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History / Today In History / December

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Michael Attends James Brown's Funerals Held At The James Brown Arena in Augusta (Georgia).
30-12-'06

Michael, along with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson & Raymone attends the public funeral of James Brown on December 30th, 2006 held at the James Brown arena in Augusta (Georgia) and makes a short speech.

Brown died of heart failure at an Atlanta hospital on Christmas Day at age 73. More than 8,500 fans and admirers of James Brown filled the James Brown Arena in the singer’s hometown of Augusta, GA, for a final joyful and sometimes tearful farewell to the soul legend.

A tearful Michael Jackson along with the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and comedian-activist Dick Gregory were among those who took turns at the podium to celebrate the life and legacy of the one and only-Godfather of Soul.

Michael Jackson said: “James Brown is my greatest inspiration. Ever since I was a small child, no more than like 6 years old, my mother would wake me, no matter what time it was, if I was sleeping, no matter what I was doing, to watch the television to see the master at work.”

The King of Pop continued: “And when I saw him move, I was mesmerized. I’ve never seen a performer perform like James Brown. And right then and there, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life because of James Brown. I love you … James Brown, I shall miss you and I love you so much. And thank you for everything. God bless you.”

The singer’s body was placed in a mausoleum on the property of his Beech Island, SC, home.

Michael at the funeral of James Brown (30-12-2006)
Michael Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rev. Jesse Jackson attend the funeral service for singer James Brown at the James Brown arena in Augusta, Georgia.

Source: Billie Jean


60 Minutes Ed Bradley's Interview with Michael Jackson (28-12-2003)60 Minutes Ed Bradley's Interview With Michael Jackson. 25-12-'03

Michael gives an interview to Ed Bradley (shown on CBS’s 60 minutes 3 days later) in the presence of Mark Geragos, Leonard Muhammad & Grace Rwaramba.

For most of his life, Michael Jackson has been in the spotlight, most recently because of what has been described as bizarre behavior bizarre behavior that has now led him to be charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy. If convicted, he could spend 20 years in prison.

Now out on bail and awaiting trial, tonight Michael Jackson speaks out for the first time about his arrest, his accuser and the charges that have, for the moment, made his life a shambles.

We sat down with Michael Jackson on Christmas Day at a hotel in Los Angeles one of several cities where he has been in seclusion since authorities in Santa Barbara officially charged him with seven counts of sexual molestation and two counts of using an "intoxicating agent" reported to be alcohol to seduce the boy.

Source: CBS News / Billie Jean


Michael And The Jackson 5 Make Their Appearance At Motown Records' Christmas Party Held At The Pacific Townclub. 23-12-'72

In Los Angeles, California, the 13-year old Michael and the Jackson 5, dressed as Santa's, make their appearance at Motown Records' Christmas party held at the Pacific Townclub. J5 and Mary Wilson of the Supremes offer presents - on behalf of their record company, Motown - to 700 (according to some sources, others reporting a number of 400) underprivileged children.

Motown Records Christmas Party (23-12-1972)
Lots of little tots were super-delighted to receive gifts and love from not one but five Santa's at Motown Records' Christmas Party. The Santa's' identities were kept secret until they'd finished distributing presents to the youngsters.

In an article, titled "The Jackson 5 Really Changed!", the writer points out that "the first time the J5 did a benefit at a children’s hospital, Michael came home and cried all night at the memory of all those sick children lying in beds, some not even able to move their hands to clap. That is when he became actively involved in communicating with these kids. He corresponds with youngsters his own age in hospital all over the country. These are not letters dictated to a secretary by a superstar, but letters written in Michael’s own hand during breaks in recording or rehearsing or even in school."

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Makes A Surprise Visit On Stage At KIIS-FM, Jingle Ball Concert. 19-12-'01

KIIS-FM, Jingle Ball (19-12-2001)Michael Jackson makes a surprise visit on stage at KIIS-FM, Jingle Ball concert in Staples Center, Los Angeles, California.

There was the requisite weird moment during a brief "special appearance" by Michael Jackson, that beloved mystery man and so-called King of Pop, who was handed an expensive-looking glass trophy.

Suddenly, people who had been missing from their seats for nearly all of Wednesday night's Jingle Ball concert at the Staples Center appeared from out of nowhere, tickets in hand, to claim their rightful vantage point. The arena bristled with the kind of energy that only the King of Pop could inspire.

Radio host Rick Dees of the Top 40 mainstay KIIS-FM (102.7) and basketball legend Magic Johnson presented the King of Pop with the KIIS-FM Los Angeles Legend Award to celebrate his contribution to the music industry. Michael's appearance was brief but he did say these few words,

"To the public, to the fans, I love you from the bottom of my heart. Merry Christmas!"

Sugar Ray, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Craig David, Lifehouse, Five for Fighting and LFO are among the bands featured at the sold-out KIIS-FM Jingle Ball.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Appears On Stage At The Miracle On 34th Street. 19-12-'00

Michael appears on stage at the ‘Miracle On 34th Street’ charity concert organised by radio station KTU 103.5 FM at Madison Square Gardens in New York and sends thousands of concertgoers into hysterics.

As part of the grand finale, all performers lined up across the stage and the orchestra started The Jacksons' hit 'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)'.

Michael came out from the wings to wild applause and cheering. Unfortunately, for the crowd, he didn't perform, telling the audience that he had laryngitis, but he did wish everyone happy holidays.

Surprise presenter Whitney Houston jumped up and down and hugged Michael.

Before he left the stage, he promised the packed house, "The best is yet to come!"

The Charity concert feat. performances by Whitney Houston, Marc Anthony, Destiny's Child, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Brian McKnight, Melanie C, 98 Degrees, Lara Fabian, Gloria Gaynor, Deniece Williams, Jon Secada...Toni Braxton served as emcee for the event.

Miracle On 34th Street (19-12-2000)
Michael Jackson appears with Whitney Houston on stage at the 'Miracle On 34th Street' charity concert organised by radio station KTU 103.5 FM at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Source: Billie Jean


Motown Releases The First Album Of The Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. 18-12-'69

Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 Album CoverThe album 'Diana Ross Presents The Jackosn 5' featured 12 songs, and only single was 'I Want You Back'. The album was a successful debut worldwide, charting at number 5 in the US pop charts, in february 1970, and #1 in the R&B chart, number 16 in the UK and staying in the charts for four weeks. It sells more 600000 copies in the United States, an exceptional number for a first LP.

The majority of the album was produced by Bobby Taylor, true discoverer of the group, and the Corporation™ in 1968 in Chicago. The Corporation™ would work on The Jackson 5’s next seven albums for Motown. During spring and summer 1969, the latter chose to make them sing soul music standards, in order to coach them, but also to prove to the Motown big boss, Berry Gordy, their capacities.

So, besides the anthem 'I Want You Back', produced by The Corporation (Gordy, Perren, Mizell, Richards), the album contains several covers from the Detroit’s company : The Four Top’s 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love', Stevie Wonder’s 'My Cherie Amour', The Temptations’ '(I Know) I’m Losing You', a wonderful treatment of Smokey Robinson’s 'Who’s Lovin’ You', but also a Walt Disney Them, in album’s opening, 'Zip A Dee Doo Dah', and Sly & the Family Stone’s 'Stand'!. The album also includes one of their debut Steeltown songs, 'You’ve Changed'.

All instrumentation was made before the 5 brothers stepped in the studio, to the great displeasure of Tito and Jermaine, who didn’t play guitar and bass. When, in 1976, Michael was asked why this LP was called 'Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5', he responds : “That’s it, Diana didn’t discovered us, but it was made to believe it. As she presented us to the public, it’s not really a lie”.

In order to promote the album, the Jackson 5 made their second important tv appearance, in the famous Ed Sullivan Show, with the well advised eye of Diana Ross, from that time, a name forever associated with the Jackson 5.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Open The Gates Of Neverland To Over 200 Children For The Christmas Party. 17-12-'04

On December 17th, 2004 Michael open the gates of Neverland to over 200 children, inviting them for a holiday party, to enjoy a day at his fairy-tale ranch; to play on the amusement park rides and miniature train ride, see its zoo, and watch movies.

Dressed in an impeccable black suit with swirling white embroidery at the shoulders (and the ubiquitous umbrella), Michael personally welcomed the children home, basking in their adoration, he greeted them saying: "I and my family are wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful, Happy New Year!"

Neverland Christmas Party (17-12-2004)
Michael Jackson invited 200 children to enjoy the amusement park for the Christmas Party held at Neverland Ranch.

For many children it was a dream come true when they met Michael Jackson. Some of the enthusiastic statements heard from the smiling faces of the children, ages 3 years to 17 years, sounded as follows:

"This has made our Christmas."

“This is a dream come true.”

"To us, Michael Jackson is bigger than Santa Claus."

“Never in our wildest imaginations did we think that we would get a chance to say hello to Michael Jackson.”

A note just to put things into perspective...
This happened during pre-trial and just two weeks earlier the Santa Barbara Police had come back for a second search of Neverland and asked Michael for a saliva sample for DNA testing.

Source: Billie Jean


Destiny Album CoverThe Album 'Destiny' Of The Jacksons Is Released By Epic. 17-12-'78

The Jacksons released their third album on the Epic label, 'Destiny', on December 17th, 1978. Having parted ways with the Gamble & Huff production team (1977’s 'Goin’ Places' was a poor seller), Michael and his brothers had more creative control than ever.

'Destiny' album eventually peaked at #11 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and #3 on the Billboard Black Albums chart and went on to platinum status cementing it as the first RIAA-certified platinum seller by the Jacksons as most of their Motown recordings were uncertifiable despite their huge success on the charts, and over 2 million copies worldwide.

A party was held to celebrate the album’s success and to present the group with a platinum copy of 'Destiny'. Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley declared “Jacksons Day” and a celebration was held in a bank vault specially equipped with a dance floor at the City National Bank of Beverly Hills, Michael’s date for the occasion was Tatum O’Neal, his first real love, as Michael says, “after Diana.”

All of the songs on 'Destiny', with the exception of one, was written by the Jacksons, or by Michael and Randy. Michael and Randy wrote together most often because they were the only two brothers still living at home. The only song on the album that was not written by the Jacksons was the first single, 'Blame It On The Boogie', which was co-written by Michael Jackson. This Michael Jackson however, is white and from England. Despite its catchy disco beat and lyrics, 'Blame It On The Boogie' reached only a disappointing #54 on the pop singles chart. The single did however, reach #3 on the black singles chart.

The most successful single from 'Destiny' was the 2nd release, 'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground', co-written by Michael and Randy, became a signature tune of the disco age. This infectious dance tune peaked at #7 on the pop singles chart and #3 on the black singles chart. Michael, in a rare interview for a radio program, recalled writing the song with Randy. “Randy was going around the house humming a tune and I liked it. I asked him what it was and he said, ‘It’s nothing.’ I said, ‘No, it’s something.’” Michael went on to write the melody and lyrics for 'Shake Tour Body'. “I don’t know where it came from. God, I say.”

“Through the ages, the peacock has been honoured and praised for its attractive, illustrious beauty. In all the bird family, the peacock is the only species that integrates all colours into one, and displays this radiance of fire only when in love. We like the peacock, try to integrate all races into one, through the love and power of music.” [from dedication also included on 'Triumph' written by Michael and Jackie Jackson for Peacock Productions].

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' Album Has Sold 30 Million Copies In The United States. 16-12-'15

Thriller Album 30 Million CopiesMichael Jackson's 'Thriller' is still scaring up sales and giving the King of Pop's legacy a new milestone.

The album has sold 30 million copies in the United States, making Jackson the first artist to attain 30-time multiplatinum status, the Recording Industry Association of America and Jackson's estate announced Wednesday (December 16).

The album has proved even more popular overseas, with a total of 100 million copies sold worldwide since its 1982 release. It includes some of Jackson's most recognizable hits, including 'Beat It', ''Billie Jean', 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and the title track, which inspired one of the most famous music videos of all time.

"'Thriller' continues to be the yardstick against which all other albums are measured," said John Branca, co-executor of Jackson's estate.

"What an exceptional achievement and testament to 'Thriller's' enduring spot in our hearts and musical history," RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman wrote in a statement. The group monitors music sales and bestows gold status on albums that have sold 500,000 copies and platinum status if they reach 1 million sales.

Jackson's music surged in popularity after his unexpected death in June 2009 at age 50. His estate has released new music, the film 'This is It' that features footage of Jackson's final rehearsals for his comeback concerts and a pair of Cirque du Soleil shows.

Source: AP / Billie Jean


The Ed Sullivan Show (14-12-1969)The Jackson 5 First Appearance On The Ed Sullivan Show. 14-12-'69

Four days before the release of their debut album 'Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, the brothers made a huge splash with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on December 14th, 1969.

Once again, they brought the house down, starting with 'Stand' and 'Who’s Lovin’ You', and then closing the deal with 'I Want You Back', Michael charming the country decked out in a funky purple fedora.

The Ed Sullivan Show was broadcast via live television from the CBS-TV Studio 50 in New York City.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Make A Donation To The Brotman Medical Center. 13-12-'84

Michael make a donation to the Brotman Medical Center which renamed its burn ward in his honor at the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. Michael visits the burn victims at the ward, him having been admitted there previously for head injuries, derived from a stage pyrotechnics incident during filming the commercial for Pepsi along with his brothers.

The Michael Jackson Burn Center (13-12-1984)
Michael Jackson make a donation to the Brotman Medical Center which renamed its burn ward in his honor Center in Culver City, California.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Met Ayana Takada Backstage, She Was The 4 Millionth Fan To Attend The Bad Tour. 11-12-'88

Bad Tour - Backstage (11-12-1988)Michael perform third of 9 dates at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo during the Japanese leg of Bad tour.

At one of these last concerts in Japan, Michael met backstage with two young fans and their parents. 9 year old Ayana Takada was the 4 millionth fan to attend the Bad tour. Michael met with her and her brother Taisuke and presented her with a certificate to commemorate the now record breaking attendance figure. Over 855,000 people saw the show, the most ever attended for that country.

Michael greets 4 millionth fan.
Ayana Takada, a 9-year-old who says she's been listening to the music of Michael Jackson as long as she can remember, was selected as the 4 millionth person to attend a concert of Jackson's world tour.
Jackson, who opened the last leg of his world tour in Tokyo, brought the girl on stage during his performance and presented her with a certificate commemorating the event.

The Bad tour had played to the largest audience ever, by the time he winds up his 12-nation tour, the rock star is expected to have performed before a record 4.4 million fans, according Jackson's tour organizers.
Jackson, 30, embarked on his first international solo tour in Japan in September 1987, playing before sold-out crowds in 14 concerts.

Source: Billie Jean


HBO Special Rehearsal (06-12-1995)Michael Jackson Collapses On A Manhattan Theatre Stage. 06-12-'95

It was on December 6th, 1995 the king of Pop collapsed while rehearsing on a Manhattan theatre stage, casting uncertainty over plans for a highly publicized national cable television special to be telecast on Sunday. Tests showed that the entertainer was suffering from low blood pressure.

Mr. Jackson, 37, was admitted overnight to Beth Israel Medical Center North at 170 East End Avenue on the Upper East Side, where he was taken after being stricken at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th Street, just before 5 P.M. He had been rehearsing for the Home Box Office special, which HBO officials say they hope will be watched by 250 million people worldwide.

Nancy Lindeman, a hospital spokeswoman, said that Mr. Jackson was in stable condition. His blood pressure was found to be an abnormally low 70 over 40 by an Emergency Medical Service crew that arrived at the theatre four minutes after the collapse, said John Hanchar, an E.M.S. spokesman.

Mr. Hanchar said a security guard at the theater had called E.M.S. Mr. Jackson was awake when the emergency crew arrived. He was given oxygen and was intravenously given two containers of water laced with salt and other minerals to aid his circulation, Mr. Hanchar said Quentin Schaffer, an HBO vice president for media relations, issued a brief statement that evening, saying, “Michael is stabilized.” He added that rehearsals were continuing last night, when Mr. Jackson was not scheduled to be rehearsing anyway.

Mr. Schaffer said the entertainer’s personal doctor was being flown in from California — a sign of concern not only for Mr. Jackson’s well-being but also for the huge sums of money that could be at stake.

Michael Leaves The Beth Israel Medical Center (06-12-1995)The HBO special is to be taped at the theatre tomorrow and Saturday. Mr. Schaffer and others at HBO acknowledged that the status of the Sunday telecast was uncertain. “The concern right now is his health,” Mr. Schaffer said.

Mr. Jackson was scheduled to receive an award last night at the Billboard Music Awards, which also took place in New York City.

HBO representatives declined to say how much they had spent on preparations for the concert, which have included renting the theatre for two weeks. But they said they have had high hopes for the event, titled “One Night Only,” which was to be Mr. Jackson’s first in New York in eight years.

For that matter, Mr. Jackson himself could have a lot at stake. His latest album, 'HIStory,' has languished on the charts, ranking No. 55 after 24 weeks, according to Soundscan, a company that monitors retail sales of recorded music. If the HBO concert were a success, Mr. Jackson would no doubt hope for a carry-over effect on his album sales.

Kevin Barwick, an E.M.S. technician who went to the theatre after the singer collapsed, said, “We treated him as if he was anybody else.” He and a fellow technician, La-Shunn Knight, said the entertainer was lying on his side, clad in jeans and a T-shirt, and looking lethargic.

David Bookstaver, an E.M.S. spokesman, said the ambulance was planning to take Mr. Jackson to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, but at the request of Mr. Jackson’s entourage, took him to the Upper East Side hospital. Patients are allowed to choose their destination if the trip would require 10 minutes or less travel time than for E.M.S.’s preferred location.

Colin Carew, a dancer not associated with the show, said colleagues participating in the production at the Beacon had told him that Mr. Jackson seemed exhausted from rehearsals. “They said he was rehearsing and he collapsed,” Mr. Carew said. “He’s been rehearsing since this morning. They asked him if he wanted to take a break, and he had said no.”

Linda Wolff, the owner of Joe’s Boutique, a store next to the theatre, said she had picked up the sounds of Mr. Jackson’s rehearsals all week through the walls. Just before his collapse yesterday, she said, “He was doing his song ‘Black or White,’ and then it just stopped.”

Mr. Jackson’s on-stage idiosyncrasies have included a white glove. Off stage, fans said they had seen him wearing a surgical mask recently while taking the short trek from his trailer to a side entrance to the theatre.

Heaters had even been placed along the path between the stage door and his trailer, a theatre guard told students at the nearby American Musical and Dramatic Academy. The guard said no one wanted Mr. Jackson to catch a cold.

News of his illness brought a crowd of onlookers — fans, journalists, and the merely curious — to the theatre. Several police cars soon arrived to keep order while the E.M.S. workers were inside.

Source: MTV.In / Billie Jean


The 14 Minutes Short Film Of 'Thriller' Is Premiered On MTV. 02-12-'83

The short film and single 'Thriller', featuring Vincent Price, and written by Rod Temperton, is released on December 2, 1983. It is a horror story, the victim being a girl (played by Ola Ray in the video) which is reassured by Jackson that she only had a nightmare by waking her up, and that in the midst of that terror she felt, although on waking his set partner, he turns at the camera, revealing a smile and wear wolf eyes. This represents the clear possibility and belief that monsters (evil-mindedness) can lurk inside of real people as well.

Having already set the bar high with the album’s first two videos, 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It', the third one had to somehow take things further. Director John Landis, director of the 1981 horror comedy American Werewolf in London, was brought in to direct a mini-feature, a video that would take the format further than merely serving as a visual backdrop for a three-minute pop song.

Running almost fourteen minutes, the 'Thriller' video employed horror flick cliches (it was filmed during Halloween season 1983), Michael was transformed into a supernatural ghoul disguised as a seemingly hapless high school boyfriend, who torments his date (played by Ola Ray) by using his uncanny ability to get a pack of corpse zombies to execute spectacularly synchronized dance routines.

The fact that the video had its debut just over a year after the album was first released was a reflection of the album’s enduring popularity and still-mounting sales figures. A stunning finale to the pop sensation of 1983, let alone the century, it also marked a peak and turning point, a period that gradually came to haunt Michael for being a standard too high for even him to repeat.

Thriller Video Clip (02-12-1983)
The world première of the video clip took place on December 2nd, 1983 on MTV.

For the 7th and final single from 'Thriller', Michael went all out to create his most elaborate video to date. Costing $1 million to produce, it was the most expensive video ever. It was also the longest video, running 13 minutes, always being broadcast with an opening disclaimer and closing credits.

After seeing the film, An American Werewolf in London, Michael decided he wanted that film's director, John Landis, to direct the 'Thriller' video. Rick Baker, who did the makeup for An American Werewolf in London, was chosen to do the makeup for 'Thriller', transforming Michael into a werewolf right on camera. Michael's co-star was Ola Ray.

The story for the 'Thriller' video was written by John Landis and Michael Jackson. Running out of gas on their date, Michael starts to walk Ola home. After telling her, "I'm not like other guys", he transforms into a werewolf in front of her eyes. He chases her through the woods when suddenly the scene switches to Michael and his date watching the scene in a movie theater. Ola, too scared to watch, leaves the theater with Michael following her out. On their way home, they find themselves surrounded by dead, or rather undead, zombies. Michael becomes one of them and joins them in one of his most dazzling dance routines ever.

Michael Jackson made history and forever changed MTV! 'Thriller' was the first music video produced completely and entirely to be a short film.

Source: Billie Jean


The Single 'Gone Too Soon' Of Michael Jackson Is Released By Epic. 01-11-'93

Gone Too Soon Single Cover'Gone Too Soon' was released as the ninth and final single from the 'Dangerous' album on World AIDS Day of 1993.

'Gone Too Soon' was dedicated to the memory of Jackson’s friend Ryan White, a teenager from Kokomo, Indiana who came to national attention, after being expelled from his school for having HIV/AIDS, written and composed by Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan, produced by Jackson, and co-produced by Bruce Swedien.

The song became a moderate chart success in several countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK. The song was not released in the US, but became a hit in Africa, where it charted at number 3. “Gone Too Soon” was not a significant critical success, as it received mixed reviews from music critics.

'Gone Too Soon' was promoted with a music video directed by Bill DiCicco, which showed footage of Jackson and White together, as well as scenes from the latter’s funeral. A live performance by Jackson at Bill Clinton’s inaugural celebration also served as a promotional platform, for both the song and AIDS-related funding. 'Gone Too Soon' later received more exposure, following the deaths of both Diana, Princess of Wales and Jackson himself.

Source: Billie Jean

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