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There’s two bad things about listening to “Purple Rain” while working out on the elliptical.

One is that I always overdo it when “Baby, I’m a Star” is on. That song makes me happy as a dog with a dead chicken. Especially when Prince goes, “Doctor!”

The other is that I have to fight the urge to hold my hands up in the air like I’m at Jesus Camp during the final song, “Purple Rain” itself.

I remember where I was when the space shuttle blew up blew up (in the elevator at Ferguson Center at the University) and when the first tower fell (sitting slack jawed on my sofa in an apartment in San Francisco). But it’s not just the bad things that have burned themselves into my memory. I also remember, with complete sensual clarity, the first time that I ever heard “When Doves Cry.”

I had a job delivering pizzas for Domino’s in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I was headed down Woodward Avenue on a run when that at-the-time bizarre sounding intro came on (the only song intro that has ever, to my mind, lived up to the phrase “a brand new beat”). Delivery tip be damned, I had to pull the car over and just listen, hard, and be amazed that something as good as that could actually be coming to me via the efforts of shitty old WQLT, Q107.

There’s no other song I can say that about.

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