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Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ Is Week’s Top-Selling Song Again, as Eight of His Hits Chart on Hot 100

"Purple Rain" reigns again as the week's top-selling song, as eight Prince hits appear on both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Rain" also rules the Hot Rock Songs chart.

Following a full tracking week after Prince‘s death on April 21, several of his classics grace the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and even Hot Rock Songs charts (dated May 14).

(This week’s charts will post tomorrow, May 3, on Billboard.com.)

As previously reported, Prince claims five titles in the Billboard 200 album chart’s top seven. The Very Best of Prince ranks at No. 2 with 391,000 equivalent units earned (although up 118 percent) and 216,000 copies sold (up 116 percent), according to Nielsen Music. The Purple Rain soundtrack places at No. 3 with 150,000 units (up 117 percent) and 133,000 copies sold (up 113 percent), followed by The Hits/The B-Sides at No. 4 (106,000 units, up 159 percent, and 56,000 in sales, up 134 percent); Ultimate at No. 6 (40,000 units, up 319 percent, and 37,000 in sales, up 317 percent); and 1999 at No. 7 (36,000 units, up 154 percent, and 33,000 in sales, up 149 percent).


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Along with buying his albums, fans praised Prince by purchasing many of his individual hit songs, as eight rank on both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. (Older songs are allowed to return to the charts if registering notable renewed activity and ranking in the upper half of each list.) His songs are led by “Purple Rain,” the top-selling song of the week for a second week, as it holds atop the Digital Songs sales chart with 282,000 sold, up 132 percent. “When Doves Cry” ranks at No. 2 on Digital Songs (198,000, up 98 percent), making Prince the first act to hold the sales chart’s top two ranks in the same week since Taylor Swift, whose “Out of the Woods” and “Shake It Off” placed at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on Nov. 1, 2014,

Prince sports seven songs in the Digital Songs top 10, as, below “Rain” and “Doves,” he appears with “Little Red Corvette” (No. 4; 161,000, up 90 percent); “Let’s Go Crazy” (No. 5; 156,000, up 107 percent); “1999” (No. 6, 147,000, up 127 percent); “Kiss” (No. 7; 144,000, up 77 percent); and “Raspberry Beret” (No. 8; 127,000, up 158 percent). Prince sets a record with seven songs in the Digital Songs top 10 at the same time. He bests Michael Jackson, who logged six of the top 10 on July 11, 2009, following his June 25, 2009, death.

Let’s break down Prince’s chart activity, rank by rank, on the Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rock Songs.

HOT 100
With sales largely driving his placements on all three charts, here are Prince’s eight titles on the Hot 100. And, more chart history for Prince: his eight simultaneous songs in the Hot 100’s top 40 mark a record … one that he breaks with Beyonce, who also charts eight titles in the top 40 this week. The pair passes the Beatles (1964), Lil Wayne (2008) and Taylor Swift (2009), each of whom charted seven in the top 40 at the same time:

Position (Last Week), Title (Original Hot 100 Peak, Year)
No. 4 (17), “Purple Rain” (No. 2, 1984)
No. 8 (20), “When Doves Cry” (No. 1, five weeks, 1984)
No. 20 (29), “Little Red Corvette” (No. 6, 1983)
No. 23 (28), “Kiss” (No. 1, two weeks, 1986)
No. 25 (39), “Let’s Go Crazy” (No. 1, two weeks, 1984)
No. 27 (41), “1999” (No. 12, 1983)
No. 33 (-), “Raspberry Beret” (No. 2, 1985)
No. 39 (-), “I Would Die 4 U” (No. 8, 1985)

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Meanwhile, here are Prince’s eight tracks on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs:

Position (Last Week), Title (Original Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Peak, Year)
No. 3 (5), “Purple Rain” (No. 4, 1984)
No. 5 (8), “When Doves Cry” (No. 1, eight weeks, 1984)
No. 11 (13), “Little Red Corvette” (No. 15, 1983)
No. 13 (12), “Kiss” (No. 1, four weeks, 1986)
No. 14 (15), “Let’s Go Crazy” (No. 1, one week, 1984)
No. 15 (17), “1999” (No. 4, 1982)
No. 20 (-), “Raspberry Beret” (No. 3, 1985)
No. 24 (-), “I Would Die 4 U” (No. 11, 1985)

Given his unique versatility, five Prince tracks also grace the Hot Rock Songs chart (which launched in 2009), all in the top 10, with “Purple Rain” crowning Hot Rock Songs with a 2-1 rise. Here are Prince’s five titles on Hot Rock Songs:

Position (Last Week), Title
No. 1 (2), “Purple Rain”
No. 2 (3), “When Doves Cry”
No. 4 (4), “Little Red Corvette”
No. 5 (6), “Let’s Go Crazy”
No. 9 (13), “Darling Nikki”

(“Rain,” “Kiss,” “Crazy,” “Raspberry,” “Would” and “Nikki” are billed as by Prince and the Revolution.)

Notably, upon their original runs, “Rain,” “Doves,” “Corvette” and “Crazy” were rock radio hits, reaching Nos. 18, 31, 17 and 19, respectively, on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart.

Prince becomes the first act to monopolize the top two on Hot Rock Songs since July 30, 2011, when Foo Fighters held the top two spots with “Walk” and “Rope,” respectively. Meanwhile, Prince’s four songs in the top five simultaneously is a first. David Bowie (Jan. 30), Coldplay (Feb. 27) and Prince last week had previously charted as many as three of the top five in the same week.

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield