Panic, joy, shock: Dan Piepenbring felt them all when Prince plucked him to collaborate on his first-ever memoir, followed by more shock and profound sadness at the news of the superstar’s death while the book was still in its early production stages.
The memoir Prince started but didn’t finish before his 2016 death is ready for his fans to read. And his collaborator, Dan Piepenbring, is telling all on how “The Beautiful Ones” finally came together.
The book, from Spiegel & Grau, goes on sale on Tuesday. Here’s everything you need to know.
A little bit of both
Piepenbring said panic, shock, and joy swept over him when he was chosen by Prince. They met face-to-face for about 15 hours before the superstar’s death from an accidental drug overdose.
Prince had written just 28 pages, leaving Piepenbring searching for a way to complete the book. He found it at Prince’s Paisley Park, using photos and other artifacts from the icon’s childhood and early career.
In the book, Prince looks back on how conflicts between his parents played out in his life.
A homage to the prince
Though the project was thrown into chaos when Prince died on April 21, 2016, of an accidental drug overdose, his estate ultimately decided to press on, allowing Piepenbring and his publishing team free access to the pieces of his life left behind at his beloved Paisley Park, including the contents of his vault.
Now, the highly anticipated collaboration, “The Beautiful Ones,” is ready for Prince fans to read as many continue to mourn, propelling the 33-year-old journalist into the spotlight to explain how he sorted it all out.
In the last moments
Their last conversation was just four days before Prince died. It was focused on his parents and their conflicting influences in his life.
His father, John L. Nelson, was a disciplined, God-fearing jazz musician with an explosive temper. His mother, Mattie Della Shaw, was a beautiful, fun-loving party girl with a stubborn, irrational streak and a sneaky flair.