We’re starting to forget the anniversary, but not the man. Never the man.
The Prince Estate leaked word about another bit of merchandise.
Publisher Random House has confirmed that they have added to their publishing calendar a 288 page “memoir” based upon handwritten notes from Prince himself. Fashioned as an “unfinished manuscript,” The Beautiful Ones is based upon a book originally announced a few weeks prior to Prince’s death.
The amount of material that comes from Prince himself is not entirely certain. Literary agent named Esther Newberg informed Variety a year ago that Prince had completed “50 handwritten pages” of the memoir before his death, which is a lot less than 288. Random House has said the book will combine this unfinished manuscript with “rare photos, scrapbooks and lyrics.”
“The Beautiful Ones is the deeply personal account of how Prince Rogers Nelson became the Prince we know,” Random House stated in a release. “The real-time story of a kid absorbing the world around him and creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and the fame that would come to define him.”
There was no one more careful about the music on their CV than Prince, but his death has seen an uneven and sometimes shoddy stream of creative works pouring out of the music icon’s vaults. The description of The Beautiful Ones could apply to most of them, actually: unfinished early drafts and demos in some cases padded to make another “finished” bit of merchandise for the estate.
We’ve been through this before, though. After his death at age 27, labels combed through every bit of music Jimi Hendrix ever recorded on tape, desperately trying to craft excerpt from jam sessions, unpolished riffs and sometimes even warm-up sessions into songs and albums. The industry’s thirst for new product (the Hendrix catalog was for years one of the most valuable, consistent sellers) lead to studio musicians even overdubbing Jimi Hendrix’s guitar parts – ostensibly the only reason anyone would listen to it.
Meanwhile, the legal fight around Prince’s works and the revenue they generate continues. Last month two advisors to the Prince Estate were ordered to freeze their compensation and fees into escrow pending a review, and former Paisley Park engineer George Ian Boxill was found liable for $4 million in a breach of contract after his supposedly unauthorized release of the Deliverance EP in April 2017. That too was a product timed for the anniversary of Prince’s death.