Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson (Hardcover)

The Musical Life of Michael Jackson

By Nelson George

Da Capo Press, 9780306818783, 256pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2010



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.

About the Author

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.

Praise For Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson

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.” Milwaukee Shepherd Express, 6/24/10
“[George] offers many penetrating insights in the space of this succinct biography” Newsweek, 6/25/10Thriller 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.”