Neal Schon of Journey paid tribute to Prince on what would have been the icon's 61st birthday.
He posted an instrumental version of "Purple Rain" on his website as a free download. The track will be on Schon's upcoming solo album,Universe, which is due out this fall. Schon wrote, "Honoring and remembering Prince on his birthday with my guitar soaring high to heaven and carrying his spirit and music on. His music lives forever."
The choice of "Purple Rain" is appropriate, as Prince himself thought the song was too close to Journey's own hit "Faithfully" and played part of it to Jonathan Cain over the phone to get the keyboardist's approval.
Here's what was posted to Facebook:
Honoring and Remembering PRINCE ön his Birthday with my guitar soaring high to heaven and carrying his spirit and music on . His music lives forever..Download this the 1st track PURPLE RAIN from UNIVERSE as my gift to all of You. "Prince, pancakes and Journey guitar riffs at 4 am.... late eighties and I am sitting with Prince on the floor in his apartment at Paisley Park. We’ve listened to Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel and I notice a worn Journey Escape record in his collection. Surprised I turned to him and said “Never took you for a Journey fan”. He gave me that doe eyed look that always made me uncomfortable and said: “Neal Schon is one of my favorite guitarists on the planet, he is a genius.” I thought it only fitting that Neal would return the respect by playing a fiery, inspired version of “Purple Rain”. Having worked for Prince for the last few years of his life Neal’s beautiful interpretation makes the loss of the colossal talent of “P” a little less sad. They are each prodigy’s that have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives and our lives are richer as a result" - Rick Barron