Sorry, folks, the next post still isn’t ready (next week!). But in the meantime, I wanted to bring attention to a page I just created, which should be helpful for new readers:

The Story So Far

It’s basically a table of contents for the blog, and an alternative to reading posts in the usual reverse-chronological scrolling order; just start from the top and work your way down. It will, of course, be updated as I add more posts. If you’re just starting out and want to know where to start, this is your best bet. You can access it on any page by clicking the “Menu” button in the top-right corner of the header.

Now, enough stalling. I promise, the next time I post it will be an actual update!

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A Brief Update, and a Plug for a Fellow-Traveler

(Featured Image: Cover art for The Rise of Prince 1958-1988 by Alex Hahn and Laura Tiebert, from Amazon.)

Hi all: since a few people have been asking–can’t tell you how surreal it is to be working on a personal project where there’s actually interest in the next installment!–I thought I’d check in this week with a status update. I had hoped to have a new post up by the end of the week (i.e., today), but as usual, it’s taking longer than originally planned. I won’t promise a specific date to expect it by, but I will promise that it will be much more substantial than what I’ve been writing for the last couple of months. I’ll be covering Prince’s first band and their earliest performances at the Capri Theatre in Minneapolis, so I want it to be well-researched and well-written enough to do justice to this important phase in his musical development. I can only hope that it will be worth the wait–and, again, it thrills me to no end that there are actually people waiting to read this!

In the meantime, I wanted to use what little platform I have to plug another Prince-related project that I am personally very excited about: a new biography by Alex Hahn and Laura Tiebert, The Rise of Prince 1958-1988. Alex was one of the earliest supporters of this blog: he and I touched base early on in both of our projects to compare notes, and he has always been exceedingly kind in his feedback. But I’d be excited to read his new work even if I didn’t Internet-know him: his previous book, 2003’s Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, was the first Prince biography I ever read, and it still holds up as an excellent, narrative-focused, warts-and-all retelling of the first 25 years of the artist’s career. According to Alex, the new book is not a revision of Possessed but a drastic overhaul, with original research that should shed new light on Prince’s early years in particular. I can’t wait to add it to this blog’s ever-expanding bibliography.

To that end, if you’re interested in reading another Prince biography–and, if you read this blog, I imagine you probably are–The Rise of Prince is due to release digitally on February 28th, for the very reasonable price of $8.99; there should also be a paperback version available for preorder soon. If you, like me, are motivated by narcissism, Alex also noted on the book’s Facebook group that anyone who preorders the book before February 13th gets their name in the acknowledgements: just send an email by that date to theriseofprince@gmail.com. Having read Possessed and followed the new book’s development, I feel confident enough in its quality to add a preorder link to the sidebar on this site. And–this is where I smoothly transition from plugging for someone else to plugging for myself–if you use that link (or any of my other Amazon product links), you will also be supporting dance / music / sex / romance with a very small kickback. So, you know, here’s your chance to help out two independently-published Prince projects at the same time, and all it takes is nine U.S. dollars.

But really, even if you don’t use my affiliate link, you should check out The Rise of Prince. There are going to be a lot of books published about Prince in the coming months, some legit and some less so; based on what I know of this project and its authors, I have no doubt that this will be one of the legit ones. So that’s it, pitch over. See you again soon!

Miss You

Miss You

(Featured Image: “Prince Pandemonium” at the Soul Shack in Charlotte, N.C., 1978; from Right On! magazine, photo stolen from prince.org.)

Even as Prince was plotting his next move as a recording artist in mid-1978, relations were souring with the management team that had helped get him signed in the first place. Owen Husney had organized a small promotional tour after the release of For You, to some success: particularly in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a crowd of 3,000 showed up and threatened to overwhelm security. It was a significant enough event to warrant a short news story from teen magazine Right On!, which ran with the headline “Prince Pandemonium in Charlotte.” “That’s when he said he felt like a piece of meat being carried around,” Prince’s cousin and early mentor Pepé Willie recalled to biographer Dave Hill. “But he was high, really high up there, you know? To bring him back down to earth was a real chore” (Hill 45).

Indeed, the 20-year-old’s small taste of celebrity had only left him less satisfied with the progress of his career–and, in what would become another of his determining patterns, he began to vent his frustrations on his management. “Prince didn’t have enough experience to know that this is a really slow process,” Husney later told Per Nilsen’s Uptown fanzine. “He had been told that he was fantastic so much that he believed that he was really going to be successful straightaway. And when he wasn’t, he was really disappointed. He started to blame Warner Bros. and then he started to blame me… We became very disappointed and started to wear on each other” (Nilsen 1999 49)

Continue reading “Miss You”

Nadeara

Nadeara

(Featured Image: “Private Moment,” Joseph Szabo, 1973.)

Well, it’s the first post of the new year, and once again I’m not as far along as I’d hoped to be; there are still a few loose ends from 1978 to tie up before we move on to the next “chapter.” But those loose ends are at least more substantial than the ones we covered last month, so hopefully they’ll be worth the wait. Today’s post, for example, is about “Nadeara”: a song that feels in many ways like a more fully-realized version of last month’s “Donna”–right down to its namesake, an actual person this time rather than a fictional construct.

Prince’s cousin and former Grand Central drummer Charles Smith described the real-life Nadeara as “a girlfriend, a real important one. Right after the first album came out, he started having her around” (Nilsen 1999 43-44). Along with high school sweetheart (and future Purple Rain extra) Kim Upsher, she’s one of the earliest known figures in Prince’s notorious revolving door of female companions and muses. But that’s just about all we know about her–and the song she inspired doesn’t offer many more clues. Prince’s lyrics are typical of his early songwriting, quivering with a combination of nerves and lust in the face of a vaguely-defined object of desire: “When I first looked into your eyes / That’s when I knew that I wanted you” (see also: “Ever since I met you, baby, I’ve been wanting to lay you down,” “In Love”; “I took one look at you / And all the things that we could do / Dance within my head,” “I’m Yours”). And, like so many of his demos from this era, the song doesn’t exactly overstay its welcome. Clocking in at under two minutes, it’s just a single, short verse and an equally brief chorus: “Oh, Nadeara / Now that you know I love you, baby, what are you gonna do?”

Continue reading “Nadeara”