Prince’s handwritten manuscript is the heart of the late singer’s memoir “The Beautiful Ones,” which hit shelves Tuesday. The book includes intimate family photos, handwritten lyrics, doodles, cartoons, and various quotes from newspaper articles.
Prince’s collaborator and editor, Dan Piepenbring, who also penned the introduction in the memoir, spent the three years following the musician’s death combing through more than 5,000 items found at Paisley Park to incorporate in the book.
“The sheer quantity of paper was surprising,” Piepenbring tells the Guardian. “There was no real method to the madness. In one room you’d find something from 1979, and within arm’s reach, there’d be something from 2002. There’d be these moments of intense intentionality — he’d gathered up all his handwritten lyrics from across his career, clipped them together and kept them in one place. Or he’d gathered artifacts pertaining to his father’s jazz band. It seemed very ad hoc and very personal.”
According to letters included in the memoir, Prince was not a fan of pop stars Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran, New York Post reports.
“We need to tell them that they keep trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats and we don’t like it no matter how many times they play it,” he once wrote, according to “The Beautiful Ones.”
Piepenbring spent three months with the singer before Prince’s fatal drug overdose in April 2016.
“I kind of like that the book kind of has this lack of resolution, and that really it’s kind of made up of fragments,” Piepenbring tells USA TODAY. “I think even had he lived, the mystery would still be intact, because he really was writing the book in part to understand himself better.”
In the book, named after a song on the “Purple Rain” album, Prince also dishes on his mother, recalling how she allegedly borrowed money without permission — and never paid it back.
“She would spend up what little $ the family had 4 survival on partying with her friends, then trespass in2 my bedroom, ‘borrow’ my personal $ that N’d gotten from babysitting local kids, & then chastise me 4 even questioning her regarding the broken promise she made 2 pay me back.”
According to USA Today, Piepenbring sorted the intimate material featured in the memoir into sections, offering readers insight on Prince in different stages of life, including his childhood.
“There is definitely a way he could be in conversation, digressive or discursive,” Piepenbring explained to the outlet. “He’d always bounce around from subject to subject, and then his mind was always working so feverishly.”
You can buy the book here.