Reviews

Prince / Purple Rain deluxe review

SDE celebrates an almost perfect Purple Rain reissue.

Warners’ recent reissue of Prince‘s best-selling Purple Rain album is what you might call a crowd pleaser and much like the original album, hits the spot in virtually every respect.

Background

Purple Rain was Prince’s sixth studio album and was originally released in June 1984. The previous album, 1999, was issued in 1982, so while by any normal standards this was a fairly prompt follow-up, for Prince it was unusually tardy and 1983 remains the only year in the eighties where he didn’t release a new studio album. Four singles from Purple Rain – When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and Purple Rain – were all top ten hits in America with the first two hitting the top spot. A fifth single Take Me With U reached number 25.

Fans have craved Prince reissues for a long time, but they remained non-existent for decades. However, in April 2014 Warner Bros. Music announced a new agreement with Prince that would “see the release of long-awaited, previously unheard material” including Purple Rain. Two years later, and all had been ominously quiet on the reissue front, and then the world was stunned by the untimely death of Prince, aged 57 (two years and 3 days since Warners original announcement). It subsequently transpired that Prince had overseen a remastering of the album prior to his death and had been involved in decisions around the content on the reissue. Purple Rain is therefore the first ever expanded reissue of a Prince album – and presumably, the last – to have any input from the man himself.

Prince / Purple Rain 3CD+DVD expanded edition

CD 1 – Purple Rain: 2015 Paisley Park Remaster

This isn’t marketed as an audiophile remaster and it’s not. For example, the audio is significantly louder than the Purple Rain that was included as part of 2012’s (withdrawn) Original Album Series. However, while it’s quite loud, it still sounds fine to these ears and let’s face it, the way Prince recorded the album – quickly, lots of live recordings, with edits and overdubs – suggests that the spirit and energy were more important to him than perfection in sound quality. And of course the man himself approved this. He was there for the remastering, so it’s not like a third party took liberties after the event. No one can claim that he’d be turning in his grave, for example. Incidentally, for the record, the credits on the reissue state “Remastered By Prince at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, 2015”, although the actual remastering engineer is listed as Joshua A.M. Welton.

CD 2 – From The Vault & Previously Unreleased

I’ll admit I was a bit worried about this disc. As someone who had bought, and was underwhelmed by, the Crystal Ball set back in ’98 (with ‘delights’ like Cloreen Baconskin) I wasn’t sure how good this disc of tracks from the vault would be. Also, song titles like We Can Fuck, Wonderful Ass, Electric Intercourse and Love and Sex weren’t filling me with confidence, as generally I find ‘X-rated’ Prince a tad dull. However, I needn’t have worried because it’s a stunning selection of material that runs the whole gamut of Prince’s output from the fully produced and oddly mesmerising Dance Electric to the effortless and charming solo demos, like Velvet Kitty Kat and Katrina’s Paper Dolls.

Most of the songs are so of-the-era, it’s incredible. That Purple Rain drum sound is all over most of it, including Love and Sex, which actually turns out to be one of the least interesting tracks. The 12-minute version of Computer Blue with the so-called ‘Hallway Speech’ is superb (especially Wendy and Lisa’s “poor lonely computer…”) although, as is often the way, the ‘compromise’ of editing the track to get more songs on the album was probably the right decision.

Electric Intercourse is s decent balled, while the Lisa Coleman sung Our Destiny (note the strings, which ended up at the beginning of The Ladder) is quirkily entrancing and paired with the strident Roadhouse Garden.

Possessed is played live on the concert that features on the included DVD (more of that later) but the studio version (recorded in ’84) had never been released until now. It feels like slightly later era Prince (a bit Sign ‘O’ The Times-esque) which is by no means a bad thing.

Wonderful Ass has a very thick and full sound. Classic Prince. We Can Fuck was apparently recorded the day after Erotic City, so clearly the purple one was in a ‘saucy’ mood at that time. This track did see the light of day as the inferior and re-worded We Can Funk which was issued on the Graffiti Bridge album. The original has more charm and the song feels more suited to the 80’s production. It’s worth noting that 33 years after Prince wrote it, this song is still deemed too ‘rude’ for the major label – it is listed as We Can F**k both on the back of the packaging and even inside the booklet. Let’s celebrate Prince by censoring him!?

The piano instrumental Father’s Song finishes this bonus disc. This is music written by Prince’s dad which ended up in the middle of Computer Blue on the album. A reflective way to end this the second CD.

CD 3 – Single Edits and B-sides

In some respects, this CD is the most surprising element of the reissue, since packing bonus discs full of single edits, B-sides and remixes is normally something major labels don’t do very well – this has become the domain of third party licensees like Demon Music and Cherry Red. But credit where it’s due, this disc delivers. Single edits of all the 45s are included, even when they are not very good – the intro to Let’s Go Crazy‘s single edit is a mess, but who cares? This is a historical document.

The 12-inch remixes of the singles also feature (only Let’s Go Crazy and I Would Die 4 U actually had ‘proper’ 12-inch versions) but what I really like about this CD is that is acknowledges that even Prince’s B-sides were often variations of the same song when included on seven-inch and 12-inch vinyl. So we get two versions of the absolutely brilliant Let’s Go Crazy B-side, Erotic City – ‘edit’ and ‘extended’. And the same applies to God and Another Lonely Christmas. The excellent When Doves Cry B-side 17 Days is another highlight of this third disc.

DVD – Live at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

This concert is crazily good. As I started really getting into music in 1984/5 my main memories of early-ish Prince was watching the videos on Top Of The Pops and then that appearance at the Brit Awards (then called the BPI Awards) in Feb ’85 when he accepted his award for Best International Artist accompanied to the stage by a big and burly bouncer. That happened about seven weeks before this very concert, incidentally. To me, at that time he seemed very po-faced. Maybe he was just outside his own comfort zone. Certainly with this concert performance, his energy levels, humour and showmanship are nothing short of stunning.

Four of the first five songs are Let’s Go Crazy, 1999, Little Red Corvette and Take Me With U. Has ANY concert ever started quite as strongly as that? He plays Purple Rain in its entirety and about half of 1999, along with a smattering of B-sides (God, Irresistible Bitch, How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore).

Seeing Prince at work on stage is dizzying, really. He’s constantly on the move, sliding around. In fact there’s so much moving around, you really do wonder how they can concentrate enough to play their instruments properly. Big coats, big hair, big dancing, big egos and big talent.

In line with the modest packaging of this set, they haven’t bothered with flashy animated menus, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Viewers have a choice to ‘play all’ or select a track – that’s it. The image is 4:3 and quality wise is basically what you might expect from a live broadcast filmed on video. There’s a lot of blue light and Prince does have a habit of running off into the shadows, which can sometimes leave you staring at a rather dark screen for a few seconds. Unfortunately, no one can wave a magic wand and turn SD video into amazing blu-ray standard HD, but it’s fine and totally watchable. There is no 5.1 on the video audio, but the stereo LPCM (newly mastered by Bernie Grundman) sounds excellent.

Packaging

SDE thoughts on the packaging are largely covered via the video above. It can be summarised thus: not as ‘deluxe’ as expected, but fine for the price. I should add that since that video was shot I’ve received the vinyl edition and the front cover is one of the best I’ve ever seen on any vinyl reissue. It’s pin sharp and beautiful. A far cry from the fuzzy scanned-in efforts regularly deemed acceptable by record labels.

Summary

When analysing music reissues and box sets, there’s (almost) always things that could have been done but weren’t. The Purple Rain deluxe doesn’t tick every box, because there’s no 5.1 surround sound mix, no hi-res stereo version and it rather under delivers on Warners original promise of two discs of unheard music and two DVDs with video content.

But the upside to this is that we have a set that is affordable to all and is perfectly balanced. Even if there were four CDs worth of outtakes/unheard music that could have been extracted from the ‘vault’ for inclusion here, would a 6CD+DVD set – heavy with tracks whose appeal would likely get ‘more selective’ – really improve the offering? Whether by accident or design (heaven knows what politics and behind-the-scenes shenanigans influenced the final product), they’ve got it right!

In short, this reissue is not only brilliant but very, very important. If you were considering burying a time capsule for future generations, that perfectly encapsulated the utter genius and hit-making proficiency of Prince, grab a 3CD+DVD deluxe expanded edition of Purple Rain, put it in a tin box and start digging.

The Purple Rain reissue is out now.

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0093624913207

Prince

Purple Rain 3CD+DVD expanded edition

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Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 14.41
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 15.66
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 15.90
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 14.99
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 14.65
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Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 14.65
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 18.95
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0093624930242

Prince and The Revolution

Purple Rain vinyl LP

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Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 14.22
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Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 16.92
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 17.74
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 15.12
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 15.32
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 13.78
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 20.67
HMV uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 20.99
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PURPLE RAIN DELUXE – EXPANDED EDITION (3CD+DVD)

Disc One:  Original Album (2015 Paisley Park Remaster)

  1. Let’s Go Crazy
  2. Take Me With U
  3. The Beautiful Ones
  4. Computer Blue
  5. Darling Nikki
  6. When Doves Cry
  7. I Would Die 4 U
  8. Baby I’m A Star
  9. Purple Rain

Disc Two:  From The Vault & Previously Unreleased

  1. The Dance Electric
  2.  Love And Sex
  3.  Computer Blue (“Hallway Speech” version)
  4.  Electric Intercourse (Studio)
  5.  Our Destiny / Roadhouse Garden
  6.  Possessed (1983 version)
  7.  Wonderful Ass
  8.  Velvet Kitty Cat
  9.  Katrina’s Paper Dolls
  10. We Can Fuck
  11. Father’s Song

Disc Three:  Single Edits & B-Sides

  1.  When Doves Cry (edit)
  2. 17 Days
  3. Let’s Go Crazy (edit)
  4.  Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)
  5.  Erotic City
  6.  Erotic City (“Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive”)
  7.  Purple Rain (edit)
  8.  God
  9.  God (Love Theme From Purple Rain)
  10. Another Lonely Christmas
  11. Another Lonely Christmas (extended version)
  12. I Would Die 4 U (edit)
  13. I Would Die 4 U (extended version)
  14. Baby I’m A Star (edit)
  15. Take Me With U (edit)

DVD:  Prince And The Revolution, Live at the Carrier Dome,  Syracuse, NY, March 30, 1985

  1. Let’s Go Crazy
  2. Delirious
  3. 1999
  4. Little Red Corvette
  5. Take Me With U
  6.  Do Me, Baby
  7.  Irresistible Bitch
  8.  Possessed
  9.  How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?
  10. Let’s Pretend We’re Married
  11. International Lover
  12. God
  13. Computer Blue
  14. Darling Nikki
  15. The Beautiful Ones
  16. When Doves Cry
  17. I Would Die 4 U
  18. Baby I’m A Star
  19.  Purple Rain

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77 responses to Prince / Purple Rain deluxe review

  1. Bryan says:

    Totally agree with your assessment, great remaster and selection of mixes/b-sides/unreleased material. The one thing I would have liked and paid a little extra for would have been CDs of the audio from the live DVD. I’m hoping that in addition to new remasters/deluxe editions of his other classic albums (fingers crossed), we get some live albums covering his different periods. Or even a boxed set similar to Springsteen’s “Live 1975-1985” would be acceptable at this point.

    • Matthew says:

      There are many programme you can use to rip the soundtrack off the DVD and use it on your computer or burn a CD from it – there is no loss of quality and in many cases the DVD soundtrack is a higher-resolution version if you have the hardware to play those.

    • Marcel says:

      The live tracks are available to stream on Apple Music

    • CJ says:

      I’m wondering if we’re still going to see an even larger SDE before the end of the year, in time for the holiday season, that includes the previously announced material that wasn’t included in this set (another disc of vault tracks, a second DVD, etc.). While I would hate the redundancy, I’ll confess I’d be the first in line to double dip for even more of this if the opportunity came, especially if we got the First Avenue show and the extended versions of 17 Days and Take Me With U. (And yes, I realize my willingness to part with my money is part of the reason why the record companies are so shameless in constantly reissuing the same albums with more bonus material.) Perhaps that edition could come in the more deluxe packaging, like The Joshua Tree SDE. I’m a sucker for anything Prince, especially from his mid-to-late 80s run.

  2. Stuart Russell says:

    Agree 100% with your assessment; a case of ‘less is more’ that actually works as not only does it include all the essential material (and thus stops it becoming too niche) it does it at a price point that fans will love and more casual listeners will still take a shot at. All this should equal strong sales which will encourage Warners to push on with other titles.

  3. James says:

    Great review Paul, thanks. I have mixed feelings about this release. On the one hand I am happy that it has finally seen the light of day and getting anything from Prince is always welcome (seek out a download of ‘Deliverance’, it is VERY good). However on the other hand this is the first reissue from Prince’s catalogue and they started with his most famous album, and what they came up with leaves me wanting more. This could have easily been 6CDs. There could have been much more video (to not even include the videos seems strange). When you read the liner notes take note of how many times it is mentioned that a show was recorded which means more live material is clearly available. In theory this release sets the standard for future reissues and I am afraid that the bar has not been set very high. To me, the closest comparison would be someone like Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins who has a huge vault of unreleased material and his reissues have certainly lived up to the billing as expansive. I was hoping for something like this from Prince.

  4. RJS says:

    Good review and I share your opinion. However, I think the version of We Can Funk that appeared on Graffiti Bridge is one of his best ever songs!

  5. David Stanley says:

    I agree, Paul. Excellent analysis citing the balance of elements that makes up this set. I’m especially happy with the disc of unreleased music, as it’s like getting an undiscovered album from the best period of an artists run. Putting this into perspective is the Flowers in the Dirt release/shambles. Since the tact now is to have people continue to buy versions of the same album (cough cough Heaven on Earth), I’m sure we’ll get all the extra bells and whistles in another anniversary edition.

  6. Eamonn says:

    Great writing! Submit to Classic Pop mag fortwith!

  7. Brian Stettin says:

    Excellent review. I agree this is a terrific reissue. All involved should be proud. I do wonder whether Prince actually approved the inclusion of the “dirty” outtakes and b-sides, considering that he renounced that material after becoming a Jehovah’s Witness and refused to play it live. If, as I suspect, a posthumous decision was made to include these songs, I applaud the choice.

    I do have one nitpick with the set: I am sorry it does not include the 13-minute unedited version of the original live performance of “Purple Rain” (with an extra verse) which forms the basis of the album recording. This is easy to find online (http://news.iheart.com/onair/toby-knapp-41816/the-first-time-prince-ever-played-14636207/) but would have been nice to have in perfect audio. For my money, it’s a glaring omission from Disc 3 and more essential than “single edits” of the hits.

  8. Marc says:

    Regarding packaging, the DVD simply falls out of the slipcover whenever that panel is opened.

  9. elliott buckingham says:

    i have every prince commercial release and about 50 12″ singles and I personally hated the remaster it sounded awful and the bonus tracks that weren’t remasters sounded better infact some of the bonus tracks sounded distorted another lonely Christmas being the worse sounding compared to the original 12″ vinyl version and the error on the intro is unforgivable especially when this fault doesn’t appear on the 12″ disc on the recent ish best of. the vault recordings I expected to be of a better quality they sound like for the most part bootleg recordings.
    the 2015 vinyl remaster I haven’t played yet but the picture disc version sounds great for a picture disc. the 2012 vinyl reissue appears to sound the best out of all the recent reissues.
    but for the price this is an excellent set and I am hoping for the whole warners years to get this treatment.

    • chicken little says:

      yeah, the remastered album is absolutely appalling – talking about it as though it’s not an audiophile release is like inviting someone around your house for a meal and handing them a packet of crisps, saying – “we’ll it’s not a restaurant”. i actually laughed when i played it – i assume it must be the music i normally purchase, but I’ve never personally heard an archival remaster this brickwalled. the other discs are far better, but then they are only better in comparison to how bad the disc 1 sounds. the sloppy errors are pretty inexcusable really. anyway, never mind, i am sure we’ll be getting more very soon seeing how prince left his estate in order before he died . . . oh, wait . . .
      also, those complaining about the packaging – get an 4 A4 pieces of white paper (or any colour – go crazy!) and measure the panel of the packaging size on a sheet and reduce it by a few mm – double it below the first square and leave a small edge around the left and right sides of the top square. put all the sheets on top of each other and use a stanely knife to cut the shape out. fold it in half each sheet, fold in the edges, then unfold and put a bit of pritt stick glue on the edges and fold and stick it like a lp inner sleeve – it takes about 10 minutes to do. then put your cds & dvd in them and slot them in the package – the dvd will no longer fall out and the cd’s will be protected. it’s probably quicker than typing a complaint about the packaging on here and it will give you the free time to have another listen to the remastered disc one and help work on your tinnitus.

  10. Craig Hedges says:

    Hopefully Warners will convince Madonna to get her early albums out in this format.

    • CJ says:

      Unfortunately, she’s no longer with Warner, and judging by the lack of cash-in hits packages, I’m assuming she owns her masters, so they don’t have much leverage on that front with her. (Remember how Warners popped out another greatest hits set for Prince every time he had a new CD out? That’s because they owned his masters and could do what they wanted with them. I think if they had the same control over Madonna’s catalog, you’d have seen more of that behavior.)

  11. Auntie Sabrina says:

    The packaging is my concern with any CD. I think older CDs I have are more hard wearing in regards to scuffing, scratches etc. Purpke Rain is No 7 re-entry in the UK charts.

  12. Simon says:

    CD + DVD version already up to £17 on Amazon. Someone’s watching and seeing where a bit more money can be made.

  13. All Things Frankie says:

    I remember that BOO awards well. Holly Johnson (Frankie goes to Hollywood) introduced him with the classic line “I’ve never met him in person but we’ve had sex over the phone” in reference to them but single by The Village People. Prince was not impressed lol

  14. LordCroker says:

    Any idea why ‘From The Vault’ wasn’t included in a Deluxe Vinyl version?

  15. Mr. Stick says:

    I’ve been listening to this for about 2 weeks and I agree with all who say the remastering is lousy. The fact that P approved this himself doesn’t make it easier to swallow. I haven’t compared my original CD to this version, but I can’t believe this is an improvement (there is a hi-rez version at HD Tracks, but I’m scared to give it a try). Disc 2 helps counter that, as it’s a great collection of vault items, and though much of the third CD is tracks that made their way from 45s and 12″ers to CD a long time ago, it’s good to have all the stuff from the Purple Rain time in one place – But it would have been nicer to have 7″ and 12″ versions on different discs. I wasn’t as smoked by the live DVD as I’d hoped, and, though I am sure I’ll pull it out again, we’ve all seen hotter stuff from ’84 and ’85. And why not add the music videos from the album here? But my big caveat is this: Where is the August ’83 First Avenue show, as mentioned above? That show, the genesis event of this era, is as important to Prince’s career – no wait, is as important to the whole decade of music – as any other and is mentioned again and again in the booklet. In Minneapolis, it’s the first lie any fan will tell you: “Oh yeah, I was at the First Ave show.” It’s a flipping shame that it isn’t a part of this thing. As much as I might play this, especially disc 2, I will always think of whats’s missing as much as what’s there. But I hope Sign O’ The Times gets at least this much respect.

  16. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    i like ‘god’ since 1984. wonderful song!
    from the unreleased tracks “katarina’s paper dolls” is very good
    and the melacholic “father’s song” is the perfect end on CD2.
    ( for me it sounds a little in the middle like it could be the last track on “equinoxe” by j.m.jarre )
    i wish it were the re-releases of “so” and “no jacket required” so good and so full of rarities & remixes !

  17. O(+> Peter B says:

    Thanks, Paul. I agree with your assessment, although I do agree with one of the comments that the live recordings from First Avenue that I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m A Star and Purple Rain (originally 13 or so minutes) would have been good.
    The only thing I would have done different would be with Disc 3 – instead of having a &’ version of 1 song immediately followed by the 12″ version of the same song, have all the 7″ versions frst in chronological order, followed by the extended versions in chronological order. But, then that’s what playlists and CD programming are for.
    I hope this format is followed for other Prince reissues, especially the Revolution era (the 22 minute version of America on a deluxe of Around The World In A Day – ah, the possibilities).
    I also highly recommend a great book by Alan Light called ‘Let’s Go Crazy – The Making Of Purple Rain’. It shows that how amazing it was that the whole Purple Rain project came together as well as it did. It’s also entertaining and he spoke to most of the main players. It came out before Prince passed away.
    This package just reminds me how brilliantly original the Purple Rain album is – every song on it is so original and so different to the others, but they all work together so well.
    There’ll never B another…

    • O(+> Peter B says:

      A couple of other things that have come to mind…
      Regarding the cheap price, while it is cheap in Europe, it’s expensive in Australia. JB Hi-Fi, generally Australia’s cheapest music retailer, have bbeen selling the 4-disc version for $80 – that’s approximately £47! A friend of mine (hi, Johnny!) tried to order it from JB and was told there were only 23 in Australia. He placed an order – and bought the 2-CD version to tide him over (for AUD$29). I told him of the Amazon prices on SDE so he ordered it with a standard post option – it cost him only AUD$31 and he has already received it.
      Re packaging comments – I really like it, especially how slim it is. My CD shelves are bulging so any CDs in slim packaging is good 4 me.
      The booklet is great, too – really thoughtful words by Susan Rogers and The Revolution.

      • Steve says:

        I’m in Australia and gave up on JB years ago. They’re pathetic. They deserve to lose customers. Online is the way.

  18. Gav says:

    Played thru last few days – I have no problems with the remaster – the second vault disc is superb – such a shame these have been laying dormant gathering dust all these years – happy to have the singles collected all together finally – great set at a great price – nice sleeve notes etc – only quibble is with the packaging – would have been great to have it in a book type se put for a few quid more but wonderful reissue otherwise

  19. Wout says:

    Anyone noticed the extended version of 17 Days is missing? I can understand they chose to leave it off because of the 14 minutes of hypnotic groove. But still, I miss it.

  20. tom m hans says:

    Why does “Another Lonely Christmas” sound so horrible? Its a shame. I played my 12″ to death back in the 80s and was looking forward to that.

  21. Kevinpnb says:

    It’s a fabulous release. The disc of out tales is truly hardcore-fan-centric, really taking into account all that the longtime bootleg traders don’t have, and thus will serve the newest Prince fans for a long time. (“We Can Fuck” is especially revelatory..and a simply outstanding and epic track).

    It’s inexcusable, however, for the extended “Erotic City” on Disc 3 to have an audio glitch so glaringly apparent at the beginning. WB needs to offer up an explanation for that. It’s just sub-par and frankly embarrassing to Prince’s memory.

    • Larry Davis says:

      I didn’t notice the glitch…the version I’ve always known had the “ting” in the beginning that changes pitch before the drums kick in…nothing sounded “off”…I also wonder if they will be doing deluxes/remasters of his protegees’ records, like the 5 Warner-era Sheila E records (including one from 1989 that was unreleased and included “Scarlett Pussy”), all the Time records (including “Corporate World” that predated “Pandemonium” and included the tracks on “Graffiti Bridge”), and more?? As for “Sign O The Times”, I’m thinking they should reissue it in the original “Dream Factory” sequence with all tracks restored & “Camille” album included…as well as “The Black Album” packaged with “Lovesexy”.

      • Steve Dunn says:

        I’ve been waiting patiently for the Paisley Park albums to be reissued for what has got to be 20 years. The Family, Jill Jones, Mavis Staples, Madhouse. I’ve been lucky to pick up the Sheila E albums. Here’s hoping, anyway….

  22. Arthur says:

    The audio quality is shit

  23. Eric says:

    I’m glad that people are able to enjoy this deluxe, and be okay with it. Sadly I wasn’t and sent my copy back. Ironically, given Paul’s assessment, I felt it failed on every level!

    Terrible packaging.

    Iffy remaster (but just about okay if pushed).

    2nd disc has mislabelled (or misrepresented) material from 1983-84 which often has little to do with Purple Rain. Fine as part of a separate rarities project perhaps.

    Terrible 3rd disc of vinyl rips and poor quality audio in general.

    YouTube/bootleg standard DVD which I found unwatchable and with substandard audio.

    But, as I said, everyone’s entitled to like it or not like it!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Is there any evidence of ‘vinyl rips’? Don’t agree at all about the DVD audio, or the picture.

      • Eric says:

        I opened the waveforms in Audacity, and they confirmed what my ears were picking up…they’ve been cleaned filtered a bit, but still bear the hallmarks of vinyl rips. Most of the extended versions (that weren’t already available elsewhere) sound lousy.

        My TV/hardware displays the audio bitrate when playing a disc, and it was pretty low. If I’d been able to comfortably watch the audio, I wouldn’t have minded that much.

        If people are happy with it, that’s fine but I personally feel the quality control is poor and nothing about the package hits the right note. I’ll make my own Purple Rain deluxe using previously released material, I think!

        • Steven says:

          Eric – please post your preferred track listing when you compile your own Purple Rain Deluxe – would be interested to see how it differs :)

    • elliott buckingham says:

      i agree the dvd looks awful on a 50″ plasma looks ok wathching on a a lap top though

  24. Larry Davis says:

    Ah there WAS an extended “17 Days”…I never owned the “When Doves Cry” 12-inch, so I wasn’t sure…maybe it’s missing cuz it wouldn’t fit and they wanted the other tracks instead. As for the reissue, I agree 100% and have no problem with the remaster whatsoever…I prefer the loudness of current reissues to be on par with new releases…older CDs are not loud enough and sound flat…this thing has clarity too. Even tho “Purple Rain” is not my fave Prince album, not by a long shot, this reissue is well-done and gets it right and I hope is the template for future reissues…CD1 the remastered album, CD2 stuff from the Vault, CD3 the singles, B-sides and 12″s, 12″ B-sides, and DVD of a concert from the album’s era. THEN future boxsets (between 3 and 6 discs each) of more vault material that didn’t fit on the reissues…and call it “More From The Vault Volume 1” and yes, live material “The Vault Live Volume 1″…basically, it’s a roadmap and organization of the vault stuff in easily digestible portions…cuz without any kind of order and with the amount of material in the vault, it could be very overwhelming to get one’s head around it…do it smart and we’re good…

    • Bryan says:

      I have a 1980’s pressing of the “When Doves Cry” 12″, and the version of “17 Days” on it is the same as the third disc. After a quick look around the internet, it seems like an extended version of “17 Days” has never been officially released.

    • Graham Turner says:

      Hi Larry, There’s isn’t an officially released extended version of ’17 days’ – all versions that appeared on both 7″s and 12″s back in the day were the same version that’s on this set. It’s strongly rumoured that an full/extended version exists in the Vault – indeed, uber-collector Questlove has hinted at having it and it would make sense with the way Prince tended to work.

      This shouldn’t be confused, however, with the 13-14 min bootleg version that’s been circulating for many years (probably the ‘hypnotic groove’ one mentioned somewhere above). This was a fan-made fake and is unlikely to represent the true Extended version.

    • Michael Khalsa says:

      Another version of ’17 Days’ was never officially released. I have not seen it on a bootleg either. The interest comes becomes Questlove instagrammed a picture of a recording of it.

  25. memoryboy says:

    That “audio glitch” that you talked about on the extended Erotic City is actually supposed to be like that ….. that’s the way it’s supposed to sound. it always has…..

    • elliott buckingham says:

      my 12″ single original issue does not have this glitch

    • Strummer says:

      The German CD single of Erotic City doesn’t have the glitch either…

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        the ‘glitch’ – assuming it is one – is very, very minor and if you weren’t familiar with the song you could easily assume that that is how it is supposed to sound.

        • Strummer says:

          Yes I agree, personally it does not bother me at all. What does bother me is the dropout in right channel in Computer Blue Hallway Speech at 3:33, it’s very annoying on headphones. But the way it looks (exactly in a tail end of a beat) suggests that it’s not a mastering problem.

  26. Michael Khalsa says:

    I have been playing these Cd’s everyday since I got it. Album is a masterpiece. Paul you mentioned the ‘Crystal Ball’ set. Prince purposely avoided placing The Revolution tracks on that one. The concert is great. This and ‘I would die 4 U’ is what turned me into a fan.

    Wonder what’s next & when it will be? I am hoping for ‘Parade’ but I suspect it will be ‘Sign O The Times’. I like the format as well. The album, edits/12 & unreleased. Then a concert. Perfect. Hope they continue like this.

  27. David says:

    The 2 disc version booklet only has the track info by the revolution. No stuff by Susan Rogers. Only the 4 disc set has the additional info.
    A wee bit off topic but Howard Bloom, who was Prince’s publicist back in the 1980’s has written 3 books on the forces of nature and capitalism.’The Lucifer principle’, ‘Global Brain’ and Genius of the Beast. The third book, ‘The Genius of the Beast’ is a radical rethink of capitalism but toward the end of the book he goes into some detail with regards to prince and the Purple Rain project in relation to his business dealings and the problems that were had trying to get the financial clout together. It really is an interesting read. Also as mentioned above Alan Lights Lets go crazy is a blindingly good book also. The back story of Purple Rain is as intruiging as the finished project.

  28. mike says:

    The Prince Vault has proven most of the rarities are all described incorrectly as to dates and recording details. Aligned with the glitch on Erotic City and packaging, it feels rushed. I acknowledge the great price point but I don’t think it’s the utter success claimed.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      While unfortunate, I can live with a few errors with dates. The bigger issue is there is no annotation about the unreleased tracks. The Prince Vault website does this very well, of course.

  29. adam shaw says:

    Hi Paul
    I agree with your review except I find it’s far to loud .
    I know Prince liked a distorted sound back then but this is his sound and then it’s seems it’s been turned up to 11 !!

  30. madman says:

    Excellent review Paul. It’s only $US 25 on Amazon, so even if it is missing tracks it’s a great deal.

  31. Mr. Ska '57 says:

    Small edit needed: Electric Intercourse is s decent balled.

  32. John says:

    I like the “loudness” and am more than happy with everything on the expanded edition. Are discs 2 & 3 ever so slightly “quieter” than disc 1 though? Not sure if it’s my old ears. Maybe cause they were remastered at different times perhaps??

  33. SimonP says:

    “Almost perfect” is not a way I’d describe this release. Whilst it is nice to have the various unreleased tracks the sound across the three discs is very variable and the DVD is awful. The 17 Days track being labelled as an edit just reminds us that there is a longer version that we’re not allowed to have. Tis a shame also that the rumoured second concert was MIA. The one included has been on YouTube for years so it would’ve been preferable to have something rarer…

    • elliott buckingham says:

      the 17 days track is the same version that’s on the doves cry 12″

      • SimonP says:

        I know that, I bought the 12″ in 1984 and still own it. The point I was trying to make was that 17 Days on the album packaging is labelled as an edit. That says to me that there is a longer version out there somewhere…

  34. I can remember enjoying this album back in the 1980s as a teenager, but listening to this again I find it quite dated with the same drum sound and cheesy keyboard sounds.
    I especially hate the 12 minute version of Computer Blue, it’s painful to listen to.
    The extended funk tracks are bearable.
    I don’t agree Purple Rain is the classic album people rate it today in 2017.
    Well this is my opinion.

  35. Galley says:

    After I imported disc 3 into iTunes, I reordered the tracks as A-Side/B-Side (in order of release), followed by the 12″ mixes.

    1 When Doves Cry [7” Single Edit] 03:48
    2 17 Days [7″ B-Side Edit] 03:56
    3 Let’s Go Crazy [7” Single Edit] 03:48
    4 Erotic City [7″ B-Side Edit] 03:56
    5 Purple Rain [7” Single Edit] 04:05
    6 God [7” B-Side Edit] 04:03
    7 I Would Die 4 U [7” Single Edit] 02:58
    8 Another Lonely Christmas [7” B-Side Edit] 04:54
    9 Take Me With U [7” Single Edit] 03:43
    10 Baby I’m A Star [7” B-Side Edit] 02:49
    11 Let’s Go Crazy [Special Dance Mix] 07:36
    12 Erotic City (“Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive”) 07:24
    13 God (Love Theme From Purple Rain) [Instrumental UK 12” B-Side] 07:58
    14 I Would Die 4 U [Extended Version] 10:18
    15 Another Lonely Christmas [Extended Version] 06:48

  36. Deano says:

    Pleased to say that my packaging has stood up to Amazons handling. The card spines usually get trashed but nothing to worry about here as the 4 discs provide sufficient depth/support to stop this from happening.

    I know that card packaging is better for the environment, easily recyclable and good for the record companies social responsibility reporting, but i buy CDs as a lifetime investment – and plastic cases is the only thing that keeps our precious CDs prestine.

    I remember being happy spending an extra pound or two buying my CDs from HMV over Our Price on the basis that Our Price CDs always felt second-hand after getting scuffed from being stored in those card/plastic wallets behind the cash till counter. It feels like we don’t get a choice on this now that record companies insist on using card in their packaging.

    Totally agree with other people’s points that most of us would be happy paying a couple of quid more for new releases if the packaging was better.

  37. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    This was the first “purple rain” deluxe edition. I’m sure that it will follow by a “super deluxe edition” in a few years with more material from the vaults and alternate versions of the album tracks and a dvd with the videos. We have to wait…
    paul you had a fantastic idea to call your website “super deluxe edition” at the beginning.
    “super deluxe editions” are the ultimate future releases ! ;)

  38. Tim says:

    Regarding the singles disc, I’ve made it into a separate 7″ disc and a 12″ disc, adding the 7″ and 12″ versions of “She’s Always In My Hair” (recorded the same day as “Erotic City”) and the UK 12″ edit of “Purple Rain”. Wish they’d included the 2 UK promo edits and the South American one of “Purple Rain” while they were at it!

    I did hear that the reason some of the tracks are from the wrong era (2 from “1999” and arguably 2 from “ATWIAD” is that Warners still don’t have access to Prince’s vault, and therefore had to cobble this together from their own vaults. Seems reasonable after the legal wrangling going on at the moment.

    • Mike says:

      Tim, agree with you about the legal wrangling. Apparently Universal now want to break away from contract. They say, Universal they were not informed about an agreement signed in 2914 with Warners, hence contract will be null and void.

      The Vault will be going out again to bidders but everyone is saying the price will be much lower.

      So we may moan about this and that track shouldn’t be on this release. With the above going on, take any track we have not had/heard on official release with both hands, listen and cherish. It looks like it may be a long!! time before we get anything new or even reissues.

  39. memoryboy says:

    I went back and had a listen to the ‘Erotic City’ Extended Mix… I guess I can tell that there is a little tiny glitch at that very first opening note… the original versions have always sounded a bit “glitchy” in the beginning… but I did notice the glitch in this one copy… I suppose it could be disappointing to some, although it’s not so noticable to me that it ruins the whole song, sound quality sounds ok… I personally feel it’s fine, I guess. I really liked the 2015 remaster of the original album on disc one. I do wish the volume levels on discs 2 and 3 were the same levels as disc one though.

  40. Great re-issue but did you notice prince doing his version of INXs’s Mediate (several years prior)?

  41. 7 says:

    I suspect the DVD is sourced from the original broadcast video tape of the concert. NTSC 4:3 picture ratio, with stereo (2.0) sound. The standard format for the mid-80s on the North American continent. So what you see & hear is how it was broadcast, but with a few tweaks (mastering) from 21st century technology. You can hear the broadcast sound mix engineer(s) fighting to control the sound at the beginning of the concert. I guess they didn’t record the musicians to mult-track tape? It would have been nice to be able to hear a 21st century stereo remix, & a surround (5.1) mix.

  42. Charlie Waffles says:

    Warner Bros. dropped the ball on this release. My Sgt Peppers box set weighed a ton when I received it by mail. I would have paid more for the same treatment but somebody at Warner Bros. did not care. I wanted the music that plays during the end credits of the movie. I felt one disc should have been devoted to the artists in the movie. Dez, The Time, Appolonia 6 were just as important as The Revolution was. A huge book with photos of the album being recorded and the filming of the movie would have been great. It makes you wonder how record companies survive.

  43. unique says:

    considering some of us paid £45 plus post for a 4 cd bootleg set back in the day, which would be usually hissy and have other sound issues, incomplete tracks, duplicated tracks from previous releases etc etc etc, the £17 delivered from amazon is a great price. that’s nearly as much as a single cd boot would cost back in the day, with the hissing and duplication etc. so to get from this package one cd of near perfect sounding unreleased music for that money is worth it. everything else is just a bonus to me. and i say that as the rest is flawed in a number of ways

    as far as i’m aware, prince only signed off on the first disc and didn’t want anything else on it, and the rest was chosen by others. personally the end space on disc one is a waste that could have been filled with b sides or outtakes for example. i’d put some of the b sides from disc 3 on there instead. i’d also lose the edits and instead made cd3 an extended/alternate version of the album using all the longer unreleased versions most fans have had for years, and put the bassline version of when doves cry and the long version of computer blue on that disc and purple rain with the extra verse. any space left and i’d put on some of the other tracks like wednesday and father song etc. that would make some space on cd2 so include the extended version of 17 days which is about 8 minutes, and not the 14 minute fan edit. i personally think missing great unreleased material in liue of 7″ edits and not using the end space after the album is a great shame and waste, even if prince didn’t want the first disc changed in any way

    the dvd is also a mess. the sound is good but the video isn’t encoded efficiently so it’s not an improved picture over the laserdisc and LD ripped boots. whilst it was shot on SD it could have been on bluray with increased bitrate and maximized image quality, or even simply done better on dvd, so another dissapointment there

    someone who considers themselves a big prince fan was apparently involved in this release, but they failed to consult properly with much of the freely available resources in regards to information on the disc, and some of the stuff it’s claimed to be simply is not. so wonderful ass isn’t the original version, and came from a much later period for example, and people who performed on the tracks aren’t properly credited. the answer was they took the info from the tape boxes, but a big fan trying to do things right should have known about the well known prince resources and checked if they didn’t already know for themselves

    purple rain had huge potential for a really great release, but they blew it. it’s clear there is an appetite for a double dip by fans, so let’s hope they do and improve things next time. with a much better remaster of the album and some quality control to avoid clipping on tracks like erotic city, and get the tracks and information correct. as the edits have already been on this release, next time they can use the space for some unheard music instead. there’s certain a lot of it, and perhaps an unseen live show on video next time, like the 84 birthday show

    at least they didn’t do what they did on the jackson special editions that had partial tracks and audio interviews. imagine wasting space putting audio interviews and not the full tracks

    btw the mediate thing was done by another minnesotan years before

  44. seikotsi says:

    I wonder what the ‘audio-glitch’ is on erotic city? I have the 12″ and the whole track (intro and beats) always sounded a bit glitchy and it seems the same when I listen it on spotify (sorry didn’t get the cd yet, but I will).

  45. lee bowler says:

    I’m guessing some people have gone to great lengths to get this released and done the best they can with all legal wranglings that surrounds the music business and ownership etc, to only be torn apart with what can only be called ‘whining’ completists.

    You can tell the amount of work that has gone into the Deluxe Edition simply be reading the booklet and the effort taken to get the Revolution’s comments and thoughts – this part of the deluxe edition is truly fascinating for me.

    Ok, some dates are off, some re-mastering ‘issues’ and packaging woes but seriously??? I personally wait years for this kind of project to hit the market and would love to have something like this for Madonna’s 80s material but it’s never happened.

    I am so happy this project happened and we can all enjoy his Purple Highness yet again – I expect some people to comment on my reply too – ‘if you’re happy with an inferior product/sound’, ‘you’re the kind of fool record companies love to make money out of’ blah blah blah ….. the kind of music snobbery really gets on my t*ts and p*ss all over people’s parades.

  46. Eric says:

    It doesn’t sound great (and CD3 really sounds bad), the DVD looks like a YouTube bootleg, the packaging is terrible and detrimental to the product, and the information concerning the unreleased material is mostly off. Apart from that, it’s amazing.

    That isn’t music snobbery, it’s calling out poor quality control for what it is. Someone on another site said it looked like a nice fan-made product, done on a budget, and that’s about right. Which doesn’t mean anyone’s a fool for being happy with it, but equally it doesn’t automatically mean the rest of us should blindly accept it and be satisfied.

  47. Mick says:

    My only, repeat ONLY gripe with this reissue is the brickwalling. The 2nd & 3rd discs are an *acceptable* DR 9 & DR10 respectively. But the butcher job done to the main album is beyond horrifying. It’s an overall DR7, but some tracks are even less. “Let’s Go Crazy” is a squashed DR5 mess of white noise. Could His Royal Purpleness himself really have supervised and/or approved this?
    I’d be curious if anyone could comment on the sound quality of the standard or picture disc vinyl reissues.
    Me – I’ll revisit this set for the deluxe/bonus material, but I’ll stick with my amazing sounding DR13 24/192 hi-res version of the original masterpiece from 2013.

    • Geoffrey says:

      The main album could definately have been mastered better, I also prefer the 2013 HR version by far to this new ‘Prince supervised’ remaster. Disc 2 and 3 are amazing though, I love them very much. So much quality tracks, I really enjoy the new Vault tracks. Some stone cold classics are included like Wonderful Ass, the Hallway version of Computer Blue, Possessed and the mighty We Can Fuck. Haven’t seen the DVD yet so can’t say anything about it, but I am looking forward to watch it.

  48. wparkermusic says:

    [Insert eyeroll on all the negative comments] Any of us who are big Prince fans know that this release NEVER would have seen the light of day while he was alive, even though he, himself, approved the remaster of the the first disc. I think given the resources to give such a release to true fans, and casual fans alike, at such a great price point, WB did a great job. They could have easily just thrown disc 1 on the market itself and made a quick buck, but they did make appropriate considerations.

    People are complaining they didnt get things they never got before and aren’t sure exist (check Uptown’s list of recordings, you’ll find a majority of the tracks are from the appropriate date range). Yes, audio quality is important, but seriously, we all don’t sit there with super hearing with headphones on, opening up the tracks on computer programs to look at wavelengths and bit rates, and compare something that is over 30 years old to today’s standards.

    This is how Prince recorded the material, and is still better quality than we’ve heard previously on cd and online. I’m happy that I can enjoy a release that feels like a good amount of thought and care went into putting this together for ALL fans, not just those willing drop x2, x3, or even x5 more money for a bigger box, more engineering performed, or different tracks.

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