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Prince / The Beautiful Ones

“A first person account of how Prince became Prince”

The Prince Estate has announced The Beautiful Ones, a new book from Prince himself that will be published by Penguin Random House later this year.

The book will feature never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and “the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death.”

The Beautiful Ones is described as “the story of how Prince became Prince” and “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 divided into four parts with the first is likely to be the most interesting; his memoir he was writing before his death. It’s not clear how much Prince wrote but the publishers say that these pages “brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose.”

The second part focuses on 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 around 1984 and Purple Rain. The fourth and final section is Prince’s original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain— him effectively retelling the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts of the book.

The book features an introduction by its editor Dan Piepenbring which touches on his “short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months.”

The Beautiful Ones is a 288-page hardcover book and will be published on 29 October 2019.

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31 responses to Prince / The Beautiful Ones

  1. Alan Mitchell says:

    The new album due out in June looks good. Nothing that’s not been bootlegged already but nice to have a real release of Vault material.

  2. Randy Metro says:

    If anyone can find the full video: Shortly after Prince died, Tavis Smiley aired two excellent interview segments with Prince on his show. Prince seemed to open up and not dodge any questions that Smiley asked. Tavis always kissed a$$ to anyone on his show but that was Tavis being Tavis.

    One thing I found interesting was Prince explaining why he sometimes sang in the horrid high pitched voice (my words) such as Kiss.

    The interview is broken up into several short snippets on YouTube, which I don’t recommend viewing that way.

  3. Richard Cosgrove says:

    Found it – here’s a link to the Kevin Smith Prince story :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R73S6sIaIqY

  4. Richard Cosgrove says:

    Kevin Smith tells a great tale about the time Prince hired him to film a documentary – it’s on one of Smith’s DVDs (can’t remember which one off hand) and also probably on YouTube (other services are available) – worth a look :-)

  5. Mark says:

    I’d recommend Duane Tudahl’s book on the Purple Rain era. It’s a repetitive, but really interesting all the same.

    • David Mcintyre says:

      I’ll second that, for anoraks only but gives you a real insight into the workaholic that he was, although he would never have seen it as that

    • Bart says:

      I would too. I started reading it, thinking I would put it down soon as I expexted it to be repetitive. Loved it, though. Mind you, I’m a huge Prince fan :-)

  6. Charlie Waffles says:

    Note to the Prince estate: We need remastered cd’s, please.

  7. Alan Mitchell says:

    And Andrew Ridgeley mentioned in the same thread as Prince? Really?

    Andrew Ridgeley 21 Nights in London. Yeah right ;)

    • Chris Squires says:

      Yeah, Andrew’s cool. No Andrew, no Wham! and that would have been a shame as it was one of the most iconic, (and if truth be told) fun bands to ever exist. George (bless ‘im) wouldn’t have been exactly what he was without Andrew. So in all probability No Andrew, No Faith as George wouldn’t have had the fame to rail against in the first place. Wake me up, Last Christmas created the space for Faith, Listen without Prejudice and Older. Yeah George had the talent, but so did many 1980s solo icons (Kershaw, Jones, Young et. al.) and without the springboard of Wham! George would have just been fighting for recognition with all of those other guys. In the early 1980s George would never have had the confidence to do what he did without Andrew by his side.

      So, agreed, Andrew is not quite the musical colossus, as Prince, but not so easily dismissed either.

  8. P. E. says:

    As a fan I will definitely order this. It’s heartbreaking this is all we’ll ever get in his own words.

    Can anyone recommend any good Prince books that provide insight and information about this great man? The idea put forward by Michael about the estate collaborating with Taschen would have been a wonderful product. It’s a shame they didn’t think like you.

  9. Jim says:

    I don’t know if it’s ‘the Estate’ or if it’s Warner’s, but they are REALLY misreading the public’s want of archival Prince material. As someone noted above, we want the classic albums, properly re-mastered and expanded. Do it chronologically, by popularity, by critical acclaim, whatever, just DO IT, already! ‘Sign o’ the Times’ re-mastered (the CD is AWFUL) and expanded…perhaps some of the material that was originally recorded with Wendy and Lisa but either scrapped or stripped down. We want ‘Controversy’ re-mastered (another horribly tinny, thin sounding CD) and expanded. Hell, I’d even pay top dollar for re-mastered ‘Prince adjacent’ material from the early Eighties. Things he wrote, recorded & gave to others (the Time’s first two albums, the terrific Vanity 6 album – both of them sound absolutely terrible on the CD’s that were released years ago.) To be honest, considering the state Prince was in when he started writing this ‘autobiography’ – the pain, the pills, the hyper-religious ideology, etc. – I have absolutely NO interest in it. Give us the MUSIC !!!

  10. noyoucmon says:

    Having seen some reproductions of Prince’s written notes over the years, I think this project could still be compelling despite its patchwork nature. As long as it is not like Kurt Cobain’s Journals, which I found embarrassing, I may buy it. Maybe.

  11. James Barker says:

    50 pages of just Prince on his childhood will be very interesting + original lyrics and early Purple Rain movie edits! I’m in, roll on October. Would be nice to see some new music arrive with it (Prince Estate please take note!!)

  12. Alan Mitchell says:

    If Prince had written all of it it would have been a bit out there and scarce on real details. His view of the world was very different to nearly everybody else. He had the luxury of time to ponder it i guess. Also his spiritual beliefs always confused everything for me. And what he saw in other people i never could.

    Think I’ll give the book a miss until it’s half price.

  13. Raymond DiGiacomo says:

    Prince was famously secretive & close-lipped about his personal life thru-out his life. So it’s highly unlikely that he opened-up honestly about anything other than his career/professional achievements in his memoir.

  14. Fred says:

    I’d rather have some remastered album with bonus from the genius

  15. Freek says:

    I would so love some new music…

  16. Kauwgompie says:

    Every biography always starts with at least one or two chapters about the persons upbringing and youth. Personally I find those chapters the least interesting. Even though I am a giant Prince fan, I’m not sure I’ll buy this. I wonder how much of this he worked on himself. I’m much more interested in the period starting around Controversy to the point he died. Indon’t really Care much about his childhood to be honest. We know very little, if anything about Prince. He rarely did interviews. All we know are rumors or a few tidbits of info that his band members told the press. I hope one day we will find out about the real Prince. Did he really spend his days in the studio playing and recording day and night? How did he experience the period during which be battled Warner? How did he experience his final period without hits? How did he pick out the people he played with and wrote songs for? So many unanswered questions and untold stories.

    The second part is told “through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos” and the third part “shows us Prince’s evolution through candid photos”. Does that mean there is no story in part 2 and 3, just photo’s and lyrics?

    • Michael says:

      As a longtime fan I would recommend reading interviews with his engineer Susan Rodgers & yes he did leave & breath music.

      He said the relationship with Warner’s became strained when he turned up to a meeting with slave written on his face. He also wanted to release more records in the 80’s and had a problem with the whole cycle of singles videos. He said James Brown would release in his hey day records regularly. For instance around the world was ready to roll before the Purple Rain tour even started.

      As for collaborators Sheena Easton requested a song & got Sugar Walls.

      I will share a first hand story Prince in 1993 had a party at the Sydney Opera House. An acoustic unreleased When Doves Cry played. He requested waitresses that were shorter than him. A lovely woman I used to work had the honour. I saw him there 2 months before he passed. He did not disappoint & the audience loved him.

  17. Alone With Strangers says:

    Paul – the Amazon UK link you’ve provided is the one for the Penguin version published by their now defunct Spiegel & Grau captive publisher. I think the proper link is for the Century version currently at £25 – certainly this one has a release date.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beautiful-Ones-Prince/dp/1780899173/

    I’ve ordered both for now to give me the option to cancel one nearer the time but I wouldn’t want anyone here to be disappointed if they order a version that may not exist.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The Penguin Random House website links to the version I have linked to for pre-orders, so while it’s definitely a bit confusing having two listings, I think it’s okay.

  18. Michael says:

    50 pages that’s how much was written by Prince. I will read it not buy it. If the estate got together with a book company like Taschen & did photographs, memrobilia etc espically the 80’s I probably would purchase.

    Andrew Ridgeley has an autobiography coming out in October. Pre ordered a signed copy through waterstones. It It covers the Wham! years up to 1986.

    • Chris Squires says:

      Thanks for the heads-up on the Andrew Ridgeley book. A signed copy has been duly ordered.
      AS close as we are ever going to get to the real details of those heady years.

    • David M says:

      Not sure there would be much interest in an Andrew Ridgeley post Wham book!

  19. gwynogue says:

    From what I’ve read on other sites, it sounds like he had around 50 pages written (for the memoir). I don’t know if that’s a rough draft or a more polished edit – either way, I don’t think that would cover a lot. Which is probably why it’s a memoir/scrapbook/photo album/screenplay combo rather than a standalone autobiography. But Prince always struck me as a man of mystery, so I quite like the idea of his memoir being frustratingly vague. It seems like something he’d be quite amused by.

  20. probablyrustin says:

    I’ll hold off until it becomes clearer how much is actual biography versus pleasant filler… From the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like he completed very much before passing.

  21. what? me? worry? says:

    Hope there will be a book signing tour….

    (that’s called humour before anyone says anything….)

    I may give this a shot…..do like a Prince book

    • Francois says:

      The best book of this kind I have is the “Personal history of Pink Floyd” by nick Mason. The hardcover large size version is beautiful and Nick Mason’s way os telling the story is refreshingly “neutral” when it comes to Syd or Roger in the band.
      As for this one, the price is quite low for that kind of books, so I will indulge without a second od hesitation

    • Jarmo Keranen says:

      To me it’s very lousy “humour”!

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