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Peaks in Prince’s Purple Reign

Shawn M. Levin

Temple University | Philadelphia, Pennslyvania, United States

Prince’s career spanned four decades, blurring the lines between genres and redefining musical performance. Over the course of his career, there was a dropoff in hits on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning around 1995. Briefly after his death, Prince’s songs reappeared on the list, creating two distinct waves of “success.” It certainly prompts the question: what factors played a role in these waves? As author, Shawn Levin says, “A good viz can be a great starting point for both confirmation and subsequent exploration.”

Explore the visualization

  • Prince had a distinct peak in his career from 1982-1995, appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 712 times. Hover over the timeline to see how many hits he had in the last year of his peak.
  • Some of Prince’s Billboard appearances were credited to other artists. Click on a song in the “Songs by number of weeks” chart to see its weekly position on the Billboard chart.
  • Even during Prince’s “drought,” he was still popular—appearing at the halftime show for a certain 2007 sporting event. Check out the timeline to find more drought details.

During my research phase, I ultimately identified multiple songs Prince wrote, but did not perform. Identifying this information allowed me to make a more complete and accurate viz.

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