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Hordes Gather And Sing Along To 'Purple Rain'

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Hordes Gather And Sing Along To 'Purple Rain'

Hordes Gather And Sing Along To 'Purple Rain'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Last night in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, a flash back to 1984, thousands of people got together for a sing along to the Prince movie "Purple Rain." As NPR's Robert Smith reports, this is what it sounds like when doves cry.

ROBERT SMITH: They arrived dressed in purple.

Unidentified Woman#1: I planned to get as sexy and crazy as possible.

SMITH: They brought Prince masks.

Unidentified Woman #2: I think it's absolutely fabulous.

SMITH: For some it was a pilgrimage.

Unidentified Woman #3: I just think that tonight we have to gather around and worship at the altar of Prince.

SMITH: And proof that some things never leave your brain.

Unidentified Woman #4: Dearly beloved…

Unidentified Group #1: …we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life, it means forever. And that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you, there's something else.

SMITH: A disco band, to help people sing along to the movie.

Ms. ELIZABETH DOTSON WESTPHALEN (ph): I'm Elizabeth Dotson Westphalen.

Ms. JOY JAGLAND(ph): I'm Joy Jagland.

Ms. CARLEY BRUCE(ph): And I'm Carley Bruce and we're with the band, Escort.

SMITH: So what's your recommendation for my singalong. Do I go into the Prince falsetto or do I do it in my own voice?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. BRUCE: You do what makes you feel so good, like wave your hands in the air.

Ms. JAGLAND: Do the falsetto. That the grinding the stage grinding thing is a really good move too.

SMITH: First, let's go for a recap of the plot: Prince is in pain. Morris Day is vain. Wendy and Lisa wrote a song called "Purple Rain." That's about it. But dig, if you will, this picture: dancing hordes rushing to the front of a movie screen in Prospect Park. Of course, most movies don't start like this.

Unidentified Group #2: (singing) Are we gonna let the elevator break us down? Oh no, let's go crazy. Let's go crazy. Let's go, let's go…

SMITH: There was no shame in Prospect Park last night. No high notes unattempted.

Unidentified Group #2: (singing) …will always be there for you, baby…

SMITH: So I found one man in the crowd, Lenny Geller(ph), who's actually willing to sing it falsetto. You're not ashamed.

Mr. LENNY GELLER: I'm totally not ashamed. I've been singing probably Prince since I was 12 years old.

SMITH: So you just naturally going into that high register?

Mr. GELLER: I had no choice. I had no choice.

SMITH: Much like Rene Demond(ph) and Alli Getz(ph), who ran to the front of the crowd to reenact the dance sequence from "Darling Nikki.," thrust for thrust.

Ms. RENE DEMOND and Ms. ALLI GETZ: (singing) She said sign your name on the dotted line. The lights went out and Nikki started to grind.

SMITH: Did I mention that no one under 18 was admitted without a parent or guardian? And no one over 18 was admitted without being able to perform a brand new dance, which is called "The Bird."

Unidentified Group #2: Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa! Wawk! Hallelujah!

SMITH: But still, it just seemed like a movie, until right near the end.

Unidentified Group #2: Purple rain, purple rain…

SMITH: Suddenly everyone stood up. The aisles filled with people.

Unidentified Group #2: Purple rain, purple rain…

SMITH: Some one thrust up there lighter, then another one popped up, most just had their cell phones.

Unidentified Group #2: Purple rain, purple rain…

SMITH: Arm swayed and through the hands you could see Prince looking down, like he could see us.

Robert Smith NPR News, New York.

Unidentified Group #2: I only want to see you, I only want to see you in the purple rain. Whoa!

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