Prince is writing a memoir, ‘The Beautiful Ones.’ Talk about purple prose.

Prince will publish a book about his life (electric word, "life").

Prince will publish a book about his life (electric word, “life”).

(Bertrand Guay / AFP/Getty Images)

He’s come a long way from working in that five-and-dime for Mr. McGee.

Prince, the pop legend and Minneapolis’ favorite son, is writing the story of his life (electric word, “life”) for Spiegel & Grau, the publisher announced Monday.

The Purple One broke the news Friday at an ad-hoc press conference in a New York nightclub. “The good people of Random House have made me an offer I can’t refuse,” the singer told the audience, according to the New Yorker. “You all still read books, right?” (Spiegel & Grau is an imprint of Random House.)

The artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince told the crowd that his memoir would be called “The Beautiful Ones,” which fans will recognize as the title of the third track from his blockbuster album “Purple Rain.”


Prince, 57, has been known for decades for his unclassifiable music, which blends elements of rock, funk, jazz, pop and rhythm and blues. The musician has sold more than 100 million records globally, and has also starred in four movies, including the hits “Purple Rain” and “Sign o’ the Times.”

“Prince is a towering figure in global culture and his music has been the soundtrack for untold numbers of people — including me — for more than a generation,” executive editor Chris Jackson said in a news release. “Millions of words have been written about Prince — books and articles, essays and criticism — but we’re thrilled to be publishing Prince’s powerful reflections on his own life in his own incandescently vivid, witty, and poetic voice.”

The news release from Spiegel & Grau said that Prince’s memoir “will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work — from the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination, to the stories behind the music that changed the world.”

Prince is collaborating on the book with Dan Piepenbring, a journalist who works as the Web editor for the Paris Review.

The collaboration has the potential to be fraught, reports Prince’s hometown newspaper, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. “He’s never easy to collaborate with,” music editor Jon Bream wrote. “Prince is accustomed to being in control and always getting his way.”

Bream also speculated that the famously private musician would write a “selective” book. “We’re more likely to get an episodic memoir like Bob Dylan’s ‘Chronicles: Volume One,’ a nonlinear, incomplete account of select key moments in his life and career,” he wrote.


Prince’s memoir is scheduled for release in the fall of 2017.