Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Today in Music History August 4

Prince – Purple Rain

1984 Prince’s 6th album, Purple Rain begins a 24 week run at the top of the US album charts.  Think about that for a second – from Aug 4, 1984 through January 12, 1985, Purple Rain was the #1 album in America.  Kind of hard to believe in today’s world where if an album sells 100,000 its first week and then disappears, it’s considered a success.  Of course there was no such thing as streaming in 1984, but still.  Michael Jackson’s Thriller had held the top spot for 15 weeks from the beginning of the year (after being at #1 for 22 weeks in 1983), followed by the Footloose soundtrack for 10 weeks, Sport by Huey Lewis and the News for a week, Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen for 4 weeks, and then it was Prince the rest of the year in January 1985.  As of 2008, it has sold over 25 million copies.

The album, the soundtrack to the film of the same name, and the first with his band The Revolution, spun off two #1 singles ‘When Doves Cry‘ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy‘, the #2 single ‘Purple Rain‘, and the top 10 single ‘I Would Die 4 U‘.  While Prince was already a major star at this point, Purple Rain launched him into the stratosphere, just as Thriller and Born in the USA had done for Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen (and all in the span of the same year).

Before Purple Rain, Prince‘s work had mainly been centered in  R&B and funk – Purple Rain pushed him more into a amalgam of pop, rock, R&B, dance, and psychedelia that blended together produced a classic set of songs and served as a preview of the wide stylistic directions he would take for the remainder of his career.

In 2012, the Library of Congress added Purple Rain to its National Recording Registry, which includes songs that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.”

Here are some videos to remember the album.





Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia’ Billboard; Library of Congress

Worst songs ever _mikes list

Ok we’ll start with the admission that we can be snobs when it comes to music. With that in mind , Paul and I decided to compile a list of some of the worst songs ever .  I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder so our apologies if we offend anyone. Feel free to offer additions (or defenses) if you choose.  Mike’s requirements for his list:

  • the song needs to have been at least a modest hit
  • done by an established artist (people who should know better)
  • no 1 off novelty songs
  • extra credit for bad songs from artists who’ve done otherwise good work
  • no Christmas songs. That’s a special list we’ll do in December


I start with a twofer because these two bands are the same band.  The level of “look how sensitive I am” is staggering. Creed is sensitive in the “I’m spiritual but not religious” kind of way.  Nickelback  is sensitive in a “high school jock who just got high for the first time” kind of way.



This bit of lyrical magic should explain the inclusion of this hit should explain its inclusion

           “And I try

        oh my God,

 do I try!

Try all the time

in this institution”

Starship is like a great TV show where they kill off your favorite characters, the main writer quits and the Network CEO’s screwup nephew gets to write, direct and star in an episode.   80’s Schlock at its best

Special mention for bad duets. Incredible because this one includes two first ballot rock and roll Hall of Famers.

*Extra credit for this lyric video which tells us who is singing which lyrics (because no-one can tell the difference between their voices) and manages to spell Michael wrong  EVERY SINGLE TIME.

The first song I thought of when started to make this list. Exemplifies everything about what was ,ummm ,  not so good about a lot of 80s music.


If music video is supposed to bring the artist’s vision from audio to the visual world, I’d hate to see what else was going on in Dennis DeYoung’s brain when he wrote this song for Styx.



Where to start. 80s pseudo- metal hair bands could fill this list but I’ll choose this representative gem from Warrant. The lyrics, if you choose to pay attention, have what I think is supposed to be sexual innuendo ( as envisioned by horny 9th grade boys)


In the “I can’t , I won’t and you can’t ” category we have…..


I’m riding Paul’s coattails on this one with the Grammy screw ups…….. but uggh….. this one annoys me.

Chris Cross won best new artist  in 1981 at the Grammys over the Pretenders, Best Album, over The Wall by Pink Floyd, Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra, Best Record over New York, New York by Sinatra

*(oh and by the way , the Clash released London Calling that year. “Why theGrammys Suck” , could be a future column. Stay tuned.)


Billy RayCyrus should be on this list if only for owning some responsibility for popularizing the mullet.