The greatest artist of the MTV generation was the late Michael Jackson. His videos thrilled and titillated in the 1980s and were among the most anticipated television events in history. While he left us in 2009 and had not appeared at the VMA awards show in some time prior to his death, Michael Jackson still plays an important role as the most prestigious award, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, is named for him.
The Video Vanguard Award is presented to music performers based on their ability to not only make us hear music, but to see it as well, the way Michael did with videos for Thriller (below), Remember the Time, and Bad. This year’s Michael Jackson Vanguard VMA winner was pop star, P!nk.
Today would have been Michael Jackson’s 59th birthday. As we celebrate the life and legacy of one of the greatest entertainers of all time with a new book about his friendship with Elizabeth Taylor, we have also looked for books about artists past and present who, like MJ have been acknowledged for their talents and innovation in music and video, winners of the VMA that bears his name. Enjoy!
Donald Bogle captures the light of what many thought to be an unlikely friendship that endured scandal, tragedy, and time. Here, in these pages, Bogle shares what made their friendship so unique and why only death could separate them and reunite them once again. Written in 2016, Elizabeth and Michael is the only book of its kind.
Bon Jovi: The Story, Bryan Reesman
In 1991, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award was given to director Wayne Isham and Bon Jovi. If you love Bon Jovi– their great looks, irresistible music, or the space they have filled in your heart, then this is the right novel for you. Bon Jovi: The Story takes you on a never-before-seen trip through the lives of one of the bestselling rock bands of all time. Starting with their famous album Slippery When Wet, this novel takes you on a journey through some of the highs and lows in the history of the band’s ascendancy to fame. The special part of this novel is that it highlights original interviews and memorabilia that you may have never seen before!
Author Marc Canter reaches new heights in this stellar book featuring 1992 winners, Guns N’ Roses. The amateur photographer and manager of a restaurant spent years with famous musicians, sharing memories of some of his favorite people through his photos and writing. For those who were able to witness ‘Guns’ in their heyday or only wished they had, this is the best novel to relive every moment! A large bit of the book is photographs and memorabilia from live shows that is bound to knock your socks off, as well as what it was like for others to work with Guns front and center. Guns fans and rock lovers, alike, will enjoy every page from front to back!
Petty: The Biography, Warren Zanes
Tom Petty was one of two MJ Vanguard Awardees in 1994 (The Rolling Stones were awarded the other, see below). Petty: The Biography is just that – one of the most famous and loved biographies that visits all of the personal moments of growth in Tom Petty’s tremendous life. Warren Zanes, the author, set perfectly captured the intimate and exhilarating details of Petty’s life, not just what he witnessed on stage, but also things he learned in being Petty’s friend. The book revisits some of the most difficult periods in Petty’s life, such as his troubled childhood and being told by many he lacked promise and wouldn’t make it as a musician in the future. Well, Tom Petty has made it – and after reading this book, even if you are not a fan, you will love him for it!
The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones, Stanley Booth
Again, in 1994 there were two Vanguard Awards given – one for Petty and one for the Rolling Stones. In The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones, Stanley Booth, a member of the band’s inner circle, retells the stunning tales of the Rolling Stones – from spending late nights talking about music, ingesting drugs, and meeting groupies along the way. He shares the truth behind the final concert at Altamont Speedway and the beating and killing that resulted. Their detailed history is revealed, including details of the late Brian Jones, and you don’t want to miss out.
Reveal: The Story of R.E.M., Johnny Black
R.E.M. has produced some of the most fascinating and successful music for more than 20 years; enough to last a lifetime. This is what went into consideration for their award in 1995. To say that R.E.M. has broken barriers in the music world is true, and they have set new standards for all in the mainstream rock audience. Reveal explores the work and life of the members of R.E.M. with a focus on not only the music that they created, but also the personalities that shaped the music we still love to this day.
I Make My Own Rules, LL Cool J and Karen Hunter
In 1997, the award was presented to the first rap artist to ever receive it, Mr. Smith, Mr. Ladies Love Cool James, or as he is more commonly known: LL Cool J. LL, who will be a a Kennedy Center Honoree this year, was the first hip-hop artist to transcend music and fil to become a popular culture icon. Reviewers call I Make My Own Rules a very real, down-to-earth account of LL Cool J’s life. It is a revealing book that tells you about the lessons and hardships he learned along the way. As LL Cool J has said himself, “There are rebels and there are innovators. I’m an innovator.”
In 1987, everyone was fascinated with The Beastie Boys. In 1998, they received the MJ Vanguard Award for their contributions to hip-hop and the hip-hop video. They came to be known as one of the groups that was not only influential to everyone around them, but also helped Russell Simmons and Def Jam Records to enjoy crossover success, making their own brand of the genre along the way. LLCool J’s labelmates not only made a significant cultural impact, they also influenced political conversations across the world. This book takes a look at the thrilling, phenomenal band that took vulgar lyrics and gave them a righteous spin, forever changing the way music would be viewed for years. Alan Light does an excellent job telling this story (Light’s book Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain will be featured on BookTrib tomorrow).
Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis
Scar Tissue quickly became a New York Times bestseller when Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer, Anthony Kiedis came out about some of the most intimate details of his life. Named after a song by the ‘Chili Peppers’, Scar Tissue starts with Kiedis’ and the band’s bursting out into the neo-punk scene in 1983, wanting to make a life for themselves and be heard. In must-read for fans, Kiedis talks about the influence of women in his life, some of the great performances he was lucky enough to be a part of, and the recklessness and redemption that he faced along the way.
U2: At the End of the World, Bill Flanagan
Bill Flanagan retells the personal beginnings of U2 in U2: At the End of the World, from his own perspective. Flanagan saw it all – from the bus, to the plane, to their own personal recording studio when they started out on the music scene. When U2 was selling out concerts around the country in major U.S. cities, Flanagan was there and he shares this biography of their lives as a way to show us how they made it big… on a much deeper level!
Duran Duran: Notorious – The Unauthorised Biography, Steve Malins
Duran Duran scooped up MTV’s Lifetime Achievement Award, when the VMAs temporarily changed the name of the MJ Video Vanguard Award that year in 2003. Known as a favorite of Princess Diana, their music sold out for years in countries like America, Britain, and Japan, for its ability to bridge punk, new wave,funk, pop and soul into a new sound that pioneered the second British Invasion. This exclusive novel by Steve Malins looks not only at their remarkable career, from important interviews to never-before-seen photographs.
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience is unlike any of the other books that we have visited thus far. As we have a lack of thrilling biographies revolving around the life of Justin Timberlake, we suggest this novel to all lovers and followers of his breakthrough music over the ages. This one is actually a songbook that features piano/vocal/guitar arrangements of all ten songs on his 2013 CD, from the same year that he received the award. If this doesn’t bring the thrills to music lovers, we don’t know what will!
Becoming Beyonce: The Untold Story, J. Randy Taraborrelli
Becoming Beyonce is the first comprehensive biography to ever be published about Beyonce (who will be featured on BookTrib tomorrow as a writer), from a New York Times bestselling author, J. Randy Taraborrelli, who also wrote the definitive Michael Jackson biography, Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story. This book tells how Beyonce became one of the most successful artists today, as well as the devastating toll that stardom takes on any human who has experienced it themselves. Taraborelli treks all the way back to Beyonce’s teenage years and follows her through the all-star fame that she received, from making it to Forbes’ list of most wealthy celebrities, to making the cover of Time. The story of Beyonce is timeless itself, giving us inspiration in our everyday lives to be powerful leaders and take on the world.
Rihanna, Simon Henwood
Rihanna has become known as a style icon and an idol to women all over the world. It is no wonder why she was the 2016 recipient of the 2016 Vanguard Award and continues to see the utmost success to this day. Follow Rihanna through some of her most alluring moments from her Rated R album having the highest first-week sales of any other album in the U.S., to her Grammy wins, and greatest performances to that fateful Grammy night in 2009 when she became a victim of relationship violence. Rihanna is not only a positive look at her growth over the years, but also her enormous influence on current culture in several countries. We can’t wait to dig in!
Split Personality: The Story of Pink, Paul Lester
This year’s winner will be P!nk who is also the subject of Paul Lester’s book. Lester shows us how Alicia Beth Moore became P!nk, including her stint in a girl group named ‘Choice’ and her journey into becoming the superstar we all know and love. We also learn why she chose the name P!nk— a demonstration of how she is comprised of two personalities: a feisty and fun performer, and a conflicted woman whose dark urges have spilled over into her music and given it new life.
As we continue into our VMA Week, enjoying all the sights and sounds of the music world, we have one more wonderful suggestion to read… we must not forget about the artist for whom the award is named: Michael Jackson.
Moonwalk, Michael Jackson
Moonwalk, is Michael Jackson telling his own life story. This book was easily a #1 New York Times bestseller that gives an intimate and moving personal account of Jackson’s public and private life as he battled difficult relationships through the years and traveled with his brothers. We gain better insight into the life of one of the biggest stars in the music business and some of the wonderful things he had to say about some of his public friends, from Quincy Jones to Paul McCartney. Beautifully illustrated with rare photographs and personal archives, this book covers Jackson’s life from childhood through the late 1980s.