No Symbol Needed: The Hunt for Several Different Purple Rain-related Vinyl Discs

Posted: August 7, 2013 by generationgbooks in Music


Rather than ramble on endlessly about my hunt for the fantastic Purple Rain Soundtrack by Prince on vinyl, I decided to break this blog up a bit and write about several items I sought relating to that album. There were several hunts; one or two were successful; the other 9,200 were not.

The first thing I set out to find was the 45 for “When Doves Cry”. I would sit by that cheap piece of shit Kenmore radio and wait for that kook Casey Kasem to play it on America’s Top 40. Then the little cunt at Willow Springs School who stole the purple Michael Jackson purse that I bought from Jennie Wilebski taunted me that she had it on 45.  A 45? What’s a 45? A gun? No, turns out it was a little record, a single song backed with a second song. Maybe that’s what that smaller wheel contraption thingy in the middle of my record player was for? I told my mom that the little bitch was picking on me, and she was determined we were going to find that 45. We went to K-Mart in Bridgeview, and there it was. I got the last copy. It was backed with a song called “17 Days” which I don’t remember much about. I do remember playing “When Doves Cry” ridiculously. I flipped it over and listened to “17 Days” for what seemed like, well, 17 days. Non-impressive in the court of Prince. If I had a bad day, which meant some motherfucker stole my Reese’s Pieces at recess (not meant to be alliteration, by the way), I would go home and put that 45 on, and suddenly, it would be much better.

My second quest for Prince was the 45 for Let’s Go Crazy“. Once I had one 45, I had to have the next one. It never occurred to my 11-year old psyche to just buy the album. I heard “Let’s Go Crazy” and quickly became obsessed with that. I kept hearing it on the radio and thinking “I should get that album”, but with my paltry allowance and the fact that I had to spend half of it on candy bars to feed my fat face, I had my periscope set on the 45. This one was a lot harder to find. K-Mart was no help, nor JR’s Music, nor the mall stores. I finally found it at Venture in Countryside, in the album bin. The cover was tattered and in awful shape, but I had to have it. I got home and popped it on. I played “Let’s Go Crazy” a dozen times, then flipped it and listened to this homogenized little ditty called “Erotic City” on the other side. I was slightly stunned by what I think I heard. I quickly took the 45 off, lest my cheap ass record player burst into flames. My mom ambled in and wanted to hear the whole thing. I made up some excuse for not playing “Erotic City” and distracted her to not hear it. My mom was the type of person who saw nothing wrong with Elvis thrusting his pelvis to the masses of young children, but if someone uttered the words “Fuck til the dawn”, well, that record and the person singing it were going straight to hell. The cousins and I decided that it meant she was a puritanical pervert. Today I would say it was hypocritical. No bother, I had it, and I hid it, lest my mom sell my records to the PMRC.

The next thing I had to own was the album itself. I first saw the actual soundtrack itself, in cassette form and mocking me, at Misti’s house. Misti was my grade school best friend. I used to escape to her house every weekend. Her mom was way cool. She played great music (Steve Winwood, Heart, Bruce Hornsby and the Range), smoked cigarettes, and let Misti and I stay up late. Misti and I would sneak her mom’s cigarettes, sit in her room, talk all night, listen to the radio, and gossip about the boys we liked or read trashy Harlequin romances. The cassette was in Angie or Tami’s room, I cannot remember which, but it was there, and one day when they were out, Misti played it for me in its entirety. That was the first time I heard the entire soundtrack. I was hypnotized. One emotion gave way to another, and that gave way to determination to have it. Come hell or high water. Which, it turns out, wasn’t too far away from what it would take to obtain that fucker.

The first thing that I did was hit the usual suspects: K-Mart, Zayre, Venture, JR’s Music, and Sam Goody, which was new at the time. None had it. NONE. I went to Orland Square in desperation and found it at a little music store called Coconuts, which would end up relocating to 95th and Roberts Road, near Chicago Ridge Mall, a few years after that. They had it. I got home and looked at it. The plastic was singed, but I didn’t care as long as the album itself was alright. I put it on, and it skipped. I looked at the grooves in the light and it had scratch marks all through the record- as if someone took a box cutter to it. I got my receipt and got Pothead Bob to take me over to get it replaced. They gave me shit, but I had a receipt and it was the next day, so I got another one. Same fucking thing happened. Bob got in the manager’s place after it was implied that the little pudgy girl might have done this on purpose. Who the fuck ruins records on purpose, unless they’re Bon jovi (and that’s for the good of the public)? Not I. They pulled every record and they were all like that. Someone had to have fucked up at the record plant or when they were being unloaded. They took my name and number, refunded my money, and said they would contact me when new ones came in. Weeks went by, and I had it. I joined the Columbia House Record Club for that album! I got it and I was thrilled. There was only one problem; that little “Courtesy of Columbia House Record Club” disclaimer on the back annoyed me. I learned to deal with it. I had it, and I never turned back after that.

Last story relating to Purple Rain: Tiffany Faille and I had to do an oral report about a movie or event that we both enjoyed, and we agreed on Purple Rain for our project. I fucked around and didn’t go over and watch the movie as I was supposed to, so Tiffany basically wrote the report and I made shit up as I went along. She was not happy, our teacher wasn’t happy, and I think Tiffany told me to take a powder after that. I am pretty sure I was grounded for stealing my brother’s GI Joe collection and rearranging the GI Joe’s in weird positions under my Barbie dolls and starting WW4 in the house and my mom grounded me from DOING A SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT!, so it was my own fault that my grade laid a big brown turd, and Tiffany, who actually did the assignment, suffered for my trouble causing ways. All we needed to do was watch the movie and write a movie review and give it in front of class. Not. I’m still apologizing to Tiffany for that. I still regret it. If I had watched it and appreciated it for the greatness that it was, I am sure I would have given a great review and she and I would have aced that mother. I also am sure that had I witnessed the greatness of Morris Day & The Time, I would have gotten into him much quicker than I did.

  1. Brigette says:

    …for the record (haaa!)….I worked at Coconuts on 95th & Ridgeland for about a year and a half. The pay sucked ass, but man…I loved that job! Second best only to Santa Fe …but that’s a whole new blog we’ll start tmrw!

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