“If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.”
As an avid Michael Jackson fan and researcher of a few years, I decided to branch out and buy this new biography on him to find out if there was more for me to find out, and if it was possible to read a biography on him that isn’t covered in the sequins and glitter of myth and tabloid rubbish. Surprisingly enough, this was the perfect biography.
Before I get really into this review, I should mention that I’ve read many things about Michael Jackson, this includes his autobiography, about 20 biographies, court transcripts for cases, interview transcripts and I’ve watched a tonne of material on this man; so as you can tell I went into this book with high expectations.
The book starts off with a quick but deep look into The Jackson 5, a brief look into his childhood; then the book begins to dive so deeply into how each album was made that it almost feel like you were in the studio with him at the time.
This book even goes as far as even going over The Wiz, and the impact it made on Jackson’s life. (Through the meeting of Quincy Jones and Jackson’s love of film). From there, it went into depth about how Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory, Blood On The Dance floor and Invincible became what it is, even down to who wrote what songs and and what recording studios were used. It included all the people involved, those who were fired and those who were hired. It went so far into depth into how Michael worked and what his processes were, right down to drinking hot water with lemon/honey for his vocal work.
Smallcombe looks into how the 1993 allegations hit Michael, how the 2005 court case destroyed him and how Sony screwed him over. His death and the weeks leading up to it were done very well (call me over-emotional but it made me a cry a little bit), though new information has come to light about the full events, this information wasn’t available at the time the book was written I’m assuming hence why it kind of glossed over the timings of when different parts happened with his death.
I’d recommend this to anyone who has a general curiosity about Michael Jackson, or to someone who really never understood the genius that was. I was writing this review with the intention of not giving away too many spoilers as I read many reviews before getting the book that had quite large spoilers that I felt ruined it for me to a degree. The book is a lengthy one, coming in at 370 pages (including foreword) with quite a few pages worth of source notes, which are worth a read as they consist of where you can find the material yourself (which I did) leaving you to learn even more.
This book illustrated how Michael was just simply a person, thrown into world of people taking advantage of him and ultimately, killing him. How he couldn’t do anything normal because the media made it abnormal. This is a great read for anyone wanting information on Jackson in terms of aspects of his life how his albums. I’d rate this a 9/10. It did go into some topics then quickly go into a different direction a couple of times which made it seem jumpy from time to time, overall it’s a real page turner and very insightful.
As I wrapped up reading the book, I came out with a sense that I had just witnessed his entire life in a 3D kind of depth. At the end of the book there are pages after pages of source notes, this obviously means Smallcombe did his research. This also included interviews, who he interviewed and who didn’t want to be interviewed. Smallcombe really did go far and beyond with this biography and I can say I did learn a few new things.
More book reviews coming!
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