Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 33
Wed, Feb 27, 2013
“When Doves Cry”
if you will
of you & I
engaged in a
It all starts with that blazing Jimi Hendrix like guitar riff and quickly morphing into the dynamic funky drum beat that announced the reign of a new musical genius—
Prince Rogers Nelson. Michael Jackson‘s Thriller was The Beatles to Rolling Stones poetically sensual riffs of Purple Rain changed everything in the pop music world.
Ironically, enough it took 1999 losing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in every Grammy category that sparked Prince to pen “When Doves Cry.” In Ronin Rio’s book, Prince: Inside the Music and The Masks, set the scene on the genesis of Purple Rain’s first single when he wrote, “It was perhaps with these memories in his mind that he arrived at Sunset Sound, March 1. Prince has a song in his head. “When Doves Cry” described a deteriorating relationship and abandonment, but instead of composing sad music, he reached for the Linn LM-1 drum machine. [Prince] liked this Linn’s synthetic drum sound “ and hung on to it for a long time, even after it was obsolete,” said drummer Bobby Z. “No One can program a drum machine better that he can,” she claimed.” Prince can take a four-track machine and create a completed track out of it.”
Purple Rain reminds me of being in naïve eighth grader and at that time, “When Doves Cry” was the song I imagined being the soundtrack of two lovers in the dark. I lived a sheltered life and Prince’s music was one of the first sounds to spark my Dirty Mind creatively. Not only were Prince’s lyrics poetic as he was literally seducing you with his rhythms. It felt like a sensual trance as you allowed yourself to let Prince’s beats wash over you. “Doves” back-beats still sends chills.
One of the most genius and most significant decisions Prince made was leaving the bass off of “When Doves Cry,” as he explained ““Doves” is most distinctive because of its lack of a bass line. The song had one but it was pulled at the last minute. They were almost done editing the movie (and) ‘When Doves Cry’ was the last song to be mixed, and it just wasn’t sounding right.” It was Jill Jones, one of Prince’s singers who after he said, “If I could have it my way it would sound like this,” and I pulled the bass out of the mix. Jones simply replied, ‘Why don’t you have it your way?’” And Prince talked about his decision behind mixing out of the bass in “When Doves Cry” when he said, “Sometimes your brain kind of splits in two. Your ego tells you one thing, and the rest of you says something else. You have to go with what you know is right.”
And Prince was right, that one choice sent his career soaring into the stratosphere. Not only was “When Doves Cry” a number one song but Spin Magazine named it one of the top ten singles of all time. Prince didn’t just win awards with Purple Rain, he changed minds as Roots drummer ?uestlove can attest when he told Spin, “Before Purple Rain, brothers had a hard time embracing a bikini-clad, high-heel-boot-sporting, five-foot Midwest, light-skinned guy with a falsetto. But the second after my block saw the “When Doves Cry” video, and he was getting Apollonia, that changed a lot of opinions.”
“Doves” wasn’t successful because he created the ultimate pop song mixed with equal parts soul, funk, rock riffs, “Cry” was a hit single because it was 100% pure Prince Rogers Nelson. Prince proved all you have to do is believe in yourself, your voice, your vision…your song will move mountains. And if you’re name is Prince, your Purple reign you will rule the radio waves for years to come.