“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” / “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round (demo)” CD Single Debuts at #1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart
New York, NY – On June 5, the original first single from Michael Jackson’s landmark album BAD, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” was re-released as a CD Single with a never-before released bonus track called “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round (demo).” In its first week this Wal-Mart exclusive CD single was scooped up by fans, giving Michael a #1 debut on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart in a top five that includes Carly Rae Jepsen, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber and Coldplay/Rihanna.
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” was written and composed by Michael Jackson and performed as a duet with Siedah Garrett. The song became the first of five consecutive number-one Billboard Hot 100 hits from Jackson’s BAD album. It also reached number one on the Billboard R&B and adult contemporary charts. “Don’t Be Messin’ Around” is a previously unreleased demo from the singer’s vaults which was recorded during the BADsessions.
On September 18th, the Estate of Michael Jackson along with Epic/Legacy Recordings will release BAD 25, which includes three CDs, two collectible booklets, and features the first-ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the record breaking BAD tour, the concert at Wembley Stadium on July 16, 1988 attended by Princess Diana, Prince Charles and a sold-out crowd of 72,000 fans.
More details on this and other exciting projects relating to BAD‘s 25th anniversary will be announced soon.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAY 21, 2012
25th ANNIVERSARY OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S
LANDMARK ALBUM BAD CELEBRATED WITH SEPTEMBER 18
RELEASE OF NEW BAD 25 PACKAGES
MICHAEL’S PERSONAL VHS COPY OF HIS JULY 16, 1988
PERFORMANCE AT WEMBLEY STADIUM UNEARTHED FOR THE RELEASE
NEWLY DISCOVERED OUTTAKES AND DEMOS FROM BAD ALBUM
RECORDING SESSIONS TO BE RELEASED
New York, NY – Twenty-five years after the phrase “Who’s Bad” became a generation’s
cultural catchphrase, Epic/Legacy Recordings, in collaboration with the Estate of
Michael Jackson, will celebrate the legendary album and record breaking BAD tour on
September 18, 2012 with the release of a deluxe package, BAD 25, which includes three CDs,
two collectible booklets, and features the first ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the
record breaking BAD tour.
“The era of BAD represented Michael’s creative ‘coming of age’ as a solo artist in charge of
every aspect of his career – from recording to touring to endorsements to merchandising. This
was the first album on which nearly all of the songs were written by Michael. It was also was
the first album in history to produce five consecutive #1 singles and it took 2 ½ decades for
another artist to match that success. It was also the first time Michael would tour as a solo artist
– his vision, his decisions on what the show would be. The enormous success of the BAD album
and tour was a pivotal moment in Michael’s growth as a composer, performer and producer
cementing his role as the King of Pop. We are thrilled to celebrate such an historic era in
Michael’s career with this release”, stated John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors of the
Estate of Michael Jackson.
The BAD 25 anniversary deluxe edition will feature three CDs and 1 DVD as follows:
• The highlight of the package is the DVD of Michael’s legendary July 16, 1988 concert at
Wembley Stadium. The concert is not a compilation of performances, but rather one
complete show, exactly as Michael performed it for Prince Charles, Princess Diana and
the 72,000 fans who were in the audience for that night’s sold out show. This show was
one of the record-breaking seven nights played at the venue attended by more than half a
million people – three times that many people tried to purchase tickets. The DVD was
sourced from Michael Jackson’s personal VHS copy of the performance as shown on the
JumboTrons during the concert. This footage was only recently unearthed and is the only
known copy of the show to exist. The visuals have been restored and the audio quality
enhanced so that fans can share in the excitement of that famous night
• A CD of the re-mastered original BAD album
• A CD containing previously unreleased material recorded in Michael’s personal studio at
Hayvenhurst. This material includes early demo versions of songs from the album as
well as demos for songs not included on the final album. All of this material is being
released as it was recorded during the BAD sessions. Nothing has been added. In
addition, this CD will also include new remixes from internationally renowned
• A CD showcasing the audio from the sound truck recordings of the July 16th Wembley
performance. The first-ever live Michael Jackson CD to be released, this is the only
concert from the BAD Tour known to exist on multitracks
This magnificent 3 CD/1 DVD box set will also include two extensive booklets with yet unseen
photos from the recording sessions, video sets and the concert tour, the original BAD cover art, a
two-sided poster and more. A BAD 25 two CD standard edition featuring the original album
plus the CD of demos and new remixes will also be made available as will a stand alone edition
of the DVD and a picture disc of the original album.
On June 5 in the U.S. (June 4th ex-U.S.), Epic / Legacy Recordings will re-release the original
first single from the album “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as a CD Single with a previously
unreleased bonus track from the BAD sessions, “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round (demo).” This is a
Wal-Mart exclusive CD single in the U.S. and will not be available digitally.
On June 26 a replica edition of the original 7″ vinyl of this single with the original B-side “Baby
Be Mine” will be made available to the world. The first single for BAD, “I Just Can’t Stop
Loving You,” was originally released on 7″ vinyl in 1987. The 7″ single edit of the song has
only been available on that original 7″ vinyl until now.
Recently, Pepsi announced an exclusive global partnership with the Estate of Michael Jackson as
part of its new “Live for Now” campaign. Starting this month, Michael Jackson and Pepsi fans
in more than 20 countries around the world will experience this partnership in a variety of ways,
including a retail campaign featuring one billion special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi
cans, live events, and opportunities for fans to access special edition merchandise and new music
from BAD 25.
The BAD album was the third Michael Jackson album produced by Quincy Jones and was
originally released on August 31, 1987. It was monumental in many ways; Michael wrote nine of
the album’s eleven tracks and received co-producer credit for the entire album. The album was #1
around the world, made history with five consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard chart, produced
ten chart-topping singles, nine ground breaking short films and to date, the Bad album
has generated over 45 Million units in sales. BAD was nominated for six Grammys and won
two; the album earned Michael the first-ever Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMA Awards.
Songs on the original album are: “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Speed Demon,”
“Liberian Girl,” “Just Good Friends” featuring Stevie Wonder, “Another Part of Me,” “Man in
the Mirror,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Dirty Diana,” “Smooth Criminal,” with “Leave
Me Alone” added to the album once released.
The BAD World Tour was Michael’s first concert tour as a solo artist. The legendary tour
included 123 concerts attended by more than 4.4 million fans over sixteen months. When it
concluded, the tour had shattered all previous touring records for attendance and total gross
revenue adding three new entries in the Guinness World Records for the largest grossing tour in
history, the tour with the largest attended audience and the most sold out shows at Wembley
More details on this and other exciting projects relating to BAD’s 25th anniversary will be
The Michael Jackson Estate
Pepsi today announced an exclusive global partnership with the Estate of Michael Jackson as part of its new “Live for Now” campaign, which Pepsi fans around the world will experience in a variety of ways including an engaging retail campaign featuring one billion special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi cans, iconic music, epic live events and opportunities for fans to access special edition merchandise.
The partnership coincides with the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s multi-platinum BAD album and record-breaking tour, around which the Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Music have celebratory projects underway.
To celebrate Jackson’s incredible contribution to pop music, Pepsi, Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson have teamed up to share new mixes of legendary Michael Jackson music from the BAD album with fans around the world, proving that the King of Pop is not only the world’s most iconic artist from the 20th century but also influencing music in the 21st century as well.
Brad Jakeman, president, Global Enjoyment Brands, and chief creative officer, PepsiCo Global Beverages Group, said, “Pepsi has always been at the forefront of pop culture, helping to shape the music landscape. This unique global partnership, around such a legendary music milestone, invites Pepsi fans from around the world to experience Michael Jackson’s music in an engaging and very NOW kind of way – it’s a model example of how Pepsi’s ‘Live for Now’ campaign can manifest itself in a way that resonates the world over.”
Pepsi will feature iconic silhouette imagery of the King of Pop on cans with the launch of collectible limited edition can designs. Pepsi will also run contests in markets around the world giving fans the opportunity to win merchandise including, a limited number of jackets inspired by the original staff BAD tour jackets and tickets to Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, the #1 touring show in North America.
“We are thrilled to bring Michael and Pepsi back together, as they were in 1988, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the BAD album and tour and to put Michael on one billion Pepsi cans – perhaps a Guinness record,” commented John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. Branca and McClain added, “We’re excited to see it all come to life.”
China and the United States will be among the first Pepsi markets to launch the exclusive Michael Jackson King of Pop activity in 2012, with approximately 20 additional markets in Asia, South America and Europe continuing the international roll-out throughout the rest of the year.
On May 5 in China, a 330ml limited edition can will be available at retail locations nationwide. In addition, from May 15 – June 14, 2012, fans will be encouraged to share photos of their valuable Jackson collections or original artwork celebrating him, for a chance to win tickets to Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, as part of China’s “In Honor of King of Pop MJ” promotion.
Later in May, the U.S. will launch a nationwide retail campaign including a limited edition 16oz. King of Pop Pepsi can, as well as initiate a retail, music-themed promotion.
Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer, Global Consumer Engagement, PepsiCo added, “Michael Jackson will always be the King of Pop, and his music has always inspired fans and artists alike. But, this partnership goes beyond nostalgia and will engage with consumers all around the world with iconic imagery on more than one billion Pepsi cans, digital content and epic, live events, so that they can continue to connect with Jackson’s music and honor his legendary impact on entertainment.”
Michael Jackson has a long standing relationship with Pepsi spanning more than 25 years. The legendary King of Pop starred in his first Pepsi campaign alongside his brothers in 1983, as part of the Pepsi ‘New Generation’ campaign followed by Pepsi’s sponsorship of the epic BAD Tour and the iconic “Chase” commercials which served as the impetus for the current reunion. Pepsi also featured Jackson in the ‘Music Icons’ commercial that premiered during The X Factor in 2011.
Pepsi’s new “Live for Now” campaign is a culmination of extensive global research demonstrating Pepsi fans’ desire to capture the excitement of now and live each moment to the fullest. First launched in the U.S. last month, “Live for Now” will come to life through a breadth of global, pop-culture platforms, events and unique partnerships and will begin to roll out globally throughout 2012.
Spike divulged how he’s had some of the greatest times of his life in Brazil like when he shot They Don’t Really Care About Us with Michael Jackson there. He provided a couple of MJ anecdotes and a short impersonation of MJ’s “falsetto” voice and his “serious/angry” voice. It was funny. I don’t know if he actually hedged on this answer because the film will be a touristy piece showcasing Brazil or if it will actually broach the subject of inequality, but he got distracted by his MJ anecdote.
On A New MJ Tribute Film
– Spike announced that he recently began filming a piece for the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album.
March 12, 1988 – CBS aired a special “Michael Jackson…the Legend Continues”
Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues is a great documentary that will remind You of what a brilliant, great entertainer Michael Jackson was considered by many people the world over in 1988. The music will make one go searching for his music both when he was with the Jackson 5 and when he went solo. Lots of behind the scenes & rare home movies, as only Motown could have done.
Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour is the #1 tour in America and has been since the show’s US premiere in Las Vegas last December, according to Pollstar magazine, the concert tour industry’s leading trade publication.
The show is breaking box office records: Over the weekend in Miami, IMMORTAL was sold out three nights in a row and set a new record as the top grossing 3-day run in the history of the American Airlines Arena. Fans around the country have been tremendously supportive, and what’s more, the show’s incredible musical performances, choreography and visuals have drawn new fans to Michael’s music and legacy. It’s the biggest, most successful tour in the country!
This is just what Michael would have wanted and deserves. Michael has always been and will always be the Biggest Star in the World thanks to his fans!
Pollstar ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week’s ranking is in parentheses. The rank is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
Today in Black History:
The original album, holds the Guinness World Records title for best-selling album of all time. It has been certified 29x Multi-platinum by the RIAA, featured seven top 10 hits, spent 37 weeks at the top of the charts and sold more than 104 million copies worldwide and counting…
Besides all that, Thriller had significant cultural influence. Michael broke unspoken racial barriers between pop, rock and dance music. He made music almost everyone could love.
It’s not often that the whole world listens to the same music, and there’s great power in that. You can’t have it unless just about every constituency is represented. That feat is probably one Michael’s greatest triumphs.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
His influence today proves him to be one of the greatest creators of all time, but Jackson’s art—like that of many black artists—still doesn’t get the full respect it deserves.
The point of his ambition wasn’t money and fame; it was respect…
The elementary school where Michael Jackson once roamed the halls could be the alma mater of the next king or queen of pop.
Gardner Street Elementary School in Hollywood, where Michael Jackson attended sixth grade, will kick off its Michael Jackson Music Education Lab with an open house Monday for students and parents.
The lab will feature a new curriculum and interactive music education program created to teach students how to read music, play piano and compose and arrange music.
The MusIQ program and its lab will incorporate personal computers and M-Audio MIDI keyboards into its curriculum.
“This is only the second school in California to have this program; it’s the first one in the LA Unified District,” said Lesley Holmes, the founder and chairwoman for the Friends of Gardnerville, the non-profit organization that supports the elementary school and children by creating funding opportunities for educational programs.
The lab will have pictures of Jackson and a signed chalkboard.
“This was a room that Michael Jackson used when he attended the school in the sixth grade. His presence was made in musical contributions,” said Holmes.
The lab was built with donations from various sponsors and The Friends of Gardnerville hope to fully fund the program on their own next year, said Holmes.
This is the second time Jackson has been recognized at the elementary school. The auditorium is also named after the late superstar.
♬ Today’s date in music HIStory 2002 ♬ #MichaelJackson
♬ ARTIST OF THE CENTURY AMA Award ♬ #KingOfPop ♬
#MJ ♡ #MJForever ♡ ♬ #LongLivetheKing ♬
10 year Anniversary!
Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff
Sammy Davis, Jr. once said that “everything Michael Jackson does on stage is exactly right.” The King of Pop indeed left some big leather loafers to fill, but judging by the crowd’s reaction at MGM’s Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour is doing an admirable job.
Among those in attendance for Saturday night’s performance: Cee Lo Green, as well as Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles. Seated within view of the reporters assembled to chronicle the show, the couple laughed and smiled as acrobats and dancers swirled across the stage–zombies popping out of coffins, contortionists emerging from giant books, even a performer dressed as a giant white glove–all while a live band blasted out the soundtrack beneath Jackson’s soaring vocals.
“We have all done our best to make this a celebration of his essence in his absence,” musical director Greg Phillinganes told me shortly after the show’s debut. “His passion for humanity … his commitment to excellence, his flair for the big show, we’ve tried to incorporate all those factors.”
Immortal is the highest-grossing live show in the country for the second week in a row, bringing in just shy of $2 million per night in Vegas. That’s over half a million dollars more than the next-highest earner, Taylor Swift, according to concert data provider Pollstar.
It’s all the more impressive given that the Jackson show has been parked at the 8,500-seat Mandalay Bay Theatre for much of December; Swift has been playing arenas more than twice that size, as Immortal will soon be doing when resumes its trek across the North America. An international leg is set to follow in late 2012.
A joint venture between the Michael Jackson estate and Cirque du Soleil, Immortal opened in October and is already approaching $100 million in ticket sales. That should come as no surprise, given the extraordinary spectacle that audiences witness with each performance.
The show begins with a spotlight illuminating a mime clad in all white; his shell-toed sneakers and backwards hat make him look more b-boy than sad clown. As he cozies up to an image of Michael Jackson that fills a giant video screen at the back of the stage, the pictures melts away to reveal the band, and a troupe of dancers streams onto the stage.
The mime serves as a guide throughout the performance, starting with Jackson’s early years and the song “Have You Seen My Childhood.” There’s a miniature hot air balloon and a Jackson Five montage complete with dancers dressed as Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie and Michael–oversized afros included. As the show continues, a replica of the Neverland gates rolls out, followed by performers dressed as Bubbles the Chimp and some of the other animals that once resided in Jackson’s private zoo.
Next comes the “Smooth Criminal” segment. The screens behind the stage turn black-and-white, revealing a video of Jackson outsmarting a series of detectives as they try to track him down. All the while, tommy gun-toting dancers decked out in fedoras and pinstriped suits mimic and elaborate upon Jackson’s moves, culminating in a flurry of pyrotechnics and mock gunfire that leaves only one dancer standing.
Perhaps the most impressive is the scene that comes next. The surviving gangster rips off her white suit to reveal nothing more than a shimmering bikini–and proceeds to ascend a slim tube that extends 30 feet or so into the air. Upon reaching the top she launches into an aerial pole-dance, contorting herself into positions that would seem impossible even on solid ground. At some point, she manages to hold herself perpendicular to the structure, supported by nothing besides her own strength.
Pushing the boundaries of the human body are trademarks of Cirque du Soleil, and that’s one of the many examples in which Immortal lives up to its lofty expectations (There’s also a scene where one acrobat lifts a partner into the air using only a strap hanging from his mouth; in another, a green dancer folds herself into a pretzel-shape and walks on her hands).
There’s a bit of tongue-and-cheek humor, too: at one point, Michael Jackson’s trademark black loafers appear as Mini Cooper-sized characters, each manned by a single dancer.
Though Immortal pays homage to Jackson’s biggest hits–”Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Man in the Mirror,” to name a few–it also showcases some of Jackson’s later work, including the environmental anthem “Earth Song” and the oddly prescient “They Don’t Care About Us.” The latter of features scores of stomping robots with dollar signs emblazoned on their metallic chests, an idea dreamed up years before the birth of Occupy Wall Street.
Immortal features quite a few mashups of Jackson’s music, so it’s only fitting that the show ends with a parade of dancers hoisting flags that bear the combined symbols of various nations.
The production’s narrative arc does jump around a bit, as one might expect given the diverse nature of Jackson’s oeuvre. But Immortal’s architects managed to connect everything in a generally coherent manner–quite an achievement, given the staggering array of individual songs and mashups that made the final cut.
At any rate, the show has clearly passed the necessary tests in Vegas. Plans are already in the works to renovate the Mandalay Bay Theatre, which currently houses the Lion King, to accommodate a modified version of Immortal in time for a 2013 opening. If this month’s run is any indication, it should be a bonanza for MGM, Cirque du Soleil and the Jackson estate.
Though Jay-Z and Beyonce ducked out as the performers were taking their final bows on Saturday night, it’s clear that another superstar–Michael Jackson–will be staying in Las Vegas for quite some time.
On this date in 1991, Michael Jackson’s album “Dangerous” was released. The cost to produce Dangerous set new records, with an estimated cost of over $10 million and seven recording studios were used to produce the tracks. “Dangerous” debuted on Billboard’s top album chart at #1, with 326,500 copies sold in its first week and was Michael’s fastest-selling album ever in the U.S. “Dangerous” spent 117 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart.
On this day in 2001, the Michael Jackson Invincible album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart
Michael Jackson‘s long awaited Epic album “Invincible” debuted at Number 1 on The Billboard 200 on November 17, 2001 with sales of 366,300 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan. The set had already bowed at the top of the charts in the U.K., Australia, France, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and six other countries, according to Sony Music. “Invincible” also charted at Number 1 on The Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums the same week.
“Invincible” was Jackson’s first album of new material since 1995’s “HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1,” which opened at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after selling 391,000 copies, Jackson’s high water mark for first week sales since Billboard began using SoundScan data in 1991. Overall, it’s his fifth No. 1 album as a solo artist.
The 16-track set features guest spots from guitarist Carlos Santana and the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., plus production work from Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley, and Babyface.
Flush with cash from the stratospheric success of his solo career, Jackson thought seriously about buying the publishing rights to some of the songs he’d recorded years earlier as a member of the Jackson 5–including “I Want You Back,” one of hundreds in Motown’s Jobete catalog, then owned by the legendary Berry Gordy and his sister. Despite serious interest from Jackson, who was “like a son” to Gordy, the music mogul sold a 50% stake in the catalog to EMI for $132 million in 1997.
But dreams often take a lifetime to achieve, and the King of Pop seems to have realized this one posthumously. On Friday, a Sony-led team of investors purchased EMI’s entire publishing catalog for $2.2 billion. The group includes billionaire David Geffen, the Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital Partners LP, and none other than the estate of Michael Jackson (its stake is nested within Sony’s 38% share of EMI, according to sources close to the negotiations).
The move makes sense for reasons beyond just the sentimental. Michael Jackson’s estate still co-owns the separate Sony/ATV publishing catalog in a joint venture with Sony; that company, headed by former EMI chief Marty Bandier, will administer the newly-acquired EMI assets on behalf of the investors.
Still, the reunion is little more than a drop in the financial bucket. Because Sony/ATV (The Michael Jackson Estate) will soon begin receiving administrative fees from the EMI catalog’s new owners, its own value is likely north of $2 billion as well.
As for Jackson, his estate has raked in half a billion dollars since his death two and a half years ago. And though the King of Pop’s posthumous concert flick was called This Is It, he’s just getting started from a posthumous earnings perspective. Jackson’s Immortal World Tour, a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, is grossing $2.4 million a night; plans call for over 100 shows a year for each of the next three years.
INVESTOR GROUP INCLUDING SONY CORPORATION OF AMERICA ENTERS INTO DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING FROM CITI
Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil and the Michael Jackson Estate
Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil
An electrifying production that unfolds inside the creative mind of Michael Jackson.
A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael’s creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour unfolds Michael Jackson’s artistry before the eyes of the audience. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.
NOW ON TOUR! Tickets & Info: http://cirk.me/oDTx4T
The Canadian Press – ONLINE EDITION
‘A gift from beyond’: Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson show debuts in Montreal
By: Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL – Michael Jackson had always hoped to do a show with Cirque de Soleil, and on Sunday that dream came true.
The “Immortal World Tour” debuted at the Bell Centre in Montreal, combining acrobatics and dance with the King of Pop’s massive catalogue of hits spanning more than four decades.
From “ABC” to “Thriller,” the high-octane performance did not disappoint.
It was also a tribute to Jackson’s lasting impact on dance and fashion _ from his patented moonwalk to his iconic white glove.
At one point, a pair of giant dancing black dress shoes with white socks graced the stage, and at another, a pack of acrobatic werewolves.
But Michael Jackson and the circus? It’s a perfect fit, according to his brother, Jackie.
“First of all, Michael is a great fan of Cirque (du Soleil). He’s seen all the shows,” Jackie, who arrived with his brothers Tito and Marlon, told reporters just before the show. “And to have Cirque and Michael together, you expect to see something fantastic.”
Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children were also at the show, making a brief appearance beforehand for a photo-op.
The family made the trip to the premiere from Los Angeles, where the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor is underway.
The show packed 60 hits into about an hour and a half, starting with the Jackson 5 and ending with Jackson’s last studio album.
It did not, however, dare imitate the man himself — no single performer plays the role of Jackson.
“We were very clear on this, and I think the family was too,” said Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil.
Lamarre said he had the blessing of Jackson’s mother to go ahead with the show.
“Many people were interested in doing shows to pay tribute to Michael Jackson,” Lamarre said.
“His mother said Michael has always wanted to do a show with the circus, so if there is a show about Michael, it will be Cirque du Soleil.”
While a wholehearted tribute, the performance didn’t glaze over Jackson’s eccentricities, with Bubbles the chimpanzee making more than one appearance.
It also alluded to a darker side. To the tune of Jackson’s song “Childhood,” where he laments never having had one, dancers swayed above the entry sign to the now infamous Neverland Ranch while a child looked longingly through a window.
In another tune, Jackson is heard pleading “I need my privacy, get away” as clips of the TV news media play in the background.
The $60-million tour has stops in cities across Canada and the United States, beginning with Ottawa on Oct. 7.
The Jackson estate authorized and took part in the project.
Before the show, more than a hundred fans waited in the rain for a glimpse of the Jackson family on the red carpet.
One group of women wore single white gloves and black leather jackets in homage to Jackson.
“I’ve been a fan since I first saw him on TV in 1969 when I was nine,” said Montrealer Shirley Elvis.
“When I first heard this show was coming, I think everyone was in a really dark place and when we heard that they were going to do this it was like another gift from Michael from beyond.”
Chantal Tremblay, Director of Creation for Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, speaks about the dance and acrobatic elements that are part of the show.
MJ Wins Billboard’s MTV VMAs’ Best Performance of ALL time, MTV VMAs’ Best Pop Performance + Most Iconic VMA Moment Polls
Michael Jackson won both Billboard & MTV Live performance polls
Michael Jackson proved, yet again, just why he’s the King of Pop at the ’95 show.
Not only did he give MTV viewers a 10-minute medley of many of his biggest hits; he did it with on-stage costume changes, Moonwalking, Slash shredding on guitar, dance-fighting, enough crotch-grabbing for the whole of the ’90s, and a speech in the middle to boot.
Such was the awesome power of the memory of this spectacular MJ performance that Billboard.com was inundated with thousands and thousands and thousands of fans voting for this 16 year old moment.
By the way, Michael’s 1988 performance of “Bad” and his brief appearance with ‘N Sync in 2001 were the choices listed on the Billboard poll. However, his 1995 performance is an obvious fan favorite, winning as a ‘write-in’ option.
By Sophie Duvernoy Wed., Aug. 17 2011 at 11:00 AM
The interior of Michael Jackson’s art studio, which he shared with friend and artist Brett-Livingstone Strong
Until now, Michael Jackson’s art collection was shrouded in mystery. It was said to be stuck in a legal dispute over possession. Then, people speculated that buyers such as Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberté were interested. It’s been valued at the staggering (and slightly unbelievable) sum of $900 million.
One crucial fact: Jackson’s art collection isn’t art by other people — it’s mainly drawings and paintings that he created himself. So what does that art look like?
Yesterday, LA Weekly was the first to visit the (until now) top-secret Santa Monica Airport hangar that Jackson used as his studio and art storehouse. The collection is currently owned by Brett-Livingstone Strong, the Australian monument builder and Jackson’s art mentor through the years, in conjunction with the Jackson estate.
Though the entire art collection has been mired in disputes and battles for rights, Strong claims that he is working with everybody — the family, the estate, as well as others — to exhibit and publish as much of Jackson’s work as possible.
According to Strong, he and Jackson formed an incorporated business partnership in 1989, known as the Jackson-Strong alliance. This gave each partner a fifty-percent stake in the other’s art. In 2008, Strong says, Jackson requested that his attorney sign the rights to Jackson’s portion of the art over to Strong. Now, Strong is beginning to reveal more and more of the art as he goes ahead with Jackson’s dream of organizing a museum exhibit.
Some of Jackson’s original drawings hanging on the wall. Prints of these were donated to the L.A. Children’s Hospital.
Strong gave us a tour of the hangar, beginning with the Michael Jackson monument that Strong and Jackson co-designed several years ago. It’s perhaps bombastic, but designed with good intentions and the rabid Jackson fan in mind. Strong explains, “He wanted his fans to be able to get married at a monument that would have all of his music [in an archive, and playing on speakers], to inspire some of his fans.”
The current design is still in the works, but it’s conceived as an interactive monument — fans who buy a print by Jackson will receive a card in the mail. They can scan this card at the monument, and then have a computer organize a personal greeting for them, or allow them to book it for weddings. Jackson initially thought it would be perfect for Las Vegas, but Strong says that Los Angeles might have the honor of hosting it — apparently, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently paid a visit and made a few oblique promises.
The Michael Jackson monument mock-up, featuring miniature pilgrims and a bridal couple
As for Jackson’s art, the contents of the hangar barely scratched the surface of the collection, as Strong estimates Jackson’s total output at 150 to 160 pieces. A few large pieces hanging on the walls had been donated as reproductions to the L.A. Children’s Hospital last Monday, along with other sketches and poems.
In all of his art, certain motifs kept cropping up: chairs (usually quite baroque), gates, keys and the number 7. His portrait of Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee, shows a monkey-like face vanishing into a cushy, ornate lounge chair. “He loved chairs,” says Strong. “He thought chairs were the thrones of most men, women and children, where they made their decisions for their daily activity. He was inspired by chairs. Rather than just do a portrait of the monkey, he put it in the chair. And you see, there are a few sevens — because he’s the seventh child.”
Jackson, who was a technically talented artist — and completely self-taught — fixated on these motifs, elevating everyday objects into cult symbols. Strong added that Jackson’s sketchbooks are completely filled with studies of his favorite objects, in endless permutations.
MJ’s portrait of George Washington — he initially planned to do a series of all of the presidents, but never continued it.
But Jackson also created portraits: a small sketch of Paul McCartney, and a large drawing of George Washington, created as Strong was working with the White House to commemorate the bicentennial of the Constitution back in 1987. He also sketched self-portraits — one as a humorous four-panel drawing charting his growing-up process, and a darker one that depicts him as a child cowering in a corner, inscribed with a sentence reflecting on his fragility.
As an artist, Jackson preferred using wax pencils, though Strong adds, “He did do a lot of watercolors but he gave them away. He was a little intimidated by mixing colors.” Some surviving pencils are archived in the hangar; Strong moves over to a cabinet on the far wall of the hangar and pulls out a ziploc bag containing a blue wax pencil, a white feathered quill and a white glove that Jackson used for drawing.
Jackson turned to art as times got hard for him. “His interest in art, in drawing it, was just another level of his creativity that went on over a long period of time,” Strong says. “It was quite private to him. I think he retreated into it when he was being attacked by those accusations against him.” The sketches and drawings certainly reveal an extremely sensitive creator, though it’s clear that Jackson also had a sense of humor.
Jackson’s art was kept under wraps for such a long time simply because of the pedophilia scandal, which erupted right around the time that he was looking for a way to publicize the works. “A lot of his art was going to be exhibited 18 years ago. Here’s one of his tour books, where he talks about exhibiting art. He didn’t want it to be a secret,” Strong says, pointing at a leaflet from the 1992 Dangerous World Tour.
Strong and Jackson wearing matching leather and velvet jackets, celebrating their artistic alliance.
Prior to that period, Jackson and Strong had met and become fast friends. This marked the beginning of Strong’s mentorship, in which he encouraged Jackson to create bigger paintings and drawings, and exhibit his work. The idea behind their Jackson-Strong Alliance was that Strong would help Jackson manage and exhibit his art. Notably, the alliance birthed Strong’s infamous $2 million portrait of Michael Jackson entitled The Book, the only known portrait Jackson ever sat for.
In 1993, everything blew up. At the time, Jackson and Strong were both on the board of Big Brothers of Los Angeles (now known as Big Brothers Big Sisters), a chapter of the national youth mentoring organization established in L.A. by Walt Disney and Meredith Willson. They had planned out a fundraising campaign involving Jackson’s art. Strong explains, “We thought that if we would market [his art] in limited edition prints to his fans, he could support the charities that he wanted to, rather than have everybody think that he was so wealthy he could afford to finance everybody.” When the pedophilia scandal erupted, Disney put a freeze on the project. The artwork stayed put, packed away from public eyes in storage crates.
Jackson’s sketch of an airplane at the Santa Monica airport
As for the spectacular appraisal of $900 million for Jackson’s art collection, Strong says that it derives from the idea of reproducing prints as well. The figure was originally quoted by Eric Finzi, of Belgo Fine Art Appraisers. “The reason somebody came out with that was because there was an appraisal on if all of his originals were reproduced — he wanted to do limited editions of 777 — and he would sell them to his fan base in order to build his monument, support kids and do other things. You multiply that by 150 originals, and if they sold for a few thousand dollars each, then you would end up with 900 million dollars.” Fair enough, though now Strong says he has gone to an appraiser in Chicago to get that value double-checked, and they arrived at an even higher estimate.
The story of Jackson’s art ends up being quite a simple one, though confused by so much hearsay and rumor. Strong and the Jackson estate will slowly reveal more works as time passes, and an exhibit is tentatively planned for L.A.’s City Hall. Negotiations with museums for a posthumous Jackson retrospective are still underway, but Strong has high hopes. He’s even talking of building a Michael Jackson museum that would house all of Jackson’s artwork.
Jackson’s sketch of the White House doors, to which he added the following quote from John Adams: “I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men [MJ’s addition:] or women rule under this roof.”
We’ll leave you with Strong’s own description of Jackson at work, during the time where they shared a studio in a house in Pacific Palisades:
He was in a very light and happy mood most of the time. He would have the oldies on, and sometimes he’d hear some of his Jackson Five songs. He’d kind of move along to that, but most of the time he would change it and listen to a variety of songs. He liked classical music. His inspiration to create was that he loved life, and wanted to express his love of life in some of these simple compositions.
I came to the studio one day, and we had a Malamute. I came into the house, and I heard this dog barking and thought, Wow, I wonder what that is. I go into the kitchen, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I see Michael up in the pots and pans in the middle of the center island. He’s holding a pen and paper and the dog is running around the island and barking at him, and he says, “He wants to play! He wants to play!” He’s laughing, and I’m laughing about it as I’m thinking to myself, “I’m wondering how long he’s been up there.”
Michael Jackson’s dedication to art: so strong that he’ll end up perched on a kitchen island.
Fact: Michael Jackson had a video in the top 5 of each of MTV’s 3 decades;
#1 Thriller – 1980’s, #2 Scream – 1990’s, and #5 You Rock My World – 2000’s.
For the first day and a half after the death of the King of Pop, MTV largely abandoned its usual lineup of reality shows in favor of a marathon of Jackson videos, from the classics like “Beat It” to more obscure ones like 2001’s “You Rock My World” (with a Marlon Brando cameo!).
It’s been often said that Jackson brought about two fundamental changes to the world of music video: he desegregated MTV, and the cost and scope of his videos marked a paradigm shift away from the cheap, unambitious schlock MTV had been showing to that point.
There’s more evidence supporting the former theory than the latter, but Jackson inarguably made as big a mark in the world of video as he did in the world of music itself.
Great as his songs were, many of our strongest memories of him come from television: The early Jackson 5 appearances with Diana Ross. The Rankin/Bass-produced Saturday morning cartoon. Jackson moonwalking to “Billie Jean” on the Motown 25th anniversary special on CBS in 1983, which has to rank alongside the “Ed Sullivan Show” debuts of Elvis Presley and The Beatles among the most iconic moments in the crossover between music and TV.
Most of all, we think of the videos: of Michael as a dancing zombie in “Thriller,” Michael as a tough gang kid in “Beat It,” Michael evading the paparazzi in “Billie Jean,” etc. As he grew from boy to man, it was his dancing as much as his singing that made him the King of Pop, and nowhere was his otherworldly footwork on better display than in his videos.
MTV executives have always denied that there was any kind of prohibition against African American artists in the channel’s early days, while Walter Yetnikoff, who was the head of Jackson’s record label at the time, has always insisted there was.
Yetnikoff wrote in his autobiography, “Howling at the Moon,” that “I screamed bloody murder when MTV refused to air his videos. They argued that their format, white rock, excluded Michael’s music. I argued they were racist (jerks) — and I’d trumpet it to the world if they didn’t relent… With added pressure from Quincy Jones, they caved in, and in doing so the MTV color line came crashing down.”
Whether MTV’s resistance to Jackson had to do with color or genre, there was no question that his videos quickly became the channel’s biggest draw.
The launch of the video for “Thriller” — a 13-minute pastiche of ’50s horror movies, directed by John Landis and featuring horror legend Vincent Price in a cameo — was presented with all the pomp and circumstance of a movie premiere. Later Jackson videos, notably “Bad” and “Black or White,” got similar treatment.
Whether there had previously been resistance to artists of color on the channel or not, there’s no question that they became more prevalent after Jackson’s ascension.
As for changing the content of the videos themselves, what Jackson and his collaborators accomplished wasn’t so much a matter of kind as of degree. While the reputation of early ’80s MTV was of low-budget videos that were little more than glorified concert footage, many videos of the pre-“Thriller” period were ambitious and/or expensive, like Duran Duran’s “Rio,” or Blondie’s “Rapture.”
But the “Beat It” video cost a reported $150,000, a huge figure at the time. “Thriller” was an epic. Many of Jackson’s videos in later years would debut at an extreme length, then be cut down for regular airplay.
In addition to Landis, Jackson would work with directors like Martin Scorsese (“Bad”), John Singleton (“Remember the Time,” which featured cameos by Eddie Murphy and Magic Johnson), Spike Lee (“They Don’t Care About Us”) and David Fincher (“Who Is It”). (Jackson also got Francis Ford Coppola to direct “Captain EO,” the 3-D movie musical that used to play at Disney’s theme parks.)
And as Jackson put more time, money and artistry into his videos, other singers followed suit.
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 1 Star-Ledger Plaza, Newark, N.J. 07102-1200. Please include your full name and hometown.