Michael Jackson

Randall Sullivan’s “Untouchable”: The Business of Music and the Art of Using Sources

Randall Sullivan’s Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson was released in November of last year. It’s an epic piece of work – 776 pages long, including nearly 175 pages of references – and it got some less-than-positive reviews, including the New York Times, which called it “dreary”, “bloated”, and “thoroughly dispensable”. I just finished reading it, and I think it deserves much more credit than that, because it’s a remarkable work on several levels. Sullivan has constructed an extremely complex narrative that is more than a biography – it’s also a very sobering look at how the music business operates. And it’s an excellent case study in how writers can manage challenging or difficult source material.

I get the sense that (more…)