Prince’s early music career saw the release of Prince, Dirty Mind and Controversy, which drew attention for their fusion of religious and sexual themes. He then released the popular albums 1999 and Purple Rain, cementing his superstar status with No. 1 hits like “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” A seven-time Grammy winner, Prince had a prodigious output that included later albums like Diamonds and Pearls, The Gold Experience and Musicology. He died on April 21, 2016, from an accidental drug overdose.
With his band the Revolution, Prince went on to create the classic album Purple Rain (1984), which also served as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, grossing almost $70 million at the U.S. box office. Co-starring Apollonia Kotero and Day, the movie garnered an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.
Its melancholy title track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the hits “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” both reached No. 1. While “Crazy” readily joined the pantheon of wild, electrifying rock songs, “Doves Cry” had one-of-a-kind signatures, displaying an otherworldly meld of electronic and funk elements without a traditional chorus. The soundtrack offered two other hits: “I Would Die 4 U” and “Take Me With U.” Prince simultaneously became a well-known visual icon with his trademark curls, flowing jackets and ruffled attire with punk embellishments.
1985 saw the release of Around the World in a Day, which had the Top 10 tracks “Raspberry Beret,” a whimsical mid-tempo tune, and “Pop Life.” The record continued to feature Prince’s penchant for playing a range of instruments and desire to impart messages of self-love, as seen with “Paisley Park,” a track inspired by the name of his Minneapolis studios.
In 1986 Prince released his eighth studio album, Parade, which included his pulsating No. 1 pop/R&B single “Kiss.” Parade served as the soundtrack for the artist’s second film, Under the Cherry Moon, which he directed and starred in.
Maintaining a prodigious output, Prince released Lovesexy in 1988, known for its album cover featuring a photo of the artist in the nude as well as the Top 5 uptempo R&B hit “Alphabet St.”
By the time he released his 11th studio album, the soundtrack to Batman, in 1989, Prince had become one of America’s most commercially successful pop artists, continually making waves on the charts. Batman offered up the No. 1 romp “Batdance” as well as the Top 5 R&B hit “Partyman.” The video for “Batdance” famously featured Prince in split-effect makeup and costuming meant to symbolize both the film’s shadowy hero and his crazed nemesis, the Joker.