Prince's Historic 1984 'Purple Rain' tour

Prince passed away April 21, 2016 at the age of 57

The Prince Purple Rain tour kicked off November 4, 1984 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan for seven concerts. Sheila E. and Apollonia 6 were the opening acts on the tour, and Madonna and Bruce Springsteen were among the special surprise guests. The tour ended April 7, 1985 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida which was renamed for the show, "Purple Bowl Stadium." The five month tour followed the release of the Purple Rain album on June 25, 1984, and the Purple Rain movie on July 27, 1984.

Here is a look back at "Prince's Historic 1984 Purple Rain Tour."

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98 concerts with $1.7 million tickets sold

Prince performing with Lisa Coleman on keyboards. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Prince, Sheila E., and Apollonia 6 performed 98 shows in 32 venues on the 1984-1985 Purple Rain  tour. They sold over 1.7 million tickets. Cities included New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Memphis, Miami, and Toronto.

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Madonna performed with Prince on February 23, 1985 in Inglewood, California

Madonna. Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Prince and Madonna were both signed to Warner Bothers Records, and each released one of the best selling albums in history in 1984. Six months after Prince released Purple Rain, Madonna became a household name with her Like A Virgin CD released on November 12, 1984. It sold over 25 million copies across the world.

On February 23, 1985, she shocked the audience attending the Purple Rain concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California by joining Prince to perform "Baby I'm A Star."

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Bruce Springsteen performed with Prince on February 23, 1985 in California

Bruce Springsteen. Bob King/Redferns

Bruce Springsteen released his classic Born In The U.S.A. album on June 4, 1984, just three weeks before the Purple Rain CD was released. Born In The U.S.A. has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

On February 23, 1985, history was made as three of the greatest stars in music-- Prince, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen united on stage at The Forum in Inglewood, California to perform one of the songs from the Purple Rain soundtrack, "Baby I'm A Star."

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Prince's fifth concert tour

Prince. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Purple Rain was Prince's fifth concert tour. His first tour, the Prince tour, began as a club tour in 1979. Then Prince joined the Rick James Fire It Up tour as his opening act. He performed 38 dates through April 1980 before being fired from the tour because his captivating performance upstaged the headliner.

His second tour, the Dirty Mind tour, began in December 1980 and continued through April 1981. For the 1981-82 Controversy tour, The Time and Zapp featuring Roger performed as his openingn acts.

For his fourth tour, the 1982-83 1999 tour, Vanity 6 and The Time served as his opening acts.

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Inspired by recording setting 'Purple Rain' movie and album

Prince. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Prince released his Purple Rain soundtrack on June 25, 1984. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 1984, he became the first artist to simultaneously have the number one album (Purple Rain), number one song ("When Doves Cry"), and the number one movie (Purple Rain). The single "Purple Rain" was certified gold, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the R&B chart.

Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain: Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for the title song. He also won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song for composing Chaka Khan's cover of "I Feel for You."

Prince also starred in the movie with Apollonia, The Time, his band The Revolution, and actor Clarence Williams III. The film opened January 1, 1984 and grossed over $80 million. 

On March 25, 1985, Prince received an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner presented the award, which he accepted with Wendy and Lisa from his band The Revolution.

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Sheila E. and her band performed on the tour

Prince and Sheila E. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Sheila E and her band performed as one of the opening acts on the Purple Rain tour. She would also return to join Prince on  "I Would Die 4 U"/"Baby I'm a Star."

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Apollonia 6 was the opening act

Prince and Apollonia. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Prince planned for Vanity to star in Purple Rain, but after disagreements caused her to stop working with him, Patricia Kotero was cast in her role and was renamed Apollonia. Vanity 6 was also renamed Apollonia 6, and the group opened the Purple Rain tour, Apollonia also joined Prince and Sheila E. later in the show to perform "I Would Die 4 U"/"Baby I'm a Star."

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Tour debut of The Revolution with Wendy and Lisa

Pricne and The Revolution. Dick Clark productions

The Purple Rain tour was the first tour including Wendy and Lisa in Prince's most famous band, The Revolution, which was featured in the movie.


Prince--guitar and keyboards

Wendy Melvoin-guitar

Lisa Coleman-keyboards

Dr, Fink-keyboards

Brown Mark-bass

Bobby Z-drums

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Wendy Melvoin replaced Dez Dickerson on guitar in The Revolution

Prince and Wendy Melvoin. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

For the Purple Rain movie and tour, Wendy Melvoin replaced Dez Dickerson on guitar. She formed a duo with keyboard player Lisa Coleman known as Wendy and Lisa. They left the group after recording the 1986 Parade CD.

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November 11, 1984 set List in Detroit beginning with "Let's Go Crazy"

Prince. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Here is the set list for the November 11, 1984 concert at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan:

"Let's Go Crazy"



"Little Red Corvette"

Instrumental interlude: "Yankee Doodle"


"Father's Song"


"Computer Blue"

"Darling Nikki"

"The Beautiful Ones" 

"When Doves Cry"

Encore 1

"I Would Die 4 U"

"Baby I'm a Star"

Encore 2

"Purple Rain"