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History / Today In History / January

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The Jackson 5 (1967)The Jackson 5ive's First Single 'Big Boy' Was Released. 31-01-'68

This was supposed to be the story of the child-prodigy Michael Jackson's first studio recording; the earliest known studio recording of Michael Jackson and his brothers, cut in Chicago in 1967, which had been lingering on a shelf for two and a half decades has been rescued from tape.

After school one afternoon in November 1967, Michael, 8, Marlon, 10, Jermaine, 12, Tito, 14, and Jackie, 16, piled into the family Volkswagen with Joseph and rode across the state line to Chicago's West Englewood neighborhood, parking in front of Sunny Sawyer's recording studio on West 69th.

In a single lengthy session the group recorded four songs, all of which Keith says were already in their repertoire. 'Big Boy' was by saxophonist Eddie Silvers, who at the time was playing in a group called the Soul Merchants and working as music director for Chicago R & B label One-derful Records. Its eventual B side, 'You've Changed'—the only Steeltown track the Jacksons would record again for Motown—is by Gary native Jerry Reese.

Big Boy SingleThe song was neither a critical nor commercial success, but that was the brothers' first record. From here, it seemed, anything might be possible. What a memorable moment it must have been for them, then, when the family gathered around the radio to hear the broadcast of that first recording for the first time. Michael recalled that as it played, they sat in the living room, stunned.

'Big Boy' was the first single ever released by The Jackson 5 on January 31st, 1968 (USA only), through Steeltown Records.

Gordon Keith — the owner of Steeltown Records signed the children to a limited record deal. Michael Jackson sang lead vocals on the track and the brothers with cousin Johnny produced much of the material themselves.

The single was initially hand-sold by Michael and his brothers, at the many gigs they played, and was picked up for national distribution by Atco, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, who pressed about 10 000 copies.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Is Presented with The video Pioneer Award At the American Music Awards. 30-01-'89

American Music Awards (30-01-1989)Eddie Murphy presents Michael with the Special Award Of Achievement at the 16th American Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Ca.

Michael was honored for his ground breaking artistry and technology in video, and for the record breaking success of his 'Bad' album and tour. Cashbox magazine awarded Michael the Video Pioneer Award in recognition of his excellence in video as captured in the Triumph video for 'Can You Feel It', 'Thriller', and 'Moonwalker'. The inscription on the Video Pioneer Award reads:

For his pioneering efforts in the field of music videos epitomized by 'The Triumph', a pre 1980's breakthrough in concept and special effects, and 'Thriller', an innovative combination of drama, music and dance. The Video Pioneer Award is given to Michael Jackson on the occasion of his new feature length anthology, 'Moonwalker' becoming the largest selling music home video of all time.

The second special award Michael received was an American Music Award of Achievement. Its inscription reads:
Because his album, 'Bad', is the first ever to generate five number one singles, because it has been a number one best seller for a record breaking twenty five countries around the world, and because it has been the largest international seller in each of the last two years, the American Music Award of Achievement is presented to Michael Jackson on January 30th, 1989.
Both of these special awards were presented to Michael by Eddie Murphy, at Michael's request.

Before introducing Michael, Murphy narrated a 14 minute tribute to Michael Jackson showcasing his international tour and recapping the 'Bad' album's five number one hit singles. Walking shyly toward center stage to gather his awards, the audience greeted Michael with deafening applause and a standing ovation. Michael was dressed in black and red, buckles, and no sunglasses.

As the applause subsided and Michael began to speak, his soft voice could barely be heard over the microphone, which was on a very low stand. He had to bend over and speak directly into the mike to be heard. Holding his awards, he asked Eddie to adjust the mike stand for him, "Could you lift that up please?" Eddie tried to adjust it but it wouldn't budge. "You do it" Eddie told Michael. Michael replied, "I can't, I need your help." It became a joke when Eddie told the audience what was happening. (Their conversation was barely audible.) "He said, 'Pull it up Eddie', like I was working for him! And do it! Yes Michael!" So, bent over, Michael spoke briefly as always:

I'd like to thank God, who makes all things possible. I'd like to thank my mother and father, Katherine and Joseph Jackson. I'd like to thank Berry Gordy, who gave me my first professional start in show business, the Epic family, Walter Yetnikoff, Larry Stessel, Glen Bundman, Frank Dileo, Quincy Jones, and Bruce Swedian. I love you. And the public. Thank you.
While he was very shy, Michael appeared to be enjoying himself and seemed to be genuinely honored with the awards, the tribute, and the overwhelming response from the audience.

Source: Billie Jean


The Jackson 5 Start Their One-Week Tour In Dakar, Senegal For Their First African Tour. 29-01-'74

On January 29th, 1974, the Jackson 5 boarded a plane headed for Dakar, Senegal, in the early evening hours.

They were scheduled to play their first concerts there and for the Jackson brothers, this would be their very first trip to the African continent. They landed in Dakar, Senegal, early the next morning, just before sunrise, with an entourage of about two-dozen associates and members of the press.

They were greeted by dignitaries, government officials, traditional dancers, and crowds of fans as they deplaned, and they were quickly led into a VIP lounge inside the airport for a quick press conference. After meeting with the press, they spent more time watching the dancers, and eventually joined them, trying to learn their steps.

They visit the humble dwelling places of some inhabitants there, and also pose for pictures with and sign autographs for them, among sightseeing and shopping experiences. They also hold a press conference with a Senegalese radio, and visit Goree Island.

Although the trip was billed as an "African Tour," in truth the Jackson 5 performed only three concerts, all in Dakar. Originally there had been talk of them traveling to Ghana, Zambia, and Ethiopia for some additional concerts, but the tour was cut short and they never made it past Senegal. Reports vary as to why the additional dates were cut. Some say it was due to "technicalities" and others say that it proved too hard for the Jackson brothers to adjust to the changes in food and water.

African Tour (29-01-1974)
The Jackson 5 arrive in Dakar (Senegal) for their first African tour. They hold a press conference with Senegalese radio. During their stay, they visit Goree Island and they shoot a film called Isomin Cross And Son which tells of a family crossing the in 1860 and the problems they encounter.

Instead of traveling elsewhere to perform, the Jackson family got the chance to explore Senegal a bit. They went to Joal, a traditional fishing village, shopped in the markets of Dakar for souvenirs, and traveled to Goree Island, the departure point for many African captives who had been sent to the United States as slaves in earlier centuries. According to all reports, the brothers were deeply affected by the visit to Goree, so much so that their second and third concerts were much less exuberant than their first one had been.

Over the next week we'll take a closer look at the Jackson 5's momentous trip to Africa by looking at the press coverage, photos, the documentary film that was made about their trip, and even a show-and-tell day they did after they returned to the U.S.

During their stay, they receive an award for the Organisation for African Unity and they visit Goree Island and they shoot a film called Isomin Cross And Son which tells of a family crossing the in 1860 and the problems they encounter.

Source: Billie Jean


'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


Michael And Lisa Marie Welcome King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV In Los Angeles. 20-01-'95

Michael and Lisa Marie welcome King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV, ruler of Sanwi, at Los Angeles airport on a 4 day visit.

King of Pop Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson played host to King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV, ruler of Sanwi on the Ivory Coast, during a break from his recording sessions in Los Angeles.

Smiling broadly and exuding a special joy, Jackson greeted the exalted ruler who had crowned him King of Sanwi three years ago when the "King of Pop, Rock and Soul" visited the West African nation, one of six countries he toured on a goodwill trip to Africa.

It was Black History Month in 1992 when Jackson was crowned King of Sanwi during impressive ceremonies held in the Village of Krindjabo, located near Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Called the "prodigal child of the Bible," the King of Pop was regal in bearing as the crown of gold was placed upon his head.

During the King's visit to Los Angeles, Jackson took pride in hosting King Ndoufou IV, the most important Akan ruler in the Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

Michael and Lisa Marie welcome King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV in Los Angeles (20-01-1995)
Michael and Lisa Marie Presley pose with King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV at a recording studio in Los Angeles, where Michael took a break from putting the last spin on his upcoming album.

Commenting briefly on the visit of the King who crowned him King of Sanwi, Jackson told:

"Michael Jackson was extremely pleased and delighted to host the King."

During the 17th and 18th centuries, four Agni clans crossed the Camoe River and established themselves at Krinjabo. The head of the first clan was immediately crowned King of Sanwi, because the Akan cannot conceive of human society without a King.

King Ndoufou is more than a symbol, he is the spirit of his people and the father of his subjects. His person is sacred and inviolate. The King identifies with his deceased ancestors. That is why, according to tradition, he is called "Nana," which means old wise man.

No matter what his actual age, the King is a sacred man and is called "Nana" by all of his subjects, even the elderly, because he is ageless and, therefore, the eldest.

While in the U.S., King Ndoufou and his representatives brought greetings from President Henri Konan Bedie and the people of the Ivory Coast. Ndoufou and his representatives made tentative plans to meet with U.S. businessmen to inform them of investment opportunities in the Ivory Coast. They also scheduled a meeting with Atty. Johnnie Cochran, the chief defense attorney for O.J. Simpson. Cochran is honorary consulate for the Ivory Coast.

Source: Billie Jean


Rock With You Single Cover'Rock With You' Hits #1 In The United States. 19-01-'80

'Rock With You', written by Rod Temperton, was released on November 3rd, 1979, as the second single from Michael Jackson’s fifth album, 'Off The Wall'. Temperton, formerly of the group Heatwave, also wrote Michael’s 1982 song 'Thriller'.

It reached number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. According to Billboard, the song was the fourth biggest single of 1980. It is also considered one of the last hits of the disco era. It was re-released as a single on February 27, 2006, as part of the 'Visionary: The Video Singles' box set.

A music video was released for the song. It features Michael in a sparkly sequined suit singing the song with a bright laser behind him. The video was directed by Bruce Gowers. The music video was included on the video albums: 'Video Greatest Hits' – 'HIStory', 'Number Ones' and 'Michael Jackson’s Vision'.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Sings 'Gone Too Soon' & 'Heal The World' At The 52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala. 19-01-'93

52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala (19-01-1993)Michael performs 'Gone To Soon' and 'Heal The World' on January 19th, 1993 at "An American Reunion" the 52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala held in Washington, DC.

He walked through the crowd to the stage dressed in black pants and a red military style shirt, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail. He first addressed the very soon to be new President on the need for continued and increased funding for AIDS research.

Before performing song 'Gone To Soon', in memory of his friend, late activist Ryan White – who passed on due to AIDS – he speaks on White and their friendship, his immune system malady and on the necessity of supporting AIDS cure research by the incoming presidential administration.

Michael then performed his anthem to his friend Ryan White, 'Gone Too Soon', his voice cracking with emotion at the last lines. Several children joined Michael on stage next for 'Heal The World', which he dedicated to "all the children of the world". Michael later joined a specially reunited Fleetwood Mac and several other celebrities to sing 'Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)'.

Source: Billie Jean


Party For Children At Neverland Ranch For MLK’s Birthday. 17-01-'94

On the weekend after Martin Luther King’s birthday, Michael holds a party at his Neverland Valley Ranch for over 100 underprivileged children, all of whom have a great time in the fantasy kingdom.

Michael spent Saturday mingling with the children, posing for photographs and signing autographs. The children watched the movie “Beethoven’s 2nd” in Michael’s theater and then visited his amusement park and zoo.

“This was a reward for them, and especially for the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., it is a very special occasion. These kids will never forget. We thank Michael for making this an even more memorable day,” said Chilton Alphonse, founder of South Central Los Angeles’ Community Youth Sports and Arts Foundation.

Fifty of the children came from Alphonse’s organization, and the other 50, from Second Baptist Church.

“Michael has been a friend for the past five or six years and he’s been very generous to us,” Alphonse said by telephone from Neverland. “You hear all these negative things and I don’t believe them. A man is innocent until proven guilty.”

Party For Children At Neverland Ranch For MLK’s Birthday (17-01-1994)
Michael Jackson enjoys a day with some children at Neverland Valley Ranch.

Source: Billie Jean


American Music Awards (16-01-1984)Michael Won Eight Awards At The American Music Awards. 16-01-'84

Today is the 30th anniversary of Michael winning an unprecedented eight awards at the 11th American Music Awards in 1984. It was broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, which he attended in the company of Brooke Shields. He was dressed for the occasion in a red ‘Sergeant Pepper’ military style jacket covered with red sequins, cropped tuxedo pants, black aviator glasses, and with a single black sequin glove.

Michael won:
Favourite Pop Album
Favourite Soul Album (‘Thriller’)
Favourite Pop Single (‘Billie Jean’)
Favourite Pop Video
Favourite Soul Video (‘Beat It’)
Favourite Pop/Rock Male Artist
Favourite Soul Male Vocalist
Special Award of Merit

At the age of only 25, Michael was the youngest recipient of the special Award of Merit for his lifetime career achievements. The award was presented to Michael by Diana Ross and by the previous year’s winner, Kenny Rogers. Barry Manilow also took part in the tribute, singing ‘Ben’ and a medley of Jackson 5 hits. The presentation featured video taped messages from Michael’s closest friends, including Liza Minnelli, Katherine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda, who had this to say:

“Michael, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve studied your tapes, trying to figure out what it is you do. I’ve decided you are a miracle. You have so much talent, the more you give of it, the more you seem to have. I’m so proud of you… and so proud to be your friend.”

On receiving the special American Music Award Of Merit from singer/actress and long-time friend, Diana Ross, he declares:

“Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m so deeply touched and deeply honoured to receive this wonderful – Gosh, wonderful award… I thank you, American public; I thank Berry Gordy of Motown, who has been such an important part of my career and life. I thank again my mother and father who brought me into the world – Joseph Jackson and Katherine Jackson. I thank all my brothers – Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy, who I started with… and still am with. I thank Susanne de Passe who has been such an important influence in my life and has taught me so much. Thank you, Susanne. Quincy Jones is a wonderful person, not only is he an incredible producer, he is a wonderful man, he is such a family person, and I love him and we have made history together and I’m thankful. I thank one of my favorite people in the whole entire world, Miss Diana Ross and… she’s been such a special friend to me and taught me so many incredible, important things… and I’m so honoured that she came here… I just hope I didn’t leave anybody out, I just – boy, the American public and I thank all the disc-jockeys and everybody, I love you so much and thank you.”

The show was viewed by over sixty million people and in the week following Michael’s swoop in capturing 39% of the evening’s awards, ‘Thriller’ sold a further one million copies in America.

Source: MJWN / Billie Jean


Michael Goes To Montreux (Switzerland) To Complete Work On The Album 'Blood On The Dance Floor'.
15-01-'97

Michael Goes To Montreux (Switzerland) To Complete Work On The Album 'Blood On The Dance Floor' (15-01-'97)Michael stayed two weeks in the Tower Suite at the Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland to complete work on his album 'Blood On The Dance Floor'.

Every day, he went to the Mountain Studios where he recorded the album. No way for him to pass by incognito, in his big limousine, surrounded by body guards!

The King of pop music liked Switzerland for having there all the calmness he needed for the recording of part of his album 'Blood On The Dance Floor'. The album was produced while Michael traveled the globe on his HIStory World Tour. Thus, the songs were produced in a variety of countries that included Sweden, Switzerland and Germany.

After a divorce and a re-marriage, Michael records 'Blood On The Dance Floor' in the Mountain Studios in Montreux. It was the calm of this city which decided Michael Jackson to come and work in Montreux. The news of Michael's presence in town was spread out very quickly, and fans from all over Europe came to Montreux: They tried to see him day and night, gathering at the entrance of Montreux Palace and desperately hoping for a photo or an autograph, or just to see him. But Michael often used hidden doors or accesses for employees and soon disappeared in a limousine with dark windows.

During his stay in Montreux, Michael Jackson wanted to acquire the house owned by the Chaplin family, former long-time residence of Charlie Chaplin, but his offer to buy the property was declined by the heirs of the famous artist.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Is Invited By The Al Gosaibi Family To Their Wedding Celebrations. 13-01-'06

Michael is invited by the Al Gosaibi family to their wedding celebrations and he surprises everyone by showing up at the marriage ceremony.

He watched the traditional Arabic wedding from the sidelines after politely declining to be seated nearer to the stage where the newly weds were seated and musicians performing.

The guests were urged not to photograph Michael. His appearances at various public gatherings are on the rise "as he feels closer to the people who have welcomed him graciously" following his acquittal in Santa Barbara last June. Only Lebanese superstar Ragheb Alama who was one of the lead singers at the ceremony had his picture taken with Jackson.

Michael, Grace & the kids have now moved into a mansion in Sanad, about 10km south of Manama. Michael first lived in a palace upon his arrival. Now, he has moved into a mansion in Sanad. Reports have Michael planning to move to yet another mansion, keeping the Sanad home for visiting relatives and friends. He wants his mansion to be by the sea, something that the Sanad residence does not offer.

Michael now wishes to lead a normal life, far from the eyes of the media that have followed him since his childhood. He does not want to be misquoted or falsely portrayed and he wants to make sure that his children are not under public pressure.

Michael reportedly told his entourage that he was feeling increasingly Bahraini, and will be consulting for AAJ Holdings, the company owned by businessman Ahmad Abu Bakr Jahahi. The company plans to set up an amusement park and an entertainment academy in Oman's Blue City.

Michael with Ragheb Alama by the Al Gosaibi family to their wedding celebrations (13-01-2006)
Michael Jackson with Lebanese pop star Ragheb Alama by the Al Gosaibi family to their wedding celebrations.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Gives His Final Interview To Martin Bashir In His Miami Hotel. 12-01-'03

Living With Michael Jackson (12-01-2003)Martin Bashir meets with Michael Jackson in his Miami Hotel for the final interview for 'Living with Michael Jackson' documentary.

When Bashir brings up the subject of his face, a visibly upset Jackson says that he has only had two operations on his nose in order to facilitate his singing, to which Bashir tries to ask how he looks so much different from when he was an adolescent. After the singer states that there is nothing wrong with plastic surgery, and that it was "not invented for Michael Jackson," Bashir comes to the conclusion that Jackson wanted to change his appearance as a result of his troubled youth and father's insults.

When he asks about a comment Jackson's son Prince made that "I haven't got a mother," Jackson tells him that Deborah Rowe bore his two children as a gift for him, because he wanted to be a father so badly. On the subject of Blanket's mother, Jackson contradicts his earlier statement that he had Blanket with a woman with whom he had a relationship by stating that Blanket's mother was a surrogate mother and that they didn't know each other.

Bashir also repeatedly questions Jackson why he invites children into his room. Jackson defended himself stating that such activity is natural when the children are of close friends or family, and that "many children," including the Culkin family children (including Macaulay and Kieran) have slept in the same bed as him. Jackson strongly denied that there was any sexual motivation for this. During these defensive comments he also stated that he would allow his children to stay with his friends including Barry Gibb, saying that they are "sweet people" and are not "Jack the Ripper". Due to the confidentiality agreement, he refuses to talk about the 1993 allegations, but he reveals that he paid the accuser a settlement, since he "didn't want to go through a long, drawn-out affair, like O.J."

The same day, he hears that Maurice Gibb has died from an heart attack.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Named Artist Of The Century At The American Music Awards. 09-01-'02

American Music Awards (09-01-2002)Pop superstar Michael Jackson was named the “Artist of the Century” on January 9th, 2002 during the 29th Annual American Music Awards.

The event took place at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles and was co-hosted by music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and MTV personality Jenny McCarthy.

Comedian Chris Tucker presented Michael Jackson with the award, which gave the legendary pop singer a grand total of 26 American Music Awards throughout his career.

But, the show was controversial, because Dick Clark, who produced the American Music Awards, wanted Michael Jackson to perform.

But then Grammy chief Michael Green had insisted that artists who had performed at the American Music Awards would not allow to be performed on the Grammy stage.

Jackson had originally agreed to take part in the AMA ceremonies, but backed out, allegedly because of what Clark claims is Greene’s policy that artists who appear on the AMA's are not allowed to participate in the Grammy's telecast. Clark specifically cited Jackson’s original change of plans in announcing his lawsuit. “Mr. Greene has caused me a lot of pain and a lot of stress,” he said at the time. “I’ve known Michael Jackson since he was a kid … To have another party interfere in that relationship makes me very, very angry.”

The dispute led to a $10 million lawsuit against the Grammy’s.

Other notables that were in attendance during 29th Annual American Music Awards included Master P, Lil Romeo, Nelly, Luther Vandross, Destiny’s Child, and Alicia Keys.

Source: Soul / Billboard / Billie Jean

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