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Before the Rain

Photography by Allen Beaulieu
Foreword by Dez Dickerson
Introduction by Jim Walsh
Contribution by Eloy Lasanta

Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 2018)


An inside look at the early years of Prince, presented through both iconic and never-before-seen images taken by the photographer who was at his side through it all.

Photographer Allen Beaulieu worked with Prince from the late 1970s into the early ’80s, capturing the musician’s progression from rising star to his ultimate purple superstardom. Always at Prince’s side with camera in hand, Beaulieu helped Prince carry forward his vision with legendary album cover images and promotional photos during the groundbreaking Dirty Mind, Controversy, and 1999 era, while also capturing live performances on tour with Prince.

Prince: Before the Rain puts into focus the hallmark imagery—including behind the- scenes, candid, and casual shots—with recollections from Beaulieu on his personal and professional relationship with Prince. Going deeper into the context of these crucial years, supplemental text brings it all together with reminiscences from former bandmates, including Bobby Z., Dez Dickerson, André Cymone, and more.

Prince: Before the Rain paints another important picture in the mythology of the celebrated, influential, and endlessly invigorating performer while providing an intimate portrait of the Minnesota artist about to take over the world.

Author information

Allen Beaulieu was Prince's photographer and friend beginning in the late 1970s. He photographed three album covers and toured extensively with the artist. He also worked for Rolling Stone, for IndyCar racing, and as a fashion photographer.

Dez Dickerson is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and record executive and was a member of the Revolution with Prince from 1978 to 1984. He currently runs Pavilion Synergies, a social marketing and music entertainment company.

Jim Walsh is a writer, columnist, journalist, and songwriter from Minneapolis and writer of the liner notes for the 1995 Prince album The Gold Experience and author of The Gold Experience: Following Prince in the '90s.

Eloy Lasanta has carved out a niche for himself as a Prince Rogers Nelson historian in the world of music fandoms. As YouTuber "Prince's Friend," he is aligned with the mission of keeping Prince's legacy alive.

Reviews and news

Pitchfork's Best Music Books of 2018
The A.V. Club's 2018 Gift Guide
Star Tribune's Best 2018 Books to Give and Get

MNHS Storied Series
Storied, Prince: Before the Rain, Part 1
Storied, Prince: Before the Rain, Part 2
Storied, Prince: Before the Rain, Part 3
Storied, Prince: Before the Rain, Part 4

Advance Praise:

“Allen was like another member of the band. He was the only photographer that I ever remember just hanging around with us. Prince trusted him more than anyone since, I think. Al was allowed to be around in the dressing rooms and at rehearsals. . . . He was there in beginning, and we were really close, and he was a punk like we were. I am so glad to see someone unearthing his stuff.”
Lisa Coleman

“Working with Al was very natural; it flowed. The magic of how Al worked—and I think it’s the thing that really appealed to Prince—is he had a way of conducting things along without being overbearing or reducing people to action figures or something. It was very organic, and he managed to pull something out of this disparate set of human beings.”
Dez Dickerson

The Current's Rock and Roll Book Club

Star Tribune

City Pages

Twin Cities Live

Prince's Friend


Insight News

Rock It Poole (UK) Interview

Rock It Poole (UK) Video of Electric Fetus Book Launch


Chuck Earling blog

dance/music/sex/romance blog

CNN interview with Allen in 2017

The Fader


Minneapolis Sound News

BBC Manchester

Minneapolis Insider podcast

Related resources

MNopedia articles
Paisley Park
First Avenue and 7th Street Entry
African Americans in Minnesota

Minnesota History Magazine
The Purple One
Funky Towns

Other MNHS links
Prince's Purple Rain Costume
Prince Lyrics
Featured Objects
New Prince Items Help Document the Life of a Minnesota Musical Icon
New Prince Artifacts Chronicling His Career Pre-Stardom Join Minnesota Historical Society Collections


  • Hardcover
  • 224 pages
  • 300 color and b&w Photos
  • 9 1/4 x 10 5/8 inches
  • ISBN: 978-1-68134-121-7

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