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Thread started 05/15/09 1:02pm

madcapxtc

Alex Hahn's book... very interesting but not good journalism IMO

I just read "the rise and fall of Prince" by Alex Hahn and here's my personnal opinion.

It's a GREAT book because it's VERY informative, going where Per Nielsen's amazing "DMSR" stopped (I wish Per one days publishes a follow-up 2 this). I'd advice any fan 2 read both books (alongside Liz Jones' "Slave 2 the Rythm").

Now it's poor journalism IMO because it's WAAAAAY too oriented 2 fit the writer's point of view. 4 some very personnal reason Alex Hahn decided that there WAS a "rise & fall" of Prince and everything after 1988 is turned in order 2 support that theory. The introduction itself ("Prince had lost control") shows how subjective the book is: it's all based on that gossip kind of thing: scandal and degrading a superstar in order 2 sell more books 2 people who love 2 get outta their misery in enjoying rich & famous people's misery.

How convienient that, of ALL the people Alex and Per interviewed 4 this book, NONE had anything nice 2 say about Prince after 1988... It's just SOOOO obvious that Hahn kept ONLY the negative feedback and left any positive review outta the book in order 2 support his personnal theories.

The musical analysis also lacks serious work. Hahn's analysis of the lyrics 2 the "Newpower Soul" is totally mistaken. When u DO pay attention 2 the album's lyrics they say exactly the opposite of what Hahn says. The book also ignores many side-projects who are actually really important.

So what can i say in the end? Buy this book it's a& must-read 4 any fan, but b careful about what u read, it's been written in order 2 support a personnal theory about Prince by Hahn. In that sense, "Slave 2 The Rythm" and "DMSR" r much better in the sense that they're written with waaay more objectivism.
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Reply #1 posted 05/15/09 1:24pm

ernestsewell

Couple of notes:

I too wish Per Nilsen would write DMSR part 2.

Liz Jones' book: Isn't that the same thing as her book Purple Reign from 1998, with a different title? Her book was horrible. Most of it was Oprah quotes and Chris Rock quotes, with NO credit given whatsoever. She stole everything and had no real sources of her own. THAT was poor journalism. I wonder if Slave is the same book or not.

Although I've not read Alex's book, Matt Fink told me that Alex Hahn used a LOT of his off the record quotes in the book. Matt had conversations off record, and stated they were off record, and that he could not use them in the book. Yet voila...he used them against his word. I think Fink got a phone call from Prince and he had to explain that things were put in there that he didn't say on the record. (I forget, but I think the phone call was real. I'm about 90% sure.)

I still want to read it. Readers have to remember a few things when they read these books (which I still love to read):

1) We ALL know the Prince story, and new tidbits are far and few between sometimes, depending on the story.

2) It's all opinion. Prince.org is a big opinion poll, really. Per, Alex, Dave Hill, Liz Jones, all of them, it's all their version of the story of Prince. And since Prince will never write his own autobiography (because he can't be that honest with himself), we have these people reporting certain parts.

3) Take it all with a grain of salt. Fans usually know the basics of what is true and what isn't, what's a little slanted, and what is spot on.
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Reply #2 posted 05/15/09 3:49pm

madcapxtc

ernestsewell said:


3) Take it all with a grain of salt. Fans usually know the basics of what is true and what isn't, what's a little slanted, and what is spot on.


I remember a time when LOTS of people here used 2 say "Prince is a bastard & a creep! U don't believe me? Read Alex Hahn's book it's full of testimonies that proves that he is" ?
lol
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Reply #3 posted 05/15/09 8:16pm

Huggiebear

avatar

I like it, its not badly written, how can it be badly written, when he calls Diamonds and Pearls a "pyrrhic victory" just to say that one needs a knowledge of classical studies. Also its a relevant book in the sense, I suspect Alex Hahn is a non fan of Prince (Or at most he hopped on the 80s bandwagon and fell off sometime around Grafitti Bridge). This is better than reading some dreamy fan written biography that does not really judge the quality of his career (Steven Ivorys 1985 is an excellent example).
Its one of the best as far I am concerned. Other excellent Prince books are A Pop life by Dave Hill 1989, Imp of the Perverse by Barney Hoskyns and Slave to the rythm by Liz Jones.
We also have to realise the book came out in 2003, a time when his last full album was the rainbow children and NEWS and ONA were the only new material. If he had written the book now, with the 5 relatively good albums from 2004, the prognosis may have been more positive.
I say read it and then judge, because he is good at exposing the flaws of Princes post 1987 output. Also talking to Susan Rogers, Karen Krattinger, Dez Dickerson (Who talks to everyone!!!!!) and Marylou Badeaux, may all be ex friends of Prince, but at least they were there in the formative days and all were kind of treated badly by Prince and therefore they may have axes to grind....
So what are u going 2 do? R u just gonna sit there and watch? I'm not gonna stop until the war is over. Its gonna take a long time
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Reply #4 posted 05/15/09 11:50pm

squirrelgrease

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Alex Hahn used to post here on occasion. I remember talking to him about his old band Volcano Suns. Great band. Didn't Hahn represent a fanzine (Controversy?) when Prince sent his dogs?
If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #5 posted 05/16/09 12:05am

JudasLChrist

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Hahn says straight out that the book presents a thesis and a point of view. I don't think journalistic impartiality was what he was going for.

I thought it was a great book, and I will destroy any org member who chooses to say otherwise in an epic battle of dance!

Note that Alan Leeds himself says this is the best book about Prince ever written.
[Edited 5/16/09 0:16am]
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Reply #6 posted 05/16/09 12:08am

squirrelgrease

avatar

JudasLChrist said:

Hahn says straight out that the book presents a thesis and a point of view. I don't journalistic impartiality was what he was going for.

I thought it was a great book, and I will destroy any org member who chooses to say otherwise in an epic battle of dance!

Note that Alan Leeds himself says this is the best book about Prince ever written.


falloff
If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #7 posted 05/16/09 3:05am

madcapxtc

JudasLChrist said:

Hahn says straight out that the book presents a thesis and a point of view. I don't think journalistic impartiality was what he was going for.

I thought it was a great book, and I will destroy any org member who chooses to say otherwise in an epic battle of dance!


Note that Alan Leeds himself says this is the best book about Prince ever written.
[Edited 5/16/09 0:16am]


Who will play "Tick, Tick, Bang" and who'll play "Shake!"?
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Reply #8 posted 05/16/09 8:03am

Jeffiner

http://prince.org/msg/7/263768?&pg=1 wink

Ha ha... I'm laughing at myself reading my posts on there again, I've learned quite lot more since then....my posts would be slightly different today! eek lol
[Edited 5/16/09 8:10am]
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Reply #9 posted 05/16/09 1:38pm

midnightmover

Jeffiner said:

http://prince.org/msg/7/263768?&pg=1 wink

Ha ha... I'm laughing at myself reading my posts on there again, I've learned quite lot more since then....my posts would be slightly different today! eek lol
[Edited 5/16/09 8:10am]

Details? biggrin
“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
- Thomas Jefferson
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Reply #10 posted 05/16/09 2:28pm

Jeffiner

midnightmover said:

Jeffiner said:

http://prince.org/msg/7/263768?&pg=1 wink

Ha ha... I'm laughing at myself reading my posts on there again, I've learned quite lot more since then....my posts would be slightly different today! eek lol
[Edited 5/16/09 8:10am]

Details? biggrin


lol Hey.... it's Midnightmover! Oooh, I couldn't possibly say, far too controversial....! Let's just say, not quite so naive or .. yeah, leave it at that for now.
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Reply #11 posted 05/16/09 3:05pm

midnightmover

Jeffiner said:

midnightmover said:


Details? biggrin


lol Hey.... it's Midnightmover! Oooh, I couldn't possibly say, far too controversial....! Let's just say, not quite so naive or .. yeah, leave it at that for now.

I'll pry no further. wink
“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
- Thomas Jefferson
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Reply #12 posted 05/16/09 7:01pm

bellanoche

I have not read Hahn's book. However, I find it interesting that so many people like Per Nielsen's book. I thought it provided some good information and facts. However, I thought that it was obvious that Nielsen was most fixated on the Revolution period because the pre- and post-Revolution periods were somewhat glossed over in that book. For example, I was interested in the SOTT/LoveSexy era and that really wasn't covered too much beyond the drug trip speculation and a few other tidbits.

To date, the best Prince-related book that I've read is Dez Dickerson's book. That was an excellent read. I was totally engrossed in that book. I highly recommend that one.
perfection is a fallacy of the imagination...
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Reply #13 posted 05/16/09 7:15pm

salaciousV

I wish prince would write his autobiography. Then we could definitely believe half of it and the other half believable as his imagined other self. lol
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Reply #14 posted 05/17/09 10:15pm

Huggiebear

avatar

To date, the best Prince-related book that I've read is Dez Dickerson's book. That was an excellent read. I was totally engrossed in that book. I highly recommend that one.[/quote]


Whats it called and where can I get it
So what are u going 2 do? R u just gonna sit there and watch? I'm not gonna stop until the war is over. Its gonna take a long time
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Reply #15 posted 05/17/09 11:28pm

squirrelgrease

avatar

Huggiebear said:

To date, the best Prince-related book that I've read is Dez Dickerson's book. That was an excellent read. I was totally engrossed in that book. I highly recommend that one.


Whats it called and where can I get it


My Time With Prince

http://www.dezdickerson.com/

CHAPTER 1-THROWDOWN AT DEL'S

On a bitterly cold January day in Minneapolis, I pulled into the parking lot of Del's TireMart on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, near the U of M campus. I knew when I responded to the ad ("Warner Bros. recording artist seeks guitarist and keyboard player...") that it could only be one person-this Prince kid that I had heard rumors of. There was no one else within 600 miles of my hometown that had a major label deal. I'd never met him-I had been playing guitar in rock bands and power trios for 9 years, travelling all over the Midwest doing clubs, ballrooms, high schools, and anywhere else we could set up. Since Prince had played very few gigs, and we were from opposite sides of the river (he lived in North Minneapolis, and I lived in St. Paul), our paths had never crossed. Like him, I began making music at an early age. I formed my first band at age 14, two weeks after starting guitar lessons. We played our first gig after being together less than a month (a dance at our junior high school- not only did we play for free, but we paid to get in!). By our sophomore year, we had a booking agent, and we were getting out of school early most Fridays to travel to exotic locales like Fairmont, MN, and Storm Lake, IA and play our favorite cover music (Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Cream, etc.). Word started to spread amongst the musician grapevine about this high school kid from St. Paul who played guitar like Jimi. One night, a guy named Bill Lordan, a Minneapolis drummer who had landed a gig with then-huge English Hendrix knock-off Robin Trower, came to one of our shows in a church basement, just to check it out for himself. Over the next 9 years, I started, fronted, and led 8 or 9 bands before I even heard Prince's name. Then the rumors started. There was this 17 year old kid in town who was the next Stevie Wonder. He could play 15 instruments, and wrote incredible songs. It was almost like an urban legend-I never saw him, just heard about him. One day, my younger sister came home with a new album by this kid named Prince. I asked her if I could borrow it from her and check it out. Upon listening, in typical youthful musician arrogance, I thought to myself, "It's OK, but they should have signed me-I could have done a much better record...". Looking back, I'm embarrassed at how full of myself I was, and how much I had to learn. When I rolled into Del's, there were several cars in the parking lot, engines running, folks in their cars trying to keep warm. When I had called about the ad and spoken to Prince's manager, Owen Husney, I got the sense they had already auditioned a lot of folks. I would find out later that I had no idea just how many. I sat in my lime-green Plymouth Sebring, the latest in a series of wanna-be muscle cars that I had owned since age 16. I loved loud things-loud cars, loud music, loud places. The car was kind of an extension of who I was at the time-it screamed to be noticed. And, I guess that's what brought me to Del's-the hunger to be noticed. We all sat for quite a while, when someone (I don't remember who) started going around to all the cars and gathering everyone up to sit in the same car. It was a great idea, since we were all starving musicians who could ill afford to waste gas idling in the parking lot. We all ended up in the same car, chatting and trading stories. I remember sizing people up, determining who I thought 'had it' and who didn't. I was nothing back then if not sickeningly confident. I was one of the few, it seemed, that had already reached fulltime status with playing music. In fact, I would be leaving Del's that day and heading straight out for a gig we were doing in Wisconsin that night. All of us were very curious as to what was about to happen, and annoyed at the fact we were being kept waiting. I couldn't help thinking how angry the rest of my band would be when I showed up late, but couldn't say why... Finally, a full two and one-half hours past the scheduled time, the Entourage showed up. I didn't know any of them-little did I realize that I would end up sharing the experience of a lifetime with a couple of them. Most notably, there was Andre Anderson (Prince's childhood friend, musical partner, and bass player), and Bobby Rivkin (friend and drummer), and manager Owen Husney. Bobby had known Owen for a long time, in that Bobby's older brother David had played in a band with Owen in their teen years. The band had some regional success, and even some national radio exposure, but Owen ended up in the advertising business, and David ended up a recording engineer. Through Bobby's relationship with Owen, he got connected with Prince. Andre was another story entirely. They had been friends since they were kids, and really more like brothers. Andre's mom, Bernadette, had taken Prince in when there were problems with his own family, and he and Andre shared a room. Andre had been with Prince as the Wild Ride of the deal and the recording had begun. It didn't take long to figure out that the quiet, almost painfully shy, diminutive figure at the center of the rush of people was Prince. It was eeiry-no one said a word (no apologies or explainations for the tardiness-which I would find later to be a way of life), but they just opened the door and we all filed in. There were some quick introductions, and then Prince just went over, sat behind a keyboard, and started playing. We kind of determined among ourselves who would go first, and Owen graciously allowed me to go to bat right away, since I had that gig I had to get to. Prince started a riff on the Oberheim polyphonic synth and Hohner Clavinette, and Andre and Bobby soon fell in behind him with a rock-solid groove. I just observed for a few minutes, and fell in playing rhythm. After a bit, without saying a word, Prince nodded to me. At that point, I took a solo. I had been at it long enough to know that less is more, so rather than try to impress him and the room with every note I knew, I played what made sense, ended it, and flowed back into rhythm. After about 15 minute of following this pattern, I apologetically reminded them that I really did need to get going. Prince finally spoke, and said he'd walk me out. Back out in the winter air, Prince asked me lots of question-I remember being struck with how incisive they were for such a young guy (I was 3 years older). He asked about my aspirations (I told him I still desired a solo career someday), my musical tastes, my work ethic. After 10 minutes or so of conversation, we shook hands, he disappeared back into the Tire Mart, and I sped off toward I-94 and the Wisconsin border. I had NO idea how fateful the last few hours would end up being...


His 2-CD set is still available under Merchandise.
If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #16 posted 05/18/09 3:40am

Huggiebear

avatar

squirrelgrease said:[quote]

Huggiebear said:



My Time With Prince

http://www.dezdickerson.com/

CHAPTER 1-THROWDOWN AT DEL'S

On a bitterly cold January day in Minneapolis, I pulled into the parking lot of Del's TireMart on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, near the U of M campus. I knew when I responded to the ad ("Warner Bros. recording artist seeks guitarist and keyboard player...") that it could only be one person-this Prince kid that I had heard rumors of. There was no one else within 600 miles of my hometown that had a major label deal. I'd never met him-I had been playing guitar in rock bands and power trios for 9 years, travelling all over the Midwest doing clubs, ballrooms, high schools, and anywhere else we could set up. Since Prince had played very few gigs, and we were from opposite sides of the river (he lived in North Minneapolis, and I lived in St. Paul), our paths had never crossed. Like him, I began making music at an early age. I formed my first band at age 14, two weeks after starting guitar lessons. We played our first gig after being together less than a month (a dance at our junior high school- not only did we play for free, but we paid to get in!). By our sophomore year, we had a booking agent, and we were getting out of school early most Fridays to travel to exotic locales like Fairmont, MN, and Storm Lake, IA and play our favorite cover music (Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Cream, etc.). Word started to spread amongst the musician grapevine about this high school kid from St. Paul who played guitar like Jimi. One night, a guy named Bill Lordan, a Minneapolis drummer who had landed a gig with then-huge English Hendrix knock-off Robin Trower, came to one of our shows in a church basement, just to check it out for himself. Over the next 9 years, I started, fronted, and led 8 or 9 bands before I even heard Prince's name. Then the rumors started. There was this 17 year old kid in town who was the next Stevie Wonder. He could play 15 instruments, and wrote incredible songs. It was almost like an urban legend-I never saw him, just heard about him. One day, my younger sister came home with a new album by this kid named Prince. I asked her if I could borrow it from her and check it out. Upon listening, in typical youthful musician arrogance, I thought to myself, "It's OK, but they should have signed me-I could have done a much better record...". Looking back, I'm embarrassed at how full of myself I was, and how much I had to learn. When I rolled into Del's, there were several cars in the parking lot, engines running, folks in their cars trying to keep warm. When I had called about the ad and spoken to Prince's manager, Owen Husney, I got the sense they had already auditioned a lot of folks. I would find out later that I had no idea just how many. I sat in my lime-green Plymouth Sebring, the latest in a series of wanna-be muscle cars that I had owned since age 16. I loved loud things-loud cars, loud music, loud places. The car was kind of an extension of who I was at the time-it screamed to be noticed. And, I guess that's what brought me to Del's-the hunger to be noticed. We all sat for quite a while, when someone (I don't remember who) started going around to all the cars and gathering everyone up to sit in the same car. It was a great idea, since we were all starving musicians who could ill afford to waste gas idling in the parking lot. We all ended up in the same car, chatting and trading stories. I remember sizing people up, determining who I thought 'had it' and who didn't. I was nothing back then if not sickeningly confident. I was one of the few, it seemed, that had already reached fulltime status with playing music. In fact, I would be leaving Del's that day and heading straight out for a gig we were doing in Wisconsin that night. All of us were very curious as to what was about to happen, and annoyed at the fact we were being kept waiting. I couldn't help thinking how angry the rest of my band would be when I showed up late, but couldn't say why... Finally, a full two and one-half hours past the scheduled time, the Entourage showed up. I didn't know any of them-little did I realize that I would end up sharing the experience of a lifetime with a couple of them. Most notably, there was Andre Anderson (Prince's childhood friend, musical partner, and bass player), and Bobby Rivkin (friend and drummer), and manager Owen Husney. Bobby had known Owen for a long time, in that Bobby's older brother David had played in a band with Owen in their teen years. The band had some regional success, and even some national radio exposure, but Owen ended up in the advertising business, and David ended up a recording engineer. Through Bobby's relationship with Owen, he got connected with Prince. Andre was another story entirely. They had been friends since they were kids, and really more like brothers. Andre's mom, Bernadette, had taken Prince in when there were problems with his own family, and he and Andre shared a room. Andre had been with Prince as the Wild Ride of the deal and the recording had begun. It didn't take long to figure out that the quiet, almost painfully shy, diminutive figure at the center of the rush of people was Prince. It was eeiry-no one said a word (no apologies or explainations for the tardiness-which I would find later to be a way of life), but they just opened the door and we all filed in. There were some quick introductions, and then Prince just went over, sat behind a keyboard, and started playing. We kind of determined among ourselves who would go first, and Owen graciously allowed me to go to bat right away, since I had that gig I had to get to. Prince started a riff on the Oberheim polyphonic synth and Hohner Clavinette, and Andre and Bobby soon fell in behind him with a rock-solid groove. I just observed for a few minutes, and fell in playing rhythm. After a bit, without saying a word, Prince nodded to me. At that point, I took a solo. I had been at it long enough to know that less is more, so rather than try to impress him and the room with every note I knew, I played what made sense, ended it, and flowed back into rhythm. After about 15 minute of following this pattern, I apologetically reminded them that I really did need to get going. Prince finally spoke, and said he'd walk me out. Back out in the winter air, Prince asked me lots of question-I remember being struck with how incisive they were for such a young guy (I was 3 years older). He asked about my aspirations (I told him I still desired a solo career someday), my musical tastes, my work ethic. After 10 minutes or so of conversation, we shook hands, he disappeared back into the Tire Mart, and I sped off toward I-94 and the Wisconsin border. I had NO idea how fateful the last few hours would end up being...


His 2-CD set is still available under Merchandise.


Cheers, so he was born in 1954 or 1955, that helps, I thought he was a bit older
So what are u going 2 do? R u just gonna sit there and watch? I'm not gonna stop until the war is over. Its gonna take a long time
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Reply #17 posted 05/18/09 7:16am

scififilmnerd

avatar

squirrelgrease said:

Didn't Hahn represent a fanzine (Controversy?) when Prince sent his dogs?


Uptown. biggrin
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #18 posted 05/18/09 7:19am

scififilmnerd

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I had a really big issue with Hahn when he accused Come 1993 as being Prince's weakest material ever when we all know it was his strongest in years! mad
[Edited 5/18/09 7:25am]
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #19 posted 05/18/09 7:37am

Se7en

avatar

I'd really like to read the rest of Dez's book. I'm probably most interested in that because he was THERE. Not just another "fan" or "historian" book.
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Reply #20 posted 05/18/09 12:17pm

squirrelgrease

avatar

scififilmnerd said:

squirrelgrease said:

Didn't Hahn represent a fanzine (Controversy?) when Prince sent his dogs?


Uptown. biggrin


Thanks. I knew it had to be one of the two biggies.
If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #21 posted 05/27/09 8:43pm

bellanoche

Se7en said:

I'd really like to read the rest of Dez's book. I'm probably most interested in that because he was THERE. Not just another "fan" or "historian" book.

It really is a great read. My mom, who isn't even a Prince fan picked it up when I left it on the table and started reading it. She said who is this guy? He writes really well and had me engaged in the story. lol

It's a great, honest book that doesn't try to sensationalize anything. It's not bitter or anything else. It's very reflective, introspective and factual. I am reading the Liz Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm" now and it doesn't hold a candle to "My Time With Prince." There are also some great candid photos in Dez's book.
perfection is a fallacy of the imagination...
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Reply #22 posted 05/28/09 3:09am

eaglebear4839

waaay more objectivism, huh? how teenagery.
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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Alex Hahn's book... very interesting but not good journalism IMO