— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) May 1, 2015
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) April 7, 2015
“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
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.
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.
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
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.
Somalia Relief Efforts -In Honor of Michael Jackson
Make a donation to USA for Africa (We Are The World)
Option on Secure Online donations page:
If you would like your donation to be restricted to a specific Operation USA-supported cause or country—or to make your donation in the name of a loved one…
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 email@example.com, or at 1 Star-Ledger Plaza, Newark, N.J. 07102-1200. Please include your full name and hometown.
CLEARWATER, Fla., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its ongoing strategy to monetize content from its film and audio library, ValCom, Inc. (VLCO.PK) announced today that it will be releasing Michael Jackson’s last movie on Broadcast TV and DVD.
The movie will be broadcast to over 300 television stations this fall through the My Family TV, Retro TV, and TUFF TV television networks. ValCom will be announcing the broadcast date for the movie in the near future. In addition, ValCom will be releasing a special run of 10,000 limited edition DVDs that will be sold directly to the public.
“This is a golden opportunity for ValCom! Michael Jackson is the number-one selling artist of all time with millions of fans around the world,” stated Vince Vellardita, President and CEO of ValCom. “We’re providing the chance for people to own rare and unreleased footage of Michael Jackson behind the scenes and at Neverland Ranch.”
The film is a comedy that spoofs movies and television programs like Miss Congeniality, Planet of the Apes, Cast Away, Love Boat, Gilligan’s Island, The Sixth Sense, Jurassic Park, Men in Black and more. Michael Jackson plays the role of Agent MJ. Jackson’s scenes were shot at his Neverland Ranch home. The DVD includes 20 minutes of unreleased, never before seen Michael Jackson footage, not limited to interviews of the world’s greatest entertainer.
Michael Jackson, one of the most widely beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all time, leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture. Five of Jackson’s solo albums – “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “HIStory,” are among the top sellers of all time, and “Thriller” holds the distinction as the largest selling album worldwide in the history of the recording industry with more than 70 million units sold. Additionally, singles released from the “Thriller” album sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, another all time record.
During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No. 1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and “Thriller” as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.
About ValCom, Inc.
Based in Clearwater, FL, ValCom, Inc. is a diversified, fully integrated, independent entertainment company that has been in operation since 1983. ValCom, Inc., through its operating divisions and subsidiaries, creates and operates full service facilities that accommodate film, television and commercial productions with its four divisions comprised of television and film production, broadcasting (My Family TV Network), distribution, and live theatre. ValCom’s client list consists of all of the majors such as MGM, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros, Disney, CBS, Sony, NBC, Universal Studios, Phantom of the Opera, HSN, and more. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.valcom.tv
Note About Forward-Looking Statements
With the exception of historical information, this press release may contain forward-looking statements as that are made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions as defined within The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”). Forward-looking statements may be identified by words including “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” and similar expressions. In addition, any other statements which contain characterizations of future events or circumstances are forward-looking statements. These statements are based upon management’s current expectations as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations contained in this press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties relating to our business which are discussed in detail in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. ValCom, Inc. does not undertake any responsibility to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which any such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
SOURCE ValCom, Inc.
The storyline of “Hollywood Tonight” charts the journey of a young woman arriving in Hollywood from small town America as she follows her dream to be a star; though her ambition is to be a dancer, her story represents the struggle for every artist or musician struggling to make it in the world.
Wayne Isham, who directed the video for Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone,” returns to one of the very same locations where he filmed in 1995 with Michael – the Pantages Theatre near the famed corner of Hollywood and Vine that has served as a beacon for those drawn to the dream of stardom. In the new video, the Pantages Theater once again becomes the setting for the clip’s spectacular closing but this time they are outside the theater for a “flash mob” dance scene.
Inside Michael Jackson’s “Hollywood”
Author, music critic
Picture courtesy of the Estate of Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was so impressed with dancer, Sofia Boutella — star of the late icon’s new music video for “Hollywood Tonight” — he was ready to offer her the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to dance alongside him on his This Is It concert series at the O2 Arena in London. Unfortunately, she was still under contract for Madonna’s Confessions Tour at the time and couldn’t get out of it. Seeing how disappointed Boutella was, Jackson turned to a couple of his collaborators and said: “I used to date Madonna. I should call her.”
While Boutella ultimately missed out on This Is It, she pays admirable homage to the King of Pop in his most recent posthumous video, which paints the story of a young, ambitious girl trying to make it in Hollywood without being swallowed by its trappings and illusions. It’s a well-worn tale, but is carried out tastefully by director, Wayne Isham, and sparked by the infectious energy and talent of Boutella. The video also reminds — along with recent MJ tributes on American Idol and Glee — how profound Jackson’s influence continues to be on new generations (many of whom only “discovered” him after his tragic death in 2009).
The song has a long and winding history. Jackson first put down a sketch of the lyrics in 1999 while staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Soon after, he began working out the music with longtime friend and collaborator, Brad Buxer (who co-wrote the song). The song traveled with them from Los Angeles to New York, Miami to Neverland, during the early Invincible sessions. Jackson and Buxer were pumping out some outstanding material around this time, including songs like “Beautiful Girl,” “The Way You Love Me,” “Speechless,” “The Lost Children,” “Shut Up and Dance” (a great dance track Jackson and Buxer worked on with Michael Prince and Eric Kirkland with echoes of Stevie Wonder and MJ circa Bad which, unfortunately, doesn’t have complete vocals) and “I Was the Loser” (a nice, melodic mid-tempo tune about lost love that is mostly finished), among others. A couple of years earlier Jackson and Buxer had also worked on artistic standouts like “Morphine” and “In the Back.”
Jackson loved parts of “Hollywood” — the opening Gregorian chant (his idea), the “westbound, greyhound” harmonies, the whistling in the outro — but stopped working on it once producer Rodney Jerkins came on board for Invincible.
Over the next ten years, however, he returned to the track numerous times. For the bass line, he was searching for something similar to “Billie Jean,” but distinct. “Do smooth muted bass on ‘Hollywood,'” he indicated in one note. His early demos feature two layered bass lines (Michael Prince added the “Billie Jean”-esque kick and snare in the last mix MJ requested). Jackson and Brad Buxer continued tinkering with it in Las Vegas in 2007. For a while, he liked the idea of ending with the sound of a bus leaving or arriving. Yet he ultimately decided to conclude with the whistling, since the juxtaposition was a bit awkward.
In October 2008, Jackson, now living in Los Angeles, asked recording engineer Michael Prince to put the latest mix of “Hollywood” on CD so he could listen to it and see what might be improved. Sadly, he never got around to working on it again.
The new single of “Hollywood” is truer to this last version than the album cut. Of course, Jackson had intended to keep working on it, which is why his estate and Sony originally brought in two of Jackson’s close collaborators, Theron Feemster (aka Neff-U) and Teddy Riley, to try to finish it. Feemster had the first crack and came up with some solid mixes; yet Sony didn’t feel it was quite right and subsequently gave Teddy Riley a shot. Riley’s production, which retained much of Michael and Brad’s demo (including the intro and outro) and elements of Feemster’s mix (including the fantastically funky guitar riff), became the album version.
After it was released, however, many fans voiced concerns about a) the over-processed vocals, and b) the lengthy spoken bridge. Jackson had, in fact, written lyrics for his own bridge, which were much darker than Riley’s. Jackson’s bridge reads:
She doesn’t even have a ticket
She doesn’t even have a way back home
She’s lost and she’s alone
There’s no place for her to go
She is young and she is cold
Just like her father told her so
While Jackson’s version highlights the tragedy and uncertainty of a dream deferred, Teddy Riley’s bridge opted for a more positive and tidy resolution. “With the bridge we kind of made her succeed,” Riley explained. “[She] completed her mission.”
Riley would have undoubtedly used Jackson’s version had their been vocals for it. Unfortunately, they were never recorded. With the new single, however, Sony decided to cut the spoken part completely and showcase instead some of the heightening drama and tension Jackson intended for this section. They used his beatboxing, his idea of swelling horns and strings, and his operatic vocal (pulled from a tape left running during a recording session in a hotel room). In addition to the bridge, the vocals on the new single are left un-processed and the production is scaled back. The result is a single that has a rawer, funkier, but less finished feel than the album version.
“Hollywood Tonight,” then, has gone through many incarnations: the several different demos Jackson recorded with Brad Buxer and Michael Prince, from 1999 to 2008; the two versions Theron Feemster worked on following Jackson’s death (one of which is reportedly quite impressive); the polished album version completed by Teddy Riley; and, of course, the new single. All are necessarily approximations to what Jackson would have ultimately put out in finished form. That’s the nature of posthumous releases. They will always be imperfect and they will always generate fierce debate.
But for most music lovers, we will take whatever new Michael Jackson we can get, whether demos, new mixes or remixes. “Hollywood Tonight” could be gathering dust in a vault; instead, it has people dancing in the streets.
Michael Jackson, ‘Hollywood Tonight’
Michael Jackson‘s latest single ‘Hollywood Tonight’ deals with the topics of paparazzi and celebrity culture that Jackson often sang about on his later albums.
Taken from his posthumous December release ‘Michael,’ the song follows the story of a girl who moves to Tinseltown to pursue her movie star dreams.
‘Hollywood Tonight’ is driven by a percussive beat created not by machine, but by Jackson’s own voice. The King of Pop sings, “Lipstick in hand, Tahitian tanned / In her painted on jeans / She dreams of fame, she changed her name / To one that fits the movie screen.”
The girl has to pull out all the stops in her bid to become famous, including some acts she knows are wrong: “She’s giving hot tricks to men / Just to get in / When she was taught that that’s not clean.”
‘Hollywood Tonight’ was written around the time of Jackson’s ‘Invincible’ album, and Jackson began re-working the song in 2007. Producer Teddy Riley completed the unfinished the track for ‘Michael.’
To hear ‘Hollywood Tonight’ as well as classic selections from the King of Pop, tune in to AOL Radio’s All Michael Jackson station.
Album Already Achieves Platinum Status in 17 Countries Worldwide
New York, NY – In the coming weeks, the Estate and Sony Music will be releasing “Hollywood Tonight” and “Behind the Mask” from the global hit album MICHAEL. “Behind The Mask” will be released as the radio single in countries including the United States, Canada, Japan and France. “Hollywood Tonight” will be the single released to radio in the rest of the world and videos for both songs will be released worldwide. Each Sony Music affiliate will also release more information on the plans in their respective territories.
Both “Behind The Mask” and “Hollywood Tonight” are fan and critical favorites from MICHAEL – the unique collection of Michael Jackson songs completed posthumously and released in December by Sony and his Estate. The album includes material Michael had been working on for future release prior to his passing along with other vintage work he planned to place on future albums. Joe Vogel, author of the upcoming book Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, wrote that while “Posthumous works are notoriously tricky…This, ultimately, is the most important quality of Michael: it feels like Michael.”
“Behind the Mask,” which was recently completed by John McClain and Jon Nettlesbey, is praised by critics for infusing the spirit of Michael’s music from the past. Rolling Stone called it “a fiercely funky cousin to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” The song is written by Michael Jackson, Chris Mosdell and Ryuichi Sakamoto and produced by Michael Jackson, John McClain and Jon Nettlesbey. The song’s recognizable hook is a sample of “Behind The Mask” as performed by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Yellow Magic Orchestra. And “Hollywood Tonight”, which USA TODAY said “pulsates with Billie Jean-esque energy, was written during the time of the Invincible album. In 2007, Michael pulled the track out of the archives to work on the song with producer Theron “Neff-U” Feemster.
“Hollywood Tonight” was written by Michael Jackson and Brad Buxer and the track was produced by Teddy Riley, Michael Jackson with co-producer by Theron “Neff-U” Feemster. Ellen DeGeneres debuted and danced to the song with her audience during her popular talk show.
MICHAEL was the #1 global album upon its release in December and has shipped over 3 million units worldwide making it one of the biggest albums of 2010. The album’s nonstop success continues to underscore Michael’s importance to his fans as a global icon and superstar, and shows how his music continues to transcend cultures and languages. The platinum status for MICHAEL has now grown to 17 countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, France (2x), Italy (2x), Spain, Denmark, Poland, Russia(2x), Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic (5x), Canada, India (2x), China, Taiwan, Korea and the Middle East. Michael is now Gold in 18 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.
MICHAEL marks another release under the new agreement between The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music announced in March 2010 that continues the label’s 35-year relationship with Michael and his music. During that time, Michael sold hundreds of millions of records, had 13 #1 singles and released the pop culture phenomenon “Thriller,” which remains music’s all-time bestselling album with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide.
Information on MICHAEL can be found at www.MichaelJackson.com.