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PRINCE: Inside the Music and the Masks
A fascinating, full-scale biography of one of the most commercial, controversial, and influential musicians of all time
In his three decades-long recording career, 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.
Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks gives full treatment to this 30-year career of epic proportions. 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 21st century as both an artistic icon and a star-maker. Ro chronicles the music, 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.
In this authoritative biography, Ro digs deep to reveal the man behind some of the most important music of our time.
Ronin Ro has written for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, MTV, Rolling Stone, and Playboy. He has written eight books about the entertainment industry.
Rights have already sold to JR Books in the UK!
Praise for Prince:
“Capturing the essence of a constantly evolving artist like the massively successful Prince is no easy task, but music journalist and biographer Ro’s look at the man behind the curtain is a worthy effort… This solid biography gives fans a peek at a complicated talent.” —Publishers Weekly
“An original tale in this era of corporate, American Idol–style pop stars.” —Library Journal
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.
CLICK TRACK - the washington post pop music blog
A peek inside “Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks”
By Chris Richards; 10/21/2011
I’ve read a few books about the elusive Prince — all of them somewhat unsatisfying. Will “Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks” be any different? The book, written by Dr. Dre biographer Ronin Ro, landed on my desk yesterday. After a quick leafing-through, it didn’t appear to have a lot of quotation marks — and the ones I did spot were quotes from people other than his Purpleness. Hmmm. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s inside “Inside” based on turning to random-ish* pages and finding the juiciest line.
Page 53: On Morris Day joining Prince’s band: “Stress — and Prince — made him cry.... It was always a Machiavellian ‘you will do it.’ Eventually, Morris got everything right.”
Page 72: On love triangles: “Vanity was barely speaking to Prince, riding on a separate bus, unhappy because he was seeing both her and Vanity 6 member Susan Moonsie.”
Page 131: On the media: “Someone handed Prince the May 7, 1985 edition of The National Enquirer. His eyes widened. A headline read ‘The Real Prince — He’s Trapped in a Bizarre Secret World of Terror.’”
* Prince is 53 years old. “Purple Rain” is ranked at 72 on Rolling Stone’s best albums of all time list. “Sister,” the shortest, nastiest song on “Dirty Mind” clocks in at 1:31.
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