Three years ago the world was shaken at the news that Prince Rogers Nelson unexpectedly died at his home in Minnesota. Earlier this month Prince’s Originals was released, a collection of unreleased tracks that made their way to the masses with the help of Jay Z and Troy Carter. This latest record has sparked conversations about the late music legend, and now his former group, The Revolution, are sharing moments from their Purple Rain days.
It was 35 years ago when Albert Magnoli, a young man who was just out of USC film school, decided to partner with Prince and The Revolution to make a concert-centered film. “We didn’t know we were making a major motion picture,” Magnoli told Yahoo! Entertainment. “And working with Prince wasn’t working with the ‘Prince’ who became the worldwide star he became after the movie…He was still considered by most people as a fringe artist. So, we went into the film believing we were making a fringe movie.”
“He was frantically telling us we were making history: ‘We’re making history tonight, this is history tonight!’” said Revolution drummer Bobby Z. as he spoke about the evening the filmed the concert scenes. Wendy Melvoin was just 19 at the time and she said she knew that Prince was tapping into something special.
“Purple Rain, when the idea of the movie came from him, when he talked about doing this, and when a whole bunch of strangers started showing up at our warehouse, we all realized this is not just chat. This is happening,” Melvoin says. “And we were like, whoa. It almost felt… I don’t know, it felt scary, and I was ambivalent at first, like, ‘What is happening here, and where is he, and why is he not at rehearsal right now?’ But it felt like it wasn’t a mistake. It didn’t feel like it was a fool’s paradise at all. It really felt like, ‘Oh, this is a sure thing.’”