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With a brand-new introduction and chapter that cover the last five year's of Prince's life and work and his untimely death in April 2016. In his three decades of recording, Prince had nearly thirty albums hit the Billboard Top 100. He is the only artist since the Beatles to have a number-one song, movie, and single at the same time. Prince's trajectory—from a teenage unknow With a brand-new introduction and chapter that cover the last five year's of Prince's life and work and his untimely death in April 2016. In his three decades of recording, Prince had nearly thirty albums hit the Billboard Top 100. He is the only artist since the Beatles to have a number-one song, movie, and single at the same time. Prince's trajectory—from a teenage unknown in Minneapolis to an idol and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer—won him millions of adoring fans the world over. Prince is the first book to give full treatment to his thirty-five-year career. Acclaimed music journalist Ronin Ro traces Prince's rise from anonymity in the late 70s, to his catapult to stardom in the 80s, to his reemergence in the twenty-first century as an artistic icon. Ro expertly chronicles his music and career, showing how Prince and his albums helped define and inspire a generation. Along the way, Prince confronted labels, fostered other young talents, and took ownership of his music, making a profound mark on the entertainment industry and pop culture.


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With a brand-new introduction and chapter that cover the last five year's of Prince's life and work and his untimely death in April 2016. In his three decades of recording, Prince had nearly thirty albums hit the Billboard Top 100. He is the only artist since the Beatles to have a number-one song, movie, and single at the same time. Prince's trajectory—from a teenage unknow With a brand-new introduction and chapter that cover the last five year's of Prince's life and work and his untimely death in April 2016. In his three decades of recording, Prince had nearly thirty albums hit the Billboard Top 100. He is the only artist since the Beatles to have a number-one song, movie, and single at the same time. Prince's trajectory—from a teenage unknown in Minneapolis to an idol and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer—won him millions of adoring fans the world over. Prince is the first book to give full treatment to his thirty-five-year career. Acclaimed music journalist Ronin Ro traces Prince's rise from anonymity in the late 70s, to his catapult to stardom in the 80s, to his reemergence in the twenty-first century as an artistic icon. Ro expertly chronicles his music and career, showing how Prince and his albums helped define and inspire a generation. Along the way, Prince confronted labels, fostered other young talents, and took ownership of his music, making a profound mark on the entertainment industry and pop culture.

30 review for Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    This exhaustive compilation of previously published information on Prince's career may well be enough for the casual fan. But if you've been falling his ups and downs over the years you'll already know everything here, as Ro didn't do much original research (no bombshells or inside scoops) and has no particular insight into what makes Prince tick.

  2. 5 out of 5

    LuvGirl

    I was fan girl CRAZY for Prince when I was a teenager. Bought all his CD's sight unseen. Had his inappropriate half naked posters up on my walls with kisses all over them ( to my mother's horror). Turning down "Darling Nikki" real low so mom couldn't hear the very sexual lyrics, lol. Never thought I would be attracted to a man that wore makeup, heels, lace, frills and thigh highs, but there you have it, I was! I was a fan for many years into young adulthood. Still loved him even when he became u I was fan girl CRAZY for Prince when I was a teenager. Bought all his CD's sight unseen. Had his inappropriate half naked posters up on my walls with kisses all over them ( to my mother's horror). Turning down "Darling Nikki" real low so mom couldn't hear the very sexual lyrics, lol. Never thought I would be attracted to a man that wore makeup, heels, lace, frills and thigh highs, but there you have it, I was! I was a fan for many years into young adulthood. Still loved him even when he became unpronounceable... Then marriage, motherhood, romance novels, (lol) and life took over whatever obsession I had with him. His death touched me deeply. More deeply than I expected... I guess it was because he bought a little purple to my otherwise colorless childhood, and to know that he's not with us on the planet anymore seems a little gray... After his death on April 21st, 2016 (without realizing) I had missed out a lot on the progression of his career. Apart from dashing to the tv screen whenever I knew he would be on, I wasn't a very proactive fan anymore. Now I want to read all things Prince related. I can see the future, I'll be one of those Elvis like fan girl junkies, but instead for Prince! While this book was enlightening in the musical sense, it was pretty impersonal and cold. It was a lot about his music and a few disparaging tid bits here and there. Some of it annoyed because I guess I feel protective so soon after his death. And really, how do we even know that half this crap is even true?? It was not an official book authorized by Prince. I kind of felt that the author wasn't really a Prince fan at times. Nonetheless, I came away thinking that Prince really was way more talented than people really knew. His onstage persona was so flamboyant that it overshadowed his many talents. Most placed him in a purple box, but apart from his charismatic sexual demeanor, he was actually a musical genius. So even though I felt like the author wasn't really a fan, I think the legend that was Prince still shines through. Mmmm, maybe that was the authors intent all along... P.S: I'm pretty proud of my teenage self to have picked a genius to be my Prince...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bert

    This book isn't just an utter waste of time if you've read Prince bios like Per Nilsen's Dance, Music, Sex, Romance: Prince: The First Decade and Alex Hahn's Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince; annoyingly it contains plenty of mistakes, like for instance claiming Prince was still recording tracks for The Black Album in December 1987, when that album was actually scheduled for release in the first week of that month. Basically it's a thinly disguised rewrite of Per Nilsen's A Documentary, comb This book isn't just an utter waste of time if you've read Prince bios like Per Nilsen's Dance, Music, Sex, Romance: Prince: The First Decade and Alex Hahn's Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince; annoyingly it contains plenty of mistakes, like for instance claiming Prince was still recording tracks for The Black Album in December 1987, when that album was actually scheduled for release in the first week of that month. Basically it's a thinly disguised rewrite of Per Nilsen's A Documentary, combined with a number of other sources to fill in the last ten years or so. Ro's tried to convert A Documentary's factual approach into a more vivid life story, but it falls flat since he doesn't seem to grasp Prince's working habits. There's very little evidence of actual research by Ro, most of this book simply cites other books and articles and plenty of times this goes horribly wrong. Don't waste your time with this, invest it in the few great books there are. Hint: if Per Nilsen is involved, it is worthwhile. This book just seems utterly pointless to me. Ro doesn't offer any insight, he doesn't seem particularly interested in Prince.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Lopez

    Prince has always been a mystery. After reading this book, he still is.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Woods

    This is yet another largely non-exclusive look at Prince that doesn't stand out of the pack. Spending more time on the fat years of Prince and far too little time on the lean, this book reveals almost nothing that a fan of Prince - the most likely candidate to even pick up this book in this day and age - doesn't already know or have access to. There is virtually nothing distinguishing this book from the last five books about Prince that came out in the last ten years. Information is largely cull This is yet another largely non-exclusive look at Prince that doesn't stand out of the pack. Spending more time on the fat years of Prince and far too little time on the lean, this book reveals almost nothing that a fan of Prince - the most likely candidate to even pick up this book in this day and age - doesn't already know or have access to. There is virtually nothing distinguishing this book from the last five books about Prince that came out in the last ten years. Information is largely culled from the same sources as every other book, the anecdotes are largely old hat at this point, and there isn't the promised revelation of Prince's influence on much more than himself and his audience. The biggest disappointment is that the opportunity to make a book that stood out is lost by committing the same crime that almost every other book about Prince makes: it acts like the last 15 years didn't happen. It spends 290 of its 356 pages of actual text on the albums leading up to 1996 (12 total, not counting soundtracks) and a practically scant 66 pages on the TEN albums that followed. It covers the early, more successful (and, not coincidental I am sure, thoroughly picked over) period of his career almost song by song, but then almost dismisses the last fifteen years of his career by comparison. At this point I'd rather just read a book about all of the other acts Prince has launched, or a treatise that genuinely attempted to parse out his influence on culture and art during his tenure. if there's anything left to say about Prince, no one but Prince is likely to write the book compelling enough to warrant purchasing (and we all know how likely that is to happen). I'd say this is fine for people who are looking for an entry into Prince's world, but that's the same thing you can say about every other book about Prince.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    I liked reading this book. I am currently going through a little big Prince phase after having read his first wife Matye's book, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, so I have been picking up any books on him that I can find. This was not my favorite. I learned a lot about him that I didn't know before reading this book, which was exciting, but I did not enjoy Ro's writing style. It felt like I was reading a textbook about Prince, his music, and his life. If I wasn't so invested in the topic I liked reading this book. I am currently going through a little big Prince phase after having read his first wife Matye's book, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, so I have been picking up any books on him that I can find. This was not my favorite. I learned a lot about him that I didn't know before reading this book, which was exciting, but I did not enjoy Ro's writing style. It felt like I was reading a textbook about Prince, his music, and his life. If I wasn't so invested in the topic I would have found this book to be boring. Another thing that I was not please with was his inaccurate information. When Ro starting mentioning things in the book that I knew from reading other books did not go down the way that he was saying they did, it made me question all the information he was giving in the book. Overall though I did like reading this book and learned more than I knew before opening in. Longer review coming soon

  7. 4 out of 5

    Francis Coco

    I enjoyed this book. I read it a few years ago but recently pulled it out and read it again. I am a die hard fan and I did already know much of what was in it but I still enjoyed the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Ronin Ro is the opposite of Kitty Kelley or Andrew Morton in terms of writing biographies. This is an interesting, if somewhat stale, re-telling of the rise of Prince Rogers Nelson, a musical prodigy whose influence on the industry is felt today. It's not bad, but the book reads as though a lot of the research was simply cut and pasted from other sources. If you're a fan of Prince, read it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    M. Jackson

    A dull read and Prince is not a dull individual.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aria

    Dnf p. 146. Basically, the author tells you what he read other people wrote about Prince. Unbelievably bad. Literally the only positive thing I have to say about this book is that the cover looks good. For a bit of Prince fun, I recommend the second season of Tales from the Tour Bus; he's scattered throughout a few of those episodes. It's a t.v. show by Mike Judge, aired by Cinemax. Here's the IMDB so you'll know what you're seeking: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7212136/ Dnf p. 146. Basically, the author tells you what he read other people wrote about Prince. Unbelievably bad. Literally the only positive thing I have to say about this book is that the cover looks good. For a bit of Prince fun, I recommend the second season of Tales from the Tour Bus; he's scattered throughout a few of those episodes. It's a t.v. show by Mike Judge, aired by Cinemax. Here's the IMDB so you'll know what you're seeking: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7212136/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Trigilio

    Robin Ro just doesn't seem to like the music (or masks) if Prince very much. I mean, he doesn't have to like anything. But it's a bummer when, I'm writing about every single record release he describes each album since 1984 as "lackluster," "disappointing'" "tame," or "flat." Ro goes into some depth over the business and financial whirlwind of Prince's early-to-mid 90s career. But there's such constant low-grade disdain and derision that it feels more like a poorly-collated collection of gripes Robin Ro just doesn't seem to like the music (or masks) if Prince very much. I mean, he doesn't have to like anything. But it's a bummer when, I'm writing about every single record release he describes each album since 1984 as "lackluster," "disappointing'" "tame," or "flat." Ro goes into some depth over the business and financial whirlwind of Prince's early-to-mid 90s career. But there's such constant low-grade disdain and derision that it feels more like a poorly-collated collection of gripes than an original body of research. Two stars because it does read like a soap opera and I couldn't put it down, which speaks to Ro's storytelling gifts, even if the ideas are petty, lackluster, tame, or flat.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristan

    Why would you write a book about Prince when you have 1) no insider information besides what’s already been published and 2) an obvious disdain for the man and his fans, who are the people who would pick up this book?? I’m not editorializing here. In the intro he calls Prince’s fan base “deluded” and “aging creeps”. He also lists all the reasons why he isn’t a Prince fan. After reading the intro, I almost put the book down. I decided to give it a shot thinking that a good journalist/documentaria Why would you write a book about Prince when you have 1) no insider information besides what’s already been published and 2) an obvious disdain for the man and his fans, who are the people who would pick up this book?? I’m not editorializing here. In the intro he calls Prince’s fan base “deluded” and “aging creeps”. He also lists all the reasons why he isn’t a Prince fan. After reading the intro, I almost put the book down. I decided to give it a shot thinking that a good journalist/documentarian wouldn’t let his personal feelings get in the way of the work. But I only made it 1\3 of the way through the book because it read like a school paper that someone obviously didn’t want to write. Honestly, I will read anything about Prince but I couldn’t get through this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    T

    Nothing new, previously published information from interviews etc. Prince is talented and creative, that's what I wanted to read about.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    A mask will hide your face but not who you really are. Masks are worn to keep a person’s identity hidden, the focus on the mask itself and detract from the face that someone does not want seen. But, there are many other masks that hide people and not always are they ones we physically put on. Prince was a complicated young man and man from the start. He has many different personas, goals and friends that helped, hindered and worked with them to get where he is today. At times he felted shunned, A mask will hide your face but not who you really are. Masks are worn to keep a person’s identity hidden, the focus on the mask itself and detract from the face that someone does not want seen. But, there are many other masks that hide people and not always are they ones we physically put on. Prince was a complicated young man and man from the start. He has many different personas, goals and friends that helped, hindered and worked with them to get where he is today. At times he felted shunned, ostracized and cast out by his family because of his beliefs, ideas, and passions. Never really recalcitrant, rude or disrespectful and only wanting to rise to the top of the musical charts, Prince went on a roller coaster or Ferris wheel ride filled with dips, turns, wild twists and much more to become who he is today: Prince the Music Icon and Star. Flamboyant, talented, unique and quite different Prince rocks the stage like no one else. But, it was not always that way for him and his roots and his beginnings are related in a biography that will bring it all home for the reader allowing you to get to know the real Prince. Ronin Ro wrote Prince: Inside the Music and The Masks to showcase this amazing and talented man. Born in 1958 to John and Mattie his parent’s life took on a rocky road from the start. A father who wanted to be what his son aspired to and became and a mother who wanted him to be college educated and not what he turned out to be. Life began for him as Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis with a rocky start. Parents that wanted to become singers and musicians but with six children to support had to give up on their dreams and aspirations. A father who resented his children’s talent as Prince and his sister would play the piano and sing together. His parent’s divorce, his mother’s remarrying and his flight to live with a father that would turn him out onto the streets with nowhere to go. An aunt that took him in and a father that finally understood but did he? Things changed for Prince as his mother had a child from her second husband life was not to the same. One thing that this reviewer loves if this performer which is why I asked to read and review this talented man’s biography who is totally unique and different from others in the field of music. Breaking every music boundary and definitely developing a style so different and unique author Ronin Ro takes the reader on a journey back to where it all began as we learn about his talented singer, musician and man of many masks or hidden faces. From the start he had several strikes against him. Being short in stature received him much ridicule and harassing in school. A father that wanted to become a piano playing star and a mother whose aspirations were cut short because of family obligations, Prince decided to leave home at an early age and pursue his music career. At the age of 17 he caught his first break when he became friends with Chris Moon who had wrote songs, had faith in Prince and managed to get his first demo recorded. Prince played all of the instruments, produced his own records and was totally in control of how he wanted things done. Not focusing primarily on the piano, he began playing bass, drums, lead guitar and adding vocal tracks. Mystifying those that heard him and astounding the studio tech and he orchestrated, created and wrote the words, chapters and book so to speak that would be his life. But, at seventeen he was unstoppable and even though he did not have the total confidence he does today being in the limelight, he hid it behind his mask of fear. Going to New York would change things for him as he was offered not one but two contracts. But, as the contracts and offers came in Prince wanted total control of everything including how the music was played, the instruments he used and those allowed to voice any opinions. He became more difficult to work with although many thought him talented. Not wanting to be branded as black made it more challenging to promote him yet his first album signing scored over 3000 screaming kids. In order to try and corner the black market Warner Brothers sent the media publicity materials. Black teen magazines, editors and writers wanted to feature Prince. Next, Warner provided money for a small tour and with the help of his cousin Charlie he created and formed his own band. Next, to prove his talent he needed his first show. In 1978 Prince released his album For You playing every instrument himself. But, he still went over the allotted budget for this project. IN 1979 he released another album where his fame and popularity skyrocketed due to one hit song, “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” This particular song enabled him to make an appearance on everyone’s favorite show American Bandstand. Imagine meeting Dick Clark that to me has to be the greatest honor. Of course being a fan of Prince I even listened to the original recordings on UTube of his music. Creating his own visions and incorporating his ideas into every song, video and concert, Prince rebuilt and reinvented himself over and over again showing the public and his critics a different side or face of Prince each time he performed. Outrageous in his appearance, overbearing, zealous, focused, distracted at times this megastar was unpredictable, highly motivated and yet hiding his real self behind so many different faces or as the author states in his title Masks. Prince had many hidden fears. He would often pray that audiences would accept and like him. Managers that could not control or deal with him or the stress that went with working with him. Never allowing anyone to upstage him, walking off stage and finding his way onto a plane to start another project, Prince was truly as one album was titled: A Controversy. Competition made his pulse. Michael Jackson came on the scene and provided Prince with the momentum, impetus and energy to forge ahead and create more albums, concerts, begin a movie and become totally unstoppable. His song, “ Little Red Corvette,” was one of his success and each album produced was better than the one before and each theme unique and different. Tours, concerts, the song Purple Rain and dealing with many managers who left him, performers he had to replace and creating band after band to suit his needs and desires for each project, Prince did not have to write I Am A Star, he was one already. Throughout the novel you hear the voice of the author narrating the detailed events of this star’s life. Included and interspersed he adds the artist’s words and thoughts for the reader to really begin to understand Prince, his fears, his desires, goals and aspirations in his own words. The competition between Prince and Jackson did heat up and the distance between him and his father narrowed as they finally came to an understanding and began working together. A rift with this bodyguard changed things and severed their relationship. Just how you need to learn the facts for yourself. His next film being cast and imagine wanting Madonna to play the rich girl in it. He came so far and was really soaring over the top. Girlfriend in hand, next movie to be released and hoping to get Under the Cherry Moon done, Prince tried his best to include Susannah in The Family. Paul Peterson cast in the movie, contracts that remained unsigned and tensions that would rise before all was said and done. One thing that rings true throughout his career is how he remained loyal to his father allowing him to movie into his purple place on Kiowa Drive and made sure his mother was taken care of too. That would endear everyone to him and much more and let’s not forget his sister, Tyka too. But, what deflated his ego were the reviews he received from the media. Personalities coming into play, those loyal to him not really there, others needing to be replaced Prince’s career took many upward and downward turns on his spiral staircase to success. The author relates all of his experiences, his concerts, his movies and much more in this in-depth biography of the life of a man who still brings the house down just walking on stage or when you hear the name Prince. The death of a close friend brought things into perspective the reasons really heartbreaking. Next, the movie Graffiti Bridge and then let’s go to part three The Retreat before bringing it all to a close. However, the reviews were not very gratifying and the plot was said to be feeble and the description not flattering. Graffiti Bridge opened nationally and the reviews were not what he expected. Next, the change of managers and another album for Warner and love the title: Diamonds and Pearls. There is so much more that the author included in this biography it would take another review to tell it all. Private and to himself those around him thought this was the concept for his album’s fictional story. At thirty- five he referred to himself as a symbol and the reason why and the reaction you can learn when you read Chapter 32. The final chapters tell how he began being known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince instead of the glyph combination of male and female symbols. Problems with Warner Bros over his artistic creativity, conflicts that soared and Prince protesting many situations in public Prince once again showed the world and the recording companies who was in charge. The summer of 1994 would change things when the parties The summer of 1994 would change things when the parties The summer of 1994 would change things when the parties came to an agreement where Prince would be able to leave the Warner Bros. label after completing two more albums where the Gold Experience received outstanding reviews. More albums and more successes but I cannot reveal it all because that would not leave anything for you the reader to experience for yourself. In 1996 he signed a distribution agreement with EMI- Capitol Records which released a triple CD called Emancipation. Believe it or not he got married the following year and had a son who died hours after being born leaving a great impact in this talented man. The rest of his story His return and the author’s final thoughts you can learn as his comeback came in 2007 when five hundred reporters packed the Miami convention Center for the Pepsi Super Bowl and Prince found himself as the headline for the event. The rest my dear readers is History. Passionate, determined, talented, focused, still at the top of his game and definitely one of my favorite singers in the world marked by my favorite color Purple. Prince is a legend and his work is memorable. This book is a definite tribute to the life of this outstanding artist and for those of us that love Prince: Read the book. The interesting last piece of information I want to share is that Prince was the one who helped Michael Jackson learn how to best stage his comeback. Kindhearted, appreciative of all that he has received he is truly a voice that will always and should always be heard. Thank you Ronin Ro for writing this book and thank you to St. Martens for sending me this outstanding book to review. Fran Lewis: reviewer THIS BOOK GETS FIVE PURPLE AND GOLD STARS

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evan Leigh Warren

    A thorough rendering of the dedication to craft Prince developed from his debut all the way to the end of his career. This is straight journalism regarding his professional relationships that gives the reader a vivid portrait of how difficult is the life of a recording artist. Prince was groundbreaking on many levels. Paving the way for artists to sell their works directly to their listeners years ahead of the internet. The risks he took with his own image were unprecedented. The setbacks he end A thorough rendering of the dedication to craft Prince developed from his debut all the way to the end of his career. This is straight journalism regarding his professional relationships that gives the reader a vivid portrait of how difficult is the life of a recording artist. Prince was groundbreaking on many levels. Paving the way for artists to sell their works directly to their listeners years ahead of the internet. The risks he took with his own image were unprecedented. The setbacks he endured were never due to a lack of creativity on his part, but on the short sighted money men at the corporate end. I felt Ronin Ro gave insights into Prince's process that enlighten his listeners greatly. I found the account given here to be full of honest opinions and the adversity never ending. A must read especially for anyone new to Prince's music.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I am giving it a 1 star, not because it was poorly written, but because it was BORING. Prince was such a fascinating man and this book had zero feeling or emotions behind it. It was like reading a 5th graders essay, just the facts and super monotone. Prince was a colorful, iconic, mysterious man. This was just a list of things he did in the order he did them. I felt nothing. I love music biographies. This is the only one I have ever given a low rating to, simply because I don't think the author I am giving it a 1 star, not because it was poorly written, but because it was BORING. Prince was such a fascinating man and this book had zero feeling or emotions behind it. It was like reading a 5th graders essay, just the facts and super monotone. Prince was a colorful, iconic, mysterious man. This was just a list of things he did in the order he did them. I felt nothing. I love music biographies. This is the only one I have ever given a low rating to, simply because I don't think the author even liked Prince after reading this. Also....why no pictures? This makes no sense. I'm not saying it needs to be fully a picture book, but a few just to mark his main phases. Anyway it's a no for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Clint

    A lot of what you think about biographies has to do with what you think about the subject of the biography. I know there are fans of Prince in the world bigger than me, I've just never met one in real life. Did I learn anything from this book that I didn't already know? A few details, actually, especially regarding the fight with Warner (where I thought he was wrong about half the time haha), and I've never seen hi portrayed as such an impossible asshole before, but I don't doubt he was probably A lot of what you think about biographies has to do with what you think about the subject of the biography. I know there are fans of Prince in the world bigger than me, I've just never met one in real life. Did I learn anything from this book that I didn't already know? A few details, actually, especially regarding the fight with Warner (where I thought he was wrong about half the time haha), and I've never seen hi portrayed as such an impossible asshole before, but I don't doubt he was probably hell to get along with or even be around. One weird thing about this book, the very cover says 1958-2016, but the book ends just after the release of Lotusflow3r and MPLSound, which was in 2009. I guess it was just a reprint of a book that came out then, with a new subtitle on the cover. If you want to know about 20Ten, or the mysterious four year gap between that and the two albums he released at once in 2014, you're SOL.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Provides more of a music critique than a bio. Started well but became more of an opinion piece as it progressed. I didn't find all things presented as facts to be complete truths as some of the persons involved have told fuller stories that could have been used considering he does a lot quotes from magazine articles including those from Prince himself. I appreciate the music tie in to Prince's story, but I wanted more with the personal story. It came through in tidbits as opposed to fullness. As Provides more of a music critique than a bio. Started well but became more of an opinion piece as it progressed. I didn't find all things presented as facts to be complete truths as some of the persons involved have told fuller stories that could have been used considering he does a lot quotes from magazine articles including those from Prince himself. I appreciate the music tie in to Prince's story, but I wanted more with the personal story. It came through in tidbits as opposed to fullness. As a fan I was insulted a few times as we were attacked by outdated descriptions from someone who seems to not understand why fans continued to follow Prince's career. Which gives me a feeling that the author didn't understand Prince at all.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I can't bring myself to finish reading this book. It reads fine, but when Loyce Houlton is referred to as just a lady who worked with a dance company (she was the founder and director of Minnesota Dance Theater for decades and was important in Prince's early career, this is easily Google-able), you know the research is downright lazy. There are other anecdotes that conflict with other reports of the same thing. If I didn't know anything about Prince or the Minneapolis scene, I'd probably enjoy t I can't bring myself to finish reading this book. It reads fine, but when Loyce Houlton is referred to as just a lady who worked with a dance company (she was the founder and director of Minnesota Dance Theater for decades and was important in Prince's early career, this is easily Google-able), you know the research is downright lazy. There are other anecdotes that conflict with other reports of the same thing. If I didn't know anything about Prince or the Minneapolis scene, I'd probably enjoy the book a great deal. But reading it and thinking "that ain't right" makes me wary of continuing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    even though I adore the music and talent of Prince Nelson. I can honestly say that I truly would not have liked being around him. But this book was horrific. I mean the first part was truly wonderful because it was the story of his life but once he became famous this author only wrote about the music the tours and the crazy management. No longer was Prince a person. Instead he was a commodity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erik Ryberg

    Certainly want to have a decent knowledge of Prince before reading this. It is less about the music and songs than about his life. The author is quite balanced with his views, this is neither a hagiography nor an attack upon him, but seems to take the ups and the downs, report them as such and move on to the next stage in his life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

    Really well-researched and exhaustively listened to (I can't believe the author actually listened to "Crystal Ball," for example) but ultimately without a coherent structure or organizing principle. I suspect this may be because Prince doesn't give interviews and lives a pretty disordered life, but compared to a book like "Shakey" or "Petty" it feels a bit slight.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Yetta Yvette

    I've always been a huge fan of Prince. Because of his music, style, and creativeness. I love this book because, I found out valuable information that I did not know about him, like his journey and how he propelled to succeed as an artist. It would have been even better, if the author would have included a few pictures. Overall good read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott Dagenhart

    I picked up on a whim for ~$6 with a Barnes and Noble gift certificate, and was blown away. I've read a number of books about Prince, but was impressed at the detail with which this one focused on how his recordings came together/fell apart.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rick Christiansen

    I mean it was factual. I can't deny that. Great overview of his life as a musician. I still know very little about Prince even after reading 400 pages about his music. Interestingly enough, I was rarely if ever bored by the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    G Scott

    A good overall sketch of a pioneer and an enigma.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vernon Jr.

    Fascinating read, but writing bogged down at times

  28. 4 out of 5

    Murray

    Great subject. Lackluster book. Although some of the details about the (dying) record industry were interesting. I must really like Prince a lot, though, since I went as him for Halloween 1984.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Being completely unbiased and objective, I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars, but given the subject, I crave new facts, stories, theories, etc. Not the best-written of books, some of the author's album/song reviews came up short (claiming the song "Graffiti Bridge" grand and epic nearly disqualifies him from further comment), comparing certain songs to other songs (that I saw no similarities) and sometimes just rehashing/restating the songs lyrics. But, hey, it's 350+ pages of the Purple One. Goo Being completely unbiased and objective, I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars, but given the subject, I crave new facts, stories, theories, etc. Not the best-written of books, some of the author's album/song reviews came up short (claiming the song "Graffiti Bridge" grand and epic nearly disqualifies him from further comment), comparing certain songs to other songs (that I saw no similarities) and sometimes just rehashing/restating the songs lyrics. But, hey, it's 350+ pages of the Purple One. Good enough for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wes Hazard

    A solid, fairly comprehensive bio, written in clean and fairly clinical prose. As Prince himself wasn't involved in the project it includes extensive quotes from outside sources (other biographies, previously published articles and interviews, quotes from people Prince hasn't talked to in 20 years). If you're looking for a general biographical/artistic overview that covers everything from childhood-->the rise-->stardom-->name change-->renaissance I'd say go with this. It's basically a book lengt A solid, fairly comprehensive bio, written in clean and fairly clinical prose. As Prince himself wasn't involved in the project it includes extensive quotes from outside sources (other biographies, previously published articles and interviews, quotes from people Prince hasn't talked to in 20 years). If you're looking for a general biographical/artistic overview that covers everything from childhood-->the rise-->stardom-->name change-->renaissance I'd say go with this. It's basically a book length Spin article about the man, the myth, the LEGEND. Some Choice Quotes (mostly about Rick James): “When Prince finally performed, Rick James said, ‘I felt sorry for him.’ He was a ‘little dude’ in high heels and a trench coat, standing in one spot on stage while playing New Wave. ‘Then at the end of his set he’d take off his trench coat and he’d be wearing little girl’s bloomers.’ James laughed. Men in the audience ‘just booed this poor thing to death.’ He let Prince keep opening—but he came to regret it.” (42) "The tour with Rick James continued, and so did the bedevilment. Eventually, James's frustrations boiled over. He told Prince's manager if he stole any more of James's moves he was off the tour. Another day, both managers and bands had a meeting. In Prince's room, James's band--tall men in braids and leather-- sat at one side, James explained, while Prince's band-- 'in eyelashes and makeup'--sat at the other looking 'very afraid.' James's band seemed ready to physically attack." (45) “Yet, despite alleged tensions—apparently caused by James himself—James invited them all to his birthday party. Prince attended that night and sat at a table but didn’t drink. James, who loved partying almost as much as funk, claimed he then walked up, grabbed the back of Prince’s hair, and forced cognac into his mouth. ‘He spit it out like a little bitch and laughed and walked away,’ James claimed in print. He loved, James admitted, ‘fucking with him like that.” (45) “Jackson’s Thriller continued to sell. But Warner had their own slick-haired black musician in shiny clothes.” (75) “Before twenty thousand of his own fans in Tulsa, John Cougar ran backstage for his cassette deck, then played a tape of “Little Red Corvette” into his microphone. Cougar kept trying, unsuccessfully, to invite Prince onto his new album. (75)

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