In 1984, the song “Purple Rain” hit number two on Billboard’s Hot 100, and “When Doves Cry” ruled the chart at number one for five weeks. In the wake of Prince’s death, both songs have returned to the top ten: on this week’s chart, “Purple Rain” hits number four and “When Doves Cry” is number eight. Prince has six more songs in this week’s Hot 100, all in the top 40. The other big chart news this week is Beyoncé, who lands all 12 songs from her album Lemonade in the Hot 100 — meaning that together, Prince and Beyoncé account for fully one-fifth of this week’s Hot 100. The instant success of Lemonade makes Beyoncé the first artist in chart history to have her first six albums all debut at number one.
Poignantly, in a new Rolling Stone cover story Prince complains that on talk shows, “they always play Beyoncé’s latest track. But I go on Oprah and they want me to play what they remember.” The story is based on an interview conducted in January 2014 for a story that fell through after Prince refused to sit for a photo shoot. It’s an intriguing, in-depth look into the musician Prince was at that time — but the bit that has drawn most attention in the blogosphere is Prince’s mention that he invited Chris Brown to Paisley Park with an offer to mentor the controversial star. “There’s nothing that’s unforgivable,” he says, emphasizing Christian compassion in light of Brown’s checkered past.
Rolling Stone also has an interview with Purple Rain director Albert Magnoli, who remembers that the studio initially wanted Prince’s character to be played by John Travolta.
Afeni Shakur dies at 69
On Monday night, Afeni Shakur died of an apparent cardiac arrest at age 69. Shakur was the mother of Tupac Shakur and the subject of his song “Dear Mama.” After Tupac’s death in 1996, Afeni Shakur worked to preserve her son’s legacy, recently co-producing the Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, which features Tupac’s music. (New York Daily News)
Mega-festival gets real
Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Roger Waters have all posted social media teasers suggesting that a mega-festival bringing them all together this fall might actually happen. The October festival is also said to be in talks with Neil Young, though he’s been mum about the possibility. (Rolling Stone)
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) May 1, 2016
The Edge goes to Vatican City
The Edge has become the first rock artist to play inside the Sistine Chapel. The guitarist’s short acoustic set, which included three U2 songs and a Leonard Cohen cover (no, not that one), was part of a conference on regenerative medicines. Meanwhile, Bono was at a benefit concert organized by Nile Rodgers. Onstage, Bono said he was surprised to learn his bandmate couldn’t attend the Rodgers concert. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m doing a gig in the Sistine Chapel with the Holy Father.'” (Rolling Stone)
Radiohead have re-emerged on social media, with two short stop-motion video clips on Instagram.
Remembering a drum pioneer
Drummer Remo Belli has died of pneumonia at age 88. In the 1950s, frustrated with the limitations of then-standard animal skin drumheads, Belli and collaborators designed and marketed a synthetic drumhead. A few years later Ringo Starr of the Beatles played a synthetic drumhead on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the rest is history: the vast majority of drumheads today are synthetic. (Billboard)
Braids leader opens up about abuse
Raphaelle Standell-Preston, the frontwoman and musical leader of Canadian band Braids, has opened up about having been molested as a child — an experience that inspired Braids’ powerful song “Miniskirt.” “If you’re tired of reading about people coming out about having experienced rape, or abuse, or violence,” she writes, “then good. It means you’re beginning to understand how many people have been affected by it.” (Pitchfork)
Lyn-Lake Street Festival coming back
The Lyn-Lake Street Festival, a normally annual event that’s been on-again/off-again over the past several years due to a lack of resources, is coming back this summer — with a lineup that includes Brother Ali, Sean Anonymous, and Gramma’s Boyfriend. The free festival will take place on June 5. (City Pages)
When there’s a billion dollars in an elevator
Musicians including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Madonna, Taylor Swift, and FKA Twigs stepped out in style Monday night at the Met Gala.
FKA Twigs FTW, but I like so many of these that look like really expensive CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK cosplay: https://t.co/ksjmBZHSyk
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) May 3, 2016
See Bruce dab
At an Oakland show, Bruce Springsteen invited a young fan to join him onstage. She took the opportunity to show the Boss how to do the whip, the nae nae, and the dab. (New York Daily News)
— Consequence of Sound (@coslive) May 2, 2016