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Prince’s Classic ‘Purple Rain’ Tops Hot Rock Songs Chart

The 1984 smash rises 2-1 to become the first catalog track to top the chart.

Considering the boundaries that Prince‘s music crossed beyond his pop/R&B core, his new coronation atop Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart (dated May 14) may not be that surprising.

And, for the first time in the ranking’s seven-year existence, a non-current song tops the chart, which encompasses airplay, sales and streams: Prince and the Revolution’s 1984 anthem “Purple Rain,” following the first full chart tracking week after his unexpected April 21 passing.

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In fact, four of the top five on Hot Rock Songs, and six of the top 10, belong to the icon — both record one-week sums. Here’s a recap of Prince’s tracks, all from the ’80s and all, notably, infused with guitars, in the top 10:

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”
No. 10 (debut), “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” 

(All tracks above, except for “Doves,” “Little Red Corvette” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” are billed as by Prince and the Revolution)

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.

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The late legend’s catalog also occupies the top five spots on Rock Digital Songs, additionally a new mark, paced for a second week by the guitar-driven “Rain” with 282,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music.

The No. 1 Hot Rock Songs rank of “Rain” coincides with the track’s jumps to No. 3 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It originally peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 dated Nov. 17, 1984.