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When Doves Cry Prince’s Original Music Video When Doves Cry Prince’s Original Music Video

Music Video

When Doves Cry Prince’s Original Music Video

Written by: Sileas Sullins

Watch the original music video for "When Doves Cry" by Prince. Experience the iconic visuals and captivating talent of this classic music video.

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Music videos have become an integral part of the music industry, serving as a visual companion to the audio experience. They provide artists with a powerful platform to express themselves creatively and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Among the vast array of music videos that have graced our screens, there are a few that stand out as iconic and groundbreaking, paving the way for future generations.

One such music video is “When Doves Cry” by the legendary musician Prince. Released in 1984 as the lead single from his album “Purple Rain,” the music video for “When Doves Cry” quickly made an indelible mark on the industry and left a lasting impact on audiences worldwide.

Prince, known for his innovative approach to music, was equally forward-thinking when it came to his music videos. “When Doves Cry” was no exception. The video not only showcased Prince’s musical prowess but also pushed the boundaries of storytelling and visual aesthetics, setting a new standard for music videos to come.

Within the span of a few minutes, “When Doves Cry” takes viewers on a captivating journey through raw emotions, poetic lyrics, and striking visuals. It seamlessly merges Prince’s distinctive sound with complex storytelling, leaving a profound impact on those who watch it.

In this article, we will delve into the making of “When Doves Cry” and explore the concept and themes behind the music video. We will also analyze its visual aesthetics, symbolism, and imagery. Additionally, we will examine the impact it had on the music industry and its enduring legacy. Finally, we will touch upon the reception and reviews the video received, as well as any controversies or censorship associated with it.

Join us on this journey as we unravel the magic and brilliance of “When Doves Cry” and discover why it continues to captivate audiences decades later.


The Making of “When Doves Cry”

The creation of “When Doves Cry” was a collaborative effort between Prince and the director of the music video, Tim Pope. The two had previously worked together on Prince’s music video for “Purple Rain,” establishing a strong creative partnership.

Prince had a clear vision for the video and actively participated in every aspect of its production. He wanted to capture the essence of the song’s lyrics and convey its emotional depth visually. The process began with Prince and Pope brainstorming ideas and discussing concepts that would effectively showcase the song’s themes.

The decision was made to set the video in an abandoned warehouse, providing a stark and gritty backdrop that enhanced the rawness of the song. The lighting played a crucial role in creating the desired atmosphere, with shadows and contrast adding visual depth to the performance shots.

Prince’s magnetic stage presence was captured through energetic and dynamic performances, highlighting his unique dance moves and electrifying guitar playing. The intense close-up shots further emphasized his emotional connection to the song.

The choreography for the music video was a collaborative effort between Prince and his dance team. They worked tirelessly to create movements that complemented the music and showcased Prince’s individuality and charisma. The result was a mesmerizing display of artistic expression that added an extra layer of visual appeal to the video.

The wardrobe and styling choices in “When Doves Cry” were carefully selected to reflect Prince’s signature style. His androgynous fashion sense was on full display, with flamboyant outfits that blended masculine and feminine elements seamlessly. These choices not only enhanced the visual impact of the video but also became iconic representations of Prince’s persona.

Throughout the production process, Prince remained fully involved in the editing and post-production stages, ensuring that the final product met his artistic standards. His meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence resulted in a music video that perfectly captured the essence of “When Doves Cry” and showcased his immense talent.

The collaborative effort between Prince, Tim Pope, and the entire production team culminated in a groundbreaking music video that was ahead of its time. “When Doves Cry” set a new standard for music videos, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and paving the way for future innovative visual storytelling in the industry.

Join us in the next section as we delve into the concept and themes present in “When Doves Cry” and explore the deeper meanings behind its captivating visuals.


Concept and Themes

At its core, the concept of “When Doves Cry” revolves around the complex nature of love and its impact on relationships. The music video artfully portrays the tumultuous emotions and the intense highs and lows that come with love, making it a relatable and universal theme.

Throughout the video, Prince plays multiple characters, representing different facets of love and its various stages. This imagery serves to reinforce the idea that love is multifaceted, and individuals can experience conflicting emotions simultaneously.

The color scheme in the music video also contributes to the overall concept, with a heavy emphasis on shades of white and black. This stark contrast represents the dualities present in love – the purity and innocence juxtaposed with the darkness and complexities that often accompany it.

Furthermore, “When Doves Cry” explores the struggles of communication and the inability to effectively verbalize emotions within romantic relationships. The image of Prince with a hand covering his mouth symbolizes the suppressed feelings and the frustration that stems from a lack of open expression.

Another recurring theme in the video is the notion of freedom and liberation. Prince is depicted dancing and moving with uninhibited joy, highlighting the transformative power that love can have on individuals. This symbolism of liberation suggests that love has the ability to transcend societal constraints and bring a sense of personal freedom.

The inclusion of doves, a recurring motif in the video, adds a layer of symbolism. Doves are often associated with peace, purity, and harmony. However, their absence in the video signals the absence of these qualities within the tumultuous relationships portrayed. The absence of doves suggests a lack of resolution and a constant struggle in finding harmony within love.

The concept and themes explored in “When Doves Cry” demonstrate Prince’s ability to delve into the depths of human emotions and present them in a visually captivating way. The video serves as a reflection of the complexities of love, showcasing both its beauty and its challenges.

In the next section, we will delve into the visual aesthetics of the music video, exploring the artistic choices made and their impact on the overall viewing experience.


Visual Aesthetics

The visual aesthetics of “When Doves Cry” are nothing short of captivating. The music video showcases a unique blend of artistic choices that contribute to its overall impact and visual appeal.

From the moment the video begins, viewers are greeted with striking visuals that set the tone for the entire experience. The use of dim lighting, shadows, and contrasting colors creates an atmosphere of intimacy and mystery, drawing the audience into the narrative.

The cinematography of “When Doves Cry” is innovative and visually engaging. The camera angles and movements are carefully orchestrated to highlight Prince’s performance, capturing his energy and charisma. Close-up shots allow for a more intimate connection with the artist, showcasing the raw emotions conveyed through his facial expressions and body language.

The use of editing techniques further enhances the visual aesthetics of the video. Quick cuts and seamless transitions between scenes create a sense of rhythm that aligns with the music’s tempo. This rhythmic editing style complements the song’s dynamic nature and adds an extra layer of visual interest.

The set design and location choice also contribute to the visual aesthetics of the video. The abandoned warehouse serves as a backdrop that amplifies the rawness of the emotions portrayed. The decrepit and industrial setting creates a dichotomy against Prince’s vibrant and energetic presence, adding depth and contrast to the visuals.

Prince’s wardrobe and styling in the video are also noteworthy. His androgynous fashion sense, with flamboyant and expressive outfits, further accentuates the visual appeal of the video. His unique style became iconic, and his wardrobe choices in “When Doves Cry” added to the overall artistic vision of the video.

Overall, the visual aesthetics of “When Doves Cry” are a testament to Prince’s attention to detail and commitment to delivering a visually stunning experience. The interplay between lighting, camera angles, editing techniques, set design, and wardrobe creates a cohesive and visually cohesive narrative that captures the essence of the song.

In the next section, we will explore the symbolism and imagery present in “When Doves Cry,” unraveling the hidden layers of meaning within the video.


Symbolism and Imagery

Within the music video for “When Doves Cry,” Prince weaves a tapestry of symbolism and imagery, adding depth and layers of meaning to the visual narrative.

One of the most prominent symbols in the video is the mirror. Throughout the video, reflections are utilized to represent self-reflection and introspection. The mirror serves as a metaphorical tool for Prince to confront his own emotions and the complexities of love. It also hints at the idea of facing oneself honestly and acknowledging the true nature of one’s desires and fears.

The image of Prince with a hand covering his mouth is another powerful symbol within the video. It represents the struggle to express oneself and communicate openly within a relationship. The covered mouth alludes to the suppression of emotions and the difficulties that arise when trying to convey one’s innermost feelings.

The use of water imagery also holds significant symbolism in “When Doves Cry.” Water is often associated with emotions, and in the video, it serves as a representation of the turbulent nature of love. The rain pouring down on Prince as he performs signifies the overwhelming emotions and internal turmoil experienced within relationships.

Throughout the video, the absence of doves carries its own symbolic weight. Doves are traditionally seen as symbols of peace and harmony, yet their absence in “When Doves Cry” suggests a lack of resolution and a constant struggle within relationships. This absence reflects the inherent difficulties and challenges of navigating the intricacies of love.

The use of color also adds to the symbolism present in the video. The contrast between black and white represents the contrasting aspects of love – the light and dark, the purity and complexity. The starkness of the monochromatic color scheme further emphasizes the emotional intensity and duality of relationships.

Lastly, the inclusion of choreography and dance sequences in the video contributes to the overall symbolism and imagery. The expressive and dynamic movements act as a visual representation of the emotional journey depicted in the song. Dance becomes a means of release and self-expression, conveying the freedom and liberation that love can bring.

The deliberate incorporation of these symbols and imagery elevates “When Doves Cry” into a visually rich and thought-provoking experience. It adds depth and complexity to the narrative, encouraging viewers to reflect on the intricacies of love and the challenges it presents.

In the next section, we will explore the impact and legacy of “When Doves Cry,” and its significance within the music industry.


Impact and Legacy

“When Doves Cry” made a significant impact on both the music industry and popular culture as a whole. The release of the music video coincided with the height of Prince’s career, solidifying his status as a groundbreaking artist.

The video’s innovative visual style and storytelling techniques set a new standard for music videos, influencing future generations of artists and directors. It showcased the potential of the medium as a form of artistic expression and established Prince as a pioneer in the field.

Furthermore, “When Doves Cry” helped redefine the boundaries of gender and sexuality in popular music. Prince’s androgynous fashion choices and his fluidity in embracing both masculine and feminine attributes challenged societal norms and opened up conversations around gender identity and expression.

The success of the music video also had a profound impact on Prince’s career. It propelled him to even greater heights of fame and solidified his position as one of the most innovative and influential musicians of his generation. “When Doves Cry” became one of Prince’s signature songs and remains an essential part of his musical legacy.

The song itself topped the charts worldwide and became Prince’s first number-one hit in the United States. Its success not only validated Prince’s artistic vision but also introduced his music to a broader audience, expanding his fan base and solidifying his impact on the music industry.

The legacy of “When Doves Cry” extends beyond its initial release. It continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest music videos of all time, frequently appearing on lists of top music videos and earning critical acclaim.

Moreover, the video’s exploration of complex emotions and its visual storytelling techniques have served as an inspiration for countless artists across various genres. The impact of “When Doves Cry” can be seen in the artistic choices and visual aesthetics of music videos released in its wake.

Overall, “When Doves Cry” has left an indelible legacy in the music industry. Its innovative approach to storytelling, visual aesthetics, and its exploration of love and emotion have made it a timeless classic. The video remains a testament to Prince’s artistry and his ability to push the boundaries of creativity.

In the next section, we will delve into the reception and reviews that “When Doves Cry” received upon its release, as well as any controversies or censorship associated with the video.


Reception and Reviews

Upon its release, “When Doves Cry” received widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. The music video was praised for its innovative approach to storytelling, visual aesthetics, and Prince’s captivating performance.

Critics lauded the video’s ability to capture the complex emotions and rawness of the song. The seamless integration of visual elements with the music elevated the overall viewing experience. The artful cinematography, editing techniques, and imaginative set design were commended for their contribution to the video’s impact.

The symbolism and imagery present in “When Doves Cry” also garnered positive attention. Critics admired the depth and layers of meaning conveyed through these visual elements, noting the video’s ability to provoke thought and emotional resonance.

Furthermore, Prince’s performance in the video was widely acclaimed. His magnetism, stage presence, and unparalleled musical talent were praised for capturing the essence of the song and making a powerful impact on viewers.

Commercially, “When Doves Cry” was a massive success. The song topped charts around the world and became one of Prince’s most iconic and recognizable hits. The music video played a significant role in the song’s success, as viewers were drawn to its visually stunning and emotionally evocative narrative.

In addition to its positive reception, “When Doves Cry” was also recognized with awards and nominations. The video received several MTV Video Music Award nominations for categories such as Best Male Video and Best Choreography.

Over the years, the legacy of “When Doves Cry” and its music video has only grown stronger. The video is frequently cited as one of the greatest of all time and has been included in numerous “best music video” lists compiled by music industry publications and critics.

Today, “When Doves Cry” continues to captivate audiences, showcasing the enduring power of its visuals and the timeless appeal of Prince’s artistry. Its critical acclaim, commercial success, and lasting influence make it a benchmark in music video history.

Stay tuned as we explore any controversies or censorship surrounding “When Doves Cry” in the next section.


Controversies and Censorship

While “When Doves Cry” was widely embraced and celebrated, it was not without its fair share of controversies and encounters with censorship.

One of the primary controversies surrounding the music video was its explicit and provocative nature. The intimate dance sequences and suggestive imagery raised eyebrows and sparked debates about what was deemed appropriate for mainstream consumption. Some critics and viewers felt that the video pushed the boundaries of decency, while others saw it as a bold and artistic expression of Prince’s vision.

There were also instances of censorship regarding the content of “When Doves Cry.” In some countries and media outlets, certain parts of the video were edited or modified to adhere to local regulations and cultural sensitivities. The more explicit scenes or moments deemed too provocative were often altered or removed entirely.

Furthermore, due to the androgynous and gender-bending nature of Prince’s fashion choices in the video, there were instances of controversy regarding gender expression. Some viewers and critics criticized the video for challenging traditional gender norms, while others hailed it as a groundbreaking and liberating representation of fluidity and self-expression.

Despite these controversies and encounters with censorship, “When Doves Cry” remained a powerful and influential music video. It continued to push boundaries and challenge societal norms, sparking conversations about artistic freedom and the perception of sexuality and gender in popular culture.

It is through these controversies and encounters with censorship that the true impact and significance of “When Doves Cry” can be fully appreciated. Its ability to provoke discussions and challenge societal norms is a testament to Prince’s artistic vision and his fearless approach to pushing boundaries through his music and visuals.

In the concluding section, we will summarize the significance of “When Doves Cry” and its lasting impact on the music video landscape.



“When Doves Cry” stands as a seminal music video, reflecting the artistic brilliance and innovation of the late musician Prince. Through its compelling visuals, rich symbolism, and emotionally charged storytelling, the video captivated audiences and left an indelible mark on the music industry.

The making of “When Doves Cry” showcased Prince’s unwavering commitment to his artistry, as he actively participated in every aspect of its production. The video’s concept and themes explored the complexities of love, the struggles of communication, and the pursuit of freedom within relationships.

The visual aesthetics of “When Doves Cry” were carefully crafted to enhance the narrative. The imaginative set design, the use of lighting and shadows, and Prince’s magnetic performances created a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience. The video’s symbolism and imagery further added layers of meaning, inviting viewers to reflect on the intricacies of love and relationships.

The impact and legacy of “When Doves Cry” are undeniable. The video influenced future generations of artists and directors, pushing the boundaries of music videos as a form of artistic expression. It redefined gender and sexuality in popular music and solidified Prince’s status as an icon.

Reception to “When Doves Cry” was overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising its innovation, depth, and Prince’s captivating performance. The video’s success propelled the song to the top of the charts and earned nominations for prestigious awards.

In the face of controversies and encounters with censorship, “When Doves Cry” remained an unapologetic and powerful work of art. Its ability to spark conversations and challenge societal norms further showcased Prince’s fearlessness and his commitment to pushing boundaries.

In conclusion, “When Doves Cry” continues to be celebrated as an iconic and groundbreaking music video. Its artistic excellence, profound impact, and enduring legacy ensure that it will always be remembered as a pivotal moment in the history of music videos.

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