NPR logo Riverboat Gamblers: 'Crazy' For 25 Years Of 'Purple Rain'

Riverboat Gamblers: 'Crazy' For 25 Years Of 'Purple Rain'

Let's Go Crazy (Riverboat Gamblers)

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It's remarkable — and a little depressing — to contemplate the fact that this week marks the 25th anniversary of Prince's Purple Rain album. To commemorate the occasion, Spin magazine has released a free tribute album titled Purplish Rain, featuring covers performed by Of Montreal, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Riverboat Gamblers, whose members kick off the album with the party anthem "Let's Go Crazy."

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Let's Go Crazy"
  • Artist: Riverboat Gamblers
  • CD: Purplish Rain
  • Genre: Rock

In honor of the Prince classic's anniversary, Riverboat Gamblers' members perform a sincere, rollicking tribute to "Let's Go Crazy." Aubrey Edwards hide caption

toggle caption Aubrey Edwards

In honor of the Prince classic's anniversary, Riverboat Gamblers' members perform a sincere, rollicking tribute to "Let's Go Crazy."

Aubrey Edwards

Harnessing the original's raw energy, the Austin punk quintet stays faithful to the song's classic opener — "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life" — before launching into a blazingly straightforward cover. Replacing Prince's sass with raging raunch, the band transforms "Let's Go Crazy" into the kind of rollicking tune that might animate a packed Irish bar on St. Patrick's Day. Singer Mike Wiebe closes his tribute with a few off-color memories of his sixth-grade Purple Rain fandom, which helps breathe much-needed sincerity into Riverboat Gamblers' rollicking tribute.

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