Purple Rain is 28: Watch Prince: The Glory Years to celebrate

Prince is 54 today: Some required reading

The legacy and longevity of Prince's landmark album, Purple Rain, will forever be preserved thanks to the recent efforts of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

And now we can all celebrate the 28th anniversary of the release of the legendary soundtrack which helped establish and define the Minneapolis sound. Purple Rain came out on June 25, 1984, and not only forever changed Prince's career, which soon skyrocketed, but also put First Avenue nightclub and Minneapolis squarely and prominently on the national musical map, where they have rightfully stayed ever since.

If you have a spare 85 minutes today, you should check out Prince--The Glory Years, an unauthorized UK documentary on Prince's music career, with a definite spotlight on the '80s, which they (and most longtime Prince fans) call his "glory years." It's a broad, sweeping look at Prince's early musical roots, as well as his slow but steady rise to prominence up the pop charts with a focus on his groundbreaking records throughout the decade, including, of course, Purple Rain.

There are plenty of revealing, forthright interviews with some of the major players of Prince's early days, including the guitarist Dez Dickerson (who played in Prince's band from 1978-83), Alan Leeds, Prince's tour manager from 1983-89 (as well as the President of Paisley Park Records from 89-92), and other bandmates, set designers, and members of Prince's early entourage and friends who were there when his career took off and beyond.

Renowned music critic Anthony DeCurtis also features prominently throughout the documentary, providing an interesting, honest take on how Prince's music changed the musical landscape of the '80s, and how his songs were received critically upon release. Originally, Prince was marketed as a teenage music prodigy, with some praising him initially (and unfairly, at first) as a young Stevie Wonder. But he eventually lived up to and even exceeded those lofty expectations.

Guitarist Dickerson talks about how even in the early years Prince was very concerned about the band's image, and wanted each band member to portray their own distinct style, with Prince himself choosing to visually embody "pure sexuality." Writer/broadcaster Paul Gambaccini states quite frankly that, "Coming out as a Prince fan makes you look like you have a dirty mind yourself."

DeCurtis talks passionately about Prince's career, and specifically Purple Rain itself, "Both the album and the movie are probably Prince's commercial peak, and in many ways a very serious artistic peak as well. The summer of 1984 was Prince's summer. He owned it."

Indeed he did, and the funky reverberations and rhythmic pulse of that landmark record continue to be felt 28 years after its release, and long into the future as well. So take a trip into the wayback machine with Prince--The Glory Years, a stirring, revealing look into one of the most fruitful creative periods in Prince's long, successful career.

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