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Home / News Archive / News April 2008

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German Radio Show Focuses On MJ. 30-04-'08

Next Saturday, Michael Jackson will be the topic of a special show on German radio station hr1 (Hessischer Rundfunk 1). And all fans can participate by submitting 5 song requests and their MJ stories to each song.

The text on the radio station's web site reads a follows:

Top or flop? What do you think about Michael Jackson? Which of his songs do you like?

Mail your opinion to HR1 moderator Tommy Stärker. Your favourite song and your story about Michael Jackson. Attention - deadline is on Friday, May 2, 2008 at 2 pm.

You can hear the highlights on the topic Michael Jackson on Saturday, May 3 - starting at 6 pm in the hr1-Musikbox (6-8 pm).

Source: MJFC Germany / Billie Jean


Encino House Saved. 28-04-'08

Michael Jackson has narrowly avoided losing his house in Los Angeles, after paying off debts of $414,806.

The ‘Thriller' singer's three-bedroom, three-bathroom property in Encino had been scheduled to be sold at a public auction on May 5, according to A Notice of Trustee's Sale filed on April 11.

However, the 49-year-old musician has now saved the house by settling his debts.

A spokesperson for the singer said: "The property has been paid and is no longer in foreclosure."

Last month, Jackson managed to save his 2,800 acre Neverland ranch, in California, from going to auction after working out a deal with Fortress Investment Group LLC to refinance the property instead of paying the $24.5 million fee.

Jackson's lawyer L. Londell McMillan said: "They've sorted out a confidential agreement. Neverland and Michael Jackson are fine."

Fortress Investments originally loaned Jackson $300 million to pay off his debts and threatened to sell the property through a Santa Barbara real estate broker if it wasn't sold at auction.

The eccentric pop star bought the property in 1987, intending to turn it into a "paradise for children".

After installing a host of fairground rides and building a zoo, which included elephants, snakes, giraffes and llamas, Jackson opened up his fairytale home to children.

Jackson was acquitted of child sex charges in a dramatic court course in 2005.

Source: BANG Media International / Billie Jean


Many Visitors For Philippine's Dancing Jail. 27-04-'08

Last year, inmates at the Cebu (Philippines) prison rose to worldwide stardom when their Thriller dance routine, which is part of their exercise regime, became a favourite on YouTube. So far the video has been viewed nearly 15 million times!

Meanwhile, on the island of Cebu, which is a renowned holiday destination, many visitors and tourists want to watch the live show. Every last Saturday of the month, hundreds of people come to watch the inmates' grooving in harmony to hits of Queen, and Bonnie Tyler during their 2 hour programme. From viewing platforms surrounding the exercise ground the audience cheer and dance as if it was a rock concert.

"It was great. I had fun. Two thumbs up," said Kathleen, a local university student.
"They are so good at dancing all the time," said Anne Yzerman, a research student from The Netherlands. "I was really impressed."

At the end of the program, visitors can even have their pictures taken with the prisoners or they can buy souvenir prison shirts.

Byron Garcia, who oversees the jail and introduced the dance routines last year as a way of improving morale, said the prisoners were enjoying the switch from notoriety to celebrity:

"They are very proud of themselves being watched by the public."

Source: Reuters livee / Billie Jean


Landis: Thriller Almost Didn't Happen. 26-04-'08

In an interview to TODAY, director John Landis told a little more about how the famous Thriller video was created. Basically, it started only with an exciting young singer with a song and a desire to be a monster in his own video.

“It was nobody’s brilliant idea,” John Landis told TODAY.
Landis took the job because he saw it as a chance to resurrect a genre that had once been a Hollywood staple.

“It was a great opportunity to bring back the theatrical short.”
Michael Jackson had done a couple of videos himself but the videos were made to sell records. The 'Thriller' album had already been out for nearly a year, and it had already become the biggest-selling album of all time. The video Landis envisioned was going to be nearly 15 minutes long — and expensive. But Landis says it didn't cost as much as many claim it did cost - although it was much more than the average music video at that time did cost - which was about 50.000:

“It’s always exaggerated. It ended up costing $500,000 — still an enormous money at that time for that kind of thing.”
“Nobody would give us the money, because the album had already been so successful. Michael said he would pay for it. But I wouldn’t let him. He was still living with his parents in Encino behind a supermarket."

George Folsey, Landis’ partner, then suggested that they also film a 45-minute documentary, 'The Making of Thriller.' They could sell it as a one-hour theatrical feature. They approached Disney Studios, which agreed to release it for a limited time in Los Angeles theatres. At the same time, they decided to take it to a venue no one else had ever considered as a market for a music video.

“We sold that hour to a brand-new thing called cable television and the Showtime network, which at that time had only 3 million homes. They paid a quarter of a million dollars for the rights to show it exclusively for, I think, 10 days.”
When MTV saw it, they called Landis.

“MTV went crazy – ‘How can you do that?’ We said, ‘OK, you give us money.’ And they gave us another quarter of a million to show it for two weeks, and that was our costs.”
It was such a hit that CBS decided to distribute the video for all of its affiliates to air for free.

“For a while there, you couldn’t turn on the television without seeing ‘Thriller."

The album that had supposedly sold every copy it could shot back to the top of the charts, nearly tripling its previous sales.

Again from out of the blue, Landis got a call from Austin Furst, who had a video business called Vestron. Furst said he wanted to buy the rights to put “Thriller” out as a “sell-through video.” Landis had never heard the term before, and Furst explained that he would sell it directly to consumers at a relatively affordable price: $24.95. At the time, home videos were shown on the still-new technology of video tape. But a movie typically cost between $80 and $100. Consumers weren’t going to pay that much, so mom-and-pop operations sprang up to buy the videos and then rent them out. Furst’s idea was to produce large quantities of the film and sell it directly. Landis said he couldn’t imagine many people wanting to buy a video that had gotten such extensive play on tv. But it would turn out that more than 10 million people wanted to own it!

The most famous recent incarnation of 'Thriller' is the Filipino prison production which has been a huge hit on YouTube:

“The Filipino prison is wonderfully crazy. But people all over the world perform the ‘Thriller’ dance at weddings, at funerals, at bar mitzvahs. It blows me away.”

Source: Today / Billie Jean


Film Festival Party For Thriller Anniversary. 25-04-'08

The Tribeca Film Festival's Drive-In program hosted a free event for the community on Thursday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Thriller, the number one selling album of all time. In addition to the complementary white gloves, many children took advantage of the Thriller face painting station to look like the ghoulish dancers from the classic video.

It was a light-hearted celebration without its guest of honour. Francesco Carbonara, a horticulturist in his early 50's from Queens stated,

He's not here, but I feel like he is...I didn't expect such a huge turnout from all of these fans."

Irma Vega from Brooklyn, who brought her two kids to the event said,

It [the Thriller album] was the best! I used to watch the tape and rewind it over and over to learn the dance moves."

In the spirit of the Film Festival, the program's feature was an open-aired screening of the theatrical music video. The program was MC'd by Vincent Peterson, long-time Michael Jackson choreographer and host of the Bravo network's reality television series 'Step it Up & Dance.' Peterson instructed the crowd in some Thriller Dancing 101, and then had the cast of his show perform the routine live. Peterson then introduced John Landis, the director of the Thriller video, as well as a veteran actor, director and producer who shared some anecdotes from the making of the historic video.

Source: Epoch Times / Billie Jean


John Landis About Making Thriller Video. 24-04-'08

In preparation of the special Thriller Night at the Tribeca Film Festival director John Landis gave an interview to Metromix New York about what it was like making one of the best videos ever:

How did the whole project get off the ground?
Well, Michael Jackson called me out of the blue. He had seen Rick Baker’s work, transforming a man to a wolf in “An American Werewolf in London.” Michael was fascinated by the transformation and said he wanted to make a film in which he turned into a monster onscreen. Rock videos at that time were commonly made to sell records, and I wasn't interested in that. But I was definitely interested in doing a theatrical short, and because [Michael] was so big, we knew there'd be interest in showing it. And it was a chance to do a dance number with really good dancers and shoot it correctly.
Was it difficult to get the financial backing for it?
We figured it would cost half a million, which was a lot since people were spending fifty to seventy thousand back then. CBS and Sony video told us to go fuck ourselves. There were already two successful videos that had been made [from the album]: “Beat it” and “Billie Jean.” Plus, the album was already No. 1 and had sold more records than any other in history when the video premiered. So Michael said, “Well, I'll pay for it”, and I said, “Absolutely not.” He was still living with his parents then. He said, “Why don't you film us making it? We can do ‘The Making of Thriller’ and that would be 45 minutes and the actual video would be 15, and it could be an hour [program] on Showtime.” When MTV heard we were going to show it on Showtime first, then they wanted it and they gave us money.

And the rest is history.
Well, it played [as a short] with "Fantasia" for two weeks in L.A. and was such a sensation. But then CBS fucked me because they gave the video free to every TV station in the world. Once “Thriller” got to MTV and was on international TV, like, 24 hours a day, the album went back to No. 1 and doubled its sales. It totally established MTV, and established the power of the medium.

Then I got a call from Austin Furst at Vestron who said, “I'd like to put ‘Thriller’ and ‘The Making of Thriller’ on VHS for home video.” I said, “It's on TV for free. Who'd buy it?” He said, “I intend to put it out on sell-through for $24.95." I thought, nobody’s going to buy this, but over a million sold. It created the home-video business. [...]

What’s coming up for you now?
I have a book coming out, called “John Landis,” by Italian author Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan. It has interviews and articles by many collaborators of mine. We’ll be doing two book signings in New York. Also, I'm in the cutting room right now. I was one [of several directors] to shoot a show for NBC called “Fear Itself.” It’s like the son of “Family,” which I did for the “Masters of Horror” series. I'm most famous for my comedies—I think it's a riot that I am a "master of horror."

Source: mjfc / Billie Jean


Don't Forget The 'Thriller Live'. 24-04-'08

After touring the UK and Denmark, 'Thriller Live' will be coming to The Netherlands next year.
On April 24 and 25, 2008, you will be able to see this spectacular show at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. For additional information (in Dutch) and to order tickets please visit the web site of the Heineken Music Hall.

The amazing show, featuring over 20 performers with a full company of singers, dancers and live band, celebrates Michael Jackson like never before! With choreography from MTV award winning choreographer LaVelle Smith Jr. and brilliant vocal performances, Michael Jackson's amazing songs and videos are brought to life on stage in a spectacular and sensational way. The show features over two-hours of hit songs including I Want You Back, I'll Be There, Can You Feel It, Rock With You, Blame It On The Boogie, Billie Jean, Earth Song, and many more.
For detailed information on 'Thriller Live' please visit the official web site of the show, click here
.

Source: thrillerlive / Billie Jean


JamsBio.com's $1,000 "Thriller Memory" Contest. 23-04-'08

JamsBio.com's $1,000 "Thriller Memory" Contest In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Thriller, Legacy Recordings has teamed up with an exciting new music community, JamsBio.com in search of your favourite memories of Michael Jackson's Thriller album. The contest runs until April 30, 2008 and all you have to do is share your fondest memory of hearing (or watching) the music on Thriller for a chance of winning some excellent prizes!

First Place (Grand Prize) Winner
A Michael Jackson music collection including:
Thriller 25th Anniversary (Deluxe Edition) CD
The Ultimate Collection CD Box Set
Off The Wall (Special Edition) CD
Dangerous (Special Edition) CD
Number Ones CD
History / Past, Present, and Future CD
The Essential Michael Jackson CD
The One DVD
History on Film DVD
Video Greatest Hits DVD
Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour DVD
A framed plaque of the Winner's Submission Material
Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250)
Winner's material will be featured on JamsBio.com and MichaelJackson.com Web sites

Second Place Winner
Thriller 25th Anniversary (Deluxe Edition) CD
A framed plaque of the Winner's Submission Material
One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150)
Winner's material will be featured on JamsBio.com and MichaelJackson.com Web sites

Third Place Winner
Thriller 25th Anniversary (Deluxe Edition) CD
A framed plaque of the Winner's Submission Material;
Seventy Five Dollars ($75)
Winner's material will be featured on JamsBio.com and MichaelJackson.com Web sites

Twenty Five Finalists will each receive a JamsBio T-shirt.

Source: JamsBios / Billie Jean


Thriller Night At The Tribeca Film Festival! 23-04-'08

Join filmmaker and "Thriller" video director John Landis for a special 25th anniversary screening of Michael Jackson's epic 1984 music video, plus the classic Making of Thriller. Learn the Thriller dance and take part in the world's largest zombie disco. Become a zombie at the Thriller face-painting station. Cast your ballot at our Michael Jackson look-alike contest. We're kicking off the evening with a classic Solid Gold Dance Party... and bringing out the ghouls as soon as the sun goes down.

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, BRAVO and LEGACY Present A CELEBRATION of the 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THRILLER at the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL DRIVE-IN

Featuring John Landis and the cast of Bravo's new hit reality show STEP IT UP & DANCE

[ Schedule ]

6:00 - Doors open

6:00- 7:30 - Thriller trivia contest, CD Giveaways, Zombie face painting and Dance Contest

7:30 - The cast of Step It Up & Dance perform a salute to Thriller

8:05 - Legendary director John Landis on the making of the Thriller video

8:25 - Screening of the THRILLER 25 EPK, the THRILLER VIDEO and THE MAKING OF THRILLER

WHERE: The Plaza at the World Financial Center

WHEN: April 24, 2008

Also, don't miss the cast from STEP IT UP & DANCE performing their salute to THRILLER 25 on THE TODAY SHOW with KATHY LEE GIFFORD on NBC, Thursday, April 24, 2008.

Source: Sony BMG / Billie Jean


Sony/ATV’s Bandier: Michael Is "A Great Partner". 18-04-'08

In an interview with Reuters, Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier said that he is very excited at the possibility of the Beatles archives finally going digital.

After last month’s TV ratings success in licensing the Beatles’ tunes to American Idol, Bandier is keen to do more deals with the valuable archive. He thinks making the songs available in a digital format will create even more opportunities for his company, EMI and Apple Corp, which manages the Beatles’ affairs.

“One of the things that I think the Beatles are working on closer with EMI - and hopefully getting closer to finalizing it - is to allow for the digital use of Beatles on the Apple (iTunes) store and everywhere else. It would be incredible.”
But it isn’t his decision to make as EMI and Apple Corp lead those discussions.

“All we can do is sit on the sidelines and root like crazy,” said Bandier.
Sony/ATV is a joint venture between Sony Corp and Michael Jackson. Bandier says the entertainer has been a great partner even as speculation floats from time to time that Michael may want to sell his share to repay some of his loans.

“I don’t think that Michael’s interested in selling his share.
For me, he’s been a great partner, has been supportive and has an amazing reputation among the artistry and makes a call when we need him to reinforce our position with artists.“

Source: Reuters / Billie Jean


Release Of Certificate Of Tax Lien Against Jackson's Property. 17-04-'08

Approximately one year ago on April 20, 2007, the Santa Barbara County Treasurer and Tax Collector filed a $13,300+ certificate of tax lien against any real/unsecured property that Michael Jackson owns. As of April 15, 2008, the certificate of lien has been released according to county records. No further details are available at this time.

In early February, a $609,500+ state tax lien against Neverland was also released, indicating that the matter had been resolved. A public auction of Neverland Valley Ranch is still scheduled for May 14, 2008, but Michael Jackson has up until that point to resolve the debt. According to L. Londell McMillan, Michael Jackson has been looking into the options of either refinancing or selling the property prior to the May 14th date of public auction.

Source: County of Santa Barbara / Billie Jean


Designer Halder And His MJ Connection. 16-04-'08

Indian fashion designer Abdul Halder (26) said in an interview that he once was asked to design some costumes for Michael Jackson.

He said that in 2002 he was asked to design the Indian maharaja look for a music video. However, it couldn't be used because of September 11, 2001.

"Michael wanted to use the look of our maharajas for his music video. But since it matched the way Afghans dress and would have created a controversy he changed the concept."
Recounting the experience of working with Michael Jackson, Halder said:

"His pianist introduced me to Michael. He is a gentlemen...very soft-spoken and extremely easy to work with.
He likes bright colours like yellow, fuchsias, reds and blues. To look different from everyone he wanted me to create unconventional designs and induce curves in men's wear. He loves to be the centre of attraction.

To my amazement, he would wear an outfit only once and never repeat it. Contrary to common perception he is a teetotaller and a vegetarian. He has visited India and told me that he likes the country a lot. We had sent him bindis, bangles and brocades as a token of appreciation and he was extremely happy."

Source: News Post India / Billie Jean


WBSS2008 Available As CD Single In USA. 15-04-'08

Today, 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008' with Akon has been released as a CD single in the USA. It is an import from Sony Australia.

The song is taken from the new album 'Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition'. and a re-recorded version of the classic 'Wanna Be Startin' Something' featuring Urban star Akon.

Help the single making it to the top of the charts by buying your copy today. It is for example available at Amazon (ASIN: B0014ZFMLC ).

Also available in the USA since April 8, 2008 is a special French pressing of the single which has a very nice cover (see image below). This single features two versions of the song: Radio Edit and Johnny Vicious Club - Radio Edit (3:36).

The single is for example available at Amazon (ASIN: B0015XQEE2).

Source: Amazon USA / Billie Jean


Tao Nightclub And Joe Jackson Celebrate Thriller25. 12-04-'08

Last night at Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas, as part of the club's "Worship Thursdays," an absolutely packed arena helped to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller album.
The event was officially endorsed by Sony and the Jackson family, and even Joe Jackson himself made a surprise appearance to help with the celebration. A handful of Michael Jackson impersonators were also on hand to pay tribute to the King of Pop.
Many more pictures of the event can be seen at: http://vegas.napkinnights.com/pics/view_album.php?id=6628

Source: vegas.napkinnights.com / Billie Jean


Thriller Live Comes To Liverpool. 10-04-'08

Thriller Live, a show which pays tribute to Michael Jackson and also delves into the back catalogue of his early days as front man with The Jackson 5, is coming to the Liverpool (UK).

Created by renowned biographer Adrian Grant, Thriller Live is a full budget mega-show that takes the audience on a journey through the music of the legendary entertainer. In 2008 the critical and commercial hit production sees not only a brand new 43-date tour with even more amazing choreography, dancers, an amazing band and production.

The show comes to the Liverpool Empire from April 18-19, 2008. Tickets are priced £27.50-£17. To book ticket ring 0844 847 2525.

For more information go to Thriller Live

Source: ThrillerLive / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Dismissed From 'Preferential Treatment' Case. 08-04-'08

On April 8, 2008, Michael Jackson was formally dismissed as a defendant in the 'Preferential Treatment' case that was filed by the family of Manuela Ruiz back in early 2007. Marian Medical Center, however, is still a defendant in the case. A spokeswoman for the medical center remains optimistic that the case will soon be dismissed entirely: "Today's ruling is [a] procedural step necessary to move forward with the final dismissal of the case. We have always been confident the care provided to Mrs. Ruiz was appropriate." The attorney for the hospital, Hugh Spackman, called the allegations of the Ruiz family "outrageous."

The attorney who had been representing Michael Jackson in the case called the incident "unfortunate," but reiterated the fact that his client, Michael Jackson, was not at fault. Another hearing in the case between the Ruiz family and Marian Medical Center has been set for May.

Source: KSBY / Billie Jean


Las Vegas Event. 07-04-'08

MJSUNIFC (Michael Jackson’s United Nation International Fan Club) are organizing an event in Las Vegas to celebrate Michael’s 50th birthday. The event, which will be held from August 22nd – 24th, is their third event and this year is titled ‘Born To Entertain’.

Their event will include live entertainment, talent shows, Michael performers, prize giveaways and special guest.
For further information on the event please click the link below or visit: www.mjsunifc.com

Source: mjsunifc / Billie Jean


Thriller25 Tops US Pop Charts For Seventh Week! 04-04-'08

Michael Jackson's Thriller 25 is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the seventh straight week. Its sales of 26,000 would have placed it #15 on the main chart if older catalog albums were allowed to compete there.

This is the longest continuous run at #1 on the catalog chart since Johnny Cash's 16 Biggest Hits had 10 straight weeks on top two years ago. The Cash collection had 26 weeks at #1 all told.

Source: Yahoo / Billie Jean


Birthday Of Paris. 03-04-'08

Paris, daughter Michael Jackson is celebrate her birthday and may blow out 10 candles. On April 3rd 1998 Paris Michael Katherine Jackson was born in Los Angeles.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson And Family Are To Star In Reality TV Show. 02-04-'08

It has been reported that Michael Jackson and his family are set to star in their own reality TV show. It’s said that the hour-long show will be shown on Channel 4 and will follow the Jackson’s as they try and fit in with the local community in Devon the South West of England.

The Jackson’s are set to move in May into a rented five-bedroom holiday home in the town of Appledore, near Barnstaple. Tito will be permanently based at the property, while the others will just visit from time to time.
Tito said that “My family love North Devon and the wonderful countryside and friendly people, I’m really looking forward to buying a home here. Michael likes it here too, as no one bothers him. I am looking forward to living in Barnstaple and I hope the Barnstaple public will respect our family’s privacy.”

Source: wikio.com / Billie Jean


Dance Marathon Aims For Guinness 'Thriller' Record. 01-04-'08

On April 5, 2008, nearly 120 students will gather together to perform Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' dance to break the Guinness World Record at the University of South Dakota. The record for the most people doing the 'Thriller' dance is currently held by North-western (Illinois) University's Dance Marathon, who broke the record in February of 2007 with 78 dancers.

Students will be learning the dance beginning at 1:15 p.m. at Vermillion High School (1001 E. Main St.). Once the moves are perfected, there will be a taping to verify the record was broken. Taping is scheduled to occur between 3:15-5 p.m. at the high school. The dance will be done as part of Dance Marathon, a 24-hour event that raises money for Children's Miracle Network.

Source: Yankton Press & Dakotan / Billie Jean

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