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“The only comprehensive and critical rundown of Jackson’s solo material.”ROLLING STONE 

Over his four decades in the public spotlight, Michael Jackson dazzled audiences, broke down barriers, and transformed popular music. Yet his brilliance as an artist has often been overshadowed by the tabloid frenzy that surrounded his unusual life. Man in the Music returns to to the albums, songs and videos that made the King of Pop a cultural force in the first place. From Off the Wall and Thriller, to BadDangerousHIStory and beyond, Vogel takes us deep inside Jackson’s vast musical catalog. Meticulously researched and documented, Man in the Music has been praised by Rolling Stone, Billboard, and the Associated Pressand is widely considered the #1 resource book on the creative work of Michael Jackson.

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“Joseph Vogel has brilliantly cracked the DNA, the code of the work, the artistry of Michael Joseph Jackson.This is the book I have been long awaiting — a pointed, intelligent dissection of an epic body of work.” —SPIKE LEE

“Vogel takes the reader album-by-album, song-by-song and examines in exhaustive detail how Jackson produced a lifetime’s worth of music that became a soundtrack to the lives of millions.” ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Don’t be surprised if it makes you go back and listen…with a whole new outlook on the King of Pop.” —ZACK O’MALLEY GREENBURG, FORBES

“The definitive book on Michael Jackson.” —MICHAEL ERIC DYSON

EarthSong_frontReleased in 1995, Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” was in many ways anachronistic. In both theme and sound, it was like nothing else on the radio. It defied the cynicism and apathy of Generation X. It challenged the aesthetic expectations for a pop song or even a protest song, fusing blues, opera, rock and gospel. It demanded conscience in an era of corporate greed, genocide and environmental indifference. A massive hit around the world (reaching #1 in over fifteen countries), it wasn’t even offered as a single in the United States. Yet nearly eighteen years later, this six-and-a-half minute lamentation stands as one of Jackson’s greatest artistic achievements. In this groundbreaking monograph, author Joseph Vogel details the song’s evolution from its inception in Vienna in 1988, to its long gestation in the recording studio, to Jackson’s final live performance in Munich in 1999. Based on original research, including new interviews with the song’s key participants, Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus offers a fascinating reassessment of this timeless work of art.

“Vogel’s voice is dignified and powerful. I very much respect what he has to say.” —BILL BOTTRELL, Grammy-winning Producer, Songwriter and Collaborator of Michael Jackson

“To my mind, Vogel’s analysis of Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” represents the very best of what art criticism can be: it educates and enlightens us, and leads us to a deeper appreciation and understanding of Jackson’s art.” – DR. WILLA STILLWATER, author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and Defiance

“Terrific! It was totally engaging to finally hear the complete story of ‘Earth Song.’ Vogel’s perspective is amazing. What true insights he has uncovered.” – MATT FORGER, Technical Engineer for ThrillerBadDangerous and HIStory
 In this slim collection, critically-acclaimed author and journalist Joseph Vogel gathers together some of his most important pieces on the late King of Pop. Featuring ten articles and a previously unpublished bonus chapter, this fascinating mosaic explores a wide range of subject matter: from the impact of race on Jackson’s career, to the ways he challenged and expanded the definition of “pop,” to never-before-heard histories of his songs.
“Vogel’s prodigious collection of essays – Featuring Michael Jackson – is both a poignant deconstruction and ardent retrofit of the greatest entertainer that ever lived. Vogel presents an honest and beautiful tableau-vivant of this Super-Man In The Mirror that will reflect in our collective consciousness for years to come.” BARRY MICHAEL COOPER Award-winning journalist for the Village Voice and screenwriter for New Jack City“Without calling much attention to itself, Vogel’s writing is quietly incendiary and often rather delightfully subversive.” —John Scott G., Music Industry Newswire


“‘I Ain’t Scared of No Sheets’: Re-Screening Black Masculinity in Michael Jackson’s Black or White.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27.1 (March 2015).

“Michael Jackson,” in America in the World, 1776 to the Present, ed. Edward J. Blum. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 2016.

“Thriller” (1982) by Michael Jackson,” National Recording Registry. Library of Congress, 2014.

The Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson’s Music.” The Atlantic.  February 8, 2012.

‘Am I the Beast You Visualized’: The Cultural Abuse of Michael Jackson.” Huffington Post. November 2, 2012.

Revisiting 1991: A Cultural Turning Point” (Michael Jackson, Dangerous, and the Reinvention of Pop). PopMatters. September 28, 2011