The cover promised greatness.
Just a whisper over twelve inches square, you knew there was magic inside; even its title and artwork were enticing. Oh, the anticipation, as you flipped it over to read the contents before carefully running a fingernail along one side to slice the clear wrapping and finally touch the vinyl. There was something truly delicious about the first minutes with an old-school record album, but in “Prince” by Paul Sexton, it was nothing compared 2 the music.
Andrê Anderson didn’t know a soul.
He was a teenager then, and his mother had just moved him to a different Minneapolis school and a “new situation.” When an adult told him to “go stand against a wall,” Anderson decided to stand next to a kid who looked friendly; remembering that day, he recalled that that boy, Prince Rogers Nelson, was a kindred spirit who lived for music.
Even then, young Prince was restless; he ran away from home many times, bouncing between his father’s apartment and the Anderson home. Prince’s dad, John, was “his best friend” and was arguably the root of his son’s talent; as an adult, Prince remembered being three years old and itching to play music on his father’s piano.
By 16, he was proficient with several musical instruments, and was a member of a band. At 18, he wanted to record his own single; two years later, he was recording for a major label. He was laser-focused on his career, then and for the rest of his life, to the point that he rarely slept. His entourage is said to have made it a game to see who could stay awake longer than Prince.
He had a legendary work ethic and was generous, but fools weren’t welcome in his circle. He was a prankster who loved to laugh, a perfectionist, and a visionary. Once, he called himself “TAFKAP,” which stood for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
Says Sexton, “But now he is The Artist Forever Known as Prince.”
So you think you know everything there is to know about The Purple One. Or maybe not: “Prince” could still hold a few surprises, even for the most ardent fan.
But which will be your favorite part?
Author Paul Sexton tells Prince’s story from his youth to his death, through the eyes of those who worked with Prince, on-stage and off, in stories that are both personal and of the kind you might hear in a business meeting. While Sexton delightedly dives into a mischievous side of the singer, readers can rest assured that there’s nothing scandalous here – that wasn’t Prince’s way – but those who know his lyrics know that the edge is close.
Or will you prefer the pages of photographs? Pictures of Prince as a boy, a creator, a performer? Still-photos, posters, concert shots, pictures of his costumes? Photos that might be new to you? Why even try to decide about this book made especially for fans: pick both, and “Prince” promises a great read.
By Paul Sexton, foreword by Susan Rogers, c.2021, Welbeck Publishing, 143 pages.