When Doves Cry is the sixth track on Prince's sixth album Purple Rain, the first album to be credited to Prince and the Revolution and, five weeks prior to the album's release, When Doves Cry was released as the album's first single (credited only to Prince). The track is also featured in the movie Purple Rain.
In 1993, the track was included as the first track on Prince's first compilation album The Hits 1 (also included as the first disc of The Hits / The B-Sides).
In 2001, the track was included as the fourth track on the compilation album The Very Best Of Prince.
In 2006, the track was included as the sixth track on the first disc of the compilation album Ultimate.
Initial tracking took place on 1 March 1984 at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA (three days after Traffic Jam and Love And Sex), as the final track recorded for Purple Rain. The track's ascending synth-string ending is almost identical to that of Traffic Jam, recording only three days earlier. It was included as the fifth song on the 23 March 1984 configuration of the album (before Take Me With U was added for the final configuration, compiled on 14 April 1984).
The single version of the track was included as the tenth track on the first disc of an early configuration of the compilation album Ultimate before the album was reworked for release.
The track is included here as credited to Prince and the Revolution due to its inclusion on the Prince and the Revolution album Purple Rain, although the single release When Doves Cry was credited only to Prince, and the credits, on both the single and the Purple Rain album, show that Prince is the only performer on the track.