The Beautiful Ones
From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time—featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death. Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era. The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to each of the book’s images. This work is not just a tribute to Prince, but an original and energizing literary work, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image, his undying gift to the world.

The Beautiful Ones Details

TitleThe Beautiful Ones
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 29th, 2019
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
ISBN-139780399589652
Rating
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Biography Memoir

The Beautiful Ones Review

  • Casey Rain
    January 1, 1970
    Prince's unfinished memoir is captured here, in The Beautiful Ones, out now on Penguin Random House. It’s a stunning package, but a difficult proposition. It’s not his memoir. It’s partly that. It’s not a photo book, but it’s partly that. And it’s not a no-hold-barred insight into the man himself, although again — it’s partly that. What we have here is a package created with struggles, but with love. What he wrote of his memoir, combined with unseen photos, lyric sheets, notes, and the original Prince's unfinished memoir is captured here, in The Beautiful Ones, out now on Penguin Random House. It’s a stunning package, but a difficult proposition. It’s not his memoir. It’s partly that. It’s not a photo book, but it’s partly that. And it’s not a no-hold-barred insight into the man himself, although again — it’s partly that. What we have here is a package created with struggles, but with love. What he wrote of his memoir, combined with unseen photos, lyric sheets, notes, and the original handwritten treatment for the movie Purple Rain. Prince’s memoir, and the story of how it came about, told by editor Dan Piepenbring, are heartfelt, real words that should be read with care and understanding, and thus it almost doesn’t matter that this book is unconventional. Prince was unconventional. Prince defied normal concepts of time and music. And in this book, we get just enough of a peek behind the purple curtain to leave his mystery intact. Perhaps, in a way, that’s what he would have wanted from this book. Prince’s insights into power, ownership, blackness, music industry conglomerates, and his own troubled childhood are enough for us to understand some of the key tenets of who he really was. And as for the rest? Well — it already exists, in the seemingly endless, iconic, and diverse catalog of music that he released in his 57 years on this planet. And with all the unreleased music in his legendary vault, we’ll still be hearing his story play out for many years to come.
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  • Jay Gabler
    January 1, 1970
    It's impossible to know what Prince would have made of the book just published under his byline, and it's probably best not to speculate...but you have to imagine he'd be happy to feel the weight of it. Both literally and figuratively, it's a heavy book, its 280 pages printed on substantial stock and bound between purple covers with a gold dust jacket.The Beautiful Ones is one of the signal publishing events of 2019, and it's also one of the most poignant. In the last months, indeed the very/>The It's impossible to know what Prince would have made of the book just published under his byline, and it's probably best not to speculate...but you have to imagine he'd be happy to feel the weight of it. Both literally and figuratively, it's a heavy book, its 280 pages printed on substantial stock and bound between purple covers with a gold dust jacket.The Beautiful Ones is one of the signal publishing events of 2019, and it's also one of the most poignant. In the last months, indeed the very last days, of his too-short life Prince was actively working on a book project that was, even by the iconic musician's own high standards, ambitious."Can we write a book that solves racism?" he asked his collaborator Dan Piepenbring.Of course Prince didn't actually think he was about to solve racism with a single book — he didn't even wait for Piepenbring to venture an answer before peppering him with another question — but he was certainly thinking about his memoir as an opportunity to advance high-level conversations around race, music, and creativity.For all its author's vast vision, the book is most crucial in the way it brings Prince down to earth. I reviewed The Beautiful Ones for The Current.
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  • Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
    January 1, 1970
    ”Those considered “different” R the ones most interesting 2 us.” 5 stars. Such a bittersweet read. I’ve been anticipating this book since it’s announcement years ago when Prince was still alive. Reading it now, with him no longer here and this being unfinished made it so somber. I can’t even imagine what all he would’ve done with this book but for what we got it was still a really beautiful (no pun intended) read. I loved that there were a lot of notes and letters in his handwriting and all of the ”Those considered “different” R the ones most interesting 2 us.” 5 stars. Such a bittersweet read. I’ve been anticipating this book since it’s announcement years ago when Prince was still alive. Reading it now, with him no longer here and this being unfinished made it so somber. I can’t even imagine what all he would’ve done with this book but for what we got it was still a really beautiful (no pun intended) read. I loved that there were a lot of notes and letters in his handwriting and all of the personal family photos were a great addition. I already look forward to reading it again and picking up a little things I might’ve missed the first time around. If you are a fan of Prince, of course I recommend this book 1000%, just don’t listen to his first album For You while doing so like I did because you will shed tears. Trust me I know.There will never be another Prince so seeing just a little bit of a more personal side to him and hear his story in his own words was a gift. This was well worth the wait.
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  • La Vida Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I NEED MORE! This book contains 26-pages that Prince wrote intended for his memoir. It's just not enough. The rest of the book features handwritten song lyrics from some of his early songs in the 70s and 80s and quotes from magazine interviews he did and lots of photos; many of them never-before-seen from the 70s and early 80s. How badly I wish he was able to finish this as it started off so beautifully. It was a tribute to his parents. I absolutely loved the anecdotal stories he told of his you I NEED MORE! This book contains 26-pages that Prince wrote intended for his memoir. It's just not enough. The rest of the book features handwritten song lyrics from some of his early songs in the 70s and 80s and quotes from magazine interviews he did and lots of photos; many of them never-before-seen from the 70s and early 80s. How badly I wish he was able to finish this as it started off so beautifully. It was a tribute to his parents. I absolutely loved the anecdotal stories he told of his youth. He was everything you'd expect someone like Prince to be as a boy and young man: the smartest person in the room. He seemingly remained so for the duration of his life. Had he lived to complete it, this book would have been quite a labor of love for him. I truly believe that. Towards the end of his life, he began to be very introspective and this was very apparent during his last tour, Piano & A Microphone. He reflected a lot on his life and the people that came in and out of it over the years. But mostly, I think the purpose of this memoir was to set the record straight about who he was and everything that influenced this, beginning with his parents. I think this is especially true of his father. Both of his parents played a profoundly important role in his life and in a positive way. I think people might be surprised by that because what many fans think is that his family life was similar to the one depicted in the movie "Purple Rain". Anyway, as a lifelong fan of Prince (starting at age 7), I appreciate even getting a little bit of his story from his own words. This was an emotional read for me because it signaled a sort of final goodbye. It's been over 3 years now since his death and I'm honestly still not over it. I don't think I'll ever be, but in a way, I feel like this memoir sort of helped with a bit of closure, although it wasn't finished. No matter what though, the music and spirit of Prince will be around forever. I'm confident about that. He was indeed an enigma and I'm so grateful I got to live in his lifetime and got to seem him perform live a few times. I can still remember thinking during the last time I saw him perform in 2015 that I couldn't believe we were in the same room, breathing the same air, at the same time haha I'm such a Prince stan and I'll forever remain one. I experienced the funk and it will live within me until I take my last breath. Love you, P! Read this book!
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    It's hard to know what to say. I was left feeling very sad and empty after quickly devouring this book. The opening chapter by Dan Piepenbring about how this book began to come together through his collaborations with Prince in early 2016 is fascinating and gripping. The suspense builds aptly for Part 2, the unreleased chapters written by Prince himself. When I read first few lines of those chapters, I burst into tears so quickly. I don't want to spoil it, but the way he chose to open his memoir It's hard to know what to say. I was left feeling very sad and empty after quickly devouring this book. The opening chapter by Dan Piepenbring about how this book began to come together through his collaborations with Prince in early 2016 is fascinating and gripping. The suspense builds aptly for Part 2, the unreleased chapters written by Prince himself. When I read first few lines of those chapters, I burst into tears so quickly. I don't want to spoil it, but the way he chose to open his memoir was so beautiful, so simple, so disarming. Prince comes through so clearly in these few pages he managed to get finished, all of his childlike joy, his humour, his love of sex, of women and of God, all of his funk - all the things we loved. They are well worth reading. He recounts his childhood, his complicated relationship with his parents, his first few girlfriends, his burgeoning joy of music. Pointedly, he muses on the nature of love and what it means for two people to come together as one - then suddenly it ends, at a point in the story when he's barely out of puberty. At this point, I realised that I had read the whole book up to this point with my hand covering my mouth, a kind of shock reaction of some kind. The grief had come back. From this point on, we're left feeling voyeuristic till the end of this sad little collection. There's a cute photo album from 1978, a couple of lyric sheets, an original plot summary for the Purple Rain movie. It's interesting stuff, but it's what it is: padding. The so-called 'The Beautiful Ones' just doesn't pass muster as a cohesive whole. I feel like they should have ended this book after the first two sections or just not published it at all. You can only imagine how this could've turned out if he had finished it. Who can say?
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  • LeeTravelGoddess
    January 1, 1970
    Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo, this book has THEEEE longest introduction EVER, in the whole world... how selfish Dan, this story isn’t about you! I got the audiobook cause I thought it was going down but NOPE. Esperanza Spalding read the book and while I THOROUGHLY enjoy her music, she can’t read a damn thing to me. Sorry E 😬. This book is priced together as if held together by gorilla glue, WHEW LORD! Three people read the 3 hour audiobook. THREE PEOPLE, THREE HOURS, SAME MAN, ONE BOOK... chiiiii Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo, this book has THEEEE longest introduction EVER, in the whole world... how selfish Dan, this story isn’t about you! I got the audiobook cause I thought it was going down but NOPE. Esperanza Spalding read the book and while I THOROUGHLY enjoy her music, she can’t read a damn thing to me. Sorry E 😬. This book is priced together as if held together by gorilla glue, WHEW LORD! Three people read the 3 hour audiobook. THREE PEOPLE, THREE HOURS, SAME MAN, ONE BOOK... chiiiiiiiiiilllllleee BYE! And Dan takes up 1:46:00 of it, HA! Prince would not have wanted this fractured work to be put out in his name. If you want a complete, whole, finished, wonderfully thought through memoir... go read Morris Day’s “On Time” or even Mayte’s “The Most Beautiful” she loved Prince, she put her heart and soul into that book. Overall, MEH... it’s just a struggle for me, a fan of Prince, to believe that this or even a fraction of this to be a reflection of Prince— maybe I don’t understand it 🤷🏽‍♀️. Maybe cut out Dan’s recount... it’s unnecessary because Prince is no longer here to combat or edit?? Or maybe he should have put it at the end of the book & don’t call it an introduction cause two hours, my guy, is NOT an intro but an endless epitaph... but I’m no writer— also, there are TONS of Prince celebrity fans, have them say something about him between each chapter, COMPLETE THE BOOK BEFORE YOU DROP IT TO GET PAID. The back and forth of voices REALLY sucked; I know Prince was a Gemini but DAMN! Y’all really DID TEW MUCH 😡. I’m returning it. YIKES!
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Obviously, I was going to give this book five stars from the second Prince announced it. But these five stars are deserved. Prince’s autobiographical section is quite slight. But in so few pages, he brings his charm, wit and astuteness. His words provide insight about his formative years. And Dan Piepenbring's introduction is a delight. We will never know what could have been. But I am thankful for the small amount that was shared.
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  • Homa
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful book.
  • David Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    You can't knock stars off it for being incomplete. What I, for one, would give for it to possibly have been completed. It means he would still be here for us.
  • Book Reviews By Tara
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not a memoir written by Prince! This is a biography written by Dan Piepenbring. I am highly disappointed with this book. The information within these pages was not approved, or provided by Prince for the purpose of producing this particular book. A memoir is a book written by an individual who has chosen to share the details of his or her life. Prince did not write these details to be published in this way. The pictures and paraphernalia in the book was acquired after his death. So This book is not a memoir written by Prince! This is a biography written by Dan Piepenbring. I am highly disappointed with this book. The information within these pages was not approved, or provided by Prince for the purpose of producing this particular book. A memoir is a book written by an individual who has chosen to share the details of his or her life. Prince did not write these details to be published in this way. The pictures and paraphernalia in the book was acquired after his death. So without his permission how could this be his memoir? Inquiring minds want to know🧐!There is so much in this book that I am bothered by. Beginning with the cover picture. As a true Prince fan I am 100% sure Prince would not have chosen that picture for his book cover. Next, there are way too many blank pages. Also, the photos and photo details are in two separate places. A description each photo can be found in the back of the book, instead of being placed on the same page as the picture🤦🏽‍♀️. Furthermore, the first 47 pages of the book is written by someone other than Prince. And the list goes on & on.When I first heard Prince’s memoir would be released I was beyond happy. But then, within the first 80 pages I knew this was not what Prince had intended for his book. This is not Prince’s vision. Clearly Prince did not leave behind enough content to adequately write this book. Therefore, the publisher did whatever they could to stretch this book out. As a Prince fan I am very unhappy with what I have read. My displeasure is mainly because Prince is named author of the book. But that is not true. I believe the publisher should call this book what it is...a biography! Then maybe I will be able to appreciate it’s content.
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  • Ka’leneReads
    January 1, 1970
    So unfortunate for us Prince did not get to C this thru....Memories R Good
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    This is not a memoir. It should have been a feature story in Rolling Stone or any number of literary journals. The sketches that are actually written by Prince are fleeting, still mostly unformed, but engaging and worth reading because of the singularity of the talent. Dan Piepenbring's introduction (half the book, really) is illuminating, but again, probably only worthy of a podcast, article or interview and not a book sold as "by Prince." Prince talks about being an alpha creatively, knowing w This is not a memoir. It should have been a feature story in Rolling Stone or any number of literary journals. The sketches that are actually written by Prince are fleeting, still mostly unformed, but engaging and worth reading because of the singularity of the talent. Dan Piepenbring's introduction (half the book, really) is illuminating, but again, probably only worthy of a podcast, article or interview and not a book sold as "by Prince." Prince talks about being an alpha creatively, knowing what he wanted, and I'm guessing this book would make the Purple One puke. Fortunately, there's no way to please or displease the dead.
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  • C.C.
    January 1, 1970
    This is a quick read, but you won't quickly forget how it makes you feel. As a fan, it was amazing to see Prince's handwritten notes, lyrics, and memories. But, also as a fan, it is painful to imagine how amazing this memoir would have been if he had lived long enough to complete it. The vision he had for everything was on a whole other level than us mere mortals and I wished we had been able to see the finished product. Any lover of music, creativity or Prince will love this book.
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  • Richard Kriheli
    January 1, 1970
    Aw man, this book is great. So sad to read as it's only a taste of what was to come, which ultimately didn't. Prince has a good handle of storytelling, a lot better than I expected. Thank you to Dan Piepenbring for assembling this and helping Prince put out his first mini-draft of things for us all. I wish he were around to complete it.
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  • Nate Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    A bittersweet read, of course, but one that I'm glad saw the light of day.Reading his words, his thoughts, his secrets...this was like a diary of one of the most prolific songwriters of all time.I miss him more now.
  • Shani
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful!I love it... I love Prince! I especially loved the copies of the lyrics! I truly miss this genius of a man!
  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful and way too brief Bitterr sweet reading his royal badness's final musings ..genius as ever ..RIP Mr Nelson- an eternal artist for sure .
  • Sean Pfile
    January 1, 1970
    Must read 4 anyone who appreciates music......The only reason it does not get a 5th star, is bcuz it is tragically incomplete...a must read 4 anyone who 💓's music.
  • Ana Santos
    January 1, 1970
    WHY DID PRINCE NAME HIS MEMOIR THE BEAUTIFUL ONES?Prince wrote thousands of songs so why did he choose ‘The Beautiful Ones’ to be the title of his memoir? Was it his favourite song? What and who is the song about? Before you can review a book, you need to know the background.The introduction by Dan Piepenbring offers insight into how Prince wanted his first book to be. He told Dan exactly what he wanted and he delivered. This is not your typical memoir but when the subjec WHY DID PRINCE NAME HIS MEMOIR THE BEAUTIFUL ONES?Prince wrote thousands of songs so why did he choose ‘The Beautiful Ones’ to be the title of his memoir? Was it his favourite song? What and who is the song about? Before you can review a book, you need to know the background.The introduction by Dan Piepenbring offers insight into how Prince wanted his first book to be. He told Dan exactly what he wanted and he delivered. This is not your typical memoir but when the subject is someone like Prince, that’s to be expected. There are only 7 chapters in Prince’s own handwriting. Countless people say his memoir is incomplete but perhaps it was complete in Prince’s mind.Like all creation, it must start at the beginning. Prince reveals his first memory as seeing his mother’s eyes. He then details living with his dysfunctional parents and his own experiences finding puppy love with his school girlfriends. The overall theme is how his parent’s disparate personalities impacted on Prince’s life. Those closest to us will influence our spiritual lives. Prince’s father read the bible daily. Prince’s mother was a fun-loving woman who didn’t like order. The foundation of a marriage determines whether it will last until death. Prince wrote that parents should stay together because marriage is God’s intended design. Prince’s own development from puberty into a young adult was in contrast to his father’s teaching. His first real girlfriend was exactly what his father warned him against. Reflecting on this later on in life, Prince realised that biblical love needed to be at the core of a successful relationship. Prince wrote his memoir on the 14th anniversary of his mother’s death. It was also the death of his dear friend, Denise Matthews, famously known as Vanity. Both had died of similar health issues. Both were headstrong. They both loved their Princes but refused to submit to them. During the song Adore at the Melbourne show, he said about Vanity: “She loved me for the artist I was and I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.”In Prince’s final conversation with Dan, he wanted to break down the song, “When Doves Cry” lyric by lyric. The song relates to both his mother and Vanity. He was like his father and Vanity was like his mother. He makes reference to the Bible many times throughout his memoir but in particular, the Song of Solomon. It appears he has taken inspiration from this book. In verse 1:15 it reads: “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” In Chapter 2:10 we see the mention of ‘my darling, my beautiful one” The most important reason he wrote the book was to take hold of the narrative of his life. As he states in the book, everything seems coded, but there are levels of meaning. When you’re familiar with his music this book helps you to further understand his spirit. To the majority he will remain the mysterious musical genius. This memoir is a genuine glimpse into the personal and private side of that musical genius.
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  • Caterina Pierre
    January 1, 1970
    It is difficult to review a book that you know was not completed entirely as it was intended. However, given the situation, I thought that The Beautiful Ones was as complete a work of art as could be imagined. The book is comprised of four parts: Dan Piepenbring’s introduction (already published in an edited version in a recent issue of the New Yorker), followed by a complete photographic copy of Prince’s handwritten manuscript, followed by a printed copy of the same; in the second section (call It is difficult to review a book that you know was not completed entirely as it was intended. However, given the situation, I thought that The Beautiful Ones was as complete a work of art as could be imagined. The book is comprised of four parts: Dan Piepenbring’s introduction (already published in an edited version in a recent issue of the New Yorker), followed by a complete photographic copy of Prince’s handwritten manuscript, followed by a printed copy of the same; in the second section (called For You) photos from a completely reprinted photo book that Prince made in 1977 are presented, followed by photos of handwritten lyric pages; this was followed by more photos and lyrics in a section called “Controversy”; and a final section (Baby I’m a Star) that reprints both the original handwritten treatment for the film Purple Rain, followed by a typed version of the same, with additional photos and lyrics. The book ends with extended notes on the photographs and lyric pages. So: it is part memoir and part photo book. In terms of “The Beautiful Ones,” we can see that Prince was as good a storyteller as he was a lyricist. His endearment for both of his parents rings deep and true. I was sad that they weren’t alive to read it. We also are given a glimpse of his first loves: music and girls, his first kiss, his more serious first crushes. Who were these women? Where are they now? How amazing it is that he remembered them all so fondly, and with such clarity. For all Prince’s turn towards a more monastic life, even at the end he wanted to discuss his sexual awakening. Prince scholars and fans will also learn a lot from the book, in terms of how he changed lyrics and how his original ideas for the film Purple Rain were softened and given nuance by Albert Magnoli. I think one of the most telling, and heartbreaking, aspects of the book was that we learn that most of the photos and lyrics and materials pictured in the book were kept at Paisley Park, on dressers, in frames, and in his vault. The fact that he kept a picture of his mother and himself at age two months in the vault for safe keeping was deeply moving. The fact that at the time of his death, he had a framed picture of himself with his late bodyguard Big Chick on his dressing room table was a beautiful revelation. He kept his father’s wallet, intact. He kept his own Prince memorabilia, proofs from Warner Brothers, vinyl labels, contact sheets. Prince, like the rest of us, missed his parents and his friends, and I lament only that he did not have enough time left to really get into his story and his beliefs about life, love, race, and all of us, his fans, too. But you know what they say about the beautiful ones; we always seem to lose.
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  • Cynthia Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    This book by definition couldn't be 5 stars, because it was necessarily, heartbreakingly incomplete. But Dan Piepenbring could have done more justice to the material he did have. Piepenbring's propensity to toss in a 50 cent word where a simpler word would do is distracting. For example, he uses the word "plangent" to describe the quiet and reflective song "Sometimes it Snows in April". I have a relatively large vocabulary, and I was a musician in my youth, but I had never encountered this word. This book by definition couldn't be 5 stars, because it was necessarily, heartbreakingly incomplete. But Dan Piepenbring could have done more justice to the material he did have. Piepenbring's propensity to toss in a 50 cent word where a simpler word would do is distracting. For example, he uses the word "plangent" to describe the quiet and reflective song "Sometimes it Snows in April". I have a relatively large vocabulary, and I was a musician in my youth, but I had never encountered this word. It's jarring to have to stop reading in order to look something up. And in this case when I did so, the definition ("(of a sound) loud, reverberating, and often melancholy") didn't even fit the song. This unnecessary use of Big Words (TM) may be due to Piepenbring's past as a literary journal editor. This style doesn't work for a popular book.Unsurprisingly, the best parts of the book are the sections that Prince wrote himself. He comes off as funny, warm, and insightful, if sometimes hard to grasp. I am a Prince fam of decades, and I've been exposed to a bunch of unauthorized material, yet I still learned some new things about him. I was surprised at how open he was about the difficulties he had growing up, especially romantically and with his appearance (not only his short stature but his teenage acne). And I got a fuller sense of the way he thought; his trains of thought are more like jazz than funk. He says funk is about rules, but his thinking is not constrained by rules; it's playful, experimental, and loosely associated, making connections that others can't aways anticipate or even follow. Some of the additional materials in the last section of the book (such as photos, song lyrics, a storyboard for a video, and an early script of Purple Rain) were interesting to see, but having to flip to the end notes for any context was annoying. I'm unsure why Piepenbring organized it like this. I don't mean to dump on him. I did appreciate that he is a bona fide Prince fam. It would have been a shame to give this job to a writer who was only passingly familiar with Prince. It was evident throughout that he was respectful and appreciative.After closing this book, I was left with an aching and hollow feeling that is all too familiar to Prince fams. This work does add to our knowedge of Prince, but even more, it serves as yet another reminder of how much we lost when he died. It tantalizes us without really fulfilling its promise.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    In 2014, Prince, entering into a reflective stage of his life, began initial discussions on writing a book. Throughout 2014 and 2015, the concept and narrative of the book would evolve and expand, potentially capturing bold and innovative ideas that Prince wanted to convey. Something that explored his life, yet elevated his mystery, and shared his philosophies on the music industry and systemic racism. The publisher reached out to several potential editors and collaborators skilled enough to tea In 2014, Prince, entering into a reflective stage of his life, began initial discussions on writing a book. Throughout 2014 and 2015, the concept and narrative of the book would evolve and expand, potentially capturing bold and innovative ideas that Prince wanted to convey. Something that explored his life, yet elevated his mystery, and shared his philosophies on the music industry and systemic racism. The publisher reached out to several potential editors and collaborators skilled enough to teach, as well as challenge, Prince about the business of book writing. Ultimately, with no books published to his name, Prince bestowed upon Piepenbring the opportunity to put his life and journey into words, a literary novice who understood Prince’s vision more deeply than the rest. For two months, the two would collaborate and become friends as they would talk over the phone, chill at parties, and even travel to Australia on Prince’s new tour, all the while journeying together to find the heart of Prince’s story Unfortunately, in April 2016, Prince would pass away unexpectedly. Now came the monumentally difficult task of Piepenbring telling Prince’s story, conceptually incomplete, as best he could. While in Australia, Prince had handwritten over 30 pages of a memoir that discussed the inspiration he found in his mother, his appreciation for his father’s musicianship and practicality, as well as the importance of an active imagination when it comes to songwriting and women. Those original pages, as well as the transcription, are presented here. Following Prince’s death, Piepenbring had the opportunity to explore Prince’s home and archive, known as the Vault, to include ephemera to add context to Prince’s concept. In addition to the early stages of the memoir, also included are a photo book documenting Prince producing his first studio album, the original concept to the film “Purple Rain”, as well as plenty of photos and handwritten lyrics. Piepenbring beautifully and eloquently shares the story of how he first became Prince’s writing partner, then his friend. Though brief their friendship was, Piepenbring’s journey with Prince adds a further enigmatic flair to Prince’s already mysterious and otherworldly persona. While the world will never get to see Prince’s grand vision for a book on his life, this is a touching tribute and intimate document.
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  • Francis Coco
    January 1, 1970
    Obviously, I wish Prince had been able to write the memoir he wanted to write. This is not it but I do appreciate the estate putting out what he had started and the photos of his family and personal polaroids were exciting to see. Not to mention the handwritten lyrics of Vagina, which I'd heard there was a song by this name but there hadn't been any information (that I had ever seen) so it was super exciting to see his handwritten lyrics to this song and others and his sketches. Another thing, i Obviously, I wish Prince had been able to write the memoir he wanted to write. This is not it but I do appreciate the estate putting out what he had started and the photos of his family and personal polaroids were exciting to see. Not to mention the handwritten lyrics of Vagina, which I'd heard there was a song by this name but there hadn't been any information (that I had ever seen) so it was super exciting to see his handwritten lyrics to this song and others and his sketches. Another thing, in the few pages written by Prince, I was touched to see just how sweet he was. This didn't always show because he was so private. To find that he remembered the very first little girl who kissed him -- every single kiss- and even her name -- was so sweet. Also, to find that the girls he'd dated before he was famous seemed to mean every bit (maybe even in some cases more) to him than his famous friends and the stunning women he would go on to date and marry - (the high school girls were stunners as well) The love story between his parents was nice also -- and to find that his father still carried pictures of Prince's mother in his billfold years after their divorce was touching -- And they even showed the photos and the billfold! All of this makes this a definate must have for any Prince fan or anyone who wants to know more about Prince and where he comes from. I think, maybe, people who are not big fans and are expecting an actual memoir would be disappointed, as there isn't much from him but fans will appreciate all that there is, no matter how small. I loved the photos from his personal scrapbook with the cute little captions, but I couldn't help but think about, not long ago, coming across an old scrapbook of my own from decades ago and looking over it, thinking how I wouldn't want anyone else reading all my personal quips and things written under some photos (because now looking back, some things I'd written seemed so silly) and I can't help but wonder if Prince would feel the same way. This might have been too personal to share with the world. But, the estate has done a good job with taking the very little he did write and adding to it enough to make it well worth the money and a worthy book to add to your Prince collection. Now if they would just put out the Piano & Microphone shows from before he passed I would be so very happy....
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    So, I finished this in one sitting, then sat back down and read it again. I can’t help but feel that this was a missed opportunity. I absolutely loved Prince’s memories of his childhood and growing to love music and the songs that touched him. Because of the brevity of that work—cut short by his untimely passing, it feels like there should have been more effort made to capture his legacy in this “memoir.” Instead, we get a cut and paste of lyrics, magazine clips, and personal and promotional pho So, I finished this in one sitting, then sat back down and read it again. I can’t help but feel that this was a missed opportunity. I absolutely loved Prince’s memories of his childhood and growing to love music and the songs that touched him. Because of the brevity of that work—cut short by his untimely passing, it feels like there should have been more effort made to capture his legacy in this “memoir.” Instead, we get a cut and paste of lyrics, magazine clips, and personal and promotional photos (and I’ll admit that many of those photos are wonderful!). But where is the story of Prince? He is and was so much more than the handful of handwritten pages copied and then transcribed here. Where are interviews with his contemporaries, his collaborators, and the family and friends to help weave together the greater mythology and reality of The Artist? This feels like a lackluster effort by publisher and estate to create a beautiful package (and it is a lovely book object, to be sure) with little heft (or exertion) in order to pay bills. A whole quarter of this brief book can hardly be considered about Prince at all; it’s merely the one-time coauthor of an unrealized other work writing about his meetings with Prince. And speaking of brief, there is a lot of negative space, underutilized deep margins, and even pages with a single chapter number. What!?!Maybe I expected to much. At least we have a photo book due later this month. My expectations, however, are duly tempered.
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  • Thomas Feng
    January 1, 1970
    was it beautiful? yes. was the material within good? yes. did we need it presented to us this way? I don't know. what we have of Prince's memoir is compelling and thoughtful, but Dan Piepenbring's introduction is longer (they both take 40 pages, but Prince's text is also laden with large pictures that take up a lot of space), and, while beautiful, affects the balance of the narrative...the photo album is sweet; the documents thereafter are interesting but I don't think essential. the was it beautiful? yes. was the material within good? yes. did we need it presented to us this way? I don't know. what we have of Prince's memoir is compelling and thoughtful, but Dan Piepenbring's introduction is longer (they both take 40 pages, but Prince's text is also laden with large pictures that take up a lot of space), and, while beautiful, affects the balance of the narrative...the photo album is sweet; the documents thereafter are interesting but I don't think essential. the captions from interviews with Prince don't add anything, lovely as they are to consider on their own.it feels like a sort of ad hoc reliquary, which is certainly moving, in its own right. I knew that it would be fragmented but also was hoping that the curation of these fragments would coalesce into something greater than the sum of its parts, that maybe an artful arrangement of these pieces could express something other than the loss, the wondering what could have been. it's all the sadder that I don't think it did. maybe it was unfair to expect anything more. or maybe it would make more sense to consider it an elegy rather than a memoir, that be surveying the artifacts we have recovered we can more fully appreciate what we had and what could have been. but I also feel like that's not what we were led to believe this book would be, even if we knew it's not what Prince wanted either.altogether I have to say I was disappointed, even though it was lovely while it lasted.
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  • Nicole Whittaker
    January 1, 1970
    The Beautiful Ones was supposed to be the first and only memoir from Prince, an artist who was notoriously private and loved to leave people guessing. I’m a HUGE Prince fan, so you can understand my excitement when he said he would write about his life and explain everything. Like the one time Prince and Michael Jackson were supposed to work on a project together. Prince said that process was crazy and there were so many bombshells in that story he couldn’t wait to share. Or stories about his pa The Beautiful Ones was supposed to be the first and only memoir from Prince, an artist who was notoriously private and loved to leave people guessing. I’m a HUGE Prince fan, so you can understand my excitement when he said he would write about his life and explain everything. Like the one time Prince and Michael Jackson were supposed to work on a project together. Prince said that process was crazy and there were so many bombshells in that story he couldn’t wait to share. Or stories about his parents and childhood. He said that his mom would always wink at him as if she was sharing a secret only with him, but he later found out she had many many secrets. But what makes this book frustrating and heartbreaking is that Prince passed away only weeks into the writing process, leaving us with glimpses of his life story but nothing else. As a result, the book starts with the first few pages of the memoir Prince started to write, but is also filled with old photos, memorabilia, hand written song lyrics, and the story of how the memoir came to be. As much emptiness as I feel at not being able to hear these amazing stories and learn more about one of my favorite artists, I also find some peace in knowing that Prince was able to keep his life as private as he always had and still leaves all of us guessing
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  • Michelle Jerome
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the insight into Prince's life. We all miss him. It was nice to be able to read this. Some of my favorite quotes from Prince that are in the book:Just start with creating a DAY, then CREATE A LIFE. Outside means being completely free with no ceiling. You NEED someone to SURVIVE. I AM what I AM when I AM The best thing I can say about him is that he made my mother happy. I don't trick people, life is too confusing already.I don’t feel like there’s a lot of people I enjoyed the insight into Prince's life. We all miss him. It was nice to be able to read this. Some of my favorite quotes from Prince that are in the book:Just start with creating a DAY, then CREATE A LIFE. Outside means being completely free with no ceiling. You NEED someone to SURVIVE. I AM what I AM when I AM The best thing I can say about him is that he made my mother happy. I don't trick people, life is too confusing already.I don’t feel like there’s a lot of people out there telling the truth in their musicNo one has had the patience to tame itDo you want fame and fortune and everything that goes with it?Think about what you’re saying, how would you react it was me? or in my words, think about what you’re saying, what advice would you give me if I was telling you the same thing?
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book. Couldn't put it down. It made me smile and think about Prince with admiration, respect, inspiration and grief. I miss him. For what it's worth, this book shares a great story and insight about Prince. It leaves room for the mystery he so loved. Maybe it's a good thing the book is technically not complete? It'll forever make us wonder "What could've been?...". This book is gold and I plan to buy a psychical copy of it. I appreciate the priceless remnants of his past. What made h I love this book. Couldn't put it down. It made me smile and think about Prince with admiration, respect, inspiration and grief. I miss him. For what it's worth, this book shares a great story and insight about Prince. It leaves room for the mystery he so loved. Maybe it's a good thing the book is technically not complete? It'll forever make us wonder "What could've been?...". This book is gold and I plan to buy a psychical copy of it. I appreciate the priceless remnants of his past. What made him, HIM. I enjoyed observing his journey through life. Glimpes into his personality. I'm beyond grateful for all the music he left for us. As well as his old home, Paisley Park. I'm proud to be a fan! Thank you, Prince.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    First off, Prince is one of my all-time favorite artists! But I'm a little disappointed by this book. Because Prince died in the early stages of writing the book we only get to read roughly 28 pages that he actually wrote. The majority of the book is made up of personal photos and handwritten song lyrics that were found in Prince's home after he died. Throughout the book, there are a series of excerpts from magazine and newspaper articles with quotes from Prince. Although I enjoyed the personal First off, Prince is one of my all-time favorite artists! But I'm a little disappointed by this book. Because Prince died in the early stages of writing the book we only get to read roughly 28 pages that he actually wrote. The majority of the book is made up of personal photos and handwritten song lyrics that were found in Prince's home after he died. Throughout the book, there are a series of excerpts from magazine and newspaper articles with quotes from Prince. Although I enjoyed the personal photos, I had hoped this book would delve a little deeper into him personally. Even if Prince were alive to write the entirety of the book I'm not sure he would have even dug too deep into his personal life as he always maintained an air of mystery. Overall, I'm left feeling a bit unsatisfied.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This is more like a 3.5. I'm glad I just got this from the library. I liked Prince's parts but they are so brief and sparse. A lot of the book is background by the guy Prince picked to help him with the book. Then there's the section actually written by Prince and it's about 1/5 of the book with no editing, just his train of thought. Finally, to pad it out, there are photos, handwritten lyrics sheets, and quotes from interviews with Prince over the years of his career. Definitely interesting but This is more like a 3.5. I'm glad I just got this from the library. I liked Prince's parts but they are so brief and sparse. A lot of the book is background by the guy Prince picked to help him with the book. Then there's the section actually written by Prince and it's about 1/5 of the book with no editing, just his train of thought. Finally, to pad it out, there are photos, handwritten lyrics sheets, and quotes from interviews with Prince over the years of his career. Definitely interesting but leaves something to be desired. The Prince Estate is getting ridiculous with the vinyl reissues (I actually had to gracefully bow out of purchasing more due to the expense) and this just seems like another cash grab.
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