Prince’s Purple Reign: New Book Author and Metro Owner Discuss Superstar’s Life and Impact on Chicago Music


There is no doubt that Prince was one of the most influential artists of all time. He is celebrated for his limitless talents, his expression that pushes the limits and his impact on music. Chicago author Jack Riedy has spent most of the past five years collecting original interviews and personal stories to illustrate Prince’s lasting impact and the unique relationship between listeners and the artist they love. .

Artwork by Mary Gring

Reidy is a regular contributor to Pitchfork, GQ and VIBE and other publications. About Prince, Reidy picks up his interviews and personal stories for his own self-published book. “Electric Word Life” brings together five years of writing on the late pop star and encloses them in a book printed in Risograph.

“It brings together five years of writing that I did on Prince,” he said. “At this point he’s my all-time favorite artist because he’s always someone I’m chasing.”

Chicago Scene caught up with Reidy at the Metro to talk about the book and its superstar topic. Luckily, Reidy was joined by Joe Shanahan of Chicago, owner of Metro Chicago and Smart Bar.

The two struggled with big questions like: What if “Purple Rain” was a double album? Why did Prince hide a side project to jazz? How did “1999” influence the creation of house music in Chicago?

Together they discuss Prince’s impact in the music world, with keen eyes (and ears) of Shanahan’s experience as a club owner in Chicago and as a fan.

“I knew I had to open a club after seeing Prince,” Shanahan said.

This musical journey of all Prince tells unique stories behind the scenes of Prince’s early days in Chicago to an impromptu reunion at famed Paisley Park.

Reidy’s Electric World Life book is available at

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