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History / Today In History / April

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‘Beat It’ Stays At Number One For Three Weeks On The US Singles Chart. 30-04-'83

Beat It Single Cover‘Beat it’ was known best for its thumping beats and Michael’s groovy dance moves. However, on this day in music, his track started a three week run at No.1 on the U.S. singles and solo chart. Here’s a little more information about the track.

The track was originally written and performed by Michael himself and produced by Quincy Jones. It is the third single from the singer’s sixth solo album, 'Thriller'. Eddie Van Halen played the song’s distinctive overdriven guitar solo, but was prevented by his record label from appearing in the music video. He did appear on stage with Jackson in Dallas during the Jackson brothers “Victory Tour.” Following the successful chart performances of the 'Thriller' singles 'The Girl Is Mine' and 'Billie Jean', 'Beat It' was released on the 3rd of February in 1983 as the album’s third single.

The song was also promoted with a short film that featured Jackson bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance. It is one of the artist’s most recognizable tracks.

Because the track is such a great sound, it received the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, and not to forget, two American Music Awards. It was later inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame. 'Beat It' (along with the song’s music video) propelled 'Thriller' into becoming the best-selling album of all time. The single was certified platinum in the United States in 1989. Rolling Stone placed 'Beat It' on the 344th spot of its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” 'Beat It' was also ranked number 81 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.”

Source: MTV India / Billie Jean


Michael Performs At A Fund-Raiser At "Apollo Theater" In Harlem, New York. 24-04-'02

Michael Jackson lit up the stage at Harlem’s "Apollo Theatre" in Harlem, New York for the "Democratic National Committee", to launch a campaign aimed at persuading United States citizens to register and where nearly 3 million dollars are collected for the voting registration.

Jackson performs 'Dangerous', 'Black Or White' and 'Heal The World' (joined by Diana Ross) at the said event called "A Night At The Apollo", the superstar sharing the stage with former president Bill Clinton and singers Tony Bennett and K. D. Lang.The money would be used for the then new "Every Vote Counts" campaign, the committee said. The 1'400 audience members paid up to 5,000 dollars each to see the array of stars.

Jackson’s performance from the event is one of the most sought after in the fan community due to it’s rarity.

For many years there has been only one video available – a short clip showcasing a portion of Jackson’s performance of 'Dangerous'.

A Night At The Apollo (24-04-2002)
Michael Jackson performed 'Dangerous' at the 50th Anniversary of 'American Bandstand' in Pasadena, California.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Attends The Special Waxwork Of His Likeness At The Grevin Museum In Paris, France. 20-04-'97

Michael arrives in Paris, France at the Grevin Wax Museum for the inauguration of his wax figure there.

A huge legion of fans welcome the singer, that the Grands Boulevards had to be closed off by the police, in collaboration with the Grevin Museum. After greeting the excited crowd and signing autographs to fans for over 10 minutes, Jackson and his entourage enter the Museum. French mime, Marcel Marceau makes a surprise appearance at the unveiling of Jackson’s wax figure and performs a pantomime act for the entertainer.

He imprints his hands in clay, as well as offers one of his 'HIStory' triple platinum record to the Museum. On exiting the building, Jackson once again greets his many admirers and signs autographs for more than 15 minutes. Melissa, a young girl brought by he parents beyond the safety barriers, runs to him happily and hands him a photo to be autographed.

He dedicates the photo to the girl and she runs off, only to return to him three more times, Jackson eventually taking her in his arms and waiting for her parents to take a picture. He also acknowledges a fan in wheelchair, bends down to her level and signs an autograph, after which reaches out to kiss her both cheeks.

Grevin Museum in Paris (20-04-1997)
Michael Jackson attends the special waxwork of his likeness at the Grevin Museum in Paris, France.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael And Lisa Marie Welcome 46 Children From 17 Countries At Neverland. 18-04-'95

On the 18th of April 1995, Michael & Lisa Marie representing his 'Heal the World Foundation' and welcome 46 youngsters from 17 countries to Neverland Valley.
The children gathered at Neverland for the World Congress of Children, a three-day seminar to discuss drug abuse, homelessness, increasing violence, AIDS, and child abuse.

The Heal the World/World Children's Congress youth ambassadors would later present the findings of the World Children's Congress to the World Summit of Children during the United Nations' 50th Anniversary celebration in San Francisco, CA, and meet with U.N. Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and several U.N. ambassadors.

World Children's Congress, Neverland (18-04-1995)
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie representing his 'Heal The World Foundation' and welcome 46 youngsters from 17 countries to Neverland Valley.

Source: Billie Jean


‘We Are The World’ Tops Hot 100. 13-04-'85

On April 13th, 1985, the superstar-spangled single, released on Columbia Records, topped the Hot 100 in just its fourth week, becoming the chart’s fastest-flying No. 1 in nine years (since Elton John’s 'Island Girl' also needed just four frames to breeze to the summit). It additionally ruled Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Adult Contemporary and Dance Singles Sales charts and dented Mainstream Rock Songs and Hot Country Songs.

As impressive as its chart performances were, “World” has also helped raise more than $100 million to fight famine. Nearly three decades later, the USA for Africa foundation continues to raise funds and awareness for multiple African causes.

On Dec. 20, 1984, Harry Belafonte placed a call to nonprofit consultant/music manager Ken Kragen in hopes of staging a concert to raise funds to fight hunger in Africa – specifically Ethiopia, where famine killed nearly 1 million in 1983-84. Kragen, who managed Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers at the time, thought that a supergroup charity single would make more of an impact.

Kragen initially planned to recruit a dozen artists for the song, but industry response was so enthusiastic (seemingly inspired by the success of the then-current 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?,' a similar charity single by British and Irish stars that would soon hit No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100) that 50 artists ended up in the group, dubbed USA for Africa (with the “USA” officially short for United Support of Artists). Richie and Michael Jackson wrote the song, producer Quincy Jones assembled the artists at Hollywood’s A&M Studios in early 1985, and 'We Are the World' was born.

We Are The World
The World première of the video clip took place on March 08, 1985. When 45 of the biggest names in American popular music got together to record a song to benefit the suffering millions in Africa and America.
'We Are The World' is more than a moving collection of words, pictures and music -- it is a living piece of history.

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


Family And Famous Pay Final Respects To Ryan White. 11-04-'90

Ryan White lived five years longer than predicted but died on April 8th, 1990, one month before his high school graduation.

With the pomp and circumstance usually reserved for state funerals, the rich and famous joined in saying goodbye to Ryan White, who fought prejudice against AIDS sufferers during his long battle with the disease.

The funeral, attended by 1,500 people and broadcast yesterday live on CNN, showed how the articulate, poised 18-year old had touched the nation's heart with his pleas for understanding.

First lady Barbara Bush led the ceremony, also attended by pop stars Michael Jackson and Elton John.
The pallbearers included talk show host Phil Donahue, John and Los Angeles Raiders star Howie Long.
White was buried in his favorite clothes: blue jeans, a red shirt, blue jeans jacket and sunglasses. He had told his mother, "I just want to be comfortable," before he died.

White, who got AIDS in 1984 from a blood transfusion to treat his hemophilia, gained national attention when he and his mother fought attempts by frightened parents to keep him from attending public school in his hometown, Kokomo. He later won a court battle and began attending school in another town in 1987.

About 300 of White's schoolmates at Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia attended the funeral. The school's choir sang 'That's What Friends Are For'.

Elton John, football star Howie Long and television talk show host, Phil Donahue. Elton John performs 'Skyline Pigeon' at the funeral and also trains the Hamilton Heights High School choir to sing with him.

Ryan White Funeral (11-04-1990)
Michael Jackson attends Ryan White’s funeral service in Indiana along with 1500 persons including Barbara Bush, Elton John & Ryan’s mother Jeanne.

Source: The Free Lance-Star / Billie Jean


David Smithee is invited to visit Michael Jackson in his home in Encino (09-04-1984)Michael Welcomes 14 Year Old David Smithee To His Home. 09-04-'84

In April 1984, at the request of the Brass Ring Society Association, Michael agreed to fulfill the wish of a boy of 14, David Smithee, cystic fibrosis and end stage of the disease.

Michael invited him to come to his house in Encino.

The visit was part of a one-week trip in California, organized by the association, during which the boy Tulsa (Oklahoma), accompanied by his mother Karen, was able to visit Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Marineland watch a game of basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.

David had expressed the wish to meet Michael Jackson but he got better, he spent the afternoon with him.

David watched a movie in the private cinema Michael Hayvenhurst, they played video games and even Michael taught him the moonwalk.

"I made two video game matches with him and I beat him twice," said David.

Karen, the boy's mother tells People magazine. "Michael met us in the living room, he was so shy that he could not look at us" Then the Karen left alone. Michael took the boy to the kitchen for breakfast and in the yard to meet Mr. Tibbs, the ram, and Louis, the Iama. then the staff of Michael filmed an interview with David. "David felt like a star, "says Karen.

To top the visit, Michael gave the boy the red leather jacket he wore in the video 'Beat It' and sequined glove he had worn at the American Music Awards, where he won eight awards.
"First he put me the jacket he wore with the M in the 'Thriller' video. He abducted me and put me that of the video 'Beat It'. Then he said, "you have a choice".

The boy proudly reported to his mother that Michael had also told him about the glove, "This glove has a special magic. I never let anyone else wear "

On the flight back to Tulsa, his mother remembers that he was wearing the jacket and glove. "He was in heaven," she said. "He was sitting there with Michael's jacket, happier than I had ever seen."

Tired from the trip, David returned to the hospital a week after returning home. At the hospital, he showed visitors and staff jacket, glove, autograph and pictures of him with Michael.

He unfortunately died the following month, in May 1984.

Source: Billie Jean


Capital Children Museum - Entertainer Of The Decade. 05-04-'90

In 1989 the Capital Children's Museum honoured Michael with the 'Best Of Washington Humanitarian Award'.

On April 4th, 1990 Michael paid a visit to the Capital Children's Museum in Washington DC. He was shown around by Executive Director Ann Lewin. Michael was accompanied by a group of children and spent time trying out the exhibits.

On April 5th, 1990 President Bush invited Michael to the White House to present him with the 'Entertainer of the Decade Award' from the Capital Children Museum.

President Bush tells the gathered press that Michael did what he called 'Points of Light' good work of humanitarian issues.

In the evening Michael was invited to the Friends of the capital Children's Museum fund raiser at the Merrywood Estate in McClean. The guests pay $5,000 for tickets to the exclusive collar and tie event at the historic Merrywood Estate in McLean.

Capital Children Museum - Entertainer Of The Decade (05-04-1990)
Michael Jackson meets with President Bush at the White House Rose Garden ceremony to be honoured as 'Entertainer Of The Decade' by the Capital Children’s Museum.

Source: Billie Jean

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Updated: 19/08/2015 9:45 PM

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