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Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks
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Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A fascinating, authoritative biography of one of themost commercial, controversial, and influential musicians of all time

In his three decades-long of recording, Prince has 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 unknownin Mi
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 1st 2011)
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This exhaustive compilation of previously published information on Prince's career may well be enough for the casual fan. But if you've been falling his ups and downs over the years you'll already know everything here, as Ro didn't do much original research (no bombshells or inside scoops) and has no particular insight into what makes Prince tick.
Scott Woods
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 cull ...more
This is the first book I read about Prince, so there was some info I didn't know. Over all, pretty informative, although some info is repeated (editing errors) and some minor inaccuracies, like attributing a rap by Cat to Sheila E, make me wonder if anything else is incorrect. But it's probably mostly correct. The book gives some insight into how he treated the other artists in his band or on his label. Mostly they benefited, but maybe were also kept at low pay, with no written contracts, which ...more
A solid, fairly comprehensive bio, written in clean and fairly clinical prose. As Prince himself wasn't involved in the project it includes extensive quotes from outside sources (other biographies, previously published articles and interviews, quotes from people Prince hasn't talked to in 20 years). If you're looking for a general biographical/artistic overview that covers everything from childhood-->the rise-->stardom-->name change-->renaissance I'd say go with this. It's basically ...more
Dave Schwensen
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 Kno ...more
Ronin Ro is the opposite of Kitty Kelley or Andrew Morton in terms of writing biographies. This is an interesting, if somewhat stale, re-telling of the rise of Prince Rogers Nelson, a musical prodigy whose influence on the industry is felt today. It's not bad, but the book reads as though a lot of the research was simply cut and pasted from other sources. If you're a fan of Prince, read it.
Michelle Lopez
Prince has always been a mystery. After reading this book, he still is.
Darren Mcgill
A worthy read for any Prince fan who would like a chronological, in-depth review of his ascension to fame, long tenure of hit albums, and his still prolific less-popular era. It's obvious the content is compiled from other sources with little new information or revelations. Still, it's an interesting synopsis of his career. All albums are covered most singles and album tracks are at least mentioned. All drama with Warner is covered along with his many subsequent deals with Capital, Arista, Colum ...more
This book isn't just an utter waste of time if you're read Prince bios like Per Nilsen's DanceMusicSexRomance and Alex Hahn's Rise And Fall; annoyingly it contains plenty of mistakes, like for instance claiming Prince was still recording tracks for The Black Album in December 1987, when that album was actually scheduled for release in the first week of that month.

Basically it's a thinly disguised rewrite of Per Nilsen's A Documentary, combined with a number of other sources to fill in the last t
It's sort of cut and dry at times (and especially dry when it talks about Prince's 90's period) but Ro is obviously a serious researcher with a sincere interest in trying to at least give us some idea of who Prince Nelson is, and how he came to be that way. The first half of the book is definitely the best part, tracing Prince's beginnings as an immensely precocious, shy kid moving from one shaky domestic situation to another in Minneapolis. And then showing his remarkable, meteroic rise to the ...more
A mask will hide your face but not who you really are. Masks are worn to keep a person’s identity hidden, the focus on the mask itself and detract from the face that someone does not want seen. But, there are many other masks that hide people and not always are they ones we physically put on. Prince was a complicated young man and man from the start. He has many different personas, goals and friends that helped, hindered and worked with them to get where he is today. At times he felted shunned, ...more
Melissa Frederick
Interesting at times and at other times, I couldn't wait to be finished. I liked hearing about his career but it's a shame that he had no input into the book and leads such a closed off life. Don't think I'd want to sit down and talk to him...just want to listen to his music.
the facts were interesting but unfortunately that's almost all that Ronin Ro has to work with. It was great to get a full view of Prince's career and the obsessive drive which causes him to destroy business relationship after business relationship and ruin friendships.

Ro may have been able to make the work more interesting by moving from reporter to a more active involvement inserting his own attempts to get to the elusive character but doesn't. fun for interested casual fans but by no means a
Henrik Richter Schie
Should have been proof read at least once before released. Lots of parts are repeated in other words with just a few pages between them, so the editor (if any) has done a poor job. The book was ok, and even quite good at times, although it's quite clear what parts of his career the author favors. Learned a few new facts about Prince wich I alway enjoy. Not bad, but not great either. Could have been really good if he had given it another read through before release.
Brenda Wegner
This was a lot of pages to read for no real insight into Prince's life. I don't think Ro was ever granted an interview from Prince, so the fact that he got as much information as he did was pretty remarkable. It focused on the music, as I suppose a book about a great musician should, but once we were past the parts about the earlier music that I really cared about, it was a tedious read.

Edwin Gomez
Ronin Ro tells Prince's story but does so not by speaking with the legendarily aloof artist, but through extensive research and through interviews, articles and other resources. He provides a pretty good read and paints a reasonable picture of who Prince is. Definitely a good read for fans.
Liz Cody
Possibly one of the most tiresome books I have ever read. Who would have thought that Prince was quite as dull as portrayed in this terribly written book. What a disappointment.
Nothing new, previously published information from interviews etc. Prince is talented and creative, that's what I wanted to read about.
Love Prince..the book is weak. Very focused on his early career.
Interesting, but some parts were really vague.
Chambers Stevens
A good solid Prince biography.
Stephanie Griffin
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Apr 17, 2015
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Apr 10, 2015
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Aaron A. marked it as to-read
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al3xdlarge is currently reading it
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