Purple Rain was released on June 25, 1984, and it’s not hyperbolic to say that this soundtrack album changed the game.

Before its release, Prince was a star, but after its release, he reached insane levels of superstardom, and rightfully so. There are a handful of albums in music history that read more like greatest hits collections than actual albums due to their sheer amount of hits. Purple Rain is undoubtedly one of those rare albums. There were nine tracks on the album, and five were released as singles, but every track could’ve been a single.

Purple Rain has won nearly every imaginable honor and accolade. In 2011, it was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, which preserves recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The Library of Congress wrote, in part, of Purple Rain, “Earlier, [Prince] had played all the instruments on his records to get the sounds he wanted, but now he led an integrated band of men and women who could realize the dense, ambitious fusion that he sought, blending funk, synth-pop, and soul with guitar-based rock and a lyrical sensibility that mixed the psychedelic and the sensual.”

Leave it to the most skilled librarians in the country to know what’s up! However, who didn’t know what was up was Tipper Gore, the then-wife of then-Senator and future Vice President Al Gore. In 1985, she famously founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), which took issue with the suggestive lyrics of the current music of the day. The song that led to the formation of the PMRC was Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” and its lyrics, “I knew a girl named Nikki/I guess you could say she was a sex fiend/I met her in a hotel lobby/Masturbating with a magazine.”

The PMRC’s pearl-clutching ways eventually led to the “Parental Advisory” sticker being placed on albums that were deemed inappropriate or not suitable for children. Not many artists can claim their music led to the creation of such a unique label/symbol.

Of course, one of the biggest accolades was the reign of Purple Rain at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart. While it remains one of the most successful soundtracks of all time, it’s far from the only soundtrack to go to No. 1 in the United States. In honor of the anniversary of Purple Rain, let’s take a look at it and other soundtracks that were No. 1 albums.

  • 'Purple Rain'

    What Saturday Night Fever was to the 1970s, that’s what Purple Rain was to the 1980s. Simply put: It’s 43:55 of perfection. Oddly enough, much like Saturday Night Fever, Purple Rain also topped the Billboard album charts for 24 weeks. As if that weren’t enough, the album has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

  • 'Saturday Night Fever'

    There will be some anti-disco people who likely groaned upon seeing Saturday Night Fever on this list. Guess what? Get over yourself, because this soundtrack is incredible! Obviously, this album is dominated by the Bee Gees — from “Stayin’ Alive” to “Jive Talkin’ to “Night Fever” — but the non-Bee Gees tracks are gems, too. Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” is perfection, and it also was written by the Brothers Gibb! Saturday Night Fever not only topped the Billboard album charts for 24 weeks, it also won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

  • 'Mary Poppins'

    An undeniable classic that has entertained families for generations, the soundtrack to Disney’s Mary Poppins topped the Billboard album charts for 14 weeks in 1965. Great songwriting can do that. However, the magical voice of the incomparable Julie Andrews didn’t hurt things either. She didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Actress for nothing!

  • 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1' (2014)

    What makes this soundtrack’s success so interesting is that it’s the only soundtrack to top the Billboard 200 album chart that is comprised entirely of previously released songs. It’s worth mentioning that each track is a classic rock/classic hits mainstay, which only helps prove the staying power of these songs. There isn’t a weak track in the bunch, and there’s something for everyone. Any mix that features David Bowie, The Runaways and The Jackson 5 truly is “Awesome.”

  • 'Wayne's World'

    What a delightfully strange mix the Wayne’s World soundtrack is! Mega-babe Tia Carrere has two covers on the album: “Why You Wanna Break My Heart” and “Ballroom Blitz.” There’s also Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein” and Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver.” However, as we all know, the star of the Wayne’s World soundtrack is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Thanks to the iconic car scene, “Bohemian Rhapsody” re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at No. 2. Believe it or not, it ranked higher in 1992 than it did when it was first released in 1975, when it peaked at No. 9.

  • 'Miami Vice'

    Sure, the Miami Vice soundtrack might be a surprise No. 1 album, but one listen to that bitchin’ theme from Jan Hammer, and its success makes a lot of sense. Of course, the album also had some killer songs from some of music’s biggest stars. Glenn Frey had two tracks on the album: “Smuggler’s Blues” and “You Belong to the City.” Also on the album were Chaka Khan’s “Own the Night” and Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good to Me.” Of course, there was also “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, which remains undeniable today.

  • 'Top Gun'

    In the summer and fall of 1986, the Top Gun soundtrack was the No. 1 album in the United States for five consecutive weeks. “Top Gun Anthem”? An iconic instrumental! Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”? Not only was it a No. 1 hit single, it also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Add in Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” and two classics from Kenny Loggins, and this is ’80s soundtrack perfection! (Yes, “Playing with the Boys” is a classic. Want to fight about it?!)

Sign me up for the My Q105 Insider email newsletter!

Get the latest local news, contests, presale information, and so much more from your favorite 80's artists. Tell us if you want to receive update from the MJ Morning Show on Q105!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.