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Comment: Ex-library copy with typical stamp, sticker and mylar cover. This book has seen limited use. The mylar cover has some minor shelf wear, but it can be removed if desired. Pages are clean, spine is straight, and binding is solid. Ships direct from Amazon!
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Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Did 10 years of researching the enigmatic Prince pay off? You bet.
For much of the 1980s, Prince was arguably the most important pop musician on the planet. He wasn't an originator, however, but a sponge who could take bits and pieces from different genres and manage to create something uniquely his own. The fact that he could sing well, play expertly on several instruments and wear the hell out of skin-tight leotards didn't hurt either. Considering his sales figures, influence and huge, albeit admittedly inconsistent discography, it's surprising that nobody has delivered a noteworthy Prince bio...until now. Veteran journalist Ro (Dr. Dre: The Biography, 2007, etc.) spent a decade researching this book-which shouldn't surprise Prince's fans, as the man is notoriously private-and it was worth it, as he was able to get vital information, opinions and anecdotes from Prince's close and not-so-close associates, everybody from sidemen to record-label execs. (Unsurprisingly, the man himself did not grant Ro access.) By utilizing verbatim dialogue, the book often reads like a novel; granted, some readers may doubt the veracity of every piece of dialogue, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. The author has an obvious affection for Prince's work, but he maintains enough objectivity to be credible.
An energetic, detailed balance of reportage and criticism about an icon of his era.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

RONIN RO has written for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, MTV, Rolling Stone, and Playboy. He has written several books about the entertainment industry, including biographies of Dr. Dre, Sean Combs, Run-DMC, and more.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383008
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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, and thigh highs, but there you have it, I was! I was a fan for many years into young adulthood. 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 areas though, 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. 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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Here's an understatement: Prince has always remained a bit of a mystery even to his most loyal fans. For those of us on the more casual side of fandom, he's almost an unknown. Of course we know his hit songs, the mega successful rock film "Purple Rain," and his penchant for being different. For example, not every male rock or R&B star would choose bikini briefs and high heels for stage outfits or change his name to an unpronounceable symbol. For Prince, later known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and finally once again, Prince, these were only surface revelations. What was going on off stage and behind the scenes are what makes this book probably the most insightful study to date about his career, artistry, business dealings, and personal life.

As a more casual fan I found there was too much detail spent on what seems like every single song Prince recorded, demo'ed, or worked on for other artists. For the purists this is the mother load. But because of the vast output of music Prince has produced before, during and since the pinnacle of his chart success in the 1980's, this kept it from becoming the "page-turner" I would've hoped for in a bio. The man is revealed, or at least as best he can be without his personal involvement, but all the details about business dealings and recording sessions are once again, more for the dedicated than the casual fan.

This book is impressive in the writing and amount of research done by the author. It reportedly took ten years of detective-like work to follow and uncover every path taken by an artist that changed his music, personality, lifestyle, band members, business associates and as mentioned above, even his name, like a chameleon. Do I know Prince better after reading this?
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