Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lisa Campbell is not your average Michael Jackson fan girl.
Campbell’s obsession began in 1979 when Jackson’s first solo album, “Off the Wall,” came out.
“I took a great interest in him at that time because it was hard for me to reconcile that this was the same artist I had seen as a little kid,” she said. “Two years later “Thriller” came out and I was gone. That was it for me.”
Jackson’s music at the time was so different from anything else out. His videos were so much more interesting than others too, Campbell said. She watched closely as he swept the Grammys and his albums skyrocketed to No. 1.
“I found him fascinating in a lot of different areas, not just singing and dancing, which was amazing enough,” she said. “As I learned more about him and his background and all the things he overcame to get to where he was, it made you be even more impressed with where he ended up.”
As Campbell looked deeper into Jackson’s life she encountered a lot of different writings about him, many of which were false.
“It annoyed me when I read things that weren’t true,” she said. “I thought, ‘I could write better than this.’ So I did.”
Campbell started writing her first book, “Michael Jackson: The King of Pop” in the summer of 1989 just following the Bad tour, which she had seen several times. It was released in spring of 1993.
She sent a copy of her first book to Jackson’s office and got a call from his manager. She was told that Jackson loved the book. He signed and returned a copy, thanked her personally on the liner notes of his “HIStory” album, and even sent her three dozen red roses on her birthday.
“In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d get any kind of acknowledgement from him,” Campbell said. “That’s all I wanted. I wanted some kind of way to know he at least knew about my books. I hardly expected any of the things he did.”
Jackson’s publicist worked with Campbell to promote the book. She was interviewed by CNN and other talk shows, newspapers and magazines.
It all hit a wall in August of 1993. At the time Campbell was set to attend an awards ceremony where Jackson would be honored. It would be the first time she would meet Jackson. When the allegations of molestation hit the airwaves the ceremony and Campbell’s meeting were cancelled. She would never get a chance to meet him.
Her second book, “Michael Jackson: The King of Pop’s Darkest Hour” details his struggle with those allegations. It was published in 1994.
Now Campbell is out with a new book, “Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop.” It goes over details from the first and second books and tells Jackson’s story through his death, and even after his death. All three of her books will be part of Jackson’s estate archives.
Campbell is still an avid fan of Jackson. She has a room inside her home in Ahwatukee Foothills dedicated to Jackson memorabilia and many more crates of items she says she doesn’t have room to display. She said after all these years of researching Jackson and collecting everything she can find worth collecting, she has no plans to stop.
She says she enjoys knowing little facts about Jackson that not many people know, like his love for Bazooka Bubblegum, that he made wonderful French toast, and that he loved to play Janet Jackson’s music very loudly and dance to it.
“He was surprisingly normal,” Campbell said. “He was sane. I know a lot of people think of him as this freak show. I think if you’re just a casual observer and you just see the headlines you think he’s just very strange… He was multi-talented in areas people have no idea.”
Campbell’s books are available online through major retailers in hard-back, paper-back and e-books.
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