Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ jumps 68 spots to No. 8 on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums list

Jon Bream
Star Tribune (minneapolis)

Did Prince’s 2016 death elevate experts’ assessment of “Purple Rain”? That’s a pertinent question because Rolling Stone published a reboot this weekend of its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and Prince’s classic soared to No. 8 from No. 76 in 2012’s version of this list.

His “Sign o’ the Times,” the subject of a super-deluxe reissue last week, ranked at No. 45, even though it is widely regarded as his best album.

Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” landed at No. 9, one of his eight entries, including “Highway 61 Revisited” (No. 18) and “Blonde on Blonde” (No. 38). Only the Beatles scored more, with nine. However, their “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which had topped the two previous versions of this list, tumbled to No. 24.

In a file photo, Prince performs "Purple Rain" as the opening act during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 8, 2004, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. In March 1987, the international superstar released "Sign o' the Times."

Four of Prince’s albums made the Top 500, including “1999” (No. 130) and “Dirty Mind” (No. 326).

More than 300 musicians, critics and industry workers voted in the third incarnation of this survey, which was first essayed in 2003.

More than 150 new titles made the cut, including Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015, No. 19) and Billie Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” (2019, No. 397). The list features 86 albums from this century, but oldies still dominate. The new No. 1 is Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” the 1971 protest album that is resonating anew in 2020.