Rock on!

A few posts ago I took a pic of two musician bios I had checked out of the library, one an autobiography from Rod Stewart and another a controversial book about Michael Jackson. I was very anxious to read both because these are two of my favorite singers of all times!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was one of those pre-teens growing up in the 60’s that was swept away by the British Music Invasion. I adored the Beatles, Herman and the Hermits, The Dave Clark Five, The Who and Rod Stewart, with and without the Faces. I remember my friends and I giggling and swooning over the crazy clothes, long hair and naughty song lyrics. I listened to records for hours in my room, examining every detail on those album covers, singing along and loving it when they included the words. I sure miss album covers don’t you?  But I always had a thing for Rod the Bod, at least that’s what we called him. He had that scratchy voice, and the mod hairdo and his songs were really good, hey even my Mom like him!

I thought at one time I actually might get a chance to meet him, when on a trip to England I met a cousin and his mate who were working as roadies on his “Blondes have more Fun Tour”, but that didn’t pan out and instead they took me to a Sex Pistols gig and gave me a tour t-shirt.  Ugh, not the same at all!

Cover of "Blondes Have More Fun"

Cover of Blondes Have More Fun

But I digress, needless to say I was exciting to read what he had to say! I understand totally why Rod: The Autobiography has been getting rave reviews, it’s a lark from start to finish. His words come across just like he always has from the stage and the television, warm, intelligent, funny, talented and humble. Yes, I still have a bit of a crush can you tell?!  Unlike a lot of bios that are either dry and full of facts, this book seems honest and conversational. Most of the dirt he dishes is on himself, and when he gossips it isn’t done mean spiritedly but he gets his point across.  It’s one of the best rock bios I’ve ever read and if you listened to his music a lot like I did it’s really worth reading.

Michael Jackson’s biography is a good one too, but totally different. “Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson” by Randall Sullivan, is an excellent in depth look at poor old Michael Jackson. I can never think about him without feeling sad about how someone so talented and good looking could end up hating himself so much. Of course he isn’t the first talent that has died tragically, but his constant self loathing and his ever increasing need to alter his looks made his slow demise so much more public.

I can’t understand why his supposed fans tried to sabotage this book on Amazon, unless, like I suspect, they never read it, because if anything it makes you even more sympathetic to this multi-talented man who really only wanted to be loved.

Michael Jackson performing The Way You Make Me...

It really is tragic and if anything, this book will make you despise his entire family, because they are the ones that get crucified in this telling of Michael’s life from birth to death.  If all the facts are to believed, and the author seems meticulous in his research, they are truly awful people. This came to light as recently as this summer (which is included in this book), when Randy and Janet Jackson “kidnapped” their mother and tried to take over control of Michael’s kids. Because as the book says, Michael’s billions go where the kids go, and the Jackson clan has been trying to get every cent they can from Michael for years. It’s astounding how the Jackson’s have hounded and schemed, even after his death, to get rich off of Michael. They have used their mother Katherine to try to achieve this goal and it makes you understand a lot of how Michael Jackson turned out the way he did.

Michael was constantly told he was ugly by his father and his siblings. They told him he was too black, had a big nose and lips. It sure explains a lot about the way his appearance changed over the years! And then there were sexapades during the tours when there were just kids. His brothers and father using the groupies while little Michael tried to hide under the covers. Yuck, huh? Sorry that last tidbit was probably under the category of TMI but it seems to go on to explain his asexual behavior later in life.

This book is dense and probably isn’t for everybody, but it’s a fantastic read for those of us who followed Michael Jackson’s career throughout the years.  There is a wealth of information and specific details, and the author’s ability to formalize and verbalize these facts without making it dry and boring is truly amazing.

What’s great about reading books like these in this modern age of technology is the fact that as your reading a paragraph you can jump on your computer and call up an interview or a specific video that’s being talked about or even pull up Michael’s or Rod’s music and have it playing in the background. I found myself doing that a lot, and then getting distracted from reading the book. There is a LOT of content on YouTube from both of these guys.

I think one of the most fun facts I learned was that both Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson were friends with Gregory Peck! Who knew?!  You never know what totally useless trivia you will pick up in a book 🙂

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