Michael in the Media - Thread for Miscellaneous Articles

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In honor of Black History Month, Pollstar is spotlighting seminal live performances by black artists every day throughout February. With a deep, rich tradition of transcendent and powerful performers across genres and the ages, we are well aware that we can only scratch the surface of so many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, brilliant Black performances. In fact, any one genre by itself, be it Jazz, Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop, Blues, Rock, Classical, House, Techno, Country, Reggae and more, could easily fill this one list. Therefore, in this series, we aim to hit on a variety of music from different periods and sounds to help put into perspective the depth and range of so much incredible Black music performances that have infinitely enriched our culture and lives.

On an already incredible night of music that saw James Brown performing with the blues legend B.B. King at L.A.'s Beverly Theater, The Godfather of Soul brought out two unexpected surprise superstar guests to make the night legendary. It came towards the end of the night during an extended jam of “It's A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” when Brown, much to the audience's shock and awe, called Michael Jackson up to the stage from the audience.

Michael Jackson, in his Thriller prime, took the stage, sang a couple of pitch perfect “I love yous" and then pow! The JB’s amped up the tempo and lit into “Hustle!!! (Dead On It).” as The King of Pop exploded into several of his classic dance moves: the quadruple spin, the Thriller knee band and gravity-defying moon walk. On his way off stage Jackson whispered something into Brown’s ear.

“He just insisted that I introduce Prince!" Brown says calling Prince Rogers Nelson to the stage. Of course, if you’re Prince, you make your stage entrance riding piggyback on a large bearded man while pulling off your spangled gloves with your teeth. Prince then straps on a guitar, tosses off a couple of mostly rhythmic licks before squatting down, placing the guitar between his legs and thrusting. Seemingly caught up in the moment, Prince removes his guitar, then his shirt and does a couple of mic stand kicks before leaving exiting and knocking over a prop lamp. It's a shame the two guests didn’t perform longer, with each other and/or with Brown., but perhaps no stage could handle that much star power at once.

https://www.pollstar.com/article/ho...ory-james-brown-michael-jackson-prince-147270
 

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Few musical artists in history can compare with Michael Jackson. After all, the King of Pop had not only the biggest-selling album of all time in Thriller. He also influenced and shaped generations of fans and fellow performers. Among those whom Jackson‘s career affected? None other than “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Michael Jackson let ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic parody his songs

Of course, Jackson and Yankovic are connected through their music. Yankovic has famously always sought permission from any artists whose work he is looking to parody. And early on in his career, Yankovic gained Jackson’s blessing to turn the latter’s hit “Beat It” into the food-focused “Eat It.” Yankovic’s version became a breakout hit and remains one of his biggest.

“Michael Jackson wasn’t just cool about my parody of ‘Beat It,’” Yankovic told People in 2016. “But he also loved my version of ‘Bad,’ which was ‘Fat.’ He even let me use the actual ‘Bad’ subway set for the ‘Fat’ video. He was very supportive, which was huge with opening the doors with other artists. Because if Michael Jackson signed on, you couldn’t really say no.”

The King of Pop eventually rejected one of Yankovic’s ideas

However, for as much help as Jackson was early on, the King of Pop eventually rejected a Yankovic parody idea. At one point in the early 1990s, Yankovic hoped to make a parody of Jackson’s 1991 hit “Black or White.” However, due to the song’s racially charged message, Jackson denied permission to poke fun at his work. Yankovic told Wired in 2011 he believes this decision essentially saved his career.

“Frankly, my wanting to do Michael Jackson a third time was a pure act of desperation. I was feeling pretty down after UHF came out and didn’t do that well commercially and I was kind of feeling like, ‘Oh, man, maybe my career is over.’ And I was grasping for that last straw. But thankfully he said ‘no’ because I ended up doing Nirvana, which ended up revitalizing my career. Michael had always been very supportive and part of me wants to think that in his heart he knew what was best for me.”

Truly, a third Jackson parody might have been pushing it. “Eat It” and “Fat” were big successes. But at that critical point in his career, Yankovic would likely not experienced a resurgence. Rather than looking to his own musical past for inspiration, he focused on the future in the form of “Smells Like Nirvana.”

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has continued to release hit albums ever since

Yankovic’s 1992 album Off the Deep End, in fact, kicked off a whole new era of hits. Throughout the 1990s, the singer would release fan-favorite tracks like “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” “Jurassic Park,” “Amish Paradise,” and “The Saga Begins.”

In fact, Yankovic’s success only increased over time. In 2014, bolstered by a week of daily music video releases, he landed his first number one album. Mandatory Fun — which features parodies of Pharrell Williams, Iggy Azalea, and others — cemented his status as a living legend.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertai...-al-yankovics-career-in-the-early-1990s.html/
 

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Super Bowl Flashback: Michael Jackson Turned the Halftime Show Into an Extravaganza in 1993

Awesome performance. sad what happen a few months after. :(

Before the King of Pop took the stage at the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl XXVII, the halftime show was mostly an afterthought where fading celebs and Up With People tended to be the main entertainment.
The modern communal pop extravaganza known as the Super Bowl halftime show can trace its roots to Jan. 31, 1993, when Michael Jackson took the stage at the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl XXVII, where the Dallas Cowboys would trample the Buffalo Bills, 52-17.

Before that, the halftime show was mostly an afterthought, occupied by college marching bands, Up With People and fading acts like Mickey Rooney (XXI) and Chubby Checker (XXII).

In 1992, Fox lured 22 percent of the audience from NBC by counterprogramming a special episode of In Living Color during halftime, and the NFL realized it had to up its game. It turned to Radio City Productions to mount something spectacular, which in turn offered the slot to Jackson. He asked for $1 million, a seeming bargain, but the NFL did not pay its halftime performers, a policy that remains. (Still, Justin Timberlake saw a 534 percent jump in song sales after he performed for an audience of 100 million at 2018's Super Bowl LII; Lady Gaga's sales increased tenfold the year prior.)

In the end, the league partnered with Frito-Lay to offer a $100,000 donation plus a 30-second TV spot to Jackson's Heal the World Foundation, founded a year earlier to "improve conditions for children throughout the world."

In a dramatic start to his set, Jackson was ejected onto the stage from below and stood frozen for 90 seconds. He then launched into a medley of "Jam," "Billie Jean" (complete with moonwalk) and "Black or White" before concluding with the mushy "We Are the World" and the single "Heal the World," surrounded by 3,500 L.A.-area kids. With 133 million tuning in, it remains the most watched halftime show and one of the highest-rated telecasts of all time.

Seven months later, Jackson would face his first accusations of child sexual abuse.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/n...he-halftime-show-into-an-extravaganza-in-1993
 

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Although his heyday was in the 1980s, Michael Jackson continues to inspire artists to this day. For example, The Weeknd cited one of the King of Pop’s No. 1 hits as the blueprint for his music. Here’s a look at the creation of the song — and why Jackson means so much to The Weeknd.

Michael Jackson crafted this No. 1 hit with Billy Idol’s guitarist

It all starts with Steve Stevens. Stevens was Billy Idol’s guitarist. During an interview with Billboard, he recalled what it was like to work with Jackson.

“My whole thing is working with the artist, that’s why I picked up a guitar — I saw Elvis and Scotty Moore on TV and I went, ‘Oh, look, it’s a singer and a guitar player,'” Stevens recalled. “And that’s the way it’s always been for me. And then I got a call about another record, and the artist wasn’t there, and I was like, “Woah, really?” It was just me and the engineer, and it’s just not for me. There’s no joy in that. So of course, my question was, “Will Michael be there? Quincy kind of laughed and said, ‘Yeah, it’s his record.’ He thought it would be an odd thing for him not to be there. I guess Michael is one of those guys that no matter what went down on the record, even if it was a miniscule little percussion part, he was there for every note. And that’s the way it should be.’”

Together, Stevens and Jackson helped create one of Jackson’s most famous songs: “Dirty Diana.” “Dirty Diana” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Aside from “Beat It,” “Dirty Diana” might be Jackson’s most famous rock song.

The ways ‘Dirty Diana’ impacted The Weeknd

Millions of people around the world are fans of Jackson, however, Rolling Stone reports he has a very special place in The Weeknd’s heart. The Weeknd is from an Ethiopian family and he was very moved by “We Are the World” because it was a charity single for Ethiopia. He said when he wasn’t listening to Ethiopian music at home, he was usually listening to Jackson’s songs.

In addition, The Weeknd told Variety that “Dirty Diana” served as the blueprint for his music. After all, “Dirty Diana” is a song that’s both dark and sexual, much like many of The Weeknd’s songs, from “In the Night” to “The Hills” to “False Alarm.” In addition, The Weeknd released his own version of “Dirty Diana” which features electronic flourishes that weren’t in the original.

The Weeknd included his rendition of the song on his mixtape Echoes of Silence under the title “D.D.” Comparing his cover to the original, it’s shocking how similar The Weeknd’s singing style is to Jackson’s. The King of Pop had a massive influence on many pop and R&B artists — and The Weeknd is no exception.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertai...kson-hit-is-the-blueprint-for-his-music.html/
 

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Michael Jackson didn’t often duet with major singers, however, when he did, they were usually major celebrities like Paul McCartney and Eddie Murphy. Despite this, he decided to perform a duet with an unknown artist that reached No. 1 on the charts. Here is the story of that song.

Michael Jackson had a sweet surprise for the writer of one of his most iconic hits

Firstly, some background. In 1982, Jackson released his most famous album: Thriller. He took five years to release a follow-up. His next album, Bad, was almost certain to be a hit because of the success of Thriller.

While working on Bad, Jackson worked with a number of proven hitmakers, including Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and Glen Ballard. However, he also worked with Siedah Garret, who co-wrote his power ballad “Man in the Mirror.”

According to Billboard, Jackson introduced Garrett to his song “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” So of course, he just casually called over his shoulder, ‘Hey Sid, you like this song?’” Garrett recalled “And I kind of said, ‘Yeah, I like it.’ He said, ‘Well, can you sing it?’” I didn’t seem to dawn on Garrett what was about to happen next.

“So I get up to go into the vocal booth to record this song, and as I’m going out of the studio door I hear Quincy say, ‘Michael, go on in there.’ And so Michael is following me to this vocal booth, and I’m going to myself, ‘Oh my god.’ It wasn’t until I walked into the vocal area and there were two music stands, two microphones, two lyric sheets… The music stands were facing each other, and the microphones were facing each other, and the lyrics sheet said, ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’: First verse, Michael, second verse Siedah.’ And it was in that moment that I realized, “Oh my god. I’m singing a duet with the King of Pop, the biggest recording artist on the planet!’” Jones commented that Jackson “loved” Garrett, so this could be why he gave her the opportunity.

How Quincy Jones reacted to Michael Jackson working with Siedah Garrett

According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Garrett believes Jackson mimicked her vocal stylings when he performed on the song. Because of this, Jones couldn’t tell who was singing when he closed his eyes. Garrett didn’t realize how similar their voices sounded until after she and Jackson finished recording it.

How the world reacted to ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’

Upon release, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week in 1987. It did well considering it’s one of Jackson’s hit singles that was not accompanied by one of his signature high-concept music videos. In fact, it doesn’t have a music video at all. While Garrett didn’t become a pop star, Jackson helped her reach the top of the charts.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertai...with-someone-he-loved-says-quincy-jones.html/
 

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Michael Jackson was famous for making elaborate music videos, however, he refused to appear in the video for one of his No. 1 hits. He made that decision for a very specific reason. Here’s a look at the thought process behind the video for his song.

A director had permission to do whatever he wanted for this Michael Jackson video

Firstly, a little background. In 1987, Jackson released one of his most famous albums: Bad. Bad included some huge, memorable singles, such as the title song, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Smooth Criminal.” Each of those songs has a memorable music video. However, Jackson sometimes paired his songs with music videos that were a little more low-key.

During an interview with Billboard, Epic Records executive Larry Stessel recalled the creation of one of his videos. “We’re in [Frank DiLeo’s] study and Michael says ‘I want you to make a video for ‘Man in the Mirror’ and I will not be in it.’ He was getting ready for the tour and rehearsing. He didn’t want to make another video. They wanted to keep the costs down because Michael paid for all the studios. It wasn’t so much the money, it was more like, “You know what, we’ve made big videos, this is just… I don’t know what I want, so I want you to make the video. You do whatever you want.”

Don Wilson’s unusual idea for the video for Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’

Stessel discussed picking the music video’s director. “I called a friend of mine, his name is Don Wilson, who is primarily a video editor. He did some commercials and stuff and some small things…. So we started throwing around some ideas and he said, “How about we use all these images of things that relate to the song and we’ll edit them together and let’s see what we have?’”

The video for “Man in the Mirror” features clips of many historical figures known for their roles in movements for equality, including Mahatma Gandhi, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Robert F. Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy. In addition, the video includes people who represent the sort of hatred the aforementioned figures stood against, such as Nazis and Klansmen.

How the world reacted to ‘Man in the Mirror’

While the video for “Man in the Mirror” is not as complex as other Jackson videos, it’s a lot more socially conscious than the famous videos for “Thriller” and “Beat It.” So did this more serious approach work for Jackson? According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, “Man in the Mirror” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1988. Perhaps the politically-charged video especially resonated in 1988, which was an election year in the United States. Regardless, Jackson proved he didn’t need to appear in a video for his music to sell.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertai...o-be-in-the-video-for-man-in-the-mirror.html/
 

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Michael Jackson left behind an enduring musical legacy and a reputation for living a luxurious lifestyle. Though he was notoriously private, Jackson’s inner circle sometimes recalled stories about his menagerie of wild animals that he kept at his Neverland estate.

Lionel Richie once talked about his python scaring the daylights of him, but who knew Jackson had crocodiles too? The late singer’s former manager described being stunned when he saw how Jackson behaved with the reptiles.

Michael Jackson collected exotic pets at Neverland

From a young age, Michael Jackson was known for his affinity for animals. At one time he had a pet rat named Ben and befriended Bubbles, his famous chimpanzee.

The late pop star splurged his wealth on Neverland Ranch and created a private zoo on the 2,700-hundre acre property. Once upon a time, it housed tarantulas, an elephant, tigers, flamingos, a lion, and a variety reptiles.

Before Jackson’s death, he began shutting down the place and rehomed most of the creatures. Some went to animal sanctuaries and others went to public zoos.

Birds, giraffes, primates and more found new homes before he left Neverland for good in 2005. Jackson vacated the property following his trial.

Jackson’s former manager liked Neverland’s zoo except for the crocodiles

Dieter Wiesner began acting as Jackson’s manager in 2003. In 2020, he published a book titled Michael Jackson: The Real Story: An Intimate Look Into Michael Jackson’s Visionary Business and Human Side. In it, he shared one anecdote about watching Jackson play around with the crocodiles on Neverland Ranch.

He and the singer went for a walk on the grounds, and Wiesner remembered enjoying the sounds of nature and the animals around them. They made their way past the aviary, and for a moment, Jackson stopped and leaned against the fence that protected the crocodile habitat.

Wiesner recalled how Jackson suddenly jumped over the fence and sat on a boundary wall with his feet hanging above the crocodiles’ heads. He noted one of them was close to the wall near Jackson.

“I have to admit, the crocodile’s proximity to Michael’s dangling feet made me very uncomfortable,” Wiesner wrote. “On the other hand, I didn’t know if this was something Michael regularly did, and the crocodiles were used to it; therefore, I anxiously observed, with hopes Michael knew what he was doing,” he said.

The reptiles were Wiesner’s least favorite attraction at the zoo, but Jackson was very carefree and took things a step further.

A crocodile snapped at Michael Jackson

Wiesner continued to watch Jackson, who had grown adventurous and decided to launch small pebbles at the 6-foot long beasts. Worried, he told Jackson to be careful. “I asked jokingly, ‘You want to be able to continue to do the moonwalk in the future? Don’t you’ Of course, he didn’t listen,” Wiesner recalled.

And then bubbles formed in the water. Jackson had already stopped tossing gravel, but he caught the animals’ attention.

“And in the twinkling of an eye, the animal popped out of the water with its mouth open at a 90- degree angle and ferociously snapped at Michael’s feet. Just in time, Michael snatched his legs up before the croc’s mouth closed,” Wiesner wrote.

He said the sound was reminiscent of a chest slamming shut. As the croc bared its teeth and hissed, Jackson stood atop the wall, laughing it up. Though Wiesner felt stunned, he said that was Michael being Michael.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertai...les-made-his-manager-very-uncomfortable.html/
 

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Chinese blockbuster evokes nostalgia in Michael Jackson fans

A lot of Michael Jackson fans in China went to crowded movie theaters during the Spring Festival holiday with a special purpose -- to hear their idol's iconic song Heal the World, which played at the end of the blockbuster film Detective Chinatown 3.

Currently the second highest-grossing film this year, the third installment of the popular Detective Chinatown franchise has raked in 4.2 billion yuan ($649.3 million).

With a stellar cast including some of the top Japanese stars such as Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masami Nagasawa, the sequel set in Tokyo unfolds with the new mission of the detective duo Tang Ren and Qin Feng, who try to solve a mysterious murder of a gang's leader.

Director Chen Sicheng reveals that the franchise will produce some spinoff stories with other protagonists aside from Tang Ren and Qin Feng in order to appeal a wider viewership in the future, during a recent screening of the movie in a local theater in Beijing.

In order to express the movie's theme of wishing the world peace, director Chen reveals that he spent a hefty fee to purchase the licensing right to Heal the World, a song from Jackson's 1991 album Dangerous.

With its beautiful melody and connotations, the song has captivated many Chinese fans over the decades, moving some of them to tears while hearing it in theaters during the Lunar New Year holiday.

"The song is a warm and healing surprise for fans in China and the general public, considering what we have been through last year. Many fans told me they cried when they heard the song at the end of the film. The power of music is incredible," says Keen Zhang, head of Michael Jackson's Chinese fan club.

"Michael Jackson always cared about the world and humanity when he was alive, and the song is not just about love and peace, but also appeals people to act together to heal this world in disasters, chaos, injustice, illness, poverty and war for children and generations to come," he adds. "Director Chen made good use of the song to bring comfort, inspiration and hope to the people, and Michael's legacy will forever shine."

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20210...9I6_-zCvk4RiIg
 

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5 Highest Selling Pop Albums Of All Time, Ranked 2.Bad 1.Thriller

2.Michael Jackson- Bad

No one has quite been able to make pop music the way that iconic legend, Michael Jackson, did. He is notably one of the best musicians to have ever lived, and leaves behind a huge legacy. The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson released 10 studio albums before his tragic death, in 2009. His best-selling album, Bad, was released in 1987, and became the soundtrack to late 80's life for teens around the world. Selling over 35 million copies worldwide, it became one of the top selling albums of all time. Some of his biggest hits, like 'Smooth Criminal', 'The Way You Make Me Feel', and the title track, 'Bad' appeared on this album.

1.Michael Jackson -Thriller

The top-selling pop album of all time goes to Michael Jackson's 1982 album, Thriller. With an incredible 66 million copies sold worldwide, and reaching Platinum status 33 times in the United States, the album is not only the top-selling pop album, but the top-selling album across all genres...ever. Recorded at the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, the album was produced by legendary music mogul, Quincy Jones. Michael blended disco, pop, rock, and funk sounds to make this masterpiece of an album. From start to finish, it is loaded with nonstop energy and grooves that just make you want to dance. This is an absolute must for any pop music collection. Almost 40 years later, it's still the best!

https://www.therichest.com/rich-powerful/highest-selling-pop-albums-all-time-ranked/
 

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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 30: Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

10 million sales, and counting...

Not many songs are instantly recognizable just from a couple of synth chords, but Billie Jean is one. The song remains one of the biggest singles of all time with over 10 million copies sold to date.

Co-produced by the legendary Quincy Jones alongside the king of pop himself, the song is a masterpiece of music production thanks to its stripped-back grooves, unique drum sound, clever recording techniques (backing vocals sung through a cardboard tube, anyone?) and creative use of then pioneering music tech.

And painstaking doesn't really cover it; even the mix by Bruce Swedien, who normally nailed his mixes in one take, was done over 90 times.

https://www.musicradar.com/news/the...of-all-time-no-30-michael-jackson-billie-jean
 
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