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Home / This Week In History

'We Are The World' Was Recorded. 28-01-'85

On this day in 1985, 'We Are the World', a charity song for Africa, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, was recorded.

'We Are the World', written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, is one of the biggest charity songs in history. It was recorded by 47 predominantly American pop stars on Jan. 28th, 1985, at Kenny Rogers’s famous Lion Share Recording Studio.

The song, a collaboration which included vocals from Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and more, was initiated to raise funds for United Support of Artists for Africa (USA for Africa) to help famine-relief efforts in Ethiopia, which experienced unusual drought. The final studio session was epic because it was the first of its kind to incorporate such a large scale of diverse artists.

It was released on March 7th, 1985 and became the first certified multi-platinum song, receiving Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. Additionally, 'We Are The World' raised more than $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the U.S.

Lion Share Recording Studio (22-01-1985)
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie completed the lyrics and melody of 'We Are The World' within two and a half hours, one night before the song's first recording session.

Source: BET National News / Billie Jean


Pepsi Commercial (27-01-1984)Michael Jackson Is Burned Filming Pepsi Commercial. 27-01-84

Superstar singer Michael Jackson suffered second-degree burns on the scalp last night while filming a multi-million-dollar soft drink commercial featuring fireworks, which ignited his jacket and hair.

Jackson, 25, was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where a spokesman said Jackson was “fine” despite the burns. More than 50 fans were waiting outside the facility, and some of them broke into tears as Jackson was wheeled into the emergency room.

He was later transferred by ambulance to Brotman memorial Hospital Burn Center.

Witnesses reported that Jackson’s hair and jacket caught fire when he moved too close to a pyrotechnics display behind him while dancing on a tiered stage at the Shrine Auditorium to his hit single 'Billie Jean.'

“Something went wrong and it exploded and Michael’s hair caught on fire,” said Jackson spokesmen John Branca.

Pomade used in Jackson’s hair appeared to catch fire, said Angela Bennett, an extra who was backstage when the accident occurred. Jackson’s brothers, who were making the commercial with him, rushed to help smother the flames, she said.

“The flames shot extremely high,” Bennett said.

Virginia Watson, a casting agent, said Jackson appeared calm and smiling as he was taken out. “He handled it extremely well,” she said.

“He had something on his head, it wasn’t a bandage, but there was something wrapped around,” Paul Cottrell, a parking lot attendant, said. “He was in a chair and they wheeled him out.”

Jackson, who won seven American Music Awards and has been nominated for a record 12 Grammy's, was filming a series of Pepsi-Cola commercials to debut next month. Music industry officials said Jackson could earn as much as $10 million for the commercials.

The singer’s 'Thriller' album topped the charts last year, placing an unprecedented six singles — including 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It' — in the top 10 and spawning a spectacular video.

Jackson, who spent years with his brothers as the Jackson Five on the Motown label, stepped out on his own in 1980 with the album 'Off The Wall.' He now records with Columbia-Epic.

Source: Daily News / Billie Jean


Motown Café (26-01-1996)Michael And Karen Faye Have Dinner At The Motown Café. 26-01-'96

Pop superstar Michael Jackson came out of hiding last night, enjoying a sushi dinner and the company of a mystery blond in midtown (Karen Faye, his make up artist) just a week after his impending divorce was made public.

“I am having a great time,” Jackson said, his first public words since Lisa Marie Presley told him to beat it last week, ending a 19-month marriage that has often been described as a giant publicity stunt.

It was hard to tell whether the carefully choreographed public appearance at the Motown Café was meant for his personal enjoyment or to quell questions over his sexuality that have dogged him for the last several years.

No one could figure out who Jackson´s friend for the evening was but judging from their body language the pair seemed very well-acquainted, right down to their matching mirrored sunglasses, which never came off during the hour they spent together at the W. 57th St. spot.

The woman, who appeared to be in her late 20's or early 30's, did not answer when asked her name. Restaurant personnel said they did not know who she was.

The self-described King of Pop looked healthy, relaxed and true to character heavily made up when he entered the theme restaurant just after 10 p.m.

Rubbing shoulders with fans, tourists and executives from CBS Records, he was dressed casually in jeans and a red button down shirt. A light red lipstick and base makeup covered his face.

As the couple and an entourage of bodyguards entered through the cafe´s revolving doors, the crowd hushed, then stared and cheered while Jackson and his group mounted the stairs to an upstairs dining area.

The area where they ate was just behind a metal statue of the singer as a boy.“That´s 10” Jackson said when asked how old he was in the statue.

A crush of people clamored for a glimpse of the singer, who signed a few autographs. He spent several minutes holding 1-year-old Juelle Dixson, whose father, Julius, is a performer with the restaurant singing group, the Motown Moments.

“I am a big fan of his,” Dixson said. “It feels good when you are really a fan of someone´s. He is someone I really like.”

Jackson was equally impressed with Juelle. “She´s so beautiful,” he said.

His waitress brought out Evian water, orange juice and a specially prepared plate of sushi California roll, salmon and shrimp. Eating with their hands, the couple dunked the sushi in sauce, clinked their glasses and giggled.

After a few moments, Jackson called over the waitress, Andrea Whitaker.“He said, ´Can I request 'I´ll be There,'?” Whitaker said. “I said, ´You can request anything you want!´ ”.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Unveiling Painting 'The Book' By Brett Livingstone Strong. 26-01-'90

Michael attends the unveiling of a painting of himself titled 'The Book' made by Australian artist Brett Livingstone Strong at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

'The Book' is said to be the only portrait Michael personally sat for during his lifetime. The 40-inch by 50-inch portrait was unveiled in the presence of Mr. Hiromichi Saeki who paid $2,100,000 for the original, the most expensive portrait of a living person. Mr. Saeki was one of the most influential Japanese merchandisers and concert promoters of Michael Jackson. Michael is draped in a “Renaissance Effect” within this portrait and even deeper inside is standing, posing for Brett in a slightly earlier dimension of time.

Michael Jackson Unveiling Painting The Book By Brett Livingstone Strong (26-01-1990)
Michael Jackson attends the unveiling of a painting of himself titled The Book made by Australian artist Brett Livingstone Strong at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

'The Book' capture one of the most talented musicians in the world, painted by one of the most talented artists of our time, Brett-Livingstone Strong, hailed by the King of Pop as “A modern day Michelangelo”, in the ultimate expression of beauty – both musically and artistically, remembering Michael at the pinnacle of his career.

Whether by fate or fortune we have here two of the greatest artists of the 21st century both forever memorialized in their greatness, captured in a moment of life entitled “The Book” and hereinafter available for the enjoyment and appreciation of all future generations and patrons of the Arts. The mystique of this portrait draws you in. Take a closer look – it is a portrait within a portrait.

The portrait depicts the King of Pop as a contemporary Renaissance man, dressed in red velvet holding a journal of thoughts and sketches, in a fairy-tale-like setting, with a statue of Peter Pan and another painting of Michael, in the background. "We called it, 'The Book,'" Mr. Strong said. "What are you going to put in 'The Book' today, Michael?'" The backdrop is Neverland, with an image of Tinkerbell. The painting has touches of Vermeer, as that was one of Mr. Jackson's favorite painters, Mr. Strong said.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Receives Three Awards Including The First Ever International Artist Award At The American Music Awards. 25-01-'93

American Music Awards (25-01-1993)At the 20th American Music Awards ceremony held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Michael opens the ceremony with a performance of ‘Dangerous’. Michael wins two of his five nominations for Favourite Soul/R&B Single (‘Remember The Time’) and Favourite Pop/Rock Album (‘Dangerous’).

He came from back stage to accept the award for ‘Remember The Time’, having taken his hair down, and removing his tie. In accepting the award, he acknowledged the fans in the balcony:

“Thank you very much. I love you up there. I’d like to thank everyone at Sony Music, especially Mr. Morita, Mickey Schulhof, Tommy Mattola, Dave Glew, Bruce Swedian, Quincy Jones, Sandy Gallin, Jim Morey, and of course, all my fans. I love you.”

With three awards, he becomes the evening’s big winner as he accepts the first ever International Artist Award from Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth narrates a video tribute to Michael featuring footage from his videos and live performances from both the Bad and Dangerous tours. She then introduced a taped message from another of Michael’s friends and fans, Eddie Murphy.

Elizabeth Taylor then called Michael to the stage from his front row seat at the Shrine Auditorium. He had now changed into a black leather jacket and removed his sunglasses before going on stage.

To accept the award for his ‘Dangerous’ album, Michael, who had now removed the black leather jacket came from the wings and was brief in his acceptance:

“I really wasn’t expecting to win. Thank you again Teddy Riley, the public, I love you very much. Thank you.”

The programme is broadcast live by ABC-TV, with 20 million American households tuning in, a 32% share.

Source: Billie Jean


The Shooting Of The First Pepsi Commercial 'Street' Began. 24-01-'84

Michael & The Jacksons shoot a Pepsi commercial named Street directed by Bob Giraldi and featuring the group dancing in the street with a bunch of kids, including Alfonso Ribeiro & Siggy Jackson on a Pepsi version of 'Billie Jean'.

One of the children is dressed as Michael from his 'Beat It' video and is imitating moves when he moonwalks into the real thing. Young Alfonso Ribeiro looks absolutely astonished as he looks up into the eyes of the real Michael Jackson. The commercial ends with Alfonso and his friends joining Michael and the rest of the Jackson brothers in song and dance:

The US$ 5 million endorsement contract was signed on November 11th, 1983 between Michael Jackson, The Jacksons and Pepsi-Cola, involving sponsorship of the "Victory" Tour and two TV commercials.

Michael lent his music to 'Billie Jean' for use in the commercial, helped write the Pepsi lyrics, and performed the new jingle in the ad, but had it stated in his contract with Pepsi that he would not be filmed drinking, or even holding a bottle of Pepsi. It become a well known fact that Michael doesn't drink Pepsi. He has long been vegetarian and only eats and drinks natural foods. Bottled water, fruit juice, and carrot juice being among the few things he does drink.

Pepsi Commercial 'Street' (24-01-1984)
Michael & The Jacksons shoot a Pepsi commercial named Street directed by Bob Giraldi and featuring the group dancing in the street with a bunch of kids (including Alfonso Ribeiro & Siggy Jackson) on a Pepsi version of 'Billie Jean'.

Source: Billie Jean


'The Way You Make Me Feel' Went To No.1 On The US Singles Chart. 23-01-'88

The Way You Make Me Feel Single CoverThe King of Pop music, Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer-songwriter, dancer, businessman, and philanthropist. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

However on this day in music, Michael Jackson’s track 'The Way You Make Me Feel' went to No.1 on the US singles chart and hit No.3 in the UK.

The original track was released by Epic Records on November 21st, 1987. It was the third single from Jackson’s seventh studio album 'Bad'. Written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones (and co-produced by Jackson), the song is credited as being a pop and R&B song.

Aside from appearing on Jackson’s 'Bad' album, the song has also been featured on the first disc of Jackson’s compilation album 'HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I' in 1995, 'Number Ones' in 2003, 'The Ultimate Collection' in 2004, 'The Essential Michael Jackson' in 2005, 'Visionary: The Video Singles' in 2006 and 'This Is It' in 2009. 'The Way You Make Me Feel' has been covered by multiple recording artists since its release.

'The Way You Make Me Feel' generally charted within the top ten and top twenty positions on music charts worldwide. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart’s issue date of December 26, 1987. After charting within the top ten for five weeks, the song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 on the 23rd of January 1988. 'The Way You Make Me Feel' became the album’s third consecutive single to reach number one on the Hot 100. 'The Way You Make Me Feel' also charted on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Charts, peaking at number nine, and on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales Chart at the peak of number three. The song also charted at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Charts and Dance Music/Hot Club Play Singles Chart.

Source: MTV India / Billie Jean


Michael Attended A Performance 'Beyond Belief Show' Of Siegfried And Roy. 22-01-'88

Rehearsals for the Bad world tour's second leg took place at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida between January 22 – February 18, 1988.

Following Australia, the Bad world tour finally hit the U.S. For the U.S. and European dates, a whole new show was created. Earlier in January, Michael attended a performance 'Beyond Belief Show' of Siegfried and Roy at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Impressed by their show, Michael met German-bom magicians, after the show and spent the next day at their home. Together they worked on illusions to be included in Michael's new performances.

In return, Michael wrote 'The Mind Is The Magic', the theme song for Siegfried and Roy's performances at the Las Vegas mirage Hotel. A tape of Michael performing the song opens each of their shows.

'Beyond Belief Show' of Siegfried and Roy at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas - Backstage (22-01-1988)
Michael Jackson attended a performance 'Beyond Belief Show' of Siegfried and Roy at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Impressed by their show, Michael met German-bom magicians, after the show.

Source: Billie Jean


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