Released in 1995, Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” was unlike anything heard before in popular music. Protest songs had long been part of the heritage of rock – but not like this. “Earth Song’s” vision was more panoramic, its roots more primal. Its unusual fusion of blues, opera, rock, and gospel resembled nothing on the radio. A massive hit globally, it wasn’t even offered as a single in the United States. Most critics didn’t know what to make of it. Yet decades later, it stands as one of Jackson’s greatest artistic achievements. In this groundbreaking book, Joseph Vogel traces the song’s evolution, from its inception in Vienna in 1988, to its long gestation in the recording studio, to Jackson’s final rehearsal in 2009. Situating the song within the historical context of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton eras, the book also explores the artist’s broader humanitarian efforts, from his participation in USA for Africa to his Heal the World Foundation. Based on original research, including interviews with the song’s key participants, Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion offers a necessary reassessment of this powerful anthem and Jackson’s audacious efforts to change the world.
“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