The power of music conveys emotion and transcends cultural barriers. Music artists have an immense capacity to relate to others through song.
Similarly, different colors represent different thoughts and feelings, so it’s no surprise that musicians draw inspiration from the color wheel and write incredible lyrics about the colors that shape our lives.
The color purple has been used for decades to convey numerous emotions. From the “purple mountains’ majesty” that define the landscape of the United States to the infamous “Purple Rain,” which Prince fans across the world know and love, the color invokes distinct and varied emotions.
This comprehensive list will discuss the best songs about the color purple. Enjoy reading and listening to these violet gems!
Our Top 22 Songs About Purple
Purple Rain by Prince
For many people, particularly Prince fans, “Purple Rain” is one of the best rock songs ever written or performed. In 1984, “Purple Rain” reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained for two weeks.
Additionally, the song “Purple Rain” is in the top twenty on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and it is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The artist, Prince, has described the song as mellow and has stated that it references being with the one you love even as the sky above you falls.
Purple Snowflakes by Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye brings his smooth vocals to “Purple Snowflakes” on The Ultimate Motown Christmas Collection album. The song is about enjoying a winter’s snowfall during the holiday season while imagining cuddling with the one you love all winter.
The imagery of a purple snowflake perfectly establishes the day Marvin Gaye describes – a winter day where the sun is hidden behind dense clouds, and the street lights come on early and help transmit a purplish glow.
Marvin Gaye originally recorded the song in 1964, but recently, artist Leon Bridges covered the song with great success.
Seal is known as a soulful singer, and his song “Violet” reminds us of why. Seal recorded the song in 1991. It’s about the love of a man for a woman in any season of her life, mainly as she grows and evolves. The lyrics describe a woman as a violet unicorn, indicating:
The song concludes with a repeating refrain that there is always something new, which is a lovely association with the color purple. Guy Sigsworth and Henry Samuel worked together to write the song. Immediately after its release, Seal performed a live session in a church, a beautiful version of “Violet.”
Sheb Wooley is the singer and songwriter of the cult classic song, “Purple People Eater.” It’s popular at Halloween parties because it describes a rock-and-roll-loving purple beast with one eye and one horn that eats people, so long as they are not too tough.
It’s a fun and silly song where the color purple represents imagination and fantasy. In recent years, a version of the song has been featured on the Halloween Kids Bop album, but one of Sheb Wooley’s first performances of it was decades ago on the Ed Sullivan Show!
“Violet and Blue” is a song that was released in 1986 on Stevie Nicks’ album, The Wild Heart. In the song, the shades of purple describe the morning sky just as dawn is breaking, and the dark sky is violet and blue.
While the description is beautiful and visceral, the song is quite bittersweet since she only sees that color in the sky because her partner is leaving.
Stevie Nicks is an American singing legend independently and as part of her group Fleetwood Mac. She is currently in her seventies. Stevie Nick has been named one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Purple Stain by Red Hot Chili Peppers
From the Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Californication comes the song “Purple Stain.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers formed in 1983 in California, and all of their music is heavily influenced by that time and location. The group is edgy, and the lyrics of their music are often about risque topics.
Over the years, the group has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and reached popular success with “Californication” and “Otherside,” both of which appear on the same album as “Purple Stain.”
The group has received six Grammy awards and has been nominated twenty-eight times for an MTV Music Video Award.
“Pale Purple” is a song from the artist’s self-titled album released in 1990. The song was written by Ani DiFranco and vividly describes an experience in a large American city. Ani DiFranco is an alternative rock artist, and they have released more than twenty albums in their career.
“Pale Purple” uses purple as a trope for the underbelly of a city and the bluster of a cold winter. The song ends with the narrator searching and wishing for green – a clear hopefulness for spring and for things to come. Ani DiFranco is now in her fifties and is still performing folk-rock music.
Again using purple as an illustration of imagination and fantasy, the song “A Purple Cow” describes how a young woman cannot believe her eyes.
In a clever play with words and phenomenal use of color descriptors, the narrator in the song describes that she never believed that she would experience love, but now she swears that she is seeing purple cows and green giraffes.
It’s a very sweet song that is clever and timeless. Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain are the songwriters. The song was recorded by Doris Day in the early 1950s and is currently available on most music streaming services.
D12 is a rap group that was formed in Detroit, Michigan. Known independently, the leader of the group is award-winning artist Eminem. D12 is a take on the “dirty dozen,” and the group has been producing music together since 1996. One of the group’s most widely popular songs is “Purple Pills.”
“Purple Pills” is literally about multicolored pills. The group uses clever lyrics to draw connections and links to other figures in popular culture. The sing-songy nature of the chorus is catchy and will stick with the listener long after the song ends.
Billie Holiday is a well-known jazz artist who received much acclaim during her lifetime. She is remembered for her unique and beautiful phrasing and tempo when performing soulful and jazzy songs.
“Violets For Your Furs” is about the transition from winter to spring and the blossoming romance of new love. The song’s narrative follows a young woman removing her winter furs and enjoying the fresh, purple flowers brought to her by her lover.
Both John Coltrane and Barry Manilow have recorded the song as well. Billie Holiday recorded the song in the 1950s, shortly before she passed away, adding nostalgia and wistfulness to the tune.
“Purple Sky” by Kid Rock was released in 2010 on the Born Free album. Initially, Kid Rock gained immense popularity for rapping and rock music, but this album started transitioning the artist to a more traditional country or folk-rock feel.
“Purple Sky” is a song about living life to its fullest and driving off into the sunset. The idea of riding off into the sunset is clearly codified in this song, but the sunset is aptly described as a “purple sky.” It’s one of the best songs about the color purple that has been recorded in recent history.
“Purple Heather” by Van Morrison was released in 1973. The song is about escaping with your significant other into the wild to surround yourself with wildflowers. Purple heather is a plant that is also known as Scotch Heather. Its flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall and are mauve or purple.
Van Morrison is now in his seventies and has enjoyed a long musical career. He is best known for songs like:
- “Into the Mystic”
- “Brown Eyed Girl”
- “Days Like This”
He brings the same laid-back vibe to “Purple Heather.”
Released in 1988 as a song on the Lincoln album, They Might Be Giants shared “Purple Toupee” with the world. This indie alternative song is about civil unrest in the 1960s. It was written by John Flansburgh, John Linnell, and members of They Might Be Giants.
The group formed in 1982 as a duo, but in the 1990s, other band members were added. They Might Be Giants are known for their absurdist style and have also written some theme songs for television shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Malcolm in the Middle. The group has won a grammy for their music.
Savage Garden released Violet in 1997 on their self-titled album. Hayes Darren Stanley and Jones Daniel are the songwriters of Violet.
The lyrics of the songs describe a conversation between two people about their relationship, and the purple hue, violet, is used to reference passion and pleasure and could simultaneously be a woman’s name.
Savage Garden is an alternative pop duo from Australia that saw success in the American music industry in the 1990s. During that time, Savage Garden sold more than 20 million records globally. Sadly, Savage Garden separated in 2001, and the two continued as individual artists.
Jimi Hendrix is a musical icon and is remembered for his guitar playing ability. When asked where he found the inspiration for “Purple Haze”, Jimi Hendrix said that he experienced a dream where he could walk underwater, and a purple haze enclosed and engulfed him.
In 1968, Billboard named Jimi Hendrix Artist of the Year, and Rolling Stone named him Performer of the Year. During the original Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix performed a number of his songs, and records of his performances on that day live on, especially his rendition of the American National Anthem.
The Lemon Pipers were a 1960s rock group that recorded two albums, enjoyed a number one hit, and dissolved to pursue individual paths. The song “Wine and Violet” was released in 1968. The song describes two different shades of purple, wine and violet.
The song is about a psychedelic experience where swirls of color appear and move about inside a person’s head. The lyrics depict imagery similar to that of a kaleidoscope. Psychedelic rock music was quite popular during the time the band was performing; this type of music was associated with the counterculture of the 1960s.
“Purple Kisses” by The-Dream is a rhythm and blues single that was released in 2007. Carlos Mckinney and Terius Nash co-wrote the song. Terius Nash is the artist known as The-Dream. The color purple in the song is meant to describe the color of a woman’s lipstick.
The-Dream writes, records, and performs his own music but has also had a hand in writing some other hit singles like “All of the Lights” by Kanye West and “Baby” by Justin Beiber.
The-Dream has been nominated for fifteen Grammy awards and has won five awards, one of which was for his work on “Single Ladies” by Beyonce.
“A Man in a Purple Dress” is a single on The Who’s 2006 album, Endless Wire. Pete Townshend is the songwriter. The English rock group started their music career in the 1960s. The group began a reunion tour in 1999, which allowed The Who to create and release Endless Wire.
The song “A Man in a Purple Dress” has distinct undertones of rebelling against the government via the concept of royalty. Purple is a color associated with the monarchy, and the song dares the overlords to step outside of their costumes and truly experience the world.
In 2008, Coldplay released the album Viva la Vida, including the single “Violet Hill.” The song describes a winter’s day, a common idea when shades of purple are referenced in a song.
“Violet Hill” is describing a location where two people will meet and sit in the snow, but the choice of the colorful descriptor, violet, lends a sense of cold and foreboding that shades of purple can inspire.
Coldplay is a very popular group that first began recording music in the mid-1990s. Chris Martin is the lead singer of the group. Notably, the album Viva la Vida won a Grammy for Best Rock Album and was nominated for Album of the Year.
“Deep Purple” by Donny and Marie Osmond was released in 1976. Like other songs that invoke purple, the lyrics describe a bittersweet evening walking outside as the sun sets and twilight emerges. The idea that thoughts of a future with a romantic partner are only purple dreams is a wistful ending to the song.
Donny and Marie Osmond are siblings who hosted a variety show in the 1970s. For eleven years, the two performed a concert in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. Donny has continued to perform in public and was recently runner-up on the American version of the television show, The Masked Singer.
A Violet Fluid by Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails is an American rock group that formed in 1988. Nine Inch Nails has sold over 20 million records and was nominated for thirteen Grammy Awards in the past thirty years.
The song “A Violet Fluid” is on the album The Downward Spiral, which was released in 1994, at the height of the grunge movement in popular music.
Finally, in 2020, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group specialized in an industrial metal sound that is enjoyed by many rock fans. While members of the group have fluctuated over time, both Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have remained constant.
The Song of Purple Summer by The Cast of Spring Awakening
Spring Awakening is a rock musical that tells a coming of age story for a group of young people. Its first off-Broadway run occurred in December 2006, and the show took flight after that, becoming one of the most popular musicals of the year. In 2015, Broadway officially launched a revival of Spring Awakening.
“The Song of Purple Summer” is a group song that describes the end of spring and is a simile for the world’s harsh reality, or in this case, summer. Notably, Jonathan Graff and Lea Micheals starred in the original production of Spring Awakening.
Many songs have been released that highlight the color purple and its various shades. Purple has been used to communicate the cold of winter, the magic of a sunset, and the creative exploration of the imagination.
Enjoy listening to these twenty-two songs about the color purple in its many forms!