The New Yorker's Prince Tribute Cover Is The Perfect Way To Honor The Legendary Artist
"I only wanted to see you/ Laughing in the purple rain," Prince sings at the beginning of the song that launched him from icon to iconic. "Purple Rain" was the aggrandizing tune of 1984. It epitomized what the artist stood for — funky, upbeat, full of color, but with a darker and more prudent underlying message. Prince, after all, was always ahead of the world — sometimes by lightyears. In honor of the artist, who died Thursday at the age of 57, The New Yorker's upcoming issue will feature cover artwork by author and illustrator Bob Staake. The piece is called "Purple Rain" and is a well crafted rendering of just that — right on brand with Prince's own aesthetic. Light, but dark, playful but well crafted, pedantic, but nonconformist. Bob Staake's "Purple Rain" cover for The New Yorker is a fitting tribute to Prince, to say the least.
When discussing Prince's legacy, one must make a pit stop of the era of "Purple Rain" as it fully encompasses a time in which Prince demonstrated his power over the industry and culture of the '80s. Some read "Purple Rain" as a song about enduring the end of the world with a lover by your side (Prince has hinted at this being the case), others think it could be a play on words. If you consider the homonym of rain (reign) and the royal connotations of the color purple, the song becomes a declaration of Prince's impact — that of musical royalty. Regardless of what its palette meant, the tune's colors accreted to gold. Have a look at The New Yorker's commemoration of it — Staake's "Purple Rain" artwork — below.
While Prince has never directly declared the reasons behind his fascination with purple, the color was indisputably a part of his persona. There is no thought of Prince that doesn't first flash purple.
"You say you want a leader/ But you can't seem to make up your mind" he sang. Maybe we couldn't in 1984. Maybe we still can't. But we had a leader in Prince, and the legacy of that will forever remain potent, dripping in purple, like Bob Staake's artwork. One day we might even learn to laugh in it — this purple rain.