Hear

“Purple Rain”…With a Twang

purple rain

We are coming up on the anniversary (Apr. 21) of the death of Prince. I still vividly remember that day, hearing the shocking news, obsessively watching CNN – and I have a lot of friends who are dreading this first milestone. There have been a lot of tributes to the Purple One since that sad day – but few as interesting as the one recently made by Dwight Yoakam. He’s spent the last couple of decades both revitalizing and redefining what “country” music is – and can be. A noted devotee of “the Bakersfield sound” first made famous by the late Buck Owens, Yoakam has always put his distinctive, twangy, skinny-jeaned spin on things.

And now, he’s done it to Prince’s signature song.

Yoakam recalls that he was working on his just-released album, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars when the news of Prince’s death came over the wires. He and his crew decided to honor him with a unique, bluegrass take on the classic.

As he told People magazine, “I went to the studio, and everyone was kind of experiencing a bewildered sort of shock about it, and I felt deeply saddened. The fact that he was found alone at his compound just seemed … a tragic punctuation to the sense of the loss for millions that he had brought such joy to with his music…We were all lamenting it, and I said, ‘It just feels like we should record “Purple Rain.”‘ I had always loved the simplistic beauty of that melody and refrain.”

Another interesting point to the story is that Yoakam got the go-ahead from the same big-time record label executive (Lenny Waronker) who had originally signed Prince to a deal. The confluence of a country star and Paisley Park may seem unusual, but considering that country music has always trafficked in loss, pain and regret, maybe not so much. Have a listen.

Cindy Grogan

Photos: Prince and Dwight Yoakam images courtesy of Getty Images

Other Posts You Might Like

0 comments on ““Purple Rain”…With a Twang

Leave a Reply (and please be kind!)

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Love the Beatles? Get this eBook FREE when you subscribe.

It turns out there's a lot to say. Just say "yes" to get yours.