Rock Reads: Purple Rain: Music on Film by John Kenneth Muir

Reviewed by Anthony Kuzminski

.
I'm not sure if there has ever been a more inexplicable musician than Prince. His talent is incontestable and his concert performances are not of this Earth. That being said, due to his irritation with the state of the music industry, it appears he has gone on a permanent hiatus from recording and releasing new music. While this appears to be a loss to everyone, I've felt that his reluctance to revisit his past equally devastating. His music catalog is in great disrepair as his catalog has never been remastered. Further, he has not dug into his deep vaults for archive releases or participated in commentaries and documentaries for his films or documentaries about his music. While most artists prefer to leave the past behind them, it's a part of their soul and I personally find that when they get back in touch with that inner child, the flame of inspiration can be reignited. However, no matter what Prince does for the remainder of his career, people, will forever associate him with Purple Rain. Up until now, the film has largely been viewed as a product of its time but author John Kenneth Muir with his new book Purple Rain: Music on Film reminds us that Purple Rain is more than a late night guilty pleasure but one of the definitive musicals of the 20th Century.

John Kenneth Muir has written a few books on movies in recent years (including Spinal Tap, Kevin Smith and Horror Films of the 1970s) so he knows how to write, but could he crawl into the belly of the beast of a movie whose genesis was three decades back? The good news is even with the reluctant Prince offering no new insight or interviews, Muir successfully navigates the waters of the past pulling the story of the film into scope encompassing its whole history, its impact and several key bits of information I had never know before. By not having the star of the film and its key composer of the musical sequences available for insight should be a major road block, but Muir has proven himself to be an equipped journalist as he did his homework before investigating and getting several other key individuals on-the-record for the book.

What gives Purple Rain: Music on Film weight are the insights of producer (and Prince manager) Robert Cavallo and director Albert Magnoli. Both help frame the story of their struggles through the unexpected success and ultimately to their attempts to create a proper sequel. Muir's text is straight and to the point and he packs a lot of punch and unbelievable information in 132-pages. Most other writers would flesh the book out to a few hundred pages for the sake of their ego, but even if Muir had done this, the book wouldn't have been any better. Once you pick it up, you will probably read it in no more than two sittings and revel at the luster of the film. The music from the film has gone into the stratosphere as possibly the supreme record of the last three decades (it was number two on Rolling Stone's "100 Best Album's of the 80's" and number one on Entertainment Weekly's "Greatest Albums of the Last 25 Years" in 2008). The music is so timeless and faultless that the film is often forgotten about. But reading Muir's book we're reminded that Purple Rain was more than an album, but a cinematic event.

Some particularly interesting revelations Muir's book reveals include how the inspiration of the opening credit sequence (cued to "Let's Go Crazy") was inspired by the final montage in The Godfather. Prince's then protιgι Vanity was originally cast in the role that eventually went to Apollonia but she left for a role in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ which was cancelled and not filmed for another five years with another actress. Cavallo reveals Prince would only sign another five year contract with his management team if they secured him a film with a major studio which also had his name above the film title. Lastly, in something I don't think anyone could imagine the film studio wanted John Travolta for the role of The Kid. There are dozens of intriguing anecdotes like this throughout Muir's book that will make you smile and shake your head with disbelief. Purple Rain was the right movie at the right time where all of the key players fell into place something that would not happen for his next few features. This is where Muir's book goes into overtime and provides some invaluable stories of potential sequels that never came to light. He also covers his other forays into film including the box office failures of Under the Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge along with his concert film Sign 'o' the Times and his soundtrack work on 1989's Batman

Muir perfectly outline how the decisions for the story, casting and above all else, the editing by Magnoli and Ken Robinson engrained the images in our head of Prince for all time. Whether you were old enough to see the R-rated film in 1984 or were born in 1984, most people associate Prince with this album, his look and his music from this time. It's a reminder of the potency of the silver screen and how in the era of MTV, Prince took his career one step further. I firmly believe that acknowledging your past and embracing it often allows one to forge forward. As Muir hints at in the book, the ultimate resurrection for Prince could be another collaboration with director Albert Magnoli resulting in Purple Rain 2 taking the viewer into the world of The Kid thirty years later. Did he stay true to himself or lose himself in the process? Reunite with the Revolution and compose nine killer songs that are unforgettable. Purple Rain: Music on Film is a paperback, 132-pages and a little larger than a cell phone, however, don't let its size deter you from picking it up. Until his purple-holiness decides to go on film or put pen to paper, this may be the definitive tale of one of the most musically invigorating and memorable films of the 1980's.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter


Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

tell a friend about this article

.



advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
The Cult Announce Historic Show With The Who- Of Mice & Men Release First Song Without Austin Carlile- Ivan Moody Addresses Reports He's Quitting Five Finger Death Punch- more

Van Halen Icon Michael Anthony Hit With Personal Tragedy- Internal Bleeding's Bill Tolley Killed Fighting Fire- Eighteen Visions Reunite and Release Video From New Album- more

Axl Rose Doesn't Deserve Negative Image Says Ex Guns N' Roses Star- Journey Split With Steve Perry Over Stupid Issues Recalls Schon- Paramore Announce New Album- more

Day in Pop:
Kendrick Lamar Addresses New Music Rumors- Posthumous Christina Grimmie 'Side B' EP Released Ahead Of Album- Prince's The Revolution Kick Off Reunion Tour- more

Bizarre Drake Home Break In Explained- Zayn Malik and PARTYNEXTDOOR Release 'Still Got Time' Video- Brad Paisley Releases 'Love and War' Video with John Fogerty- more

Prince Was Biggest Selling Artist Of 2016- Coldplay Battling Themselves For Award- Harry Styles Opens Up About Album And Taylor Swift- Ed Sheeran Serenades Dying Fan- more

advertisement


Reviews

• On The Record: Jen Gloeckner - Vine

• Iron Maiden TBT Month- Flight 666

• RockPile: Hollywood Monsters- The Dahmers

• On The Record: Strange Karma - Cold Blooded

• Bernie Torme - Dublin Cowboy

• Iron Maiden TBT Month- Live After Death DVD

• Al Atkins - Reloaded

• The Psyatics - Famous Monsters

• Road Trip: Travel News, Trips and Tips April 2017

• Iron Maiden TBT Month: Number of the Beast

• Electric Ray and the Shockers - California Torpedo

• Beauty In The Breakdown - NEON

• Road Trip: Boise, Idaho's Treefort Music Fest

• Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

• Ministry - The Last Sucker

• Ships Have Sailed - Whispers EP

• RockPile: Prog Edition: Steve Hillage- Van Der Graaf Generator- Richard Barbieri

• On The Record: The Dollyrots - Whiplash Splash

• TBT: Down III Over the Under

• Les Bohem - Moved to Duarte

• In Tribute: Chuck Berry Live In Chicago

• Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy • more

Rock News Stories
• The Cult Announce Historic Show With The Who

• Of Mice & Men Release First Song Without Austin Carlile

• Ivan Moody Addresses Reports He's Quitting Five Finger Death Punch

• Depeche Mode To Celebrate Making History With Free Intimate Show

• Pantera's Rex Brown Streams First Song From New Album

• Styx Stream New Song and Announce Concept Album

• Evergreen Terrace Confirm Reunion With Original Members

• STS9 Announce Special 20th Anniversary Shows

• Beatles Warned They'd Lose Their Fans With Sgt Pepper

• Danzig Streams New Song 'Devil On Hwy 9'

• Emmure Offshoot Lakeshore Announce Their First Live Dates

• Iron Maiden Celebrate Tour Kick Off With Online Stream Of Intro Video

• Purson Announce Break Up and Release Farewell Single

• Fire From The Gods Release 'The Voiceless' Video

• Maximo Park Return With 'Risk To Exist' Album

• The Flatliners Release 'Hang My Head' Video

• Papa Roach Streaming New Song 'American Dreams'

• Singled Out: Alien Knife Fight's Flightplan

• more

B-Side Stories
• Kendrick Lamar Addresses New Music Rumors

• Posthumous Christina Grimmie 'Side B' EP Released Ahead Of Album

• Prince's The Revolution Kick Off Reunion Tour

• Bruno Mars Releases 'That's What I Like' Remixes

• Migos' Offset Wants The Dancing Coachella Kid In Next Video

• Machine Gun Kelly Releases 'At My Best' Video Featuring Hailee Steinfeld

• Cold War Kids Reveal Cover Of Rihanna's 'Love On The Brain'

• Dierks Bentley May Land Airport Board Gig

• Brad Paisley's 'Love And War' Featuring Mick Jagger, Others Streaming

• D.R.A.M. Streams 'Gilligan' Featuring ASAP Rocky and Juicy J

• more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.