Let’s Go Crazy again. Reflections on Purple Rain

Image Credit: Passionweiss.com

Not long after I moved back home to Denver from Chicago, where I lived for four years pursuing my dream of making a living as a writer and musician (scaring my mother to death when I announced I would be leaving home literally one week after picking up my college diploma with no job prospects or leads, and only a temporary rundown apartment as a future residence throughout the summer), I went to the Cherry Creek Cinema to go see “Purple Rain”.

This was in 1984, and the Cherry Creek Cinema is long gone. Matter of fact, the entire Cherry Creek of my childhood is gone. Matter of fact…? Yep. The entire Denver of my childhood is pretty much completely wiped away. Disappeared. But change is like a river; it wears  down everything in its path. Eventually.

But that’s another path for another trip. So what I was reflecting on about “Purple Rain”, is that for some reason I can’t quite recall I decided to check it out. I wasn’t a great Prince fan. Wasn’t a Prince fan at all, in fact. I had seen some of the album covers of some scrawny little dude wearing black bikini briefs, high heels and a trench coat and that pretty much was the end of that. Or so I thought. But then I’m pretty sure I must have seen one of the ads showing him wailing away on that guitar, and being the guitar freak that I am I decided maybe this was something I needed to see.

To date, I have never seen any one movie more times than I went to see Purple Rain. I think I checked it out at Cherry Creek something like six or seven times. Then once it came to TV, I watched it again who knows how many more times. I just couldn’t get enough of this guy. I became an overnight fan and Purple Apostle.

I remain a huge fan of Prince as one of my favorite musicians and performers. From this vantage point I can spot the weak spots in the movie, but not without forgiveness. During the past few days I have been reading Alan Light’s book, “Let’s Go Crazy; Prince and the Making of Purple Rain.” The book was published last year in 2014 celebrating 30 years since the  movie was first released, and as a fan there is a load of good information on what went into the making of this unbelievably successful movie and album. But what I suspect will stay with me, as someone who still stubbornly persists in chasing that dream even as I close in on my sixth decade of life, is the all important value of the level of faith you have to have as an artist.  And not necessarily the Christian kind, although I do believe in that, but (not so) simply the kind where you believe in who you were meant to be and what you were meant to do so clearly that you can see the future you staring back at you from your future life whenever you close your eyes – and sometimes when they’re open.

The rest of your life is navigation.



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Writer and musician.

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