Bruce Springsteen Performs Prince’s Purple Rain

Bruce Springsteen Purple Rain

Photo: By Craig ONeal (The Boss~Live!) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Its hard not to get teary-eyed watching this one. On April 23, 2016, Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to Prince by performing “Purple Rain.” Springsteen’s performance took place at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. With the stage lights all dimmed down to a hazy purple glow, Bruce looked to Max Weinberg for the tempo. Starting alone strumming his telecaster, Bruce began singing the opening lines of the iconic song, “Purple Rain.” The E Street Band laid back and offered their musical support with a spiritual groove that paid the utmost respect to the legendary Prince. When the band arrived at the point of Prince’s guitar solo, Nil’s Lofgren stepped forward and ignited the crowd with a blistering guitar performance that would have made Prince smile.

Bruce Springsteen and Prince both enjoyed their most successful year of their career’s together in 1984. That was the year Prince released Purple Rain and Bruce Springsteen issued Born in the U.S.A. Both albums became their biggest records of their careers’ up to that point. It was also the year Madonna had her breakout album Like A Virgin. Springsteen, Prince, and Madonna competed for the Billboard No 1 spot throughout 1984 and 1985. All three albums spent various times at No. 1. And of course, there was still major competition from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album that continued to sell well. Huey Lewis and the News were also a major factor on the charts in 1984 as well as Van Halen who celebrated their huge hit “Jump.”  1984 was a very special year for music, and perhaps the greatest musical year of the decade.

So its fitting to see Bruce paying tribute to an artist that in many ways was his peer in terms of musical output and influence. But there greatest commonality was the concert stage. Springsteen and Prince were the two greatest single artist performers of all time. I have seen both of them live and no one else in show business has ever come close to generating the electricity that both performers have ignited on the stage night after night.

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