Big Boy Chill Recalls Breaking His Father’s “Purple Rain” Cassette in the Late 80’s
Big Boy Chill remembers Prince by telling a story of breaking his father’s cassette of the "Purple Rain” album, and hiding it under the seat of the car.
Purple Rain was Prince’s sixth studio album, and it was backed by his band The Revolution. Released on June 25, 1984, it's also the soundtrack to the film of the same name. To date the album has sold over 20 million copies world wide, and was one of my dad’s favorite albums going into the late 1980’s, and I broke it.
In the 80’s and into the 90’s my father owned a blue 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. I remember the “MC" being a sweet ride, a car I’d hope to inherit some day. After it sat parked in my grandfather’s shop for several years my dad eventually sold it in the early 2000’s. A little piece of me died that day, but the memories alone with that car were far more important than a cold hunk of metal.
My most memorable moment with the blue MC was my dad leaving me in the car briefly, but also long enough for me to partake in a bit of mischief. I removed my father’s copy of Purple Rain from the cassette player with the intent to put in Michael Jackson’s Bad album, but in the process there was slack in the tape, which caused the tape to snap because I forcibly ejected it from the player. Knowing how much my dad loved his cassettes I felt like my life was over.
I rolled the tape around the cassette, and tossed it under the driver seat hoping my dad wouldn’t take notice that I’d practically destroyed his beloved “Prince Tape,” as he would refer to it. My assumptions proved to be very wrong. When my father returned to enter the car he quickly asked me about the missing cassette, and with a swift shoulder shrug I said “I don’t know...” I literally sat there in the passenger seat, looking my father in his face, and denied making Purple Rain disappear, as if someone else was in the car with me. LOL! I thought “Dang, I’m good.” Though the inflection in his voice changed, he never got angry with me. Fast forward a few days later, while my dad is cleaning the car he finds the severely damaged cassette tape under the seat.
Sometimes we reminisce about old times and my dad will remind me “You remember when you messed up my Prince tape?” The story never gets old to me, it always makes me laugh.
I think my admiration, love, and respect for Prince and his artistry began at that time. It was also a moment when I learned from my father the importance in respecting the possessions of others. If my dad was secretly angry with me, I couldn’t have been mad with him for one reason only. Purple Rain was a masterpiece when it was released in 1984, and along with Lovesexy (1988) and Diamonds and Pearls (1993), they will forever hold a place in my heart.
You taught all of us how to embrace being different and to proudly go against the grain. A master in the field of "Musicology," in my eyes, you are the greatest musician to ever walk the planet. Rest in peace Prince Roger Nelson.