The “Purple Rain” soundtrack is arguably the best album by Prince and the Revolution.
The year 1984 represented a year of breakthrough for future music icons.
Prince finally became the complete megastar that many predicted when he released his debut album six years earlier.
Tina Turner did what many critics thought was impossible, make a comeback as a female artist over age 40.
Turner’s comeback became so monumental that her solo career far outpaced her career with ex-husband, Ike Turner.
New Edition finally had a major record label behind them.
Morris Day became a star thanks to his role in the movie, “Purple Rain.”
Furthermore, George Michael gave a glimpse of what solo superstardom would be for him when he finally branched out on his own.
As a result of all the breakthroughs from 40 years ago, RegalMag.com reached back into its time machine to celebrate the 10 best albums of 1984.
Check it out!
“Purple Rain” by Prince and The Revolution—No disrespect to Tina Turner’s comeback in 1984. But Prince owned 1984 with (basically) three albums and a hit movie inspired by his life and rise to stardom. If “1999” made Prince a star in 1982 and 1983, the soundtrack to “Purple Rain” made him a mega star with timeless classics like “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “I Would Die for You,” “Baby I’m a Star” and the title track. But depending on how young you were, “Darling Nikki” might have gotten you in trouble with the parentals.
“Private Dancer” by Tina Turner—When Tina Turner divorced her musical partner Ike Turner in the 1970s, many probably thought her career was over. Honestly, who could blame them? Not many people had made a comeback, and surpassed their initial success, after the age of 40. But when Tina went the rock & roll route with the title cut and the anthem “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” she became the pop star she would have never become under Ike’s violent wings.
“Diamond Life” by Sade—How old were you when you realized Sade was a band, not just the lead singer, Sade Adu? Regardless, many people just recognize the sexy, smooth and sultry voice of the beautiful lady in the forefront. The video networks kept songs like “Smooth Operator,” “Your Love is King,” and “Hang on to Your Love” in heavy rotation. But the British band showed they could do more than just smooth tunes with funky and edgy songs like “When Am I Going to Make a Living” and “Sally.”
“Suddenly” by Billy Ocean—Rapper Big Boi of Outkast fame often says, if your uncle was a playa, he rode around jammin’ that “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” by Billy Ocean. The British singer released a cover of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.” The title cut was the perfect heartbreak song. And “Lover Boy” was another standout track.
“I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan—Dang! “His Royal Badness” had his hands in everything in 1984. As a teenager, Prince loved songs like “Sweet Thing” by Rufus and Chaka Khan. And when he blew up in the industry, the Minneapolis native got to work with some of his heroes. With a little help from rapper Melle Mel, Khan made people forget about the original version of “I Feel For You” by Prince. Many people even think that it is actually her song. But with a voice like Khan’s, just one hit was never in the cards. “Through the Fire” was one of the best R&B songs of the 1980s.
“Run-D.M.C.” by Run-DMC—At a time when many thought hip-hop was a passing fad, the trio from Hollis Queens, N.Y. became the first iconic group of the genre. Besides their music, what set them apart from their peers was that they dressed like the regular B-boys from the hood and not with the Parliament-Funkadelic gear that other rappers wore. Songs like “Hard Times,” “Rock Box,” “It’s Like That” and “Sucker M.C.’s” are some of the best rap songs of the 1980s.
“New Edition” by New Edition—Boston boy band New Edition put out a classic debut album with “Candy Girl” in 1983. And after moving over to MCA Records for their second album, the quintet let any doubters know that the sophomore jinx did not apply to them. Their second album featured classics like “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and “Lost in Love.” The boys also began writing songs like “I’m Leaving You Again” and “Kinda Girls We Like.”
“Make It Big” by Wham!—True, George Michael made some of the best pop songs of the late 1980s. But his work with Wham! was pure fun. With his childhood friend Andrew Ridgeley by his side, Michael sang lead on classic pop songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go—Go,” “Freedom” and “Careless Whisper.” Although “Careless Whisper” appeared on a Wham! album, it was credited as a solo song by Michael. Kids born in the new millennium even love “Careless Whisper.”
“Ice Cream Castle” by The Time—No disrespect to Prince, but the star of “Purple Rain” was Morris Day. In fact, Jerome Benton was no slouch in the film either. But Prince was still the mastermind behind The Time, and their music in the movie jammed just as much as The Revolution’s music did. “The Bird” and “Jungle Love” still gets the party going for those that have their AARP card. Other jams included “Ice Cream Castles” and “If The Kid Can’t Make You Come.” The fire album was just filled with chili sauce.
“Apollonia 6” by Apollonia 6—While Day brought the charisma and charm to “Purple Rain,” Apollonia brought the sex appeal. In the movie, Day told the ladies he wanted to see some a$$e$ wiggling and the trio did not disappoint. “Sex Shooter” is still the jam, as is “Blue Limousine.” But it wouldn’t be a Prince-produced album without some songs about forbidden fruit. “Happy Birthday, Mr. Christian” could be the school song in many places with all the inappropriate relationships going on inside the schoolhouse these days.