Canongate U.S.
Canongate U.S.
Canongate U.S.

Prince: A Thief in the Temple

by Brian Morton

“Efficient and carefully researched . . . Morton’s book fulfills admirably its most important duty, which is to send you back to the music with fresh ears.” —Steven Poole, Guardian

  • Imprint Canongate U.S.
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date October 28, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1-8419-5916-0
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $24.00

About The Book

From the basement studios of Minneapolis to the top of the Billboard charts and his bitter battle with Warner Bros., this sometimes startling account of one of the world’s premier musicians examines his missteps and celebrates the recent reemergence of this legend.

Prince is a music legend. Rolling Stone declared him one of the five most important artists of the last twenty-five years, and USA Today has hailed him as one of the most daring and brilliant artists ever. Since the explosive success of Purple Rain (the album, the single, and the film) more than twenty years ago, he has scored top-ten hits, won Grammys and an Oscar, and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prince: A Thief in the Temple is a look behind the scenes and into the studio with the innovative, fearless, and iconic artist.

Prince: A Thief in the Temple is explosive and controversial—alleging that all along Prince has been aiming for a biracial music, one that fuses the white boy rock he loved as a kid with the R&B and blues his family relished. Investigating his many feuds with old friends over songwriting credits and royalties owed, Brian Morton reveals the shrewd and sometimes cunning businessman within the artist who once changed his name to a whimsical and unpronounceable symbol. Over the years, Prince has inspired protest and devotion, and provoked as many questions as he has commendations. Morton mines Prince’s oeuvre, unmatched for breadth and excellence, to figure out just what Prince has created. With his numerous alter egos (Camille, Jamie Starr, Alexander Nevermind, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince), Prince Rogers Nelson has toyed with his audience for years, daring his listeners to think differently about sexuality, love, recording contracts, and ass-less chaps. His raunchy album covers, his prurient hits sandwiched between hymns of religious ecstasy, and his much publicized break with traditional recording deals have signaled the way forward for artists as diverse as Justin Timberlake, Rufus Wainwright, and Peaches.


“Neither a standard linear biography nor show-biz tell-all, the book is steadfastly focused on the music and the psychological and sociological conditions that informed it. . . . Morton’s analysis of each album is impressively nuanced and erudite, scrupulously avoiding sycophantic apologies for weaker entries in the canon, and he makes a convincing case for his subject’s status as a profoundly significant musician. . . . It’s lonely out there for sui generis eccentric geniuses—luckily, gifted writers like Morton are able to bring them a little closer to us.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Efficient and carefully researched . . . Morton’s book fulfills admirably its most important duty, which is to send you back to the music with fresh ears.” —Steven Poole, Guardian

“Far from a conventional biography, this book by journalist, broadcaster and jazz expert Brian Morton is a scholarly critique of Prince’s music in the context of the American canon.” —Big Issue (Scotland)