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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Finally this hour, what music inspires you and keeps you listening again and again? That's what we are asking musicians to tell us for a new series that's called You Must Hear This. And we're kicking it off with two members of the rock band Maroon 5.

Jesse Carmichael and Adam Levine share a love of the 1984 movie and album "Purple Rain." The music comes from Prince and the Revolution, and we'll hear first from Jesse Carmichael.

Mr. JESSE CARMICHAEL (Maroon 5): It's interesting when you discover somebody that was around before your time. I really got into the album "Purple Rain" after I saw the movie, and it was one of those times when I thought, how could nobody have told me about this earlier?

The album starts with "Let's Go Crazy." And when you hear the sound of the organ and his gospel sermon begins, you really get sucked into a whole new world.

(Soundbite of song, "Let's Go Crazy")

Mr. PRINCE (Singer): (Singing) Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.

Mr. CARMICHAEL: I think he sums up everything I think about life at the end of that monologue when he says, in this life, you're on your own, and if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy.

(Soundbite of song, "Let's Go Crazy")

Mr. PRINCE: (Singing) Let's go crazy. Let's get nuts. Let's look for the purple banana until they put us in the truck. Let's go.

Mr. ADAM LEVINE (Maroon 5): The album "Purple Rain" is as enigmatic as Prince himself. It's so difficult to break down or articulate why it's so special. It's Hendrix, it's James Brown, it's outer space, it's church, it's sex, it's heavy metal, but at the end of the day, it's just Prince at his absolute best.

(Soundbite of song, "When Doves Cry")

Mr. PRINCE: (Singing) How can you just leave me standing alone in a world that's so cold? Maybe I'm just too demanding. Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold. Maybe you're just like my mother. She's never satisfied. Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

Mr. CARMICHAEL: The reason Prince is an inspiration to me is that he's obviously writing from the heart, and somehow he's able to take these personal feelings, turn them into poetry, and then present them in a way that's accessible and weird at the same time.

Mr. LEVINE: What makes the record so special is that no one had ever really heard anything quite like it. It's such a fearless record. The music is just completely limitless and unselfconscious about what it is, and that's why I truly, genuinely love it.

(Soundbite of song, "Purple Rain")

Mr. PRINCE: (Singing) I only want to see you laughing in the purple rain. Purple rain, purple rain.

Mr. CARMICHAEL: Basically, I think of Prince like a god in another realm. It's easier for me to think of him as a character in a movie than a real person. I mean, of all the people who might be aliens or angels or something like that, if we found out that he was not of this earth, I wouldn't be that surprised.

(Soundbite of song, "Purple Rain")

Mr. PRINCE: (Singing) I only want to see you. I only want to see you, purple rain.

Mr. LEVINE: And what really puts it over the top is how the music is performed in the film. It's as exciting and eclectic as the music itself. People never would have fully understood what it was unless you could see it unfold in front of you visually. It's truly brilliant, and you must hear it.

SIEGEL: Adam Levine, the lead singer of the band Maroon 5. He was talking about Prince's "Purple Rain" for our new series You Must Hear This. We also heard from Jesse Carmichael, Maroon 5's keyboardist. And you can watch videos of songs from the album "Purple Rain" at the You Must Hear This section of nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of song, "Purple Rain")

Mr. PRINCE: (Singing) I only want to see you playing in the purple rain. I don't want to be your weekend lover.

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