hits counter Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince

Availability: Ready to download

A unique and kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture Ben Greenman, New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer to the New Yorker, and owner of thousands of recordings of Prince and Prince-related songs, knows intimately that there has never been a rock star as vibrant, mercurial, A unique and kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture Ben Greenman, New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer to the New Yorker, and owner of thousands of recordings of Prince and Prince-related songs, knows intimately that there has never been a rock star as vibrant, mercurial, willfully contrary, experimental, or prolific as Prince. Uniting a diverse audience while remaining singularly himself, Prince was a tireless artist, a musical virtuoso and chameleon, and a pop-culture prophet who shattered traditional ideas of race and gender, rewrote the rules of identity, and redefined the role of sex in pop music. A polymath in his own right who collaborated with George Clinton and Questlove on their celebrated memoirs, Greenman has been listening to and writing about Prince since the mid-eighties. Here, with the passion of an obsessive fan and the skills of a critic, journalist, and novelist, he mines his encyclopedic knowledge of Prince’s music to tell both his story and the story of the paradigm-shifting ideas that he communicated to his millions of fans around the world. Greenman's take on Prince is the autobiography of a generation and its ideas. Asking a series of questions--not only “Who was Prince?” but “Who wasn’t he?” and “Who are we?”--Dig if You Will the Picture is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary talent.


Compare

A unique and kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture Ben Greenman, New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer to the New Yorker, and owner of thousands of recordings of Prince and Prince-related songs, knows intimately that there has never been a rock star as vibrant, mercurial, A unique and kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture Ben Greenman, New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer to the New Yorker, and owner of thousands of recordings of Prince and Prince-related songs, knows intimately that there has never been a rock star as vibrant, mercurial, willfully contrary, experimental, or prolific as Prince. Uniting a diverse audience while remaining singularly himself, Prince was a tireless artist, a musical virtuoso and chameleon, and a pop-culture prophet who shattered traditional ideas of race and gender, rewrote the rules of identity, and redefined the role of sex in pop music. A polymath in his own right who collaborated with George Clinton and Questlove on their celebrated memoirs, Greenman has been listening to and writing about Prince since the mid-eighties. Here, with the passion of an obsessive fan and the skills of a critic, journalist, and novelist, he mines his encyclopedic knowledge of Prince’s music to tell both his story and the story of the paradigm-shifting ideas that he communicated to his millions of fans around the world. Greenman's take on Prince is the autobiography of a generation and its ideas. Asking a series of questions--not only “Who was Prince?” but “Who wasn’t he?” and “Who are we?”--Dig if You Will the Picture is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary talent.

30 review for Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Dig if you Will, The Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince by Ben Greenman is a 2017 Henry Holt & Company publication. ‘Science-fiction authors have played around with the idea of extreme longevity and what effect it might have on the human psyche, speculating that if humans lived to be a thousand years old, they’d be so preoccupied with protecting that lifespan, that they would never even cross the street. Prince took the opposite tack, and then some.” Before you begin readin Dig if you Will, The Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince by Ben Greenman is a 2017 Henry Holt & Company publication. ‘Science-fiction authors have played around with the idea of extreme longevity and what effect it might have on the human psyche, speculating that if humans lived to be a thousand years old, they’d be so preoccupied with protecting that lifespan, that they would never even cross the street. Prince took the opposite tack, and then some.” Before you begin reading this book, be sure to take note of these words in the title: ‘The Music of Prince’. This is NOT a biography, but more of a fan driven homage to Prince and his music with many interesting and thought -provoking insights. However, it rarely delves too deeply into the personal life of Prince. Having said that, it would be impossible to ignore some personal aspects, and to leave them out entirely would have been a big mistake, but, when the time came to address those issues, the author gave the least amount of information possible, and did not linger on them for long. In fact, it was almost as if it made him squirm and he wanted to gloss it over and move on as quickly as possible. So, if you are looking for a definitive biography that digs deeply into the life of this iconic musician, as well as his musical talents, this is not the book you are looking for. However, if you are a rabid fan- loved Prince’s music, style, fashion, and mystique and would like to take a closer look at his musical influence and public life, this book will give you plenty to reminisce about. For me, this book was a like skipping down memory lane. I was reminded of so many Prince moments I’d forgotten all about overtime, and discovered others I was totally unaware of. To be honest, I liked Prince, enjoyed his music and aura, but at best, I was only a casual fan. Still who could forget the VMA when he wore those yellow ‘assless’ pants? Have you ever watched that awkward interview he did with Dick Clark on American Bandstand? I had not. In fact, I never even knew Prince had made an appearance on the show. You have to look that up on YouTube. From a nostalgic standpoint, these reminders of Prince’s early career moments are fun pop culture snapshots that show how his styles and music changed and developed over the course of time. But, this is not just a book packed with trivial ‘fan book’ facts. The author goes into deeper discussions about the themes represented in the music, as well as career highs and lows, who he was influenced by, his need for control and his battles for individuality, while maintaining a mass appeal to such an incredibly broad audience. “One bear said, ‘Did you hear about Rustam?’ He has become famous And travels from city to city In a golden cage; He preforms to hundreds of people Who laugh and applaud His carnival Stunts.” The other bear thought for A few seconds Then started Weeping” Hafiz This book explores song meanings, sexuality, spirituality, and race, but also highlights life on the road, performances, and Prince’s fight with recording studios and for the rights to his songs, the snafu over copyrights in the age of the internet and the integrity of his art, the importance of his privacy and how he did things, for better or worse, in the way he thought was best, and would grant him the creative license he needed. Knowing what we know now, this book could have had a sad, melancholy tone, but it doesn’t. It steers far from the very dark and still secretive life of Prince and stays focused, as much as possible, on his music and career. The only downside, is that in this author’s eyes, Prince could do no wrong, and so everything he did or said was given a positive spin with some excuses stretching the limits just a wee bit, and it appears that the author is still trying to wrap his head around the darker areas of his idol’s life, still clinging to that persona he has etched in his memory. However, to this day, my favorite memory of Prince- is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony when he joined Tom Petty on a star- studded stage and literally blew everyone away with his guitar solo in “My Guitar Gently Weeps" I am amazed. The guy was absolutely incredible. https://youtu.be/efhlDbZ4SmY Even though I’m not necessarily the targeted audience for this type of book, I did find enjoy the exploration of the music and the unique perspectives given of Prince’s professional journey. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a big fan, for the pop culture enthusiast, or for those who might wish to take an in depth look at Prince’s art and music without it being bogged down by too much personal drama. 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This not a biography. If you are looking for a biography about the life of Prince I would recommend Prince's ex-wife Mayte Garcia's book. Dig If You Will The Picture is an analytical and intellectual look at Prince's impact on music, film, fashion, and culture. Ben Greenman is obviously a stan. He makes no attempt to hide his superfandom. If you are interested in taking a deep dive inside the music of Prince than I would recommend this, but if you want a more traditional look at the world of Pri This not a biography. If you are looking for a biography about the life of Prince I would recommend Prince's ex-wife Mayte Garcia's book. Dig If You Will The Picture is an analytical and intellectual look at Prince's impact on music, film, fashion, and culture. Ben Greenman is obviously a stan. He makes no attempt to hide his superfandom. If you are interested in taking a deep dive inside the music of Prince than I would recommend this, but if you want a more traditional look at the world of Prince there are other books for that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    There was something about this book that I do not think any other Prince book I could ever read will ever touch, the personal aspect. I don't mean the person aspect in regards to actually knowing Prince. What I mean is the actual personal aspect as a fan. Greenman is truly a fan of Prince and it shows in every word on the page. From the personal stories he tells, to the history of the artist, Dig If You Will the Picture is a true love letter to Prince from Greenman. It is also a love letter from There was something about this book that I do not think any other Prince book I could ever read will ever touch, the personal aspect. I don't mean the person aspect in regards to actually knowing Prince. What I mean is the actual personal aspect as a fan. Greenman is truly a fan of Prince and it shows in every word on the page. From the personal stories he tells, to the history of the artist, Dig If You Will the Picture is a true love letter to Prince from Greenman. It is also a love letter from Greenman to other fans. I found myself smiling through most of this book because there was a bond between the author and the reader. So many times I felt myself thinking, yeah, you understood him too, didn't you? It's a nice feeling to have when you're the only 27 year old you know obsessed with Prince. Thank you Greenman for an amazing look at Prince, his music, his life, and yourself as a fan. Longer review coming soon!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bookforum Magazine

    "It was almost as if Prince were competing with the medium that was most like him–each of them teeming with near-infinite content, much of it naked and moaning, a stream that never stops running, at all hours of the day. But any account that stresses Prince's solitary inventiveness misses the other crucial wellspring, as captured in the slogan of the long-standing free-jazz group the Art Ensemble of Chicago: "Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future." His catch-me-if-you-can reclusiveness reads "It was almost as if Prince were competing with the medium that was most like him–each of them teeming with near-infinite content, much of it naked and moaning, a stream that never stops running, at all hours of the day. But any account that stresses Prince's solitary inventiveness misses the other crucial wellspring, as captured in the slogan of the long-standing free-jazz group the Art Ensemble of Chicago: "Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future." His catch-me-if-you-can reclusiveness reads now more like a superstar living his black life, mainly in black circles, and sidestepping the blanching efforts of the mainstream glare. No question he was an eccentric within a tradition. There was a hall of mirrors, but it had specific reflection in it. He also writes excellently about Prince's sojourns into film, and his section about Prince's mainly antagonistic relationship with would-be parodists stands out as an original contribution." –Carl Wilson on Ben Greenman's Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince in the April/May 2017 issue of Bookforum To read the rest of this review, please go to Bookforum: http://bookforum.com/inprint/024_01/1...

  5. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    I would like to begin this review by saying this book took almost a week longer for me to finish than other books, and it's only 261 pages. I will not let how long it took to read it color my review though. That being said, this isn't a binge-readable book to me. It took forever to get through it simply because a great majority of it was boring. It sometimes read as an overtly drawn out high school essay. But I still give it a three star rating despite that, because I appreciate what Greenman di I would like to begin this review by saying this book took almost a week longer for me to finish than other books, and it's only 261 pages. I will not let how long it took to read it color my review though. That being said, this isn't a binge-readable book to me. It took forever to get through it simply because a great majority of it was boring. It sometimes read as an overtly drawn out high school essay. But I still give it a three star rating despite that, because I appreciate what Greenman did with this book. For starters, the people complaining that this book was all about Prince's music rather than his life, have missed the point. Prince was an immensely private person. Prince did not want people to know his everyday life behind the scenes. All Prince wanted to show of himself was his music, and what he did onstage. That is all he left us. Prince was a man plagued by feelings of narcissism, and self-hatred, cycling throughout his music career. I think Greenman did an amazing job showing that Prince was a complex man. He was incredibly controlling, at times abusive, and difficult. And that is what made Prince the music idol he was. I would also like to thank Greenman for writing this. Sometimes when icons die, people immediately try to cash in on the tragedy by craping out a book about the person. I feel Greenman understood Prince was, at times, unbearable, yet he was such a huge fan, he never stopped loving him. I feel he would of wrote this book even if Prince was still alive, and I have great respect for that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Lyon

    Short on facts, long on opinions. Just not what I was expecting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Missy Michaels

    Not what I expected. I should have read the cover of the book better. I was drawn in by the cool picture and the cool title because I enjoy reading biographies. This is not that. My first clue was when I flipped to the center to look at the pages filled with photos documenting the life of the book subject and there weren't any. If you want to read a book just basically about Prince's music then you will enjoy this. If you actually want to read a biography about Prince then you probably will not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sam Baber

    Even though Greenman's approach can appear scattered at times, this is an indispensable text for the long time Prince lover or the curious who want to explore the genius of his music. Strongly recommend having the songs discussed playing in real time while you read about them for a richer experience.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alicen

    Just pre-ordered my copy!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Well written account of Princes music, gives some insight of the man but is definitely not a biography

  11. 4 out of 5

    Juan Canas

    A fan boy's overview of Prince's musical career. I didn't come away from it feeling like I knew Prince any better but he's a talented writer so it was an easy read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ElphaReads

    Like many people, the day that Prince died was a day that absolutely devastated me. Not only was he our hometown hero here in Minneapolis, he was a musical genius whose music will live on to be remembered as extraordinary. To say the very least. And yes, this Minnesotan has her own 'Prince Story', one that I will tell through the ages (it involves me, my job a museum, and getting totally flustered when Prince came up to me to ask me a question). WHen I heard about DIG IF YOU WILL THE PICTURE by Like many people, the day that Prince died was a day that absolutely devastated me. Not only was he our hometown hero here in Minneapolis, he was a musical genius whose music will live on to be remembered as extraordinary. To say the very least. And yes, this Minnesotan has her own 'Prince Story', one that I will tell through the ages (it involves me, my job a museum, and getting totally flustered when Prince came up to me to ask me a question). WHen I heard about DIG IF YOU WILL THE PICTURE by Ben Greenman, I was pretty interested to pick it up. DIG IF YOU WILL THE PICTURE is an examination of Prince, his persona, bits of his life, but mostly his music. His career started in the 80s and was continuously reimagining itself and changing, and his artistry has few peers or comparisons. This book examines his music and the meaning behind it, as well as the process that Prince took to compose it and the way that it influenced his life as well as the music world as a whole. I don't know that much about music, to be honest. I've played flute, guitar, and sang in choirs, but I can't say that I'm very versed in it. But I know that I love Prince's music, and so while the structural examinations that Greenman did didn't mean that much to me, I loved reading about the songs. I also really liked how Greenman examined not only the social and personal themes that Prince put in his music, but also the acts that he promoted and took under his tutelage. There is definitely a lot to say about race, gender, and sexuality in his music, and seeing it all laid out and dissected was interesting to read. I was kind of hoping for more about his background and his life, but he was such a private person that I'm not totally surprised that Greenman didn't have much to go off of (I assume). To frame the focus on his music was probably for the best. I think that people who are a bit more musically inclined will get more from this book, but the anecdotes and the stories behind the songs were entertaining to this Prince fan.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anita Dawson

    I love reading the background genius of the Purple One. So many artists have benefited because of his genius. As the author indicated that the flowers that Prince planted in his garden are continuing to grow in the music that we listen to today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I started this in preparation for visiting Paisley Park. I knew very little about Prince and had never read a celeb biography before. Wow, Prince was kind of a jackass.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Simon Sweetman

    Great writing, really great writing. And a wise - thoughtful - look back at the genius and mystery and magic of Prince.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Don Gorman

    (1) I picked this up in my never ending quest to keep up with the music world. Boy, was I disappointed. I had not expected a song by song (just about) relativity lesson for all of Prince's works. I have heard a fair amount of his music, like some of it, but never affixed the importance to it the way that Greenman has. If you are a dyed in the wool, bonafide Prince nut, you might like this book. Otherwise, it is just about as dull as it can be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    FunkMaster General

    Around 3.5 . . . mayhaps 3.499, but I round up anyhoo . . . enjoyable, informative, a little scattershot. Like the artist. Seems many folks didn't know what they were getting & down-rated it. Kind of a critical "biography" of the music moreso than the man. Musicography? Around 3.5 . . . mayhaps 3.499, but I round up anyhoo . . . enjoyable, informative, a little scattershot. Like the artist. Seems many folks didn't know what they were getting & down-rated it. Kind of a critical "biography" of the music moreso than the man. Musicography?

  18. 5 out of 5

    J Beckett

    Books that are written about an icon harbors expectations that often exceed reality; infusing an image of a giant with the curiosity and mystery of their journey to stardom. Readers want to get the details that would otherwise remain unknown. Several months ago I wrote a blog about one such icon, and upon completion, which is the case for many writers, I hated every word, punctuation, and idle attempt to be savvy and captivating. I didn’t further edit that blog, opting instead to let it stand as Books that are written about an icon harbors expectations that often exceed reality; infusing an image of a giant with the curiosity and mystery of their journey to stardom. Readers want to get the details that would otherwise remain unknown. Several months ago I wrote a blog about one such icon, and upon completion, which is the case for many writers, I hated every word, punctuation, and idle attempt to be savvy and captivating. I didn’t further edit that blog, opting instead to let it stand as a reminder of where I was, mentally, at that time. In the late 1970’s I was a supersized ( in today’s measurement of girth, that youthful me would be considered ‘average-athletic’) version of most newly minted teenagers. We were a deeply impressionable bunch, wanting to emulate, even ape, our heroes, including, perhaps especially, those in music. So, after a long and sometimes painful journey through the catacombs of disco, elevator rock, and experimental fusion, an unknown enigma emerged and soared upon the airwaves and into our lives, nesting there, incomprehensible, for several decades. And it would be his precocious music that leveled rocky paths– uniting cultures– like disco. The world came to know him as one ironic and terrifically appropriate name: Prince. Tiny, androgynous, mysterious, and enigmatic, Prince quickly elevated to superhero, and then suddenly he passed. His unexpected death led millions of people to the streets paying homage in song, dance, costumes, and chants. Purple covered the skies. Dig If You Will the Picture, by Ben Greenman, a biography, of sorts, about Prince categorizes in a way that often feels sanitized, the work and life of the artist. It was evident that Greenman had not interviewed Prince and more evident that through independently developed accounts and personal opinions this book was created. It cannot be questions that Greenman is a gifted scribe with tremendous interest in pop culture and icons, but this could be problematic as the book became, in parts, too academic which, although informative, lulled along. Greenman’s comparison of Prince songs to other works, from the literary to the philosophical, shows that he is encyclopedic perhaps beyond necessity. If Dig If You Will the Picture was placed alongside the many books existing and forthcoming (Prince: A Private View; Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions:1983-1984; The Most Beautiful, and several others), it would glow and equally fall short based on its lack of personalization. There were no, or very few, points of passion, humanizing of Price as a person, or surreal effect on his fan base. Fortunately, there is one thing the Greenman provided in the writing of this book. He allowed those who may not be familiar with Prince (imagine that) an opportunity to know the depth of his genius. His emphasis on Prince as an instrumentalist and determined lyricist, or Prince’s refusal to compromise his sound, look, or passion, illuminates the artist. Fans of Prince should read Dig If You Will the Picture. Many will enjoy its details (I actually did) but expect the unexpected. I wasn’t wowed; I wasn’t disappointed, but I was not prepared for some of the content or the almost scrivener’s style. Greenman had me reminiscing about nearly forgotten songs, flipping through old disks, and listening to unfamiliar Prince tunes. Pleasantly, I was transported back to Prince’s earlier works and developed a new appreciation for his newer music. I was a college student at the height of many of Prince’s greatest hits, sitting in a friend’s dorm room with a half dozen other guys sipping on the cheapest truth serum we could find and vigorously debating about the symbolic meanings of and hidden messages behind When Dove’s Cry, I Would Die For You, or Darling Nikki, and the yet proven fact that his name, Prince Rogers Nelson, had 6 letters each (666). We’d watch his videos in silence, allowing the serum to work its magic and Prince to work wonders. The book awakened that. In many ways, I am still in that dorm room saying with conviction, Dig If You Will….

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    I came into this knowing very little about Prince. During his peak years, I was not really into popular music, so I never really caught the bug, if you will. But I really enjoyed this look back at his life and legacy, and am definitely inspired to check out more of his music and listen for the things the author teased out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book, filled with anecdotes and details - some well-known and others unknown - about the legendary Prince. I loved the passion of the author, and the sheer respect he showed for the artist.

  21. 4 out of 5

    BJC

    I probably shouldn't have read it after reading Robin (Williams - by Dave Itzkoff). I found it rambling and disorganized. The narrator segued into his own youthful bad-boy memories of discovering Prince's music (and his own girlfriends and exploits), and self-consciously, about writing the book. It's not chronological, but written in chunks by topic. In some areas it's too gushing, in others, glossing over details. I understand there are better biographies of Prince, and I will probably look for t I probably shouldn't have read it after reading Robin (Williams - by Dave Itzkoff). I found it rambling and disorganized. The narrator segued into his own youthful bad-boy memories of discovering Prince's music (and his own girlfriends and exploits), and self-consciously, about writing the book. It's not chronological, but written in chunks by topic. In some areas it's too gushing, in others, glossing over details. I understand there are better biographies of Prince, and I will probably look for them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    wade

    A timely book about Prince doing a deep analysis of the massive archive of his songs. If you are looking fo a lot of information on his personal life there is not much here. But, if you want to learn about his music, it is all there. There are pieces of information that I learned like his connection to the Jehovah Witnesses and his relationships and inspirations from other musicians over the years. Nice books if you are interested in the songs of this shy genius.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    I *loved* it. Not a conventional biography but a meta-bio run through the lens of Prince's music and creative output. Also I learned that for 35 years I had not realised Prince doesn't start singing until the third line of '1999'. (It's Lisa Coleman and Dez Dickerson.) THE MORE YOU LEARN.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Disappointed. Numerous inaccuracies throughout, and for a true Prince fam, no new insight here. :(

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven King

    Author: Ben Greenman Title: Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Tantor Media Unabridged Length of Production: 8 discs/9 hours Year of Publication: 2017 In 2013, National Geographic aired a series entitled, “The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us.” The 80’s brings back a host of memories for all of us: political turmoil, Rubik’s Cube, and Pac Man. Most however, realize what separated the 80’s from all other decades---its music. It w Author: Ben Greenman Title: Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Tantor Media Unabridged Length of Production: 8 discs/9 hours Year of Publication: 2017 In 2013, National Geographic aired a series entitled, “The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us.” The 80’s brings back a host of memories for all of us: political turmoil, Rubik’s Cube, and Pac Man. Most however, realize what separated the 80’s from all other decades---its music. It would be hard to quantify just what 80’s music is all about – yet, a number of artists came on to the scene who eloquently spoke to the collective angst of that generation. The musician who entered the world as Prince Rogers Nelson was such a musician. His humble beginnings in Minneapolis fostered a music icon who morphed into a music superstar. While his name shifted from Prince to the “Artist Formerly Known as Prince” to even a symbol for love, Prince spoke to an angst that existed in America. His album, Purple Rain, marked his ascent into music history. In 1984, this title was used in a somewhat autobiographical feature film where Prince’s lyrics come alive in a very personal way: I never meant to cause you any sorrow I never meant to cause you any pain I only wanted to one time see you laughing I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain Certainly, Prince was a complicated human and inspirational musician. His career spanned four decades in which he produced 40 albums with over 100 singles. Many of his singles enjoyed #1 status on multiple music charts. Then tragically, in 2016, Prince died what was certainly a premature death at the hands of opioid overdose. Such a death is eerily reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s untimely demise in 2009. Dig If You Will the Picture is Bob Greenman’s attempt to “repair the rip in the world left by his death.” Listening to this audiobook will draw you in very naturally, as the author lauds various events and even the lyrical content of some of Prince’s most recognizable singles. Prince was a dedicated musician, producing music at a break neck pace. If you’re like me, as you are listening to this book, you will also want to view the hit film Purple Rain, as you will be intrigued by its plot in a fresh way. While the movie focuses mainly on the competition between Morris Day and Prince, the audiobook will add details that help better understand what was at stake in Prince’s life. The cadence of the audiobook is very quick but does not detract from the content. Since Greenman fancies himself a sort of “master fan” of Prince, he unfolds quite a bit of facts to the listener. The narrator, Peter Berkrot, is perhaps best known for playing Angie D'Annunzio, the caddy in the 1980 comedy Caddyshack who was on the receiving end of Bill Murray's insane Dalai Lama speech. His reading has a nasally sing song style that keeps the story from getting boring and matches the quick cadence of the book powerfully. If you enjoy the backstory behind music, you will love Dig If You Will the Picture.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Craig Pittman

    This book was my favorite Father's Day gift, and I devoured it in a week -- it's that good. Ben Greenman, a journalist who has worked with George Clinton and other music stars, is a die-hard but clear-eyed Prince fan of longstanding who, upon the Purple One's tragic and needless death a year ago, tried to make sense of it by analyzing his work from every possible angle. He looks at Prince the man, the musician, the star, the puppet-master, the religious acolyte and a host of other ways to consid This book was my favorite Father's Day gift, and I devoured it in a week -- it's that good. Ben Greenman, a journalist who has worked with George Clinton and other music stars, is a die-hard but clear-eyed Prince fan of longstanding who, upon the Purple One's tragic and needless death a year ago, tried to make sense of it by analyzing his work from every possible angle. He looks at Prince the man, the musician, the star, the puppet-master, the religious acolyte and a host of other ways to consider the man from Minnesota. Greenman tosses in personal anecdotes, such as buying his first Prince album, 1999, while growing up in Miami in 1982 and how it blew his mind, as well as telling and sometimes amusing anecdotes about his subject too -- dig if you will the picture of Prince and Larry Graham of Graham Central Station knocking on doors in Minneapolis to peddle copies of the Jehovah's Witness publication "The Watchtower" and encountering a nice Jewish couple, for instance. He doesn't try to paper over Prince's flaws and faults -- his penchant for taking full credit for songs he co-wrote, his disdain for some of his most fanatical fans, his distrust of computers and the Internet (his approach to using a mouse was, in a word, "interesting," Greenman reports). And he can't hide the sense of melancholy of the final pages as the world copes with the discovery that sometimes it does snow in April. The cover of the book is Prince-like in its use of collage to show off the characters and themes of his life and work. And in lieu of a conventional index, Greenman runs down his discography -- the 40 official album releases -- with page numbers listed for each song mentioned in the book, and one song per album highlighted with an anecdote or analysis. I was disappointed he didn't mention, much less delve into, three of my somewhat faves -- "Dreamer," "Sexy MF" and "No More Candy 4U" -- but that's a quibble and not a real criticism. Anyone who enjoyed Prince's music and is still pondering his significance should dig into this fine work.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caterina Pierre

    This is a very heartfelt and fair biography of Prince Rogers Nelson, who died suddenly from an accidental overdose of an opioid in 2016, after a powerful and influential 38-year musical career. I say heartfelt because Greenman inserts himself often in the story, for example, telling the reader what concerts he saw, what albums he bought and when, and how his star crossed Prince’s once at a promotional event. It’s clear the author adored Prince from a very early age, and while this book has many This is a very heartfelt and fair biography of Prince Rogers Nelson, who died suddenly from an accidental overdose of an opioid in 2016, after a powerful and influential 38-year musical career. I say heartfelt because Greenman inserts himself often in the story, for example, telling the reader what concerts he saw, what albums he bought and when, and how his star crossed Prince’s once at a promotional event. It’s clear the author adored Prince from a very early age, and while this book has many very scholarly analyses of Prince’s music, it reads, concurrently, like a tribute. Fans might be annoyed by a few errors in the book (could the real events behind Dave Chappelle skit on Prince have happened at Paisley Park? It’s unlikely, unless everyone in show biz was hanging out in Minnesota at a club and it was after 1987; he annoyingly and disrespectfully calls Prince’s son “Boy Gregory,” a pseudonym created to hide the child’s birth from the press, even though we’ve known for more than a year that the child’s birth name was Amiir Nelson; he says the bootleg of the Black Album was produced in a clear cassette case without mentioning the clear vinyl that the phonographic record was also produced in; etc.,etc.). These are the reasons why I knocked off a star. However, when writing about such a complicated man, the musical genius of our times, we are all bound to trip here or there. For anyone writing about Prince, there is just too much to think about. I call the book fair because any person as prolific as Prince is bound to record some stinkers, and Prince had a few, and Greenman, to his credit, recognizes them. Die hard fans will not learn much that they didn’t already know or can argue over, but some of the literary analyses of the songs (and the person) are unique, and for the Prince novitiate this book is a good way to start learning about the man and his music.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donna Bennett

    I received this book via LibraryThing.com Early Reviewers. This book did not meet my literary expectations. I wasn't a big fan of Prince and the artist formerly known as and I didn't understand the direction his music was leading me too. However, I like the cover art of the book and the forward by Questlove. I still viewed Prince as a musical genius in his own right. But, this biographical book by bestselling author, Ben Greenman is immensely focused on Greenman's knowledge of the instruments, l I received this book via LibraryThing.com Early Reviewers. This book did not meet my literary expectations. I wasn't a big fan of Prince and the artist formerly known as and I didn't understand the direction his music was leading me too. However, I like the cover art of the book and the forward by Questlove. I still viewed Prince as a musical genius in his own right. But, this biographical book by bestselling author, Ben Greenman is immensely focused on Greenman's knowledge of the instruments, lyrics, and Prince's sexuality. The book reads scientifically with Greenman dissecting Prince's video's movies, songs and relationships (musically and personally). I was looking for more biography of Prince, Time, Vanity 6, Apollonia and others than the cost of his instruments and whether Prince was a Svengali or Pygmalion tradition or he was more hermaphrodite or androgynous. A great deal of the material went over my head. I still give Greenman credit for his analytical insight into Prince and his influence on music, fashion and culture. There are biographical elements about Prince mixed in with the encyclopedic-like details. He touches on Princes associations with Larry Graham (Musical Group Graham Central Station), Miles Davis (Jazz trumpeter), Travis Smiley (Talk Show host and Author), Marva Collins (Educator and founder of Westside Preparatory School in Chicago) and Misty Copeland (Ballet Dancer for American Ballet Theatre). I look forward to reading the book by his ex-wife, Mayte Garcia; "The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince".

  29. 4 out of 5

    Devin Ortiz

    On April 21, 2016, I woke up from a nap to several texts from friends and family expressing their sympathies. I immediately jumped on Twitter (as one does for hard facts) and read Prince was pronounced dead. I searched the news and correspondents to find that it was, in fact, true. My heart broke. I received condolences from family and a purple-iced cupcake from my dad, as if I actually knew Prince and lost a loved one. Michael Jackson’s passing impacted the world. Prince’s passing impacted my w On April 21, 2016, I woke up from a nap to several texts from friends and family expressing their sympathies. I immediately jumped on Twitter (as one does for hard facts) and read Prince was pronounced dead. I searched the news and correspondents to find that it was, in fact, true. My heart broke. I received condolences from family and a purple-iced cupcake from my dad, as if I actually knew Prince and lost a loved one. Michael Jackson’s passing impacted the world. Prince’s passing impacted my world. I kicked myself for not paying $500 for that ticket to see him perform his “Piano and a Microphone” tour, while I was in Melbourne, Australia. Ben Greenman’s exposé of Prince Roger Nelson’s life was wonderfully written and organized. Greenman packed in an array of details, facts, and anecdotes. Prince’s dedication, determination, and passion for his craft is unmatched. Greenman said it best when speaking of Prince being in a prolonged state of flow as defined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. An individual must challenge hisself at a level that does not induce anxiety or result in boredom. Prince constantly pushed his abilities in the musical world, resulting in 43 studio albums and an array of singles and unreleased work. The closing chapter of the biography puts the impact of Prince’s death into perspective. I related to Ben Greenman’s inability to vocalize his thoughts and feelings about the passing of a star. Prince’s influence is still prominent in many artists’ works today, but will never be duplicated. I rate this book 5/5 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    So I was hoping to hear about PRINCE himself more than a detailed breakdown of each album/song. I did NOT love this book and the author - IMO - came across as mildly obsessed. While I have no doubt that Prince was a talented and may have had a high level of business acumen - I did feel the author went too far in attempting to ascribe deeper qualities to his music than is reasonable. Sometimes a tiny guy in women's underwear is just that - a tiny guy in women's underwear. Nasty songs are just tha So I was hoping to hear about PRINCE himself more than a detailed breakdown of each album/song. I did NOT love this book and the author - IMO - came across as mildly obsessed. While I have no doubt that Prince was a talented and may have had a high level of business acumen - I did feel the author went too far in attempting to ascribe deeper qualities to his music than is reasonable. Sometimes a tiny guy in women's underwear is just that - a tiny guy in women's underwear. Nasty songs are just that - nasty songs, not attempts to highlight the androgynous joining together of male and female in an attempt to speak to gender inequality. There is no doubt that if my life had a soundtrack, Prince would make more than one appearance. I grew up with him in the background from 1999 to Erotic City - but I cannot say that he provided the most meaningful tracks or that I ever thought his music was more than what it was (mostly). Perhaps I'm simply not sophisticated enough to see the deeper meanings. However I'm pretty sure Darling Nicky is just what it purports to be - a lady in a hotel room behaving in an alarming fashion, except it happened in a Prince song.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.