Hilburn on Michael Jackson

Robert Hilburn, the former L.A. Times pop music critic, lives not far from the Jackson family compound in Encino and knew Michael — and wrote about his music — for many years. For awhile they also contemplated collaborating on a book. Hilburn's appreciation leads the Times website right now. Excerpt:

I'll always regret that the last conversation I had with Michael Jackson ended with him angrily hanging up the phone -- at least I've long thought of Michael's mood that day more than a decade ago as angry. I now realize the more accurate description would be "wounded."

Michael was at times among the sweetest and most talented people I met during my 35 years of covering pop music for the Los Angeles Times.

Hilburn said he watched with sadness as Jackson's music "went from the wonderful self-affirmation and endearing spirit of 'Thriller' to something increasingly calculated and soulless," and they had a falling out when Hilburn wrote what he observed. Hilburn's memoir, "Corn Flakes With John Lennon, and Other Tales From a Rock 'n' Roll Life," will be published in October.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Celebrity stories on LA Observed:
Inside the eye of the Outlander storm
Knife at O.J.'s old house tests for nothing
How TMZ and Harvey Levin get the dirt
Cosby charged and arraigned in Pennsylvania, out on $1 million bail
Charlie Sheen confirms he is HIV positive (video)
Lamar Odom found unconscious in rural Nevada brothel
Those were Kardashian fireworks that woke up the coast this morning
Portrait: 35 of the women who say Bill Cosby raped them


LA Observed on Twitter