Prince and Purple Rain

40 Years

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Pub Date 21 May 2024 | Archive Date 16 May 2024

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Authoritatively written and including rare photography and memorabilia, this sumptuous slipcased hardcover is the only illustrated gift book to examine Prince’s most iconic album and film, Purple Rain.

In 1984, Prince, along with his band, The Revolution, released what would become his best-selling album and a touchstone of 1980s pop culture. Purple Rain has gone on to sell 25 million copies and counting. In Prince and Purple Rain, Andrea Swensson, a Minneapolis-based journalist and host/co-producer of Prince | Official Podcast, takes a deep dive into the legendary musician’s most famous album on its 40th anniversary.

The book features:

  • A lush purple velvet slipcase with gold-foil lettering
  • A foreword by Prince superfan Maya Rudolph
  • Stunning performance and off-stage photography
  • Interviews with musicians who worked with Prince
  • Images of memorabilia from top collectors 

Chapters cover:

  • Prince’s youth and early music career in Minneapolis, as well as each of the five studio albums that preceded Purple Rain
  • Prince’s backing band, The Revolution, and the backgrounds of each of its individual members, with an emphasis on the Purple Rain studio and touring members: drummer Bobby Z, bassist Brown Mark, guitarist Wendy Melvoin, keyboardist Lisa Coleman, and keyboardist Matt Fink
  • Track-by-track analyses of each side
  • A look at the groundbreaking film of the same name and its multiplatinum soundtrack
  • Awards, accolades, and critical reception
  • Prince’s legacy post–Purple Rain, up to his untimely death in 2016

Prince and Purple Rain is a definitive and beautifully produced tribute to a legendary album from a legendary performer and artist.
Authoritatively written and including rare photography and memorabilia, this sumptuous slipcased hardcover is the only illustrated gift book to examine Prince’s most iconic album and film, Purple Rain...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780760386491
PRICE US$50.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 26 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Like Maya Rudolph who wrote the foreword for this biography, I can still remember the first time I ever heard the opening cords of Purple Rain. And can honestly say that you have not lived until you are in a live stadium listening to him play them. Watching him move around the stage in his light up shoes. There is a spell cast upon the audience and you are truly transported to some other place.

I was lucky enough to see Prince tour when he came to the UK on 2014. Being born in the early 80's, I was brought up on the stuff as my older sister was obsessed, and used to play his albums all the time.
There is just something about Prince that sets him apart from every other artist out there and there will never be another like him. I remember the first time I saw him on screen and I was blown away. Not only was his voice beautiful, his musical ability off the charts but his imagination and lyrical ability was something else. Not to mention how he looked. I couldn't believe that someone so petite and pretty could also be so beautifully handsome and masculine. I think when I first heard him sign I didnt know if he was black, white, male or female. I think I might have even fallen in love with him when I first saw the film Purple Rain.

I think this kind of sums him up:
"I was brought up in a black and white world" Prince told Guitar world in 1998. "I dig white and black; night and day, rich and poor, man and woman. I listen to all kinds of music and I want to be judged on the quality of my work, not on what I say, nor on what people claim I am, nor the colour of my skin"

I thought this book was beautifully written by someone who is not only clearly a fan, but by someone who wants to do justice to his music and creative genius. The author has obviously done extensive research, not just in her own career interviewing him and the band over the years, by also by speaking to bandmates and friends to get the truly, unique complex personality.

I really enjoyed reading this book and thought the photos used and concert ticket stubs were a great touch.

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This record came out the week after I turned 10; and I’ve been a Prince fan ever since. One of my bigger regrets is not ever seeing him live. When I saw this title, I knew that I wanted to read it, and knew that everyone else in my family would want to as well (my husband and teens are all fans as well).

The book was so much more than Purple Rain though - b-sides, other recordings, etc.. Full of fantastic photos (color and black and white) as well as photos of passes and other memorabilia, the writing is wonderful and the admiration and love for Prince comes across in the words.

This is a perfect coffee table book. This is one I’ll definitely buy and it’s an absolute recommendation from me.

Thank you to Motorbooks and NetGalley for the PDF

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Prince and Purple Rain: 40 Years
By Andrea Swensson
Publication Date: May 21, 2024




Authoritatively written and including rare photography and memorabilia, this beautiful slipcased hardcover is the only illustrated gift book to examine Prince's most iconic album and film, Purple Rain.

In 1984, Prince, along with his band, The Revolution, released what would become his best-selling album and a touchstone of 1980s pop culture. Purple Rain has gone on to sell 25 million copies and counting. In Prince and Purple Rain, Andrea Swensson, a Minneapolis-based journalist and host/co-producer of Prince | Official Podcast, takes a deep dive into the legendary musician's most famous album on its 40th anniversary.


This may just be the best coffee table book in the history of music!!

**Okay, disclaimer: The Purple Rain soundtrack is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, I own a special edition of the re-released purple vinyl, and not getting to see Prince live in concert -- before his untimely death in April of 2016 at the age of 57 -- is one of the biggest musical regrets of my life. I'm more than a little bit of a fan. **

For anyone who is a fan of Prince, this soundtrack, this movie, 80s music, the Minneapolis music scene, or even the color purple... This book is a must-purchase!!

I absolutely LOVED the photos and all the featured memorabilia, even while looking at it on the small screen of my iPad. I had to keep zooming in to read the words on the pages and then zoom back out to view the rare photos... And I didn't even care. I loved everything I saw within these pages! When it is released in May, this book will be published as a gorgeous slipcased hardcover book. I can't imagine how incredible it looks in all its dynamic colors and with all its oversized full-page magnificence! The history within this book, the stories about Purple Rain, the ticket stubs and mementos from the Purple Rain era, the details shared by those who knew Prince best... This book amazingly brings together a vibe that makes you feel like you were right there when it all happened. I'm telling you, this book is everything for fans of Purple Rain and Prince. 💜

I'll be buying a copy for my coffee table as soon as it's available!! Don't miss your chance to get your hands on this one if you're a Prince fan -- you won't regret it!

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for this advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review!

#PrinceandPurpleRain #NetGalley #QuartoPublishingGroup #advancedreaderscopy

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Be still my Gen X heart, this 40th anniversary retrospective of Prince's Purple Rain, both the album and movie, is a delight for even the most casual fan. But if you've heard Prince's work, there is no such thing as a casual fan of his.

Loads of photos, pictures of memorabilia, and the story behind the story of Purple Rain. There might be some stories that even die-hard fans might not know in this book. The time capsule of 1984 was a watershed year in pop culture, and one of the biggest reasons is the work of Prince. A must have for fans of one of the greatest in rock history.

Thanks to NetGalley and Motorbooks for the digital eBook. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Andrea Swanson goes over the production of both the album & movie “Purple Rain” to celebrate 40 years of the masterpieces. I am a big Prince fan & this book would be a great addition to any Prince lover’s collection. The pictures & stories in this colorful book were enjoyable. I miss Prince.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for this advanced reader’s copy of this book.

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Loved reading this story! Thank you so much for the opportunity. Was such a huge Prince fan.

I absolutely will be purchasing this to add to my coffee table collection. The illustration is absolutely gorgeous!

So beautifully written. Cannot believe it’s been 40 years since the release of Purple Rain!

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40 years since Purple Rain. Prince. Purple Rain. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. This book is a must to mark the debut of this iconic movie and recording. Wonderfully written and the pictures are an added bonus. Thank you to the author and the publisher for giving us this wonderful book. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest opinion. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on my review.

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life….

With those words in 1984, Prince kicked off what would become his greatest triumph, both the movie and the album “Purple Rain”. And we get a chance to relive that time with the fantastic “Prince and Purple Rain: 40 Years” by Andrea Swensson, a detailed look at the creation and legacy of this great slice of 1980’s pop. And yes, I was in high school at the time, and distinctly remember being blown away by this assault on the senses. A bit funky, a bit synthy, a bit dirty, no one was sure what to make of this in catholic-boys-school-suburban-Chicago, but we all knew that this was something new, something made for us, something that would change music.

Ms. Swensson takes us back to those times. Starting with a brief biography of Prince as well as the music leading up to Purple Rain, we learn how Prince the solo artist became Prince the bandleader of the Revolution. After the success of 1999, the bar was set quite high as Prince decided that he wanted to be a movie star as well as a pop star, developing the basic premise of the movie and creating a soundtrack that would help define the film. We learn about all of the Revolution, how they joined the band, how they became part of this journey. We’re also introduced to the side players, Morris Day of The Time, Apollonia, Sheila E., and others. The stage is now set for the explosion.

We start with the album, Ms. Swensson takes us through it track by track, as well as the songs that didn’t make the final cut (got to love Erotic City!). We are taken through the movie, the premiers, the test screenings, the reaction. Following is the Purple Rain tour, electrifying audiences while Prince had already moved on to his next big idea. And finally the legacy is explored, how this changed music and movies forever.

This is a great addition to any Prince fan’s library, actually to anyone interested in pop culture. Not only do we have the stories from the people who lived them, but we have unbelievable pictures, memorabilia, and contemporaneous media that help us relive those moments. A great look at a great artist during a crucial period in his life.

I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks via NetGalley. Thank you!

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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. I was only three when Purple Rain was released, but my mother loved Prince and we listen to it and his other albums growing up. I never made it to a concert but I can only imagine what it must have been like. I loved this book full of pictures, stories, and general information about the enigma known as Prince.

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A beautifully put together tribute to the iconic Prince album Purple Rain. Not only does it talk about the album and the movie in an insightful way, it also goes into how much of an impact it had when it came out and 40 years later. A great read for those who are fans of Prince. Lots of great quotes in the book from Prince and those who worked with him.

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If you're a fan of Prince - I am!! - then you're in for a treat with this book!! It is clearly written by people who are fans of the man and the movie, and it was a wonderful walk down memory lane for me to read this book, and admire the photography within.

It covers all aspects of the film, from the music, the band to the behind the scenes recollections and the memories of people who worked on the film and music were wonderful to read. It goes beyond just the film though, and has wonderful write ups on the discography of his around the time, the tracks used and it just took me right back - and had me playing the album in the background as I looked through the book!

A wonderfully fitting memorial to the legend that was!

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I seriously loved this book so much I wish I could go back and read it again for the first time. It gave me goosebumps more than once and brought back SO many memories of the legendary artist. Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks for an advanced copy of this book.

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This book examines Prince's most iconic album and film on it's 40th anniversary.
I am a huge Prince fan and this album is one of the soundtracks to my teenage years. My original copy was on tape and I still have it all these years later.
So I was extremely excited to see this in the read now section on Netgalley.
The book starts with a brief biography of Prince and the 6 albums before Purple Rain. It also shares how he became the leader of the band The Revolution and the success of 1999. It tells us how Prince wanted to make a movie and had the basic premise before working on the subsequent soundtrack.
The pages are packed with photos, memorabilia and stories about the band and the album.
I will definitely be getting a copy of this book to add to my music memorabilia collection.

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I remember the impact of Purple Rain ~ the film and the album ~ and the awesomeness of both. This book beautifully captures that feeling of something special happening. The book specifically focuses on the film and movie but gives lots of background and information on all the participants and how the whole experience was put together.

It’s interesting looking back at how things were in the early 80’s and how huge this purple Prince phenomenon was. This man wrote songs that moved you in so many ways. He can create "When Doves Cry" then the next minute have Darling Nikki ‘enjoying’ her magazine.

I never saw the great man live and this book, the film and the album will keep his memory and talent strongly alive. A fascinating insight into a great moment in musical history. A must buy for any fan of the purple pixie. What he might have achieved if he had lived longer…

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this captivating eARC.

"Prince and Purple Rain: 40 Years" by Andrea Swensson is a vibrant and meticulously crafted homage to one of the most groundbreaking albums and films of the 20th century. Swensson, a Minneapolis-based journalist and host of the Prince Official Podcast, offers readers an intimate journey through the creation, impact, and enduring legacy of Prince's magnum opus on its 40th anniversary.

The book is not merely a recounting of well-known facts but an authoritative deep dive into the cultural phenomenon that is "Purple Rain". Swensson's narrative is enriched with rare photography and memorabilia, making it a treasure trove for fans and a visual feast for newcomers. The slipcased volume is as much a collector's item as it is a piece of literature, reflecting the artistry and mystique of Prince himself.

Swensson's prose captures the enigmatic spirit of Prince, delving into the artist's creative process with reverence and insight. The chapters are thoughtfully structured, guiding the reader through the album's inception, the frenzy of its release, and its seismic effect on the music industry and society at large. The inclusion of performance and off-stage photography, alongside top collectors' memorabilia, adds layers of depth to the narrative, allowing the reader to experience the era as vividly as if they were there.

What sets this book apart is Swensson's ability to contextualize "Purple Rain" within the broader tapestry of music history. She articulates how the album not only defined the sound of the 1980s but also how it continues to resonate with artists and audiences today. The book is a testament to Prince's genius, showcasing how his work transcended music to become a symbol of innovation, defiance, and excellence.

"Prince and Purple Rain: 40 Years" is a definitive tribute to a legendary album and film. It's a must-read for music enthusiasts and an essential addition to the libraries of Prince's admirers. Swensson's work is a fitting celebration of an artist who was, and remains, ahead of his time. This book is a reminder of the power of art to inspire and transform, much like the album it honors.

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This special book commemorating the 40th anniversary of the album/film Purple Rain by Prince is a slipcased hardcover perfect for any Prince fan. The photos of Prince in action and related memorabilia are spectacular. Highly recommended!

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I absolutely loved this tribute to Purple Rain and Prince. I loved Prince and his death devastated me, as it did so many others. This book was a wonderful look back at the movie and the music 🎶.

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