as the recordings themselves, "America's sound heritage is an important part of the nation's history and culture and this year's selections reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience. These songs, words and natural sounds must be preserved for future generations."
Purple Rain, which is the most recent of this year's inductees, has some predictably distinguished company in this year's Registry class, joining Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," "I Feel Love," the smash hit from the recently departed Donna Summer, a full Grateful Dead live recording from Barton Hall in 1977, Parliament's "Mothership Connection," and Dolly Parton's impassioned classic, "Coat Of Many Colors," to name just a few.
The selections for the 2011 registry, which is marking its 10th Anniversary, now brings the total number of preserved recordings to 350. The best existing versions of these recordings are housed in the Library's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpepper, Va., a state-of-the-art facility that will preserve these recordings, as well as nearly 3 million others, well into the future and beyond.
Here's what the National Recording Registry had to say about Prince and Purple Rain: "Prince was already a hit-maker and a critically acclaimed artist when his sixth album, the soundtrack for his 1984 movie debut, launched him into superstardom. Earlier, he had played all the instruments on his records to get the sounds he wanted, but now he led an integrated band of men and women who could realize the dense, ambitious fusion that he sought, blending funk, synth-pop and soul with guitar-based rock and a lyrical sensibility that mixed the psychedelic and the sensual.
Prince experimented throughout the album, dropping the bass line from "When Doves Cry" to fashion a one-of-a-kind sound, and mixing analog and electronic percussion frequently. Portions of "Purple Rain" were recorded live at the First Avenue Club in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis. The success of the album served notice that the Twin Cities were a major center for pop music as numerous rock and R&B artists from the region emerged in its wake. Like much of Prince's other work, "Purple Rain" was provocative and controversial, and some of its most explicit lyrics led directly to the founding of the Parents Music Resource Center."
Here is a complete list of this year's inductees into the National Recording Registry:
1. Edison Talking Doll cylinder (1888)
2. "Come Down Ma Evenin' Star," Lillian Russell (1912)
3. "Ten Cents a Dance," Ruth Etting (1930)
4. "Voices from the Days of Slavery," Various speakers (1932-1941 interviews; 2002 compilation)
5. "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," Patsy Montana (1935)
6. "Fascinating Rhythm," Sol Hoopii and his Novelty Five (1938)
7. "Artistry in Rhythm," Stan Kenton & and his Orchestra (1943)
8. Debut performance with the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (November 14, 1943)
9. International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Hottest Women's Band of the 1940s (1944-1946)
10. "The Indians for Indians Hour" (March 25, 1947)
11. "Hula Medley," Gabby Pahinui (1947)
12. "I Can Hear It Now," Fred W. Friendly and Edward R. Murrow (1948)
13. "Let's Go Out to the Programs," The Dixie Hummingbirds (1953)
14. "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1954, 1958)
15. "Bo Diddley" and "I'm a Man," Bo Diddley (1955)
16. "Green Onions," Booker T. & the M.G.'s (1962)
17. "Forever Changes," Love (1967)
18. "The Continental Harmony: Music of William Billings," Gregg Smith Singers (1969)
19. "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Vince Guaraldi Trio (1970)
20. "Coat of Many Colors," Dolly Parton (1971)
21. "Mothership Connection," Parliament (1975)
22. Barton Hall concert by the Grateful Dead (May 8, 1977)
23. "I Feel Love," Donna Summer (1977)
24. "Rapper's Delight," Sugarhill Gang (1979)
25. "Purple Rain," Prince and the Revolution (1984)
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