“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.
Talkin’ ‘Bout Mike with Spike. twitter.com/SIEDAHGARRETT/…
— SIEDAH GARRETT (@SIEDAHGARRETT) April 17, 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 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.”
Published: 9/29/11 11:31 AM ET
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since the world first mourned the loss of the King of Pop. While some of his fans expressed remorse on June 25, 2009, many knew that the cost of Michael Jackson’s death went far beyond his impeccable music. Although entertainment remains severely devoid of Michael’s unmatched talent, perhaps even more profoundly, many charities and innocents around the planet no longer have the ability to benefit from his overwhelming generosity. And for his children and family, Michael’s departure was and is felt on the deepest level as the daily battle to carry on without him continues. This week, as the involuntary manslaughter trial for Dr. Conrad Murray (his doctor at the time) gets underway, it’s important to keep in mind precisely who the accused criminal is — and who the victim was.
During my teenage years, I had the pleasure of first being introduced to Michael. Both blessed to have received mentorship and guidance from the late great Godfather of soul, James Brown, we quickly formed a kinship and bond that was virtually like family. Even though I focused on advocacy/activism and he on creating incredible music, we were on the same social and political page and worked through our respective fields to bring light to inequality wherever and whenever we viewed it. Our friendship lasted through the decades, through all of the ridiculous false accusations and through a media frenzy that tried its hardest to paint him as somehow odd or peculiar when he was only highlighting our own abnormality as a society.
In 1984, during Michael’s Victory Tour, I took on the role of his community relations director. Working in such a capacity, I again witnessed the unprecedented reaction people from all walks of life had towards this man, his music and impact in the world. And whether it was openly reminding all of us to ‘heal the world’ or quietly giving away hundreds of millions of his own wealth to the impoverished, Michael’s imprint everywhere was remarkable. And yet, many still attempted to portray him as somehow peculiar.
Dr. Conrad Murray is on trial this week. Accused of violating standards of medical care by leaving Michael unattended and failing to call 911, his defense will do whatever they can to keep him from serving jail time. They’ll argue his innocence, his years of service and most importantly, they will attempt to put Michael on trial yet again. Already this week, we heard the defense argue that Michael died from a combination of tranquilizers and a surgical anesthetic he took without Murray’s knowledge. Defense attorney Ed Chernoff even stated that Michael took enough prescription drugs to ‘put six of you to sleep’ and then somehow he self-administered Propofol (anesthetic usually used in hospitals). It is an outrageous statement compounded by the fact that it is Dr. Murray himself that stands accused of administering Propofol in excessive quantities and then leaving Michael unattended.
Great talent comes with great consequences. As an artist, when you are so intricately in touch with emotions, and think and feel on a deeper level than most, you are often viewed as an outsider when you don’t conform to conventional norms. That is the double-edged sword Michael dealt with throughout his lifetime. I had the unique pleasure of getting to know him for years and working with him on a host of issues. In 2002, Michael came to our National Action Network headquarters in Harlem as we marched together to Sony Music along with hundreds of supporters to demand his right to ownership of the very masterpieces he created. And I watched as many often tried — and of course failed — to vilify him over and over again. As I told Michael’s children during his funeral in ’09, there was nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.
As the strangeness unfortunately plays out yet again in another court drama over two years after Michael’s passing, let’s be sure to remember precisely who is on trial here.
Dr. Conrad Murray, Not Michael Jackson is on Trial
Published by Earl Ofari Hutchinson on September 28, 2011 at 3:23pm
Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense, his only real defense against the charge of involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, is a simple one. He says that Jackson in effect killed himself. That he was so hopelessly drug addicted that he pumped himself up with the fatal drug or combination of drugs that killed him. The unstated is that given Jackson’s world renowned aloofness and eccentricities his self-destruction was all but foreordained. With anyone else and in any other circumstances, this would be a laughable defense.
The indisputable fact is that Murray is a trained physician. He was hired by Jackson specifically to administer and supervise his medications and medical care. He did not say no to Jackson’s continual use of the potentially lethal drug. He did not summon medics immediately when Jackson went into his fatal coma. No matter how self-destructive and on the edge one may want to believe that Jackson was, and that he did have a long history of drug use, it’s the wildest stretch to hold a patient responsible for his own death with his doctor literally in the next room. But Jackson is not just any patient. Since the day he was hauled into court in 2005 on child molestation charges and the day months later he was acquitted on all counts in the case, Jackson’s name has been synonymous with controversy.
The acquittal in the child molestation charge meant nothing to millions. Many still quietly whispered and many others openly slurred him as a child molester. His deep withdrawal from public view after the trial did not stop the endless swirl of malicious questions about his actions, motives, and alleged perversion. His death didn’t change things either.
Millions of Jackson fans mourned, agonized, and were infuriated by his death. Countless others dredged up, and hurled the same old, vicious accusations at Jackson as a freak, kook, and, of course, child molester. President Obama walked a fine and circumspect line in reacting to Jackson’s death. He sent the ritual condolences to Jackson’s family. But he also made veiled references to Jackson as a controversial figure when he noted that there were aspects of his life that were sad and tragic. The White House did not issue any formal statement on his death and when then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs asked if one would be forthcoming he testily replied “Because I just said it.” That officially ended the Jackson matter for the White House. Other politicians had no such reservations. They openly pilloried Jackson even slandering him as a “pervert” who did not deserve any public acclamation, but disgust. Jackson’s name, fame, and controversy are plastered all over what goes on in and outside the courtroom in the Murray trial.
There are the tearful and heartfelt reminiscences and reminders from fans and court observers about Jackson’s towering importance to the music and creative artistry world, and his continuing rapturous influence on millions. The legal experts meanwhile endlessly speculate on the evidence in the case and whether it measures up to the high bar of criminal culpability. Ultimately, Murray’s legal fate and Jackson’s celebrity name will rest in the hands of the jurors. Both are connected because not one of the jurors selected dared plead ignorance of not having heard of Jackson. The prosecutors and defense attorneys didn’t go there and try to determine the depth of the juror’s pro or anti Jackson bias. Some of the jurors made it clear that they were Jackson fans, or that they thought he was a great entertainer.
None expressed any misgivings about Jackson. The only misgivings were whether the criminal justice treated the rich and famous with kid gloves. More than one thought this is the case. Whether this means that the jury is so pro Jackson that Murray doesn’t stand much chance of acquittal is another matter. Indeed it should not matter. The jurors are charged with one thing, and one thing only, and that’s to strictly weigh the physical evidence and testimony and determine whether Murray did what the prosecution says that he did and that’s cause Jackson’s death. That’s the sole standard that any jury should be charged with in determining guilt or innocence in any criminal case. However, it would be the pinnacle of naivety to think that facts alone determine trial outcomes in celebrated trials. Countless studies and surveys of criminal cases involving celebrities show that money and fame do play huge role in these cases.
Money allows celebrities not only to hire the best and brightest of attorneys, but to tweak and massage the message of innocence of their celebrity client outside the courtroom. Murray used his celebrity name by dint of his association with Jackson’s death to get a crack legal team, and insure that they spin away his innocence outside the courtroom. A big part of that is their hit on Jackson that he killed himself. By any standard this shouldn’t fly. But given the always lurking undercurrent of controversy and doubt about Jackson from so many, they’re banking that they can put Jackson not Murray on trial. And this definitely shouldn’t fly.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson
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.