The first “purple rain” musical reference, researchers at Zero to 180 assert, comes from Stevie Wonder — though to be fair, from the pen of Ted Hull. Upon closer examination, “Purple Rain Drops,” after its conception in 1965, would go on to spend its entire adult life as a B-side, never to be included on a full-length record album:
“Purple Rain Drops”
Stevie Wonder (1965)
Produced by Clarence Paul (brother of Lowman Pauling from The “5” Royales), “Purple Rain Drops” graced the flip side of Wonder’s early hit, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” released exactly two years after President Kennedy’s assassination.
Thirty years later, “Purple Rain Drops” would appear on an “unofficial” Belgian CD release – Rare Tracks from Detroit, Vol. 4, issued in 1996 – fittingly, as the last song on the disc.
Reining In the Song’s Legacy