This is a very interesting and informative book written back in 1984, when there were at least 30 others written about Michael Jackson at the height of his career. A millionaire by 14, Michael went through a lot of changes since he began singing in public at age 5. Humble beginnings in their living, the Jackson 5 opened supermarkets and even played at a Beauty Pageant. Starting their recording career at Steel Town Records and moving to Motown was a big career move that brought Michael and the Jackson 5 great acclaim in a short time.
This book goes in-depth describing the group’s black R&B roots and their Motown rise to fame. Their music will forever be encapsulated in time, as all of Michael’s music would become. When Motown began advertising their 25th Anniversary special for TV, the J5 clips of Michael singing their promo got the best ratings of any other group that sang for the label.
The Motown story begins with Berry Gordy spending 800 bucks to start the little recording business that eventually moved its head quarters to California. Family groups were big back in the 1960s. Groups like the Staple Sisters and the Jackson 5 were managed by their dads and needed someone to help them grow as musicians…and that’s where Motown’s grooming, expertise and contacts came into the picture. Even though Gospel was the biggest seller at the time, Gordy took a chance on pop and boy, did it pay off big.
The generation gap between artists and audience was changing…there were more young people with disposable money than ever before…and Michael with his brothers, was there to pick up the slack where Sly and the Family Stone left off.
Practicing after school every day instead of playing, the boys perfected their craft until they were offered a chance to record at Steeltown Records and then to audition for Motown. Appearing on Ed Sullivan, the group got its shot at the big time and made it. Michael’s mature style in a cute little kid made people stand up, dance, and…buy records like crazy.
Of course there was a price to pay and Michael paid the biggest one: he lost his childhood in exchange for acclaim and media attention – good at first. The Jackson 5 had lots of merchandise items like lunch boxes, coloring books, stickers, fan clubs, etc. There are clippings from an old J5 Fanpage stating that Michael sang like a King (at 11).
The book goes on to detail their crossover and how it affected the “white” market. Their song, “The Love You Save” even knocked the Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road” off the Number one spot! They had a cartoon on national TV, pins, watches, hairspray, posters and sweaters with their images on them.
Even though they were stars, they still did chores around the house, too. And when Michael wasn’t reading, he was busy learning all about cameras, microphones, and how to use the mixer boards in his spare time.
There are stories about their tutor, Rose Fine touring with them in Japan, England and New Zealand. Read about their Las Vegas family act that starred all 9 Jackson kids. They left Motown in 1975, moving to Epic Records and Michael starred in a movie called The Wiz with his old buddy Diana Ross in 1977. Learn how he got the name “Smelly” from Quincy Jones. This book also tells about Michael’s solo career, firing his dad as manager, and his albums “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” (the biggest selling album of all time), as well as his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Find out about his association with other young celebrities like Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields, Linda Blair, and Stephanie Mills. And read about his relationships with great actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda.
Finally, Michael’s involvement in the E.T. Storybook, working with Paul McCartney in the studio, and his first song to the media, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, are discussed. With 1983’s “Billie Jean” opening up MTv to many other black artists, Michael led the way in video greatness.
There are a lot of great photos in this book including the Michael and the J5 in the beginning, all along the way up through the famous Pepsi fire. This book is proof positive that Michael was the King of Pop and that the whole world knew it.