Michael Jackson: This Day In HIStory
a dance move–in which he appeared to be slowly moving forward as he
actually moved backward–that is now synonymous with Jackson.
More Than a PopStar
Michael Jackson is not just a Song & Dance man.
He’s a Song Writer’s Hall of Fame Writer, Composer and Producer as well. He’s won more awards than any other Artist in music history. He’s also a great Humanitarian and had given away more than $300 million dollars BEFORE Oprah had it to give.
He is the "ATV" in Sony/ATV, meaning he owns HALF of one of the largest music publishing companies in the world.
Another little known fact is that he is a New York Times best selling author.
Below is a sample of his (1st) autobiography…
I’ve always wanted to be able to tell stories, you know, stories that came from my soul. I’d like to sit by a fire and tell people stories – make them see pictures, make them cry and laugh, take them anywhere emotionally with something as deceptively simple as words. I’d like to tell tales to move their souls and transform them. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. Imagine how the great writers must feel, knowing they have that power. I sometimes feel I could do it. It’s something I’d like to develop. In a way, songwriting uses the same skills, creates the emotional highs and lows, but the story is a sketch. It’s quicksilver. There are very few books written on the art of storytelling, how to grip listeners, how to get a group of People together and amuse them. No costumes, no makeup, no nothing, just you and your voice, and your powerful ability to take them anywhere, to transform their lives, if only for minutes.
As I begin to tell my story, I want to repeat what I usually say to people when they ask me about my earliest days with the Jackson 5: I was so little when we began to work on our music that I really don’t remember much about it. Most People have the luxury of careers that start when they’re old enough to know exactly what they’re doing and why, but, of course, that wasn’t true of me. They remember everything that happened to them, but I was only five years old. When you’re a show business child, you really don’t have the maturity to understand a great deal of what is going on around you. People make a lot of decisions concerning your life when you’re out of the room. So here’s what I remember. I remember singing at the top of my voice and dancing with real joy and working too hard for a child. Of course, there are many details I don’t remember at all. I do remember the Jackson 5 really taking off when I was only eight or nine.
I was born in Gary, Indiana, on a late summer night in 1958, the seventh of my parents’ nine children. My father, Joe Jackson, was born in Arkansas, and in 1949 he married my mother, Katherine Scruse, whose people came from Alabama. My sister Maureen was born the following year and had the tough job of being the oldest. Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, LaToya, and Marlon were all next in line. Randy and Janet came after me.
A part of my earliest memories is my father’s job working in the steel mill. It was tough, mind-numbing work and he played music for escape. At the same time, my mother was working in a department store. Because of my father, and because of my mother’s own love of Music, we heard it all the time at home. My father and his brother had a group called the Falcons who were the local R&B band. My father played the guitar, as did his brother. They would do some of the great early rock ‘n’ roll and blues songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Otis Redding, you name it. All those styles were amazing and each had an influence on Joe and on us, although we were too young to know it at the time. The Falcons practiced in the living room of our house in Gary, so I was raised on R&B. Since we were nine kids and my father’s brother had eight of his own, our combined numbers made for a huge family. Music was what we did for entertainment and those times helped keep us together and kind of encouraged my father to be a family-oriented man. The Jackson 5 were born out of this tradition – we later became the Jacksons – and because of this training and musical tradition, I moved out on my own and established a sound that is mine.
I remember my childhood as mostly work, even though I loved to sing. I wasn’t forced into this business by stage parents the way Judy Garland was. I did it because I enjoyed it and because it was as natural to me as drawing a breath and exhaling it. I did it because I was compelled to do it, not my parents or family, but by my own inner life in the world of music.
There were times, let me make that clear, when I’d come home from school and I’d only have time to put my books down and get ready for the studio. Once there, I’d sing until late at night, until it was past my bedtime, really. There was a park across the street from the Motown studio, and I can remember looking at those kids playing games. I’d just stare at them in wonder – I couldn’t Imagine such freedom, such a carefree life – and wish more than anything that I had that kind of freedom, that I could walk away and be like them. So there were sad moments in my childhood. It’s true for any child star. Elizabeth Taylor told me she felt the same way. When you’re young and you’re working, the world can seem awfully unfair. I wasn’t forced to be little Michael the lead singer – I did it and I loved it – but it was hard work. If we were doing an album, for example, we’d go off to the studio after school and I might or might not get a snack. Sometimes there Just wasn’t time. I’d come home, exhausted, and it’d be eleven or twelve and past time to go to bed.
So I very much identify with anyone who worked as a child. I know how they struggled, I know what they sacrificed. I also know what they learned. I’ve learned that it becomes more of a challenge as one gets older. I feel old for some reason. I really feel like an old soul, someone who’s seen a lot and experienced a lot. Because of all the years I’ve clocked in, it’s hard for me to accept that I am only twenty-nine. I’ve been in the business for twenty-four years. Sometimes I feel like I should be near the end of my life, turning eighty, with people patting me on the back. That’s what comes from starting so young.
When I first performed with my brothers, we were known as the Jacksons. We would later become the Jackson 5. Still later, after we left Motown, we would reclaim the Jacksons name again.
Every one of my albums or the group’s albums has been dedicated to our mother, Katherine Jackson, since we took over our own careers and began to produce our own music. My first memories are of her holding me and singing songs like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Cotton Fields." she sang to me and to my brothers and sisters often. Even though She had lived in Indiana for some time, my mother grew up in Alabama, and in that part of the country it was just as common for black people to be raised with country and western Music on the radio as it was for them to hear spirituals in church. She likes Willie Nelson to this day. She has always had a beautiful voice and I suppose I got my singing ability from my mother and, of course, from God.
Mom played the clarinet and the piano, which she taught my oldest sister, Maureen, whom we call Rebbie, to play, just as She’d teach my other older sister, LaToya. My mother knew, from an early age, that she would never perform the music she loved in front of others, not because she didn’t have the talent and the ability, but because she was crippled by polio as a child. She got over the disease, but not without a permanent limp in her walk. She had to miss a great deal of school as a child, but she told us that she was lucky to recover at a time when many died from the disease. I remember how important it was to her that we got the sugar-cube vaccine. She even made us miss a youth club show one Saturday afternoon – that’s how important it was in our family.
My mother knew her polio was not a curse but a test that God gave her to triumph over, and she instilled in me a love of Him that I will always have. She taught me that my talent for singing and dancing was as much God’s work as a beautiful sunset or a storm that left snow for children to play in. Despite all the time we spent rehearsing and traveling, Mom would find time to take me to the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, usually with Rebbie and LaToya.
Years later, after we had left Gary, we performed on "The Ed Sullivan show", the live Sunday night variety Show where America first saw the Beatles, Elvis, and Sly and the Family Stone. After the show, Mr. Sullivan complimented and thanked each of us; but I was thinking about what he had said to me before the show. I had been wandering around backstage, like the kid in the Pepsi commercial, and ran into Mr. Sullivan. He seemed glad to see me and shook my hand, but before he let it go he had a special message for me. It was 1970, a year when some of the best people in rock were losing their lives to drugs and alcohol. An older, wiser generation in show business was unprepared to lose its very young. Some People had already said that I reminded them of Frankie Lymon, a great young singer of the 1950s who lost his life that way. Ed Sullivan may have been thinking of all this when he told me, "Never forget where your talent came from, that your talent is a gift from God."
I was grateful for his kindness, but I could have told him that my mother had never let me forget. I never had polio, which is a frightening thing for a dancer to think about, but I knew God had tested me and my brothers and sisters in other ways – our large family, our tiny house, the small amount of money we had to make ends meet, even the jealous kids in the neighborhood who threw rocks at our windows while we rehearsed, yelling that we’d never make it. When I think of my mother and our early years, I can tell you there are rewards that go far beyond money and public acclaim and awards.
My mother was a great provider. If she found out that one of us had an interest in something, She would encourage it if there was any possible way. If I developed an interest in movie stars, for instance, she’d come home with an armful of books about famous stars. Even with nine children she treated each of us like an only child. There isn’t One of us who’s ever forgotten what a hard worker and great provider she was. It’s an old story. Every child thinks their mother is the greatest mother in the world, but we Jacksons never lost that feeling. Because of Katherine’s gentleness, warmth, and attention, I can’t Imagine what it must be like to grow up without a mother’s love.
one thing I know about children is that if they don’t get the love they need from their parents, they’ll get it from someone else and cling to that person, a grandparent, anyone. We never had to look for anyone else with my mother around. The lessons she taught us were invaluable. Kindness, love, and consideration for other people headed her list. Don’t hurt People. Never beg. Never freeload. Those were sins at our house. She always wanted us to give , but she never wanted us to ask or beg. That’s the way she is.
I remember a good story about my mother that illustrates her nature. one day, back in Gary, when I was real little, this man knocked on everybody’s door early in the morning. He was bleeding so badly you could see where he’d been around the neighborhood. No One would let him in. Finally he got to our door and he started banging and knocking. Mother let him in at once. Now, most people would have been too afraid to do that, but that’s my mother. I can remember waking up and finding blood on our floor. I wish we could all be more like Mum.
The earliest memories I have of my father are of him coming home from the steel mill with a big bag of glazed doughnuts for all of us. My brothers and I could really eat back then and that bag would disappear with a snap of the fingers. He used to take us all to the merry-go-round in the park, but I was so young I don’t remember that very well.
My father has always been something of a mystery to me and he knows it. one of the few things I regret most is never being able to have a real closeness with him. He built a shell around himself over the years and, once he stopped talking about our family business, he found it hard to relate to us. We’d all be together and he’d just leave the room. Even today it’s hard for him to touch on father and son stuff because he’s too embarrassed. When I see that he is, I become embarrassed, too.
My father did always protect us and that’s no small feat. He always tried to make sure people didn’t cheat us. He looked after our interests in the best ways. He might have made a few mistakes along the way, but he always thought he was doing what was right for his family. And, of course, most of what my father helped us accomplish was wonderful and unique, especially in regard to our relationships with companies and People in the business. I’d say we were among a fortunate few artists who walked away from a childhood in the business with anything substantial – money, real estate, other investments. My father set all these up for us. He looked out for both our interests and his. To this day I’m so thankful he didn’t try to take all our money for himself the way so many parents of child stars have. Imagine stealing from your own children. My father never did anything like that. But I still don’t know him, and that’s sad for a son who hungers to understand his own father. He’s still a mystery man to me and he may always be one.
What I got from my father wasn’t necessarily God-given, though the Bible says you reap what you sow. When we were coming along, Dad said that in a different way, but the message was just as clear: You could have all the talent in the world, but if you didn’t prepare and plan, it wouldn’t do you any good.
Joe Jackson had always loved singing and music as much as my mother did, but he also knew there was a world beyond Jackson street. I wasn’t old enough to remember his band, the Falcons, but they came over to our house to rehearse on weekends. The Music took them away from their jobs at the steel mill, where Dad drove a crane. The Falcons would play all over town, and in clubs and colleges around northern Indiana and Chicago. At the rehearsals at our house, Dad would bring his guitar out of the closet and plug it into the amp he kept in the basement. He’d always loved rhythm and blues and that guitar was his pride and joy. the closet where the guitar was kept was considered an almost sacred place. Needless to say, it was off-limits to us kids. Dad didn’t go to Kingdom Hall with us, but both Mom and Dad knew that music was a way of keeping our family together in a neighborhood where gangs recruited kids my brothers’ ages. The three oldest boys would always have an excuse to around when the Falcons came over. Dad let them think they were being given a special treat by being allowed to listen, but he was actually eager to have them there.
Tito watched everything that was going on with the greatest interest. He’d taken saxophone in school, but he could tell his hands were big enough to grab the chords and slip the riffs that my father played. It made sense that he’d catch on, because Tito looked so much like my father that we all expected him to share Dad’s talents. The extent of the resemblance was scary as he got older. Maybe my father noticed Tito’s zeal because he laid down rules for all my brothers: No one was to touch the guitar while he was out. Period.
Therefore, Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine were careful to see that Mom was in the kitchen when they "borrowed" the guitar. They were also careful not to make any noise while removing it. They would then go back to our room and put on the radio or the little portable record player so they could play along. Tito would hoist the guitar onto his belly as he sat on the bed and prop it up. He took turns with Jackie and Jermaine, and they’d all try the scales they were learning in school as well as try to figure out how to get the "Green Onions" part they’d hear on the radio.
By now I was old enough to sneak in and watch if I promised not to tell. one day Mom finally caught them, and we were all worried. she scolded the boys, but said She wouldn’t tell Dad as long as we were careful. She knew that guitar was keeping them from running with a bad crowd and maybe getting beat up, so she wasn’t about to take away anything that kept them within arm’s reach.
Of course, something had to give sooner or later, and one day a string broke. My brothers panicked. There wasn’t time to get it repaired before Dad came home, and besides, none if us knew how to go about getting it fixed. My brothers never figured out what to do, so they put the guitar back in the closet and hoped fervently that my father would think it broke by itself. Of course, Dad didn’t buy that, and he was furious. My sisters told me to stay out of it and keep a low profile. I heard Tito crying after Dad found out and I went to investigate, of course. Tito was on his bed crying when Dad came back and motioned for him to get up. Tito was scared, but my father just stood there, holding his favorite guitar. He gave Tito a hard, penetrating look and said, "Let me see what you can do."
My brother pulled himself together and started to play a few runs he had taught himself. When my father saw how well Tito could Play, he knew he’d obviously been practicing and he realized that Tito and the rest of us didn’t treat his favorite guitar as if it were a toy. It became clear to him that what had happened had been only an accident. At this point my mother stepped in and voiced her enthusiasm for our musical ability. she told him that we boys had talent and he should listen to us. She kept pushing for us, so one day he began to listen and he liked what he heard. Tito, Jackie, and Jermaine started rehearsing together in earnest. A couple of years later, when I was about five, Mom pointed out to my father that I was a good singer and could play the bongos. I became a member of the group…
Continued @ Steady-laughing.com