Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Jackson's "Moonwalk" Memoir Re-Release

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
As details of Michael Jackson’s untimely death unfolds as well as his family’s battle over his children and estate, the life of Michael Jackson and everything he offered to us will be immortalized through various tributes to him. And we here at XI want to make sure his memory continues to live on in a positive light amidst of all the negativity. Well, with all that being said comes news from the Associated Press that Michael Jackson’s 1988 autobiography, "Moonwalk," will be re-released this October. As some may see this as another opportunity for others to cash in on MJ’s death (Have you all seen the infomercials for commemorative wall hanging blankets with his picture on them?! *blank stare*), I see it as a very intimate look inside of who MJ really was: a gracious, sensitive, vulnerable, often tormented (by his past & the media), remarkably talented, extraordinary individual.

"Moonwalk" was initially released in 1988, one year after the release of his 7th album, Bad. The book was named after MJ’s most memorable signature dance move of the same name, which has become the most recognizable and well-known dance move around the world. In his autobiography, MJ discusses his show business friends, girlfriends, appearance over the years, his thoughts on plastic surgery, his upbringing, and his ultimate rise to fame. "Moonwalk" written by MJ himself with help from original editor, Shaye Areheart who worked closely with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was published in secret by Doubleday due to MJ’s overwhelming demand and public interest. Kennedy who also served as editor at Doubleday wrote the book’s introduction. After "Moonwalk’s" debut, it shot to #1 on the Los Angeles Times and New York Times best seller’s lists, and selling approximately 500,000 copies in 14 countries within only a few months of it’s release.

Ken Tucker, of The New York Times, stated that if the book had been written by anyone else, it would be dismissed as "an assiduously unrevealing, frequently tedious document." However, he adds that "these are precisely the qualities that make it fascinating." (via Wikipedia)

It seems plans for the reissue of MJ’s memoir came days after his death. As reported by the AP:

Within days, (MJ's literary agent) Joy Harris had forwarded the e-mails (from publishers) to Jackson's attorneys and soon the real discussions began. "Moonwalk," originally acquired by then-Doubleday editor Jackie Kennedy and published in 1988, will be reissued in October by Random House Inc. with a first printing of 100,000 copies and a new introduction from a Jackson friend who has not been identified. The book is also coming out in Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

Jackson's representatives wanted to act quickly. On July 23, executors of the singer's estate filed papers in a Los Angeles court stating that book deals should be reached "as soon as possible" in order to capitalize on "the notoriety surrounding Michael Jackson's unexpected death" and ensure that "profits for the Estate will be maximized."

According to Harris, several U.S. publishers were interested in the memoir but — assuming the price was right — both Harris and the lawyers who had handled Jackson's book wanted to stay with his original editor, Shaye Areheart. Her Harmony imprint at Random House will handle the release.

"She was professional with Michael and she was respectful," Harris, who declined to offer financial details for the new edition, said of Areheart. "She had worked for Jackie a long time and she was comfortable around celebrity."

I will be copping a reprinted copy to add to my collection the DAY of its release. (Actually, I wonder if Barnes & Noble is accepting reservations now? *ahem* Great birthday gift idea for I AM XI *ahem*) Since it was released when I was much younger and I wasn’t aware of any autobiography he had written at the time, I am extremely interested in getting insight of who MJ really was through his own words. And I would love to see this promotional spot as a tribute to MJ for his memoir re-release, since this was what he wanted originally.

Jacqueline Deval, then the book's publicist and now publisher of Hearst Books, said she had just one conversation with Jackson (about the book). She could not persuade him to give interviews, but he was very eager to discuss a possible promotional spot.

"He had this fabulous idea for a TV commercial for the book," she said. There would be music playing and a camera would show his feet, his steps moving to the beat. And then a major celebrity friend, such as Elizabeth Taylor, would say something about Michael Jackson. Then the camera would pan up to his knees, and there would be another celebrity talking about him. And so on, until we finally see his face. I think it would have been fabulous, but it was way beyond the budget of any book publisher."

Yeah, I can definitely picture that! And maybe the mystery celeb writing the current introduction will be featured in this spot as well! Got my fingers crossed… Here's ALSO hoping they will put my all-time fav Moonwalker on DVD and re-release it! (Do you know how difficult it is to transfer an old beat-up VHS to DVD? I'd rather buy a new one! And preserve my VHS in it's original box in my collection.)

Lastly, although the financial details have not been released, proceeds from the book will go to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, and to various charities supported by the singer. This is touching... I'm happy to see that the reprint of his memoir is not just for profit.


J.Probe said...

Yeah!!! I will coping two copies one for XI ( great B-day gift ) & one for myself!!!!

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