Andersen has penned tell-alls on Madonna, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, and though the lewd upcoming book on Jagger is certainly revealing, it is just one in the long line of defamatory warts-n-all bestsellers.
Calling Albert Goldman's biography Elvis unflattering is a gross understatement. Published in 1981, the salacious tome drew on over four years of research into the life and times of Presley and has become one of the most controversial unauthorised chronicles ever printed. Renowned for an intense personal dislike of The King, many of the accusations Goldman printed were considered dubious, particularly those that levelled the music icon as a plagiarist. Goldman portrayed Presley as acutely unstable, homosexual and described him as "a pervert, a voyeur" who covered up his sexual preferences with extreme promiscuity. Elvis is a critical, judgmental work that also delves into the singer's long-standing battle with weight, diet, and substance abuse and even passes judgement on his stage costumes. Elvis has been labelled as a conniving "muckraking biography" that "entirely discredits the culture that produced him and the culture he helped create".
Goldman made waves again a few years later upon publishing The Lives of John Lennon, in which he depicts The Beatles front man as a neurotic musical genius. To produce the interrogative publication, Goldman conducted countless interviews with Lennon's friends, acquaintances, servants, and fellow musicians. Goldman largely attributes the singer's suffering to a disturbed childhood which manifested in a series of destructive relationships with powerful women, and pretty much depicts Yoko Ono as a psycho. Goldman also alleges that Lennon engaged in a longstanding secret affair with The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein who he describes as a fake and an inept businessman. And, because Goldman clearly has no qualms about publishing, well, anything, he significantly revealed that records of phone calls Yoko Ono claimed to have made to Mimi Smith and Paul McCartney the night Lennon was murdered actually don't exist. Awkward.
Just because you're not Elvis, John Lennon or Mick Jagger doesn't mean you can't have a warts-n-all biography. Remember Screech? Aka Dustin Diamond aka the one in Saved By The Bell who wasn't Zack Morris or AC Slater? Well, that teste-popping come sex-tape-making deviant wrote an autobiography entitled Behind the Bell and it is as disgusting as it sounds. In his time on the Saved by the Bell set (which, before this article, was my favourite show ever) Screech revealed information on Mario Lopez's (AC Slater) sexual misconduct, and details how he raped a woman and made NBC pay her to keep quiet. He also claims he got fresh with Linda Mancuso (his boss at NBC) who was 18 years his senior. Mancuso died in 2003 after a battle with cancer and can't even defend herself. To top it all off though, Screech says that SBTB's executive producer, Peter Engel, used to have threesomes with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach). Clearly, he was just upset he wasn't included in the coke-fuelled romps with born-again Christian Engel. Errrr class dismissed.
Read the full list at stuff.co.nz
Reading about the Albert Goldman bio of Elvis took me back to 1981. I was MD at Penguin Books NZ at the time and Penguin had bought the ANZ rights in this title. We sold an impressive number, can't recall now how many, but I do remember we got a lot of criticism from reviewers and booksellers over the content of the book. It was pretty salacious stuff and later much of it proved to be inaccurate and I guess potentially libellous had Elvis still been alive.