Hounded by the tabloid media, driven from his self-made sanctuary at Neverland, Michael Jackson spent his final years moving from city to city, living with his three children in virtual seclusion—a futile attempt to escape a world that wouldn’t leave him alone. During that time, two men served as the singer’s personal security team: Bill Whitfield, a former cop and veteran of the security profession, and Javon Beard, a brash, untested rookie, both single fathers themselves.
Stationed at his side nearly 24/7, their job was to see and hear everything that transpired, and to keep everyone else out, making them the only two men who know what 60 million fans around the world still want to know: What really happened to the King of Pop?
Driven by a desire to show the world who Michael Jackson truly was, Whitfield and Beard have produced the only definitive, first-person account of Michael Jackson’s last years: the extreme measures necessary to protect Jackson and his family, the simple moments of happiness they managed to share in a time of great stress, the special relationship Jackson shared with his fans, and the tragic events that culminated in the singer’s ill-fated comeback, This Is It. The truth is far more compelling than anything you’ve yet heard.
An indispensable piece of pop-culture history, Remember the Time is the story of a man struggling to live a normal life under extraordinary circumstances, the story of a father fighting to protect and provide for his children. Remember the Time is the book that dismantles the tabloid myths once and for all to give Michael Jackson back his humanity.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
I still miss Michael Jackson. Or rather, I miss the Michael Jackson I choose to remember from his heyday. I went to see him perform live once and though the stadium was full, he struck me then as intensely lonely and shy. He did not connect once with his audience. It was as if we were not there or he were performing on the other side of a thick piece of glass. He never even said 'Hello Melbourne, it's great to be here'. He could have been anywhere, or nowhere.
Now two of his bodyguards have written about their time providing Jackson and his children with security. Their loyalty and affection for their boss weather periods when they are not paid for weeks on end for their service. They witness his generosity, profligacy and complete disengagement from financial reality first hand with increasing alarm and frustration. They watch his management put their snouts in the trough as he becomes increasingly isolated. They witness the chaos that ensues when he is recognised in public, when he does not enter buildings through the smelly, distinctly unglamourous back doors of venues. They observe his ease and joy as a parent, the politeness of his children, the relative normality of their private time together as family.
This is fascinating shameless A-list voyeurism from insiders with access-all-areas goss.
About the Author
Experts in the field of private protection, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard served for two and a half years as the personal security team for Michael Jackson and have worked with numerous other high-profile clients, including Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Alicia Keys, and Shaquille O'Neal.
To say it’s captivating is an understatement … The stories Whitfield and Beard relay are startling to read now, but they’re also highly amplified by what fantastic storytellers they are … The book is strictly a fly-on-the-wall account of everything they saw in the world surrounding Jackson during one of the least understood, shoddily documented, rumor-filled periods of his life … It’s a simple notion, fair, but it’s rare in the telling of anything related to the life of Michael Jackson. It’s a fair account of what they saw and what they felt while seeing it, an account that truly separates it from the rest.
Rembert Browne, Grantland
Remember the Time foregoes sensationalism in favour of a sympathetic, but unsentimental examination of life behind the gates in Michael Jackson’s final years. Colby’s portrait — told through conversational accounts by Jackson’s former bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard — is by turns straightforward, humorous, absorbing and tragic. A single father facing enormous financial pressures and a vagabond existence while trying to find some peace and joy with his three young children, Jackson is revealed, not the as ‘freak show’ the media so often presented him, but as human. These recollections not only help fill in some of the biographical gaps in Jackson’s life but demonstrate with unflinching detail the real-life price of fame.
Joseph Vogel, author of Man in the Music: the creative life & work of Michael Jackson
Published: 3rd June 2014
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.3 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.45