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The definitive study of one of contemporary music’s most gifted, creative, driven and mysterious artists. “Per Nilsen presents a serious and well-researched study of Prince from his teenage debut up through the release of Sign O’ The Times. Nilsen writes with a steady hand: his account, based on countless interviews and meticulous research, remains critical despite his tremendous respect and appreciation of the artist.”—Publishers Weekly
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A tediously detailed hagiography of the prolific pop star who is most famous for changing his name to an unpronounceable typographic symbol, and is now universally referred to as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. The First Thirty Years might have been a better subtitle, since Nilsen (Prince: A Documentary, not reviewed) begins at his subject's birth as Prince Roger Nelson in 1958, through sexually charged hit records, grueling concert tours, the making of feature films and sound tracks, to the end of 1987, as Prince capriciously decides to withdraw his ``Black Album'' while it is being shipped to record stores. Along the way Nilsen bathes every step on Prince's rise to fame in mythic overtones. ``His talent was so great,'' he quotes an early manager, ``that I walked out of an $8 million-a-year business for him.'' The son of a part-time jazz musician and a woman who sang in his band, Prince learned to play piano, drums, and guitar while in his teens and rapidly established himself on the Minneapolis dance club scene with flamboyant costumes and tightly scripted shows of flagrantly sexual songs he sang in an androgynous falsetto while doing a striptease or fondling his guitar. Between performances, he worked obsessively on new songs, sometimes for 48-hour marathons without sleep or food. During the first half of the `80s, Prince recorded so much music for himself, for mainstream singers Sheena Easton and Kenny Rogers, and for former lovers Vanity, Apollonia, and Sheila E. that it seemed a short step to the silver screen. His first feature film, the autobiographical Purple Rain, won him a national mainstream audience. But subsequent films Graffiti Bridge and Under a Cherry Moon flopped, though Prince remains respected as a pop experimenter whose techniques have been copied by more commercial singers. A handful of pre-fame photos, thirdhand backstage gossip, and an appendix of recording dates and concert performances: for fans only. (8 pages b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Dismissing the last ten years of The Artist Formerly Known as Prince's recorded output as "overproduced and somewhat laboured," Nilsen, editor of the Prince fanzine Uptown, writes instead about the pop star's most creative and successful years (which, he claims, ended with the critically acclaimed Sign of the Times album in 1987). Nicely compensating for the dearth of interviews with the media-shy artist, Nilsen draws from a wealth of interviews with his former band members, lovers, and close associates. But, although he occasionally acts as an apologist for The Artist's eccentric behavior, Nilsen is evenhanded to a fault--he offers little in the way of analysis. Still, his writing allows the reader to form an appreciation for TAFKAP's talent and his staunchly professional work ethic. Although the book contains neither a bibliography nor source notes, it does have annotated appendixes--including a studio session guide, a listing of concerts, and a discography. A good complement to Liz Jones's Purple Reign: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince (Carol Pub. Group, 1998), but purchase only as demand warrants.
-Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Firefly Publishing, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0946719233
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-0946719233