Prince’s Purple Reign: Author of new book and Metro owner discuss superstar’s life, impact on Chicago music

Chicago Scene

There’s no argument that Prince was one of the most influential artists of all time. He is celebrated for his limitless talents, boundary-pushing expression and his impact on music. Chicago author Jack Riedy spent the better part 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. On the subject of Prince, Reidy takes his interviews and personal stories for his own self-published book. “Electric Word Life,” printed by Cereal Box Studio, collects the five years of writings on the late pop star and encases in a Risograph-printed book.

“It collects five years of writing that I’ve done about Prince,” he said. “At this point, he is my favorite artist of all time as he’s always someone I’ve been chasing.”

Chicago Scene met up with Reidy at The Metro to talk about the book and it’s superstar subject. As luck would have it, Reidy was joined by Chicago’s very own Joe Shanahan, owner of Metro Chicago and Smart Bar.

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

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

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

This musical journey of all things Prince has unique stories from behind the scenes of the early days of Prince in Chicago to an impromptu meeting at the famed Paisley Park.

Reidy’s book Electric World Life is available at

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