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Hear Andy McKee’s stunning acoustic interpretation of Prince’s Purple Rain

Andy McKee released the covers EP Symbol recently – his first collection of new studio recordings since 2014’s Mythmaker EP – and he’s debuted his version of Prince’s Purple Rain alongside it.

McKee’s take on Purple Rain is particularly meaningful, given it dates back to his 2012 tour dates with the Purple One. In the video, McKee says that Prince’s team approached him about performing together after spotting him on YouTube. 

“He had an idea for me to play something at the start of the show on acoustic guitar,” states McKee. “I ended up with this arrangement of Purple Rain, which he approved of. He was a staggeringly talented guy, who left us too soon and I feel honored that he liked my music.” 

In a separate statement alongside the EP release, McKee adds: 

“I have played it occasionally since then while touring and figured I should finally get a recording of it down. One thing that I learned from Prince while we were on the road is that we both really admire Joni Mitchell. I used that as a reference when trying to describe what I do.

“Although some of what I do on the guitar is technically demanding, I don’t ever really want that to overshadow the music.”

In total, the EP brings together six covers of songs from artists who have inspired McKee, including Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, and Billy McLaughlin.

However, perhaps the most surprising inclusion is the Rocky IV Medley, which is a blazing electric guitar composition, featuring the soundtrack’s composer Vince DiCola. 

Andy McKee’s Symbol EP is out now.

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.