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Feel My Big Guitar - Prince and the Sound He Helped Create

Feel My Big Guitar

Prince and the Sound He Helped Create

Edited by Judson L. Jeffries, Shannon M. Cochran, and Molly Reinhoudt
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781496845252, 202 pages, 10 b&w photographs, June 2023
Paperback : 9781496845269, 202 pages, 10 b&w photographs, June 2023

A collection of dynamic perspectives on a compelling musical genius and enigma


Contributions by Ignatius Calabria, H. Zahra Caldwell, Brian Jude de Lima, Sabatino DiBernardo, William Fulton, Antonio Garfias, Judson L. Jeffries, Tony Kiene, Molly Reinhoudt, Fred Shaheen, and Karen Turman

With his signature blend of genres and lyrics that touch on myriad societal issues, the artist Prince (1958–2016) has challenged and captivated the minds and hearts of countless listeners. Feel My Big Guitar: Prince and the Sound He Helped Create is a wide-ranging collection that seeks to place Prince at the center of contemporary musical scholarship, putting him in proper cultural and political context. This edited volume includes a mix of essays and reflections by scholars and fans, as well as interviews with people who worked with and knew Prince personally. Employing a blend of methodologies, contributors offer a body of fresh, intriguing, thought-provoking, and mind-bending work about Prince—an artist whose music exemplified those very characteristics.

The volume examines Prince's musical influences, his rivalries (both real and imagined), and instrumental eroticism. It includes enlightening interviews with early mentor Pépe Willie and Gayle Chapman, Prince’s first female bandmate. These personal reflections and interviews grant readers a unique lens through which to view Prince, enriching our overall understanding of the man. Ultimately, Feel My Big Guitar serves as a space for sharing musicological analysis and memories about an artist whose work has touched and inspired so many. Years in the making, this is the first book in an ongoing scholarly project, PrincEnlighteNmenT: A Study of Society through Music, intended to investigate and reveal the full spectrum of Prince’s life and work.


"This thoroughly researched, persuasively argued, and groundbreaking body of work examines the aesthetic achievements and organic style of a young entrepreneur, artist, producer, writer, and actor, who was not only a versatile musician, i.e., mastering a collection of electric guitars, drums, pianos and keyboards, but is also recognized as a trend setter and fashion icon. Feel My Big Guitar: Prince and the Sound He Helped Create explores the influences of Jimi Hendrix, Rick James, George Clinton, and Joni Mitchell on Prince, who was a musical genius and pioneer. Prince’s music represents a ‘conscious-raising experience,’ and his legend was that of one of the most valuable artists in America. Prince was ‘unquestionably a political animal’ who successfully linked radical lyrics, an independent spirit, and symbolic facial art. Prince, as this volume illustrates, ‘left no stone unturned.’ Funk was in his DNA, as was rock, soul, and R&B."

- Ronald J. Stephens, professor of African American studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University

"Given the incredibly broad scope of Prince’s talent, we could be interrogating the man and his creative output until the end of time. Nevertheless, this highly readable collection draws together a fascinating range of perspectives, which effectively spans Prince’s diverse career. A thoughtful, surprising, and at times laugh-out-loud contribution to the growing field of Prince studies."

- Sam Coley, associate professor researching music documentary production at Birmingham City University, United Kingdom

"Prince fans and others interested in popular music will find much to love and ponder in this engaging collection."

- Brett Rohlwing, Library Journal