June 11, 2009 / 6:03 PM / 10 years ago

Spin goes crazy with "Purple Rain" tribute album

Musician Prince gestures on stage during the Apollo Theatre's 75th anniversary gala in New York June 8, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Spin magazine is going crazy with its July issue, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Prince’s “Purple Rain” with a comprehensive oral history of the film and album and a free downloadable tribute that features nine bands doing song-for-song covers of the record’s classic tracks.

Dubbed “Purplish Rain,” the album boasts a real coup: Apollonia, the one-time Prince protegee who starred in the film, contributes a cover of “When Doves Cry” that she recorded with Greg Dulli and his band, the Twilight Singers. Other cover versions on the album include Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings doing “Take Me With U,” Of Montreal’s take on “Computer Blue,” a punk-mariachi version of “I Would Die 4 U” and Lavender Diamond’s rendition of the title track.

The Apollonia/Dulli duet is currently streaming at Spin.com (http://www.spin.com), and the full downloadable album will be available when the magazine hits the streets on June 23. The album download is free, but a clue from the magazine article will be required for access.

“We approached a bunch of bands, and we got nine who were really into it,” Spin editor Doug Brod told Billboard.com. “All these bands did it for free — they paid for all of their recording time and they mastered all the tracks themselves.”

Unlike several other Prince cover records that have run afoul of The Artist’s wishes, SPIN cleared all of the tracks and is covering the royalty expenses.

The 10-page oral history was compiled and written by Brian Raftery, who spoke to most of the key participants in the original project, including Wendy and Lisa, other members of the Revolution and the Time, Bob Cavallo (the film’s producer and Prince’s manager at the time), director Albert Magnoli, and the original screenplay writer William Blinn. Prince and the Time’s main man Morris Day did not participate.

“We did a full court press to get Prince himself involved,” said Brod. “He’s a pretty tough guy to get a hold of, and he doesn’t dwell much on nostalgia.”

Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters

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