Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"1 + 1 + 1" - 3 Cool Things about Jon Bream's Prince Bio

I know, I know, I’m a day late. I was supposed to post yesterday, but I didn’t make it. To make it up to you, I am going to post twice this week. The good news is that I set out to finish Jon Bream’s 1984 book, “Prince: Inside the Purple Reign,” last week, and I’ve succeeded. I really enjoyed it, and I want to single out a few reasons why:

1.      It’s the predecessor to all other Prince biographies. You may remember that, in an earlier post, I’ve pinpointed three books that I consider the most thorough profiles of the artist to date--"Purple Reign: The Artist Formerly Knownas Prince" by Liz Jones (1998), "Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: the First Decade" by Per Nilsen (1999) and "Possessed: the Rise and Fall of Prince" by Alex Hahn (2003). Well, while reading Bream’s book, I came across information that I’ve seen quoted numerous times in at least two of the other biographies—Bream’s book is included in Jones’bibliography and Hahn's “Source Notes and Acknowledgements.” A longtime journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bream also claims to have conducted the first one-on-one interview with Prince (excluding the interview that Prince gave to his school paper, the Central High Pioneer, in 1976). There is a lot of interesting information in all of Bream’s early interviews with the artist; they are included in the book.
2.      Bream is the only biographer—that I know of—who interviewed Prince’s mother, the late Mattie Shaw. It’s nice to read about her perspective.
3.      There are a lot of “fun facts” that I didn’t know. I’m sure you hardcore Prince fans are going to roll your eyes at me, but I didn’t know that Tina Turner covered Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married" in her live concerts. That is awesome! No one touches Tina!

You'll notice that Tina changes Prince's lyric "I'm in love with God" to "I'm in love with life," but I digress...
Also, when I blogged about taking a trip to Minneapolis, I wondered where they actually shot the Lake Minnetonka scene in “Purple Rain.” I found the answer from Bream’s book, if I’m interpreting this passage correctly:

“Most of the rest of scenes were filmed in thirty-two locations in and around Minneapolis. Appolonia went skinny-dipping in near-freezing weather in a lake near Henderson, Minnesota. Some interior scenes were shot on a soundstage in the Twin Cities and others in Los Angeles…"

Overall, I could tell that Bream spent a lot of time doing research for this book. It’s great that he was able to get it finished and published in 1984, during the “Purple Rain” madness. Fans must have been psyched to purchase it during that time.

Like all Prince bios to date, Bream’s book does not cover Prince’s spirituality in depth (you know I’m trying to fill that void). However, Bream does touch on the subject, and I’d like to interview him to get his perception of it, and learn more about Prince’s life in Minneapolis.

Wish me luck!

Does anyone have a story about buying Bream’s book or getting it as a gift back in 1984?

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