On this day in music history: May 16, 1984 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1984 – “When Doves Cry” by Prince is released. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fifteenth single release for the singer, songwriter and musician from Minneapolis, MN. With principal photography having wrapped on Prince’s first feature film “Purple Rain” by early 1984, the film quickly goes into post production to make its projected late July release date. As the film is being edited, director Albert Magnoli requests an additional song to underscore a montage sequence he is cutting together. The director gives the artist an idea of the type of song he’s looking for, stating that “it’s about your parents, and about love and loss”. Prince says “OK” to Magnoli, then returns the next day with two complete song demos. Upon hearing the one titled “When Doves Cry”, the director likes it immediately. Prince enters Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood on March 1, 1984, recording and mixing the song in a single thirty six hour session. During the mixing stage, Prince comes up with the idea of removing the bass line from the already spare track. Warner Bros. is initially hesitant to the release the song, but the artist insists that it be issued as is. Issued five weeks ahead as the first taste of the landmark “Purple Rain” soundtrack, it is an instant smash upon its release. “When Doves Cry” becomes the fastest selling single in the history of the label, selling over a million copies in its first five days. Part of the initial press run of 45’s are pressed on purple vinyl, with a 12" single featuring the full unedited version being released commercially a month later on June 13, 1984. The 7" and 12" singles are backed by the non LP B-side “17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose, if U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose)” which is originally intended for Apollonia 6, but Prince changes his mind, and re-records the song at Sunset Sound on January 8, 1984. “17 Days” also receives significant airplay and becomes a fan favorite. “When Doves Cry” hits number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart on June 30, 1984 (spending 8 weeks at the top) and top the Hot 100 on July 7, 1984 (spending 5 weeks at the top), selling more than two million copies (certified Platinum by the RIAA) in the US alone and is ranked the top single of 1984.