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Iconic Movie Soundtracks of the 80s: The Impact of Purple Rain Soundtrack on Pop Culture


The 80s was an era of excess, neon, and big hair – a decade that defined pop culture as we know it today. Movies were no exception, and their soundtracks played a significant role in shaping the musical landscape of the time. From “Footloose” to “Top Gun,” the 80s gave us countless iconic soundtracks that we still listen to today. But there is one soundtrack that stood out from the rest – “Purple Rain.” The soundtrack to the 1984 movie of the same name, “Purple Rain” not only helped catapult Prince to superstardom but had a massive impact on pop culture, influencing everything from fashion to music to film.

The Iconic Soundtracks of the 80s

Before diving into the impact of the “Purple Rain” soundtrack, it’s worth examining what made 80s movie soundtracks so unforgettable. The 80s was a decade of big-budget, blockbuster films, and music was a critical component in their success. The era gave us soundtracks such as “Flashdance,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “The Breakfast Club,” which each had a unique sound that perfectly complemented the film’s themes. “Footloose” had catchy songs that had people dancing in the aisles, while “Top Gun” had a soundtrack that was as epic and bombastic as the movie’s aerial fight scenes. These soundtracks played a significant role in the success of these movies and helped turn them into cultural touchstones.

The Impact of the “Purple Rain” Soundtrack

Despite the success of other 80s soundtracks, “Purple Rain” was a game-changer. Released in 1984, the “Purple Rain” album featured 9 songs, 8 of which were written by Prince. The album showcased Prince’s unparalleled talent as a songwriter, composer, and performer, and his unique blend of funk, rock, and pop music created a sound that was entirely his own. “Purple Rain” went on to become one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, selling over 25 million copies worldwide.

The soundtrack’s impact went beyond just record sales. The movie that it accompanied, also titled “Purple Rain,” was a hit, grossing over $68 million at the box office. The film’s themes of love, music, and redemption struck a chord with audiences, and Prince’s electrifying performances established him as a global superstar. The film was a cinematic event, and the “Purple Rain” soundtrack helped elevate it to a cultural phenomenon.

Influencing Pop Culture

The “Purple Rain” soundtrack didn’t just impact movies – it also had a massive influence on pop culture as a whole. The album’s title track, “Purple Rain,” became an instant classic and remains one of Prince’s most famous songs. The album’s other tracks, such as “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” also became massive hits, dominating the airwaves and cementing Prince’s status as a musical icon.

Furthermore, the “Purple Rain” soundtrack influenced fashion and style in the 80s. Prince’s flamboyant outfits and androgynous style inspired a generation of fans, who emulated his look by wearing purple and lace. The soundtrack’s impact on fashion was so significant that it earned Prince a spot on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Influencing Music and Film

The “Purple Rain” soundtrack also had a ripple effect on the music and film industries. The album’s success inspired other filmmakers to use prominent musicians to create their soundtracks, leading to hit movies such as “The Bodyguard” and “Batman,” whose soundtracks were created by Whitney Houston and Prince, respectively.

The “Purple Rain” soundtrack also influenced the music industry by demonstrating the power of a great soundtrack. The album’s success showed that a film’s soundtrack could be just as successful as the movie itself, leading to a shift in how the music industry approached movie soundtracks.


The 80s was a remarkable era for movies and music, and the soundtracks created during this time have become cultural touchstones. However, none had the same impact as the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. Prince’s unique sound and electrifying performances helped turn the movie into a cinematic event, and the album’s success influenced everything from fashion to film to music. Even today, almost four decades after its release, the “Purple Rain” soundtrack remains one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time and has cemented Prince’s place as a musical icon.