Why Prince Worried Journey Would Sue Him Over ‘Purple Rain’

Journey gave the world numerous classic rock songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Any Way You Want It,” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).” During an interview, a member of Journey said Prince was worried the band would sue him over “Purple Rain.” This band member discussed what it was like to receive a phone call from Prince.

Prince with a purple guitar
Prince | Theo Wargo/WireImage

Journey’s power ballad ‘Faithfully’ had an interesting effect on the Purple One

The 1980s was the decade of power ballads. In 1982, Journey released one of its most famous power ballads: “Faithfully.” In 2016, Billboard reported Journey’s Jonathan Cain received a phone call from Prince about “Faithfully.”

Prince said “Purple Rain” used chord changes similar to the chord changed from “Faithfully.” “Prince felt, I guess, it was obvious enough that he was worried we were going to sue him,” Journey guitarist Neal Schon said. “I think he called our office asking about it and we all talked about it and everybody said, ‘Nah, it’s the highest form of flattery. Let it go.'”

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Why Jonathan Cain never wanted a writing credit on Prince & the Revolution’s ‘Purple Rain’

Cain explained why he never thought about asking for a co-writing credit on “Purple Rain.” “No, no, that’ll just bring bad juju on you, and you don’t want to do that,” Cain opined. “I just thought it seriously showed the kind of caring, classy guy Prince was. He wanted to check in with Jonathan Cain and make sure I wasn’t going to say, ‘That sounds like ‘Faithfully.'” 

Cain contrasted the situation surrounding “Purple Rain” with times he felt other artists ripped-off Journey. “There’s so many other things that have come down the pike that were more of a rip-off, that have stolen Journey songs,” Cain said. “There was a One Direction song I was upset about and I just let it roll. But that particular phone call [from Prince] was amazing.”

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The way the world reacted to Journey’s ‘Faithfully’ and Prince & the Revolution’s ‘Purple Rain’

“Faithfully” became a hit. The song reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks. “Faithfully” appeared on Journey’s album Frontiers. Frontiers peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 85 weeks. Besides Escape, none of Journey’s other albums charted as highly.

“Purple Rain” became an even bigger hit in the United States. The track hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, lasting on the chart for 18 weeks. “Purple Rain” appeared on Prince & the Revolution’s album of the same title. Purple Rain hit the top of the Billboard 200 for 24 weeks. The album stayed 162 total weeks on the chart. “Purple Rain” became one of Prince’s most famous songs — even if Prince worried it sounded like Journey.

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