The Five Best Versions of “Purple Rain” Not Performed by Prince [Video]
One of my all-time favorite songs of the 1980s is "Purple Rain" by Prince. Actually, that's one of my favorite songs EVER! And, I'll go ahead and lay it out right now. No one does that song like Prince. He is amazing and, while he had a ton of Top Ten hits, that song will always rank as one of his true triumphs. I absolutely love "Purple Rain" and I get chills every single time I hear it. So, for MY 80s Weekend here on MY 105.3, I thought it would be fun to share some other incredible performances of that song that were not performed by Prince. I mean, the song is over thirty-five-years-old and has been covered by nearly everyone and I think I have heard just about every rendition of it. So, here we go. The Top Five Versions of "Purple Rain" Not Performed by Prince.
#5- Kelly Clarkson
Kelly earns a spot in the countdown because she inspired it. She performed "Purple Rain" in 2015 during a concert in St. Paul/Minneapolis. Kelly Clarkson has one of the best voices in the history of popular music. She is a rare artist who really can sing anything. As Paula Abdul used to say on American Idol, she "makes it her own." And, Kelly's version of "Purple Rain" is reverent to the original but ambitious enough to alter some of the melody and tempo. Paula was right. Kelly really makes this her own.
#4- Dami Im
Some of you are thinking, "Who is Dami Im?" She was the absolutely vocal powerhouse on the the 2013 season of The X Factor Australia. Prince's song is genetically-engineered and structured for a big voice and a big performance. And I have a hunch that's why it's a staple on bombastic TV singing competitions. But I love bombast and I love this. She slayed that song . . . purple lighting, plastic wings, and all.
#3- Jessie J
Did you know that Jessie J, long after she had hits here in the U.S. with "Bang Bang" and "Domino," competed on the Chinese TV talent competition Singer? Well, she did. And she won, becoming the first foreign performer to sing and belt her way the top prize. On Episode 6 of that season, she just tore into "Purple Rain" and rode the wave of that performance all the way to the crown. This princess truly honored her Prince!
#2- Stacy Francis
The U.S. version of The X Factor struggled from the onset. But the show actually had a TON of talent on it. And Stacy Francis was no exception. And, when she grabbed the mic to perform "Purple Rain" in the super-silly "Judges' Homes" episode, she single-handedly righted the ship and reminded the audience that the show wasn't about real estate. The show as about talent. And she took "Purple Rain" to church and gave the song a gospel-tinged flavor the literally echoed through the canyons of Southern California. This reduced a Pussy Cat Doll and special guest mentor Enrique Iglesias to tears. It will absolutely give you chills.
#1- The Broadway Cast of "The Color Purple"
Get up! You won't be able to sit down for this. The Broadway cast of the revival of The Color Purple paid impromptu tribute to Prince the evening he died (April 21st, 2016). Powered by Tony Award-winner Cynthia Erivo and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, this cast belted out the most emotional and stirring version of this song I have ever heard. The news of Prince's death was raw that evening and so was this tribute. The voices rang through the rafters of the Bernard Jacobs Theatre. This, my friends, is what it sounds like when doves fly instead of cry.