Michael Jackson charmed the world by his excellent performance skills proving the world, no matter whether you are black or white if you have the talent to be the best. No one in this world can stop you from attaining what you are destined for. Supporting him in this cause was his ambiguous smile, which stayed with him till his last breath. Owner of the prettiest smile Mr. Jackson never lost hope, even when he had to go through the hardships in his career, which made him more desired and respected by his fans. Loved by all Mr. Jackson is no more among us but wherever he is, we pray to God that his soul rests in peace.
Michael Jackson music: Man in the Mirror has PERSONAL connection with King of Pop
Callum Crumlish 11:21, Fri, Aug 21, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:22, Fri, Aug 21, 2020
Michael Jackson fans were devastated when the King of Pop tragically died back in 2009. While fans have been rifling through a number of interviews with the star to see what he was really like, one of them has now shown off the star speaking about his huge hit song Man in the Mirror.
Jackson spoke to Ebony Jet back in 1987 about his upcoming album Bad.
As fans know, the Bad album was one of the most influential albums in his career.
Within this album fans enjoyed the likes of Bad, Smooth Criminal, Speed Demon, and Man in the Mirror.
Man in the Mirror is of course an emotional insight into Jackson's psyche.
Speaking to Ebony Jet, Jackson was quizzed about the lyrics in the song, to which he gave a heartfelt response.
"That is my philosophy too," he revealed. "If you want to make the world a better place you gotta look at yourself and make a change."
He went on to criticise people who didn't work to make themselves and the world better.
He continued: "People don't look at themselves honestly. They don't look at themselves and point the finger - it's always the other guy's fault.
"You should change yourself. Look at yourself, make better of yourself."
Going on to detail his own thoughts on the song, he added: "I'm never truly satisfied. I always wish the world could be a better place.
"Hopefully that's what I do with my music - bring happiness to people, and to bring joy, some peace in their lives."
Later in the interview he confessed: "A lot of people misunderstand me because they don't know me."
Michael also spoke about the true story behind the Bad music video.
He said: "This kid went to school upstate, who is from the ghetto, and he tried to make something of his life.
"He would leave his old friends behind and when he came back on spring break, or whatever - thanksgiving break - his friends became so jealous of him that they killed him."
He went on to detail his version of the story in the music video.
"In the film I don't die of course - but it's a true story that was taken from Time [Magazine] or Newsweek magazine."
He added: "He is a black kid like me. And it's a sad story... something like that is very sad."
He also explained how he works hard to grow a positive life for himself and others.
"If it's all negative it's wrong," he sad. "I think that's life - to wanna grow and become more. Like, you plant a seed and it grows into something beautiful, it never dies really. I think people should be that way."
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson were siblings as well as two of the biggest stars of their era, so it was natural that they collaborated. Their first collaboration was a popular hit from Michael’s seminal album Thriller. Years, later Michael and Janet performed a duet that made musical history.
The original collaboration between Michael and Janet Jackson
Michael and Janet collaborated all the way back in the 1980s. Janet provided backing vocals to Michael’s enduring funk hit “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” Janet was not credited as a featured artist on the song. Regardless, Janet was very proud of how her vocals were prominently featured in the final song.
How Janet Jackson brought out Michael Jackson’s competitive side
Years later, Michael and Janet would duet together on a track from Michael’s 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Part 1. The song was called “Scream.” According to Dazed, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced the song. Jam and Lewis are most known for producing many of Janet’s hits, including “Nasty” and “Miss You Much.” Jam shared an interesting anecdote about what Michael did when he was recording “Scream.”
“Before he sings, he’s just real calm and quiet, ‘Can you turn my headphones up a little bit?,’” Jam recalled. “Then all of a sudden the music comes on and he starts dancing around the room, hitting all his signature moves. When it was over, I swear to God, it was just silence in the room. He said, ‘How was that?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah, that sounded really good.’”
Interestingly, the recording session of the song brought out Michael’s competitive side. When Janet later recorded her vocals for the song in a studio in Minneapolis. Michael heard Janet’s vocals, liked them, and felt he need to go all the way to Minneapolis to try to sound just as good. Regardless, almost all of Michael’s vocals on the final version of the song are from his original vocal session.
How the ‘Scream’ double single made history
According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Michael released “Scream” as a double single alongside “Childhood,” — a pop ballad Michael performed on his own. Both songs are personal, with “Scream” reflecting on Michael’s tabloid travails and “Childhood” reflecting on his younger years. On an musical level, however, the two songs could not be more different.
“Scream” is an aggressive track that takes influence from industrial music. “Childhood,” on the other hand, is a melancholy song with a much slower tempo. Together, “Scream” and “Childhood” might seem like an odd couple, but they worked together well commercially.
The double single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 5. This was the highest debut on the chart since the chart began back in 1958. It makes sense that Michael and Janet — a powerhouse musical duo if there ever was one — were able to make chart history.
I know, these articles don’t offer anything new to fans, but please consider clicking through (preferably with ad blocker turned off) to support the author. Frequent positive articles in a UK tabloid! Who would have thought that this was ever going to happen?
When Michael Jackson visited Hong Kong: 3 weeks dodging paparazzi, riding roller coasters and learning about Chinese culture
Tracey Furniss Published: 10:00am, 28 Aug, 2020
Midway through the record-breaking Bad world tour, between stops in Japan and Australia, the King of Pop took time out in Hong Kong – eventually passing 3 whole weeks hanging out, visiting famous tourist attractions like Ocean Park and filming at the Shaw Brothers
Michael Jackson, who would have turned 62 this month, visited Hong Kong only once in his lifetime – the autumn of 1987. The King of Pop loved the city so much he stayed for several weeks, arriving on October 21 and leaving for Sydney on November 10.
It was during the singer’s worldwide Bad tour, which kicked off in Japan in September of that year, but left a month off before heading to Oceania.
“I was working at Duddell’s on Duddell Street [a different version to the current restaurant],” says the Moroccan-born entertainer Dr Penguin, who became the star’s minder and friend. His colleague Rick Mayo and the owners of the restaurant knew Jackson’s personal travel agent. One thing led to another and they found themselves in the star’s hotel room in Japan inviting him to visit Hong Kong.
“Michael was enthused with the idea as he had never been there and wanted to go. He loved Chinese movies, kung fu and Bruce Lee,” said Dr Penguin. “They came back to Hong Kong happy with the idea but did not know when Michael was going to arrive. He did say there was one condition. If there was any press at the airport he would turn around and go back to Japan.
“On October 21, Jackson and his entourage arrived on a private jet, and I was in the office when my boss started freaking out,” recalls Dr Penguin, who is now based in Thailand.
“I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘Michael Jackson is arriving and the press are at the airport. What are we going to do?’ I said, ‘That’s easy. I have an idea.’ I grabbed Peggy Johnson, who was our singer at the club. We rushed back to my place, I put on my costume. My wife dressed Peggy up as Michael Jackson with a hat, weird wig and dark clothing and we rushed off via the subway to get to Kai Tak Airport on time,” says the magician.
“We come down the elevator to where the press were waiting – I look around wearing these dark glasses and I say – ‘Where’s the limo?’ I look at her and said, ‘Quick, Michael, run.’ And we ran toward a taxi and there was only one policeman there. The press were throwing money at the taxi driver and the police did nothing, I was beating them off and yelling at the press saying ‘let us go, let us go.’ Finally we got moving and the press followed us into town.
“We went to the Mandarin [Oriental] hotel as we knew there were lots of different exits and it was close to Duddell’s. We got rid of the press and we ran to Duddell’s; by then it was midday – we had a couple of vodka tonics and laughed about it at the bar. When the papers came out we were everywhere – The Standard had a huge colour picture on the front page of me and Peggy with headlines ‘Michael Jackson arrives in Hong Kong.’ I had however called my editor friend Zelda Cawthorne at the South China Morning Post and gave her the story.”
“Meanwhile the real Michael Jackson arrives and gets into his car with no press and goes to the Hong Kong hotel where he was staying. That night Michael came to Duddell’s and we put on a special show for him downstairs in the cellar where the bank vault used to be, and which had been converted into a VIP area,” he continues.
“His team were there first. We had jazz musicians, a stand-up base and piano. Just before Michael arrived Rick said, ‘can you put a band together?’ And we said, ‘it’s a little bit late for that.’ Rick then asked us to at least get a drummer, so I hired Sam, a Jamaican drummer who plays reggae. So the three of them, having never played together, were trying to keep the ambience going. Sam was able to play along with the jazz. We brought in acrobats and a kung fu show and I did close up magic. But during the evening, Michael got up and wanted to sing a song and it was hysterical because the band did not know any Michael Jackson songs or any song that he knew – it was an embarrassing moment,” recalls Dr Penguin.
“Michael was a big fan of magic, so we ended up talking for an hour and a half. Michael wanted to see more card tricks and how to do them. Then we were talking about The Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers and arguing over which ones were funnier and he appointed me there and then to be his tour guide in Hong Kong. He asked me how long I had been here and where I had lived, which included Nepal and other places, and he was fascinated by it, so I agreed to take him around.”
One sightseeing trip Jackson enjoyed was Ocean Park. “Michael was looking for a roller coaster to buy for Neverland [his home in California] so he wanted to test it out. We had a private tour, and were the last two on the roller coaster. Everyone else had bailed because they were throwing up but Michael and I kept going again and again,” says Dr Penguin. “We took Michael antique shopping. He did a day trip to China and Macau, which he didn’t enjoy too much, but he really loved going up to the Shaw Brothers Studio. He wanted to meet Sir Run Run Shaw who had lent us his Rolls-Royce to use and it was arranged for him to meet some of the stars which he went gaga over.”
Ann Tsang was tasked to look after the star during his visit to the Shaw Brothers Studios in Clear Water Bay. “I had spent just two days in the marketing and PR department having moved over from programming at TVB when my boss called me in to let me about this special project. I had to meet with Jackson’s team and it took four to five days to make the arrangements,” says Tsang. “Michael wanted to dress is period costume and shoot some B-roll for laser disc in the Shanghai Street scenes at the Clear Water Bay studios,” says Tsang, who still lives and works in Hong Kong.
“Only five people were allowed on the set and Michael had four and then there was me. His people had specific requirements to make things go smoothly. It took us two days in the wardrobe department to figure out how to put on the costume. We had a 5am call on the day,” continues Tsang.
“Michael was humble, soft-spoken with no demands. He just wanted to dress up and play. He was curious about Chinese culture and wanted to wear the costume properly. It was a 12-hour shoot. I was not star struck, but I couldn’t comprehend it was happening.”
Michael was supposed to come to Hong Kong in the early 1990s to do a concert at Sha Tin Racecourse during his Dangerous tour, recalls Andrew Bull, who was organising the concert. Sadly it was cancelled and Jackson never came back to the city before his death in June 2009.
Edit: I doubt that MJ didn’t enjoy his day trip to China. I guess they threw that in because of the whole Hong Kong and China situation. I wish the media would stick to facts.
Another small inaccuracy that I noticed: he didn’t check out the roller coaster for Neverland, because at the time he hadn’t purchased the ranch yet, let alone started building the amusement park.
Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury's electrifying long-lost duets are heart-wrenchingly good
By Giorgina Ramazzotti 28 August 2020, 17:45 | Updated: 29 August 2020, 12:25
Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury recorded a three tracks at MJ's private home studio in 1983.
One was the dramatically charismatic frontman on Queen, the other was known the world over as the King of Pop and together they recorded a handful of duets, only one of which ever made it officially to the light of day.
The two first met when Michael Jackson would come to see Queen perform: "In the early days, three, four years ago, he used to come and see our shows at The Forum in L.A., and I guess he liked us and so I got to meet him,” Freddie told music journalist Lisa Robinson in a 1983 interview.
“He kept coming to see us and then we started talking and, in those days, I think he would actually go out. He’d go out and have dinners. I remember going to dinner with him.”
The friendship continued to grow and was documented in a 1983 Rolling Stone story during one of Jackson’s backstage visits to see Queen. A reporter is said to have blocked his path and asked Michael, “Can I tell my viewers that Michael Jackson is a Queen fan?” he replied back, “I’m a Freddie Mercury fan.”
The Rolling Stone article continued to describe the scene backstage: “The band is merry. Michael is shy, standing quietly at the door until Freddie spots him and leaps up to gather him in a hug. Freddie invited Michael. He has been calling all week, mainly about the possibility of their working together.”
“The two have been friendly since Michael listened to the material Queen had recorded for The Game and insisted that the single had to be ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’” the Rolling Stone piece continues, adding that Jackson then said, “Now, he listens to me, right Freddie?” with Mercury answering, “Righto, little brother.”
“When I’m talking to him, I’m think, my god, he’s 25, I’m 37,” Mercury said of their age difference. “Yet he’s been in the business longer than I have.”
Whilst there is arguments over whether the pair worked on songs for Jackson's forthcoming album, Queen's Hot Space or an album of duets, either way the duo started recording in Michael Jackson's home studio in 1983 and produced demos for three tracks; 'There Must Be More to Life Than This,' 'State of Shock' and 'Victory.'
“They were great songs, but the problem was time, as we were both very busy at that period,” Mercury later said in Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury.
Queen’s manager Jim “Miami” Beach, remembers getting a frantic call from Mercury during the sessions. “Freddie said, ‘You have to get me out of the studio’,” Beach said on the documentary The Great Pretender.
When Jim asked why, Mercury allegedly said, “Because I’m recording with a llama. Michael’s bringing his pet llama into the studio every day and I’m really not used to it and I’ve had enough and I want to get out.”
The three songs were never released as intended, but 'State of Shock' was re-recorded by Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones and released as single in 1984.
While Freddie Mercury released his own take 'There Must Be More to Life Than This' on his 1985 solo debut Mr. Bad Guy, it wasn't until thirty-three years later in 2014 that Queen finally released the Freddie and MJ version on the compilation album Queen Forever.
The album was a big success, with Brian May saying it was an assortment of “things that we have collected together that are representative of our growth rather than the big hits”.
Producer William Orbit, known for his work with Madonna, was recruited to finish the song, "When I first played it in my studio, I opened a trove of delights provided by the greatest of musicians," he said in a statement.
"Hearing Michael Jackson's vocals was stirring. So vivid, so cool, and poignant, it was like he was in the studio singing live. With Freddie's vocal solo on the mixing desk, my appreciation for his gift was taken to an even higher level."
Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury's friendship's faded as the two superstars started to deal with fame in different ways.
“I think he now just stays at home. He doesn’t like coming out at all,” Mercury said of MJ in the 1983 interview with Linda Robinson.
“He says whatever he wants, he can get at home. Anything he wants, he just buys it," Freddie mused.
“That’s not me, but that’s his bag. I wouldn’t do that. I would be bored to death. I go out every night. I hate staying in one room for too long anyway."
Michael Jackson occasionally made rock songs and one of his singles even sampled a classic rock track. Here’s how the band Jackson sampled felt about Jackson’s use of their song. Interestingly, while Jackson’s song wouldn’t exist without the sampled song, the video for it wouldn’t exist without another video.
A Michael Jackson song no one heard until after Michael Jackson died
Rolling Stone reports Jackson recorded a song called “A Place with No Name,” during one of his 1998 studio sessions with producer Dr. Freeze. The session was for the album Invincible, the final album Jackson released prior to his death. Ultimately, “Jackson didn’t include “A Place with No Name” on Invincible.
Following Jackson’s death, his estate released multiple albums of previously unreleased Jackson songs. Jackson’s estate released the most recent of these albums, Xscape, in 2014. “A Place with No Name” became a single from Xscape. The track might sound a little familiar to fans of 1970s rock.
That is because “A Place with No Name” is built around a sample of “A Horse with No Name” by the band America. “A Horse with No Name” has a special place within America’s discography. According to Billboard, it’s the band’s only No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 besides “Sister Golden Hair.”
How America reacted to ‘A Place with No Name’
Sometimes artists dislike when others reinterpret their work. This raises the question — what did the members of America think of “A Place with No Name?” Rolling Stone quoted a statement about Jackson’s song from the two current members of America: Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley.
“We’re honored that Michael Jackson chose to record it and we’re impressed with the quality of the track,” Bunnell and Buckley said in their statement. “We’re also hoping … listeners around the world can hear the whole song and once again experience the incomparable brilliance of Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson really did [‘A Place with No Name’] justice and we truly hope his fans — and our fans — get to hear it in its entirety. It’s really poignant.”
How the video for ‘A Place with No Name’ was created
Jackson is revered not just as a musician but also as a video vanguard. With that in mind, it only felt natural when his estate released a video for “A Place with No Name.” How did they release a video with Jackson in it so long after his death?
According to Rolling Stone, the video for “A Place with No Name” wouldn’t exist without Jackson’s 1990s single “In the Closet.” Samuel Beyer supplemented clips of Jackson dancing on the set of the video for “In the Closet” for scenes in “A Place With No Name.” Other clips of Jackson in “Place” came from behind-the-scenes footage from the “In the Closet” shoot. Between “Place” and its video, Jackson managed to entertain fans years after his death.
Thriller: 7 secrets behind Michael Jackson's legendary music video
par Floriane Reynaud 1 septembre 2020
Zombies, the red leather jacket, ghostly makeup, the legendary dance… With Thriller, Michael Jackson changed the music industry forever.
In 1983, the already popular Michael Jackson was getting ready to revolutionize the music world with Thriller. The global success surprised everyone — except the singer, who knew he had an ingenious idea when he transformed his song into a horrific short film. Vogue looks back at the story behind the video that made Michael Jackson an unrivaled icon.
A costly production
After seeing An American Werewolf in London in 1981, Michael Jackson contacted the director John Landis about the project for Thriller's music video. Unexcited, the label Epic Records was not thrilled about spending a large sum of money on filming a video (around 1 million dollars for 13 minutes), let them work alone. To afford the titanic cost, they sold a making-of show to a television channel. Michael Jackson, number 1 in sales thanks to his previous album Off The Wall and the already mounting success of Thriller, obtained the necessary funds to finance the short film, which he co-wrote with John Landis. A winning duo — Thriller is seen by many as the most legendary music video in history.
The video is divided into two parts: one scene parodying romance films from the 1950s with a young couple at the cinema; then, Michael Jackson and his girlfriend, played by Ola Ray, come face-to-face with the zombies invading the city. For the cinematic sequence inspired by the 1957 movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf, the production team headed to Palace Theater in the center of Los Angeles. Michael Jackson's fans gather on Union Pacific Avenue to recreate the zombie dance at the Thriller House on Caroll Avenue, where Ola Ray takes refuge to escape them.
An iconic costume
Deborah Nadoolman was in charge of costumes for the video, and most importantly those of Michael Jackson. The girlfriend of John Landis, she designed the outfits for Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark two years before. Now with cult status, the singer's outfit, composed of a leather jacket with shoulder pads and bright red pants, was chosen to contrast the dark decor and nocturnal sky. The garments were both flashy and casual, to allow Michael Jackson to perform his dance moves freely.
Frightening yet magnetic
When Michael Jackson approached John Landis to write and direct Thriller, he also hired his team. Having already collaborated with Rick Baker on An American Werewolf in London, John Landis turned to the makeup artist again for Thriller. In the making-of documentary, Rick Baker can be seen creating a face mold of the singer, to later create the famous werewolf head. The goal? Make Michael Jackson scary, but not ugly. The singer's face transforms into a dark creature, but we're still oddly fascinated. For the zombies' makeup, Rick Baker worked around the artist's face, accentuating the prominent bones (the cheekbones, the nose, the eye sockets…) and darkening the shadowy areas (dark circles, cheek hollows…). This gave a ravishing result, remaining loyal to the singer's features while making them more morbid.
Choreography to wake the dead
Having already worked with Michael Jackson on the hit Beat It, Michael Peters was hired to choreograph the Thriller dance. The zombies' legendary moves were created collaboratively by the choreographer and singer. Michael Jackson confessed that the greatest obstacle was bringing the living dead to life: “How can you make zombies and monsters dance without it looking comical? I teamed up with Michael Peters, and we imagined how zombies move around by grimacing in the mirror. I sometimes used to come to rehearsals in monster makeup, and I loved doing that.” Jazzy steps, a jerky walk, and abrupt movements mixed with the pro accuracy of Michael Jackson, his 18 professional dancers, and 4 pop-lock dancers… Thriller has surprised generations and continues to fascinate fans of modern dance.
His first female interaction
Before Thriller, Michael Jackson had shown very little, if any, interest in including women in his videos. For the first time, his character would feature alongside an actress. The role of his girlfriend was first offered to Jennifer Beals, the star of Flashdance, who declined. John Landis' eyes turned to Ola Ray, a wild-child friend of the singer, who would play the ‘frightened girlfriend’ role to perfection. To satisfy his female audience, Michael Jackson was urged to bring out his sensual side; he improvised provocative dance moves around his on-screen girlfriend. Rumors say that the on-screen chemistry between the co-stars played out in real life.
Why is Thriller such a legendary video?
On top of the media storm surrounding Thriller, still to this day the top-selling album of all time with 105 million copies sold, the video caused shockwaves in the music industry. Michael Jackson succeeded in proving to his critics that Black music had a place alongside white artists. Reluctant to air Beat It, the young channel MTV ended up acquiring the rights to Thriller, and attracted an audience 10 times larger than normal for its 2 December 1983 premiere. Also released on VHS, Thriller sold more than 9 million copies — a revolution for the era. More sophisticated, scripted, complex… Thriller transformed music videos into an industry of their own. In 1984, John Landis' short film won 3 awards from MTV: Viewer's Choice, Best Choreography, and Best Overall Performance in a Video. With even more prestige, the 1985 Grammy Awards gave the clip the Best Video award. Even today, Thriller is a reference point for video scripting and choreography, with more than 674 million views on YouTube alone.
EDITOR’S COLUMN: Childhood Lessons Learned at Playtime with the Jackson 5
D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor September 2, 2020
It’s still hard to believe that Michael Jackson, the undisputed “King of Pop,” has been gone for more than a decade — his sudden death on June 25, 2009, still shrouded in mystery and controversy.
Equally surprising, at least from this writer’s perspective, is the relative silence and limited recognition of Jackson’s birthday which recently came and went last weekend with little or no fanfare on Aug. 29.
However, given the unprecedented events now dominating social media and headline news — from the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests challenging police-involved shootings of Blacks to the upcoming showdown between Trump and Biden for the White House — the mention of Michael Jackson which resulted in little more than a footnote, despite his continued impact on culture and society, may have been expected.
As a Black man-child born in Gary, Ind. just weeks following the onset of the both historic and turbulent decade of the 1960s in Detroit — a city which also became the birthplace of Motown and introduced the world to talents like the Jackson 5 — the songbook they produced has forever maintained a special place in my heart and soul.
Even more, I claim fellowship among a small cadre of Blacks who as children were afforded the unique opportunity to connect with Michael and his brothers on a more intimate level. In fact, I was among a throng of those who sang along with the Jackson 5 to songs like “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “The Love You Save” during one of their first performances, held on the grounds of the Michigan State Fair in the summer of 1971.
The following afternoon, away from the cameras, I found myself engaged in activities more reflective of the kind enjoyed by children of the era — bowling, swimming, hide-and-go-seek, catch, pool and dodgeball — albeit with a unique twist — the addition of several playmates: Marlon and Michael Jackson.
In those days, Black celebrities lived among “everyday people,” if for no other reason than because Jim Crow and segregation had yet to relinquish its dominance in American society. Safety could best be achieved through greater numbers and in communities where Blacks were living and establishing families.
Like my parents, husband and wife teams were paving the way for themselves and their children including Motown’s quickly emerging legendary singer, Marvin Gaye, who along with his wife, Anna Gordy, a sibling of Berry Gordy, lived just a few short blocks away from my family. The Gaye family and my parents also shared something else in common — both had in their employ the same caregiver who meticulously and lovingly watched each family’s children, along with others.
That’s how I met Michael Jackson, played with him and his brothers and subsequently realized something so profound that I have never forgotten it — how lonely he seemed despite being among the upper echelon of a world which I and many of my childhood friends dreamed about — longing to become part of the normative landscape which was ordinary to the Jackson 5.
Yes, we all wanted to “be like Mike” — not the Michael who would just a few years later emerge as the dominant force on the hardwood floors of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and soon thereafter on the hallowed grounds of the Chicago Bulls.
Looking back at the mountains which Michael Jackson effortlessly seemed to climb and conquer, I wonder if the sacrifices he made to reach the precipice were worth the valleys that he would eventually encounter and which would swallow one day devour him whole?
One thing I can state with little equivocation — I am the more fortunate between us. After all, even given unprecedented privilege, I believe life with the “silver spoon” afforded Michael far less than it ultimately provided.
‘I Want My MTV’ Documentary: 5 Key Moments From the Network’s Early Days
Steve Baltin Sep 8, 2020 10:30am PT
Michael Jackson’s Arrival
“We built a channel based on radio formats. It was a rock channel, [but] we saw what Michael Jackson was doing with video and we changed the game. Michael Jackson made MTV, he really did. We were playing Prince and other Black artists, but we were waiting for Michael Jackson. We owe so much of our success to when ‘Billie Jean’ came out and later ‘Thriller.’ We knew a few months in advance, but there was some gamesmanship being played by the record company about whether we would air it or not. We put it on instantly. And sure enough, when ‘Thriller’ came out, it broke records. It was the only video we ever scheduled at the top of the hour, every hour.”
As time when on, Michael Jackson began incorporating rap into his music, most famously on his hit “Black or White.” He even got to work with one of the most famous rappers of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. Here’s why Biggie almost broke into tears when he met Jackson — and how audiences reacted to their collaboration.
How Michael Jackson reacted when The Notorious B.I.G. wrote explicit lyrics for their collaboration
Though it’s not as well-remembered as Thriller or Bad, Jackson released an album in the 1990s which saw him taking lots of chances. HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I includes everything from collaborations with Slash and Shaquille O’Neal to covers of hits by the Beatles and Nat King Cole. It also includes Jackson’s collaboration with rap legend The Notorious B.I.G.
According to the book Michael Jackson: All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track, Jackson worked with producer Dallas Austin on a song called “This Time Around.” The track had a dark sound that suited Biggie’s flow. Biggie had the opportunity to appear on the track and wrote two sets of lyrics for his verse — one clean and one uncensored. Jackson ultimately preferred the uncensored rap Biggie wrote, and that’ is what appears on HISTory. Recording engineer John Van Nest (not to be confused with Jonathan Van Ness) recalled the recording session where Biggie worked on “This Time Around.”
The Notorious B.I.G.’s short studio session for ‘This Time Around’ got emotional
“So, Dallas and I were expecting him any minute, and pretty much on time, Notorious strolls in,” Van Nest said. “He was quite an imposing figure when he walked in, as he was quite popular at the time. I had no idea what to expect from him in terms of attitude, but he seemed nice when he walked in…. But almost immediately, he blurted out, “Yo, Dallas, can I meet Mike?”…. Biggie went on to talk about how much this opportunity meant to him, as Michael was his hero.”
After recording his second take of “This Time Around,” Biggie got to meet Jackson. Van Nest said Biggie nearly started crying. Van Nest said this was part of the “effect” Jackson had on many people. Though his session for “This Time Around” only lasted a matter of minutes, Biggie was happy to be a part of it.
How the public responded to ‘This Time Around’
Given the popularity of rap in the mid-1990s, it would make sense for “This Time Around” to become a huge hit. In addition, artists from Barbra Streisand to Beyoncé have earned some of their biggest hits by collaborating with other popular artists. A collaboration between Jackson and Biggie seemed poised to dominate the radio.
However, it was not to be. Billboard reports “This Time Around” didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100 at all. This is puzzling, as Jackson is one of the most popular singers ever and Biggie had several hits on Billboard both before and after he died. However, perhaps this reflects where Jackson’s career was at the time.
For comparison, Jackson released a duet with his sister Janet called “Scream” as a single from HIStory. According to Billboard, the song isn’t even one of Janet’s top 20 most popular songs. Michael simply wasn’t at the top of his game when he made HIStory — at least commercially. Regardless of the public’s response to “This Time Around,” recording the song certainly meant a lot to Biggie.
5 Actors Who Were Almost Cast As Doctor Who (& 5 Who Should Be)
Almost Doctor Who: Michael Jackson
The first Men in Black film hinted Michael Jackson was an alien, and while this isn't the case (we assume), we can understand why he was once considered for the role of the Doctor. However, he wasn't up for a role in the television series. Back in the late 80s, Paramount Pictures had plans for a big-budget Doctor Who movie, and according to The Guardian, Michael Jackson could have been offered the part.
Although he generally didn’t make rock music, Michael Jackson did collaborate on a song with Slash of Guns N’ Roses. Afterward, Slash got to socialize with Jackson and formed opinions about Jackson’s talent. Here’s how the public reacted to a track featuring two musical icons.
Michael Jackson’s history of working with rock musicians
Though Jackson was the King of Pop, he worked with rock stars now and then. For example, he famously duetted with Paul McCartney on “Say, Say, Say” and “The Girl Is Mine.” In addition, Clash reports he worked with Slash on a song from his album Dangerous: “Give In to Me.”
According to a persistent rumor, Slash played the riff from “Black or White,” a song from the same album, but Slash confirmed this rumor is false. Slash did, however, make an appearance in the video for “Black or White.” In an interview with Kerrang!, Slash discussed how he felt when he had the opportunity to work with Jackson.
How Slash felt about Michael Jackson on a personal level
“Initially, it was a phone call from my manager where he said, ‘Michael is trying to get in touch with you,’ and I was like, ‘Wow,’” Slash said. “So I called him back and he wanted me to play on Dangerous. We made a date and I went down to the Record Plant in Hollywood and he was there with [actor] Brooke Shields…. So we hung out for two minutes and they went off to dinner and left me with this song.” Although the aforementioned meeting was brief, Slash did get to socialize with Jackson later on.
“I did my thing, he really dug it and afterwards he kept asking me if I’d be into doing this, or doing that,” Slash recalled. “I’d do some shows here and there and it was fun because he was such a pro, and he was such a f*cking talent from on high. That was the main thing: he was so amazingly musically fluid. Such a treat to be around.”
How the public reacted to ‘Give In to Me’
Although Slash was a featured artist on “Give In to Me,” his name recognition did not help the song commercially. “Give In to Me” didn’t chart at all on the Billboard Hot 100. This is interesting, as “Give In to Me” is an example of the emotive hard rock for which Guns N’ Roses is known.
Though Jackson had hits after “Give In to You,” the poor chart performance of the song showed he was past his Thriller/Bad commercial peak. Regardless, the song must’ve resonated at least a little, as popular rock band Three Days Grace recorded a cover of it for their album Transit of Venus. Although it wasn’t a hit, “Give In to Me” remains a fascinating example of two musical geniuses working together.
MICHAEL JACKSON was of course best known for his music and endless bouts of talent - but he was also well known for his incredibly generous humanitarian work, and this month in 1990 saw the star receiving an award named after him.
Michael Jackson fans were never truly shocked to hear the King of Pop had written and released a brand new hit overnight. The star was forever releasing unbelievable music which has since gone down in history. However, he also did a lot of humanitarian work over the years, especially working to improve the lives of impoverished or sick children.
Throughout his long career Jackson spent a lot of time working on making the lives of children better using his incredible power and wealth.
This included welcoming them to his Neverland ranch, donating money, and doing publicity visits to raise awareness for various causes.
Eventually, in 1990 Jackson was praised by the Boy Scouts of America for his work.
And because of this, he was awarded the first award with a brand new name, titled in honour of the star himself.
September 14, 1990, saw Jackson being given the first ever "Michael Jackson Good Scout Humanitarian Award".
This award, given to him by the Boy Scouts, was created, named, and awarded for Jackson in recognition of his numerous humanitarian efforts over the years prior.
At the ceremony Jackson was given the award by Disney CEO Michael Eisner, an associate of Jackson at the time.
Chairman of the board of Los Angeles Area Council Boy Scouts of America Ray Martin also commented on the help the star had provided.
He announced: "Michael Jackson is a good example to youth.
"Helping us keep kids off the streets by supporting Scouting."
Of course, this wasn't the first or last time Jackson was involved in a number of humanitarian movements.
Just a few years later Jackson was hard at work touring the world with his brand new album Dangerous.
And in 1993 he took a day off from touring in Tel Aviv to visit some sick children, some of which had cancer, as well as transplant patients.
The star's incredible gesture was remembered recently on his Twitter account.
The tweet showed off a photo of Jackson with a child, smiling as they sat in the hospital room.
The tweet read: "In September of 1993, Michael Jackson visited Tel Aviv during the Israeli leg of his Dangerous World Tour.
"During a day of rest between two scheduled concerts, Michael spent his time cheering up cancer and transplant patients at nearby children’s hospitals."
Jackson also had beds installed in his home at Neverland ranch in front of cinema screens, in which he allowed sick children to come over and watch the latest films whilst they still received their treatment.
He also regularly held days in which he invited inner-city children to get on the various rides he had dotted around his premises.
Included in his home was also a zoo, in which kids could see exotic animals for the first time.
Michael Jackson: Princess Diana DEMANDED star play 'Dirty Diana' at London show
MICHAEL JACKSON had fans that spanned across nations, continents, and even royalty. Jackson once spoke out about Princess Diana, and even mentioned how she demanded he play the song "Dirty Diana" during his concert in London.
Michael Jackson, like the rest of the world, was extremely saddened to hear the news of the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The Royal unfortunately died in a car accident, leaving behind her two sons, Prince William, and Prince Harry. However it seems the former Princess of Wales was a dedicated Michael Jackson fan, and even knew all of his songs.
One of Jackson's most popular and most influential albums of all time was 1987's Bad.
On the album Jackson included a song titled "Dirty Diana".
In the past he has explained how Dirty Diana was not referring to any one woman, but instead was speaking about the groupies that hung around concerts.
In an interview with Barbara Walters in 1997, Jackson explained how Princess Diana sternly told him to include the song in his London concert after he took it out.
During the interview Jackson explained: "I wrote a song called Dirty Diana.
"It's not about Lady Diana it's about ... they call them groupies."
Speaking about Dirty Diana, Jackson said: "But I took it out of the show [in London] in honour of her royal highness."
Despite this, Princess Diana pulled Jackson aside and asked him to change his mind.
Mimicking her, he recalled: "She took me away and asked: 'Are you going to do Dirty Diana?'
"I said: 'No!'. [She said]: 'No! I want you to do it! Do the song!'"
Because of this, Jackson changed his setlist once again to include Dirty Diana, as he knew Princess Diana was going to attend his show in London.
He later added: "She told me she was honoured to meet me, and I said it's an honour to meet you."
Throughout his time Jackson played for all kinds of fame, notoriety, and indeed royalty.
Despite this, the star explained how he was never "happy" with his work.
In fact, just before his death, Jackson detailed one of his "regrets" from within his career.
Speaking to ABC News, the star said: "I'm just never satisfied with what I do creatively.
"I just regret the limitation of my own imagination.
"I just feel there's so much more. I don't think I've ever done a project where I was totally happy with it."
Later in the interview he added that he was not happy with the first ever live moonwalk performance.
Jackson explained how he wanted to hold the pose a little longer than he had done at the event, causing him some disappointment.
Michael Jackson opens up on 'REGRETS' in his work - 'There's so much more'
MICHAEL JACKSON created an eccentric palette of artistry over the course of his career. And through each of the songs and albums and music videos that he penned, Jackson was unfortunately never satisfied. During an interview from just before he died, the star himself revealed what he regretted most about his work.
Michael Jackson shot to fame with his incredible voice and dance moves at his disposal. It was not surprising to see the star rising more and more each month, as his music continued to crescendo all the way up until he died in 2009.
Just before his death, Jackson gave some interviews about his work over the years.
And while fans have fallen in love with his music over the course of the past 30 years, Jackson revealed he was never truly satisfied with what he did.
Although his music and albums broke records and garnered a huge amount of awards over the years, things weren't ever as good as he wanted them to be.
Just before his death, the star divulged what his regret was whilst creating music over the years.
Speaking to Good Morning America via ABC News, the star confessed: "I'm just never satisfied with what I do creatively."
He then added: "I just regret the limitation of my own imagination.
"I just feel there's so much more. I don't think I've ever done a project where I was totally happy with it."
Fans of the star will know he struggled with some self-confidence issues towards the end of his life, but his music was always at the forefront of his personality.
So then, it would seem his lack of satisfaction in his work was more of a desire to be better than ever in each song.
It would seem Jackson's dissatisfaction with his work also extends to his dancing.
Later in the interview the King of Pop reminisced about his show-stopping performance at the 1983 Motown celebration.
This was, of course, the first time he ever publicly performed the exceptional moonwalk move.
Unfortunately, the star explained how he was "angry" and "disappointed" with his own work - again.
He confessed: "I don't think I'm ever pleased with my performances, either.
"And after [the first moonwalk] performance I wasn't happy either."
Going on to detail the exact problems he had with the performance, he continued: "I wanted to do the five spins.
"Land on the toes, and freeze there. And hold it, stay there.
"And I didn't. I was angry about that, actually. Really disappointed."
Thankfully, he felt a little bit better about himself the following day when he was given a call by one of his idols.
"I didn't realise I really did well until the next day," he said. "When Fred Astaire called my house.
"He was raving: 'I can't believe it. you're an incredible mover!'
Michael Jackson recalled 'collapsing in GRIEF' upon learning of Princess Diana's death
MICHAEL JACKSON was extremely close with Princess Diana, and was devastated when her death was announced in 1997. Now, in an interview with Barbara Walters, Jackson's first reactions to the late Princess' death have been revealed.
Michael Jackson had an incredible amount of friends. Over the course of his career he amassed endless famous and notable people within his entourage, and indeed called some of them close friends. Included in this collection of people was Princess Diana, whom Jackson had spent some time with when he visited the United Kingdom. Alongside the rest of the world, Jackson was heartbroken to hear about the passing of Lady Diana back in 1997.
It was no secret that Princess Diana went to see Jackson live in concert a few times but few realise that the pair actually became friends over the course of the years.
During an interview with Barbara Walters in September 1997 - less than a month after Princess Diana's death - Jackson explained where he was when he heard the news.
Speaking to the reporter, Jackson was asked where and how he heard the tragic news.
He recalled: "I woke up, and my doctor gave me the news.
"And I fell back down in grief, and I started to cry.
Jackson went on to explain how he simply could "not handle" the news.
"I said: 'I can't, I cannot handle this! It's too much."
"Just the message," he elaborated. "And the fact that I knew her personally."
In a chilling further comment, Jackson then explained how he felt as if someone else was soon going to die.
"And on top of that one," he went on. "I said there's another one, there's another [death] coming."
Jackson then explained that, just five days later, Mother Teresa died.
Elsewhere in the interview Jackson recalled Lady Diana demanding he play Dirty Diana during one of his live concerts.
Telling the story to Walters, Jackson said: "I wrote a song called Dirty Diana.
"It's not about Lady Diana it's about ... they call them groupies.
"But I took [Dirty Diana] out of the show [in London] in honour of her royal highness."
He then recalled her reaction to this, whilst mimicking the late royal.
"She took me away," he continued. "And asked: 'Are you going to do Dirty Diana?'
"I said: 'No!'. [She said]: 'No! I want you to do it! Do the song!'"
This request from the Princess prompted him to change the set list in the concert that day.
“Thriller” remains one of Michael Jackson’s most popular songs and music videos — however, not everyone was a fan. After dealing with some backlash to the video, Jackson wanted to destroy it. Here’s why the “Thriller” video upset some people in Jackson’s life — and why he ultimately didn’t destroy it.
How creating ‘Thriller’ was an act of rebellion for Michael Jackson
First, some background. According to Spin, Jackson had some strong religious beliefs. Jackson was one of the most famous Jehovah’s Witnesses to ever live — not that he was always in the church’s good standing.
Spin reports the album Thriller was a bit of a rebellion against the attitudes of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as it mentions sex, gangs, children conceived out of wedlock, and the occult. The video for “Thriller” especially upset the group. According to BuzzFeed, they nearly excommunicated him due to the video’s use of occult images. This is especially interesting as the “Thriller” video is not particularly violent or disturbing, even by the standards of 1980s Hollywood.
How the King of Pop reacted to the backlash
Jackson’s reaction to the backlash was pointed. He almost had the footage of “Thriller” destroyed. However, the director of the video — John Landis — hid the canister with the footage in it so Jackson could not find it. Ultimately, Jackson decided not to destroy the footage — but he still had negative things to say about it. According to The New York Times, Jackson denounced the video in an issue of Awake!, a Jehovah’s Witnesses publication.
”I realize now it was not a good idea,” Jackson said. ”I’ll never do a video like that again. There’s been all kinds of promotional stuff being produced on ‘Thriller,’ but I tell them, ‘No, No, No.’ I don’t want to do anything on ‘Thriller.’ No more ‘Thriller.”’
According to Rolling Stone, if you watch the “Thriller” video today, you are watching a slightly modified version of it created in response to the Jehovah’s Witnesses controversy. The video now has the disclaimer “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.” Those personal convictions would not last forever.
When Michael Jackson left the Jehovah’s Witnesses
“Thriller” remained part of Jackson’s life but the Jehovah’s Witnesses would not. The Los Angeles Times reports Jackson left the group in 1987. The Jehovah’s Witnesses did not give a reason for his departure. Neither Jackson nor his manager, Frank Dileo, were willing to discuss the matter.
Following Jackson’s decision to leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses, occult imagery became part of his work again. His song “Ghosts” is full of such imagery. Its music video features numerous horror elements, from creatures of the night to references to Frankenstein to a screenplay by none other than Stephen King. It’s not clear if Jackson would have made such a video if he remained a Jehovah’s Witness. After all, Jackson’s occult inspired work remains popular –regardless of how the Jehovah’s Witnesses reacted to it.
Orianthi Recalls How Michael Jackson Behaved When She Joined His Band, Shares Opinion on Steve Vai
UG exclusive: "It was actually through MySpace."
During a conversation with UG's Justin Beckner, Orianthi talked about joining Michael Jackson's band back in 2009 for the late singer's "This Is It" concert residency.
A string of 50 shows was booked at the O2 Arena in London between July 13, 2009, and March 6, 2010. However, none of the concerts took place due to Jackson's unexpected passing in June 2009.
Orianthi is gearing up to release a new album titled "O" on November 6. You can check it out here.
The guitarist reached the subject when asked about the "MJ" guitar that PRS had crafted for her for "This Is It." She commented:
"That was actually designed with Michael Jackson and his clothing designer. It was my guitar originally; it was just a blue Custom 24. We literally just created that guitar over the span of a month or so for the ['This Is It'] tour.
"That guitar was actually bought from me by a big Michael Jackson fan in China who wanted to display it. It was in a storage unit, in a vault, it was pretty much kept in the dark because I didn't want to play it and lose crystals.
"I'd rather have it displayed somewhere for people to see than locked up in the dark somewhere."
You did rehearsals for that tour and we missed out on it, unfortunately. What did Michael have in store for that tour? Were there some surprises that we, regretfully, were never able to see?
"There were a lot of surprises. Obviously, we had to sign non-disclosure agreements and I don't know if they still stand or if I can talk about everything freely these days
"But there were a lot of things that were going to be pretty epic. It was going to be one of the greatest shows on Earth. That's for sure."
I've read that his people got ahold of you on MySpace. Did that seem odd to you?
"Oh yeah, it was actually through MySpace. I was in the studio working with Diane Warren and I was putting some vocals down and I got an email through Myspace from Michael Bearden saying Michael [Jackson] saw me on the Grammys with Carrie Underwood and my YouTube videos and that I was exactly what they were looking for."He said in the email that he was going to call me that night with Michael [Jackson]. So they called me that evening and asked me if I'd learn 'Dirty Diana' and 'Beat It' and play it for them the next day because they were going to be starting something.
"So I did it and I didn't know what to expect. They hired us all on the spot and we started working. It was pretty surreal."
What did you learn from working with Michael, as far as being a musician and being a professional on that level?
"I learned so much. I can't even really... there was so much I learned from him. It was truly an honor and I'm so grateful to have had that time with him because he pushed everyone to be better.
"He would tell us to step into our light and reach higher. He would tell me to reach my highest note, keep pushing, and be the best performer you can be.
"He was so precise about everything - from the dancing to the sounds. He had this photographic memory for every part of every one of his songs. It was pretty incredible working with him like that.
"You had worked with people who share some of those qualities - the precision and the high bar for professionalism. Steve Vai is someone who values precision and has been referred to as a musical dictator, at times.
"Absolutely, Steve is very much like that too. He is very much into rehearsing and making sure everything is perfect. I've seen him work in the studio - he's a very good friend of mine. The way he orchestrates things is amazing.
"He's just an incredible musician. His dedication to everything he's done in his life... he's just one of those incredible beings, even aside from the music, just as a person, I can't say enough great things about Steve."
How Eddie Van Halen's Uncredited Guitar Solo on Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' Came to Be
Following Eddie Van Halen's death on Tuesday from a lengthy battle with cancer, the late rocker's friends and fellow musicians took to social media to remember the legendary musician and Van Halen founder.
Van Halen, who founded his iconic eponymous rock group with brother Alex in 1972, is widely regarded as one of the most talented guitarists in rock history and was a consistent presence in the group through several hiatuses and lineup shifts.
However, something casual fans might not know is that one of Van Halen's most memorable contributions to music history didn't have his name on it at all. The guitarist played an unpaid, initially uncredited solo on one of the biggest pop songs of all time: Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
"It just says, 'Guitar solo: Question Mark' or 'Guitar solo: Frankenstein,' Van Halen recalled to CNN in 2012, when he sat down to remember working with the late King of Pop. "I said to myself, 'Who is going to know that I played on this kid's record, right? Nobody's going to find out.' Wrong! Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year."
After initially thinking the request from Jackson producer Quincy Jones was a crank call, Van Halen agreed to meet Jones and Jackson at the studio. "And lo and behold, when I get there, there's Quincy, there's Michael Jackson and there's engineers. They're makin' records!"
Van Halen left his signature style on the song's guitar licks, but that wasn't all. He also shared that he put his own spin on the song's production behind Jackson's back!
"Michael left to go across the hall to do some children's speaking record. I think it was E.T. or something," he recalled. "So I asked Quincy, 'What do you want me to do?' And he goes, 'Whatever you want to do.' And I go, 'Be careful when you say that. If you know anything about me, be careful when you say, 'Do anything you want!'"
"I listened to the song, and I immediately go, 'Can I change some parts?' I turned to the engineer and I go, 'OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out.' Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it."
"I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in," he remembered. "And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We're all a little bit strange. I didn't know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, 'Look, I changed the middle section of your song.'"
"Now in my mind, he's either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he's going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, 'Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better.'"
The collaboration was an unexpected one, and came as a surprise even to Van Halen's bandmates -- who were out of the country at the time. But it was undeniably successful. "Beat It" won two GRAMMYs and went 5x Platinum, selling over 7 million copies and helping to propel Thriller to its reigning spot as the best-selling album of all time.
"I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something, and 'Beat It' was playing over the store sound system," Van Halen reminisced. "The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, 'Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen.' I tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'That IS me!' That was hilarious."
And while he was left with plenty of fond memories of the late King of Pop -- "He was this musical genius with this childlike innocence. He was such a professional, and such a sweetheart." -- Van Halen may have ended up regretting his decision to collaborate with Jackson on that particular album.
"Unfortunately, Thriller kept our album, 1984, from going to No. 1," he shared, noting that Jackson's biggest album bumped Van Halen's -- which included the band's most successful single, "Jump." "Our album was just about ready to go No. 1 when he burned his hair in that Pepsi commercial, if you remember that. And boom, he went straight to No. 1 again!"