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Home / News Archive / News December 2008

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Thriller 25 Re-Release. 30-12-'08

Sony is planning to release a re-mastered version of Thriller 25.
The new disc, which is basically 'Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition' without the bonus DVD, is expected to drop on 30-01-09 in Switzerland and on 27-02-09 in Germany. No word yet if the re-mastered edition will be released in the USA.

Source: Sony BMG / Billie Jean


MJ In Top20 Of Best-Selling Artists 2008. 26-12-'08

According to Hits Daily Double, Michael Jackson is one of the 20 best-selling artists in the USA in 2008. The list considers combined sales of all releases.

The #1 spot went to AC/DC who released their first album of new material since 2000 - which appears to have fuelled a widespread desire to pick up the band’s previous releases. Michael Jackson comes in at #15 with a total of 1.4 million units.

Top 20 Artists of 2008 by Combined Sales of All Releases (in Millions of Units):

1. AC/DC 3.4
2. Lil Wayne 3.3
3. Taylor Swift 3.2
4. Coldplay 2.5
5. Metallica 2.3
6. Kid Rock 2.2
7. Jonas Brothers 2.1
8. Sugarland 1.9
9. Jack Johnson 1.8
10. Mariah Carey 1.7
11. T.I. 1.6
12. Nickelback 1.5
13. Beyonce 1.4
14. Kenny Chesney 1.4
15. Michael Jackson 1.4
16. Elvis Presley 1.4
17. Beatles 1.4
18. Josh Groban 1.3
19. Journey 1.3
20. Leona Lewis 1.3

Source: Billie Jean


Jermaine Also Sets Records Straight. 26-12-'08

In response to various reports claiming comments by Jermaine Jackson concerning the health of his brother, music legend Michael Jackson, Jermaine's long time attorney, Vicki Roberts, issues the following statement:

"Contrary to various news and media reports, Jermaine Jackson has advised me that he has made absolutely no comments about the health of his brother, Michael Jackson, and that any comments or statements attributed to him regarding the health of Michael Jackson are a complete and total fabrication," Roberts reports. "Further, nothing is to be construed or concluded from Jermaine's lack of comment because such a conclusion might, in fact, be erroneous."

Source: PRWeb / Billie Jean


Press Release On Michael's Health. 23-12-'08

Michael Jackson's official and sole spokesperson, Dr. Tohme Tohme, in response to recent rumours regarding Michael's alleged medical condition has issued the following statement.

The rumours were started by journalist Ian Halpern who is working on a book on Michael Jackson and afterwards picked up by media outlets worldwide:

"Concerning this author's allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized 'biography.' The writer's wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson's health are a total fabrication. Mr. Jackson is in fine health, and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company & television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances."

Source: BusinessWire / Billie Jean


Author: Jackson Suffering From Lung Disease. 21-12-'08

Singer Michael Jackson departs the courthouse after listening to closing arguments in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 2, 2005 in Santa Maria, California. (Carlo Allegri, Getty Images) The author behind a new biography of Michael Jackson has sparked rumours the star is seriously ill suggesting the singer may be suffering from a deadly lung condition.

Ian Halperin, a former writer for Rolling Stone magazine, is producing a new book about Jackson's life and has detailed the Thriller hit maker's medical problems claiming he is suffering from a condition known as Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a potentially fatal genetic illness.

Halperin states that Jackson is losing the vision in his left eye and has subsequently developed emphysema, a lung condition linked to heavy smokers, which can be caused by the initial illness.

Halperin writes, "He has had Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency for years, but it's gotten worse. He needs a lung transplant but may be too weak to go through with it. He also has emphysema and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding, which his doctors have had a lot of trouble stopping. He can barely speak, the vision in his left eye has 95 percent.

"For years Michael has been working with doctors to make sure it doesn't progress. He has been on medications that have stabilized him."

Jackson's older brother, Jermaine, recently hinted at the star's poor health, telling Fox News, "He's not doing so well right now. This isn't a good time."

Source: wxyz.com / Billie Jean


"Billie Jean Jackson" Seeks $1,000,000,000 From Michael Jackson! 19-12-'08

The self-proclaimed real-life "Billie Jean" has struck again, this time in Los Angeles court. Billie Jean Jackson (a.k.a. Lavon A. Muhammad) has filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson alleging to be the mother of his youngest son, nicknamed Blanket, and is demanding joint custody, visitation, and support. How much support, you ask? Only ONE BILLION dollars worth, that's all! According to the lawsuit, it was filed "because she always is arrested at the home of her Husband, MICHAEL J. JACKSON." "Billie Jean Jackson" has been making similar claims while stalking Michael Jackson since the 1980s, and was most recently arrested for trespassing in March of this year.

Michael Jackson has long been the victim of real-life "Billie Jean" wannabe's, some more persistent than others. In fact, "Billie Jean Jackson" (also known as "Lavon A. Muhammad" and "Gabriella Jamilla Jackson") has a long-running history of trespassing Michael Jackson's property and otherwise causing disturbances, while claiming to be his wife and mother to his children. Beginning in 1984, when Muhammad was in her 30s, she would repeatedly loiter at the Jackson's Encino family home. The harassment became so troublesome that in 1986, Michael Jackson placed a four-year restraining order against her. Muhammad was arrested three separate times for trespassing onto the Encino property from 1984 through 1988, each offense which resulted in a blend of either jail-time or probations. In early 1988, a $150 million paternity lawsuit was filed against Jackson presumably by Muhammad (a.k.a. "Lavon Powlis"), but the case was dismissed. In January, 1989, Muhammad was convicted of trespassing and sentenced to 2 ½ years in jail because she refused to receive psychiatric treatment instead. As the judge sentenced Muhammad, he also played a snippet from Michael Jackson's song, "Leave Me Alone" to help convey the message to her.

Flash-forward to 1995: Muhammad was once again arrested for trespassing at the Encino family home. Another restraining order was placed against her, and she was ordered to spend nearly 100 more days in jail. And, on March 10, 2008, at the age of 60, "Billie Jean Jackson" was once again arrested for trespassing at Neverland Valley Ranch. Another recent "Billie Jean" who goes by the 'shortened' name of Nona Paris Lola Jackson (with a much longer full name) has likewise claimed to be the wife of Jackson and mother of his three children. A Los Angeles based suit that she filed against Jackson was ultimately tossed out of court, although Nona continues to pursue it.

Source: Billie Jean


King Of Pop India. 18-12-'08

Sony BMG India partnered with ibibo.com to roll out the Indian version of 'Michael Jackson KING OF POP'. The double CD collection is expected to be in stores by January 2009 and will be a special selection of Michael Jackson songs collectively voted by community members of ibibo.com. Therefore the Ibibo.com community will be able to listen and vote for over 100 smash hits of Michael Jackson.

Furthermore, the community can join the "Fan Club" and also watch MJ's videos and photos.
Sony BMG will release into the market a called 'Michael Jackson-The King of Pop'. As a part of celebrating the cult of MJ on ibibo.com, the social networking site has also launched a "Moon walk Like Michael" contest. The best moon walkers will be selected by Ibibo community along with Sony BMG and will get to win Lap tops and iPods.

Ashish Kashyap, CEO of ibibo.com, said:

"We are India's fast growing entertainment and talent based social networking platform. Launch of Michael Jackson application in alliance with Sony BMG on ibibo.com further drives user engagement and empowerment and at the same time provides a platform for expression and recognition".

Sridhar Subramanian, Managing Director of Sony BMG India, added:

"We are extremely glad to have partnered with Ibibo for this pioneering initiative. A music album, which is completely 'of the people, for the people and by the people' will be a first for India. Given Michael Jackson's iconic popularity, coupled with the power of social networking on ibibo.com, we are sure this will be a resounding success".

Source: http://www.newkerala.com / Billie Jean


Akon Has Doubts MJ Will Tour Again. 17-12-'08

Akon has doubts if Michael Jackson will tour again - due to the media's intrusion into his private life. He said constant scrutiny had left the entertainer unable to “focus” on his career.

"All of the good artists suffer from it these days. That's why they disappear and you've got people who don't even deserve to be there up there (in the charts) and people get tired and bored of that.

If you want quality concerts and quality performances they (the media) have to lay off people.

Michael Jackson is the best performer ever and he can't even focus - you will never see another tour from him. (The media intrusion) plays a big role in that.

It affects the people they're writing about. It's a lot to do with Michael Jackson not coming out and being open.

I think all he needs is a record, one hit record then he might get his confidence back."

Source: World Entertainment / Billie Jean


Michael Orders Jewellery and Neverland Items To Include Limo. 16-12-'08

I.F. & Co. are usually known for providing jewellery to Rap stars, but has recently had an order for some very ornate pieces from Michael.

The order, paid for in advance, includes an 18 carat gold brooch set with rubies and diamonds, weighing 120 grams. It is shaped like a shield with a crown on top, and bears the initials M. J. This is the first piece of a set ordered by and delivered to Michael made to his own specification. He has also ordered a belt buckle similar to the brooch but in different colours and other pieces that are difficult and time consuming to make.

A luxury Bentley limousine customized to Michael’s own specification is to be included in the Beverly Hilton auction next April. The auctioneers have announced that maybe eight out of Michael’s ten cars at Neverland will be auctioned, but Michael has not made the decision over which cars are to be sold.

The car is extremely luxurious with cream leather upholstery, fine wood and finished in gold.

Source: MJWN / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson In Hollywood. 14-12-'08

The legendary singer, 50, walked around Los Angeles on Friday afternoon wearing a hat, a black scarf wrapped loosely around his head and neck, slippers and a black "Zorro" mask.

A crowd of bemused onlookers gathered and watched on as Jackson wandered around the streets visiting an antiques shop.

His rather odd choice of outfit was not the first time he has attempted to go incognito.
In October he was seen wearing a surgical mask while on an outing with his children, Prince Michael, 11, Paris, ten and Blanket, six.

Source: Pinkisthenewblog / Billie Jean


Motown 50. 12-12-'08

A new compilation album marking Motown’s 50th Anniversary has been released.

The triple CD album includes ‘ABC’ and ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson 5 and ‘Got To Be There’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ from Michael’s early solo catalogue.

The album also includes classics from top Motown artists including Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Tempations and Lionel Richie.

Motown 50 CD available at Amazon

Source: Amazon / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson To Auction Thousands Of Possessions. 11-12-'08

Los Angeles, Dec 11: The glittery glove famously worn by former pop idol Michael Jackson in his 1983 video for the hit song "Billie Jean" is up for sale.

The glove will be auctioned off in April, 2009 together with more than 2,000 items from Neverland Ranch, Jackson's home for over 15 years, until he abandoned in the aftermath of his 2005 acquittal on charges that he molested a young male visitor there.

According to celebrity memorabilia specialist Julien's Auctions, which announced the auction Wednesday, the sale will also include the entry gates to Neverland Ranch as well many of the amusement and arcade devices that Jackson installed at Neverland to make his own private amusement park.

In addition to the collection of memorabilia from Jackson's own career the auction will also feature numerous fine art pieces and other pop culture memorabilia.

The auction came just weeks after the financially-troubled Jackson sold Neverland to a company that owned the mortgage on the property and which now plans to redevelop the 1,100 hectare ranch.

Jackson's possessions will be on display from February onwards in a highlights tour that according to Julien's will visit major cities worldwide.

The auction begins in Los Angeles on April 21, 2009 and bids will be accepted in person and online. Jackson plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to MusiCares, a charitable organisation founded by the Recording Academy to help musicians in need.

Exhibition Schedule:
Tuesday, April 14th – Monday, April 20th
Open to the Public (10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. Daily)

Auction Schedule:
Tuesday, April 21st – Saturday, April 25th
Auctions Begin at 9:00 a.m. Daily

The official auction site with additional details is at: http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2009/michael-jackson/

Source: www.zeenews.com / Billie Jean


Surprise Visit To Bollywood Actor Roshan. 11-12-'08

According to Zeenews.com, Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan was recently visited by Michael Jackson. It was a special surprise because Roshan is a big Michael Jackson fan and is often seen following the famous MJ moves for most of his dance sequences. So he couldn't believe his eyes when the ‘Pop King’ walked into his caravan in Los Angeles (USA), where he was stationed for the shooting of ‘Kites’.

Hrithik, who was busy decking up for the next shot stood aghast when Michael Jackson walked in. A source close to the actor revealed:

“Hrithik was in his make-up room when Michael's two bodyguards entered. He was taken aback to see these burly men enter the room. On questioning them, he learnt that they were Michael's body guards.”
Michael introduced himself to Hrithik. It was a funny scene to see someone like him, who the whole world knows introducing himself. The two spoke for a short time and then Michael left.”

Source: www.zeenews.com / Billie Jean


More Join Cast Of Thriller Live. 10-12-'08

Singer/songwriter Denise Pearson, of 5 Star fame, is set to make her West End debut in Thriller Live, the amazing show that was specially created to celebrate the career of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Pearson is the former lead vocalist for British R&B group 5 Star, which had a string of hits in both the UK and the US back in the 1980's including "All Fall Down," "System Addict," and "Hard Race."

Also in the company is Ricko Baird, who was interviewed by MJFC after a production of Thriller Live in Frankfurt, Germany. Baird is an accomplished dancer and award winning choreographer who co-choreographed Jackson's "You Rock My World" and doubled for him in the video. Baird has danced in concerts and videos for both Michael and Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Tina Turner and others.

Pearson and Baird will be joining the three previously announced 13 year olds that will share the role of young Michael Jackson. Layton Williams, who was the first Black actor to play Billy Elliot in London; Sterling Williams, who played a young Simba in the Lion King, and newcomer Kieran Alleyne.

Others in the cast will include Roger Wright, who originated the role of Simba in the London production of The Lion King and also played Marvin Gaye in the West End production of Dancing in the Streets; John Moabi, who was seen in Street Scene at the Young Vic earlier this year, and Ben Foster, who played Doody in the West End production of Grease.

The West End season is being produced by Paul Walden and Derek Nicol for Flying Music, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment UK in association with Adrian Grant for Key Concerts. Nicol said in a press statement:

Thriller Live is an uplifting, feel-good show with incredible choreography and sensational songs that everyone knows and loves — it's just the sort of escapist entertainment people need to take their minds off how tough life is at the moment. Thriller Live has high production values, a large company on stage and a live band — and it delivers high class entertainment that is suitable for everyone from 8 to 80. It's obvious to us from the recent early closing of West End musicals, cancellation of several planned UK tours, and the number of ticket discounts and promotions, that money is extremely tight and a lot of the current shows are struggling to fill their theatres. We want to make sure that Thriller Live is in the price bracket of as many people as possible."

Paul Curran of Sony BMG had this to say of the production:

The show is a celebration of one of the greatest music catalogues in history. We are thrilled to be involved and there are obviously many promotional and marketing opportunities between the show and our catalogue."

Thriller Live was originally conceived and created by executive director Adrian Grant, a long-time associate of Jackson's and author of the amazing book, "Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary."

Source: playbill.com / Billie Jean


Akon Being Secretive About MJ Album. 10-12-'08

Akon is remaining very tight-liped about his collaboration with the King of Pop saying only that:

I can't speak too much on Mike's project. Mike is a perfectionist. He's probably the most brilliant person I've sat across from. A humble, cool cat."

He also had this to say about how working with MJ has affected him:

I'm on a whole 'nother level now. It's all about the presentation. It has to be big, it has to be right."

Source: hiphopdx.com / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's Music Still Pulls In Diverse Crowds. 07-12-'08

Houston-based blogger and local FOX news reporter Isiah Carey wrote an entry of how Michael Jackson's music and videos--despite the years of controversial hardships Michael Jackson has endured--still have drawing power unlike any other, as if they were just released. When Michael Jackson's music and film blared through the television at Fry's Electronics, crowds of all races, genders, and ages stopped what they were doing just to watch. Carey writes:

MICHAEL JACKSON STILL PULLING CROWDS IN HOUSTON!

PEOPLE STOPPED SHOPPING TO WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEOS AS IF THEY WERE JUST RELEASED!

It's that time of the year when lots of busy people are out and about looking to buy Christmas gifts. One of the places I stopped on Saturday was Fry's Electronics in Houston. As I entered the store I heard a familiar song blasting through the building. It was Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. His greatest hits videos were being played on a big screen television in the middle of store. But what I noticed were all the people who stopped shopping and just watched the videos. At times more than a dozen people were gathered around watching Michael do the Moonwalk or several other signature moves. Some were bobbing their heads and others smiling with excitement as if they were seeing these videos for the first time. It was strange to see so many people embracing the entertainer's music as if it were new and as if the recent criminal trial didn't happen. I guess great art and great music will endure despite the adversity of the artist. And did I mention just how diverse the crowd of onlookers were. Black, White, Hispanic, young, old, male and female. Way to go Mike in 2008!

On display at the time was one of the several DVD's that showcase Michael Jackson's greatest short films.

Source: carey2.blogspot.com/ / Billie Jean


New Thriller Live Cast Speaks. 05-12-'08

The three teenaged boys that have been cast to play young Michael Jackson in the new West End production of Thriller Live have spoken out about how excited they are to be playing their idol in the show that celebrates Jackson's career and features his hits.

Layton Williams from Bury, Sterling Williams from London and Kieran Alleyne from Leicester will play the pop superstar on stage. All of the boys are 13 years old.

Layton Williams, the most experienced of the three, was the first Black actor to play Billy Elliot. He had this to say about playing MJ:

I'm quite a big fan. I think he's just so good at what he does. He's really amazing. It will be quite hard to try to be him so I'll try to put a bit of myself into it....
I'm just going to have to do my best. I really like just getting on stage and, when I finish, for the audience to appreciate it and applaud you. It's a really good buzz. Working on stage is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Sterling Williams, who has played Simba in Lion King in the West End, said:

I love singing his [Jackson's] songs, so this is the perfect role for me."

Kieran Alleyne, the least experienced of the three, beat out 60 other hopefuls in open auditions to become one of the Michael Jacksons. He said:

I've always looked up to Michael Jackson. He has always been an idol to me and I've always been trying to follow in his footsteps and to get into a singing career. I'm really overwhelmed to be performing in a show which is a tribute to him."

Thriller Live has toured Britain but is coming to the West End for the first time. It previews at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue on 2 January and opens on 21 January. It is scheduled to run until 12 April.

Source: thisislondon.co.uk / Billie Jean


Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Museum NY To House MJ Memorabilia. 04-12-'08

The US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's primary location is in Cleveland (Ohio, USA), but recently another location opened up in New York, NY.

The Rock and Roll Annex Museum in New York showcases many interesting items throughout the history, of music. For example it features the jacket worn by Michael Jackson in the "We Are the World" video. Additionally, the museum has items from artists such as Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Prince and Elton John.

Location:
76 Mercer Street
New York, NY

Source: NJ.com / Billie Jean


Thriller Short Film. 02-12-'08

25 years ago, the Citizen Kane of the videos was born...

The Thriller short film premiered on December 2nd, 1983, one year after the release of the Thriller album. It created the genre of short film, within the popular entertainment industry. Instead of a classic music video, Michael produced a Zombie-Epic that had a price-tag of almost $1 million.
It went on to become the most played music video in MTV history, and the best selling music video of all time.

Source: Billie Jean


Akon Describes The Qualities Of Working With Michael. 01-12-'08

During a new interview with People.com, singer Akon talked about what it was like to meet and work with the King of Pop.

You did some work with Michael Jackson earlier in the year with 25th Anniversary of Thriller. How did you riff off each other musically?

The collaboration was incredible. From the first moment we actually met each other face-to-face it seemed like we had known each other for years. I was always a big fan, I knew everything about him. It was just astonishing to me that he knew a lot about me, and he was a fan of me as well. We clicked instantly.

What surprised you the most about him?

How humble and how smart he was. Sometimes you get a certain perception from how the media portrays him, but [working with him] was completely opposite. An artist of that caliber and as big as he is, you would think he would have certain qualities that you probably wouldn't like, such as being very arrogant or stuck up. With him, it was like he had never put out a record before – he still had that hunger.

Source: people.com / Billie Jean

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