Archives for : MICHAEL JACKSON

Michael Jackson Vs. Prince

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Michael Jackson Vs. Prince: An Oral History

“I heard you were looking for me,” said a deep voice on the other end of the phone. It was the fall of 1996, and Michael Jackson was holding court in a posh suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. The King of Pop had instructed his handlers to contact his old peer and rival Prince for a planned collaboration. The prospect for such a headline-making union was indeed intriguing. For much of the ‘80s, Michael Joseph Jackson and Prince Rogers Nelson took turns ruling the musical landscape. MJ, the gifted Motown child prodigy who made good on his ambition to become the biggest pop star to ever walk the earth with the release of the record-breaking landmark Thriller. Prince, the at times outrageous, androgynous, one-man-band performer and producer who backed up his genius rep by pulling off one of the most unlikely coups in rock history after unleashing the multi-platinum 1984 Purple Rain soundtrack and Oscar winning film. A rivalry was born.

But more than a decade later, both had found themselves in a battle to save their respective careers. MJ struggled mightily to fight unproven child molestation accusations as the tabloid brigade hounded him relentlessly. Prince declared war against his longtime label Warner Bros. and changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol as he headed deeper into obscurity. Indeed, a team-up between the two icons would be perceived as a brilliant masterstroke. “I think it would be just great,” MJ told Prince. Yet, the collaboration to end all collaborations would never happen. Both aging legends would achieve comebacks on their own terms. With the untimely June 25, 2009 death of Jackson, their connection grows even more profound. The fact that the public is still enamored with MJ and Prince speaks volumes for their cultural impact and influential contributions to music. But what did these two titans really think of one another? Was there a true rivalry or deep respect? VIBE presents the Oral History of a King and a Prince.—Keith Murphy

A KING AND A PRINCE (1970-1982)

AHMIR “QUESTLOVE” THOMPSON (Leader, producer and drummer for the Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots): I have an actual theory on why we started connecting Michael and Prince together early on. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both were born in the summer of 1958 in the Midwest and both basically represent different phases of the coming-of-age life of black youth. Michael captured the imagination of post civil-rights America as a youth and he was their guiding light. And Prince captured the same post-civil rights America when they became teenagers and helped them mature into adulthood.

ALAN LEEDS (Former tour manager for Prince and James Brown; Co-editor of the book The James Brown Reader): I remember seeing Michael’s first big tour with the Jackson 5 in 1970. When I was out with James Brown we crossed paths in Dayton, Ohio. They were playing the O’Hare Arena in Dayton the night before we were scheduled to perform. Onstage he had a charismatic presence that very few people had. I remember we were staying at the same hotel. And before the gig, I happened to be in the hotel lobby when the J5 left to go to sound check. I saw them come through with their security; screaming kids were outside the hotel and I recall seeing Michael and he looked like a little pimp [laughs]. He had that confident walk and he was only 10 years old! He totally understood, “Hey, I’m the star. I’m the reason these kids are out here.”

CYNTHIA HORNER (Former editor of Right On! Magazine from 1976-2005; Currently writes and edits for Hip-Hop Weekly): I met Michael back in 1976 and he was one of the shyest people that I’ve ever dealt with. It was a little difficult to interview him because even though as a professional entertainer he realized he needed the press, he wasn’t somebody that knew how to relate to the media in terms of being open with information. He was just super shy unless he was around his family. But he picked up the fact I was shy as well, so he kind of embraced me and we became friends. He and Prince were quite similar because Prince was shy as well. If you were a journalist he would give you the same monosyllabic answers that Michael did. But Prince would also speak in riddles a lot of the time; he was very evasive. He would never answer any of my questions [laughs]. He wanted to keep his privacy protected at all cost.

BRUCE SWEDIEN (Michael Jackson’s studio engineer for Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous): It was very obvious to both me and Quincy [Jones] how great Michael was. He was somebody really special… the ultimate talent. We did a bunch of demos after listening to Rod Temperton’s music for Off The Wall. And Michael, in his typical fashion, went home, stayed up all night, and memorized the lyrics and we recorded those demos without a piece of paper in front of him. You tell me one other singer that could do that.

CYNTHIA HORNER: The first time I encountered Prince was in 1978. He kept calling me over and over again and I really wasn’t returning his phone calls because I didn’t know who he was and I really didn’t care. But he called me so much that I just wanted to get rid of him, so I agreed to meet with him down the street from my office, which was in Hollywood near the recording studio he was at. He wanted me to go to the studio to see a jam session. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that the jam session consisted of just one person: Prince! He played all of these different instruments. Prince was trying to prove to me that he was worthy of coverage and that he was more talented than probably a majority of the people who was appearing in [Right On!]. At that moment, Prince let me know that he was a songwriter that could produce, sing, and play all these different instruments. This was an once-in-a-lifetime talent. Once I saw that, I agreed to interview him.

ALAN LEEDS: Michael wasn’t a musician in the classic sense. He approached his music differently from the way Prince did although Michael could write a great song as well. But Prince was arguably a musician first. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Prince saw Michael as a symbol of where he wanted to go in terms [of notoriety]. Michael was one of the few artists on the planet that Prince did respect in that sense. Once we realized that he was in the process of writing what was the original idea for the film Purple Rain as he was scribbling in notebooks during his 1982 tour for 1999, we knew he wanted more. The word was beginning to spread: “Hey, Prince really thinks he’s writing a movie.” I don’t think any of us took it that seriously because it didn’t make sense that somebody who at that point only had a few pop hits was going to be able to get the funding for a film. But it certainly revealed an ambition he had and to his credit Prince would go on to pull it off.

CYNTHIA HORNER: I would give Michael copies of the magazines and he would see certain people in the book and ask me lots of questions about the artists he was interested in. And that’s how he was introduced to Prince. After that, I started to let Michael listen to some of the Prince music I had and he was intrigued. At that point, I realized that there was somewhat of a rivalry developing. Michael had been in the business longer, so naturally he didn’t want to get replaced by the newcomer.

http://www.vibe.com/…/michael-jackson-vs-prince-oral-history

 

Michael Jackson: Pepsi Accident

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On January 27, 1984 Michael Jackson was accidentally burned during a performance for a taping of a new Pepsi commercial picture here, with staff at cider Sinai hospital in their burnt unit.

Michael Jackson & Fans

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Berry Gordy: On Michael Jackson

 

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“Well it was Suzanne DePasse who grabbed me one day and she said “there’s a kids group you gotta see. They’re auditioning in the next room and we just love them, and you’re gonna love them.”

I said that “I don’t have time. If fact, I don’t like kids groups. I don’t want kids groups. I’ve got Stevie Wonder who has a major entourage.” He had his mother, he had a tutor and a chaperon. A lot of people traveled with him. So, I said no. The last thing I want is a kids group, and she said “you’ll want them!” & I said “I won’t. I won’t.” And so, she kind of [dragged] me into  the audition room. And when I saw this kid doing all this stuff, he was doing a James Brown thing and he did a twirl and a split, and then she said “you still don’t like kid groups?” and I said “no I don’t…..get my camera, get my camera!”

When they got through, I noticed he was doing his thing, on stage he was one kind of person. He was like this master!. And then when he got through, he was very quiet and almost shy. But he stared at me, the other kids would get ready for the next song, they’d be playing with the instruments, and Michael was always there staring at me, really in an innocent way, watching every move I made. And finally, I went to them and they said “Are you gonna sign us?”.

I couldn’t make up my mind because I was concerned that, here’s a kid who was about eight years old, seven or eight years old, singing a Smokey song that seemed he had been living it for thirty years, so right away we were saying “this is an old man in a kid’s body”, because he sung ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ better than Smokey, and Smokey did a phenomenal job, but this kid was like, something…he had been here before!

And then, after singing that, he went back into a child mode. I told Suzanne “they’re gonna need something that a kid would sing”, so I just kind of came up with a melody of my own. [sings a tune of I Want You Back] I said “he should sing something like that!” Then we did [‘ABC’], ‘The Love You Save’, and ‘I’ll Be There’, and that made history because no other group, I think, before or since, had their first four records go to number one.

So it was like a major feat, and they became, like, the biggest thing. Suzanne was responsible for dressing him up and she put on him one of those little hats, and they did the Sullivan Show. He used to complain to me about his childhood and I’d say “You don’t have such a bad childhood, Michael. I mean, you’re doing what you want to do.” If people could have that thing, passion, at an early age, eight or nine, and then do it for the rest of their life…my goodness! So that was…Michael.” –Berry Gordy

Michael Jackson: Fashion Killa!

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 The man, the music, the moves and the clothes!

Michael Jackson & Co.

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Legendary musicians Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, with the late great Robin Williams photo Bombing in the background!

Debbie Allen & Co.

 

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Such great memories of celebrating Michael Jackson’s 21st Birthday at Studio 54! Happy Birthday Michael! We miss and love you! ‪#‎FlashbackFriday

Michael Jackson & Co.

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Michael Jackson and Stephanie Mills!

Michael Jackson:Birthday Celebration!

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Brooklyn loves MJ Celebration is back Sunday, August 24th 12 Noon to 6PM at Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza – Fulton St. & New York Ave. DJ Spinna will spin the music of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson Thriller

 

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 On This Day In R&B History: 31 years ago today…. On July 7, 1983 the number one album on Billboards R&B chart was the ICONIC Lp “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. With the exception of the week July 23rd going to the Isley Brothers album “Between The Sheets”, Thriller would stay at the number one spot on the R&B charts from January 29th to September 17th. Thriller would also spend thirty-seven (non-consecutive) weeks on the Pop charts on its way to becoming the biggest-selling album of all time.

Thriller is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records as the follow-up to Jackson’s critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including pop, R&B, rock, post-disco, funk, and adult contemporary music.

Recording sessions took place between April and November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a production budget of $750,000, assisted by producer Quincy Jones. Of the nine tracks on the album, four of them were written by Jackson himself. Seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three of the singles had music videos released. “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” were the only tracks that were not released as singles. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time, with sales estimated by various sources as being between 65 to 100 million copies worldwide. In the United States, it also tied with the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) as the best-selling album at 29 millions shipped. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including for Album of the Year.

Thriller enabled Jackson to break down racial barriers in pop music via his appearances on MTV and meeting with President of the United States Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, and “Beat It” all received regular rotation on MTV. In 2001, a special edition issue of the album was released, which contains additional audio interviews, a demo recording and the song “Someone in the Dark”, which was a Grammy-winning track from the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook. In 2008, the album was reissued again as Thriller 25, containing re-mixes that feature contemporary artists, a previously unreleased song, and a DVD.

Thriller was ranked number 20 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003,[9] and was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at number three in its Definitive 200 Albums of All Time. The Thriller album was included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings, and the Thriller video was included in the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films”. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #1 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”.

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

 

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Remembering The King Of Pop, Michael Jackson on the 5th Anniversary of his death.

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, dancer, businessman, and philanthropist. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music.

The music videos for his songs, including those of “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller”, were credited with breaking down racial barriers and with transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped to bring the then-relatively-new television channel MTV to fame.

With videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream”, he continued to innovate the medium throughout the 1990s, as well as forging a reputation as a touring solo artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous hip hop, post-disco, contemporary R&B, pop, and rock artists.

Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first and only dancer from pop and rock music.

Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; 26 American Music Awards, more than any other artist, including the “Artist of the Century” and “Artist of the 1980s”; 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era; and the estimated sale of over 400 million records worldwide.

Jackson has won hundreds of awards, making him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music.[10] In what would have been Jackson’s 52nd birthday on August 29, 2010, he became the most downloaded artist of all time in Nokia Music Store.

A philanthropist, Jackson constantly traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism and in 2000, the Guinness Book of Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other artist or entertainer. Jackson became the first artist in history to have a top ten single in the Billboard Top 100 in five different decades when “Love Never Felt So Good” reached number nine on May 21, 2014

Michael Jackson:Man In The Mirror

 

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Last night Billboard awards there was no African American Males singers performing onstage, with the exception of The Late Great Michael Jackson, whom appeared via Hologram and seems to water down, and fully perished his already, tainted legacy. If Mr. Dick Clark was alive the Billboard awards would be totally different, Clark fought for decades  for Black performers to perform on The American Music awards and the Billboard awards, especially Black males, why after his death, the practice stopped?

Michael Jackson: ‘Xscape’

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Painting commissioned by Mr. Brainwash

The Boss & The King!

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Michael Jackson: Hollywood Walk Of Fame

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The Legendary Michael Jackson standing on a car at his Hollywood Walk Of Fame Ceremony 1984.

Michael Jackson:Xscape

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 An album of previously unreleased Michael Jackson songs, XSCAPE comes out May 13th!

Michael Jackson: Motown 25th Anniversary!

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On March 25th In 1983, Motown Records celebrated its 25 anniversary with a concert in Pasadena. Widely hailed as Michael’s breakthrough performance as a solo artist, he performed “Billie Jean”, which at the time was in the middle of a seven-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. This was also the first time he performed what would become his most famous signature move, the moonwalk. Michael’s performance at the show was unique in that he was the only artist given time to perform music that wasn’t written under the Motown label.

Michael Jackson’s concert performances of “Billie Jean” in the years since Motown 25 were always formatted on his performance on this special, from the opening pose with the fedora, black sequin jacket and glove, to the moonwalk routine in the song’s bridge.

Michael Jackson: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Today in 2001, Michael Jackson was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.

The JACKSONS: Motown Gold!

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The Jacksons attend the NAACP Image Awards, Los Angeles, California, November 19, 1970.

Andy Warhol:(August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) RIP

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A Tribute to Mr Andy Warhol who passed away this day in 1987

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