Rock 'n' Reads

UPDATED 09/02/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/02/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT

"I'm not really a true country artist; I'm just a songwriter that writes all kinds of songs," says Texas-born Nanci Griffith, 37. Griffith's folk and country tunes have filled eight albums in 13 years, and No. 9 arrives on Sept. 17. Late Night Grande Hotel will include a 21-piece orchestra and duets with Phil Everly and Tanita Tikaram.

Last year the pop world shuddered from Fear of a Black Planet. The album didn't quite make Public Enemy No. 1, but Fear sold over a million copies and cemented the group's hard-core rap reputation. On Sept. 24 comes Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black, promising more up-the-establishment rhymes, rhythms and black-pride proselytizing.

Determined to restore his purple reign—only in different colors (he's also into pink and yellow now)—Prince is about to release a new album. Diamonds and Pearls will feature his hit single "Gett Off" plus a mix of rock, rap, jazz and (natch) a steamy pelvis-grinder called "Insatiable." Coming soon: his first U.S. tour in three years.

Wouldn't It Be Nice, Beach Boy Brian Wilson's harrowing autobiography, describes a life that was in ironic counterpoint to the musician's sunny surfer tunes. Wilson tells of physical abuse by his father; a 20-year descent into drugs and alcohol that drove him insane; bad vibrations from the other Boys; and a controversial rehab with therapist Eugene Landy. When told by a record VIP that his unreleased autobiographical song "Brian" was too painful, Wilson responded: "It was worse to live." (HarperCollins, Oct.)

Aptly titled We, the autobiography written by Katharine Hepburn, 83, is as no-nonsense as her trademark turtleneck and slacks. Written without a ghostwriter for a $4.25 million advance, the stream-of-consciousness memoir denies such Tinseltown tittle-tattle as a purported lesbian love affair with longtime pal Laura Harding and gives a stoic account of Hepburn's last days with a dying Spencer Tracy (above, with Kate in the 1942 film Woman of the Year). Ever the flinty Yankee, though, Hepburn spills no secrets. (Knopf, Sept.)

In Sarah: The Life of a Duchess, author Ingrid Seward (editor of Majesty magazine) is about as hard-hitting as a palace press release, yet Windsor-philes won't be disappointed. With unusually broad access to the royal brood, Seward traces Fergie's life from headstrong hoyden (right, at 5) to court jester. Despite her image problems—fashion flops, a reputation as an indifferent mother and an ongoing struggle with her weight (according to Seward, Fergie has tried everything from near starvation to appetite suppressants)—the Duchess, her biographer says, enjoys a marriage with Prince Andrew that is as solid as the crown jewels. (St. Martin's Press, Sept.)

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