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MICHAEL

CLASSIC POP PRESENTS

JACKSON
MICHAEL JACKSON SPECIAL EDITION

SPECIAL EDITION

132-PAGE
COLLECTORS
ISSUE
03
03

5 010791 634006
5 010791 634006

THE KING OF POP


THROUGH THE DECADES... CLASSIC POP

AN ICON AND HIS MUSIC


PRESENTS
M. JACKSON
PRICE 6.99

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MJ
WELCOME
ONE THING IVE NOTICED, IS THAT WEVE
ALL BEEN INFLUENCED BY MICHAEL
JACKSON EVEN IF WE DONT REALISE
IT. I HAVE A FEELING EVERYONE WHO
WILL READ THIS VERY SPECIAL EDITION OF
CLASSIC POP WOULD HAVE, AT ONE TIME
OR ANOTHER, ATTEMPTED TO MOONWALK. 08
WELL ALL HAVE A VERY

A
s we set out to celebrate With Chaplin she points out how
FIRM OPINION ON THE every facet of an childhood sorrow and pain was a
MERITS OR OTHERWISE absorbing and prolific spark of inspiration for clowning,
OF THE GIRL IS MINE life in pop, I wanted to acting and performing for both.
take a step back and pay tribute Michael touched on this in 2001,
(FOR THE RECORD, I to the artists that inspired an icon. telling USA Today: Wed make
WILL FIGHT THE CORNER I always wanted to do music up songs as we worked thats
FOR THE MUSICALITY that influences and inspires each what makes greatness. You have to
generation, Jackson once said, have that tragedy, that pain to pull
OF ANY AND ALL adding ominously, Lets face it, from. Thats what makes a clown
MICHAEL/MCCARTNEY who wants mortality? great. You can see hes hurting
Of course, there was James behind the masquerade Chaplin
COLLABORATIONS.)
Brown: When I saw him move I did that so beautifully, better
WEVE ALL BEEN was mesmerised, he explained. than anyone. I can play off those
INFLUENCED, WHETHER Right then and there I knew that moments, too. Ive been through
that was what I wanted to do for the fire many times.
WE MAKE POP the rest of my life. But Michael On a lighter note, Fred Astaire
VIDEOS OR WATCH was about more than that. It was, inspired Michaels sense of
THEM, BY THRILLER. as we know now, all an act. cabaret and on-stage joie de
He created personas for every vivre. The pairs love for each
BUT WHO WERE song, album and video, and took other is well-documented; Michael
MICHAEL JACKSONS inspiration from acting legends as dedicated his Moonwalk biog to
INFLUENCES? much as musicians. Astaire. And before he departed
If you could work with anyone, this plane in 1987, Astaire said
alive or dead, who would that I didnt want to leave without
be? Gold magazine asked him knowing who my descendant
in 2002. Charlie Chaplin, who I was... Thank you, Michael.
love so much, he replied. Also,
Ian Peel Founder and Editor-at-Large
Laurence Olivier was a genius.
Those two and also the king,
Brando. Theres a great blog
by Annemarie Latour that looks
at how Jacksons and Chaplins
life stories overlap. In Tramping

T H E C O N T R I B U T O R S
Steve Harnell Mark Lindores Paul Lester John Earls
is the Editor of grew up during has been both edited Teletexts
Classic Pop and the golden age Features Editor music pages
Vintage Rock of pop mags, of Melody Planet Sound
magazinesand devouring Maker and throughout the
has been writing Smash Hits and Deputy Editor Noughties, he
about music for almost two Number One. Writing about of Uncut. Since 2007 he has has also done pop for The
decades, covering all manner the artists he used to read about freelanced for The Guardian, Sunday People, News Of The
of genres from soul, pop, indie for Classic Pop, Total Film and The Sunday Times, The World and, currently, NME
and R&B to rock, Americana Mixmag, he is living the dream Independent, MOJO, Classic and the Daily Star. John also
and hip-hop. of his 15-year-old self. Rock and Classic Pop. lectures in journalism.

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CLASSIC POP PRESENTS
MICHAEL
JACKSON
MICHAEL JACKSON SPECIAL EDITION

SPECIAL EDITION
Cover image Getty Images

132-PAGE
COLLECTORS
ISSUE

109 94
03
03

5 010791 634006
5 010791 634006

THE KING OF POP


THROUGH THE DECADES... CLASSIC POP

AN ICON AND HIS MUSIC


PRESENTS
M. JACKSON
PRICE 6.99

CPP03.Cover.To Print.indd 1 02/08/2016 11:26

Anthem Publishing
suite 6, piccadilly house,
london road, bath, ba1 6pl
Tel +44 (0)1225 489984
www.classicpopmag.com

founder, editor-at-large
Ian Peel
ian.peel@anthem-publishing.com
commissioning editor
Rik Flynn
creative director
Jenny Cook
designer

98
Andrew Saunders
sub-editor
Rick Batey
managing director
Jon Bickley
jon.bickley@anthem-publishing.com
editorial director
Paul Pettengale

8 62
paul.pettengale@anthem-publishing.com
publisher
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printing
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distribution
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licensing enquiries
Regina Erak
tel +44 (0)7753 811 622
regina.erak@globalworks.co.uk
d e c a d e s late 1980s: whos bad 62
1960s: five alive 8 Mark Lindores charts how Jackson rallied his
Paul Lester chronicles The Jackson 5s rise to strength for the hotly-anticipated follow up,
fame from neighbourhood entertainers via the brilliant Bad, and discovers how the King
the chitlin circuit to Motown Records and Of Pop kept his cool in a pop landscape where
breakthrough single I Want You Back others vied for the crown
1970s: easy as 1-2-3 24 1990s: i believe in miracles 82
Paul Lester investigates the decade when Paul Lester reveals how Jackson managed to
Jackson evolved from a child prodigy to a up the ante in a decade that brought further
All images Getty Images unless stated

All content copyright of Anthem Publishing Ltd 2016, all fully-fledged solo superstar with an epochal notoriety, even more ambitious videos and
rights reserved. All images Getty Images unless marked debut album, Off The Wall yet another game-changing album
otherwise. While we make every effort to ensure that early 1980s: wanna be 2000s: trouble in paradise 98
the factual content of Classic Pop magazine is correct, we startin somethin 42 Steve Harnell looks at how the curtain closed
cannot take any responsibility nor be held accountable Mark Lindores pays homage to Jacksons on a tumultuous decade that saw Jackson
for any factual errors printed. No part of this publication record-breaking masterpiece Thriller, the hounded by a headline-hungry media,
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or resold album that broke down racial barriers and damaging accusations and courtroom drama,
without prior consent of Anthem Publishing Ltd. Classic Pop which had a seismic effect on its creator and the epic comeback that never happened
recognises all copyrights contained within the issue. Where
possible, we acknowledge the copyright holder.

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122
24

82
MJ
contents

42
collaborations
quincy jones 22
unreleased: lost songs
LaToya Jackson claims to have possession of
96 how MJ took a brand new medium and
rapidly raised the bar
When Michael Jackson met Quincy Jones on over 1000 unreleased MJ tracks uncovered man in the mirror 122
the set of The Wiz he could never have known after his death. Here, John Earls examines John Earls opens Jacksons wardrobe doors to
it would lead to a trio of game-changing the singers joint ventures with rappers, reveal a look that evolved from bell bottoms
records. Julie Burns explains how Jones relatives, comedians and even a sheikh and tank tops under the watchful eye of his
helped reinvent Jackson as a solo star father to iconic garments and some truly
paul mccartney 40 f e at u r e s revolutionary stage-wear
John Earls tells the story of how Jackson pop art 6 in his own words 128
found a mentor, friend and hitmaking partner The iconic sleeves of 28 Jackson studio Michael Jackson gave very few interviews in
in the former Beatle until some business albums, from 1969s group debut Diana his life, particularly once hed got the measure
advice caused the whole thing to turn sour Ross Presents The Jackson 5 right through to of those journalists who put headlines over
freddie mercury 60 posthumous collection Xscape facts. Here, we discover what he really
Much was expected when these two towering jackson on film 114 thought about the world and his place in it
vocalists and songwriters put their heads Jacksons music and dancing was most classic pop moment 130
together, yet the result would not be released certainly revolutionary, but so too were his The King and Queen of Pop and a very
until 30 years later incredible videos. Mark Lindores explains exclusive after party

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MJ
the king of pop
from IndIana to the world,
from hIs fIrst records to hIs
last, we trace the path of the
Irreplaceable mIchael Jackson

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Five Alive
WITH I WANT YOU BACK, THE JACKSON 5 LIT THE SPARK
FOR THE SEVENTIES SOUL EXPLOSION. HOW DID THEY
BECOME THE BIGGEST BOY BAND EVER AND HOW DID
A 1O-YEAR-OLD BECOME THEIR LEADER?
P A U L L E S T E R

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d 9
1 a 6
v 0
i ds b o w i e

An excited Jackson 5
have fun for a photo

The
session in 1969

Jacksons only released one single Typically for the Jackson household, music was
proper and one album I Want You intertwined with mischief. One night, Jackie, Tito
Back and Diana Ross Presents The and Jermaine found their fathers beloved old guitar,
Jackson 5 in the 60s, right at the which he kept in a case in the hallway closet, and
tail-end of the decade, in, respectively, began using it to play along with songs from the
October and December 1969. And yet radio. When Joe got home from work and caught
the music in question was explosive enough to make Tito holding the guitar with a broken string, he was
you want to trace all the way back, to discover the incensed. But his anger soon turned to delight when
source of the big bang. he saw how well his son could handle the instrument.
In the beginning, The Jackson 5 were known as Boy, you can play, he declared.
The Jackson Brothers, and there were just four of He also realised that his three eldest sons, Tito,
them: Sigmund Jackie Jackson, the eldest, who Jermaine and Jackie were more than capable of
was born in 1951; Toriano Tito Jackson, born in holding a note (Marlon at this point was still struggling
1953; Jermaine Jackson, born in 1954; and Marlon to keep up, vocally, with his older brothers).
Jackson, born in 1957. The boys from a working- At first, Tito, Jermaine and I would just fool around,
class neighbourhood in Gary, Indiana began trying to learn the songs off the radio, said Jackie.
performing together in 1963, apparently compelled But all of a sudden we got good good enough so
to do so at a that people who
cellular level. Their were passing by
The firsT Time i heard my moTher
broken down in 1955. Forced to generate entertainment, their mother began

father, Joseph, our house would


pop_up The Jackson 5 may never have existed had the familys TV not

may have been a


stern disciplinarian
cuT loose on a counTry song, stop and listen to
us, sometimes even
i was impressed. ThaTs how we
recalling songs, and singalongs soon became a Jackson tradition

beatings for sit down on the


misbehaviour lawn.
were a frequent sTarTed, harmonising behind her Maybe, Joe
occurrence and mused, there could
their mother Katherine a devout Jehovahs Witness, be a future for his sons as a singing group, one that
but despite leisure pursuits being few and far between might help them all escape their tough working-class
at the Jacksons house at 2300 Jackson Street, they milieu. These boys, he predicted to his brother
were encouraged to pursue an interest in music. Lawrence, who was stationed with the air force, are
It was their mother who would teach the boys to going to take me out of the steel mill.
sing as she warbled her way through tunes such as And so it was that Joe Jackson appointed himself
Cotton Fields, Shell Be Coming Round The Mountain manager of the nascent boy band. He proved
and Wabash Cannonball. The first time I heard himself a hard taskmaster, encouraging his sons in
my mother really cut loose on a country song, I was no uncertain terms to push themselves to the limit as
impressed, recalled Jackie. Gosh, she can really they practised and rehearsed, honing their skills as
sing, I thought. Thats how it all started for my brother dancers, singers and instrumentalists. Often, the focus
and me harmonising behind her. It probably didnt on music was to the exclusion of all else.
hurt that Joe, a crane operator for a steel company, Dad would tell us, Just keep up the good work.
had once been in a group with his brother Luther, Youre going to make it. Keep going, recalled
an R&B outfit called The Falcons (not the band of the Jackie. But sometimes as we rehearsed wed see the
same name that launched Wilson Picketts career). neighbour kids pass by outside on the way to the park
This, as far as Joe Jackson saw it, was his chance at carrying their bats and gloves, and Id want nothing
last to achieve fame by proxy. more than to be outside with them instead.

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December 14, 1969, and


Ed Sullivan greets the band
for a vital TV appearance.
They would appear on the
show three times

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EvEn at that young agE, MichaEl


The Jackson 5
pose for a portrait
around 1968. L-R:
was a giftEd vocalist and dynaMic
Tito, Marlon, Jackie,
Jermaine and Michael
pErforMEr, his ManoEuvrEs ModEllEd
on JaMEs Brown and JackiE wilson

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Still, they knew in their hearts that their hard work


would pay off especially with the addition to their
ranks of fifth brother Michael (born in 1958) in 1964. The
That was the move that would spark their destiny.
Even at that young age, Michael was a Boogie
Men
preternaturally gifted vocalist and dynamic
performer, his terpsichorean manoeuvres modelled
on James Brown and Jackie Wilson. He had already
demonstrated his facility as a singer: when he was
just five years old, he had caused a minor sensation
while at Garnett Elementary School, where he sang
Climb Every Mountain in a school pageant. It made
sense, therefore, that he should replace Jermaine, also
the groups bassist, as lead vocalist and frontman, MEET THE BROTHERS
even if it did somewhat run the risk of hurting his
older brothers feelings.
For a period, they were a seven-piece outfit, with JACKIE JACKSON
Tito on guitar, Marlon, then seven years old, on The oldest Jackson, Jackie was the one with the high
tambourine and congas, as well as childhood friends tenor who sang on many of The Jackson 5s hits. He also
Reynaud Jones and Milford Hite briefly helping out on co-wrote several of their Jacksons-era songs. Of all the
guitar and drums. siblings, his face and light, high-pitched speaking voice
And then, in 1965 in August of that year, on most resembled his legendary younger brothers. Jackie
Michaels seventh birthday, in fact they slimmed was at Neverland shortly after Michaels home was
raided. He saw all the bugs: They were listening in on
down to a five-piece, albeit with additional live
him all the time, he revealed. I couldnt believe how
drumming support from Johnny Jackson (no relation) he was treated.
and assistance on keyboards from Ronny Rancifer.
But they had yet to come up with a definitive name
for the group. Katherine had initially thought of The TITO JACKSON
Jackson Brothers Five. But it was local talent agent Tito was the quiet one of the family, the mysterious
Evelyn Leahy who suggested The Jackson Five. one with the deep speaking voice. At the height of
The fixing of their name came just in time for Jacksonmania he inadvertently got stuck on the roof
their first public appearance at a childrens fashion of a moving limo as hordes of screaming girls chased
show, Tiny Tots Jamboree, in Glen Park, a suburb the vehicle down the road. When the brothers made the
move from Motown to CBS in 1976, Titos guitar work
of Chicago, where they performed R&B song Doin
became more prevalent. In later years, he was known
The Jerk by The Larks. The Jackson 5 proceeded for wearing a deerstalker and smoking a gold electronic
to win a whole series of talent contests throughout cigarette, and had a penchant for luxury cars.
1966 and 67. There was one at the opening of
a Big Top department store, and another at Gilroy
Stadium where they performed Robert Parkers hit JERMAINE JACKSON
Barefootin. There, a freakishly uninhibited Michael, Jermaine was the lead singer (and rhythm guitarist)
with his trademark afro, sang lead and, during the with The Jackson Brothers, switching to bass and
instrumental break, decided to kick off his shoes back-up vocals with the arrival of Michael. He was the
and do a barefoot dance around the stage. The first brother to go solo, achieving success with his 1980
album Lets Get Serious. Arguably the most voluble
performance earned the brothers their first ever press
Jackson in the wake of his brothers death, Jermaine
write-up, in the Gary Post Tribune. described himself as Michaels backbone, saying he
Soon, they entered and won the Theodore Roosevelt wished his life had been taken instead. In 2007 he
High School talent show, where they performed appeared on Celebrity Big Brother UK.
several Motown numbers including My Girl they
even beat a young singer called Deniece Williams,
who would later have hits with Free and Lets Hear It MARLON JACKSON
For The Boy. They also won first prize in an amateur Only 17 months older than Michael, Marlon had a
talent show at Garys Memorial Auditorium and reputation as the keenest dancer as well as the joker
began to venture out of town, onto the so-called of the pack: when this writer interviewed The Jacksons
in 2013, Marlon kept slipping into a mockney accent,
chitlin circuit of black theatres and nightclubs
for humorous effect. In his book Moonwalk, Michael
around the country. They entered the Sunday Night described him as a prankster he used to be the one
Amateur Talent show at the Regal Theater in Chicago, whod always get in trouble in the early days. Later,
where they won three weeks in a row, and won he became a successful real estate agent in Southern
the Super Dogs final at Harlems legendary Apollo California and had various business enterprises.
Theater in New York, where nine-year-old Michaels
singing and dancing wowed the audience.
Joseph chose this moment to make a wise RANDY JACKSON
investment in an array of equipment for the boys: Born in 1961, Randy was the youngest of the brothers
guitars, amplifiers, and microphones. It was a he was only three when The Jackson 5 formed and
so couldnt join. He appeared live for the first time in
well-timed move, as The Jackson 5 began touring
1971 and was on every tour playing congas and other
as the opening act for a string of prominent acts instruments, but didnt officially become a member until
such as Jerry Butler, The Temptations, The OJays, 1975, when he replaced Jermaine in the move to CBS.
The Emotions, and The Delfonics, travelling to cities Aged 16, he co-wrote The Jacksons most successful
as far-flung as Philadelphia, New York, Kansas latterday single, Shake Your Body (Down To The
City and St Louis in their trusty VW van. They Ground), with Michael. He also worked on Off The Wall.

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The early incarnation


of The Jackson 5, with
Johnny on drums

also supplemented their income with early-evening Jackson 5s second single, but it was never released.
performances in strip clubs, much to their mothers The intention was also for them to follow it up with an
chagrin, although she appreciated the income; by the 11-track album, and Steeltown made sure they did a
middle of 1968, impressively, The Jackson Five were photo-shoot just in case.
earning up to $600 a gig. However, Berry Gordy must have got wind of
It was enough for us to buy our first colour their modest successes at the Gary, Indiana label
television, a new washer and dryer, a new sofa, new and regretted his earlier rejection of them, because
lamps, and a new table for the living room, gasped they received an invitation to come and audition for
the boys mother. Motown in early 1968. Joe Jackson took the invitation
Huge fans of Motowns output, the boys realised so seriously he cancelled what would have been The
from the off that the Detroit label was their ideal Jackson 5s TV debut on The David Frost Show in
musical home. Indeed, it was a Motown performer, New York to make the audition at Motown in Detroit.
Gladys Knight, who sent a demo tape of their music It must have gone well because, on July 26, 1968,
to Motowns boss Berry Gordy. Sadly, he rejected the group signed a deal with the prestigious pop
it and sent it back (he had other acts on his mind at imprint. That Christmas, to show how significant a
the time, notably signing they were,
Stevie Wonder). It they were invited
was an early and HUge fans of Motowns oUtpUt, by Berry Gordy
Indiana, where gang violence was escalating. Joe suffered a broken jaw

unusual defeat for tHe boys realised froM tHe off himself to perform
pop_up Signing to Motown also enabled the family to escape Gary,

when his drums were robbed; Tito was held up at gunpoint at school

the group. at his pool house


Luckily, Joe tHat tHe detroit label was tHeir in Detroit in front
Jackson found of many of the
an alternative ideal MUsical HoMe labels luminaries,
outlet for his sons including Diana
musical gifts in small local record company Steeltown Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, The
Records, run by singer, record producer, and label Temptations and The Four Tops. It was nerve-
founder-owner Gordon Keith, who paid for them to wracking. Scary, recalled Jackie.
record their first ever sessions in 1967. The following August, just as Motown moved offices
One of those Steeltown recordings became The from Detroit to California, the Jackson family relocated
Jackson 5s tentative first single, Big Boy, issued in to the West Coast Joe, Tito, Johnny Jackson and
January 1968 (the previous July, they had cut the Ronny Rancifer drove to Los Angeles while Jackie,
same track for Chicagos One-derful! Records, playing Jermaine, Marlon and Michael flew out a few days
all of their own instruments at the labels Tone Studios, later, where they were put up at the Motel Tropicana
with Michael, then eight years old, on lead vocals). on Santa Monica Boulevard. While Motown searched
A soul ballad with elements of doo wop, written by for a more permanent residence for the family, they
Chicago musician Eddie Silvers, Big Boy, backed also spent time at the Hollywood Hills home of The
with Youve Changed, was premiered on a local Supremes legendary frontwoman. Eventually, The
radio station called WWCA, much to the familys Jacksons would settle in a house off Sunset Boulevard,
excitement. It failed to chart but did manage to sell at 1610 Queens Road in the Hollywood Hills.
more than 10,000 copies. A second, more energetic, Next, the group met public relations supremo
uptempo number, We Dont Have To Be Over 21 (To Bob Jones, who would prove significant in Michael
Fall In Love)/Jam Session, was earmarked as The Jacksons solo career, as well as Susanne De

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Passe, the young Motown executive who would

He Found
become their PR and mentor. The divine Ms Ross
introduced the labels new charges to the world at a

That
private showcase at Daisys Disco on Rodeo Drive in
Beverly Hills, on August 11, 1969 although Gladys
Knight had been the first to mention the Jackson

Girl
brothers to Berry Gordy, and soul artist Bobby Taylor
had brought them to Motown, Ross was credited with
discovering them, partly to help promote The Jackson
5, but also to draw attention to herself as she made
the difficult transition from a Supreme to a solo star.
There was a further showcase a few weeks later, on
August 22, this time on TV, at the Miss Black America MICHAEL JACKSON AND DIANA ROSS
Pageant in New York, filmed at Madison Square In April 1981, Michael was asked about his were rumours of romance, which grew after
Garden, where the boys performed The Isley Brothers relationship with Diana Ross. Looking sheepishly Michael released the 1988 single Dirty Diana,
incendiary Its Your Thing. to the floor, he hesitated before finally replying: although he insisted it was in fact composed on
Yet it was in the recording studio that the really Were just good friends. the subject of groupies.
interesting work was being done. The bulk of The There were question marks about the extent Some speculated that their special bond came
Jackson 5s time was spent honing their early sessions of Michaels friendship with Ross ever since the from their shared experience in groups in which
with Taylor and writer-producers Freddy Perren, Deke erstwhile Supreme helped catapult the child star they eventually eclipsed the other members.
Richards, Hal Davis and Fonce Mizell, the latter to world fame in 1969. Others noted the flirty frisson between them.
They later appeared together in a variety I knew you were going to be a star, I really
four collectively known as The Corporation, a more
of sketches, sang at each others concerts and did, Ross said to Jackson during her 1981 TV
anonymous version of Motowns iconic songwriting starred in the movie The Wiz together with her as special. What I didnt know is that you were
teams such as Holland-Dozier-Holland. Dorothy to his Scarecrow. going to get so sexy. Jackson proceeded to say
For The Jackson Fives first single, Berry Gordy Although she was older than Michael, they the same about her, and then addressed the TV
and The Corporation picked a song I Want You had a real connection and that connection, audience: Dont you guys think shes sexy?
Back that Perren had originally written for Gladys I think, and that friendship really moved In the Eighties, it was suggested that Michaels
Knight And The Pips and later for Diana Ross, when throughout his career, Emil Wilbekin, managing numerous plastic surgery operations were
it was known as I Wanna Be Free. Recorded at The editor of Essence.com and a founding member attempts by him to replicate the physiognomy
Sound Factory, West Hollywood, the track was about of Vibe magazine under Quincy Jones, told news of his mentor and idol. The fact is, he was
someone regretting breaking up with a lover too channel CNN. fascinated by her. He loved her regal bearing and
Michael considered her the ultimate in female charismatic presence. He studied her every move.
hastily. The lyric Every street you walk on, I leave
pulchritude and used to rib his sisters Rebbie, She taught me so much, he once said. I
tear stains on the ground/ Following the girl I didnt LaToya and Janet that they werent as pretty used to just sit in the corner and watch the way
even want around was mature, considering the boy as Ross. In a 1982 interview for the Ebony Jet she moved. She was art in motion. I studied the
expected to sing it was barely 11 years old. Showcase, Jackson said he considered Ross to be way she moved, the way she sang just the way
More time was spent polishing and refining I Want one of his few confidantes. she was.
You Back than all the other songs on their forthcoming She is the kind of person, I can tell her His desire to mimic her knew no bounds. He
debut album combined but it was worth it. From anything, the most private of secrets. And she told her: I want to be just like you, Diana. She
the opening piano trill to the electrifying rhythm guitar tells me her secrets as well, he whispered. replied: You just be yourself. One of Jacksons
figure, swelling strings and melodic bassline, courtesy He idolised Ross, 14 years his senior, while fatal flaws was that he didnt know what being
of the great Wilton Felder, later of The Crusaders, she undoubtedly had maternal feelings towards himself meant and his obsession with Ross
him. But still, throughout their friendship, there bore that out.
everything about I Want You Back was just right.
Supported by Louis Shelton on lead guitar and Tito
on rhythm (he was the only brother at this point
allowed by Gordy to play an instrument), Johnny
Jackson on drums, Rancifer on keyboards and his four
brothers on backing vocals, Michaels performance
was an eruption of pre-teen emotion, yet remarkably
controlled and assured. As for the song, it was just
under three minutes of pop brilliance, its exuberance
designed to express the protagonists joyous
realisation that his former partner was The One.
Surprisingly, the only person seemingly unimpressed
by The Jackson 5s opening salvo was their mother.
I received an advance copy of the single. With
great anticipation I placed it on the turntable. Was
I disappointed! Oh my God, she exclaimed in her
1990 book, My Family, The Jacksons. She continued:
How does Motown think its going to sell something
like this? I said to myself. I thought I was pretty good
at picking hits, and the record didnt seem to have
much going for it. I thought that the tracks were too
crowded, and that the producers hadnt brought out
the boys best vocal qualities. They had lead singer
Michael and the others yelling, instead.
She was alone in her disappointment. Released
on October 7, 1969, I Want You Back (backed with
Diana and Jackson in 1979s
a cover of Whos Lovin You by Smokey Robinson) musical film, The Wiz
reached No. 1 in the US and No. 2 in the UK

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The Jackson 5 in full flow for an


early TV performance in 1969

and eventually sold six million copies worldwide. It Now wed like to do our very first release on
was ranked 121st on Rolling Stones list of The 500 Motown, Michael proclaimed, looking straight into
Greatest Songs Of All Time, and ninth on its list of the camera. Its on sale everywhere! With that,
the 100 Greatest Pop Songs since 1963. In 1999, it The Jackson Five launched into a stunning version
was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In the of I Want You Back, the studio audiences rapturous
21st century, online publication Pitchfork named it the response surely repeated in homes across the country.
second best song of the 1960s after The Beach Boys On December 14, like so many international
God Only Knows, asserting that the chorus contains singing sensations before them, including Elvis Presley
possibly the best chord progression in pop music and The Beatles, The Jackson 5 appeared on The Ed
history, while The Daily Telegraph called it arguably Sullivan Show where they performed Sly & The Family
the greatest pop record of all time. Stones Stand!, Whos Lovin You and I Want You
There were a number of live appearances that Back, Michael looking cuddly yet charismatic in his
helped propel I Want You Back to the top. On magenta cowboy hat.
October 18, The Jackson 5 made their second-ever Four days later, the groups debut album was
TV appearance in an episode of The Hollywood released. Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 featured
Palace hosted by Ross-penned liner
Diana Ross, who notes on the back
Released on octobeR 7th 1969, I
Jackson family was getting by on $100 a week. With I3 mouths to feed, their
pop_up In LA, before royalties began to stream in from the hits, the whole

was that night cover, in which


mother was glad she had experience, as she said, in stretching a dollar

making her farewell


appearance with
want You Back Reached no. 1 in she enthusiastically
extolled the
The Supremes. After the Us and no. 2 in the UK and honesty and
the latter opened talent of the band
the show with a eventUally sold six million copies and confirmed her
melody from the role in discovering
Broadway musical Hair, La Ross took the microphone them. I Want You Back would be the only track
and made a special announcement. lifted off for release as a single, but its infectious
Its wonderful to return as your hostess, she bubblegum funknsoul provided the template for much
said, her words singling out the youngest brother of the rest of the record.
for special attention, a notable early sign of his solo Album opener Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah was certainly
superstardom to come, especially tonight, when on the sweet side, but it wasnt saccharine. A version
I have the pleasure of introducing a great young of the song composed by Allie Wrubel with lyrics by
star who has been in the business all of his life. He Ray Gilbert from the Disney 1946 live action and
has worked with his family, and when he sings and animated movie Song Of The South, Michael took
dances, he lights up the stage. Here he is, Michael the lead vocal part, with help from Tito. The funkier,
Jackson and The Jackson Five! grittier Nobody, composed by The Corporation,
Dressed in suits that their parents had bought for featured Michael and Jermaine. Following I Want You
them in Indiana, The Jackson 5 performed the ballad Back was Can You Remember, a lush, melancholy
Can You Remember, which would appear on their ballad co-written by the great architect of symphonic
first album, as well as Sly & The Family Stones Sing A soul, Thom Bell producer and writer for the
Simple Song and James Browns There Was A Time, wonderful Delfonics and, later, The Stylistics among
the latter with Ross and Sammy Davis Jr. There was others and Delfonics leader William Hart. Michael
time for one final track. and Jermaine sang Holland-Dozier-Hollands

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Standing In The Shadows Of Love with adult aplomb, Frankie Lymon and Little Stevie Wonder. It praised
investing it with some of the shivery drama of the the arrangements and instrumental backing from
hit version by The Four Tops. Michael sang popular the Motown players, the brothers exuberance and
standard Youve Changed alone while Jermaine took flair, and the quality of the material, singling out their
the lead on the cover of Stevie Wonders evergreen version of Stand! (captures the rhythmic complexity
My Cherie Amour. Michael sounded astonishingly and poignant message of the original) and
mature on Whos Lovin You, and Michael and particularly I Want You Back, which the magazine
Jermaine together crooned Marvin Gayes Chained. deemed the most energetic piece of soul music since
There was nothing Arethas Respect.
bubblegum about With their debut
With their Debut album, the
pop_up Early and uncredited Jackson 5 producer Bobby Taylor started

Jermaines punchy, album, The Jackson


his career in a band alongside Tommy Chong, later of Cheech & Chong

powerful rendition
of Norman
Jackson 5 markeD the beginning 5 simultaneously
marked the end of
Whitfield and Eddie of a neW golDen age of one era of black
Hollands hit for pop music and the
crossover pop-soul
fame. Motown would edge him out of the picture by 1970

The Temptations, (I beginning of


Know) Im Losing another: a new
You. Sly Stones Stand! was the first track to feature golden age of crossover pop-soul. It guaranteed them
Marlon Jackson alongside Michael and Jermaine, and a place in the new decade, alongside fellow Motown
although it wasnt quite as explosive as the original stars Wonder, Gaye, Robinson and Ross, and
it was no slouch. Finally, Michael and Jermaine non-Motown musicians from Sly to Al Green, Isaac
were a credit to Ivy Jo Hunter and William Mickey Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. I Want You Back was No.
Stevenson on that Motown songwriting duos Born 1 in January 1970 The Jackson 5 couldnt have
To Love You (the LP closer was an eleventh-hour made a more emphatic start to the 70s. The fact that
replacement for a cover of Reach Out, Ill Be There by it was the first in a series of four consecutive No. 1s
The Four Tops). for the brothers the first time in history that a band
Recorded between May and August 69 and or artist had achieved such a feat made it all the
produced by Bobby Taylor (except for Nobody and more evident that The Jackson 5 were here to stay.
I Want You Back, produced by the Corporation),
Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 reached No. 5 on
Americas Pop Albums chart and spent nine weeks at listen up!
No. 1 on the R&B/Black Albums chart. From I Want You Back to Born To
Love You, heres a bakers dozen of
It was a critical hit, too. Rolling Stones review drew
the very best of The Jackson 5
comparisons between the Jackson siblings, then aged http://spoti.fi/29GZBiR
between 11 and 18, and earlier teen stars such as

20

CPP03.Jackson 60s.To Print.indd 20 13/07/2016 16:54


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CPP03.House Ad Specials.To Print.indd 21 15/07/2016 12:36


c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

Jones shares a joke


with Jackson at the

jackson with... 26th Annual Grammy


Awards, in 1984

QUINCy JONES Their haT-Trick of albums changed pop and social


culTure forever. in effecT, maesTro producer
Quincy Jones helped reinvenT michael Jackson
J u l i e b u r n s

O
f course, Michael Jackson sparkled songs such as the joyful falsetto of the albums first
as a child into teen star long before single release (and No. 1 Grammy winner), Dont
he met multi-award-winning musical Stop Til You Get Enough.
impresario Quincy Jones. By 1972, At first, Jones found the 21 year old introverted,
aged 14, as part of The Jackson 5, shy and non-assertive. However, the result of their
hed already released a quartet of Motown solo first collaboration was conclusive: Off The Wall
studio albums. Theyd had several Top 40 hits; though was Jacksons breakthrough album as an adult. Far
with fluctuating sales and frustration with a lack of removed from the smooth Jackson brother harmonies,
creative control, in 1975 the boys moved to CBS the eclectic mix of funk, disco-pop, soul, soft rock,
Epic Records as The Jacksons. This would prove jazz and pop ballads stretched from Workin Day
fortuitous for young Michael, as under Epic he would And Night to Rock With You and Shes Out Of My
be able to forge his artistic concepts into a legendary Life a track which led one critic to suggest, [it]
album trio just a few years later. became a signature similar to the way My Way
In 1978 the singer starred as The Scarecrow in the served Frank Sinatra. Jones who had worked with
film musical The Wiz, its scores arranged by Quincy Sinatra later made a similar comparison; He has
Jones. A master musical fusionist, Jones liked to some of the same qualities as the great jazz singers
blend pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Id worked with: Ella, Sinatra, Sassy, Aretha, Ray
Brazilian sounds. Despite The Wizs critical dissing, Charles, Dinah. Each of them had that purity, that
Jones recalled Jacksons dedication to his role, strong signature sound and that open wound that
comparing his acting style to that of Sammy Davis Jr. pushed them to greatness.
Working with him had been a favourite time, he said. Off The Wall was the first album by a solo artist to
In fact it marked the start of a nine-year partnership. yield four US Top 10 hits. Melody Maker even went
Jackson had asked Jones for producer as far as saying that Jackson was probably the best
recommendations on his next album before Jones singer in the world right now in terms of style and
offered and was accepted. Creativity and co- technique. Equally, Jones was seen as the most hip
production credit was given to Jackson on self-written and powerful record producer on the planet.

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c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

In the same musical vein but even more imaginative, Raising more than $63 million for Ethiopian famine
1982s Thriller became a global phenomenon. The relief, the venture inspired Jackson and Jones to
best-selling album of all time, it became the first album pursue further humanitarian projects.
ever to be certified 32 times multi-platinum for US Their own musical union concluded with what the
sales. Add to that a record-breaking eight Grammy Miami Herald called the most hotly anticipated
Awards, including Album of the Year. album in history, Bad. It could never quite match the
Yet in the brief time-frame between his two seminal sales of Thriller, yet was only second to it in terms
LPs, Jackson was lonely and unhappy. He was also of global success. The formidable follow-up again
disappointed by Off The Wall not having done even made history as being the first album to have five
better specifically not getting Record of the Year consecutive singles peak at No. 1 on the Billboard
and by undercurrents of racial discrimination tethering Hot 100: I Just Cant Stop Loving You, Bad, The Way
promotion and exposure. Case in point: in 1980 You Make Me Feel, Man In The Mirror, and Dirty
Rolling Stone declined Jacksons offer to showcase Diana. Such was his stature that Jacksons tour for
him in a cover feature. To this snub Jackson said, Ive Bad was a major coup, grossing some $125 million.
been told over and over that black people on the In a 2002 interview, Jackson suggested he might
cover of magazines doesnt sell copies just wait. work with Jones again. In 2007, when Jones was
Someday those magazines are going to be begging asked by NME, he said, Man, please! We already
me for an interview did that. I have talked to him about working with
Wanting to break down implied colour bars was an him again but Ive got too much to do. Ive got 900
issue Jackson had in common with Quincy Jones. By products, Im 74 years old.
the Sixties the latter was the first black composer to be Today, aged 83, Quincy Jones musical prowess
embraced by the Hollywood establishment. In 1961, hardly shows signs of slowing down. Outliving his
as vice president of Mercury Records, he became the gifted musical companion by 33 years, following
first high level executive of a major record company. Jacksons premature passing on June 25, 2009, Jones
In 63, he turned his talents to the movie world, said: I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and
another musical area closed to blacks, and went on to unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away
compose some 33 film scores. from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just dont
In reuniting with Jackson on Thriller, both artists have the words to this day, the music we created
were enabled in breaking down racial barriers. This together on Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad is played
they achieved in famously meeting with US President in every corner of the world and the reason for that is
Ronald Reagan at the White House and, more overtly, because he had it all talent, grace, professionalism
via MTV. Significantly, the album was one of the first and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer
to use music videos as killer promotional tools: those and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the
for Thriller, Billie Jean, and Beat It were constantly on world forever. Ive lost my little brother today, and
MTV rotation once CBS president Walter Yetnikoff part of my soul has gone with him.
had a word with the music station: (Im not going
to give you any more videos and Im going to go
public and f***ing tell them about the fact you dont little wonder
want to play music by a black guy). They relented. keeping up with the jones
Jacksons unprecedented success and as a black
Nominated for seven Oscars and 79 Grammys winning 27, more than any living musician
artist in the Eighties helped others gain mainstream
Quincy Joness firsts are many: in the mid-Fifties he was the first popular conductor/
attention, such as Prince with his Little Red Corvette. As arranger to record with a Fender bass, while his TV theme Ironside was the first synth-
a December 1982 review in The New York Times put based pop theme tune. His 1989 album Back On The Block was the first-ever fusion of
it, Thriller was helping rid the destructive barriers that bebop and hip-hop; success with his own Quest Records includes the gold album Substance
spring up regularly between white and black music. by New Order. Aside from work on some 400 albums, he has produced film into Broadway
Its video also set new levels for the whole industry. The hit The Color Purple, and TVs The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In 2001, his autobiography was
John Landis title track mini-movie was ahead of its time, complemented by Rhino records box set, Q: The Musical Autobiography of Quincy Jones.
marking a milestone not only in Jacksons career, but in He was named a Kennedy Center Honoree for his contributions to the cultural fabric of
the history of pop music. the USA. And to end on a Jackson note, Thriller was included in the Library of Congress
National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings.
On Jacksons unique influence, perhaps Time said it
best: Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man Jackson and
rescue team for the music business. A songwriter Quincy on Diana
who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the Ross CBS Special
fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across in 1981

all boundaries of taste and style and colour too.


Culture critic Nelson George wrote that Jackson
has educated R Kelly, Usher, Justin Timberlake and
countless others, with Thriller as a textbook. Ably
assisted and abetted by Quincy Jones, it should
be added. According to Jones website, Thriller
has sold over 50 million copies worldwide, and
counting and was reissued in 2008 as Thriller 25.
From the best-selling album to the best-selling
single of all time: Jones produced 1985s historic
charity disc, We Are The World. Co-written by
Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson, it featured a
cast of 45 A-listers, including Jackson who sang
with Diana Ross giving conductor Jones a task
akin to putting a watermelon in a coke bottle.

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1 9 7 O s

EASY AS
1-2-3
IN THE SEVENTIES MICHAEL JACKSON MADE
THE TRANSITION FROM CHILD SENSATION WITH
THE JACKSON 5 TO ADULT SUPERSTAR BUT HE
HAD TO DITCH HIS BROTHERS TO DO IT. HERE IS
THE STORY OF HIS SECOND AMAZING DECADE,
FROM ABC TO OFF THE WALL
P A U L L E S T E R

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d 9
1 a 7
v 0
i d
s b o w i e

The Jackson 5 at
the International
Amphitheater in Chicago,
September 30 1972

Its
hard to believe that during the Sixties by Berry Gordy, Hal Davis and Willie Hutch, which
Michael Jackson and his brothers only showcased a frighteningly mature Michael vocal as
released a couple of singles and one he pleaded flawlessly over an aching melody and
album, but it was enough to cement their shivery harpsichords.
reputation as the nascent superstars of With their fourth consecutive single reaching pole
pop and soul. But if their output in their first decade position in the US charts (and staying there for five
was sparing, in their second it was torrential. I Want weeks and selling two and a half million copies in the
You Back opened the floodgates, and after that, process), The Jackson 5 made history.
music from Michael and The Jackson 5 came in an When they told us I Want You Back was going
unstoppable deluge. The only surprise, given their to be on the radio, we gathered around, Jermaine
youth, was the sustained professionalism of it all, and reminisced to this writer in 2014 about their
the very fact that they survived. spectacular, and historic, four-single run. Imagine
Motown wasted no time in following up the debut five guys with afros staring at a transistor. We jumped
single. In February 1970, The Jackson 5s second up and down so much, our neighbours heard and
45rpm, ABC, came over.
was released. We were
Penned, as was its ImagIne fIve guys wIth afros shocked, added
magazine: The girls just come at the stage we always have to run off

predecessor, by
starIng at a transIstor. we Marlon in the same
pop_up Michael recalled The Jackson 5s first tour in 1970 to Soul

The Corporation interview. We


stage, we cant thank the audience and stuff we just have to run.

label boss Berry jumped up and down so much our were just kids.
Gordy, Freddie ABC was
Perren, Alphonso neIghbours came over jermaIne more nail-biting,
Mizell and Deke chipped in Tito.
Richards and featuring many of the same musicians Wed been told the second hit is harder than the first,
(including Wilton Felder on bass and Louis Shelton on so to watch that one go up the charts was even more
guitar), ABC had all the brash joie de vivre of I Want amazing. Then it happened with The Love You Save,
You Back, plus some juvenile novelty value, which too. We didnt think wed do it a fourth time with Ill
made it a surefire hit. A surefire No. 1 chart-topper, Be There. But it replaced Marvin Gayes I Heard It
in fact it knocked The Beatles Let It Be off the top of Through The Grapevine as Motowns biggest record,
the Billboard Hot 100 and quickly became one of the selling seven million.
groups signature songs. So our first four records got to No. 1, concluded
Within a few months, they had a third No. 1: The Jermaine. The first time in history.
Love You Save, with a breathless vocal from Michael They werent just breaking records with their
and a cute middle-eight during which he spells out singles; they were doing it with their concerts as
the acronym S.T.O.P. The songs pace and feel bore well. In July 1970 the Jackson 5 played a gig at the
a resemblance to the 1965 No. 1 single Stop! In Los Angeles Forum before an audience of 18,000
The Name Of Love it was perhaps no coincidence an attendance record at the venue and the
that The Jackson 5 had replaced The Supremes as event demonstrated, as if there was any doubt, that
Motowns biggest-selling group. devotion for the group was reaching fever pitch.
And then, in August 1970, they reached the top At one point in the show, teenage girls invaded the
again, with the exquisite ballad Ill Be There, penned stage, forcing the boys to run for safety. Even The

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Michael, still aged just


16, on stage in London,
February 1975

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e a r l y 1 9 7 0 s

Corporations Deke Richards, amid the pandemonium, Their albums came almost as thick and fast as their Tito, Marlon,
almost got trampled to death. singles. They released four in one 12-month period Jackie, Michael
and Jermaine
But in some areas, it was business as usual for hard to believe today, when artists regularly take perform for a Bob
the tweens and teenagers. They kicked off their first years, sometimes even decades, between albums. Hope TV special in
national tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where After issuing their debut album in December 1969, September 1973
they were accompanied by a private tutor, Rose Fine. Motown put out follow-up ABC in May 1970. It
The boys handled their sudden superstardom included the singles ABC and The Love You Save as
better then I could have hoped, wrote their mother well as the latters B-side, I Found That Girl, the only
Katherine in her book, My Family, The Jacksons. song to feature a lead vocal from Jermaine, plus
They were justifiably proud of their success, but covers of Stevie Wonders Never Had A Dream Come
they didnt let the success go to their heads. If Joe True and Dont Know Why I Love You, Holland-Dozier-
[their father] and I had detected one or more of them Hollands (Come Round Here) Im The One You
getting too big of an ego, we would have talked to Need, Funkadellics Ill Bet You, The Young Folks a
them. But we just never had to. hit for Diana Ross & The Supremes, and Thom Bell
It would have and William Harts
been easy to have beautiful symphonic
let all the attention When We Were still trying to soul composition for pop_up Darling Dear from Third Album is held up today as one of the
and acclaim go The Delfonics, La-La finest recorded moments from bass genius James Jamerson, who played
to their heads, so
make it, life Was hectic. once We Means I Love You.
all credit to them did make it, life Was even more The album sold
an integral part in what became known as the Motown Sound

for keeping their just under 900,000


feet on the ground. hectic marlon copies, more than
Jackie recalled the first album. With
what it was like to experience Jacksonmania first-hand money coming in, the family were able to move from
as their four singles became popular not just in the Queens Road to the more showbiz-friendly environs
States, but all over the world. of Bowmont Drive, where they were neighbours of
I remember coming to London the first time, he Liberace and Davy Jones of The Monkees.
told this writer in 2014. We had 10,000 screaming In quick succession, they released two more albums
fans at the airport. They were in sleeping bags at in 1970: the plainly titled Third Album in September,
5am, waiting for us to land. It caused quite a ruckus. and the Jackson 5 Christmas Album a month later.
We had police escorts, but that didnt work. There The former was a compendium of new Corporation
werent enough police. material the hit Ill Be There, future singles Mamas
Their schedule was frantic. As Marlon stated, Pearl and Goin Back To Indiana and classics
When we were still trying to make it, life was hectic. including that other Bell-Hart standby Ready Or Not
Once we did make it, life was even more hectic. (Here I Come) and Smokey Robinsons The Love I Saw
Wed come home from school and have a split-second In You Was Just A Mirage, even Simon & Garfunkels
to grab a bite. Then it was off to the studio. Wed Bridge Over Troubled Water, all rounded off in
record a song a day at Motown. If we were lucky, superb fashion with Darling Dear. It is considered one
we got home early enough to do a bit of homework of the best of the J5 albums, and remains their most
before we fell asleep. It was like this every weekday. successful to date, reaching No. 1 on the Cashbox
Then on Saturday we rehearsed. chart and selling six million copies.

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Keep On With
The Force
KEY ALBUMS 1972-79
GOT TO BE THERE
MOTOWN, 1972
When Michael began recording his debut solo
album, in June 1971, he was still only 12 years
old yet on opening track Aint No Sunshine
there is a yearning quality, even a sense of
desolation, missing even from the Bill Withers
original. Other highlights include Got To Be
There, the strings-and-harpsichord-enhanced I
Wanna Be Where You Are, and Willie Hutchs
Girl Dont Take Your Love From Me. Before hed
even entered adolescence, he was capturing the
anguish of adulthood. Uncanny.

BEN
MOTOWN, 1972
Whatever they threw at him Stylistics eco-
The Yuletide album, meanwhile, comprised spirited
ballads (People Make The World Go Round),
Smokey Robinson-penned Temptations classics
seasonal renditions of Santa Claus Is Comin To
(My Girl), songs penned by the guvnor (Berry Town, Frosty The Snowman, Rudolph The Red-Nosed
Gordys You Can Cry On My Shoulder), paeans Reindeer, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. It
to rats (the title track) Michael handled it with spent the four-week holiday period at No. 1, making
gusto and aplomb. Although there is nothing it that years biggest selling Christmas album, and has
here as swooning as Got To Be There or I Wanna since sold over three million copies.
Be Where You Are, Ben is a strong collection The Jackson 5 continued their stratospheric run
that cemented Jacksons reputation as he tried throughout 1971. There were singles such as Mamas
to carve a niche away from his brothers. Pearl (No. 2, January 71), Never Can Say Goodbye
(No. 2, March 71), Maybe Tomorrow (No. 20, June
71) and Sugar Daddy (No. 10, November 71),
FOREVER, MICHAEL giving them a total of seven Top 10 singles within a
MOTOWN, 1975 two-year period. And there were two albums: Maybe
His fourth album was a commercial dud, only Tomorrow, a three million-seller that spent six weeks
scraping No. 101 on the Billboard 200, but it at No. 1 in the soul charts and featured the beautiful
did contain the moderately successful singles title track and Never Can Say Goodbye, which was
Were Almost There and Just A Little Bit Of You, every bit as breathtaking as Ill Be There; and Goin
both written by Eddie and Brian Holland. It Back To Indiana, a live/soundtrack album taken from
also included One Day In Your Life, a ballad so
The Jackson 5s September 71 TV show of the same
stunning it was crying out for a wider audience
something it achieved six years later, when name, one of several TV specials to feature the group.
it was released as a single in July 1981 and That same month saw the start of their very own
became Jacksons first solo British chart-topper Saturday morning cartoon series. Called The Jackson
on the back of the success of Off The Wall. 5ive, it ran throughout 1971 and 72 and was a
fictionalised depiction of their career. Further evidence
of their ubiquity were the endless magazine front
covers for teen-oriented publications such as Tiger
OFF THE WALL Beat, Seventeen, and Right On! the latter featured
EPIC, 1979 at least one of the five members on the cover for
You know, I was I was wondering, you over two years. Motown stepped up the marketing
know If you could keep on Because the to capitalise on the groups youth appeal, licensing
force, its got a lot of power And it make me dozens of products, including stickers, posters and
feel like, ah It make me feel like... Oooh! colouring books, as well as a board game. This was
Michaels fifth solo album was a remarkable
The Jackson 5 at their peak, in their pomp.
collection. With Quincy Jones chrome-plated
production and Jacksons arsenal of emotional The hits continued during 1972 with Little Bitty Pretty
devices and vocal effects, Off The Wall was a One, Lookin Through The Windows and Corner
dazzling contrivance. Staggeringly, with 20 Of The Sky, but they were of the Top 20 not Top 10
million sales, Michael would release bigger variety. In order to develop the groups career and
albums but not better ones. expand their audience, and realising that Michael

30

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1 9 7 0 s

Michael at a playful
photo session in Los
Angeles, July 1978

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The Jacksons, freshly


signed to Epic, pose
at Jackies home in
California, August 1978

was easily the most popular member, Motown It was the same for The Jackson 5. Lookin Through
launched his solo career. It started in 1971, with the The Windows (1972), Skywriter and G.I.T.: Get It
single, Got to Be There, released in November of that Together (both 1973), Dancing Machine (1974)
year. With its soaring vocal and lush arrangement, it and Moving Violation (1975) sold between 1.5 and
was an immediate success and suggested Michaels three million each, and Dancing Machines title track
solo career might extend beyond the early Seventies. did particularly well, reaching No. 2 when released
Three months later, the label followed it up with as a single, its hard funk sound a neat response to
the album of the same name. It showed his facility contemporary black dance music developments.
especially with quiet storm R&B ballads (Bill But their chart positions were lower than they should
Withers Aint No Sunshine), but he was still a pop have been and there was a general feeling, with
natural (Rockin Robin), and there were early signs both The Jackson 5 and Michael, that Motown had
of his enormous crossover potential via the cover of taken them as far as they could go. The Corporation,
Carole Kings Youve Got A Friend. It peaked at No. which had produced most of their hit singles, went
14 on the US pop album chart and No. 3 on the US their separate ways in 1973. In the era of The
R&B album chart Commodores,
and eventually sold Funkadelic, Ohio
CHART POSITIONS WERE LOWER THAN
Rainbow Grill. Tito commented: Motown sells a lot of singles. Epic sells a lot
900,000 copies Players, Kool & POP_UP The Jacksons unveiled the Epic deal to the press at New Yorks
in the US alone. The Gang, the
Rolling Stone called
THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN; THERE WAS reinvigorated
of albums. Im sure the promotion will be stronger, added Michael

it slick, artful and A FEELING THAT MOTOWN HAD TAKEN Isley Brothers and
every bit as good Stevie Wonder,
as the regular THEM AS FAR AS THEY COULD GO The Jackson 5
Jackson 5 product. were starting to
The August 71 follow-up album was even more look a little pass. Joe Jackson was growing tired of
successful. Ben sold five million copies, helped Motowns inability to produce hits for his sons.
considerably by the title track, a song from the film By 1975, most of the group opted out of recording
of the same name, about a killer rat. The song had any more music for the label and sought greater
originally been offered to Jacksons rival Donny creative control and royalties. Joe negotiated a
Osmond, but it became Michaels first solo chart- better deal with Epic Records for the brothers, except
topper. Paeans to pets aside, the LP evinced the young Jermaine, who stayed with Berry Gordy, undoubtedly
singers increasing maturity, with material provided by influenced by the fact that he was married to Gordys
old faithfuls Stevie Wonder and Thom Bell. daughter Hazel he was formally replaced by Randy
Michael would release two more albums over Jackson, three years Michaels junior. After initially
the next couple of years: Music & Me (1973) and suing them for breach of contract, Motown allowed
Forever, Michael (1975). Despite containing some the group to record for Epic, as long as they changed
excellent music (a song on the latter, One Day In Your their name, since The Jackson 5 was owned by
Life, would become a UK No. 1 when issued as a Motown. And so it was that, in 1975, they were
single in 1981) and selling, respectively, two and one reborn as, simply, The Jacksons.
million copies, there was a sense of an artist growing By June 1976, they set to work on their first music
older but failing to keep pace with shifts in audience for Epic. The first the world got to hear of the new,
demands and the ever-changing music scene. improved Jacksons was in October 76, with the

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The Jackson 5 at The


Palladium, London,
November 1972

release of the single Enjoy Yourself. It was a breezy able to adapt to the new era, even if they wouldnt
number written and produced by Kenny Gamble and take full creative control till the next album but one.
Leon Huff, whose dominance over the Philadelphia Motown wanted us to continue with our
soul scene was as great as Messrs Holland, Dozier bubblegum R&B sound but we were growing up,
and Hollands over Detroits: their lush, strings- wanting to express ourselves, as Jackie explained.
drenched hits for The OJays, Harold Melvin & The Meanwhile, Michaels lead vocals on most of the
Bluenotes, The Three Degrees and The Intruders were record showed him transitioning successfully from
a matter of record. Enjoy Yourself featured Michael adolescence to young adulthood.
and Jackie Jackson on lead vocals and sisters Janet Released in October 77, Goin Places was the
and LaToya on backing vocals and peaked at No. 6 second and final Epic/Philadelphia International
on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 77. joint venture. Recorded between December 76 and
The success of Enjoy Yourself augured very well August 77 at Sigma Sound Studios, it didnt make a
indeed for The Jacksons debut album, a joint venture huge impact on the charts, peaking at No. 63 on the
between Epic and Philadelphia International Records. Billboard 200, and it only sold just over half a million
A self-titled affair, copies worldwide,
recorded at Sigma but it did contain
Sound Studios in Motown wanted us to continue some lovely songs
pop_up Interviewed on the Dinah Shore show in 1976, Michael seemed

Philadelphia, it such as Even


with our bubbleguM r&b sound but
perplexed by the concept of vacations. Ive only ever had one last

largely comprised Though Youre


material provided we were growing up, wanting to Gone, while the
Christmas, he said. I just stayed home, watched TV, ran a lot.

by the Gamble & title track crackled


Huff dream-team express ourselves Jackie with energy. It also
five of the 10 tracks featured two songs
were their compositions, and they produced the whole attributed to The Jacksons: club favourite Different
album. But The Jacksons was notable for two tracks Kind Of Lady and infectious ear-worm Do What
they didnt write: Blues Away and Style Of Life, which You Wanna, further signs of their eagerness to get
were the first published songs written by Michael involved with writing.
(the latter with Tito). Blues Away was a lilting affair However, it was on The Jacksons next album that
with an easy-going gait and a cooler, more adult they were finally allowed full creative control over
ambience than the Jackson 5 songs of yore, while writing and production.
Style Of Life bore the influence of Gamble & Huff and It was a big moment, said Marlon. Destiny was
could have been played back-to-back with something the first time we wrote and produced an entire album.
like The OJays Philly soul classic Backstabbers. Michael was filming [1978 movie] The Wiz and by
Nevertheless, it proved that Michael was attuned to the time he came back wed started writing songs.
developments in black pop and that he could learn Released in December 1978, Destiny eventually
from the best. The album also included Show You The sold over four million copies worldwide and featured
Way To Go, a languid disco-lite shuffle that, released the biggest hit of their Epic sojourn to date in Shake
as a single in January 77, became a fair-size hit Your Body (Down To The Ground), a US No. 7 and
around the world and was ubiquitous on British radio UK No. 4 smash co-penned by Randy (with Michael),
that spring. While the album only fared modestly, it which had all the exuberance of I Want You Back plus
did serve notice that The Jacksons were willing and the polish and pizazz of disco. Of the eight tracks

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Michael, just turned solo, with


La Toya at their apartment on
New Yorks East Side

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straw man
Michael Jackson in The Wiz
With elaborate scenes involving 650 dancers, notorious niterie Studio 54, where Jackson would
385 crew members and 1,200 costumes, Sidney party alongside the stars of the day. Whenever
Lumets black adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz he took to the dancefloor, the celebrity clientele
was a lavish, extravagant endeavour which would stop and gawp.
suited a Michael Jackson poised to enter his Some of the most memorable scenes were
imperial phase with Off The Wall. with Michael and Diana Ross, who played
Lumet was initially sceptical about the idea Dorothy, and the pair had terrific chemistry.
of Jackson in the role of the Scarecrow. He Michael even managed to look graceful in a
considered him a Vegas act. Quincy Jones costume that comprised giant clown shoes, a
the musical supervisor and music producer huge curly wig, a hat and vest stuffed with scraps
for the film was equally unconvinced. of newspaper, not to mention a painted-on nose;
Nevertheless, a meeting was arranged and the his terpsichorean influences included Fred Astaire
19-year-old Michael was flown to New York. and Gene Kelly, and you could tell.
Finally, Lumet and Jones saw the qualities Jacksons performance as the Scarecrow was
necessary for the part. That boy is so sweet! one of the only positively reviewed elements of
Hes so pure! Lumet apparently exclaimed. I the film, with critics noting his genuine acting
want him as the Scarecrow. talent and concluding that he provided the
The film marked Jones first time working only genuinely memorable moments. Michael
with Michael (although they had met briefly himself was even more glowing: I dont think
some years earlier, when Jackson was 12, at it could have been any better, I really dont, he
Sammy Davis Jrs house Jones would later said of the movie. He would even later state that
compare Michaels acting style to that of the his time working on The Wiz was my greatest
veteran entertainer). experience so far Ill never forget that.
on the album, only one was penned by an outsider: For the duration of filming, Michael and Its also unarguable that without The Wiz,
Blame It On The Boogie (a UK No. 8 single), written his sister La Toya moved into a Manhattan Michaels career would have taken a quite
apartment, and Michael was on his own for the different turnbecause it was during filming
by Mick Jackson (no relation). The other seven were
first time. He lived a normal life well, give or that Jackson and Jones swapped telephone
by one or all of the brothers. Randy was the surprise take his eccentric predilection for taking baths in numbers and made the decision to get in touch
star, contributing (with assistance from Michael) Perrier water. The shoots were arduous, lasting with each other about Michaels next project
Shake Your Body, All Night Dancin and Thats What all day. At night, the young cast would go to Off The Wall.
You Get (For Being Polite). Destiny reestablished The
Jacksons as a serious artistic and commercial force.
The accompanying Destiny Tour of 1979 was also
a huge success. That was a great tour, recalled
Jackie. We played more of our own songs. As the
tour progressed, audiences got more intense because
of the success of Off The Wall Michael was the
biggest artist in the world.
True enough. Just as I Want You Back had defined
the Sixties Jacksons in the last year of the decade,
so too was Michael in the Seventies defined by his
own late-decade offering: the epochal Off The Wall,
released in 1979. Talk about coming of age: Michael
was still only 19 when he, engineer Bruce Swedien
and producer Quincy Jones completed the recording
and mixing of the album but it was the work of a
mature artist with a clear vision of how he wanted to
be presented to the world. His fifth solo album was
effectively a new beginning, with a bold new sound
and an ambition to alter peoples perception of him
as the cute kid from The Jackson 5.
It was while filming his role as The Scarecrow in
the remake of The Wizard Of Oz known as The Wiz
that Michael got to know Quincy Jones, the jazz and
soundtrack veteran who was arranging the score for
the movie. The pair struck up a friendship during the
films production and Jones agreed to produce the
singers next project.
Michael wasnt sure of the direction he wanted for
it; he just knew that, after Destiny, his own creative
control would be key. He got it: Jackson wrote, or
co-wrote, three of the 10 tracks on the album Dont
Stop Til You Get Enough, Working Day And

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Michael and The


Jacksons on the Destiny
tour, New Orleans,
October 3 1979

Night and Get On The Floor (co-penned with Louis heartstoppingly gorgeous Rock With You, and the
Johnson of The Brothers Johnson). But his character shimmering, magnificent Dont Stop Til You Get
his cheek, his charm, his sheer class was all over Enough, which at once defined disco and exceeded/
every single last second of the record. superseded it just as the genre was fading.
It was a masterpiece of disco immaculacy and Dont Stop Til You Get Enough also introduced
audacious artistry. If any record could be described Jacksons outrageous panoply of tics and mannered
as perfect, it is Off The Wall. Born of LAs finest whoops as he sang like someone in love with
recording studios, the rhythm tracks and vocals his own voice. The 15-second spoken-word intro
were laid down at Allen Zentz Recording, the horn and the sudden, subsequent eruption into a disco
sections contributions took place at Westlake Audio, fantasia make Dont Stop Til You Get Enough worthy
and the strings were added at Cherokee Studios in of inclusion in the music hall of fame. It remains
West Hollywood. Following the initial sessions, audio arguably the greatest album opener in the history of
mixing was handled pop music.
21, and so rich in some experiences while being poor in moments of true joy.

by the Grammy- With Off The


a masterpiece of disco immaculacy
cried the words had such a strong effect on me, he wrote in 1988. I was
pop_up Michael said he got too wrapped up in Shes Out Of My Life. I

winning Swedien Wall, Jackson


at Westlake Audio, became the first
after which the
and audacious artistry if any solo artist to have
original tapes record could be described as four singles from
went to the A&M the same album
Recording Studio in perfect, it was off The Wall peak inside the Top
LA for mastering. 10 of the Billboard
The results were unimpeachable. Literally half Hot 100. As of 2014 it had reportedly sold more
the tracks Dont Stop Til You Get Enough, Rock than 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of
With You, Off The Wall, Shes Out Of My Life the best-selling albums of all time.
and Girlfriend were released as singles, but the Even in a year that bequeathed Chics immortal
remaining five could easily have taken their place. Risqu and Earth, Wind & Fires mighty I Am, Off
The phrase all killer, no filler might have been The Wall stood out. It was a triumph of sophisticated
invented for this album. It had every base covered songcraft, studio slickness and marketing savvy.
Michaels intention to tick every box and appeal to Off The Wall signalled the emergence of Michael
every niche demographic was evident throughout. Jackson: global superstar. It made him one of the
There were sensuous slow jams (I Cant Help It, by most famous men on the planet. But it was nothing
Stevie Wonder and Susaye Green), adult-oriented compared to what was coming
ballads (Shes Out Of My Life), MOR soft rock (Its
The Falling In Love, by Carole Bayer Sager and
David Foster; Girlfriend by Paul McCartney), club listen up!
Now hear our selection of Michael
bangers (Workin Day And Night, On The Floor,
Jacksons finest moments from
Burn This Disco Out), melodic, mellifluous midtempo throughout the Seventies. Stream the playlist
funk (the title track) and thats not even mentioning at: http://spoti.fi/2a1TxiH
the two best tracks: Rod Temperton of Heatwaves

38

CPP03.Jackson 70s.To Print.indd 38 27/07/2016 15:15


ON SALE NOW! WWW.CLASSICPOPMAG.COM

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CPP03.House Ad CP24.indd 39 15/07/2016 12:32


c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

McCartney and

jackson with... Jackson together in


the studio, 1980

PAuL McCARTNey When Macca Met the singer once Marketed as part of
the Black Beatles, they BecaMe firM friends. Until the
Upstart BoUght the rights to the Beatles songs
J o h n E a r l s

H
i Paul, do you wanna make some hits? in the autumn of 1981 Jackson flew to London to
On Christmas Day 1980, Michael write and record Say Say Say with the 39-year-old
Jackson rang Paul McCartney at his elder statesman. The two-day session was produced in
Sussex farm with the offer that would secrecy by George Martin at his Air Studios.
result in three songs and a friendship Recognising Jacksons need for reassurance that
which would ultimately turn spectacularly sour. it was possible to lead a normal life in the spotlight,
Before Jackson interrupted the McCartney after recording McCartney drove Jackson to his family
vegetarian roast, the two had occasionally met. farm in the tranquil village of Peasmarsh. Jackson
Jackson became a Beatles fan when his interest was was already obsessed by Peter Pan, and unnerved
piqued at The Jackson 5 being marketed by Motown his host by telling him, seemingly in all seriousness, I
as The Black Beatles. The siblings were one of the can fly!, just like JM Barries hero. The younger star
more successful New Beatles touted by the industry was also too nervous to join in going horse riding, but
in the wake of The Fab Fours split, ahead of The otherwise charmed the McCartneys.
Partridge Family and The Osmonds. McCartney If he didnt quite break out the cigars and brandy,
recognised Jacksons talent and, before the singer there was something of the boardroom chairman in
was out of his teens, he offered to write a song for the way McCartney gave Jackson after-dinner advice
Jacksons debut solo album. In the event, Macca kept which he would later regret, showing Jackson a
the resulting song Girlfriend for Wings 1978 album notebook with the logo of his songwriting publishers,
London Town. But, by coincidence, Quincy Jones MPL. Publishing thats where the big money is,
recognised the songs Jacksonesque qualities and announced McCartney, who had been busy buying
persuaded MJ to cover Girlfriend for Off The Wall, up the catalogues of rock and roll-era writers like Carl
unaware it was initially written for him. Perkins and Buddy Holly since forming MPL in 1971
For his part, Jackson looked to McCartney as following The Beatles split.
someone who was handling megastardom in as Publishing was very much at the front of
relaxed a manner as possible, even in the aftermath McCartneys mind; he was in the middle of trying to
of John Lennons murder. Wanting to learn the secret, buy back rights to The Beatles songwriting catalogue.

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c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

During the wasteland of the bands relationships Initial rumours implied ATVs main bidders would be
in The Beatles rudderless final days, Lennon and EMI, Japanese music executive Shoo Kasaunu and
McCartneys publishers Northern Songs was sold Abba producer Stig Anderson. If Jackson apparently
to TV mogul Lew Grades firm ATV in 1969. Only wasnt interested, then nor were McCartney and
subsequently aware just how important publishing Yoko Ono, either together or separately. Jackson later
was, at the time of recording Say Say Say in 1981 claimed he approached both Macca and Ono to seek
McCartney had formed an uneasy truce with Yoko their approval. And indeed McCartneys manager
Ono in a joint attempt to buy back Northern Songs John Eastman Lindas brother implied that buying
from ATVs new owner, Australian businessman Robert the rights back was too expensive.
Holmes a Court. The following year, and despite In August 1985, Jackson bought ATV for 33
being a Beatles fan, Holmes a Court decided not to million. Quoted in Philip Normans book Paul
sell, leaving Ono and McCartney to blame each other McCartney: The Biography, McCartneys producer
for not being convincing enough with the Australian. Hugh Padgham said: The air turned blue.
McCartney was at least able to throw himself Considering he wasnt interested himself, McCartneys
into a purple patch of songwriting. In April 1982, fury seems odd at first. But, if he really couldnt afford
the month his album Tug Of War was released, he it, it must have been galling that a friend and a
went back into the studio with Jackson, this time in much younger upstart at that was rubbing his nose
LA with Quincy Jones. The Girl Is Mine would be in it. In fact, it wasnt so much the sale that really
one of the first songs finished for Thriller, while the angered McCartney: it was that Jackson refused to up
other song from the session, The Man, would end up his royalty percentage from ATV. I wanted a pay rise
the superstars forgotten duet as an album track on and didnt get one, McCartney fumed.
McCartneys 1983 album Pipes Of Peace. Following Jacksons death, the exact ownership of
With its greasy guitar and curiously formal lyrics The Beatles songs looks murky. It appears that, from
about a man who has it all, The Man sounds more 2018, McCartney and Ono can have first refusal to
like an ITV sitcom theme than two of the worlds best the rights again as part of a royalties agreement that
singers at the top of their game. There is at least some reverts copyright back to songwriters 56 years after
joy to be had from hearing McCartney try to emulate their songs were first recorded. Regardless of future
Jacksons falsetto heading into the first chorus. ownership, Mac and Jacks carnival friendship was
Its easy to forget now, but The Girl Is Mine was long over by the time of Jacksons death.
the first single from Thriller. The backing band on The There was one other sting for McCartney from
Girl Is Mine was Africa hitmakers Toto, not exactly Jackson, this time much less deliberate. When The
known for threatening to revolutionise pop music. A Beatles released new single Free As A Bird around
decent enough romp, the songs knockabout spirit was their Anthology TV series in December 1995, it
at least in part down to the atmosphere in the studio. reached No. 2 in the UK. Keeping it from the top
Jackson and McCartney bonded over watching old spot? Earth Song by Michael Jackson.
Loony Toons cartoons, throwing stuff at each other
and making jokes according to 24-year-old Jackson.
If it isnt a classic, it was one of Jacksons favourites little wonder
to record for Thriller. Working with Paul McCartney he and mrs jones
was pretty exciting and we had fun, he gushed.
If Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney had a blast recording The Girl Is Mine and The
McCartneys second major piece of advice to
Man in Los Angeles, the sessions were slightly less amusing for Quincy Jones. Since 1974,
Jackson in Sussex had been to ensure his videos were the producer had been married to Peggy Lipton. An actress/singer, before finding success
entertaining yet there was no video for The Girl Is in 1968 playing fragile Julie Barnes in landmark hippy TV drama series The Mod Squad,
Mine. That was rectified for Say Say Say, when it was Lipton dated Paul McCartney. McCartney stopped their post-dating friendship when he
finally released as a single in October 1983, almost married Linda and hadnt seen Lipton until the production sessions with her husband. Jones
exactly a year after The Girl Is Mine. The first single and Lipton invited McCartney to dinner with Jackson after recording was finished, only
from Pipes Of Peace, its video depicted McCartney for McCartney to somewhat ungraciously call Lipton Mrs Jones throughout. Mr Jones
and Jackson as carnival hucksters Mac and Jack in apparently remained courteous, but was said to be unimpressed afterwards. Jones and
cahoots with a con artist played by Linda McCartney. Lipton separated in 1986, eventually divorcing in 1990. Lipton had a second wave of acting
fame as Norma Jennings, owner of the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks.
Made by Beat It director Bob Giraldi, Mac and Jacks
tales of strength potions and vaudeville clowning Paul McCartney
are as primitive as McCartneys Deep South with Quincy Jones
accent, but it was one of the first videos to feature future wife Peggy
Lipton in 1964
musicians acting, complete with dialogue.
And that appeared to be that. But, unbeknownst
to McCartney, his younger charge was being
encouraged by Columbia Records boss Walter
Yetnikoff to pursue his ambitions of becoming
a songwriting publisher. Yetnikoff had signed
McCartney to Columbia for 16 million, which
negated any of the usual wrangling over superstar
duets about which singers release schedule took
priority. But Yetnikoffs advice to Jackson backfired
when Robert Holmes a Court decided to sell ATV
Music in 1985 after all. The Beatles catalogue
was the only part of ATV Music which made any
serious money, and Holmes a Court wanted out
though he kept the rights to Penny Lane as a gift to
his daughter Penny, which she still owns.

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E A R L Y 1 9 8 O s

WANNA BE
STARTIN
SOMETHIN
FIERCELY COMPETITIVE SINCE HE WAS A YOUNG BOY, MICHAEL
REALISED A CHILDHOOD DREAM IN 1983 WHEN HE RELEASED
THE BIGGEST-SELLING ALBUM OF ALL TIME. HOWEVER, BEHIND
THE SEQUINS AND SPOTLIGHTS, THE SINGER DISCOVERED THAT
CREATING A BLOCKBUSTER CAME WITH A PRICE
M A R K L I N D O R E S

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d a
e a r
v li y
d 1
b 9
o 8
w 0i se

The Jacksons
announce their
Victory Tour on 30
November 1983

while
it would It was Michael that was the major draw when the
come to be band embarked on their Triumph Tour in July of 1981.
his defining As the live representation of Off The Wall as well as
decade and Triumph, the tour was purely Michaels vision. Inspired
the period by the lavish stage shows of acts such as Earth
which he presided over like a colossus, the Eighties Wind & Fire, Michael designed the stage, costumes
got off to a shaky start for Michael. After the pizzazz and choreography. Boasting a setlist split between
and promise of his sublime disco opus Off The Wall, Jacksons and Michael solo material, the three-month
his musical coming-of-age, the confident funkster with tour continued across the US, raking in $5 million and
the world at his loafer-clad feet began the decade was recorded and released as a live album, Jacksons
with a step back. Live, the following year.
He reverted back to being one fifth of The Jacksons Following the tour, Michael was feeling inspired
for a new album and tour and found he was and immediately begun working on new material
competing with himself in the charts, thanks to a hasty not only for his own next project, but also for other
cash-in from his former record label Motown who artists. A fan of a wide variety of different styles of
capitalised in on his success by releasing One Day music, he was a firm believer in experimentation
In Your Life, a compilation of his teen output, the title and studied everything from rock to jazz to classical
track of which gave him his first UK No. 1 hit. and wanted to broaden his own musical horizons by
Frustrated at not being able to continue down the working with artists from different genres.
the late 70s, would sour forever in 1985 when he took the Wings frontmans

musical route he had embarked on with his musical I wouldnt be happy doing just one kind of music
pop_up Michaels songwriting friendship with Paul McCartney, begun in

own financial advice and bought a 50% stake in the Beatles catalogue

soulmate producer Quincy Jones on Off The Wall, or labelling myself, he told Creem magazine in
Michaels anger was exacerbated at the 1980 1982. I like doing something for everybody, I dont
Grammys Awards when he felt his accomplishments like my music to be labelled. Labels are like racism.
were severely overlooked. He won only one award Ive got so many different compositions. Ive been
and the black categories werent even broadcast influenced by all kinds of different music classical,
on TV, the transmission instead switching to local R&B, folk, funk and I guess all those ingredients
networks during that part of the show. Michael fumed combine to create what I have now.
backstage, feeling embarrassed and hurt. This can In 1982 he wrote and produced a provocative
never happen again, he told friends. paean to brawn called Muscles for Diana Ross,
Bowing to pressure from his family and as well as working on new material with Freddie
management, Michael agreed to follow Off The Wall Mercury. He also sang backup on Kenny Rogers
with a new Jacksons record, though on his terms. Goin Back To Alabama (as a favour to his friend
He had grown, both musically and in terms of his Lionel Richie, who was producing Rogers album) and
confidence in his abilities, and wanted that to be later reunited with Paul McCartney to return the favour
reflected on The Jacksons new material. He assumed for Paul writing Girlfriend for Off The Wall.
complete artistic control over the album, introducing a The sessions with McCartney went particularly well,
funkier sound provided by many of the musicians from resulting in a pair of hit singles. The Girl Is Mine was
Off The Wall. Released in September 1980, Triumph kept by Michael as the first track for his next album,
went to No. 10 in the US album charts and produced while a further two tracks, Say Say Say and The Man,
a string of hits, including Lovely One, Can You Feel It were featured on McCartneys Pipes Of Peace album,
and Walk Right Now, though its sales were a fraction the former also becoming a worldwide hit.
of those of Michaels last effort, highlighting the fact Work began in earnest on Michaels next album
that The Jacksons lacked the pulling power of Michael in August 1982. Holed up in Los Angeles Westlake
the solo artist. Studios. Michael and Quincy Jones were reunited

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e a r l y 1 9 8 0 s

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e a r l y 1 9 8 0 s

Rex Features

The 14-minute film


that accompanied
Thriller cost half a
million dollars

with the dream team that created Off The Wall. As of the time during the recording ofThriller, Michael
well as sound engineer Bruce Swedien and songwriter was on the road. He didnt even know what we were
Rod Temperton, musicians Greg Phillinganes, Louis doing until it was time to do it. But it all worked out
Johnson, Paulinho Da Costa and Michael Boddicker good. We did whatever we felt like doing. Nobody
were all back on board, having developed not only a can ever predict that sort of success would happen.
musical shorthand (an integral quality, given the short If they do, theyre lying. Do what you love and what
timespan allocated to make the album), but also a you believe in. I dont believe in surveys. If you make
working relationship the notoriously shy Michael felt music that you dont believe in just because you
comfortable with, putting him at ease in the studio. think people will like it, youre doing it for the wrong
To me the most powerful records come from a reasons. For Michael and I, we did it until we both
collective creativity, Quincy Jones told Billboard got goose bumps. And if we felt goose bumps from a
magazine. You have to be open to ideas its like song, we knew we were on the right path.
being a film director. You get good records when you Already facing a tight deadline to finish the record,
let all the people who work on it put their personality with a view to having it on shelves in time for the
in their particular area. With people like Greg Christmas sales boom, they were dealt a further
Phillinganes on piano, Jerry Hey on horns or Paul distraction when an opportunity from Hollywood
Humphreys or Ndugu Chancler on drums, you get a royalty proved too good to refuse.
lot of feeling and We were in the
soul from all the middle ofThriller
All the brilliAnce thAt hAd been
We all have the same emotions who doesnt want to fly like Peter Pan,
people involved. and Spielberg, who
fly with some magic creature from outer space and be friends with him?
pop_up Michael spoke about the E.T. project to Interview magazine:
Everybody who was like my brother,
was involved in that
building inside MichAel just said I need you to
record had a hand erupted. it wAs like seeing And do the whole E.T.
in it. If someone album, Quincy
had an idea, then heAring hiM for the first tiMe recalls. I said,
wed try it. Steven, were right
The tracks that Michael had written, Billie Jean and in the middle of Thriller, man. So, anyway, Rod and
Wanna Be Startin Somethin, were the first to be the Bergmans Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote
finished and became the foundation of the album. All a song for it called Someone In The Dark. Then he
the brilliance that had been building inside Michael asked us if wed do the whole album. We had to do
Jackson for 25 years just erupted, says Quincy that really in like less than a month, you know. And it
Jones. Its as though he was suddenly transformed was tough. But we did it.
from this gifted young man into a dangerous The E.T. The Extra Terrestrial audiobook album was
predatory animal. Id known Michael since he was an impassioned labour of love for Michael. He had
12 years old, but it was like seeing and hearing been obsessed with the movie and often visited the
him for the first time. I was electrified, and so was set during filming, claiming that he loved the story
everybody else involved in the project. so much because he felt an affinity with the alien
As well as Michaels compositions, Quincy had stranded on another planet. As well as recording the
listened to over 800 tracks which had been submitted song, Michael read an abridged version of the story
for consideration. I listened to 800 songs, cause for an audiobook, which was to be pressed as a
everybody kept saying Michael cant be any bigger. soundtrack album.
I said, you want to bet? Im not going to let him make As had been the case when recording Shes Out Of
a bomb, you know, says Quincy. At that time, I My Life for Off The Wall, Michael was overwhelmed
picked the songs and Michael recorded them. A lot by the emotion of the given material and was

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THIS AINT NO
TRUTH OR DARE
Key Recordings: 1980-1985

SAY SAY SAY


COLUMBIA/PARLOPHONE, 1983
After recording the McCartney-penned Girlfriend
for Off The Wall, Beatles fan Michael contacted
Paul to write together. Paul agreed, and Michael
flew to McCartneys home to write and record a
song together. The sessions were so successful
that three songs were completed.
Say Say Say, their finest composition,
was included on Pauls Pipes Of Peace album
and was a hit in October 1983. Paul recently
released a deluxe version of the album which Michael still recovering from
burns suffered during a commercial
included a remix of this song with his and
shoot is pictured with Brook
Michaels vocals reversed. Shields, February 1984

THRILLER
EPIC, 1983
unable to complete recording without breaking down.
Having written Off The Walls title track and
After repeated attempts at recording, Quincy decided
Rock With You, Quincy entrusted Rod Temperton it was meant to be that way and left Michaels voice
to come up with the albums title track. In breaking with emotion on the final recording.
doing so, he created the whole aesthetic of When I was doing that recording I really felt that
the album. Originally, when I did my Thriller I was E.T. and thats because his story was my life
demo, I called it Starlight, says Rod. The story in a lot of ways, Michael explained to Ebony
next morning, I woke up, and I just said this magazine. Hes in a strange place and wants to be
word Something in my head just said, accepted and thats a position Ive found myself in
this is the title. You could visualise it on the many times when travelling from city to city around
top of the Billboard charts. You could see the
the world. Hes most comfortable around children,
merchandising for this one word, how it jumped
off the page as Thriller.
and I have a great love for kids. He gives love and
wants love in return, which is me. And he has that
super power which lets him lift off and fly when he
wants to get away from things on earth and I can
BEAT IT identify with that. We are alike in many ways.
EPIC, 1983
Upon completion of the E.T. album, Michael and
Wanting to incorporate a variety of genres to Quincy returned to work on Thriller, now vastly
the album, Beat It was Michaels first rock song. behind schedule. Quincy continued to plough through
Beat It was really key to the record, with its
the submitted demos looking for the tracks which fit
power, with everything it has, because I said
at the time, I need a song like The Knacks My Michaels brief for the record, which was to ensure
Sharona we need a black version, Quincy that most genres were covered. Still smarting at the
Jones said. And Michael says, I got something Grammys snub for Off The Wall, Michael specified
here but I dont have any voices on it. It was that he wanted his record to be inclusive to everyone
just what we needed. I decided to call Eddie Van all thriller, no filler.
Halen to come play the solo on Beat It. Ever since I was a little boy, I would study
composition, Michael said in his interview with
Ebony. And it was Tchaikovsky that influenced me
the most. If you take an album like Nutcracker Suite,
every song is a killer, every one. So I said to myself,
BILLIE JEAN Why cant there be a pop album where every song
EPIC, 1983 was good? People used to do an album where youd
One of the first songs written for the album, get one good song, and the rest were like B-sides.
Billie Jean was a source of conflict in the studio Theyd call them album songs and I would say to
between Michael and Quincy. Michael wanted myself, Why cant every one be like a hit song? Why
the song to have a longer intro so he could cant every song be so great that people would want
dance more when performing it. to buy it if you could release it as a single? So I tried
Quincy Jones encouraged experimentation to strive for that. That was my purpose for the album.
in the studio and Billie Jean is a product of such
That was the whole idea. I wanted to just put any one
techniques, including placing the drums on a
out that we wanted. I worked hard for it.
wooden platform eight inches off the floor for
that unmistakable crisp sound, and singing With that in mind, a checklist was assembled. With
through a five-foot long cardboard tube to Michaels compositions confirmed, Rod Tempertons
achieve a specific vocal effect. tracks were next to be discussed. Having written Off
The Walls title track and Rock With You, two of the

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Jackson captured
onstage in 1980

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Michael with lifelong


friend Diana Ross

albums standout tracks, the English-born songwriter When we first began working properly on the
was a dead cert for contributing to the album. I said record we had nine cuts, Rod Temperton said in
to Rod, You gave me the title track to the last album, an interview about the 25th Anniversary edition of
now do it again with this one! says Quincy. Thriller. And when we played the album back, some
Rod had an idea for a song inspired by old horror of the songs just didnt work and had to be replaced.
movies and rewrote a demo he had called Starlight It wasnt that they were bad songs, they just didnt fit
into Thriller. In order to give the song the cinematic in with the sequencing of the record.
scope that the lyrics required, Bruce Cannon, a As The Girl Is Mine was racing up the charts, a
sound effects advisor who had worked on The E.T. major hiccup arrived in the form of the E.T. The Extra
Storybook album was called in to provide the howling Terrestrial Storybook. Epic had allowed Michael to
werewolves, creaky door hinges and footsteps, while take part in the project with two conditions: the first
the latter half of the song lent itself to a spoken word being that MCA Records didnt release the album until
verse from Vincent Price. after Thriller, and the second being that Someone In
Id always envisioned this talking section at the The Dark was not released as a single.
end and didnt really know what we were going MCA breached both conditions. They released the
to do with it, said Rod Temperton. But one thing album on 7th November 1982, three weeks before
Id thought about was to have somebody, a famous Thriller. Also, releasing the album just as The Girl Is
voice, somebody Mine was hitting its
known in the horror stride was regarded

the pool in a bathing suit accusing him of being the father of one of her twins
WHEN WE PLAYED THRILLER BACK, POP_UP According to Quincy Jones, Michael wrote Billie Jean about a girl
who had climbed over his wall, and he woke up and she was just laying by
genre, to do this as a calculated
vocal. Quincys move to mislead
then-wife, Peggy
SOME OF THE SONGS JUST DIDNT the general public
Lipton, knew WORK. THEY DIDNT FIT IN WITH THE into believing that
Vincent Price so track was on the
Quincy said to SEQUENCING OF THE RECORD E.T. album. They
me, How about if also serviced promo
we got Vincent Price? And I said, Wow, thatd be copies of Someone In The Dark to radio, earning
amazing if we could get him... them a $2 million lawsuit from Epic, who demanded
As well as Thriller, Rod had written a sensual ballad they withdraw the album from sale.
called The Lady In My Life and an irresistible dance Putting the E.T. debacle behind him, Michael
groove called Baby Be Mine. Both were included released Thriller the first album to be released
on the final tracklisting, along with Human Nature, simultaneously worldwide on November 30th
a ballad written by Totos Steve Porcaro with lyricist 1982. Though the record sold steadily over the
John Bettis; P.Y.T., written by Quincy and James Christmas period, its official launch began once Epics
Ingram and featuring Michaels sisters Janet and unprecedented marketing campaign began in 1983.
LaToya on backing vocals; and Beat It Michaels The release of Billie Jean in January 1983 proved
rock song, which featured a guitar solo from Eddie to be a true turning point in Michaels career. Having
Van Halen. considered himself an entertainer, as opposed to a
By October 1983, the Paul McCartney duet The singer or musician, he was excited by the format of
Girl Is Mine had been released as the albums first music video. Wanting to showcase his slick dance
single and the pressure was on to finish the album. moves, Michael enlisted Steve Barron to direct the
With the final tracklisting complete, each song was video, having been a big fan of Steves video for
remixed, one song per day, to ensure it was as The Human Leagues Dont You Want Me. He was
perfect as it could be. convinced that pop music was becoming a more

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d a
e a r
v li y
d 1
b 9
o 8
w 0i se

Jane Fonda presents


Jackson with his first
Triple Platimum awards
for Thriller in 1983

visual medium and wanted to be a part of pioneering singles and videos concurrently in order to keep the
that. I used to look at MTV, Michael told Jet momentum of the Thriller album going.
magazine. My brother Jackie would say, Michael, Once they played it, it set the all-time record,
you gotta see this channel. Oh, my God, its the best Michael said. Then they were asking me for
idea. They show music 24 hours a day! So I said, EVERYTHING we had. They were knocking our door
Let me see this. And Im watching it, Im seeing all down. Then Prince came, it opened the door for
this stuff going on and saying If only they could give Prince and all the other black artists.
this stuff some more entertainment value, more story, a As the new face of the video age, Michael had
little more dance, Im sure people would love it more. found a medium that enabled him to reach a wide
Instilling this into his Billie Jean clip, Michael was audience as a performer in the way his idols
confident it would stand out on the rock-based channel. Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown and Jackie
MTV said they dont play black artists, Michael Wilson had reached him. On March 25th 1983,
recalled. It broke my heart, but at the same time it he delivered what he called the performance of my
lit something. I was saying to myself, I have to do life during Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever,
something. I just refuse to be ignored. So yeah, they a celebration of the record labels 25th birthday.
said, We wont play Billie Jean. Performing Billie Jean, he donned his sequinned glove
Epic were furious at the way Michael was being and trilby hat and debuted the Moonwalk before a
treated by the global audience
channel at the time of well over 50
and were forced to Once they played Thriller, it set the million people.
use heavy-handed With Billie Jean
all-time recOrd. then prince came,
pop_up The budget for the Billie Jean video was so tight that only 11

tactics to get MTVs topping the charts


of the paving slabs could be rigged to light up, and Michaels brain-

it Opened the dOOr fOr prince and


wave of shop mannequins dancing into life had to be abandoned

policy on black both in the UK and


artists reversed. I the US and Beat
remember taking all the Other black artists It also in the Top
a red-eye to New 10, the Thriller
York and going to MTV with a rough cut of Billie Jean album did likewise, beginning a record 37-week
and MTV declining the video, recalls Ron Weisner, stint at the top of the US album chart. So confident
Michaels co-manager at the time. I sat down with that every track on the album was single-worthy, Epic
Walter Yetnikoff [head of CBS Records], and he told had devised a strategy for the album in which singles
MTV, This video is on by the end of the day or CBS were released every six to eight weeks, meaning that
Records isnt doing business with MTV anymore. The Michael always had at least one song in the Top 10.
record company played hardball and that was the By the end of 1983, Wanna Be Startin Somethin,
day that changed history. That was the video that P.Y.T. and Thriller had all been Top 10 hits, as had
broke the colour barrier. Say Say Say Michaels duet with Paul McCartney
The now iconic video in which paving stones and more Motown reissues, most notably Farewell
light up as Michael dances on them (a modern take My Summer Love, which reached No. 7. In the US,
on King Midas) went on to become MTVs most- Human Nature was also a single taking his tally of
played clip, closely followed by Beat It a grittier Top 10 hits to a record seven in a calendar year.
side of Michael which was intended as a statement At its peak, Thriller was selling over a million copies
on the gang warfare that was ruling the streets each week and had proved to be a shot in the arm
of Los Angeles at the time. CBS Vice President of for the struggling record business. Shipments were
Promotion Frank Dileo (who went on to become down 50 million units between 1980 and 1982, CBS
Michaels manager in 1984) suggested releasing two Records own profits were down 50% and sales

52

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Michael onstage in
Kansas, 1983

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Michael wears a
sequinned red leather
jacket to the opening of
the Dream Girls musical,
Los Angeles, 1983

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Motown
25
The show that launched a star
On March 25th 1983, the legendary Motown songs, before launching into his latest hit single.
roster gathered in Pasadena, California Once the song reached the bridge, Michael
to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launched into a dance break incorporating the
groundbreaking record label. Dressed in a world premiere of the Moonwalk, captivating the
sequinned jacket which belonged to his mother entire world.
along with a trilby, single sequinned glove, half- Choreographed by Shalamars Jeffrey
mast trousers, jewel-encrusted socks and loafers, Daniel, the move was already known among
Michael delivered a show-stealing performance breakdancers, but Michaels performance made it
which transformed his career, catapulting him his own, claiming it as his signature dance step.
from former child star to pop megastar. One of the things that touched me the most
I was at the studio editing Beat It, and about doing that was, after I did the performance
for some reason I happened to be at Motown Ill never forget. There was Marvin Gaye in
Studios doing it I had long left the company, the wings, and the Temptations and Smokey
were down over 15% for the year. As a result, major Michael told Ebony magazine. They were Robinson and my brothers, they were hugging
company-wide layoffs occurred in August, on a day getting ready to do something with the Motown me and kissing me and holding me. Richard
25th anniversary, and Berry Gordy came by and Pryor walked over to me and said, in a quiet
the company would remember as Black Friday.
asked me did I want to do the show, and I told voice, Now that was the greatest performance
On the first day we started Thriller, Quincy walked
him no. I said no because the Thriller thing, I was Ive ever seen. These were people who, when
in followed by me and Michael and Rod Temperton building and creating something I was planning I was a little boy in Indiana, I used to listen to.
and some of the other people, recalls sound engineer to do, and he said, But its the anniversary Marvin Gaye, The Temptations to have them
Bruce Swedien. Quincy turned to us and he said, So this is what I said to him. I said, I will do it, bestow that kind of appreciation on me, I was
Okay guys, were here to save the recording industry. but the only way Ill do it is if you let me do one just honoured. Then the next day, Fred Astaire
Now thats a pretty big responsibility but he meant song thats not a Motown song. He said, What calls and said, I watched it last night, and I taped
what he said. is it? I said, Billie Jean. He said, OK, fine. it, and I watched it again this morning. Youre
As soon as the album had slipped from the top spot, I said, Youll really let me do Billie Jean? He a hell of a mover. You put the audience on their
Michael began calling Walter Yetnikoff, often in the said, Yeah. ASS last night! That was my reward.
Taking to the stage with his brothers for Watched by an estimated 55 million people
middle of the night, with suggestions of how to get the
a Jackson 5 medley, Michael was left alone worldwide, in entertainment terms, the Motown
record back to No. 1. By now the king of MTV, Michael
onstage lamenting the good old days, before 25 Billie Jean performance was every bit as
wanted to up the ante on his videos even further. proclaiming that most of all I like the new significant as Neil Armstrongs own moon walk.
Enlisting Hollywood director John Landis, fresh
from success with An American Werewolf In London,
Michael envisioned Thriller as a short film rather than a
video and devised a plot with a storyline that saw him
transforming into a werewolf by incorporating state-
of-the-art special effects and intricate choreography.
Costing over $500,000 to make, the clip was
premiered worldwide on December 2nd 1983 on
MTV before being released as a VHS with a making-of
documentary. The Making Of Michael Jacksons Thriller
was a huge money-spinner, selling over 10 million
copies. It was the perfect ending to the most brilliantly
executed album campaign in history.
While he had been snubbed at the Grammys in
1980 after Off The Wall, it was incomprehensible
that, at a ceremony voted for by the record industry,
a record that had almost singlehandedly revived
said industry would not receive top honours. Michael
and Quincy were rewarded for their remarkable
achievements with a haul of eight awards seven
for Thriller and Best Childrens Recording for The E.T.
Storybook, which, as Michael said in his acceptance
speech, meant the most to him out of all the awards.
While Thriller has established Michael Jackson as
the biggest pop star in the world, his monumental
success was not without its pitfalls. Away from the
spotlight, he lived a hermit-like existence, battling with
crippling shyness and self-esteem issues. The vitiligo
that had started on his right hand (the reason he

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e a r l y 1 9 8 0 s

Michael and
brother Randy are
photographed by
Andy Warhol

started wearing his trademark glove) was beginning and then sold them in blocks of four. Michael was
to spread elsewhere on his body, and a nose job furious and announced a press conference in which
had marked the beginning of what would become a he denounced the scheme and pledged all of his
fascination with plastic surgery. proceeds from the tour to charity. He was also
In a rare interview for a cover story for Rolling Stone unhappy that a decade-long sponsorship deal with
magazine Michael complained of the devastating Pepsi had been struck to help finance the tour and
loneliness he felt, painting a particularly bleak picture he would have to appear in ads for the soft drinks
of his life away from the spotlight. He claimed that his giant, despite following a strict healthy diet and never
pet snake and llamas were his closest companions, drinking it himself.
revealed he talked to statues and mannequins in his It was while filming one of those ads that an
home, and said he wandered the streets alone at accident occurred that would have a profound effect
night in pursuit of conversation only to find that people on Michaels life. While filming a performance
were unable to talk or relate to him as they would a sequence, a firework exploded and set fire to
neighbour or an everyday person. A love life was Michaels hair, causing third degree burns to his
also virtually nonexistent, with rumoured girlfriends scalp. He was rushed to the Cedars Sinai Hospital (he
Brooke Shields and Tatum ONeal proving to be more was photographed on a stretcher waving to fans with
companions than lovers. his trademark sequinned glove on as he was put in an
He was also ambulance), before
feeling increasingly being transferred
isolated on account Michael coMplained of the for treatment
of the fact that he at the Brotman
wasnt as close to
devastating loneliness he felt, Medical Centre a
his brothers as he painting a bleak picture of his life specialist burns
once had been and facility where
caused feverish chaos: there were reports of people stealing

was increasingly away froM the spotlight he underwent


newspapers from front lawns to obtain the coupons inside
pop_up The initial ticketing strategy for the Victory tour

pressured to record a series of


new material as a member of The Jacksons. Michael painful procedures including the painful ballooning
agreed to appear on the Victory album and had technique. The accident had a catastrophic effect on
writing credits on three tracks, one of which, State Of Michael, not only in terms of his self-confidence, but
Shock, was originally a planned duet with Freddie also in that it marked the beginning of his alleged
Mercury. As Freddies schedule didnt permit him time dependency on painkillers.
to finish the song, his part was sung by Mick Jagger Upon his recovery, Michael returned to the Brotman
instead. Although it was talked-up as the reunion of all hospital to donate the $1.5 million compensation
six Jackson brothers back together (Jermaine had left he received from Pepsi for the accident. He also
the group in 1975 and returned for the Motown 25 went into the studio to contribute guest vocals to
performance), the group could not have been more his childhood friend (and son of Motown founder
fragmented, with most tracks being solo tracks and Berry Gordy), Kennedy Rockwell Gordys debut
duets under the Jacksons banner. single, Somebodys Watching Me. He also once
Despite the general unrest behind the scenes, a again worked on various aspects of the Victory Tour,
tour was announced, with Michael an unwilling including offering his input to the staging, lighting,
participant. The tour was hit by negative press after choreography and costume design.
promoter Don King concocted a venture to make Once underway, the five-month tour only served
more money on ticket sales by charging fans a fee to magnify the tensions and acrimony between
to enter a lottery to be able to purchase tickets, Michael and his brothers, with Michael travelling

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Michael and Brooke


en route to a party
after the Grammys
in 1984, in which he
won eight awards

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Michael at an
event with Donna
Summer in 1982

to concerts on a private jet and staying in separate Michaels home studio, and the result was We Are
hotels from them, keeping interaction at a minimum. The World. Recorded on January 28th in a 10-hour
Despite the tours name, the setlist contained no recording session in Los Angeles after the American
songs from the Victory album as Michael, according Music Awards, We Are The World was a surprisingly
to Marlon Jackson, refused to rehearse or perform smooth-running project, given the magnitude of the
them. Instead, 60% of the tour setlist was made up of stars involved. The single was mixed and released on
Michaels solo material not surprising, considering March 7th 1985, eventually going on to sell in excess
he had just scored the biggest-selling album in history. of 20 million copies and becoming one the biggest-
Despite the backstage tensions, the slick show selling singles in history, raising over $65 million which
was a hit with fans, who were treated to Michaels went towards famine aid in Africa and hunger projects
record-breaking hits live for the first time as well as in the US. Michael went on the record saying it was
some Jacksons classics. On top of that the show itself one of the achievements of which he was most proud,
was a spectacle, combining a mammoth stage set, and that it was the blueprint for him setting up his
a huge lighting own foundation and
rig and dazzling countless charitable
where Richie was startled by an enormous snake that had been hiding behind
costumes designed MICHAEL HAD ECLIPSED THE FAME HE endeavours. POP_UP Lionel Richie co-wrote We Are The World in Michaels bedroom,
by celebrated
costumier Bill
HAD ACHIEVED WITH HIS BROTHERS By the mid-
Eighties, Jackson
the records. It took me two hours to calm my ass back down, he said

Whitten, who AND WAS NOW REGARDED AS THE had established


Michael had himself as the
worked closely with BIGGEST POP STAR IN THE WORLD biggest-selling
since he designed artist in the world,
his military-inspired sequinned jacket for the Grammys renowned for making records to break records. As
earlier that year. he retreated into his Hayvenhurst Estate, far from
On the final night of the tour in Los Angeles, Michael the gaze of the public spotlight (with the exception
announced to the sell-out crowd that they were of a rare trip to the UK in which he virtually shut
witnessing his final show as part of The Jacksons, much down central London when he unveiled a waxwork
to the shock of his brothers, who had hoped to take of himself at Madame Tussauds), the notoriously
the Victory Tour to Europe. Michael had eclipsed the competitive Michael was already hard at work on his
fame he had achieved with his brothers and was now next album once again hoping to rule the world.
regarded as the biggest pop star in the world, which His biggest problem would be how to accomplish
is why he was the number one choice for a pair of that goal while fighting a growing compulsion to hide
activists who were keen to get him on board a project from it all.
that would change the world.
After the show, Michael met with singer/songwriter
and activist Harry Belafonte and Lionel Richies LISTEN UP! <<<
Now hear our selection of
manager Ken Krager, who were keen to produce
Michaels best tracks from the early
a US version of Band Aid and asked Michael and Eighties. Stream the playlist
Lionel if they would write a song, to be produced at: http://spoti.fi/29yBNNm
by Quincy Jones. Work commenced immediately in

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CPP03.Jackson Early 80s.To Print.indd 58 18/07/2016 10:06


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CPP03.House Ad Ali. To Print.indd 59 15/07/2016 12:31


C O L L A B O R A T I O N S

JACKSON WITH...
FREDDIE MERCURY MICHAEL JACKSON AND FREDDIE MERCURY WERE TWO OF THE
GREATS OF THE 1980S. BUT THEIR COLLABORATION WOULD
TAKE SOME 30 YEARS TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY
D A V E S T E I N F E L D

O
n the surface, they would appear to (and Victory never did), nearly two years ago now,
have had little in common. Michael the songs were hardly new; the two that did see the
Jackson was the second youngest son light of day had been released decades earlier in
of a large, black, working-class family other versions. The sentimental ballad There Must
from Gary, Indiana -- the heart of the Be More To Life Than This was in fact written all the
American midwest; Freddie Mercury, by contrast, was way back in 1981, ostensibly for Queens Hot Space
half a generation older, the son of well-to-do parents, album. It didnt make the cut -- which is probably
and a resident of the UK by way of Zanzibar and just as well considering that Hot Space was a foray
India. But dig a little deeper and the two had more in into full-on dance-pop that got a lukewarm reception
common than you might think. at best. But There Must Be More did appear on
For one thing, Michael and Freddie were both Freddies 1985 solo effort, Mr Bad Guy.
gifted singers and entertainers -- two men who Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger
hearkened back to a time when you could be a pop Taylor (bassist John Deacon went MIA years ago)
star and an artist (these days, the two are all but found the old tracks and set to work restoring them in
mutually exclusive). They were both among the best 2013. At the time, Taylor told Classic Rock magazine,
and most flamboyant showmen in music but offstage Theyve been hanging around for years and years
both were known to be on the quiet side, with few and Michaels estate havent really been able to
close friends. They were both guarded about their make their mind up about what to do with them. So
sexuality, and both became enormously successful, we suggested we finish them and see. Theyre pretty
known the world over. good; one of them is great. The resulting reworked
It was back in 1983 that Michael Jackson and track -- now a duet with Michael -- was included on
Freddie Mercury first got together to collaborate on a the double-disc compilation Queen Forever, which
trio of songs: There Must Be More To Life Than This, arrived in November 2014.
State Of Shock, and Victory. But for various reasons, Taylor and May enlisted noted producer and remix
it would take more than 30 years for anything to specialist William Orbit to put the finishing touches
actually be released. When they did finally surface on this new version of There Must Be More. The result

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was an even more dramatic version of a song that and was blown away. They kept in touch and a few
was already pretty dramatic. In a statement in 2014, years later, Michael invited Freddie to his Encino,
Orbit said, Hearing Michael Jacksons vocals was California house for work and play.
stirring. So vivid, so cool and poignant, it was like he As Freestone recalls, We arrived at the house,
was in the studio singing live. With Freddies vocal having passed a security tower at the gate. We got
solo on the mixing desk, my appreciation for his gift out of the car at a mock Tudor mansion, bricks at the
was taken to an even higher level. lower level, white stucco and wooden beams above.
In the new version, which is only three minutes in Michael came to greet us with a big smile, obviously
length, Freddie and Michael trade lines against an proud of his house. Before we could go in, he insisted
almost church-like musical backdrop, and there is a we accompany him on a tour. Ill never forget Freddie
very Queen-esque synth string break about two third Mercury walking through mud, wearing white jeans
of the way through the song. But in contrast to the and white tennis shoes, talking to llamas! We were
dramatic arrangement, the message and lyric is pretty shown all the animals and taken down to a pond
simple: There must be more to life than killing/ A where Michael had swans. Michael had a real love
better way for us to survive/ Why should it be just for these animals and birds; they were part of his
a case of black or white/ There must be more to life family, as Freddies friends were part of his.
than this. There Must Be More is essentially a plea Freestone also remembers their work together in
for tolerance and peace. Michaels voice definitely Michaels studio. The work comprised of a Michael
provides added meaning to lines like, Why should track, State Of Shock, which only needed another
it be just a case of black or white -- even if that line vocal, which Freddie happily provided, he writes.
was actually written by Freddie. The next was a Freddie piece he was just working
In contrast, State Of Shock -- the other song on at this time [this being There Must Be More To Life
that was unveiled in 2014, via YouTube -- is not a Than This]. Freddie sat at the piano and let Michael
message song at all but a guitar-based riff-rocker try the singing. Where there were no words written
with ultra-simple lyrics that runs nearly five minutes Freddie told Michael to ad-lib, which he did with
in length. Not all songs have to be deep, however, words about love Work was started on a third
and whatever State Of Shock may lack in gravitas it track with a working title Victory [but] there was
makes up for with groove. Michaels rendition with only one technician in the studio [and] there were no
Freddie doesnt differ all that significantly from the instruments set up and no musicians.
version that he and Mick Jagger scored a hit with He adds, The studio was a place of work for both
in 1984. The song made it to No. 14 in the UK Freddie and Michael, but watching them you could
and all the way to No. 3 Stateside and was also also imagine two children in a play room. Both of
included on The Jacksons Victory album. In a 1984 them would throw their hands in the air and burst out
interview, Freddie explained that though they started laughing when either of them made a mistake -- but it
recording all three songs in 1983, scheduling conflicts really was a serious business too. Thinking back now
made it difficult for them to complete them. Michael to this time watching these two masters of their craft
apparently wanted to get State Of Shock out and in together in one place putting this music together gives
fact asked Freddie (who was recording in Munich at me goose bumps.
the time) if he would be okay with Jagger singing his
part on the duet. Fine, was Freddies response. A
songs a song. As long as our friendship carries on, LITTLE WONDER
we can write all kinds of songs.
Some people say that scheduling conflicts werent
KING AND QUEEN OF THE DECADE
the only reason the songs werent finished, however. The year 1980 was a landmark year for both Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury.
Although Michael unveiled his breakthrough album Off The Wall during the latter half of
Bubbles, Michaels chimpanzee and best friend,
1979, it truly caught fire in the new decade. The album, which was co-produced by Quincy
may have also played a part in the delay. In 2014, Jones, established Michael as a solo artist in his own right. He was no longer a little boy,
the Daily Mail reported that Freddie didnt exactly no longer just a member of The Jackson 5. Off the Wall produced four top 10 smashes
warm to Bubbles being in the studio at all times. Dont Stop Til You Get Enough, Rock With You, Shes Out of My Life and the title track
Writer David Wigg, who was a friend of the Queen and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.
frontman, said, Freddie got very angry because Similarly, the 1980s began on a high note for Queen. That summer, they released
Michael made Bubbles sit between them and would The Game, which also spun off a series of singles that showcased the writing of various
turn to the chimp between takes and ask, Dont you members of the band. Though drastically different stylistically, Freddie Mercurys rockabilly
think that was lovely? or, Do you think we should rave-up Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Brian Mays dramatic ballad Save Me and John
do that again? After a few days of this, Freddie just Deacons pop-disco concoction Another One Bites The Dust which sported a memorable
bass line heavily inspired by Chics Good Times all became big hits.
exploded. He phoned his manager and told him to
Get me out of this zoo.
Indeed, Freddies manager Jim Miami Beach
told NME that Michael even brought a llama into
the studio at one point. Mercury rang me and
said, Miami, dear, can you get over here? Youve
got to get me out of here; Im recording with a
llama, said Beach.
Some of the best memories of Michael and
Freddies work together were provided by Peter
Freestone, the latters former personal assistant and
author of the 2001 biography Freddie Mercury.
Freestone says they met for the first time in 1980
-- a banner year for both musicians -- when Michael
showed up to see Queen perform in Los Angeles

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WHOS
HAVING ACHIEVED SUCCESS
AND WEALTH BEYOND HIS
WILDEST DREAMS, BY 1985
THE THRILL WAS GONE AND
MICHAEL WAS FORCED TO
COMPETE WITH A NEW
CROP OF POP SUPERSTARS
THOUGH ULTIMATELY HIS
GREATEST COMPETITION
CAME FROM THE MAN IN
THE MIRROR
M A R K L I N D O R E S

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d a
l a tv ei d1 9
b 8
o0ws i e

having
dominated the music world by creating the music publishing, Paul McCartney told the BBC in
biggest-selling album in history, Michael an interview in 1989. It does very well and its a
Jackson was to discover that unrivalled rewarding business for a musician to be in because
success and wealth brought a whole other set its music its what we do, its songs.
of problems. By the time he began work on Then a couple of weeks later we were chatting
the follow-up to Thriller, the pop landscape and he said, Im gonna buy your songs. And I just
was vastly different to what it had been last time brushed it off. Then a week later he said it again, and
round, and following his own meteoric success, he I just thought he was kidding. Then a couple of weeks
had inadvertently created the biggest challenge he later someone rang me up and told me hed bought
had ever faced. Northern Songs.
As a groundbreaking artist in the formative years Although it was a clever business move, Michaels
of MTV, he had played a huge role in creating the purchase of the ATV Music Publishing catalogue in
blueprint for the modern day pop megastars that 1985 for $47 million was the trigger for a vitriolic
ruled the decade. By the time he began laying the backlash against him, with the press inaccurately
groundwork for Bad in late 1985, the art of the pop reporting that Michael had used underhand tactics
blockbuster album had been perfected by a host of to buy the rights over Paul. In actual fact, Michael
acts such as Madonna, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and had ensured that both Paul and Yoko Ono werent
Whitney Houston all of whom had produced multi- planning on buying the publishing rights before
pop_up In 1995, Jackson merged his music catalogue with Sony for a
reported 59 million, retaining half ownership. In 2006 its believed his

million selling albums each spawning a string of hit he began bidding on them. The purchase helped
share went down to 25% after borrowing 186 million from the deal

singles with their own iconic videographies. make Michael one of the most powerful figures
By the end of 1985, Michael was beginning to in the entertainment business, and certainly the
feel the heat from his pop peers and began sowing most powerful African-American figure, something
the seeds of an album which he intended to usurp which was still a bone of contention with industry
them all, an album which, he constantly reminded heavyweights at that time.
himself (by writing the number on every mirror in his When we announced the acquisition of The
home) he wanted to sell over 100 million copies of. Beatles catalogue, there seemed to be a feeling
It had been three years since Thriller was released that Michael didnt have the right to be a savvy
and, in the intervening years, he had focused on the businessman, Michaels attorney John Branca told
enormous wealth that album had brought him. The Spike Lee for the Bad 25 documentary. It was
album had earned him millions of dollars and Michael a misconception that Michael went behind Paul
sought the help of a team of business managers, McCartneys back to bid on the catalogue. That
headed by attorney John Branca, to help ensure he was absolutely not the case. Johns comments were
invest the money wisely. supported by McCartney, who said that his problem
Back in 1982, while recording with Paul was not with Michael buying the ownership to The
McCartney, Michael expressed an interest in music Beatles songs, but with the way he used them.
publishing after the former Beatle had acquired a He bought that company, which was up for sale,
repertoire of titles including Buddy Hollys catalogue theres nothing wrong with that, but there are a
and a vast selection of Broadway musicals. lot of things I dont like about the way he runs the
While we were working together he took me aside company, Paul said. Its the commerciality of the
and said hed like some advice, and as I was quite songs that I dont like. The Beatles turned down a lot
a bit older than him I felt big brotherly so I said to of lucrative offers from soft drinks companies etcetera
him, from a business perspective, you should look at to use our songs because we felt that our songs

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By
late 1985
Michael Began
sowing the seeds
of an alBuM to usurp
all pop BlockBusters.
he wanted to sell
100 Million

Jackson on
stage in
Japan, 1987

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Michael at Madison
Square Garden on the
Bad Tour, March 5 1988

meant something to people and when they get used you and they touch you and sometimes it just gets
commercially like that it spoils them and thats crazy and out of control.
whats happening now, Revolution was used by Nike Michaels desire for privacy was such that he
to sell sneakers, Panasonic is All You Need Is Love announced that he imposed a ban on press interviews
and Good Day Sunshine is Oreo cookies these days. after claiming to have had his words taken out of
Thats what Im not too wild about. context in the past and been misquoted, leading to
The fact that Michael was seen to be cheapening a deep mistrust of the media. However, the decision
the legacy of The Beatles was just another factor for to withdraw from public life and his refusal to do any
the vicious backlash that Michael was at the centre press interviews backfired in a grand fashion.
of at the time. Despite making him more wealthy than Instead of enabling him to take control of his
he could ever have imagined, Thriller had become public image, as he had thought, his quirks and
an album-come-albatross, delivering an unbelievable eccentricities were amplified and exaggerated by
amount of pressure on Michael to follow it up, and a media eager to feed the voracious appetite of
bringing him a level of fame that had left its scandal-hungry readership. Desperate
him feeling more trapped and isolated for information about the reclusive
than ever before, forcing him to superstar, the press, abiding by
lead a hermit-like existence on
his California ranch.
WHEREVER the tried-and-tested tabloid rule
of never letting facts (or lack
He had become an I GO I DISGUISE of) get in the way of a good
untouchable figure and story, if Michael wasnt going
MYSELF NOW. PEOPLE
was an experienced record exec who also had roles in five movies
including Waynes World, Goodfellas and Michaels Moonwalker

risked aliening his fanbase, to tell his story, they would


POP_UP Jacksons manager from 1984 to 1989, Frank DiLeo,

who were patiently waiting make one up, painting him


for new material, but were
REALLY GO CRAZY. THEY as a reclusive oddball with
only getting the occasional FEEL AS IF THEY KNOW little grasp of reality.
glimpse of an idol they Dubbing him Wacko
were finding increasingly YOU. SOMETIMES Jacko, they went to town on
unfamiliar, as he was spotted him reporting sensationalist
either wearing elaborate IT GETS OUT OF headlines including rumours
disguises or with his face covered
by a surgical mask as he left stores,
CONTROL of Michael having a shrine to
Elizabeth Taylor in his home, living
cinemas and theme parks, all of which with a menagerie of animals, sleeping
he had open specifically for him to ensure he in a hyperbaric chamber, trying to buy
wasnt bothered by over-excited fans, an experience the bones of the Elephant Man and developing an
he found increasingly traumatic. addiction to plastic surgery.
Wherever I go I disguise myself, now, Michael Michael himself was not blame-free for the image
admitted to interviewer Molly Meldrum. People the tabloids had created of him. He had occasionally
really go crazy. Theyre very happy to see you. They been known to feed stories to the press which
feel as if they know you. You have to respond back to purported him to be slightly eccentric, but his refusal
them like you know them. to co-operate with the media granted them license to
They feel they personally know you, he added. print whatever stories they liked, however detrimental.
My pictures on their walls, you know, my music is Any official word from the Jackson camp now came
playing in their house, so they grab you and they hug via his new, cigar-smoking manager/minder,

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WHOS
THE WORD IS OUT
Key Recordings: 1987-1989 July 1988, and the Bad
Tour hits Wembley Arena
for four nights

BAD
EPIC, 1987
Frank DiLeo, whose relationship with Michael through
Bad was written by Michael as a possible
these years bore a strong resemblance to that of
face-off between himself and Prince: the pair Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley. DiLeo later shot
harboured an intense rivalry throughout the down the rumours during a live satellite link-up to the
Eighties. A meeting at which they were both Terry Wogan show from Wembley Stadium in 1988
present took place to discuss the duet, though to promote the Bad Tour.
little discussion actually took place. In 1993, I know those stories hurt Michael and they hurt
Prince claimed in an interview that his mind was me, he said. They are completely untrue and are
made up as soon as he saw the first line of the only around because Michael has refused to speak to
song, Your butt is mine. I wasnt singing that these publications. Its disgusting what lies they can
to him, and he sure as hell wasnt singing it to
get away with printing.
me, he said.
As well as the mauling Michael was getting in
the press everyday, he was also deeply unhappy at
home. His relationship with his father and brothers
was still acrimonious following Michaels refusal
THE WAY YOU to continue the Victory Tour to Europe and he had
MAKE ME FEEL
angered the Jehovahs Witnesses with the Thriller
EPIC, 1987
video, losing a support network he had relied on
An infectious groove, The Way You Make Me heavily in the past.
Feel was written at the request of Michaels
As the madness swirled, Michael was ensconced
mother Katherine who said he had never
recorded anything based on a shuffle rhythm. in his California estate channelling his anger and
Complete with Michaels trademark whoops and frustration into songs for his next album. Feeling the
yelps, it remains one of his most exhilarating pressure living up to the blockbuster behemoth that
and feel-good songs. He performed the song was Thriller, Michael was understandably daunted at
at the 1988 Grammys along with Man In The the prospect of following it up.
Mirror, together with an astounding dance I remember being in Hong Kong with Michael after
performance in which he recreated the video Thriller and I said to him, You know, Michael, theres
complete with the original dancers. a lot of pressure, maybe you should think about doing
a covers album of songs that inspired you people
like Jackie Wilson or James Brown, John Branca
MAN IN THE MIRROR says. Just go a little left of centre so you dont
EPIC, 1988 feel like you have to compete with yourself and
After We Are The World had given Michael Michael looked at me like I was from Mars, because
a taste for big, anthemic ballads with a he thrived on that pressure. He thrived on pushing
social message, he shelved the song he himself and everyone around him.
had earmarked for Bad when he heard this Michael wrote over 60 songs for the album on the
emotional masterpiece written by his I Just advice of Quincy Jones, who had suggested Michael
Cant Stop Loving You duet partner Siedah take control of writing the songs, having been
Garrett and Glenn Ballard. Yet another US No.
shocked by the progression in Michaels songwriting
1, the song unbelievably only reached No. 21 in
in the interim years, since the Thriller sessions.
the UK singles chart upon release, only hitting
its No. 2 peak in 2009 after Michaels death. By the time we started work on the record, Michael
had been in the studio working out ideas and stuff
and had hundreds of tapes, Quincy said. I said to
him to write all of the tunes this time because I

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The Bad Tour reaches the


Meadowlands Arena in New
Jersey in October 1988

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Above: Los Angeles, November


13. Opposite page: Madison
Square Garden, March 1

could see him growing both as a songwriter and your thing, and hes genius enough to stay out of
in his understanding of production. He wrote two the way of the music, and if theres an element to be
and half songs on Off The Wall, four on Thriller. And added, hell add it. And he hears these little things.
when it came to doing Bad, I told him its time to go Like, for instance, Ill come up with this bass lick,
against all the publicity and walk into the eye of the and the melody, and the whole composition. But in
fire and tell the truth about everything. He eventually listening, hell add something, a nice riff or something
wrote nine songs for Bad and five of those went on to to make it complete.
be No. 1 records. Unlike previous instances, with the material written
However, just as Michael was finding his groove in-house, Quincy didnt need to wade through
with the new material, a distraction arose in the form thousands of songs which were submitted to the
of an offer from the Disney Corporation, who were album as Michael had written everything.
working with Francis Ford Coppola and George With Thriller we would work on a track and then
Lucas to create a state-of-the-art 3D film to be shown wed meet at his house, play what we worked
exclusively in the Disneyland/World theme on, and he would say, Let it talk to you.
parks and wanted Michael to star in it. Id go, OK Hed say, If the song
A huge fan of Disney and Star needs something, itll tell you. Let it
Wars, Michael jumped at the WORKING talk to you.
chance and agreed to star Michael said, With this
in the film and perform two WITH QUINCY album Ive learned to do that.
new songs. As with the ET The key to being a wonderful
Storybook project, which AGAIN WAS A writer is not to write. You just
first 4D films a 3D movie which also uses theatre effects such
POP_UP Disneys Captain EO movie is regarded as one of the

coincided with Thriller,


WONDERFUL THING. get out of the way Leave
as smoke and lasers, synchronised with the frames of the film

Michael was allowed to room for God to walk in the


take part on the condition HES GENIUS ENOUGH room. I dont take credit
the songs werent released for anything. I wake up
as singles before Michaels TO STAY OUT OF THE from dreams and go Wow,
new album. The film, Captain put this down on paper. The
EO, with Michael in the starring WAY OF THE MUSIC whole thing is strange. You
role, lasted only 17 minutes but, hear the words, everything is
with a cost of over $20 million, it right there in front of your face. And
was the most expensive time-to-money you say to yourself, Im sorry, I just
film in history. As well as the film, Michael didnt write this. Its there already. I feel that
was a consultant on a ride for the theme parks based somewhere, someplace, its been done and Im just a
on the film. courier bringing it into the world. I do believe that.
After shooting finished, Michael was back in Among the first batch of songs completed for the
popstar mode. He and Quincy set up camp once album were Another Part Of Me, which was featured
again in Californias Westlake Studios, the creative in the Captain EO film; I Just Cant Stop Loving You,
hub where Off The Wall and Thriller were both which Michael intended as a duet with Whitney
recorded. Initial suggestions suggested that their old Houston; and Smooth Criminal, which Michael had
magic was still very much in evidence. envisioned to be the albums title track and first single.
Working with Quincy again was such a wonderful However, record company president Walter Yetnikoff,
thing, Michael said. He lets you experiment, do who was devising a meticulous release strategy

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WHOS
THE SOUND OF A CRESCENDO
Key Recordings: 1988-1989
The last five Bad
Tour dates took place
in Los Angeles in
January 1989

DIRTY DIANA
EPIC, 1988
for the album, refused to allow that title due to the
After flirting with rock on Beat It, Michael
negative connotations it conjured up.
decided to go even further down that route, With the music business pervaded by a sense
eschewing the formers dance beat and going of seriousness post-Live Aid and the advent of rap
full-on rock complete with screaming guitar solo making its mark in mainstream culture, a brief to give
courtesy of Billy Idols guitarist Steve Stevens, Michael a tough sound and a tough image resulted
for the tale of a professional groupie. in Bad being chosen as the new title track. The song
During his UK leg of the Bad Tour, Michael was written by Michael as a riposte to his critics,
dropped the song from the set for his third and Quincy Jones orchestrated a meeting between
Wembley gig out of respect for Princess Diana, Michael and arch-rival Prince with a view to recording
who was seated in the audience that night with
the song as a duet. A fractious meeting with muted
Prince Charles.
responses and awkward glances ensued before Prince
declined the offer, telling Michael the song will be a
hit without me on it.
The Prince duet wasnt the only planned
SMOOTH CRIMINAL collaboration for Bad to fall through. Whitney
EPIC, 1988
Houston was due to sing I Just Cant Stop Loving You
Opening with a Synclavier sample of Michaels with Michael but as Bad had fallen behind schedule
heartbeat, the tension of the song is palpable and was now due out in the summer of 1987 instead
from the outset, before breaking into an
of January as originally planned, it would now
aggressive rock/R&B hybrid, with a menacing
vocal which was worlds apart from the boy- clash with the release of Whitneys own second
next-door pop which people were expecting. album, so Arista boss Clive Davis vetoed the idea
This was one of the first songs Michael wrote to keep Whitney exclusive and prevent her being
for the Bad album; Quincy Jones was not a fan overexposed. Also, studio time with Run DMC to
of the song and tried to dissuade Michael from create an anti-crack track came to nothing.
including it on the album, to no avail. It wasnt just aesthetically that Michael was
to toughen up, it was also sonically. Michaels
songwriting embodied the frustration, anger and pain
he felt at the hands of his family and at the press
and with an expanded vocal range due to work
LEAVE ME ALONE with vocal coach Seth Riggs, he was able to convey
EPIC, 1989 those emotions. His voice had changed to include
Taking its name from a key scene in The a more raspy and bluesy quality, perfect for both
Elephant Man, Leave Me Alone was the first rocky moments such as Dirty Diana, the deeper, more
time Michael addressed the press constant sinister-sounding Speed Demon, the uplifting gospel
scrutiny of his life and how hurtful he found it anthem Man In The Mirror and the albums angriest
a subject he would explore further on record moment, Leave Me Alone, a song which was included
later on Why You Wanna Trip On Me, Scream as a bonus track on the CD version of the album. It
and Tabloid Junkie. One of the strongest songs
was also these blues and gospel inflections that led
on the album, the song was only available on
to one of Michaels vocal trademarks pronouncing
the CD version of Bad until it was released as
the eighth single in February 1989. Come On as Shamone in tribute to gospel legend
Mavis Staples.
Already behind schedule, Michael once again left
the album recording to shoot an extended video

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Michael at Meadowlands
performing This Place Hotel,
the only Jacksons song used
on both tour legs

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BAD OR MAD?The nickname that went too far


From early on in his career Michael was regarded him after he was burned during the filming of
as an eccentric, even though the claims were a Pepsi ad, the story became that he slept in it
largely baseless and founded on the fact that he every night believing it would enable him to live
was cripplingly shy and soft-spoken. to be 150 years old. That image opened the
However, as his fame reached a level that floodgates of the weird and wonderful tales of
rendered it virtually impossible to lead any Wacko Jacko.
semblance of a normal life, Michaels withdrawal He was said to have tried to buy the remains
from the public eye only served to accentuate his of real-life Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, had
Wembley Arena, eccentricities and stories began to surface in the a shrine to Elizabeth Taylor in his home, was
July 3 1988 tabloid press on an almost daily basis painting constantly having more and more plastic surgery
him as a reclusive figure, with little grasp on the in a bid to look like Diana Ross, had adopted
real world. Bubbles the Chimpanzee as his substitute child,
The stories had begun in earnest in the early ate flowers, believed he was Peter Pan, and so
for Smooth Criminal in February 1987. After the Eighties when Michael fanned the flames of on, with Michaels silence on the subject only
process had eaten up two months of studio time (the the press construction of the fictional figure seeming to give credence to the stories.
dubbed Wacko Jacko, when the Jackson While doubtless very hurtful, these stories
video became Michaels feature film Moonwalker),
camp deliberately fed stories to the press paled into insignificance when Michaels
Quincy summoned Michael back to the studio to finish
or manipulated situations with the intent of treatment at the hands of the press became
the album. It had already been delayed from January enhancing Michaels strange persona, seeing it as merciless and inhuman following the child abuse
to August and couldnt possibly be postponed any a PR coup that he was landing on the front pages allegations, with Michael likening his fame to
further, as the Bad World Tour was scheduled to kick with minimum effort. being in a prison.
off in September. However, the game took a sinister twist Im not a wacko, he said. That came from
With over 30 complete songs to choose from, as, annoyed that Michael had refused to give the English tabloids. Dont call me Wacko Jacko,
Michael and Quincy sat down to decide on Bads interviews or speak to the press to refute stories, Im a human being and I have feelings and it
final tracklist a process which highlighted the the tabloid press tried to goad him into doing just hurts me when they say that. Stop it.
differences in Michael and Quincys eventual vision that by making the stories more sensationalist In 1988, he attempted to set the record
and bizarre. straight about the tabloid rumours, his childhood
for the album.
After Michael posed in a hyperbaric chamber and his relationships with the publication of his
We had 33 songs and it was time to cut it down to
in the burns centre of the hospital that treated autobiography Moonwalk.
the final tracklist, Quincy says. The relationship with
a producer and an artist is really special. And theres
no room for BS at all. Its got to be pure. Its got to
be love and respect and amazing mutual respect for
each other because thats what makes a good record.
When they trust each other, and you tell them to
jump without a net, boy, you better know what youre
talking about.
In the end, the result was the album Michael
had envisaged. Using the latest studio technology,
most notably the Synclavier sound system which
was utilised extensively on the album, giving it a
hi-tech, polished sound. I think Bad is the most
definitive expression of Michaels craft, says Greg
Phillinganes, Michaels longstanding keyboard player.
Bad showed off his solo artistry because Michael
was more involved production-wise and songwriting-
wise. Yes, he worked with Quincy, but it was not quite
as much as Off The Wall and Thriller. You saw the
transition of Michael becoming more of a solo force
behind the scenes and away from the Jacksons.
As he had done with The Girl Is Mine and Thriller,
Michael launched Bad with a ballad, this time I
Just Cant Stop Loving You, recorded as a duet with
Siedah Garrett in July 1987. A gentle testing-of-the-
waters before the onslaught of the Bad single, album
and video, the song hit No. 1 around the world,
despite a lukewarm critical reception.
Bad was unleashed on August 31st with a TV
special, Michael Jackson: The Magic Returns,

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during which the full 18-minute short film of Bad, of selling 100 million copies or match the sales of
directed by Martin Scorsese, was premiered following Thriller (35 years later no other album has either),
a short montage of Michaels previous videos and Bads success should not be underestimated. Its
news footage of Michaelmania. The video became sales tally is currently estimated to be between 45-50
a global talking point, not only due to its mesmeric million and the album was the first to produce five
storyline and its superb choreography, but also for US No. 1 singles (it was the only album to do so until
Michaels increasingly altered appearance due to Katy Perrys Teenage Dream in 2009).
plastic surgery. With his noticeably thinner nose, Critics, who loved Michaels bold new sound,
reshaped chin and lighter skin tone (later revealed unanimously praised the album. As he had with
as make-up to hide his vitiligo), it was talked about Thriller, Michael had tried to encompass a variety
around the world in the same way that Thriller was. of genres and planned to release the majority of the
Michaels look from the video was carried over to album as singles (he had shot five videos before the
become the album cover, which was shot on the album was released).
set of the video after the original planned Unlike the previous album though,
cover a close-up of Michaels heavily where singles were pulled in quick
made-up face shot through a sheet succession, Bad was to be a drawn-
of lace to give the illusion of
The out project, planned to last at
wearing a veil was rejected Bad Tour least 18 months while Michael
children had been there. It is something they would never have forgotten
pop_up John Peel, writing in The Guardian, praised Jacksons Bad Tour

by the record company due to was on his mammoth world


was a very simple
Wembley show as a performance of matchless virtuosity I wish my

it being completely at odds tour. Kicking off in Japan on


with the otherwise tough, 12th September, just weeks
street image projected for show. iT was aBouT after the album release,
the project.
Michaels original Bad
The musicians, The the Bad World Tour was
Michaels first solo tour and,
outfit, bedecked with buckles music, The dancing according to his mouthpiece
and straps, was bought off Frank DiLeo, his last. DiLeo
the peg in a biker store on and michaels announced that it would be
Hollywoods Melrose Avenue Michaels only tour and that
but the weight and toughness performance he would be focusing solely on
of the fabric proved limiting and music and films after it ended. A
inhibited Michaels dancing, so gargantuan undertaking at the time,
subsequent variations of the look (specifically the tours focus was all about Michael and
for the tour) were specially designed and made by showcasing his talent.
Michaels own tailor, Michael Bush, to accommodate We thought what we were actually constructing
his movement. on the stage was huge, but looking back at it in
With the world eagerly anticipating what a Michael comparison to what happens today, this was basically
Jackson album would sound like five years after a very simple, simple show, recalls Vincent Paterson,
Thriller and the most hyped album launch in history, co-director and choreographer of the tour. There were
the albums release proved to be as remarkable as no set changes or even any costume changes. The
expected. Debuting at No. 1 around the world, Bad only time Michael left the stage is when he graciously
would go on to join its predecessor in the history left the stage and gave those amazing musicians the
books. Although it didnt accomplish Michaels goal chance to really show the world what they could

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The Bad Tour grossed $125


million, and by the time it
ended Michael had played
123 concerts in 15 countries

do. But this was a very simple tour. It was about the As the Bad era and tour wrapped up at the end
musicians, the music, the dancing and Michaels of 1988, Michael once again vanished from public
performance. Thats what blew me away. view. While on the road, scores of workmen had
Spanning 16 months, the tour marked Michaels been toiling round the clock to ensure Michaels very
first performances outside the US in a decade, taking own magical kingdom was complete for his return.
in Asia, Australia, and Europe before returning to He had bought a Santa Barbara estate in 1988, five
the US. As expected from Michael, who was as years after he first saw it while shooting the video for
obsessed with sales figures and breaking records as Say Say Say, creating his own world, the only place
he was making them, the tour fulfilled his dream he felt he was safe from the prying eyes of a world
of being the biggest tour in history at that from which he felt detached.
time playing to 4.5 million people, Naming it Neverland (in homage to
including a week-long stint at
Wembley Stadium before ending
As his favourite book Peter Pan), the
3000-acre estate housed a theme
the European leg in front of the BAD park, a zoo, cinema, bowling
Sycamore Valley Ranch. Jackson is said to have paid $14.6 million for it
pop_up Neverland, originally Zaca Laderas Ranch, was built between
125,000 fans at Liverpools alley, a main ranch with guest
erA And tour
1977 and 1982 by property developer William Bone, who named it
Aintree Racecourse. cottages, a railway running
Michael would always through the estate, extensive
say, I want to give ended, MichAel gardens and rooms filled
something to the people
out there that love us that
vAnished froM view. with toys, models, film
memorabilia and antiques.
theyve never seen before, his MAgicAl kingdoM It was a place where he had
Vincent says. That was everything he cared about
Michaels goal, to constantly wAs coMplete for and was most comfortable
break the boundaries. That with, surrounding himself with
goes for anything he was doing
his return animals and visits from children
whether it was an album, a live tour from local hospitals.
or a short film. Thats why Michael was Though the latter would later have
so competitive. That was his drive. serious repercussions on his life, for a while,
As the tour reached its conclusion at the end of Michael Jackson had created an untouchable fantasy
1988, Michaels first foray into film since The Wiz world which afforded him sanctuary from the outside
opened in cinemas across Europe. Having always world, which was just the way he liked it.
referred to his videos as short films, Michael had
always envisioned seeing them on the big screen and
he realised that with Moonwalker, a compilation of listen up!
Now hear Michael Jacksons
videos with the long-form video of Smooth Criminal
toughened-up sound in full via our
the films centrepiece. Released at the height of Spotify playlist: http://spoti.fi/29H1YT2
Michaelmania, the film was a box office hit and did
brisk business when it was released on VHS in 1989.

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D U E T S

Michael in the

JACKSON WITH... recording studio with


Siedah Garrett, 1987

OTHER ARTISTS WHEN YOUVE GOT THE UNIQUE VOICE OF MICHAEL


JACKSON, ITS PRETTY HARD FOR OTHER SINGERS TO KEEP UP.
CLASSIC POP INVESTIGATES THE MINEFIELD OF THOSE DUETS
J O H N E A R L S

W
hile Michael Jackson was blessed Jackson attended Streisands comeback gig in Las
with one of the greatest voices the Vegas in 1993 and both performed at Bill Clintons
world has known, its questionable inauguration ceremony that year, but they didnt
whether it was a voice that record together. Nor, officially, did Jackson and
naturally shared breathing space Houston although they did supposedly record the
with other vocalists no matter how famous. Mick duet Color Of My Soul in 2006.
Jagger, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Freddie Mercury, Jacksons history of duets date back to his Jackson
Paul McCartney all recorded duets with Jackson, 5 days. Fellow former child star Stevie Wonder
and all barely escaped intact from the experience. tried nurturing Jacksons talents, offering him his
Only the most deluded soul would claim that Say Say song A Pretty Face Is as far back as 1974 after
Say, State Of Shock or Just Good Friends are really The Jackson 5 sang backing vocals on Wonders
worthy of Jackson or his stellar collaborators. album Fulfillingness First Finale. In the event,
Indeed, its telling that possibly Jacksons finest duet although Wonder co-wrote I Cant Help It on Off The
and one of his most successful was made with Wall, it wasnt until 1987 that the two stars finally
someone usually out of the spotlight. I Just Cant Stop collaborated in earnest Just Good Friends on Bad
Loving You from Bad still gets airplay and is so well- and Get It on Wonders album Characters.
established that its often forgotten that its a duet at Both songs are forgettable, which is probably
all. But, yes, Jacksons backing singer Siedah Garrett preferable to being remembered for all the wrong
stepped up to the mic, having already co-written Man reasons like Jacksons Paul McCartney duets Say
In The Mirror for the album. Garrett was a backing Say Say, The Girl Is Mine and The Man. On hearing
singer on Madonnas True Blue album before she was Thriller, McCartneys fellow Sixties icon Mick Jagger
chosen by Quincy Jones to share lead vocals after wanted a piece of the action. Arthur Collins, head
Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston turned I Just of the Stones label Rolling Stones Records, said:
Cant Stop Loving You down. Whether a better-known Mick became obsessed with Michael Jackson. He
singer would have been willing to let the song do the wanted to know every detail of his career his record
work rather than try vocal acrobatics is doubtful. contract, how the Thriller singles were selling The

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c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

result was State Of Shock, notable for being Michaels vocals on opening song Yeah along with a host of
last hit with his brothers on The Jacksons final album other stars including Elton John and Luther Vandross,
Victory in 1984. Engineer Bruce Swedien, who went before trying vainly to inject life into the vapid eco-
on to co-write Jacksons hit Jam, recalled: Michael funk Whatzupwitu. Once a firebrand comic worthy
told Mick he should warm up his vocal chords before of Pryor, by Whatzupwitu Murphy was dancing
the session began. And Mick didnt hesitate. around in a video with Jackson among a load of
Jagger also performed the song with Tina Turner doves, hearts and CND signs. The song is all about
filling in for Jackson at Live Aid the following year. But the world, asking it Whats up with you? Murphy
State Of Shock was originally intended for Freddie philosophised to MTV. Michael isnt like you and me
Mercury. It was one of three songs Jackson and the hes Michael Jackson! But hes always been cool.
Queen great recorded together for possible inclusion When he set the record straight in his interviews,
on Thriller. None were considered good enough, and going Thats a lie, thats a lie, thats a lie, thats true,
were only given a belated release on 2014s Queen everyone went Oh, hes not so strange after all. And
Forever compilation. that was the guy Id always known. Whether Murphy
If Jackson and Mercurys skyscraping vocals were discussed his infamous stand-up routine about dating
just too rich to combine together effectively, Jackson Jacksons ex Brooke Shields remains unknown.
was often willing to at least attempt to tone his voice Around the same time as helping Murphy out,
down, regularly recording backing vocals on friends Jackson sang with long-forgotten boyband 3T Tito
songs. Diana Ross Eaten Alive, Brandys Its Not Jacksons sons Taj, Taryll and TJ. Michael made a rare
Worth It and Donna Summers State Of Independence excursion as a producer for 3Ts 1995 debut album
all feature Jackson warbling away in the background. Brotherhood, as well as duetting on lead single Why.
That said, the biggest hit featuring Jackson on backing Originally intended for HIStory before being given
vocals is again by a relative unknown funk classic to his nephews, Why flopped at home in the US, but
Somebodys Watching Me by Motown founder Berry reached No. 2 in the UK, only kept from the top by
Gordys son Rockwell, an archetypal one-hit wonder. The Spice Girls Wannabe.
On the surface, Jacksons most unlikely backing With his comeback concerts in London looming,
vocals were on Kenny Rogers country song Goin Jackson set about recording with a parade of new
Back To Alabama, which also features Lionel Richie talent like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Justin
in the vocal booth. But Jackson and Richies We Are Timberlake. Most of those scheduled duets remain
The World featured Rogers and Willie Nelson, while unreleased, though Timberlake collab Love Never Felt
Jackson sang with country stars Reba McEntire and So Good was a single for 2014s posthumous album
Billy Gilman on 2001 charity single What More Can Xscape. Like McCartney, Wonder and Mercury before
I Give? You start off envying his talent and his life, him, Timberlake was another huge name whose duet
said Rogers after Jacksons death. And then youre with Michael Jackson wasnt as stellar as it could have
just thankful you dont have to go through what he been. Sadly, twas ever thus.
went through.
Generally, however, Jackson was similar to
Morrissey for preferring singers who tried to sound little wonder
as much like him as possible hence writing with a pop star in springfield
R Kelly on You Are Not Alone and Cry, and citing
A big fan of cartoons, its no surprise that Michael Jackson got involved with The Simpsons.
Akon, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo as his favourite current
Contractual obligations with Sony prevented his identity being made public, but Jackson
singers in his final interview in 2007. What Ne-Yo co-wrote The Simpsons 1990 hit Do The Bartman with his drummer, Bryan Loren, and sang
is doing is wonderful, he told Ebony. He has a very backing vocals on the single, before making another appearance in the Simpsons episode
Michael Jackson feel, but thats what I like about him. Stark Raving Dad. Under the pseudonym John Jay Smith, Jackson voiced mental hospital
Akon recorded Hold My Hand with Jackson, which patient Leon Kompowsky, a bricklayer whos convinced hes Michael Jackson. Before
was eventually released on the posthumous Michael realising that he isnt Jackson, Kompowsky does another Jackson duet with Lisa Simpson
album in 2010. Michael was like a big brother on Happy Birthday Lisa. Jackson suggested several ideas for the Stark Raving Dad script.
to me and always kept me focused, Akon, who Bart telling everyone that Michael Jackson was coming to his house? That was Jacksons
received a 200,000 diamond watch from Jackson idea. Sadly, Jacksons acting talents didnt extend to providing the voice of the normal
Kompowsky; that was Simpsons regular Hank Azaria, also the voice of Moe and Apu.
after recording Hold My Hand, told Billboard. If I
had issues, he would console me through them.
Hed pressure me to stay healthy, saying Are you
eating right? What are you doing out on the road?
Are you exercising, drinking a lot of water?
Another of Jacksons big loves was comedy.
While his plan to record the theme to his hero
Richard Pryors film The Toy had to be abandoned
when it clashed with Thrillers recording schedule,
Jackson was able to help out Eddie Murphy on
the comics 1993 album Loves Alright. Having
peppered his early Eighties stand-up albums
with R&B songs such as Boogie In Your Butt (yes,
really), Murphy waited until the height of his film
fame to release a full music album. That Murphys
commercial peak coincided with his film choices
turning to crap is comparable to Loves Alright
Murphy isnt a bad singer as such, but the world
would have existed quite happily without such
a bland vanity project. Jackson offers backing

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I BELIEVE
IN MIRACLES
IF ANY POP SUPERSTAR WAS GOING TO STRUGGLE
TO TOP THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE EIGHTIES AND
BECOME EVEN MORE WIDELY KNOWN EVEN
NOTORIOUS IT WAS MICHAEL JACKSON. BUT HE
MANAGED IT, WITH HIS MUSIC, HIS VIDEOS, AND HIS
INCREASINGLY ECCENTRIC BEHAVIOUR
P A U L L E S T E R

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1 a 9
v 0
i ds b o w i e

Jackson with guitarist


Jennifer Batten, Tokyo,
December 30 1992

Many lesser artists might


have been felled
by the level of fame
Michael Jackson
enjoyed or rather,
endured in the
Eighties. It is to
his credit, then, that he managed to continue to
Jacko and in the Nineties this contorted, garish
version of Michael fought for supremacy with
Jackson the credible, supremely gifted recording
artist and performer.
There had long been signs that this immensely
talented, shy yet ambitious, reclusive and guarded
young man was also somewhat sad, isolated and
alone, despite (or perhaps because of) all his
record and perform at all in the Nineties, given the wealth and acclaim. As Rolling Stone magazine
forensic level of scrutiny his every waking (and, in has pointed out, when Los Angeles Times music
some cases, sleeping) move would attract. critic Robert Hilburn reminisced about meeting
Far from withdrawing from view, if anything he Jackson in 1981, when the singer was 23, before
upped the ante, producing three of the decades hed left the family home in Encino for his fortress
biggest albums, putting on some of the most of solitude known as Neverland, the star struck
spectacular shows, him as one of
and creating videos the most fragile
Of The Decade award, the Entertainer Of The Decade Award at the American

What do you do after the biggest


pop_up In 1990 Michael was presented with MTVs Video Vanguard Artist

Cinema Awards, and the Top Selling Artist Of The Eighties award from CBS

and visual moments and lonely people


as arresting as any
in his extraordinary
album in history? you either run Ive ever met
almost abandoned.
career. It was a and hide, or try to sustain or When I asked why
period beset by he didnt live on
controversy, but in exceed your achievements his own like his
a way this was the brothers, instead
natural corollary of Jacksons colossal celebrity. remaining at his parents house, he said, Oh, no,
What do you do for an encore after youve I think Id die on my own. Id be so lonely. Even at
released the biggest album in history (Thriller, 65 home, Im lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes
million copies sold as of 2016), and the follow-up cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are
doesnt do too shabbily (Bad, estimated at between some things you cant talk to your parents or family
30 and 45 million sales)? Answer: you either run about. I sometimes walk around the neighbourhood
and hide, accepting that your own high standards at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But
cant possibly be matched, or you try and sustain I just end up coming home.
or exceed your towering achievements. All in the Imagine that Michael Jackson, all of his doubts
white hot glare of publicity. and fears, manias and capacity for self-torment,
Just call it Thriller: the Fallout. One of the only magnified by globe-conquering works such
inevitable consequences of Jacksons Eighties as Thriller and Bad. That is the character who
mega-success was an barrage of media attention, haunted the Nineties, like a wounded but wilful,
good and bad. In the Nineties, the latter often exaggerated, extreme version of his younger self.
threatened to outweigh the former. Among the The decade began innocently enough, with a
gossip and hearsay, rumours and Chinese whispers series of awards that took stock of his phenomenal
were stories ranging from the sublimely silly to the Eighties. The eternally childlike star visited
grimly serious. The press nicknamed him Wacko Disneyworld in Florida, invited 82 abused

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Onstage at the 1995


Video Music Awards,
Los Angeles

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children to his Neverland home, and was one of tracks were lifted off for individual release. The For Dangerous,
the first guests at the Taj Mahal Casino owned by first was Black Or White in November 91. The artist Mark Ryden
created an album
his friend, billionaire Donald Trump. In June 90, single shot to No. 1 in three weeks, making it the cover deep in
Michael collapsed while dancing at LA nightclub fastest chart-topper since The Beatles Get Back in symbolic detail
the Hideout. He was taken to St John Hospital 1969. It ended the year at the top and remained
where he was treated for chest pains. The problem there well into 1992, for a total of seven weeks,
was attributed to bruised ribs apparently suffered making Jackson the first artist to have No. 1 hits in
during a dance workout. He was visited by the the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. As though to
Jackson clan (except LaToya) and Elizabeth Taylor. confirm his status as the biggest star since the birth
After recuperating at Neverland, Michael finally of rocknroll, in the UK became
began work on the long-awaited follow-up to Bad the first single by an American to enter the chart
at the Ocean Way/Record Ones Studio 2 in at pole position since Elvis Presley in 1960 with
LA. Titled Dangerous, it was hailed as Michaels Its Now Or Never. The next single, Remember
tough, edgy response to his sister Janets 1989 The Time, was the most swingbeat-influenced track
album, Rhythm on the album,
Nation 1814. It and was another
was also deemed After Sixteen monthS the worldwide hit.
his swingbeat/New It was followed
Jack Swing album
longeSt period he hAd ever Spent by In The Closet
pop_up Other big production names, including swingbeat prime

were mooted for Dangerous, but in the end Terry Riley was chosen
his response recording hiS eighth Solo Album (initially conceived
movers Kenneth Babyface Edmonds and Antonio L.A. Reid,

to contemporary as a duet between


developments in wAS completed in october 1991 Jackson and
R&B and rap with Madonna), then
creative input and production from Teddy Riley, Jam and Who Is It, both of whose staccato strut
one of the architects of New Jack Swing. was typical of the music on Dangerous. The next
Dangerous marked the end of Jacksons single from the album was somewhat different:
association with Quincy Jones, producer of Off Heal The World was a ballad whose lyrics
The Wall, Thriller, and Bad. Sixteen months after called for universal improvement; it was a sign of
sessions began the longest period Jackson Jacksons continued popularity that the sixth single
had ever spent recording (he usually took six from his album reached the Top 10 of most nations,
months) his eighth solo album was completed in including No. 2 in the UK (a position it held for
October 91 at both Larrabee North and Ocean five weeks). Incredibly, the seventh single, Give In
Way Studios. Despite the presence of Riley and To Me, repeated that success in Britain, while the
producer Bill Bottrell in the studio, it was Jackson eighth, the symphonic, gospel-infused Will You Be
who took the reins on Dangerous: he is credited as There, became one of the albums biggest hits in
the main producer, as well as writer on 12 of the the States. Finally, Dangerous penultimate track,
14 tracks. Twelve years after Off The Wall, he was Gone Too Soon, was dedicated to the memory
becoming the autonomous auteur of his dreams. of Jacksons friend Ryan White, a teenager from
Like its three predecessors, Dangerous was a Kokomo, Indiana who came to national attention
coherent album statement that also functioned as after being expelled from his school for having
a singles compendium: as with Bad, nine of its HIV/AIDS. Issued in December 1993, two years

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after Black Or White, it demonstrated how effectively

REMEMBER and extensively Dangerous had, for 24 months,


exerted a dominance over the music world, one
verging on hegemony.

THE TIME
The album itself was released by Sony (in March
91, Jackson renewed his contract with the label
for $65 million, a record-breaking deal at the
time) concurrently with Black Or White. It featured
KEY ALBUMS 1991-1999 Jacksons trademark vocal hiccups, rappers Heavy D
and Wreckx-n-Effect, a slew of urban rhythms, funk
and smooth R&B, guitar from Guns N Roses Slash, a
DANGEROUS ballad composed in tandem with Man In The Mirror
EPIC, 1991 collaborators Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard.
Michaels eighth studio album was, like Off The Dangerous was an eclectic triumph and a commercial
Wall, Thriller and Bad, virtually a greatest hits blockbuster, one reputed to have sold 32 million
collection. Of its 14 tracks, nine were singles, copies by 2008.
including two Black Or White and Heal The Critical opinions ranged from the disappointed
World that became as well-known as anything the Los Angeles Times called it a messy grab-bag of
in the MJ canon. With its mix of ballads and ideas and high-tech non sequiturs, with something for
urban bangers, Dangerous was as diverse as its everyone from the man who has everything, although
predecessors, and helped sustain his staggering it did add, Dangerous is also mostly good, expertly
popularity well into the Nineties. The press
made fun to the delighted: the Guardian has since
mainly loved it, too. Robert Christgau, the self-
styled Dean of New York rock critics, ordained it
decreed it his finest hour, praising its fiendishly
Jacksons best since Off The Wall. Alan Light of intricate rhythms, its mechanic complexity and tautly
Rolling Stone described the Jackson of Dangerous as a man, no longer a man-child, confronting funky precision, the charmingly innocent ballads
his well-publicised demons and using music to achieve transcendence through performance; he and Jacksons sexual urgency that the Neptunes
deemed it a successful attempt to rise to the impossible challenge set by Thriller. More recently, would later draw from Justin Timberlake.
Stephen Thomas of AllMusic has deemed the album a much sharper, riskier album than Bad. At the end of 1992, Dangerous was given the
best-selling album of the year worldwide award
while Black Or White was best-selling single of the
year worldwide at the Billboard Music Awards. His
HISTORY: PAST, PRESENT Dangerous World Tour, which ran from June 92
AND FUTURE, BOOK I to November 93, grossed $100 million and was
EPIC, 1995 watched by 3.5 million people during 70 concerts.
There was little arguing with CD1: it starts Still, something was gnawing at Jackson. One of
with Billie Jean, and continues with The Way the few Dangerous tracks not released as a single
You Make Me Feel, Black Or White, Rock With was Why You Wanna Trip On Me, a song in which
You, Shes Out Of My Life In other words, he complained about the medias probing of his
some of the greatest pop music ever made eccentricities instead of focusing on real ills and
(although some listeners allergic to schmaltz issues. There was some of that over the next couple
might quickly eject the disc before the final of years. He founded the Heal The World Foundation
track, Heal The World). As for the second disc
in 1992, which brought underprivileged children to
of new material, that more than held its own.
The actual tune-quotient might not have been
Jacksons ranch to enjoy theme park rides that he
quite as high, but the rhythms were relentless, had built on the property. The foundation also sent
the production was pristine, and the hooks were, well, hooky. Even the songs which mainly comprise millions of dollars around the globe to help children
Michael complaining about how awful his life is are compelling. All credit to him: instead of threatened by war, poverty, and disease. In the same
retreating, Jackson faced his detractors and created a new body of work, one more funkily forceful year, he published Dancing The Dream, a collection
and aggressively revelatory than any of his earlier songs. of poetry, which received mostly negative reviews. In
March 93, he performed Remember The Time at the
Soul Train Music Awards in a chair, explaining that
he had suffered an injury in rehearsals.
BLOOD ON THE DANCE In January 93, he made a powerful appearance
FLOOR at the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show in Pasadena,
EPIC, 1997 California, a performance that was prefaced by
This album contains eight remixes from HIStory Jackson standing completely motionless for 90
Scream Louder, Money, 2 Bad, Stranger in seconds while the crowd cheered and attracted more
Moscow, This Time Around, Earth Song, You Are viewers than the game itself. A month later, another
Not Alone and HIStory and five new songs: appearance drew a large audience, this time for his
Blood On The Dance Floor, Morphine, Superfly 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey only his
Sister, Ghosts and Is It Scary. It was written second television interview since 1979. During the
and recorded literally on the fly it was put encounter, Michael opened up about his childhood
together while Jackson was on his HIStory abuse at the hands of his father, his loneliness
World Tour, which meant songs produced in,
growing up, and his skin condition of vitiligo. He also
among other exotic climes, Sweden, Switzerland
and Germany. Despite confusion as to whether took the opportunity to issue several denials: no, he
or not it was a bona fide new release, Blood On The Dance Floor remains a thrilling artefact, with didnt sleep in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and
songs about promiscuity and painkillers, psychotic ex-lovers and his own public image, all set to no, he didnt buy the bones of the Elephant Man. The
often brutal industrial dance noise-funk that had as much in common with Nine Inch Nails and interview became the fourth most-watched non-sports
Marilyn Manson as it did the Michael Jackson of yore. Hard to believe this was the same character program ever in the US and catapulted Dangerous
who brought us Rockin Robin and Ben. back into the Top 10.

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A shot from the


15-minute Superbowl
half-time show,
January 31 1993

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The abiding impression of Jackson was of a In May 94 Jackson married the only person on
somewhat eccentric but generally untarnished the planet who might understand his plight Lisa
individual; eternally childlike, the Peter Pan of pop. Marie Presley, the daughter of the centurys other
In February 93 he was given the Living Legend stratospherically famous entertainer, Elvis Presley.
Award at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in LA. She had been a rock during the molestation case
Dangerous won a Grammy for Best Engineered and endlessly sympathetic of Jacksons plight, and
Non Classical album. He won a clutch of awards although the marriage only lasted 18 months, the
at the American Music Awards, where he also couple remained friends.
earned the International Artist Award of Excellence Jacksons next music was a direct response to
for his performances and humanitarian concerns. these calamitous events, as raw and cathartic as
However, that image of him as odd but not any he had ever released. The first single released
aberrant changed forever in the summer of 93. from what would be his ninth solo album, HIStory:
That was when he was accused of sexual abuse Past, Present and Future, Book I, was entitled
by a 13-year-old boy called Jordan Chandler and Scream. It was a howl of pain and rage, carried
his father, Evan by a series of
Chandler, a dentist. harsh metallic
Jacksons next music was a direct
wishers, some carrying signs reading Welcome home Michael; during his
Jacksons home beats, directed
was raided by the at the media for
response to these calamitous
pop_up Visiting Gabon, Michael was greeted by over 100,000 well-

police, suspect their avalanche of


trip to the Ivory Coast he was crowned King Sani by a tribal chief

books and events, as raw and cathartic as opprobrium and


photographs were admonishments.
allegedly found any he had ever released Somebody
and Jackson himself please have
suffered the indignity of being strip-searched. The mercy/ Cause I just cant take it/ Stop pressurin
investigation was inconclusive, no charges were me, he railed in the song, a collaboration with
filed, and Jackson settled with the Chandlers out hi-tech urban luminaries Jimmy Jam and Terry
of court for $22 million he later told journalist Lewis producers of, among many others, Janet
Martin Bashir, on British TV, that he simply wanted Jacksons 1986 breakthrough album, Control
to put the issue behind him. and Janet herself. The video was even more
Still, the anguish the case caused Jackson startling. Directed by Mark Romanek and costing
was considerable. It was exacerbated by an a reputed $7 million, the largely black and white
unforgiving press, while among sectors of the short featured a cartoonishly stylised Michael and
public his reputation plummeted. Why, they his sister, looking weird and arty in her thick thatch
wondered, did he construct his own private of wig hair and coal-black made-up eyes, in a
fantasyscape, with its amusement park and train spaceship, playing computer games, smashing
rides redolent of Disneyland that would be so objects, dancing and screaming. The singles
inviting to youngsters? The explanation he B-side, Childhood, was a lachrymose apologia
wanted to spend time with kids because he missed exploring Jacksons difficult adolescence: No
out on his childhood seemed plausible, and yet one understands me/They view it as such strange
his name henceforth became a symbol for scandal eccentricities/ Its been my fate to compensate/ For
and sensation. the childhood Ive never known

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Jackson carried on in this fashion, with exorcisms of the few songs on HIStory that didnt serve as
of personal grief and fury, throughout HIStory. a metaphor for or contain images of personal
Released in June 95, it was a double-album. The persecution was Earth Song, which instead
first disc, HIStory Begins, was a 15-track greatest examined global suffering on a grandiose, choral,
hits affair (later reissued as Greatest Hits: HIStory, symphonic scale.
Volume I in 2001) that included all the hits from Bookended by Scream and Smile, the latter a
Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous; the take on the Charlie Chaplin song, HIStory was
second disc, HIStory Continues, contained 13 new, Jacksons most excoriating and emotional work to
self-penned songs and two covers: Come Together date. Yet none of this was any barrier to success:
by The Beatles and You Are Not Alone by R Kelly. the audiences appetite for Jacksons public auto-
Of the original material on Disc 1, They Dont immolation was evidently greater than anybody
Care About Us was typical: a torrent of invective would have anticipated, and HIStory, not in spite
that found Jackson conflating social injustice with of but because of its relentless self-examination
private sorrow. Situation, aggravation/ Everybody and media laceration, became the best-selling
allegation, he album of the year
began. The music in Europe and
The appeTiTe for Jacksons public
Walczak: one appeared on the roof of Tower Records in LA, others in Berlin,
pop_up The nine infamous HIStory statues were created by sculptor Diana

and lyrics on sold 33 million


Prague, Paris and Milan. One still stands in Eindhoven in the Netherlands

HIStory depicted copies worldwide,


a cornered
self-immolaTion was greaTer Than making it the
Jackson, defensive anyone anTicipaTed: History sold biggest-selling
and aggressive, double-disk of all
but it made for 33 million copies worldwide time and Jacksons
fascinating listening. highest-grossing
Stranger In Moscow was a melancholy reflection, album after Thriller. You Are Not Alone holds the
picturing Jackson wandering in the rain feelin Guinness World Record for the first song ever to
insane, bemoaning his swift and sudden fall debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, while
from grace. On the ballad You Are Not Alone Earth Song topped the UK chart for six weeks over
(Everyday I sit and ask myself/ How did love slip Christmas 95 and sold a million copies, making it
away) he seemed to be soothing himself. More Jacksons most successful single ever in the UK.
bitter and recriminatory was the harsh, haranguing The Nineties were a cycle of narcissistic self-
D.S. The track is said to be a diatribe against torment and messianic self-belief. In the run-up to
Tom Sneddon, the Santa Barbara County District the release of HIStory, a series of 30ft statues of
Attorney who ordered the strip-search in 1993. Jackson had been built out of steel and fibreglass
Continuing the theme of injustice and and placed in various European cities in London,
mistreatment was the minimalist, electronic dance the giant effigy was seen floating along the River
track Money (Lie for it/ Spy for it/ Kill for it/ Die Thames. It was an awesome display of conceit,
for it). Tabloid Junkie aimed darts at the media a spectacle that few would have dared match.
(a parasite in black and white). The incisive But there were many dismayed by Jacksons
industrial funk of 2Bad (You are disgustin me/ latest stunt, and by 1996 there was apparently
Just want your cut from me) was aimed at those an appetite for some serious debunking. At the
wanting to financially benefit from Jackson. One Brit Awards ceremony in February, during

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August 18 1992, and


the Dangerous tour
reaches Glasgow

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November 9 1996:
the Auckland, New
Zealand stop on the
HIStory world tour

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CLAIM
Jacksons performance of Earth Song, which
presented him as a Christ-like figure surrounded by
children, British indie pop stalwart Jarvis Cocker

TO FAME
gate-crashed the show by wandering onstage and
mooning. It was a form of protest at the way Michael
Jackson sees himself as some kind of Christ-like figure
with the power of healing, the bespectacled anti-
hero later explained. The music industry allows him When Michael and The Jacksons
to indulge his fantasies because of his wealth and
power. I just couldnt go along with it anymore. Were inducTed inTo The rock &
It was an apotheosis of sorts for Jackson, a
hubristic highpoint born of twin desires to proclaim roll hall of faMe
his innocent love of children and, as he would
have it, heal the world. Although Cocker perhaps At the 12th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and because you were there, we are here, he
ceremony, held at the Renaissance Hotel in said, contradicting somewhat contemporary
emerged the ideological victor, Jackson hardly slunk
Cleveland in 1997, Michael and his brothers revelations about Joe Jacksons abusive
away defeated. Despite being rushed to hospital were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame behaviour during his childhood.
in December 95 after collapsing during rehearsals alongside a host of some of the most influential Michael proceeded to invite Gordy onstage.
for a TV performance, the mid-to-late-Nineties were names in American popular music: The Bee Gees, Suddenly, the crowd went silent as Jackson
successful. He won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield, Joni stood there with his arm around a young boy.
Short Form for Scream and an American Music Mitchell, Parliament-Funkadelic, The (Young) Then he explained that he was his godchild
Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. In May 96 Rascals, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, bluegrass and the son of The Bee Gees Barry Gibb, who
there was the extraordinary Michael Jacksons Ghosts, pioneer Bill Monroe, and King Records founder also came onstage. Many initially assumed it
a short film/music-video co-written by horror novelist Syd Nathan. was a mistake, or a joke Barry, Berry. Then,
Stephen King. And his HIStory World Tour which However, The Jacksons were the most Jackson admonished a cameraman. I dont
feverishly anticipated inductees of the night. like that angle, he said, holding up his hand to
ran from September 96 to October 97 saw him
After showing footage of the boys through the the offending lens. Still, that moment of tension
perform 82 concerts in five continents, 35 countries years, they were introduced by Diana Ross the aside, it was a night of celebration; a culmination
and 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans, grossing $165 brothers in matching formal evening attire (give for The Jacksons, and Michael, who had long
million: Jacksons most successful ever tour. or take Jermaines snazzy coloured waistcoat), dreamed of being accepted by the mainstream
This writer went to see him in September 97, at Michael in his usual military garb and white rock fraternity.
the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. This aint pop, glove. Ross reminisced about the time they We were the youngest ever inductees, it was
this is a 5D avant-garde circus, ran the review in lived with her and she tried to train them a historical moment and were proud of that,
Uncut. Of the holy Eighties triumvirate Madonna, before passing the mic to Jermaine, who gave Jermaine said of the event in an interview with
Prince, Michael only MJ still offers such a consistent shout-outs in the audience to their parents and to this writer in 2014. Whats been our biggest
programme of vaulting ambition and Cecil De Motown boss Berry Gordy. achievement? Setting the tone for every band
After Tito, Jackie and Marlon had their say, it that has come along since.
Milleian pretension. He moves like Astaire, he thinks
was the turn of Michael, an alien apparition next Despite being the first group ever to reach
like Aphex Twin. Be here now. to his brothers, all translucent skin and shiny No. 1 with their first four singles, never once
He was unstoppable. A few months earlier, in shoulder-length jheri curls. did we win a Grammy or an American Music
May 97, Jackson released Blood On The Dance Id like to say to our family, our children Award, moaned Marlon. But to be inducted
Floor: HIStory In The Mix. Comprising eight remixes and, most of all, our mother and father: you into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame wow, thats
from HIStory, and five new songs, and receiving were there to protect us with unselfish love, an achievement.
minimal promotion, it went on to sell 10 million
copies worldwide the best-selling remix album
ever. His private life seemed to take a turn for the
healthier and happier when, during the HIStory
tour, he unexpectedly married his longtime friend
Deborah Jeanne Rowe, a dermatology nurse, in an
impromptu ceremony in Sydney, Australia. Rowe was
six months pregnant with the couples first child at the
time. Michael Joseph Jackson Jr (commonly known
as Prince) was born on February 13, 1997; his sister
Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born a year later
on April 3, 1998. They divorced amicably in 1999,
and Jackson received full custody of the children.
Throughout the last two years of the Nineties,
Jackson continued with his charity support. In June
99, he joined Pavarotti for a benefit in Modena, Italy,
in support of War Child, raising a million dollars for
the refugees of Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia, and additional
funds for the children of Guatemala. There were
further benefits in Germany and Korea. It all augured
very well indeed for Jacksons sixth decade, and third
as the most famous person on the planet.

listen up!
Now hear the best of Jacksons
output from the Nineties - diverse,
cathartic and at times, true genius. Stream
the playlist here: http://spoti.fi/2a5wELv

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c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

Co-writer on Jacksons

unreleased... aborted 11th solo album


Resurrection, will.i.am

THE LOST SONGS From songs Featuring superstars to adverts written


with a sheikh, the Jackson material still in the vault
gives a Fascinating alternative insight into his mind
j o h n e a r l s

S
hortly after Michael Jacksons death, LaToya the public hear). He reflected later that growing up
claimed shed discovered two hard drives at with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye meant writing
Neverland containing over 1000 unreleased songs always felt like a realistic aim. But, following
songs. That might sound unlikely; to the his prolific burst around The Wiz, Jackson seemed to
public, Jackson wasnt known for rivalling concentrate on writing songs of the quality of Dont
Prince with his workrate. In the 30 years from Off The Stop Til You Get Enough.
Wall until his passing, Jackson released just four full Very few songs from the Off The Wall sessions seem
studio albums, with Thriller of course only running to to have been left over. Carole Bayer Sager, writer
a lean nine songs. But Jackson always said he was behind Carly Simons Nobody Does It Better and Patti
both an insomniac and a workaholic and the most Labelles On My Own, co-wrote Its The Falling In Love
cursory search reveals the chance to hear scores of on Off The Wall but she also wrote Goin To Rio,
unreleased Jackson songs with names such as Be Me which didnt make the cut. From the 50-second extract
4 A Day, House Of Style and Nymphette Lover. on YouTube, it seems the gliding disco would have
There are around 300 songs yet to make it onto an fitted in just fine. (You have to feel doubly sorry for
official Jackson album, and those are just the ones Bayer Sager: 22 years later her co-write with Jackson,
that fans know of. As far back as 1977, Janet Jackson Stop The War, failed to make it on to Invincible.)
was saying: Ive seen Michael write things that I Before starting on Thriller, Jackson wrote a song for
dont think the public will ever hear. Just before he left his idol Richard Pryor. But, having demoed the song,
to film The Wiz, he put all the songs hed written on Jackson ran out of time to finish the title theme for
to a tape in our parents studio. Not one of them has Pryors long-forgotten 1982 film The Toy as he was
been heard, and these were songs to cry for. Hes too busy recording Thriller.
written classical music for orchestras, like something When Thriller was reissued for its 25th anniversary
by Bach or Beethoven. in 2007, it only featured two previously unreleased
Even before Off The Wall, the teenage Jackson was songs the uninspiring ballad For All Time and, on
writing songs like mawkish ballad What A Lonely the Japanese version only, the far funkier Got The
Way To Go (which he was probably wise not to let Hots. Quite why the former took precedence over the

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c o l l a b o r a t i o n s

Jackson/Quincy Jones stormer is a mystery. So too from the Invincible sessions. A ballad with Japanese
is the omission of veteran Jackson songwriter Rod J-Popsters J-Friends, its a sub-Earth Song mess with
Tempertons sumptuous pop song Hot Street. Jackson unfinished lyrics mainly consisting of da-di-di
himself admired it and wanted it on the album, but floating across the screen for four minutes.
was outvoted by Jones and Temperton himself. With unusual haste, Jackson returned to the studio
Also worthy of inclusion on Thriller 25 would have after Invincible to begin work on a new album,
been future Alanis Morissette producer Glen Ballards Resurrection. Around 10 songs were demoed,
country-tinged rocker Nite Line, which is as close including heavy Rodney Jerkins workout Pressure,
as Jackson ever got to a 9 To 5 office life ode. Less before Jackson had to postpone the project when he
impressive from the Thriller sessions still in the vaults is faced trial in 2005. Although the singer seemingly
Shes Trouble, a throwaway bop co-written by Whats never took up the sessions again after the trial, he
Love Got To Do With It songwriter Terry Britten. And did meet the musician who would become his closest
even that has a decent chorus. collaborator since Quincy Jones; Black Eyed Peas
By the time of Bad, Jackson still had a fair ear leader will.i.am, who co-wrote dozens of songs,
for which of his songs deserved to be on a finished including the James Brown tribute Miss You.
album. He didnt pursue a handful of his own songs Leading up to the comeback shows at Londons
such as Tomboy, Turning Me Off or Be Me 4 A Day, O2, Jackson began writing furiously, mainly with his
though he was reportedly working again on the funky, keyboardist and Invincible co-writer Brad Buxer. Lady
unreleased Dont Be Messin Round for his 2009 Gaga producer RedOne and AR Rahman were also
comeback gigs at the O2 in London. involved in the sessions to ready new material for the
Perhaps aware of how mean theyd been with shows. Gaga recorded Picture, a duet which was
Thriller 25, Sonys Bad 25 in 2012 saw eight slated to begin the concerts.
unreleased songs emerge. Of the songs intended for Of course, Jackson didnt live to perform the shows.
Bad which failed to get finished, the most intriguing Following his death, Sony signed a 200m deal
is the atypically strident Crack Kills. An anti-drugs with his estate to release 10 posthumous albums.
duet with Run-DMC (Walk This Way meets Peter These include Bad 25 and Cirque Du Soleil remix
Piper, suggested Michael), its recording was stalled tie-in Immortal as well as the two official albums of
after Bubbles attacked Jam Master Jay in his studio unreleased songs, the underwhelming Michael and
in Santa Monica. With DMC later describing the two Xscape. That neither album is considered worthy of
parties resulting dinner as tense, the song never Jacksons name is partially down to the fact that they
got recorded although Run-DMCs intended verse inevitably comprise of songs Jackson didnt think good
appeared on a reissue of their Tougher Than Leather. enough to release at the time.
Having reissued Off The Wall in February alongside But, if a further eight albums is likely to spread his
Spike Lees documentary, it currently looks unlikely unheard material too thin, there is definitely at least
that Sony will also bring out Dangerous 25 this year. one superb unreleased album to be had. Whether
If they do, theres certainly no shortage of officially or not Sony pick the right collaborators to finish
unreleased songs that were made for the 1991 it is judging from the Akon and 50 Cent-heavy
album. Princess Stephanie of Monaco features on In posthumous albums released so far another matter.
The Closet; she was deemed more worthy of inclusion
than LL Cool J, whose two collabs Serious Effect and
The Truth Of Youth both missed out. Seven of main little wonder
producer Teddy Rileys songs are among Dangerous
bloated 14-song running order, but even he missed
The prince and The king
out with the uplifting Joy. But you really have to feel The tale of Michael Jackson and the Bahraini sheikh is one that perhaps typifies how the
singer became a lost soul towards the end of his life. Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa
for Jacksons drummer, Bryan Loren, co-writer of The
Al Khalifa is the playboy son of the King of Bahrain. He set about befriending the Jackson
Simpsons novelty No. 1 single Do The Bartman. family, which was cemented when he lent Michael 2.2 million towards his defence costs
That led to the two men writing around 20 songs for during 2005. By then, Michael had already sung backing vocals on a song Sheikh Abdullah
Dangerous, but not one has yet seen the light of day. co-wrote with Jermaine Jackson, the catchily-titled He Who Makes The Sky Grey.
Notorious B.I.G. duetted with Jackson on This Time At the end of Jacksons trial, Jackson and family along with his entourage went to
Around for the new disc on HIStory in 1995, and stay with Sheikh Abdullah at his palace in Bahrain. There, the Sheikh persuaded Jackson
the pair also collaborated on a cover of George to sing on another song hed written, I Have This Dream. It was intended to raise money
Harrisons Not Guilty. Jackson was plainly on a for victims of Hurricane Katrina, but the Sheikhs record label 2 Seas couldnt come to an
Beatles tip: as well as Come Together he reworked agreement with Sony. The two men fell out and, in 2008, Sheikh Abdullah sued Jackson for
Strawberry Fields Forever but, like his Harrison 4.7 million in Londons High Court. The Sheikh claimed the money was costs; Jackson said
the money had been gifted to him. It was eventually settled out of court.
cover, Jacksons psychedelia interpretation has yet
to emerge. HIStorys other big omission saw
Jackson reunited with Rod Temperton for Groove
Of Midnight but, like Hot Street 12 years earlier,
Tempertons timeless pop was axed.
By Invincible, Jackson seemed to be all over the
place. Before, he was able to focus on shaping his
albums with a select coterie of co-writers; now he
was even letting Thong Song buffoon Sisqo into
his studio. Their unreleased co-write The Gloved
One is every bit as prosaic as you might imagine.
Much more fascinating is that Pharrell Williams
Whats A Guy Gotta Do also got rejected, as was
the Lauryn Hill co-write This Is Our Time. Theres Jermaine with
Sheikh Abdullah
also People Of The World, available on YouTube,

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TROUBLE
IN PARADISE
COULD THE KING OF POP END YEARS OF SILENCE AND
RECLAIM HIS TITLE AS THE GREATEST ENTERTAINER OF
ALL TIME? WE LOOK AT THE STARS CONTROVERSY-
FILLED FINAL DECADE
S T E V E H A R N E L L

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2 0 v
0 i0 ds b o w i e

Jackson performs with


NSYNC at Madison
Square Garden, 2001

HOW
exactly do you go The album kicks off with a trio of crackling hard-
about spending $30 edged tunes, all co-produced by Jerkins. The feisty
million on making and defiant Unbreakable features a rap cameo from
just one album? the Notorious B.I.G. and is another in a long line
Take one look at the of Jacksons kiss-offs to his critics, something akin to
monumental list of Leave Me Alone or Scream. The glitchy Heartbreaker
contributors to 2001s Invincible and you might be goes toe-to-toe with the urban high-rollers of the day
able to piece together an explanation. and admirably holds its own while the title track is
The final studio LP proper from Jackson was an epic another funky highlight with Michael bigging himself
16 tracks and almost 80 minutes of music. As this up against an array of love rivals.
was his first full-length album of new material for six Break Of Dawn harks back to the smooth glories of
years, the stakes were high. Human Nature from Off The Wall, but its many of the
In an attempt to keep up with some of the young remaining downtempo tracks that can make Invincible
pretenders nipping at his heels, Jackson elected to heavy-going for the non-diehards. Jerkins shores
go for an edgier up the albums
and more urban mid-section with
feel to the record InvIncIble was an epic, with almost the superb You
80 minutes of music. as his first
pop_up Up to 50 songs were lined up for Invincible. Abandoned titles

in places. In what Rock My World


included a remake of the Isleys Shout, Another Day with Lenny Kravitz,
All In Your Name with Barry Gibb and Do You Want Me with Dru Hill

has now become but the ballads


standard operating full album of new music in six Speechless, You
procedure for Are My Life and
R&B and hip-hop years, the stakes were high The Lost Children
albums, multiple are too insipid
producers were drafted in to helm the material. to bear close comparison with his best work. The
Diversity was seen as preferable to the singular vision latter song came in for some harsh criticism from The
of a Quincy Jones. Guardians Alexis Petridis, who called it a hideous,
Teddy Riley returned once more to co-produce syrupy sub-Broadway showtune and noted that the
four tracks, but its the contribution of Rodney Jerkins closing spoken word section had deeply unpleasant
in the studio that shines brightest. By the turn of the connotations and [was] appallingly misjudged.
millennium, Jerkins was a hot property in the world In the preceding weeks before Invincible hit record
of chart-friendly R&B, rising through the ranks with store racks, the signs for Jacksons return to the fray
a clutch of hits including The Boy Is Mine by Brandy were positive as he rebuilt his public image back to
and Monica, Whitney Houstons Its Not Right But Its mythic proportions. The albums release was heralded
Okay and Say My Name by Destinys Child. Sessions a month earlier by a clutch of live shows a surprise
were so lengthy for the Invincible album that Jerkins appearance alongside *NSYNC to duet on Pop at
was forced to crowbar in Brandys Full Moon project the MTV Video Music Awards as well as two major
between breaks with Jackson. Behind the faders concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York
elsewhere there were appearances by established to mark his 30th anniversary as a solo artist. At the
big-hitter names like R Kelly and Babyface alongside latter, Jackson appeared on stage with his brothers for
newer talent such as Andreao Fanatic Heard and the first time since 1984 and the remaining supporting
Richard Stites. cast was nothing less than stellar Destinys

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At the Jackson brothers


reunion concerts,
Madison Square Garden,
September 2002
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Child, Usher, Luther Vandross, Jill Scott and Guns N Jackson also spoke candidly of his reservations Above: the World
Roses axe hero Slash all turned up to pay tribute to about his children following him into the music Music Awards in
London, 2006
the King of Pop. industry. Its hard, since most of the children of
Jackson knew that for all his aura of mystique, it celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because
was time to give Invincible the big push. Among a they cant live up to the talent of the parent. People
series of interviews he undertook was a phone-in used to always say to Fred Astaire Jr., Can you
Q&A with Anthony DeCurtis for getmusic.com. It was dance? And he couldnt. He didnt have any rhythm,
a sedate affair with DeCurtis resolutely staying clear but his father was this genius dancer. It doesnt mean
of any whiff of controversy, and Jackson was at pains that it has to be passed on. I always tell my children,
to push the positives of the album rather than allowing You dont have to sing, you dont have to dance. Be
any muckraking of his private life. who you want to be, as long as youre not hurting
I tried to make [Invincible] a potpourri of wonderful anybody. Thats the main thing.
melodies of any style, he tells DeCurtis. I dont After Jacksons death in 2009, Rodney Jerkins
believe in stylising or branding any type of music. A also spoke to Vibe magazine about the album and
great artist should recalled the
be able to create tortuous recordings
any style, any form I trIed to make InvIncIble a which ran over
from rock to pop several years.
potpourrI of wonderful melodIes.
pop_up Aside from This Is It, Jacksons last real concert performance
pictured above was joining a childrens choir performing We Are
and folk, to gospel It was a lot
and spirituals. I dont belIeve In stylIsIng or of starting and
Anybody can sing stopping. One
it, from an Irish brandIng any type of musIc time, [Michael]
The World at the 2006 World Music Awards in London

farmer to a lady was like, Lets


who scrubs toilets in Harlem. start from scratch I think we can beat everything
In light of his subsequent alleged prescription drug we did. That was his perfectionist side. I was like
addition, its ironic that Jacksons few harsh words in Man, we been working for a year, we gonna scrap
an otherwise wholly fluffy interview were reserved everything? But it showed how hard he goes.
for those who have lost their songwriting muse due to Theres stuff we didnt put on that I wish was on
living a rocknroll lifestyle. Any painter or sculptor there. My first batch [of beats] is what I really wanted
does their best work in their 60s or 70s. Fred Astaire him to do. I was trying to go vintage, old school
did his best dancing in his 70s. In the music business, Mike. He kept Rock My World, but he wanted to go
some of the great artists have become stumped more futuristic. So I would find myself at junkyards
because of self-abuse at such a young age with the wed be out hitting stuff, to create our sound.
crazy things they drink and the pills [they take]. We It was Michaels idea [for Invincible to be so long].
should take care of our bodies a little more. We actually had that conversation where I was like:
In another interview with Vibe magazine, Jackson You should make it 10 songs and thats it. You never
revealed he was happy to make use of new styles to know maybe he felt it would be his last album.
stay relevant and welcomed the chance to allow Jay-Z If the reception at the live shows and buzz around
to remix You Rock My World. [Jay-Zs] hip, the new the album had both augured well, a long-running
thing, and hes with the kids today. They like his work. record label dispute with Sony Music Entertainment
Hes tapped into the nerve of popular culture. over the ownership of Jacksons masters still

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BACK TO
threatened to dilute the impact of his comeback. The
singer subsequently claimed Sony failed to fully get
behind the release, despite the fact Invincible still went

THE GARDEN
on to sell 13 million copies worldwide. For their part,
Sony claimed that Jacksons decision not to tour on
the back of the record ultimately affected its long-term
sales potential. The argument got even uglier when
Jackson made a triumphant the singer later labelled the companys chairman
Tommy Mottola (and former husband of Mariah
return to new York but there Carey) a racist and a devil who failed to fully
support black artists on the label.
were signs all was not well One of the most notorious episodes in Michael
Jacksons troubled relationship with the media came
If there was any doubt remaining concerning and Gloria Estefans duet on I Just Cant Stop with the 2003 documentary with Martin Bashir. The
Michael Jacksons pulling power at the box Loving You, and another of Jacksons famous
journalist first came to prominence in 1995 after
office, then his two 30th Anniversary Special friends and later the wife of one of the shows
concerts in 2001 more than laid them to rest. producers David Gest Liza Minnelli, who sang his interview with Diana, Princess of Wales for the
Staged at the legendary Madison Square You Are Not Alone and Over the Rainbow. BBCs Panorama current affairs series. The fly-on-
Garden in New York on 7 and 10 September, But these were mere aperitifs for the main the-wall show Living With Michael Jackson makes
Jacksons comeback gigs were among the most event the return of Michael Jackson with an for extraordinary and, at times, disturbing viewing,
hotly-anticipated in pop music history. Ticket added bonus of an on-stage reunion with his as Bashir pulls no punches in trying to get to bottom
prices broke all records, with the best seats famous family. After running through a handful of the King of Pops everyday existence. Such was
sailing through the $10,000 mark. For his part, of family classics including Can You Feel It, ABC its impact that it could be said to have lifelong
the star was reportedly paid $15 million for the and I Want You Back, Michael took to the stage implications for the star as more controversial aspects
two shows. alone and plucked a brief selection of solo hits of his life were once more put under the microscope.
Tied in to mark Jacksons first ever single out of the bag to deafening roars during a mini-
Over the course of eight months, Bashir attempted
release Got To Be There from 1971, the set that featured a slowed-down The Way You
concerts were a star-studded affair and included Make Me Feel, Black Or White, Billie Jean, Beat to uncover, as he put it, the disturbing reality of
appearances from Hollywood royalty as well as It and You Rock My World. [Jacksons] life today. At first, were shown the
an array of soul and R&B stars paying their own The shows were eventually merged into one childlike aspects of the singers demeanour as he
tributes to the singer. for a two-hour TV special, which aired on the US climbs his Giving Tree and talks about how hes
The running order and featured acts network ABC in late November. But they were been inspired to write many of his songs up in its
between the shows differed slightly between not without controversy. Some fans commented branches. He also reveals, to Bashirs bemusement
the two nights. Whitney Houston and Marlon that Jackson seemed strangely disoriented at that his favourite ways to unwind are water balloon
Brando the latter giving a typically rambling points during the first gig he improvised the fights and climbing trees.
humanitarian speech only appeared in the closing section of Billie Jean and only attempted But the pain of Jacksons upbringing is never too
first concert, and did not reprise their roles three a perfunctory moonwalk. Both David Gest
far from the surface. He tells Bashir how his father Joe
days later. and Michaels brother Jermaine would later
Elsewhere, the diverse line-up across the two allege that by this point the singers addiction took a belt, ironing cords and whatever else was
shows included Dionne Warwick, who performed to painkillers was already having a detrimental around to his children while they were rehearsing
Ill Never Love This Way Again, James Ingram effect on his performance. as The Jackson 5. Pointedly, he adds that he never
lays a finger on his own children when people say
the abused [go on to] abuse, thats not true at all. I
remember hearing my mother scream, Joe! Youre
gonna kill him, stop it! I was so fast, he couldnt
catch me half the time, but when he would catch me,
oh my God, it was bad. Really bad, Michael adds.
We were terrified of him. I dont think he realises to
this day how scared we were of him. So scared that I
would regurgitate just seeing him. Sometimes Id faint
and my bodyguards would have to hold me up.
A brisk shopping trip at a Las Vegas store shows
just how extravagant and out of control Jacksons
spending habits had become. Bashir remarks that
the singer lives like an emperor or Louis XIV as he
spends millions of dollars on furniture.
The journalist also tenaciously pursues a line of
questioning about Jacksons changing appearance
to which the star responds that Joe was often behind
much of his insecurity about that, too. He would
tease me about how I looked. Hed say God, your
nose is big. You didnt get it from me. On top of that
you have to go on stage in the spotlight in front of
hundreds of thousands of people. I would have been
happier wearing a mask.
Later, when Bashir returns to his questions on
appearance, Jackson gets touchy about the gradual
whitening of his skin. You gotta ask God about that.
Photo Photoshot

That has nothing to do with me. Thats ignorance. I


dont control puberty, or the fact that I have vitiligo.
When Bashir lists a whole host of plastic surgery
procedures that the star is rumoured to have

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Photo Photoshot

Jackson exits the


Santa Barbara
courthouse, April 2005

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2 0 0 0 s

Jackson with
Elizabeth Taylor at
Photo Photoshot

the Royal Albert Hall,


London, May 2000

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Photo Photoshot

had, Jackson denies the lot. None of its true. Its Claiming that the footage was a twisted and edited
B.S. [The media] made it up. When I was growing construction of scandal and innuendo, the singer
a beard, one paper said I had each individual hair went to the extraordinary length of issuing a rebuttal
transplanted into my face with a laser. I cant even documentary that showed Bashir being largely
grow a beard now? You ignorant fool, who wrote complimentary about him as a man and a father. In
such a thing! Its not the truth. Its garbage. an attempt at damage limitation, Jacksons new video
The documentary also includes footage of Jackson called upon his parents Joe and Katherine, brother
dangling his child Blanket over the balcony of a Berlin Jermaine, ex-wife Debbie Rowe and confidante
hotel room and disturbing scenes during a visit to the Elizabeth Taylor to give glowing testimonials.
citys zoo where the star and his family are mobbed Only Bashir now knows the real truth behind this
by fans and paparazzi. The singer seems totally hugely complicated saga. Outtakes presented in
unphased by the carnage, much to Bashirs disbelief. Jacksons version of events seem to contradict the
There was more damaging elements to come journalists voiceover in the final cut. Did Bashir twist
though. The most disturbing aspect of his life story, the truth to suit his own ends? Its a hugely labyrinthine
says Bashir near topic that can be
the documentarys endlessly debated.
closing scenes. I, The fallouT from The documenTary The content
like everyone, knew of the Bashir
was monumenTal. Jackson
supporters who did testify on his behalf included Macaulay Culkin, chat
that 10 years ago, documentary went
show host Jay Leno, actor Chris Tucker and comedian George Lopez
pop_up Jackson only spoke at his trial via videotape, but celebrity

children were being immediaTely realised The graviTy far from unnoticed.
invited to sleep over Soon after it was
at Neverland. of The negaTive publiciTy aired, the Santa
Bashir was Barbara county
referring to the Jordan Chandler case and added: Id attorneys office began a criminal investigation into
assumed that now hed be more cautious, but to my goings-on at Neverland that would ultimately prove
utter astonishment, I discovered that children were still pivotal during the rest of Michaels life. A preliminary
sleeping over sometimes in his house, sometimes in investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department
his bedroom. and the Department of Children and Family Services
Tensions rise as Bashir points out that the majority of concluded that the allegations of child abuse were
people would be astonished at the singers behaviour, unfounded. But following further information from the
especially in the light of the Chandler case. Jackson, family of Gavin Arvizo the teenage cancer survivor
though, is totally unrepentant: I feel sorry for them. featured in the Bashir documentary the Santa
Theyre judging people. The most loving thing you Barbara County Sheriffs Office reopened the case,
can do is to share your bed. sending 70 investigators to execute a search warrant
It makes for extremely uncomfortable viewing. As at Neverland.
a PR exercise, it was a disaster and for many people In November 2003, Jackson was charged with
their views on Jackson became set in stone from this child molestation and administering alcohol to a
point onwards. minor. The ensuing five-month trial made headlines
The fallout from the Bashir documentary was across the world as a string of damaging accusations
monumental. Jackson immediately realised the continued to emerge. The star was finally acquitted on
gravity of this career-threatening negative publicity. all counts on 13 June 2005.

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2 0 0 0 s

Photo Photoshot
Diamond Award winner
at the 2006 World Music
Awards, Earls Court

Despite his acquittal, Jackson was struggling his rented mansion in Los Angeles. The news of
financially and by March 2006 the main house the stars untimely demise prompted an instant and
at Neverland Ranch was closed to save money. massive outpouring of grief across the world. Google
Throughout the remaining part of the year, reports blocked web searches about his death for half an
began to surface that the star was collaborating with hour when the story broke in the mistaken belief
will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas but fans would their search engine was under DDoS attack, while
have to wait almost three years before he resurfaced Twitter and Wikipedia crashed under the strain of
with anything concrete. fans desperately trying to find out the latest on the
In what was one of the major entertainment stories story. AOL subsequently labelled the event a seminal
of the decade, March 2009 saw Jackson announce moment in internet history. Weve never seen anything
a remarkable closing chapter to his performing like it in terms of scope or depth.
career. The This Is It residency at Londons O2 Arena Record sales for Jackson jumped 80-fold after his
was initially intended to be just 10 shows, but the death. Six of his singles returned to the UKs Top 40
astonishing appetite of fans soon meant this number as he broke chart records across the globe.
swelled to 50 as Key to the
more than one circumstances
These will be my final
pop_up Before he passed, Michaels plans for the future included a three-

million tickets were surrounding the


movie deal, a tour starting in China, another Superbowl appearance, one

snapped up in less singers death


than two hours.
performances in london. when i was his use of
Jackson hinted say This is iT, i really mean iT. This is the powerful drug
at retirement after propofol, which is
more tour with his brothers, and opening a childrens hospital

the shows the The final curTain call used in hospitals


residencys title for anaesthetic
was pretty explicit in that regard, of course. The purposes. Nicknamed milk of amnesia due to its
spectacular gigs were due to run from 13 July 2009 white appearance, the drug has been linked with
to 6 March 2010. An extraordinary press conference heart attacks in the past. When Jacksons home was
was staged with the usual bravado and flair for searched by investigators after his death, they found
over-the-top theatricality. Jackson, though, looked several bottles of the drug at the property.
unprepared, ill at ease and befuddled. After thanking Jacksons personal physician Conrad Murray had
fans and throwing a few shapes, there was little in the joined the singers camp in May 2009 as part of an
way of fine detail from the man himself. These will be agreement with AEG Live the concert promoters
my final performances in London, he said. When I behind This Is It. When investigators traced the
say this is it, I really mean it. Ill be performing the propofol back to Murray, he was charged with
songs my fans want to hear. This is the final curtain involuntary manslaughter in February 2010. After a
call. Ill see you in July. trial, Murray was eventually convicted on the charge
As in life, so it was in death Michael Jacksons in November 2011, serving two years of a four-year
premature demise on 25 June 2009 was the final jail term.
controversial chapter in a life littered with them. The following years have seen various rumours
The residency at the 02 Arena, of course, never surface concerning Jacksons addiction to painkillers,
came to pass. With less than three weeks to go anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants although
before opening night, Jackson was found dead at a subsequent BBC report that took into account

108

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2 0 0 0 s

A moment from the


BRIT Awards, 2006
Photo Photoshot

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2 0 0 0 s

Jackson at the final


rehearsal for his This Is
It shows to be held at
the O2 Arena in London

Photo Photoshot

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2 0 0 0 s

NEVER SAY
the singers autopsy result found him to be healthy
and with no hint of a heart condition.
As befits the self-proclaimed King of Pop, Jacksons

NEVER AGAIN
memorial service was something akin to a state
funeral. This was, of course, no traditional ceremony.
The event itself was partly-organised by the gig
promoters behind the singers This is It comeback tour,
AEG Live. Held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles A plAce to never grow up:
on 7 July, such was the interest from the public that
organisers had to issue tickets via a lottery system and the fAntAsy world of MichAel
more than one million well-wishers applied for one of
the 17,500 available to the service. JAcksons iMAginAtion
Among the mourners were many of Jacksons
closest friends including Smokey Robinson, Lionel Michael Jacksons extraordinary Neverland A-listers including Marlon Brando, Eddie Murphy
Ranch was the ultimate in pop star playgrounds and Liza Minelli.
Richie, Brooke Shields, Magic Johnson and Stevie
literally as well as metaphorically. It was Jackson eventually moved out of the ranch
Wonder. In tribute to the singer, each of Jacksons named, of course, after the fantasy land in the in 2005 following the fallout from the police
brothers escorted the gold-plated coffin wearing a singers perennial touchstone Peter Pan, and investigations into goings-on there two years
sequinned glove on one hand. Jackson was first introduced to the 3,000-acre earlier. Within a year, the majority of its staff
During one eulogy, Motown founder Berry Gordy site through Paul McCartney, who was staying were dismissed and the property was closed up.
told the crowd: The more I think about Michael at the property while the pair filmed the video The ownership of Neverland then remained in
Jackson, I feel the King of Pop is not big enough for for their Say Say Say duet of 1983. Jackson fell limbo for several years as Jackson struggled to
him. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that in love with it immediately but it took several keep up with loan repayments.
ever lived. more years before the singer closed the deal The stars daughter Paris returned to her
The service also featured a number of musical he finally moved into the ranch in 1988 after childhood home a year after her fathers death.
snapping it up for a reported $30 million. Saddened at its rundown appearance, she
guests. Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz performed Ill
Originally called the Sycamore Valley Ranch, eventually announced plans in 2013 to buy it
Be There and Usher descended from the stage during the main house was designed by architect Robert back and return it to is former glory. But the
a heart-rending Gone Too Soon to place his hand on Altevers in a French-Normandy style. Alongside plans failed to materialise and the house has
Jacksons coffin. He ended the song in tears before the gargantuan main residence, the most famous now been put on the open market with an initial
being consoled by fellow mourners. In an unexpected features added by Jackson included a petting starting price of $100 million.
move, Jacksons daughter Paris gave a brief speech to zoo and two narrow-gauge railway lines. Its If youre thinking of dipping your hand into
the crowd saying: I just want to say, ever since I was two trains, one of which was named Katherine your pocket then be warned that many of the
born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever after the stars mother, would transport guests trademark features of Neverlands Jackson
imagine and I just want to say I love him so much. along the quarter-of-a-mile journey to a private era have now been removed. The amusement
The service was broadcast live around the world and 50-seater cinema and full-size amusement park park is long gone, along with the menagerie of
on the complex. animals, although the odd llama still reportedly
some estimates put viewing figures at almost one
Apart from regularly hosting trips for remains. There are, though, odd glimpses of its
billion people. underprivileged and sick children, Neverland former controversial owner still in situ such as the
After Jacksons untimely death, AEG recouped also staged the eighth marriage of Elizabeth private train and the beautiful floral clock that
their losses on the abandoned This Is It residency Taylor and was a regular hang-out for Hollywood formed the ranchs centrepiece.
shows with a hastily-released documentary. The
feature-length effort comprised the planning stages
Photo Getty Images

and rehearsals for the London concerts and an array


of behind-the-scenes footage featuring Jackson, his
musicians and backroom staff. The documentarys
producer Kenny Ortega confirmed that none of the
footage was originally intended for official release
and came in for criticism from fans that the movie
was an exploitative cash-in exercise. Adding that the
scenes have a real unguarded honesty to them,
Ortega admitted that the material was only ultimately
meant for Jacksons private library.
Meanwhile, other fans were happy to feast on the
scraps and at least see something of what could have
been. Despite some fans boycotting its release and
Jacksons family refusing to endorse it, This Is It was
still a massive box office success, and went on to
become the highest-grossing concert film of all time.
Film critics generally gave the documentary a warm
reception. Seasoned veteran Roger Ebert was at
pains to dispel rumours that AEG would have known
that the singer was in bad health before the run of
shows in his review: Here is not a sick and drugged
man forcing himself through gruelling rehearsals, but
a spirit embodied by music. This Is It is a portrait of
Michael Jackson that belies all the rumours that he
would have been too weak to tour.
Fans were left to ponder what might have been.
Would Jackson have pulled off the biggest comeback
of all time? Its destined to be one last unanswerable
question about the most remarkable of lives.

111

CP003.Jackson.00s.To Print.indd 111 27/07/2016 14:19


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Rex Features

114

CPP03.Jackson_Movies.To Print.indd 114 15/07/2016 16:20


M J V I D E O S

MJ
THE VIDEOS
AS MTV BECAME A PROMINENT PLATFORM FOR ARTISTS TO GET
THEIR MUSIC HEARD AND SEEN IN THE EARLY EIGHTIES, ITS NOT
SURPRISING THAT MICHAEL, A FILM OBSESSIVE WITH HOLLYWOOD
ASPIRATIONS, WOULD GO ON TO BECOME THE FIRST GENUINE
SUPERSTAR OF THE VIDEO AGE

M A R K L I N D O R E S

115

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F A S H I O N

Rex Features

Michael lighting
up the sidewalk
on Billie Jean: It
was extraordinary,
instinctive

116

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M J V I D E O S

Cast of The Wiz: Michael,


Nipsey Russell, Diana
Ross, Ted Ross

HAVING
grown up idolising old was a world away from the golden age of the silver
Hollywood musicals, screen. His first video for Dont Stop Til You Get
Michael Jackson Enough had been an expensive process and the
worshipped screen record company, who werent even convinced that
legends such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Charlie videos were a worthwhile expenditure, were reluctant
Chaplin as much as, if not more than, his musical to spend much on the next two.
idols Jackie Wilson and James Brown. By 1979, The videos were done for absolute peanuts, says
having landed his first film role in The Wiz, for which director Bruce Gowers, who had been tasked with
he had gained rave reviews for his performance as making the videos for Rock With You and Shes Out
the Scarecrow, Of My Life. All
Michael had begun we could afford
re-evaluating his
own career path.
MICHAEL WORSHIPPED SCREEN was the laser. This
one was probably
With his first LEGENDS LIKE FRED ASTAIRE AND GENE about $3,000.
foray into acting If you look at it,
under his belt KELLY AS MUCH AS HIS MUSICAL IDOLS theres nothing
and the release of there but a laser
Off The Wall, he
JACKIE WILSON AND JAMES BROWN and Michael
prophesied that Jackson! We
he would no longer limit himself to being a singer, filmed on a tiny stage in LA called the 800 Stage that
an actor or a dancer; we got cheap because we were shooting quite a lot
he would now identify of music videos. Everything was rented; the cameras,
himself as an entertainer, the stage, the Duvetyne drop, the smoke, everything!
incorporating elements After Rock With You was wrapped, Michael
of all and utilising the changed from his sequinned costume into a simple
nascent medium of music sweater and the video for Shes Out Of My Life was
video to do so. Taking shot in the same afternoon. With no costumes, effects
references and influences or flashy lighting, it was solely down to Michael to
from Hollywood old and deliver. That video was all about his performance,
new, he would go on says Bruce. Michael was really emotional and at
to develop a signature points during filming I actually thought he was going
style which combined to break down and cry. It worked for the song.
the showmanship of By the time Michael released Thriller in 1982, he
stylised musicals and had big ideas and a bigger video budget. Off The
gangster flicks and the Wall had been a huge hit and MTV was growing in
hi-tech approach of stature, making videos a valuable promotional tool
sci-fi blockbusters and for developing artists. When it came to shooting Billie
gore-fests that were Jean, Michael wanted the film to have a cinematic
prevalent at the time. feel to reflect the songs storytelling.
However, when it Hed seen the Human Leagues Dont You Want
came to shooting his Me and he loved the cinematic aspect of that, recalls
first music videos, director Steve Barron. When I got the track I really
Michael was to liked it. I thought it was really unusual. Obviously
discover that it Billie Jean was an amazing song and I thought

117

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m j v i d e o s

Beat It, BIllIe Jean,


thrIller they were all
mini-movies, the first of
their kind. it opened up
a whole other world

A leaner, meaner
Jackson in a still
from Beat It
Rex Features

118

CPP03.Jackson_Movies.To Print.indd 118 15/07/2016 16:22


immediately it was a perfect song to do a video for.
It gave a real storyline atmosphere within the song. It
had a mystery and it felt like it was unfolding, it had
the skys
the limit
everything that was exciting to do for a director in it.
The idea actually came from an idea Id written for
another music video that had never got made which
was about the Midas Touch. I think it was originally
for Joan Armatrading. I kept thinking as I listened to Having worked with Hollywood royalty Francis Ford Coppola,
the song that that concept worked really well, much George Lucas and Angelica Houston on his Disneyland-exclusive 3D
better for Billie Jean. film Captain EO, Michael expanded on his contacts book with the
Steve flew to LA to shoot the video and was suitably inclusion of Martin Scorsese and novelist and screenwriter Richard
impressed by Michaels performance. Although the Price for the title track from his Bad album.
singer was shy and quiet, once the camera was on, Requiring grit and gravitas, Michael called on the Academy Award
it wasnt just the paving stones that lit up. When the winners to help him make the video, which was based on a real-life
chorus hit and he sprung into this dance that was incident that he had read about in Newsweek magazine about a
student called Edmund Perry, a student who was peer-pressured
unlike anything Id ever seen, Steve says. It was just
into mugging a man that turned out to be a plain-clothes police
extraordinary, instinctive. He pulled it all together and officer and was shot dead, prompting a storm of protest about police
turned it into what we saw. brutality and peer pressure.
Billie Jeans promo strategy was derailed when In the video, Michael plays a student called Daryl who is
MTV refused to play the video, only relenting when pressured by his old gang (led by actor Wesley Snipes in an early
the boss of CBS Records threatened to pull their artists appearance) into committing crimes only to stand up to them. His
from the channel unless they played Billie Jean. retaliation against his past is the infamous song and dance scene in
MTV at that time never, ever played a black artist the subway station, which was influenced by West Side Story.
no matter how successful they were or how big a It was a different form for me, Martin Scorsese told CNN. The
record was, says Michaels former manager Ron big issue really was the temptation to do this really major dance
piece with camera moves and cutting which we had planned on page
Weisner. All the videos that were on there were these
based on his choreography. And working with Michael Chapman,
really cheap, cheesy videos. When we were making who choreographed the fight scenes inRaging Bull. Shooting the big
the music for Thriller, we wanted to make a statement. dance scene was the allure of it.
We wanted to make what I called mini-movies not Michael was never a person who was overly enthusiastic. He
music videos. We went out of the box and hired was quiet. Accepting. He was very precise about what he wanted
people who never did music videos. They were either in the choreography. He was concerned, like with any great dancer,
film people or they were commercial directors, to get they like to be seen full-figure. But that wasnt the case because
a whole different feel and have a story line. Id planned other things. The use of close-ups, and tracking him.
So when you look at Beat It, Billie Jean and Eventually he understood that. There was never any resistance, but
Thriller, they were all mini-movies the first of their questions. He was open to everything.
The 18-minute film, which was shot in tenement buildings in
kind. Nobody had ever done that, and by doing that,
Harlem and at the Hoyt Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn,
it opened up a whole other world. All of a sudden, it was shot in black and white before transferring to colour for the
wasnt just a music video. Everything took giant leaps. song and dance sequence, which was choreographed by Gregg Burge
The audience was accustomed to hearing people and Shalamars Jeffrey Daniel. The elaborate scene was the worlds
sing, they werent accustomed to seeing people. The first glimpse of Michael Jacksons new tough, street image,
record business, at that time, had really bottomed out. complete with crotch grabs and biker-style buckles and straps, as he
MTV brought it back to life. fronted a troupe of real-life B-boys. The look was captured at the
Becoming the most-played video on the station, end of filming for the cover of the Bad album.
Billie Jean was the catalyst of MTV opening up After Thriller, a new video from Michael Jackson was a major
to black artists such as Prince, Tina Turner and event and was treated so, premiered simultaneously around the
world on August 31 1987 as part of a TV Special called Michael
Lionel Richie. It was followed in quick succession
Jackson: The Magic Continues.
by Michaels own Beat It, a spectacular dance-off
set amongst gritty gang warfare in downtown LA,
before the record-breaking horror-fest that was Thriller
completed Michaels triptych of visual vignettes,
setting a precedent for artists creating an image to
illustrate their music.
By 1987, with the release of Bad, he had taken
the format to another level. The previous year he had
starred in Captain EO, a short film exclusively shown
at Disneyland theme parks, directed by Francis Ford
Coppola and produced by George Lucas, and now
Jackson decided to enlist Academy Award-winning
directors and scriptwriters to work on his own films.
He affirmed how important the visual field was to him
by debuting Bads title track simultaneously with its
video, thereby intrinsically linking them together.
During the recording of Bad, he took breaks to film
videos almost as soon as the songs were finished
partly due to the fact that he would be embarking on
a world tour, and partly because he was sometimes
Getty Images

more excited about creating visuals as he was music, Michael shakes hands
often devising a character, scenario or dance move with Wesley Snipes on
the set of the Bad video
first, then writing a song around it.

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TERRORS ON Such was the case with Smooth Criminal. I knew
he had a penchant for movies of the 30s and

THE SCREEN 40s, that film noir stuff, says Vincent Paterson,
the choreographer of the video. I suggested that
rather than 10 guys in tuxedos it could be in an
In October 1983, after a year on the charts, Michael was alarmed
when his Thriller album began to slip down the charts and devised underground club in the 1930s. He loved the
a plan to re-energise the albums chart run. Having recognised the idea. With its heavily sleek tailored costuming and
power of the music video with Beat It and Billie Jean, he enlisted intricate choreography (the lean is second only
acclaimed director John Landis, fresh from box office success with An to the moonwalk in Michaels repertoire of dance
American Werewolf In London. moves), the video fulfilled a lifetime ambition for
As the seventh single from an album which was on course to Michael when Smooth Criminal, directed by special
become the biggest-selling album ever, the record company saw no effects maverick Colin Chilvers, formed the basis of
reason to spend money on another video, let alone such an expensive Moonwalker, Michaels own film.
one. Michael raised the $500,000 budget by selling the rights to
Packaged with a series of state-of-the-art clips
MTV and Showtime for the premiere of the video, along with a
Making Of documentary. including a Claymation Speed Demon and a
John assembled a team which included his make-up effects artist Gullivers Travels-inspired video satirising his Wacko
Rick Baker, choreographer Michael Peters (who had worked on Jacko tabloid persona for Leave Me Alone as well as
Beat It) and Johns wife Deborah, a successful Hollywood costume a live performance of Man In The Mirror, the Smooth
designer, to create Michaels look. Her iconic red and black leather Criminal video was extended to a 40-minute film in
jacket became one of Michaels trademarks. which Michael was a superhero able to transform
When it came to Michaels jacket, there was a tremendous himself into a car, a robot and a spaceship to thwart
amount of thought that went into it, Deborah says. I had sketched the plans of an evil drug baron, played by Joe Pesci.
different looks, but I found ultimately once I came across the jacket Michael always said, and not just to me, that
with the V with the extended shoulders, that was it. Its graphic
Smooth Criminal was his favourite piece, says
and structural, and I wanted a good silhouette. The V in the jacket
really echoes the pyramidal shape of the choreography. Hes at the Paterson. To me, thats kind of evidenced by the
head of the chevron, and theyre working their way down the street many things that originated in it: the band around the
towards the viewer. I knew I had to have him in a colour that would arm, that kind of hat, the white coat. He took on that
absolutely pop off the screen. There was so much fog and mystery persona of the Smooth Criminal character and carried
on the set, lots of black, white, beige, grey, brown, that I thought it on for almost the rest of his life.
to myself: which colour would really stand out? So I went with red. Moving into the 90s, the budgets were getting
Michael had never worn a red costume in his life before, and I really bigger as was the roll call of celebrity cameos.
sold him on it. Dangerous was launched with Black Or White, a
Playboy playmate Ola Ray was hired to play Michaels love CGI-generated trip around the world followed by a
interest and Thriller took a week to shoot in September 1983.
four-minute exercise in ultra-violence during which
Michael got his wish to turn into a monster and a zombie, and
fronted an iconic dance ensemble worthy of any of his heroes. Michael transformed into a panther which featured
Thriller premiered in December before an audience of 64 million Macaulay Culkin. The albums subsequent clips
people, preceded by a disclaimer stating that Michael did not believe featured Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson
in the occult to appease the elders at Jehovahs Witness centre. (Remember The Time), Naomi Campbell (In The
Such was demand that MTV showed the 14-minute video every Closet) and Michael Jordan (Jam).
hour, on the hour. It was kept on heavy rotation and sent the album Michael returned in 1995 with Scream, widely
back to No. 1. It also became a huge money-spinner in its own right regarded as the most expensive video ever made
when it was released on home video, along with the Making Of at $7 million. A duet with his sister Janet, the Mark
documentary, becoming the biggest-selling VHS of all time.

Grisly ghouls from every


tomb: Michael in Rick
Bakers zombie make-up
Rex Features

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M J V i d e o s

Jackson films in a Rio


favela for the They
Dont Really Care
About Us video
Rex Features

Romanek-directed video was inspired by 2001: A Michael receiving


Space Odyssey and Les Enfants Terribles, portraying a Legend Award at
the pair in a spaceship. The reason that video cost the 2006 MTV Video
Awards in Tokyo
such an obscene amount of money was that the
record label came to me too late with a hard release
date I had something like five weeks, says Mark.
They said, Weve got the two biggest pop stars
in the world, brother and sister, Janet and Michael
together for the first time. And Michael was crazy.
Everything had to be the biggest, biggest, biggest,
biggest, best, best ever in all of history.
Having built up an iconic videography, much of
Michaels later output was either memorable for the
wrong reasons (You Are Not Alones ill-judged semi-
nude clinch with new bride Lisa Marie Presley) or
seemed to be big-budget re-treads of things he had
done before. You Rock My World and Blood On The
Dancefloor aimed for Smooth Criminal gangster grit;
Earth Song, with its images of social ills and flattened
rainforests, harked back to Man In The Mirror and
Heal The World; the soft rock posturing first seen in
Dirty Diana was bordering on pastiche after being
replicated on Come Together and Give In To Me.
1997s Ghosts, a Stephen King-penned film directed
by special effects creator Stan Winston, was an
obvious homage to Thriller and, lasting 38 minutes,
gave Michael a late entry in the record books for
being the longest ever music video.
There was one more achievement to go. Following
his tragic death on 25th June 2009, it was
announced that a film would be released to allow fans
to experience the live extravaganza Michael had
planned. This Is It was released in cinemas in October
2009. Taken from over 100 hours of footage of
rehearsals and filming of the video screen element of
the show as well as interviews with the band, dancers
and tour personnel, the film was both a look at how
his visual legacy was referenced and updated for a
modern-looking show capable of outdoing any of his
rivals, and a heartbreaking reminder of what could
have been and the loss of a talent gone too soon. It
took over $260 million at the box office, becoming
the highest-grossing documentary of all time. Even
posthumously, Michael was breaking records.

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MAN IN THE MIRROR
THERE WAS MUCH MORE TO MICHAEL JACKSONS LOOK THAN
SPARKLY GLOVES AND GOLD PANTS. EVEN THOUGH THE STAR
ADMITTED HE WASNT MUCH INTERESTED IN FASHION, YOU
CANT BE THE KING OF POP WITHOUT BREAKING A FEW RULES
AND SETTING SOME TRENDS ALONG THE WAY
J O H N E A R L S

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F A S H I O N

ASKED
by Interview around the release When The Jackson 5 began, young Michael was
of Thriller in 1982 whether he plainly the star, but that wasnt necessarily down to
was interested in fashion, Michael his image. As with everything in his life at that stage,
Jackson responded: No, but I Michael and his siblings look was controlled by his
care about what I wear on stage. I love just putting on father Joe. The band were as colourful and hyperreal
a costume and looking at myself in the mirror baggy as their music, but it wasnt as if Michael was any
pants or funky shoes, and feeling the character of it. more vivid than his brothers.
For a singer who grew up in public, Michael As a footnote, 2010 saw the announcement of a
Jackson always felt most at home on stage. Jackson 5 clothing line, The J5 Collection. But, rather
In essence, everything he wore was part of a than offer fans the chance to wear the tank tops and
performance so Jackson always felt the need bell bottoms of the ABC years, the range seemed
to dress up. His stylist Michael Bush, who worked geared more towards buying outfits from Michael
with Jackson from 1985 until his death, said: Yes, and his brothers solo years. Although prices and a
I did see Michael wear sneakers. But only to play range of partners including Urban Outfitters were
basketball in. But, if Jacksons look influenced a announced, the planned release date of spring 2011
generation, he wasnt fashionable in the strictest came and went and the J5 Collection website has
sense of the word. Only when he was searching for long been a broken link.
a particular look for his London comeback concerts Once Michael went solo with Off The Wall, his own
in 2009 did Jackson briefly become fascinated by style began developing in earnest. He was a fan of
fashion designers. Even then, having asked for sample 1940s Hollywood, especially Clark Gable and Fred
outfits from John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, Astaire and his clothing around Dont Stop Til You
Jackson eventually chose relatively unknown designer Get Enough was basically a disco-fied version of
Zaldy Goco to reinvent his image. their classic look. Sparkly dinner jacket with oversize

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F A S H I O N

Motown 25, March 23 1985:


Michael delivers a killer,
career-shifting solo version
of Billie Jean complete with
famous white glove

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f a s h i o n

Socks, sparkles Xxxxxxxx


and hat were a
constant theme:
here is MJ at
the 1995 MTV
Awards

Moonwalk, Jackson wrote: I told my management


Please order me a cool fedora, like a secret agent
would wear. I wanted something sinister, a real
slouchy hat.
He was particularly pleased to popularise white
socks, which quickly became popular among 1980s
schoolkids and have slunk back out of fashion ever
since. It was considered extremely square to wear
white socks, Jackson said. They were cool in the
1950s, but you wouldnt be seen dead wearing them
in the Sixties or Seventies. But, after Thriller came out,
it even became OK to wear your pants high around
your ankles again.
During the Motown 25 performance of Billie Jean,
Jackson ditched the fedora early on, but the image
with the fedora and the white glove perhaps the most
famous of his career. As additions to his regular outfit
go, the fedora and glove were relatively simple; by
the time of Bad, Jackson was starting to look like a
branch of Clares Accessories had fallen on top of
him. Hed switched from working with his regular
designer Bill Whitten to the duo of Michael Bush and
Dennis Tompkins.
bow-tie? No Originally a
problem. Nobody It was consIdered extremely shirt designer for
would have been
at all surprised to
square to wear whIte socks. you Neil Diamond,
Whitten began
see Jackson wear wouldnt be seen dead wearIng working with
Astaire-style tap The Jacksons
shoes with an them In the sIxtIes or seventIes mJ in the late 70s
added goldfish in before graduating
the sole. to overseeing Michaels looks for Off The Wall
Thriller generally saw Jackson dress like a pupil at and Thriller. He also worked with Elton John, The
the high school prom, all leather jacket and initialled Commodores and Richard Pryor. Singers didnt have
sweaters. But the famous Thriller red leather jacket one place they could go to be outfitted, explained
was red for a very canny reason. In his 2012 book Whitten. I was the one source for them.
The King Of Style on Jacksons fashion, stylist Bush As former theatre designers, Bush and Tompkins
said: The colour red dilates the pupils when you used their pedigree in working with actors to bring
look at it. Michael wore red to help burn forever even more flamboyance to Jacksons image. Bush told
the memory of what fans were seeing. It helped Jackson fansite Michael And The Truth: Michaels
that Jackson was one of the few people capable of clothes were always designed to be on show, as he
wearing a red leather jacket and getting away with it. was the ultimate showman. Michael taught me that
The other trademark look from Thriller came when need to think about always being on show when you
Jackson debuted the moonwalk at the Motown 25 were designing, which worked well.
concert. Along with his regular high-water short Although presumably less physically memorable on
black trousers, white socks and shiny jacket (which the eyes, they simplified Jacksons leather jacket for
was apparently borrowed from Jacksons mother the Bad sleeve to a simple black one; a plain colour
Katherine), Jackson added a fedora and a white made it easier to add on the endless belts and buckles
glove. The fedora was another tribute to 1940s for the title tracks video. Bush insisted the accessories
Hollywood, this time its spy films. In his autobiography were bought at an LA high-street department store.

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f a s h i o n

The 18-carat gold


spandex robot outfit
used on the HIStory tour

The tour for Bad brought out the best in the new from being a Terminator-style all-powerful android,
partnership, as Bush acknowledged in an interview Jacksons Stranger In Moscow robot looked almost
with Jackson fansite MJ World in 2012. The tour vulnerable, matching the songs tender sentiments.
costumes were always my favourite clothes to design The robot outfit was made from 18-carat gold-
for Michael, said Bush. The jacket he wore that plated spandex. Bush explained to Michael And
changed colours for Thriller was always one of my The Truth: Michael had to look like he was wearing
favourites. If you asked Michael which were his metal, but still be able to move and dance. Such
favourites, hed always reply that it was the ones practical considerations naturally affected Tompkins
he wore for the and Bushs costume
opening sections choices; Jackson
of his tours. They Michaels favourite clothes were would sweat
were usually the
most intricate, over
the ones he wore for opening away 5lbs during
a concert. Bush,
the top and highly sections. they were the Most who summarised
designed. Jacksons style
As for Jacksons intricate and highly designed as rebellious
videos, Bush and street fashion,
Tompkins kept ramping up the accessories. There explained: Michael would lose water weight during
was the eye-catching arm cast for Black Or White, his performances, so we had to have various sizes of
supposedly to protect a broken wrist (though its costume for him to change into. To ensure Jackson
generally assumed now Jacksons wrist was perfectly had maximum flexibility, that meant a lot of spandex.
fine and the cast was a fashion choice). Then came After the court proceedings in 2005, Jackson
Jacksons closest flirtation with a bondage look with began by his standards to dress down in his rare
his and Janets matching spiked tops for their Scream public appearances, with recognised high-end fashion
duet. Surely the peak of Jacksons theatricality in designers outfits. Ultimately, this led to Michael Bush
playing with his image came with the 50ft statues of sharing designer duties with newcomer Zaldy Goco
himself to promote HIStory in 1995; by that stage, for what would have been Jacksons final shows for
having worn militaristic statement jackets for the the This Is It concerts in London in 2009. Goco only
Thriller era, Jackson was more akin to acting and began working with Jackson in April, with the shows
dressing like a dictator. scheduled for July. Gocos brief was to reinvent
However much Jackson was misunderstood in Jackson, but the designer told Business Of Fashion:
private, publicly hed never seemed more remote and My first thought was that Michael didnt need to be
inaccessible yet even at this time, one of Jacksons reinvented, especially for those shows. Hes one of the
favourite costumes was the gold robotic outfit he only artists to create iconic images to go along with
wore in which he did a combination of the moonwalk iconic songs. Nobody wants to see a Thriller jacket
and robot dance during Stranger In Moscow. Far that isnt red and black.

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THE LADY
AND THE KING
Following Michael Jacksons death, many of his tour outfits were
bought by Lady Gaga. There was a certain symmetry Gaga
worked on a duet with Jackson, Picture, which was scheduled to
have opened the This Is It shows, and Jacksons designer Zaldy
Goco went on to work with Gaga. Most of all, Gaga recognised that
Jackson was most concerned with how he dressed for his concerts.
In total, Gaga bought 55 of Jacksons costumes at a 2012
auction. Explaining her spree, she told Ellen DeGeneres on her
chatshow: Some people might think that the favourite clothes I
wear are ones for award shows, but its the ones I wear every night
for my fans. I imagine Michael felt the same way, because I believe
fans energy gets stuck in my clothes. I really wanted to preserve
that energy for him. The thought of a bunch of rich people each
buying one piece made me crazy.
Gaga also bought items including a Thriller jacket, a Billie Jean
outfit and a glove.
A couple of pieces spoke to me, Gaga said. Theres a sweater
with MJ on and a jacket with Stop the filthy tabloid press on
the back. If Im in the studio or feeling down, Ill wear them. I think
Michael would have been OK with that.

THE LOOK OF GLOVE


The idea of wearing a single white glove was one which began
simply. Making its debut for the Billie Jean performance at Motown
25 in 1983, Jacksons original single white glove was a store-
bought one which his designer Bill Whitten covered with rhinestones.
In his Moonwalk autobiography, Jackson claimed hed had the idea
This iridescent silver for some time. Id been wearing the single glove for years before
jacket was used on
the Dangerous tour
Thriller, he wrote. One glove was cool. Wearing two gloves
seemed so ordinary, but a single glove was different.
Whitten explained there was a practical performance aspect to
the sparkling glove, too. The audience were missing Michaels hand
Goco wanted to keep Jacksons iconoclasm, but and feet movements, Whitten told the Los Angeles Times in 1990.
update it. He added technology, teaming up with They couldnt see his quick gestures.
Jackson and Whitten began building the glove into the singers
Philips to create an illuminated lightshow outfit for
ultimate accessory. Working with LA bead specialists Artistic Hand
Billie Jean. That really made Michael the happiest, Beading, 1,200 Austrian crystals were hand-sewn over 10 days on
Goco enthused. Other looks would have included a to the military glove designed by Whitten and Jackson.
Samurai leather jacket for Black Or White and a We Eight months after Motown 25, the single glove became indelibly
Are The World jacket featuring embroidery designs associated with Jackson. When his hair caught fire filming his Pepsi
from around the globe.Michael was super in-tune ad, Jackson was photographed waving to reporters with his gloved
to all the details, said Goco. Every time I met with hand as he was carried into an ambulance. However unwittingly,
him, he was always catching little details. When Id even in trauma Jackson knew how to showcase an accessory.
do fittings with him, he was very solid and strong. He
was lively and energetic.
Its hard to write about Jacksons changing fashion
sense without acknowledging how much his body
changed over time too. The vitiligo condition which
whitened his skin has been well documented, but its
impact on someone who was proud to have done so
much to break down boundaries for black musicians
has perhaps been underestimated. And Jackson was
someone who admitted he was never satisfied, either
with his appearance or his work. That restlessness
makes his plastic surgery both understandable and
heartbreaking. As Jackson told Capital Radio in 1980
about his quest for perfection: Im never satisfied with
anything, because I do believe deeply in perfection.
If youre satisfied with everything, youre just going
to stay at one level and the world will move ahead.
Thats not good either.
Perhaps its best to appreciate that, at the end of his
life, Jackson was still excited about how to present
himself to the public. His final fitting with Zaldy Goco
for the London O2 shows was just six days before his
death. I tried the Billie Jean pants on him and he was
silent completely stunned, Goco recalled. After 30 Michaels fedora and glove
seconds, he said Its everything Ive always wanted. backstage during the
HIStory world tour, 1997
Not perfection, of course. But close enough.

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C O L L A B O R A T I O N S

THE KING OF POP


IN HIS OWN WORDS
MICHAEL JACKSON RARELY GAVE INTERVIEWS BUT, WHEN HE
DID, HE ALWAYS HAD SOMETHING WORTH SAYING. BEHIND THE
RUMOURS, HERES WHAT HE REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT LIFE
J O H N E A R L S

That Blondie song Rapture was


We were fresh, new and different and I dont
think there was anything else like that out there.
On the reasons for The Jackson 5s success
originally done by a black artist, but I WAS LAYING IN BED WITH A
it didnt cross over. She does it and it COVER ON AND EVERYTHING,
becomes a big hit. I dont resent that, DOING THAT RAP THING IN THE
but I wish it was more equal. On DARK. ON RECORDING THE
racial inequality in music, 1980 SPOKEN-WORD INTRO TO I JUST
CANT STOP LOVING YOU
Xxxxxxxxxxx
I had great times with my brothers,
pillow fights and things, but I used to cry I dont like to take a step backwards, but its
from loneliness there was a park across a whole other economy now. Thats no excuse,
the street from the studio where Id see though. Fearing that Thriller wouldnt sell as
children playing, and Id cry because I well as Off The Wall, to Smash Hits, 1982
had to work instead. On child stardom
How can he You have to be able to hum
think that way it, from the farmer in Ireland
to the lady who scrubs toilets
to come up in Harlem. On the formula
THE KIDS WHO with that joke? for a good song
LIVE IN THE He just cracks
me up, hes a
GHETTOS AND BACKSTAGE, A
genius. On his
INNER CITIES JUST unlikely love of CHILD WITH A
HAVE A NATURAL Benny Hill LITTLE TUXEDO
TALENT FOR I always want to do ON ASKED
DANCING. THEY music that inspires
or influences another
ME WHO
COME UP WITH generation. You want TAUGHT YOU
what you create to live.
THE DANCES. ALL I Michelangelo said I TO MOVE LIKE
DID WAS ENHANCE know the creator will go,
but his work survives. To
THAT? AND I
THE DANCE. ON escape death, I bind my SAID I GUESS
soul to my work. And
CREATING HIS thats how I feel. I give GOD AND
DANCE MOVES my all to my work. I want
it to live. In his final REHEARSAL.
Today, a writer will have success
in-depth interview, with
Ebony magazine, 2007
ON HIS FAMED
and then just celebrate it for the rest PERFORMANCE
of his life and forget about writing Im proud to be a black American. I have a skin
ever again. Theres no self-control, disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. Its AT MOTOWN
hes partying the rest of his life. Back something I cannot control. Its on my fathers side of
then, people just kept trying and the family and it makes me very sad. But what about 25 WHERE HE
kept coming up with great stuff.
On why the 60s was his favourite
the millions of people who sit in the sun to become
darker? No-one says anything about that. On the skin
DEBUTED THE
decade for music, 1982 disorder vitiligo that made Jackson appear to be white MOONWALK
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C O L L A B O R A T I O N S

w
MY FATHER WOULD
REHEARSE US WITH
I have an album coming out A BELT IN HIS HAND.

As long as people enjoy it, Ill always be


happy. Dont Stop Til You Get Enough? I never
want to stop. Touring Off The Wall in 1980
for the Millennium which Im YOU COULDNT MESS
My mother is wonderful. To me, shes
perfection. I just wish I could understand my
father. I love my father,UP. HE WAS know A GENIUS
halfway through. Its going but I dont
him. On his relationship with his parents.
to be the best thing Ive ever WITH THE WAY HE
I say a few swear words now, but you couldnt get
done. Im putting my heart TAUGHT
me to swear back then. So Id US STAGING
say Thats a smelly
and soul into it, because AND HOW TO WORK
song. Steven Spielberg calls me Smelly too. On
Quincy Jones nickname, Smelly, for Jackson.
Im not sure if Im going to AN AUDIENCE. ON
w
do another one after this. HIS FATHER JOES
This will be my last album, I STRICT METHODS FOR
think. Talking up what would THE JACKSON 5S
become Invincible, 1999 PERFORMANCES

The key to being a wonderful writer


is not to write. You just get out of the YOU SHOULDNT SAY
I just wasnt happy with how the whole thing
way and leave room for God to walk
into the room. When I write something HES JACKO. IM NOT
happened. I wanted to do much more, present much
more, put more of my heart and soul in it. On the
I know is right, I get on my knees and
say Thank you, Jehovah! On his JACKO. IM A JACKSON.
transition from Off The Wall to Thriller.

songwriting process
ON HIS NOT NICE
MTV said they dont play black artists. It broke my
heart but, at the same time, it lit something. I said to
NICKNAME
myself I have to do something they cant ignore. So, I wanted to do an album that was like Tchaikovskys
yeah, Billie Jean. And when MTV played it, it set the all- Nutcracker Suite. So that, in a thousand years from now,
time record. Then Prince came, and it opened the You become
door the emotion
people would still ofbe what the
listening to it. Id like to see people,
sound is. If hundreds
I grab myself, its theofmusic
and hundreds thatnow, still pulling
years from
for Prince and all the other black artists. On breaking
compels meout to songs
do it.from
Ill sometimes
that album and look
dissecting it. I want it to
down racial barriers back at the live.
footage and think
On recording theDid I do album
Dangerous
that? Im a slave to the rhythm, OK? On

I DONT FOLLOW THAT grabbing his crotch while performing.

When you look out over the stage, as far


Bela Lugosi and Peter
Lorre are
as the eyedead. Whos

STUFF. WE DONT LOOK could see, you see people. And thats a the
whos
feeling. But it came with a lot of pain. When
king of horror
wonderful
still alive? The
youre

TO MAN TO FIX THE on the top of your game, people come atonly you.giant
want to get at whos at the top. On the back
You who goes
to to
pressure those days is

PROBLEMS OF THE
keep creating. Vincent Price. But Rod
Temperton and Quincy
actually thought of

WORLD. ON POLITICS him, because hes a


friend. On getting
Vincent Price to do the
People dont look at voiceover on Thrillers
title track Xxxxxxxxx

themselves honestly. They dont


human. On press intrusion
boundaries. The star needs

relax. He has a heart. Hes


some space, some time to

I love the story of The Elephant Man and I


point the finger at themselves,
There should be some

could relate to it. But where am I going to


I MOSTLY LIKEthatTHEhe OLDER
its always the other guysput the bones?
fault. On tabloid rumours
GUYSMans
bought The Elephant WHO ARENT HERE
bones.
But you should change yourself ANYMORE, LIKE JM BARRIE.
and make better of yourself. THEIR IMAGINATION WAS
On the inspiration behind Man OUT OF THIS WORLD. ON
In The Mirror HIS LOVE OF BOOKS
129

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MJ SPECIAL
T H E K I N G A N D
Q U E E N O F P O P
A T T H E O S C A R S
M A R C H 2 5 , 1 9 9 1
This was the rare moment when two giants of the pop world stepped out together
after the 63rd Academy Awards. The two megastars were on their way to talent

CLASSIC
agent Swifty Lazars infamous after-party at Spagos the most exclusive Oscars
party of them all in what was clearly a carefully-planned publicity stunt for the
famous pair. Madonna was at the Oscars to sing Sooner Or Later from the Dick
Tracy soundtrack, which had just won its writer Stephen Sondheim Best Original
Song but her documentary In Bed With Madonna (Truth Or Dare in the US)
was due to come out a few months later and she was, as always, happy for the
attention. Michael, meanwhile, had just signed a multi-million dollar deal with
Sony (that explains the broad smile) and was no doubt in search of publicity for

MOMENTS
his new album, Dangerous, which was ready to drop.

130

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CPP03.Jackson_IBC IFC OFC Posters.To Print.indd 131 15/07/2016 15:49
CPP03.Jackson_IBC IFC OFC Posters.To Print.indd 132 15/07/2016 15:49