Written By: Mandi Lauren Nowitz
If you are a Prince fan, you probably have seen “Purple Rain.” In the film, his band is The Revolution and two of the members, the only females, are Wendy and Lisa. They are seemingly responsible for the title song’s background music that Prince’s character The Kid was reluctant to listen to and then made a hit from. In the movie, he also says that the girls would never make it on their own, which is partially true as they never quite saw the same success on their own as they did when they were with Prince. In “Purple Rain,” there was a lot that was cut, just to avoid an X rating, like a kiss between Wendy and Lisa yet no one knew about that because it was part of the movie trivia.
Something else that you may not have known about Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman is that they were actually married for twenty years…to each other after knowing each other since they were 2. Lisa was the first to join Prince in 1980 and then, three years later, Wendy became a full-fledged member of The Revolution until 1986 as it was alleged that the duo did not feel that they were getting recognized as they should have and I have to agree. They contributed to “Purple Rain” and that alone should give them honorary lifelong respect. The two went off on their own and collaborated on five albums together, none that reached the same success that they ever had with Prince but they did create some beautiful music. Both being musicians helped a lot with Lisa on keyboards/piano and Wendy on guitar but it was in TV and film soundtracks where they found the most success and even received and Emmy.
They have written for “Crossing Jordan,” “Heroes,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Dangerous Minds.” Along with that, they have collaborated with other artists. Wendy played guitar for Rob Thomas on his first solo album “Something to Be,” which debuted at number one and became a smash hit for the Matchbox Twenty front man. They both returned to help Prince with some more music later in his career and share in the glory that was “Purple Rain,” both the film and the hit soundtrack, garnering Grammys and selling over 22 million albums thus far.
Here are the top 5 Wendy and Lisa tracks that you probably never knew existed but are worth a listen!
5) Honeymoon Express: They have definitely not lost their Revolution sound at all and it is fun to see them front and center, having fun and looking sexy. And the lyrics are pretty kick ass with a subliminal shout-out to the LGBTQ community! “Come with me let’s meet at the station. Where we first started. Then we make love, life in the world. Seems like we’re living on rainbows.” It sounds so happy, like a Bob Ross painting!
4) Waterfall: I am living for this song and again, clearly still in the Prince vein, which I love and some Sheryl Crow vibes, interesting because she is one of the acts they worked with! “People may come, people may go. Just as long as the water’s slow. But watch out when you’re headed for the waterfall.” Maybe a jab at Prince’s ever-changing band and style of music?
3) Are You My Baby?: This has to be about their relationship, despite the mention of a man in the song. “A love like ours would surely last. Because you are my friend. It’s a crazy thing. But of you I sing.”
2) Side Show: Eclectic yet fun, this may be how they felt during their time in The Revolution. “Mysterious and curious. Boredom is so serious. The red velvet curtain draws. There’s no way to hide your flaws.”
1) Purple Rain: Why? Because they are musicians, not just singers so the bottom line is that they contributed heavily to the background and instrumentals of the classic and hit song. This film made Wendy and Lisa household names and that is why i have chosen it.
I hope that you have learned more about Wendy and Lisa and understand that they are more than The Revolution. Their talent is amazing and their connection, bond and love is so clear, it shines!