Dig If You Will the Picture
Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince
Named one of the best music books of 2017 by The Wall Street Journal
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.
Praise For Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince…
“When it comes to funk and words, lyrics and language, there couldn’t be a better pairing than Ben Greenman and Prince. From my experience with both of them, this is the perfect match, like ham hocks and cornflakes.”
?"?Prince’s genius is on full display here as Greenman remarks on his prolific music virtuosity, putting out an album once a year, and his obsessive dedication to saving every little scrap of his writing and recording to use again. Greenman’s brilliant book celebrates a musician who crammed substance into every corner of his music.?"?
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Ben Greenman
“Greenman understands the power of music all too well.” —Newsday
"Incapable of writing anything dry or familiar or expected. He is one of the most versatile, consistently surprising writers at work today.” —Dave Eggers
“Brilliant and wry” —Karen Russell
“Greenman rarely plays a wrong chord.” —New York Times
“He writes sentences so sharp they hurt.” —Jess Walter
“What a fine and unique writer Ben Greenman is. I love his sentences, his precision. I feel like he’s absorbed and digested so much great literature, distilling it all to create his own fantastic universe of stories and ideas.” –Jonathan Ames
“Seriously brilliant and lyrical” —Simon Van Booy
"Ben Greenman's mind contains, among other things, a literary critic, a cultural commentator, a cowboy, a satirist, a scientist, a surrealist, a nut, a genius, a child prodigy, and a poet." -Susan Minot
“Like Bruno Schulz, George Saunders, Donald Barthelme, and no one else I can think of, Greenman has the power to be whimsical without resorting to whimsy.” —Darin Strauss
“Light-stepping and hard-hitting Greenman gets it right” — Walter Mosley
Henry Holt and Co., 9781250128379, 304pp.
Publication Date: April 11, 2017