ON THIS DATE (28 YEARS AGO)
May 16, 1984 – Prince: “When Doves Cry” b/w “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)” (Warner Bros. 7-29286) 45 single is released in the US.
“When Doves Cry” is a song by Prince, and the lead single from his 1984 album Purple Rain. It was an unprecedented worldwide hit, and his first American number one single, topping charts for five weeks. According to Billboard magazine, it was the top-selling single of the year. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, shipping two-million units in the United States. It was the last single released by a solo artist to receive such certification before the certification requirements were lowered in 1989.
According to the Purple Rain DVD, Prince was asked by the director to write a song to match the theme of a particular segment of the film – one which involved intermingled parental difficulties and a love affair. The next morning, Prince had reportedly composed two songs, one of which was “When Doves Cry”. According to Per Nilsen, Prince’s biographer, the song was inspired by his relationship with Vanity 6 member, Susan Moonsie.
The song was #1 in the U.S. for five weeks, from July 7, 1984 to August 4, 1984. It kept the other big hit of that summer, Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”, from reaching the top spot. “When Doves Cry” was voted as the best single of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. Billboard ranked it as the #1 single of 1984.
The B-side was the cult fan favorite “17 Days”, which was originally intended for Apollonia 6’s self-titled album. A 12-inch single issued in the UK included the album track, “17 Days”, and two tracks from Prince’s previous album, 1999, namely the title track and “D.M.S.R.”