"Purple Rain" is Prince's sixth album. It is Prince's biggest selling album and was accompanied by a successful film. Using similar instrumentation to 1999, Prince expanded his sound on this album, incorporating hard rock and psychedelic styles.
For the first time, most of the songs feature a full band. The Revolution appear on six of the nine songs and three songs feature a string section. The studio sessions for the album have been extensively documented.
Prince and the Revolution performed the material from the album live from August 1983 to April 1985, including the Purple Rain tour. Details of this period are taken from photographs, videos and interviews given by the Revolution.
In the studio
Purple Rain was recorded between July 1983 and March 1984 at Sunset Sound, First Avenue and Prince's Kiowa Trail home studio and St. Louis Park warehouse studio. Prince played a Hohner Madcat on this record. He had the Dave Rusan Cloud Guitar built for the Purple Rain film but it is unknown to what extent it appears on the album. Prince used his Mesa/Boogie Mark II and Bag End D12-M set up on this record. His guitar pedalboard included a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive, Boss DM-2 Delay, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Boss VB-2 Vibrato, Boss OC-2 Octave and a Dunlop Cry Baby wah.
Prince played a Fender Jazz bass on the album.
Prince first used the Yamaha DX7 on this album. He got one towards the end of the sessions and played it on When Doves Cry. He also used the Oberheim OB-8 for the first time, along with Oberheim OB-Xa, OB-SX, OB-X and Arp Omni-2 keyboards. Piano parts were played on a Yamaha CP-80 and a Steinway acoustic grand.
The Linn LM-1 is the main drum machine on the album. There is also some acoustic percussion. The LinnDrum was used on the song Take Me With You. The Boss pedalboard was used to process keyboard and LM-1 drum sounds.
See the live section above for equipment used by The Revolution.