Q: Why Michael Jackson? Why now?Visit Steve Knopper's website.
A: A few reasons: One, it’s a book I could sell. I wrote this book about the music business and I was super happy with it and it got a lot of press. But in the end, it was a pretty limited audience (of) people who are interested in the music business. And so I wanted another book, but as I was pitching idea after idea it kept not going anywhere. Then Michael passes away…
Which was not too long ago, in the scheme of things.
June 25, 2009, which is burned in my brain. But immediately after that I pitched my previous agent, and it just all kind of crystallized.
A lot of people might assume there’s not much new information, given the dozens of books already out there about him.
There are, but there hasn’t really been a book that’s credible. Not a salacious tell-all, but a narrative, music-business book. I kind of pitched it as the Peter Guralnick version of Michael Jackson’s story. He’s the guy that did the Elvis Presley biographies (“Last Train to Memphis”), and those books are great because there’s a lot of dirt in there, a lot of sexy stuff. But in addition to that, it’s high-level criticism and analysis, and you don’t come away from that going, “Wow, Peter Guralnick is really a cheap celebrity biographer.” That’s what I aspired to. My agent liked the idea but at the time he said, “Can you finish it in six months?” and almost immediately after Michael’s death. And I said, “No, I really think it needs a lot more depth than that. I don’t think we should rush-release something into the market just because he died.” His death reminded me and so many other people how much we loved him and his music and I really wanted to...[read on
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