Day 189: When Doves Cry

Song: “When Doves Cry” by Prince
Reached #1: July 7, 1984 (his first, 5 weeks)
Previously: Day 110

This is what it sounds like…

Prince Rogers Nelson may be one of the most unique people in a business full of them.

He’s no fan of the Internet – YouTube routinely removes any uploads of any of his music (even if it’s incidental background music in a personal video) due to multiple lawsuit threats.  He doesn’t maintain an official website (saying computers “fill [people’s] head[s] with numbers”).  He’s threatened his fans’ websites.

He’s got identity issues of sorts – let’s face it, anyone who changes his name to a symbol is someone who either doesn’t want or doesn’t know his identity.

He’s a walking contradiction – someone who, it is claimed, a quiet and reserved person offstage who has written some of the most blatantly sexual songs in music history.

He’s indirectly responsible for the Musical Puritans – Tipper Gore founded the PMRC after hearing her daughter Karenna listening to “Darling Nikki”.

And with all that, he’s shaped a generation of music.  He’s a brilliant musician, a sought-after producer, a much-covered songwriter, and a dynamic stage presence.  His protegées are legion – usually selected more for their beauty than their musical talent, he’s often treated them as Charles Foster Kane did Susan Alexander in Citizen Kane – as nothing more than a projection of his desires.

As to “When Doves Cry”? A fully-solo performance. Vocals, instruments, production. He did it all himself (writing the song in one night) when he needed a themed song for a segment of Purple Rain.

He is, as the saying goes, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.  And it appears the music-buying public will continue to try to figure it out, while also continuing to lap up everything he puts out.

Tomorrow, the song that confirmed the arrival of a soulful singer from West Virginia coal country…

Other songs that reached #1 on July 7:
1962 –
“The Stripper” by David Rose & his Orchestra (their first, 1 week)
1973 – “Will It Go Round In Circles” by Billy Preston (his first, 2 weeks)
2001 – “U Remind Me” by Usher (his second, 4 weeks)


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