Prince / Prince and the Revolution

When Doves Cry

Composed by Prince

Song Review by

"When Doves Cry" marked Prince's first number one hit in the summer of 1984, and it stayed on top for five consecutive weeks, selling over two million copies as a single. Its parent album, the soundtrack to the movie Purple Rain, also hit the number one spot, although its stay was a little longer, remaining there for 20 weeks while notching four other Top 20 singles. It's not difficult to see why "When Doves Cry" peaked so high. The song's solid combination of a lenient yet steady dancefloor rhythm and a smattering of pop/rock grandiosity is both attractive and savvy, not to mention a tad sexy, which is one trademark that followed Prince throughout his career. When all the elements are put together -- the perky keyboard dabs, the motor-revved guitar riffs, and the uniform drum beats -- the result is a single that is well worth its number one status. Prince's vocals are dramatic but not exaggerated, and the production of the song is far from overdone yet it instills enough expressiveness to relate firmly to the movie while standing solidly on its own as a catchy radio tune. Prince's next release, the explosive "Let's Go Crazy," also went to number one, adding to his impressive tally of 32 Top 40 hits in a span of 20 years.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Purple Rain 1984 GC / Rhino / Warner Bros. 5:53
No Image 1984 Warner Bros.
No Image 1985 Warner Bros.
4Ever 2016 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:48
blue highlight denotes editor's pick