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Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Alan Light(Author)

    Book details


From the former senior editor of Rolling Stone and author of The Holy or the Broken, called “thoughtful and illuminating” by The New York Times, a new book on the unlikely coming-to-be of Prince’s now legendary album.

Purple Rain is a song, an album, and a film—each one a commercial success and cultural milestone. How did this semi-autobiographical musical masterpiece that blurred R&B, pop, dance, and rock sounds come to alter the recording landscape and become an enduring touchstone for successive generations of fans?

Purple Rain is widely considered to be among the most important albums in music history and often named the best soundtrack of all time. It sold over a million copies in its first week and blasted to #1 on the charts, where it would remain for a full six months and eventually sell over 20 million copies worldwide. It spun off three huge hit singles, won Grammys and an Oscar, and took Prince from pop star to legend.

Coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary year of Purple Rain’s release, acclaimed music journalist Alan Light takes a timely look at the making and incredible popularizing of this once seemingly impossible project. With impeccable research and in-depth interviews with people who witnessed Prince’s audacious vision becoming a reality, Light reveals how a rising but not yet established artist from the Midwest was able not only to get Purple Rain made, but deliver on his promise to conquer the world.

"Everything you ever wanted to know about the making of the popular Prince movie—and much more.Beyond the minutiae of moviemaking and who was sleeping with whom, the book is particularly incisive in providing context, showing how video technology and black crossover artists were changing the marketplace. A few of the revelations are real howlers...But mainly, Light commemorates an anniversary that might otherwise have passed without much notice. A must-read for the Prince die-hards who have remained devoted through the musical meanderings of the last three decades." (Kirkus Reviews)"Drawing on interviews with musicians and filmmakers involved in the making of the title song, the album, and the movie, Light provides not only a portrait of a musician compelled to share his musical vision, no matter the cost, but also a cultural history of the times in which the film and music debuted." (Publishers Weekly)"Alan Light gets inside Prince’s mind palace in Let’s Go Crazy—a history of the making of his historic, semi-autobiographical musical masterwork, Purple Rain." (Vanity Fair)“In all, Light’s 300-page reassessment of Prince’smagnum opus is a revealing study in cinema and sound, not to mention afascinating look at the dynamic young performer behind the songs (and image).” (Cleveland Music Examiner)“Light’s behind-the-scenes look at a rock classic offers an enticing glimpse into its charming yet enigmatic creator.” (Booklist)Praise for The Holy or the Broken "Thoughtful and illuminating... [Mr. Light] is a fine companion for this journey through one song’s changing fortunes." (The New York Times)"A combination mystery tale, detective story, pop critique and sacred psalm of its own." (The Daily News)"Brilliantly revelatory... A masterful work of critical journalism." (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))"A deeply researched mixture of critical analysis and cultural archaeology." (Los Angeles Times)"Keeps the pages turning... A well-constructed, consistently enlightening book, which should have Cohen devotees and music fans alike seeking out their favorite version of the song." (The Boston Globe) Alan Light has been one of America’s leading music journalists for the past twenty years. He was a writer at Rolling Stone, founding music editor and editor-in-chief of Vibe, and editor-in-chief of Spin magazine. He has been a contributor to The New Yorker, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, and Mother Jones. He is the author of The Skills to Pay the Bills, an oral history of the Beastie Boys; The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”; and cowriter of the New York Times bestselling memoir by Gregg Allman, My Cross to Bear.

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Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Alan Light(Author)
  • Atria Books (December 9, 2014)
  • English
  • 4
  • Arts & Photography

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Review Text

  • By BAT71 on January 4, 2015

    Excellent book. Any die hard will appreciate. A lot of behind the scenes information not before known. Most interesting the description of the tension that existed between the band and Prince as he encouraged them to be part of his grand vision only to simultaneously distance himself as he became a superstar. Former manager Bob Cavallo provides some of the most interesting insights as does production coordinator Alan Leeds. These guys were able to assess the dynamics of what was going on with intelligence and detachment even while admitting that Prince ultimately, when it came to the vision of the movie, knew better than everyone. However, it's also interesting to see, as a lifelong Prince fan, that Prince clearly was never able (or willing) to again put that much focus into any other subsequent project. He was obviously frustrated with the among of time and energy it took to bring the entire plan to fruition, including the subsequent touring, which he cut short after 6 months, never taking the obvious step of taking the tour to Europe, which would have extended the whole Purple Rain period for another 6-12 months. Light does a great job of illustrating the awe and frustration of everyone in the camp at that time and it makes for a fast, engaging read. Highly recommended.

  • By Brendan on August 10, 2015

    Would give it 4.5 stars, if that was an option. Rounded up, because Prince.What it covers: After a quick introductory chapter that sets the stage, the book gives a fairly fast description of Prince's youth and follows through his first few albums. Things slow down when Prince releases the album 1999 and prepares for Purple Rain. The book walks through how the movie deal slowly comes together (despite everyone involved not really knowing what it was going to be) and the motivations and creation of each of the songs for the album. This part is interesting as the author approaches them like a rock critic, but includes notes about how the song was actually recorded and changed over time. It even includes those Prince superfan notes about how certain parts were extended for the movie or how early drafts of the album include songs that were later shifted to other artists in Prince's stable. After the album's and movie's releases, he describes the critical and commercial success of each and how they fit into the culture. There are sections devoted to Prince's rivalry with Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson and more. After discussing the Purple Rain tour, it begins to speed up the narrative again. It follows the changes in cultural perception Prince was met with and - as best as it can probably be described - the musician's change in attitude to making less commercial music and becoming more distanced from the Revoltion. Diehard fans may be disappointed that the book focuses largely on Purple Rain and hardly discusses his following albums.Format: The book has so many quotes and anecdotes of different individuals that it reads like an oral history. It includes statements from members of the Revolution, the film's director and producer, Prince's former publicist (whose now a neuroscientist and has an interesting perspective on things), Applonia, and a variety of other people from the singer's inner circle. It also includes bits from Prince superfans Chris Rock and Questlove (who actually teaches a whole college course on Prince). Alan Light himself is the perfect author. He grew up as a Prince fan and was obsessed with Purple Rain as a kid, grew up to edit Spin magazine, and even has argued that When Doves Cry is the best song ever made on a VH1 show. Prince himself did not directly contribute, but there are quotes from the rare interview he gave over the years or the handful of meetings Light had with him. The different perspectives are fairly even: Prince is praised often, but people are critical of him. The last chapter is probably the best in that regard, as Light captures the frustrations that many fans of Prince feel with the artist. The oral history approach works because Purple Rain is more than just an album, a song, or a movie: it was a cultural moment. Giving these different perspectives makes you feel that experience.I can't say I've read other books about Prince, so I can't really compare it. If you liked this I highly recommend "I Want My MTV", which is an oral history of the TV network's rise and fall.

  • By Thomas Moody on December 30, 2014

    I don't know who it is that's more pitiable, the folks who continue to write these "Making of" and "insider" tomes about Prince or me, the continuously intrigued "follower" (I suppose that's what I'd consider myself now...I've covered the gamut since I bought 1977's "For You" on vinyl way back) who continues to read them. Listen, when we one day get a trusted music journalist with true inside access to Prince and who is then allowed to challenge and prod him for not only unquestioned truths about the zillion things we want to know about him but also the profound and evocative insights he may have into the many music shaping and cultural ground-breaking occurrences that he caused and who then gets to elucidate about it, unchallenged and unedited, in a many-paged volume, THEN we will know things like the true "Making of Purple Rain."But now having ranted about that, and realizing that there is virtually no insight from the actual subject (I know but let's not split hairs here...this book is, yes, technically about the movie but it's really about Prince) of the book included, author Alan Light is to be commended for covering a wide swath of everything else in this sort of expanded Rolling Stones article/where are they now exposit about that marvelous 1984 movie. Including contemporary interviews of all of the Revolution band members, all of the top movie moguls involved with the production along with the multitudes of interspersed players involved (The Time, movie actors, even Apollonia Kotero, tour crew, girlfriends...), Light presents this motion picture phenomenon as if it were occurring again today. He lays out a complete timeline from when the band essentially ended touring from their smash "1999" album and takes readers throughout the abrupt end of the Purple Rain tour in late 1985. While doing so he provides glowing insights into the Revolution's mindset as they were swept along with Prince's clear career self-actualization while perfectly setting the tone with a continual montage of 1980's music and culture. Again, the only thing missing is actual insight from the "man" himself...what were his true perceptions as he started developing the songs long before there was a movie? How did he view his growing world personae as the album and movie took off? Why did he truly cut off the European swing of the Purple Rain tour? What was the whole story behind the "We Are The World" sessions and how did he really feel about Michael Jackson? Without these answers and the multitude of others, I don't believe we get the actual truth...just conjecture.But...I suppose if one continues to be engrossed by this still relevant and marvelously mysterious personage (yes, still guilty after all these years) and one HAS to continue reading these accounts without his participation, I will say that you'd probably find no better than this very far reaching and meticulously researched account about an event and it's protagonist that truly shaped a generation.


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