Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Prince: A Purple Reign

Documentary exploring how Prince - showman, artist, enigma - revolutionised the perception of black music in the 1980s by embarking on an amazing journey of musical self-discovery.

Film which explores how Prince - showman, artist, enigma - revolutionised the perception of black music in the 1980s with worldwide hits such as 1999, Kiss, Raspberry Beret and Alphabet Street. He became a global sensation with the release of the Oscar-winning, semi-autobiographical movie Purple Rain in 1984, embarking on an incredible journey of musical self-discovery that continued right up to his passing in April 2016, aged 57.

From the psychedelic Around the World in a Day to his masterpiece album Sign O' the Times and experiments with hip-hop and jazz, Prince was one of most ambitious and prolific songwriters of his generation. He tested the boundaries of taste and decency with explicit sexual lyrics and stage shows during his early career, and in the 1990s fought for ownership of his name and control of his music, played out in a public battle with his former label, Warner. Highly regarded as one of the most flamboyant live performers ever, Prince was a controversial and famously elusive creative force.

Contributors include Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson, Paisley Park label president Alan Leeds, hip-hop legend Chuck D and Prince 'Mastermind' and UK soul star Beverley Knight.

1 hour

Clip

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Prince

    I Wanna Be Your Lover

  • Prince & The Revolution

    Purple Rain

  • Prince

    1999

  • Prince

    Holy River

  • 00:01

    Prince & The Revolution

    Let's Go Crazy

  • 00:04

    Led Zeppelin

    Whole Lotta Love

  • 00:04

    Prince & The Revolution

    Raspberry Beret

  • Prince

    Sign O' The Times

  • Prince & The New Power Generation

    My Name Is Prince

  • Prince

    Just As Long As We're Together

  • Prince

    Sometimes It Snows In April

  • Prince

    Soft and Wet

  • Prince

    In Love

  • Prince

    For You

  • Prince

    U Got the Look

  • Prince

    I'm Yours

  • Prince

    Controversy

  • Prince

    Head

  • Prince

    Jack You Off

  • Prince

    Sexuality

  • Prince

    Uptown

  • Prince

    Dirty Mind

  • Vanity 6 & The Time

    Nasty Girl

  • The Family

    The Screams Of Passion

  • The Time

    The Bird

  • Prince

    Lady Cab Driver

  • 00:23

    Prince

    Little Red Corvette

  • Prince & The Revolution

    Let's Go Crazy

  • 00:27

    Prince

    When Doves Cry

  • Prince

    I Would Die 4 U

  • Prince

    Darling Nikki

  • Prince

    Anna Stesia

  • 00:37

    Prince

    Sign 'O' The Times

  • 00:38

    Prince & The Revolution

    Kiss

  • Prince

    If I Was Your Girlfriend

  • Prince

    Housequake

  • Prince

    Just My Imagination

  • Prince

    Alphabet Street

  • Jill Jones

    Mia Boca

  • Prince

    Bat Dance

  • The Bangles

    Manic Monday

  • Sinéad O’Connor

    Nothing Compares 2 U

  • Prince

    Cream

  • Prince & The New Power Generation

    Diamonds And Pearls

  • Prince

    Gold

  • Prince

    Dolphin

  • Prince

    The Most Beautiful Girl In The World

  • Prince

    Black Sweat

  • Prince

    Emancipation

  • Prince

    Musicology

  • Prince

    Fury

  • Prince

    Te Amo Corazon

  • Prince

    We Live To Get Funky

Credits

Role Contributor
Producer Rhodri Huw
Director Rhodri Huw
Producer Gethin Scourfield
Producer Paul Bullock

Broadcasts

Featured in...

BBC Music: Prince

BBC Music: Prince

Watch clips, listen to audio and add Prince tracks to your personal playlist