Joe Vogel Articles about Bad 25 - Album, Demos, Wembley

GreenEyes

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How Michael Jackson Made 'Bad'
By Joseph Vogel
Sep 10 2012, 3:41 PM ET

michael%20jackson%20615%20bad.jpg


The story of how the landmark album, which just turned 25 and will soon be re-released in a three-disc set, was forged by the "Wacko Jacko" backlash against the pop star.

At the height of his fame, Michael Jackson disappeared.

In 1984, he seemed to be everywhere: on MTV and in Pepsi commercials, at the Grammys and the White House, on Rolling Stone and Time magazine, and all across the United States on the Victory Tour. The next year, however, besides a brief appearance in "We Are the World," he was nowhere to be seen. "The year 1985," wrote Gerri Hirshey for Rolling Stone, "has been a black hole for Michael watchers, who witnessed the most spectacular disappearing act since Halley's comet headed for the far side of the solar system in 1910." It was a strategic move from a performer who understood the power of anticipation and mystique. 1986 was much the same. Jackson was said to be a recluse "in hiding" and made few public appearances.



A British tabloid deemed him "Wacko Jacko" in 1985, but the nickname's etymology goes back further: "Jacco" or "Jacco Macacco" was Cockney slang for "monkey."In his absence came a flood of fantastical stories about shrines, hyperbaric chambers, and Elephant Man's bones. Most of these were harmless (and actually amused Jackson), but there was a darker side to the media backlash. Jackson had become the most powerful African American in the history of the entertainment industry. Not only had he built an empire through his own record-shattering albums, videos and performances, he had resurrected the fortunes of CBS/Epic Records, surged life into MTV, and set the bar for live entertainment. He also smartly retained full ownership of his master recordings and with the help of his attorney, John Branca, actively acquired publishing rights, including songs by Sly and the Family Stone, Ray Charles, and of course, the crown jewel of popular music: the ATV/Beatles catalog.

It is no coincidence that this was the precise moment when the tide began to shift. From industry heavyweights and media alike, there was now suspicion, resentment, and jealousy. It was clear Jackson was not merely a naive man-child (as he was often presented), or a song-and-dance man who knew and accepted his place as a static, submissive "entertainer." He was outwitting some of the most powerful figures in the industry. He was growing artistically and financially. And he was beginning to learn how to wield his considerable power and cultural influence for more social and political ends.


"He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables," wrote James Baldwin in 1985, "for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael. All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair..."


The backlash, then, was not merely about Jackson's perceived eccentricities. It was also about power, money, and more subtle forms of institutional and cultural dominance. In the decades preceding Jackson, as James Brown put it, black recording artists were all-too-often "in the show, but not in show business." Now Jackson was a financial force to be reckoned with. His status, however, also turned him into an enormous target.

The Most Influential Artist of the 20th Century Beginning in 1985, the media became increasingly vicious toward the artist. "They desire our blood, not our pain," Jackson wrote in a note in 1987. Tabloids soon began disparaging him with the nickname "Wacko Jacko" (a term Jackson despised). It was a term first applied to the pop star by the British tabloid, The Sun, in 1985, but its etymology goes back further. "Jacko Macacco" was the name of a famous monkey used in monkey-baiting matches at the Westminster Pit in London in the early 1820s. Subsequently, the term "Jacco" or "Jacco Macacco" was Cockney slang to refer to monkeys in general. The term persisted into the 20th century as "Jacko Monkeys" became popular children's toys in Great Britain in the 1950s. They remained common in British households into the 1980s (and can still be found on Ebay today).

The term "Jacko," then, didn't arise out of a vacuum, and certainly wasn't meant as a term of endearment. In the ensuing years, it would be used by the tabloid and mainstream media alike with a contempt that left no doubt about its intent. Even for those with no knowledge of its racist roots and connotations, it was obviously used to "otherize," humiliate and demean its target. Like Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" scene in Invisible Man, it was a process by which to reduce Michael Jackson the human being and artist, to "Jacko" the minstrelized spectacle for avaricious amusement. (It is significant to note that, while the term was used widely by the white media, it was rarely, if ever used by black journalists.)


This was the ominous undercurrent beginning to swirl around Jackson and it had an impact on both his own psyche and that of the public (particularly in the U.S.). The tension between control and liberation or escape percolates throughout the Bad album and its accompanying music videos.


In the short film for "Leave Me Alone," for example, Jackson keenly conveys the carnivalesque reality of his life as an objectified entertainer. Inspired in part by Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, a larger-than-life Jackson is literally trapped in an amusement park attraction as dogs in corporate suits pound pegs in the ground to keep him in place. Later in the video he sings out of newspapers, dollar bills, and within reenactments of tabloid stories. It is a shrewdly self-aware (and socially aware) examination of entrapment, exploitation, and double consciousness in the postmodern age.

Part of Jackson's "disappearance," then, also had to do with the realities of his life. He could no longer walk freely anywhere in the world without being mobbed, scrutinized, and dissected.

His retreat was in his art. From 1985 to 1987, away from the public eye, he was writing and recording prolifically. The Bad sessions would ultimately generate more than 60 songs in various states of completion. At one point he considered releasing it as a triple-disc album.


It has legend that Jackson wrote "100 million" on his bathroom mirror, the number of albums he expected 'Bad' to sell: more than double the number of what 'Thriller' had done.Jackson called his home studio at Hayvenhurst "the Laboratory." This is where the magic was created with a small group of musicians and engineers, including Matt Forger, John Barnes, Chris Currell, and Bill Bottrell (often referred to as the "B-Team"). It has now become the stuff of legend that Jackson wrote "100 million" on his bathroom mirror, the number of albums he expected Bad to sell. The figure was more than double the number of what Thriller had sold to that point. Such was the scope of Jackson's ambition.

However, it wasn't just commercial success he was after. Jackson wanted to innovate. He told collaborators he wanted to create sounds the ear had never heard. Exciting new synthesizers were coming on the scene at the time, including the Fairlight CMI and the Synclavier PSMT. "It really opened up another realm of creativity," recalls recording engineer Matt Forger. "The Fairlight had this light pen that could draw a waveform on the screen and allow you to modify the shape of it. The Synclavier was just an extension of that. Very often we would end up combining two synthesizer elements together to create a unique character. You could do that within the Synclavier, but you also had the ability in a very fine increment to adjust the attack of each sound character. And by doing that you could really tailor the sound. We were doing a lot of sampling and creating new sound characters and then creating a combination of sample sounds mixed with FM synthesis."


Jackson was fascinated with these new technologies and constantly on the lookout for fresh sounds. The opening sound character for "Dirty Diana," for example, was created by Denny Jaeger, a Synclavier expert and designer from the Bay Area. When Jackson heard about Jaeger and his library of new sound characters and soundscapes, he reached out and enlisted him for Bad. Jaeger's sounds ultimately appeared on both "Dirty Diana" and "Smooth Criminal." "Michael was always searching for something new," Forger says. "How much stuff could we invent ourselves or research and find? There was a whole lot of that going on. That was what the Laboratory was about."


Story continues below.


What makes the Bad album so timeless, however, is the way Jackson was able to compliment this technological innovation with more organic, soulful qualities. In "The Way You Make Me Feel," for example, the relentless steel-shuffling motion of the beat is juxtaposed with all kinds of natural, improvisational qualities that give the song its charm: the vocal ad libs, the finger snapping, the blues harmonies, the percussive grunts and gasps, the exclamations. Recording engineer Bruce Swedien speaks of how he left all of Jackson's vocal habits in as part of the "overall sonic picture." He didn't want to make the song "antiseptically clean" because it would lose its visceral effect.


In so many ways, Bad was Jackson's coming-of-age as an artist. Quincy Jones challenged him at the outset to write all the material and Jackson responded, writing nine of the 11 tracks that made the album and dozens more that were left off. "Study the greats," he wrote in one note to himself, "and become greater." He spoke of the "anatomy" of music, of dissecting its parts. He was also reading a great deal, including the work of Joseph Campbell. He wanted to understand what symbolism, myths, and motifs resonated over time and why.


By the time he brought demos to Westlake Studio to work on with Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien (the A-Team), most of the key elements of the songs were in place. Now it was a matter of details: small-brush coloring, polishing, augmenting, and to Jackson's chagrin, paring down. Assistant engineer Russ Ragsdale estimates that more than 800 multi-track tapes were made to create Bad, an extraordinary number. Synth stacks filled the tracking room, where Jackson often worked with synth programer John Barnes. Vocals were rerecorded until Jackson felt satisfied. Jackson, Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien continued to tweak and debate decisions until the final minute before the deadline.


Just as much attention went into the short films. In his notes following the Bad video, Jackson indicated that he still wasn't completely satisfied with the choreography. The moves had to be so internalized that there was no thinking whatsoever. He had to dissolve into the steps and the music until it became pure feeling.

Many people still don't realize the input Jackson had on every detail of his work, from choreography to lighting to costumes to story. While rehearsing for the short film for "Smooth Criminal," Jackson eloquently explained to director Colin Chivers and choreographer Vincent Paterson the tension and release he hoped to achieve in the bridge. "That's why we build it to a mountain and we bring it back down," he instructed. "Then at the top [mouths sounds effect] with the high strings. Something to just ride the emotion that we didn't put into it [mouths sound effect]. Just a horn or something, you know... To ride the feeling of it... I want the music to represent the way we feel... It's gotta dictate our emotion, our moods. We're expressing the way everybody feels. It's rebellion. You know what I mean? We're letting out what we always wanted to say to the world. Passion and anger and fire!"


Twenty-five years later, the results speak for themselves. Videos like "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal" are among the finest the medium has to offer. Songs like "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Dirty Diana," and "Another Part of Me" remain staples in Jackson's vast catalog. Hearing the remastered album, included in the three-CD Bad25 set out September 18, is a reminder of its singular personality and pleasure. Listen to the propulsive bass lines, the layers of rhythm, the vocal experimentation, the cinematic narratives, the signature exclamations and invented vocabulary, the sheer vitality and joy. This is pop at its most dynamic, and it stands, along with the best work of Prince, as one of the best albums of the 1980s.


Bad is a portrait of the artist in peak form—bold, creative and confident. Now as then, "the whole world has to answer."

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/how-michael-jackson-made-bad/262162/
 
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Bubs

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How Michael Jackson Made 'Bad'
Joseph Vogel Sep 10 2012, 3:41 PM ET


The story of how the landmark album, which just turned 25 and will soon be re-released in a three-disc set, was forged by the "Wacko Jacko" backlash against the pop star

michael%20jackson%20615%20bad.jpg


At the height of his fame, Michael Jackson disappeared.

In 1984, he seemed to be everywhere: on MTV and in Pepsi commercials, at the Grammys and the White House, on Rolling Stone and Time magazine, and all across the United States on the Victory Tour. The next year, however, besides a brief appearance in "We Are the World," he was nowhere to be seen. "The year 1985," wrote Gerri Hirshey for Rolling Stone, "has been a black hole for Michael watchers, who witnessed the most spectacular disappearing act since Halley's comet headed for the far side of the solar system in 1910." It was a strategic move from a performer who understood the power of anticipation and mystique. 1986 was much the same. Jackson was said to be a recluse "in hiding" and made few public appearances.

A British tabloid deemed him "Wacko Jacko" in 1985, but the nickname's etymology goes back further: "Jacco" or "Jacco Macacco" was Cockney slang for "monkey." In his absence came a flood of fantastical stories about shrines, hyperbaric chambers, and Elephant Man's bones. Most of these were harmless (and actually amused Jackson), but there was a darker side to the media backlash. Jackson had become the most powerful African American in the history of the entertainment industry. Not only had he built an empire through his own record-shattering albums, videos and performances, he had resurrected the fortunes of CBS/Epic Records, surged life into MTV, and set the bar for live entertainment. He also smartly retained full ownership of his master recordings and with the help of his attorney, John Branca, actively acquired publishing rights, including songs by Sly and the Family Stone, Ray Charles, and of course, the crown jewel of popular music: the ATV/Beatles catalog.
It is no coincidence that this was the precise moment when the tide began to shift. From industry heavyweights and media alike, there was now suspicion, resentment, and jealousy. It was clear Jackson was not merely a naive man-child (as he was often presented), or a song-and-dance man who knew and accepted his place as a static, submissive "entertainer." He was outwitting some of the most powerful figures in the industry. He was growing artistically and financially. And he was beginning to learn how to wield his considerable power and cultural influence for more social and political ends.

"He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables," wrote James Baldwin in 1985, "for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael. All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair..."

The backlash, then, was not merely about Jackson's perceived eccentricities. It was also about power, money, and more subtle forms of institutional and cultural dominance. In the decades preceding Jackson, as James Brown put it, black recording artists were all-too-often "in the show, but not in show business." Now Jackson was a financial force to be reckoned with. His status, however, also turned him into an enormous target.

The Most Influential Artist of the 20th Century Beginning in 1985, the media became increasingly vicious toward the artist. "They desire our blood, not our pain," Jackson wrote in a note in 1987. Tabloids soon began disparaging him with the nickname "Wacko Jacko" (a term Jackson despised). It was a term first applied to the pop star by the British tabloid, The Sun, in 1985, but its etymology goes back further. "Jacko Macacco" was the name of a famous monkey used in monkey-baiting matches at the Westminster Pit in London in the early 1820s. Subsequently, the term "Jacco" or "Jacco Macacco" was Cockney slang to refer to monkeys in general. The term persisted into the 20th century as "Jacko Monkeys" became popular children's toys in Great Britain in the 1950s. They remained common in British households into the 1980s (and can still be found on Ebay today).
The term "Jacko," then, didn't arise out of a vacuum, and certainly wasn't meant as a term of endearment. In the ensuing years, it would be used by the tabloid and mainstream media alike with a contempt that left no doubt about its intent. Even for those with no knowledge of its racist roots and connotations, it was obviously used to "otherize," humiliate and demean its target. Like Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" scene in Invisible Man, it was a process by which to reduce Michael Jackson the human being and artist, to "Jacko" the minstrelized spectacle for avaricious amusement. (It is significant to note that, while the term was used widely by the white media, it was rarely, if ever used by black journalists.)

This was the ominous undercurrent beginning to swirl around Jackson and it had an impact on both his own psyche and that of the public (particularly in the U.S.). The tension between control and liberation or escape percolates throughout the Bad album and its accompanying music videos.

In the short film for "Leave Me Alone," for example, Jackson keenly conveys the carnivalesque reality of his life as an objectified entertainer. Inspired in part by Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, a larger-than-life Jackson is literally trapped in an amusement park attraction as dogs in corporate suits pound pegs in the ground to keep him in place. Later in the video he sings out of newspapers, dollar bills, and within reenactments of tabloid stories. It is a shrewdly self-aware (and socially aware) examination of entrapment, exploitation, and double consciousness in the postmodern age.

Story continues below.
[video=youtube;crbFmpezO4A]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crbFmpezO4A&feature=player_embedded[/video]

Part of Jackson's "disappearance," then, also had to do with the realities of his life. He could no longer walk freely anywhere in the world without being mobbed, scrutinized, and dissected.

His retreat was in his art. From 1985 to 1987, away from the public eye, he was writing and recording prolifically. The Bad sessions would ultimately generate more than 60 songs in various states of completion. At one point he considered releasing it as a triple-disc album.
It has legend that Jackson wrote "100 million" on his bathroom mirror, the number of albums he expected 'Bad' to sell: more than double the number of what 'Thriller' had done. Jackson called his home studio at Hayvenhurst "the Laboratory." This is where the magic was created with a small group of musicians and engineers, including Matt Forger, John Barnes, Chris Currell, and Bill Bottrell (often referred to as the "B-Team"). It has now become the stuff of legend that Jackson wrote "100 million" on his bathroom mirror, the number of albums he expected Bad to sell. The figure was more than double the number of what Thriller had sold to that point. Such was the scope of Jackson's ambition.
However, it wasn't just commercial success he was after. Jackson wanted to innovate. He told collaborators he wanted to create sounds the ear had never heard. Exciting new synthesizers were coming on the scene at the time, including the Fairlight CMI and the Synclavier PSMT. "It really opened up another realm of creativity," recalls recording engineer Matt Forger. "The Fairlight had this light pen that could draw a waveform on the screen and allow you to modify the shape of it. The Synclavier was just an extension of that. Very often we would end up combining two synthesizer elements together to create a unique character. You could do that within the Synclavier, but you also had the ability in a very fine increment to adjust the attack of each sound character. And by doing that you could really tailor the sound. We were doing a lot of sampling and creating new sound characters and then creating a combination of sample sounds mixed with FM synthesis."

Jackson was fascinated with these new technologies and constantly on the lookout for fresh sounds. The opening sound character for "Dirty Diana," for example, was created by Denny Jaeger, a Synclavier expert and designer from the Bay Area. When Jackson heard about Jaeger and his library of new sound characters and soundscapes, he reached out and enlisted him for Bad. Jaeger's sounds ultimately appeared on both "Dirty Diana" and "Smooth Criminal." "Michael was always searching for something new," Forger says. "How much stuff could we invent ourselves or research and find? There was a whole lot of that going on. That was what the Laboratory was about."

Story continues below.

[video=youtube;ceU4ANZKdOM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceU4ANZKdOM&feature=player_embedded[/video]


What makes the Bad album so timeless, however, is the way Jackson was able to compliment this technological innovation with more organic, soulful qualities. In "The Way You Make Me Feel," for example, the relentless steel-shuffling motion of the beat is juxtaposed with all kinds of natural, improvisational qualities that give the song its charm: the vocal ad libs, the finger snapping, the blues harmonies, the percussive grunts and gasps, the exclamations. Recording engineer Bruce Swedien speaks of how he left all of Jackson's vocal habits in as part of the "overall sonic picture." He didn't want to make the song "antiseptically clean" because it would lose its visceral effect.

In so many ways, Bad was Jackson's coming-of-age as an artist. Quincy Jones challenged him at the outset to write all the material and Jackson responded, writing nine of the 11 tracks that made the album and dozens more that were left off. "Study the greats," he wrote in one note to himself, "and become greater." He spoke of the "anatomy" of music, of dissecting its parts. He was also reading a great deal, including the work of Joseph Campbell. He wanted to understand what symbolism, myths, and motifs resonated over time and why.

By the time he brought demos to Westlake Studio to work on with Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien (the A-Team), most of the key elements of the songs were in place. Now it was a matter of details: small-brush coloring, polishing, augmenting, and to Jackson's chagrin, paring down. Assistant engineer Russ Ragsdale estimates that more than 800 multi-track tapes were made to create Bad, an extraordinary number. Synth stacks filled the tracking room, where Jackson often worked with synth programer John Barnes. Vocals were rerecorded until Jackson felt satisfied. Jackson, Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien continued to tweak and debate decisions until the final minute before the deadline.

Just as much attention went into the short films. In his notes following the Bad video, Jackson indicated that he still wasn't completely satisfied with the choreography. The moves had to be so internalized that there was no thinking whatsoever. He had to dissolve into the steps and the music until it became pure feeling.

Many people still don't realize the input Jackson had on every detail of his work, from choreography to lighting to costumes to story. While rehearsing for the short film for "Smooth Criminal," Jackson eloquently explained to director Colin Chivers and choreographer Vincent Paterson the tension and release he hoped to achieve in the bridge. "That's why we build it to a mountain and we bring it back down," he instructed. "Then at the top [mouths sounds effect] with the high strings. Something to just ride the emotion that we didn't put into it [mouths sound effect]. Just a horn or something, you know... To ride the feeling of it... I want the music to represent the way we feel... It's gotta dictate our emotion, our moods. We're expressing the way everybody feels. It's rebellion. You know what I mean? We're letting out what we always wanted to say to the world. Passion and anger and fire!"

Twenty-five years later, the results speak for themselves. Videos like "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal" are among the finest the medium has to offer. Songs like "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Dirty Diana," and "Another Part of Me" remain staples in Jackson's vast catalog. Hearing the remastered album, included in the three-CD Bad25 set out September 18, is a reminder of its singular personality and pleasure. Listen to the propulsive bass lines, the layers of rhythm, the vocal experimentation, the cinematic narratives, the signature exclamations and invented vocabulary, the sheer vitality and joy. This is pop at its most dynamic, and it stands, along with the best work of Prince, as one of the best albums of the 1980s.

Bad is a portrait of the artist in peak form—bold, creative and confident. Now as then, "the whole world has to answer."
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertai...ael-jackson-made-bad/262162/?single_page=true
 

bluetopez

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great article as always by Joe Vogel. I'm glad he also explained the history of the word J@cko too. Maybe now some will get how wrong it really is.
 
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max000

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Prime example why the media will never give fair and balanced MJ coverage. Media incapable of owning their massive role in MJ'S demise.

Not really following Bad 25 thread. Any of that in studio stuff with musicans and engineers on video.?
 
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HIStory

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great article by Joe Vogel again! I'm glad there is someone like him. I'm also glad the article got many comments. It's time to show the media, that there is interest in serious articles about MJ as well, not just tabloid crap!
 

Bubs

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great article by Joe Vogel again! I'm glad there is someone like him. I'm also glad the article got many comments. It's time to show the media, that there is interest in serious articles about MJ as well, not just tabloid crap!

Unfortunately 1 troll found its way to comments section and started to post all sort of crap about Michael, many replies were to this troll:no:
Anyway Joe's article is great! He has more to come today, second part Review of Demos for 3 part series:clapping:

Btw, Joe tweeted this link, can someone please have a look at what this says about MJ's nick name? I cannot see it as it is not available in my region and post summary
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-29-2009/intro---rip-jacko-nickname
 

HIStory

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Yeah, the guy who is criticizing the article claims it's a "conspiracy theory" on the white media. I replied in a comment saying I did not see any conspiracy theories in Joe's article. What I see is him talking about the racist origins of the name "Jacko". And that is a fact. And in case he thinks it's just reading too much into this, I posted what Sun editor, Kelvin MacKenzie once said of the audience that tabloids target:

"You just don't understand the readers, do you, eh? He's the bloke you see in the pub, a right old fascist, wants to send the wogs [blacks] back, buy his poxy council house, he's afraid of the unions, afraid of the Russians, hates the queers and the weirdos and drug dealers. He doesn't want to hear about that stuff (serious news)."

Considering the term "Jacko" was first used by the Sun in 1985 and MacKenzie was an editor of it between 1981 and 1994, it does seem to me that Sun was more conscious about the undertone of this term than many might realize it. I'm not claiming each and every journalist who ever used this term knew this or was a racist - nor does Joe claim such a thing. But I do believe some knew and it was a very subtle form of racism by those.
 

kateclay

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Just shows how jealous they are for calling MJ wacko jacko, these people who called MJ this awful name must of been really tormented of MJ's fame, they couldn't stand him, their jeaousy was over taking them, so they had to find some sort of relief by belittling him, crazy sick minded people they were.


No matter how they called MJ wacko jacko, the truth still remains that his name is King Michael Jackson that Liz Taylor gave to him in 1989. Also there's far more people that loved and love Michael than hate him, no matter how much the haters hate it, :D


MJ was loved all over the world, people fainted and cried their eyes out for MJ, etc., now that's pure love. Like Michael said, "if they're jealous and belitting you, you must be doing something right, if they don't belittle you be concerned". :D


I love you MJ forever, and I'm proud that you achieved your gaols and was the most loved greatest entertainer in the world and there's not a darn thing haters can do about, it's already been done. :D


I love you Michael Jackson, King of Pop. :smilerolleyes:
 

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Unfortunately 1 troll found its way to comments section and started to post all sort of crap about Michael, many replies were to this troll:no:
Anyway Joe's article is great! He has more to come today, second part Review of Demos for 3 part series:clapping:

Btw, Joe tweeted this link, can someone please have a look at what this says about MJ's nick name? I cannot see it as it is not available in my region and post summary
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-29-2009/intro---rip-jacko-nickname

Hey Bubs - I can see that video. It's kind of brief... but in it Jon Stewart kind of pokes fun at the overload of media coverage here in the U.S. of his death (which I have to admit all the news stations were covering it 24/7 for days on end.) He makes a quick poke at comparing the likes of Quincy Jones to Cory Feldman. LOL!

But to answer your question, he holds up a U.S. newspaper with a cover that calls him "Jacko" and asks that the media to please stop calling him Jacko now that he has passed and says, "can a brother get a Mr. Jackson." :) This video was posted 4 days after Michael's death.
 

Bubs

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

But to answer your question, he holds up a U.S. newspaper with a cover that calls him "Jacko" and asks that the media to please stop calling him Jacko now that he has passed and says, "can a brother get a Mr. Jackson." :) This video was posted 4 days after Michael's death.

Thanks for checking that video for me.
It's about time they leave that horrible nick name and start calling Michael either Mr Jackson or Michael Jackson.
 

GreenEyes

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Thanks for checking that video for me.
It's about time they leave that horrible nick name and start calling Michael either Mr Jackson or Michael Jackson.

You're welcome. :) I have noticed that the media here has all but completely ceased from calling him that. I do see that name popping up in Australian and British articles occasionally though.
 

Nathy MJ

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'Bad' ... Joseph Vogel

Many people still don't realize the input Jackson had on every detail of his work, from choreography to lighting to costumes to story. While rehearsing for the short film for "Smooth Criminal," Jackson eloquently explained to director Colin Chivers and choreographer Vincent Paterson the tension and release he hoped to achieve in the bridge. "That's why we build it to a mountain and we bring it back down," he instructed. "Then at the top [mouths sounds effect] with the high strings. Something to just ride the emotion that we didn't put into it [mouths sound effect]. Just a horn or something, you know... To ride the feeling of it... I want the music to represent the way we feel... It's gotta dictate our emotion, our moods. We're expressing the way everybody feels. It's rebellion. You know what I mean? We're letting out what we always wanted to say to the world. Passion and anger and fire!"

I know everyone has seen it, but I will post here in case some didn't see it yet....

Here is the video of Michael giving ideas to Colin Chivers and Vincent Paterson, that Joe mentioned in his article:

 

Petrarose

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great article as always by Joe Vogel. I'm glad he also explained the history of the word J@cko too. Maybe now some will get how wrong it really is.

Yes. I am so glad he put the word into its cultural and social context. He also showed the role of the media and discussed what really motivated their stories about Michael. The Rolling Stone article should have been like this one, so Vogel has much to teach them. Look at how in-depth his analyses are. I love reading material like this where you can see the person took their time to research the project and all the fluff and sensationalized labels are left out!!! Vogel did a good job as usual, and I am going to save this article.

I notice that the Daily News routinely calls Michael that name and did so recently around the granny snatching time. To stop that name quickly, the African American community have to really advance on the editors of papers in the US and show them that due to the origins of that name it is not suitable for a man of color. Maybe we could write to Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson about this, since they are activists.
 
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Hess

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great article!
 

MJBT

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Re: How Michael Jackson Made 'BAD' Joseph Vogel

Great Article I hope we get more like this
 

Vici

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Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos
by Joseph Vogel Sep 11, 2012

The stories behind the tracks that will finally see the light of day for the album's 25th-anniversary rerelease

michael%20jackson%20615%20bad%20demos.jpg


In late 1986, Michael Jackson was pacing in Westlake Audio's Studio D, singing to himself: "I feel so bad, I feel really bad, God music makes me feel good."

"At the time, we had no idea the name of the album was going to be called Bad," jokes assistant engineer, Russ Ragsdale.

It wasn't the only revelation for the crew at Westlake. It turned out in the interval between Thriller and the official start of the Bad sessions, Jackson had written some 60-70 new songs. Eleven ended up on the official album, leaving numerous great tracks on the cutting room floor in various stages.

Over the past couple of years, under the direction of Jackson's estate, a team has been carefully archiving and digitizing these demos. "Some tracks we found were very early recordings," says Jackson estate co-executor John Branca. "Some were actually so complete that any other artist but Michael Jackson might consider them finished tracks. Still others were in between." Of these, six demos were chosen for Disc 2 of the forthcoming Bad 25 box set (out September 18).

Recently I was given an exclusive listen to these never-before-heard demos. I was struck by how finished and enjoyable they are. These are not mere song fragments. While the production on a couple of them sounds a bit dated, all have great hooks and choruses. What makes them really special, though, is their authenticity. None have been given a modern makeover. What they offer is a more intimate picture of Jackson the recording artist, circa 1985-87. We hear his ideas, his warmth, his pain, his humor, and his energy. The best of the bunch, for me, is the gorgeous mid-tempo ballad, "I'm So Blue," though a case could easily be made for the edgy rhythm tracks, "Price of Fame" and "Al Capone." Each of these six demos (and two others that had been previously released) contains its own unique imprint—and most importantly, all are 100 percent real, unembellished Michael Jackson.

What follows is a track-by-track review with additional insights from recording engineer and longtime Jackson friend, Matt Forger:

"Don't Be Messin' 'Round"

I wrote an in-depth piece on the making of this infectious, Bossa Nova-styled rhythm track back in June when it was released as a B-side to Jackson's No. 1 hit ballad, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." You can read that piece here. A fan favorite (and a song Jackson worked on many years and for which he had great affection), it is an appropriate opener to this collection. Some day it would be fascinating for listeners to hear the extended cuts (many of Jackson's songs and demos have longer versions which he often reluctantly trimmed down at Quincy Jones's bequest) as well as its later re-incarnations.

Matt Forger: "The thing I love about these demos is the rawness. Michael had the freedom to just get the expression out there without thinking, 'Oh, Quincy is going to be judging the vocal, or it has to be perfect.' It's just Michael going for it, experimenting, having fun."

"I'm So Blue"
This is a simple but beautiful ballad about singing to keep the blues away. Its languid, wistful feel is augmented by a lush keyboard bed, airy strings and soulful harmonica. It conjures a warm, summer dusk as Jackson narrates a tale of lost love. "I've been singing for so very long," he laments. "Still I'm crying/ Tell me what should I do." The wordless chorus (sha da da da da da da) is a resigned sigh. Like the blues men of old, he takes refuge from his loneliness and sorrow in the music.

Matt Forger: "This was a song Michael worked on with me and Bill Bottrell. It was already mixed from that era. It's a mid-tempo, melancholy, rainy-day-by-the-fireplace kind of song. It's a bit reminiscent of Stevie Wonder—the harmonica, the tonality. Stevie was a big part of Michael's life. It's not unusual that you would see that influence in his work."

"Abortion Papers"

Jackson isn't the first recording artist to explore the controversial subject of abortion in song. It has also surfaced in the work of Neil Young, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor, and Lauryn Hill, among others. In "Abortion Papers," Jackson approaches the matter carefully (and ambiguously): rather than presenting a dogmatic political perspective, he personalizes it through the story of a conflicted girl raised in a deeply religious home and her Bible-admonishing father. In his notes for the track, Jackson wrote, "I have to do it in a way so I don't offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully....I have to really think about it." Jackson narrates the track with a strong, passionate vocal. Ironically, the main drawback of the track is its catchiness. It feels a bit strange wanting to dance and sing along to a song about abortion, but that's exactly what the addictive groove inspires. Kudos to Jackson for attempting to tackle a sensitive issue in a thoughtful manner, though it appears even he wasn't quite sure about how it would play to listeners.

Matt Forger: "This was a song that we initially missed during archiving. It was titled 'Song Groove' on the box so we overlooked it. Once we figured out what it was we started to put the pieces together. It was recorded by Brian Maloof and Gary O., a couple of engineers who worked with Michael for a brief time. When we heard it we knew it could be controversial, especially with what's been going on politically. But when you listen to the song there's a story being told. Michael really reflected on what the approach should be. He wasn't sure how to narrate it. There were different variations with vocals—he didn't want it to be judgmental. He was very clear about that. But he wanted to present a real, complicated situation."

"Free"
"Got to be free," Jackson exclaims in this breezy ballad's conclusion. His bright, breathy vocal hearkens back to the carefree vitality of the Jacksons/Off the Wall era. The verses on this track were clearly still being worked out, but the chorus ("Free, free like the wind blows/ To fly away just like the sparrow...") and harmonies are enough to whisk one away from the worries of the day. Beautiful song.

Matt Forger: "There were times when going back and listening to this stuff was really an emotional experience for me. That was especially the case when I started working on the song, 'Free.' When you listen to this song you hear Michael's spirit and joy. It's raw, it's loose, it's him in his element, doing what he loved to do. The first time I listened to it I broke down. This is what it was like every day."

"Price of Fame"

One of the recurring themes in Jackson's work—pervasive on the Bad album and its outtakes—is about being in control versus being controlled. Given the nature of his life, particularly after Thriller, this preoccupation makes sense. How does he retain his identity, his sanity, his privacy amid such suffocating scrutiny, adulation, and expectations? Out of this context comes the dark psychological rumination, "Price of Fame," with its Police-like, "Spirits in a Material World" opening and "Billie Jean"-esque verses (there are also chords with echoes of "Who Is It"). "Father always told me you won't live a quiet life," he rues, "if you're reaching for fortune and fame." The vocal throughout is drenched in painful irony. Where "Billie Jean" relays a mother's plea to "be careful who you love," here the father dominates via harsh dictums about the realities of show business. "It's the price of fame," Jackson sings in the chorus. "So don't you feel no pain/ It's the price of fame/ So don't you ever complain." While the song's production isn't complete by Jackson's standards, it does offer a powerful vocal (listen to the way he bites into the lyric: "My father never lies!"). It is a striking juxtaposition to the easy bliss of the previous track, revealing why he so desperately yearned to fly away and be "free."

Matt Forger[color]: "Bill [Bottrell] and I worked on this one and I believe this is Bill's mix from that era... You can just tell it's an emotionally charged song. It's clearly based on his experience. But Michael often did songs that are based on his experience but blended with other characters and people's experiences as well."

"Al Capone"

"Al Capone" sounds about as much like "Smooth Criminal" as "Streetwalker" sounds like "Dangerous" (i.e. not very much at all). In both cases, however, Jackson took elements he liked and transformed them into something completely new. It is a testament to Jackson's instincts, patience, and work ethic. While this earlier version has great potential (and likely would have been released by many of Jackson's contemporaries as is), he kept at it and came up with the timeless classic that is "Smooth Criminal." The demo also demonstrates Jackson's remarkable knack for choruses that stick. One listen and those falsetto harmonies are on repeat in the brain.

Matt Forger: "This is an example of a song where a part of it inspires the next version of the song. There have been many cases where Michael has done that, where he would dwell on a song and refine concepts, or lyrics or melodies. The bass line in 'Al Capone'—you can see how it evolved into 'Smooth Criminal.' And the whole gangster theme carried over—though as it evolved it became less about a particular historical figure and more about a situation and a story. You can also hear Michael experimenting with this staccato-type of vocal, this rapid wordplay that he would later use."

"Streetwalker"

"Streetwalker" retains its place as the best of the Bad-era outtakes (closely followed by the unincluded standout, "Cheater"). While it was first released on the 2001 special edition of Bad, it is nice to have it in this collection as it fits so perfectly with the other material on the album and will now be heard by millions more listeners. Jackson actually wanted the track on the final lineup of Bad, but eventually conceded to Quincy Jones on "Another Part of Me." The song features a killer bass line, bluesy harmonica fills, and a classic Jackson vocal.

"Fly Away"

Also originally released on the 2001 special edition of Bad, this beautiful ballad is pure sonic bliss. Unlike some of the early Hayvenhurst demos, the production here is pristine and showcases Jackson's voice in sublime form.

Remixes:

There are a handful of remixes at the end of Disc 2, intended, no doubt, to introduce Jackson to a new generation of listeners. By far, the best among these is the driving, high-energy remix of "Speed Demon" by Nero. It feels like it could be a club or radio hit today. You can take a listen here.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertai...-to-michael-jacksons-unreleased-demos/262242/
 
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Billyjeanplxiv

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

Ah, a good read again from Vogel :)
 

MJultimatemusiclegen

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

"Al Capone" sounds about as much like "Smooth Criminal" as "Streetwalker" sounds like "Dangerous" (i.e. not very much at all)"

One thing i don't agree with is i believe it's constantly over exaggerated how supposedly different Al Capone is to Smooth Criminal, it really isn't very different at all. Take out the vocals, and the music is basically exactly the same minus a few notes here and there in the bass part, and a slightly different rhythm in the bass part, that should have told her bit uses the exact same harmonies as the smooth criminal chorus, the same vocal melody minus a few notes, so it doesn't sound as fast as smooth criminal. Basically it's clearly an evolution to the next stage, but no a big one, music improved, but basically the exact same chords and structure, all that's noticeably different is his vocal melody in the verses and prechorus. I went up to my bass guitar and played the smooth criminal bassline along with Al Capone and it all fits perfectly, same as i can play smooth criminal backwards on the piano, and from that pov, playing Al Capone (adjusting for the fact their in differen't keys) i'd find my hands doing the exact same thing give or take. It's fascinating to see how it evolved, but it's also clear that smooth criminal is already 85% in Al Capone, it's just hidden well, but once you realize you know the jump was basically nothing, he already had smooth criminal in the bag here. It's like it somehow downgrades Michael's artistry is he's made an insanely good demo of what would become an insanely great song, unless it's made out they're somehow drastically different, i don't understand what Vogel is trying to say here. Streetwalker and the Album cut of Dangerous (Riley Version) are completely different in all aspects musically and lyrically, though i know the bassline was used in the other version that didn't make the album, these two track really arn't so much, and that doesn't mean that i don't love Al Capone a hell of lot, it's similarities to smooth criminal are one of the things that make it interesting for me, otherwise, good article!
 

MikeFann

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

"Ironically, the main drawback of the track is its catchiness. It feels a bit strange wanting to dance and sing along to a song about abortion, but that's exactly what the addictive groove inspires."

Yeah, I actually thought about that when I first listened to the snippet of "Abortion Papers (A/K/A Song Groove)". I was like "You'd think a song about this kind of subject matter would be a bit more somber or dramatic". That being said, it does have a really nice beat and I actually like the chorus, with it's nice string section. This song deserves a nice horn section as well.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

"Al Capone" sounds about as much like "Smooth Criminal" as "Streetwalker" sounds like "Dangerous" (i.e. not very much at all)"

One thing i don't agree with is i believe it's constantly over exaggerated how supposedly different Al Capone is to Smooth Criminal, it really isn't very different at all. Take out the vocals, and the music is basically exactly the same minus a few notes here and there in the bass part, and a slightly different rhythm in the bass part, that should have told her bit uses the exact same harmonies as the smooth criminal chorus, the same vocal melody minus a few notes, so it doesn't sound as fast as smooth criminal. Basically it's clearly an evolution to the next stage, but no a big one, music improved, but basically the exact same chords and structure, all that's noticeably different is his vocal melody in the verses and prechorus. I went up to my bass guitar and played the smooth criminal bassline along with Al Capone and it all fits perfectly, same as i can play smooth criminal backwards on the piano, and from that pov, playing Al Capone (adjusting for the fact their in differen't keys) i'd find my hands doing the exact same thing give or take. It's fascinating to see how it evolved, but it's also clear that smooth criminal is already 85% in Al Capone, it's just hidden well, but once you realize you know the jump was basically nothing, he already had smooth criminal in the bag here. It's like it somehow downgrades Michael's artistry is he's made an insanely good demo of what would become an insanely great song, unless it's made out they're somehow drastically different, i don't understand what Vogel is trying to say here. Streetwalker and the Album cut of Dangerous (Riley Version) are completely different in all aspects musically and lyrically, though i know the bassline was used in the other version that didn't make the album, these two track really arn't so much, and that doesn't mean that i don't love Al Capone a hell of lot, it's similarities to smooth criminal are one of the things that make it interesting for me, otherwise, good article!

I Agree with you :)

Al Capone/Smooth Criminal Mashup
[youtube]pgTqr4xYj1k&feature=plcp[/youtube]
 

GreenEyes

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

What a great article from Joe V!! Thanks!! :)
 

WildStyle

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Vici;3707081 said:
"Abortion Papers"

Matt Forger: "This was a song that we initially missed during archiving. It was titled 'Song Groove' on the box so we overlooked it. Once we figured out what it was we started to put the pieces together. It was recorded by Brian Maloof and Gary O., a couple of engineers who worked with Michael for a brief time. When we heard it we knew it could be controversial, especially with what's been going on politically. But when you listen to the song there's a story being told. Michael really reflected on what the approach should be. He wasn't sure how to narrate it. There were different variations with vocals—he didn't want it to be judgmental. He was very clear about that. But he wanted to present a real, complicated situation."

Silly, silly. They should digitalise everything. What are they going to do? Just let stuff rot away? Glad they caught this. He's not 100% clear on what he means here so I could be misunderstanding.
 

8701girl

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Re: Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos - Joseph Vogel

That part bout streetwalker sounding like dangerous......ummmm noooooo lol
 
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