Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson [NOOK Book]

Overview

Thriller takes us back to a time in 1982 when Michael Jackson was king of the charts, breaking the color barrier on MTV, heralding the age of video, and becoming the ultimate representation of the crossover dreams of Motown?s Berry Gordy, who helped launch Jackson?s career with the Jackson 5. In this incisive and revealing examination of the making and meaning of Thriller, Nelson George illuminates the brilliant creative process (and work ethic) of Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, deftly exploring the larger ...
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Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson

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Overview

Thriller takes us back to a time in 1982 when Michael Jackson was king of the charts, breaking the color barrier on MTV, heralding the age of video, and becoming the ultimate representation of the crossover dreams of Motown’s Berry Gordy, who helped launch Jackson’s career with the Jackson 5. In this incisive and revealing examination of the making and meaning of Thriller, Nelson George illuminates the brilliant creative process (and work ethic) of Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, deftly exploring the larger context of the music, life, and seismic impact of Michael Jackson on three generations. All this from a groundbreaking journalist and cultural critic who was there. George questions whether the phenomenon Jackson became is even possible today. He revisits his early writings on the King of Pop and examines not only the stunning success of Thriller but also Jackson as an artist, public figure, and racial enigma—including the details surrounding his death on June 25, 2009.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus, May 2010
“[A] reverent—but not wholly uncritical—blend of memoir, music journalism and pop sociology to commemorate the untimely death of the controversial but immensely gifted pop icon…A worthy postmortem tribute that admirably avoids both easy sensationalism and knee-jerk sentimentalism.”

Booklist, June 2010
“A brief if heartfelt assessment of Jackson’s career and life…George reappraises his own earlier writings about Jackson and reinvestigates the incredible work ethic that defined Jackson and producer Quincy Jones in the days when they produced Thriller…As one would expect from George, the narrative goes beyond surface concerns…George’s analysis and insight are laudable…A more than useful retrospective on the man and his music.”
 

MilwaukeeShepherd Express, 6/24/10
“[George] offers many penetrating insights in the space of this succinct biography”
 

Newsweek, 6/25/10
Thriller is like having a refreshing and fascinating conversation with a man who’s spent far more time thinking about Jackson’s music than his demons.”

Kirkus Reviews
A sympathetic revisiting of the King of Pop's rich musical legacy. In 1983, writes noted music critic and memoirist George (City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success, 2009, etc.), "Dell published my first book, The Michael Jackson Story, a pocket-sized quickie biography of the singer" that capitalized on his unprecedented success. Fittingly, the author now offers this reverent-but not wholly uncritical-blend of memoir, music journalism and pop sociology to commemorate the untimely death of the controversial but immensely gifted pop icon. George traces his own memories of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson's solo career, both as a live act and through the recordings, while growing up in '70s Brooklyn. He depicts the rise of the Jackson family from working-class Gary, Ind., as partly stemming from patriarch Joe Jackson's own frustrated ambitions as a musician. George expertly examines important turning points in Jackson's career, including the profound influence of disco (Saturday Night Fever, especially) on his work, leading to the smash album Off the Wall in 1979, which set the stage for the paradigm-shifting 1982 breakthrough, Thriller. That album's barrier-breaking influence opened doors for not only black performers but African-Americans as a whole. (George posits the success of Thriller as a catalyst for the rise to power of Oprah, and even Barack Obama.) The author helpfully acknowledges the behind-the-scenes session players and producers who kept the Jackson juggernaut rolling for so long-most importantly, Thriller mastermind Quincy Jones. But George also considers the downside of Thriller's runaway success. Jackson's newly inflated commercial ambitions, among other things, led to the infamous Pepsi ad rehearsal during which the performer's hair caught fire, an incident that may have begun his longtime addiction to painkillers. Sadly, the post-Thriller era ushered in the weirdly "eccentric" side of Jackson, which ultimately led to bad business deals, failed marriages and ignominious sex scandals. A worthy postmortem tribute that admirably avoids both easy sensationalism and knee-jerk sentimentalism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306819070
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 745,994
  • File size: 284 KB

Meet the Author

Nelson George
Nelson George is the award-winning author of a dozen books, including his memoir, City Kid, and the classic Hip-Hop America. He is also a two-time recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. George was born in Brooklyn, where he still lives.
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Table of Contents

Startin' Somethin': An Introduction 1

Part 1

2009 7

Going Back to Gary 15

The Voice 27

Audio/Visual I 41

New York, New York 49

Audio/Visual II 57

Black Hollywood 65

Part 2

Thriller 75

"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" 87

"Baby Be Mine" 95

"The Girl Is Mine" 101

"Thriller" 107

"Beat It" 113

"Billie Jean" 125

"Human Nature" 129

"PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" 133

"Lady in My Life" 139

Part 3

Covering Thriller 145

The Fire, the Tour 161

The Bad Years 177

The Third and Final Father 187

Searching for Transcendence 205

This Is It 209

Epilogue 215

Acknowledgments 217

Index 219

About the Author 241

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Uhhhhhhhhj

    Lame

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 18, 2010

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted June 29, 2010

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