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History / Today In History / March

1

Capitol Hill Congress Meeting (31-03-2004)Michael Visits Members Of The Congress In Washington. 30/31-03-'04

Michael arrives in Washington D.C. to meet privately with several members of the US Congress in the office of Republican Chaka-Fattah, D-Pa. During their meeting they speak of fighting AIDS in Africa.

Michael reads a statement touching on his humanitarian efforts in the battle against AIDS. He says: “I know that many of you will continue to raise awareness and will continue to fight for funding in Africa. I want you to know I will do whatever I can to assist you in that fight.”

Fattah said during the meeting:
“We were happy to have a chance to spend some brief moments to talk to one of the leading celebrities in the world that has used their celebrity status to help other people, particularly … the millions of people on the continent of Africa who are suffering with the most devastating disease known to mankind.”

Michael also met for a second day with Washington legislators to continue his discussion on garnering more support for the fight against AIDS in Africa. A crowd of fans gather and voice their support for Michael as he enters a Capitol Hill office.

Source: MJWN / Billie Jean


Motown 25: Yesterday, Today And Forever TV Special Produced By Suzanne de Passe. 25-03-'83

Motown's 25th Anniversary - Rehearses (25-03-1983)'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It' were already on heavy MTV rotation when Michael agreed to appear alongside his brothers for Motown’s 25th anniversary television special, but only on condition that he also be allowed to perform 'Billie Jean' in a solo spot.

Produced by Suzanne DePasse – who had been present at the Jackson Five’s audition nearly fifteen years earlier – 'Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever' was taped at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on March 25, 1983 and broadcast nearly two months later on May 16th.

After Michael and his brothers – including Jermaine – performed a medley of their Motown hits, they left the stage while he grabbed a fedora hat while the opening notes to 'Billie Jean' brought the crowd to its feet. In what would become his defining moment in show business, he performed his “moonwalk” dance for the first time during the song’s guitar break before the final chorus.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Signs Billion-Dollar Deal. 20-03-'91

In New York City on March 20, 1991 the biggest deal in music history was announced between Michael and Sony, who bought CBS in 1988. The Japanese-owned multi-national corporation signs Michael to a 15 year, 6-album record and film contract.

Michael enters the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid entertainer in the music industry and up to today still holds his record. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the contract is worth US$ 890 million [US$ 1 billion is estimated].

Michael received an US$ 18 million cash advance for the forthcoming album, plus a $ 5 million bonus for this and each of his next 5 albums.

Michael, now the highest-paid entertainer in the music industry, receiving a royalty rate of 25% on each album sold. He is also CEO of his own record label, Nation Records [which was renamed to MJJ Productions later], for which he will receive US$ 1 million per annum. The lucrative deal is reported in the press as setting new standards for cost and scope.

Michael and Jon Peters (20-03-1991)
On this picture you see Michael Jackson and Jon Peters (Columbia Pictures) with whom Michael Jackson his new contract signed.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Finally Ready To Leave His Family’s Encino Home. 20-03-'88

Michael Jackson is on a 13-city concert tour, but when he comes home, it probably won't be just to Encino anymore.
He is buying a 2,700-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley for about $ 28 million and a small hotel nearby, for his entourage, for $ 5 million, say several real estate sources.

The pop star was looking at Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara but needed a more rural environment for his menagerie. At last count, he had monkeys, llamas, snakes, birds and just about every kind of farmyard animal except a cow at his 1-acre Encino compound, where he and his family have lived since the '60s.
They will have plenty of room to stretch on the remote Sycamore Valley Ranch, which is being sold by William Bone, developer of the PGA West resort in Palm Springs and scores of condos in the desert.

Bone bought the place, then known as the Zaca Laderas Ranch, in 1977 from banker Robert Easton.
Bone developed a large clubhouse at Sycamore Valley Ranch and apparently had plans to turn the property into a country club but changed his mind. The ranch has been on the market for at least a year.
Besides the clubhouse, the property has a huge house on a 32-acre home site and 50,000 oak trees.
Bone was asking $32 million, and turned down Jackson's original offer of $17 million. Escrow hasn't closed yet on the $28-million sale.

There is no news yet on whether Jackson will sell his Encino home, which he expanded in 1982. He moved the original 1,570-square-foot house to the rear of the site then for use as a recording studio and built an 11,500-square-foot house in front along with a four-car garage with 850 square feet of living space overhead.

Although Michael’s tour would keep him away from his new home for most of 1988, the purchase gave him time to refurbish it into a magical space, complete with amusement rides and a petting zoo. It was a deeply symbolic move for the 29-year-old man who saw himself as a “Peter Pan” figure, a committed champion for the happiness of children.

Jackson created a child-like fantasy world where he lived with Bubbles the chimpanzee, exotic snakes, fairground rides, a candy shop and a private railway.

Sycamore Valley Ranch (1988)

Sycamore Valley Ranch as it was presented in the real estate brochure from 1988.

Source: Billie Jean


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (19-03-2001)N'Sync inducted Michael In The Rock An Roll Hall Of Fame. 19-03-'01

Michael arrives at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Lance Bass of N’Sync, who had the honour of inducting Michael into the Hall of Fame, says: “Michael was always a man who inspired more questions than answers. Michael became the youngest inductee in the history of the Hall of Fame. In 1997, he also became the youngest artist to be inducted as part of a music group, namely the Jackson 5.”

Leaning in a cane Michael accepted his induction. He took the stage to one of the loudest, longest ovations of the evening and seemed genuinely moved, both by ‘N Sync’s speech and by the audience’s reception. During his acceptance speech Michael thanked his parents, his brothers and sisters, and three of his biggest influences:

“…..Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy. I just have to say thank you. He was so important in our lives, and he is really my real inspiration, and I owe him so much. Quincy Jones, thank you. We talk about a ‘Thriller,’ it’s Quincy. You’re incredible. I love you, Quincy. He is the man. The glamorous and talented and beautiful Diana Ross, who is my second mother–I thank you. […] To me, the gift of music has been a great blessing, from the time I was a child.”

And referring to a broken foot he suffered in a fall at his Neverland home lately he apologized: “As you can see, there’s not going to be any moonwalking tonight because I broke my foot dancing — I fell down the stairs in California.”

Source: MJWN / Billie Jean


More Than 650 Tickets Sold Per Minute For The 'This Is It' Tour! 13-03-'09

It is official – the hottest tickets on the planet, and the fastest selling tickets in London ever …..are completely sold out.

750,000 fans have bought tickets to see the undisputed King Of Pop live at the O2 Arena in days of frantic fan frenzy and saturated media coverage around the globe.

The amazing news of Michael Jackson’s return to the stage caused tickets to sell at an average rate of 40,000 an hour, over 650 tickets per minute – an astonishing 11 per second!

This Is It Ticket
750,000 fans have bought tickets to see the undisputed King Of Pop live at the O2 Arena in days of frantic fan frenzy and saturated media coverage around the globe.

Randy Phillips told Sky News that he spoke with Michael after the concerts sold out in record time, and "he was crying. I could hear it in his voice -- he was choked up." Phillips informed BBC Radio 1 that "Michael's already pretty much put together a list of the dancers he wants. Michael's very engaged now." Organizers have confirmed that, despite site crashes and delays due to demand, more than a million tickets across all 50 dates sold out.

Three quarters of a million fans clearly feel the same way and their attention will now turn to the actual concerts, perhaps the most anticipated in history. Up there alongside Elvis Presley in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson is about to write a new chapter in entertainment folklore.

Source: Pinboard / Billie Jean


The First Annual Rock 'N' Rol Sports Classics (10-03-1978)Rock & Roll Hall Sports Classic Event. 10-03-'78

On March 10th, 1978– Stars from the music world compete against each other in two teams, the East featuring the Jackson family (Michael, Jackie, Marlon, Randy, LaToya and Janet) and the West featuring Lionel Richie amongst others.

Michael and jackie took part in the 100 metres. LaToya competed in the women's equivalent, Randy swims, LaToya takes part in a cycling event, Janet and LaToya compete in the 60 yard dash, Marlon and Jackie play basketball, everyone competes in the Marathon Walk.

Their team will finally win 332 points, against 265 points for the yellow team.

Presented by Alex Karras and Ed McMahon, the events take place on the grounds of the University of California at Irvine with the cheerleaders of the Dallas Cow Boys.

Michael gives a short interview in which he explains that he is not a great athlete but that he enjoyed participating in these events.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Is Awarded An Honorary Doctorate. 10-03-'88

On March 10th, 1988 – Michael was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary Doctorate) aka The Frederick D. Patterson Award, the UNCF’s highest honor from UNCF member institution Fisk University by President Dr. Henry Ponder during the UNCF 44th anniversary dinner in New York. Michael’s close friend Quincy Jones delivered the tribute to his friend and Whitney Houston sang at the event.

Michael Jackson received an honorary doctor of Humane Letters degree from the president of Fisk University, Henry Ponder, at the 44th Annual United Negro College Fund Awards held at the Sheraton Hotel, NY.

Michael, who was the highest contributor for UNC Fund, also received their highest honor — The Federick D. Patterson Award for his continued efforts towards alleviating world hunger, helping terminally ill children and for his inspirational example to the youth of America.

Approximately 2000 people attended the dinner, among them; Frank Dileo, John Branca, Walter Yetnikoff, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Yoko Ono, Whitney Houston and Michael's mom & dad.

Accepting the honor Dr. Michael Jackson says:

"I would like to say this about the United Negro College Fund. An education opens a person's mind to the entire world, and there is nothing more important than to make sure everyone has the opportunity for an education. To want to learn, to have the capacity to learn, and not to be able to, is a tragedy.

I am honored to be associated with an evening that says this will never happen. Thank you. I love you all."

United Negro College Fund (10-03-1988)
Michael was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary Doctorate) aka The Frederick D. Patterson Award, the UNCF’s highest honor from UNCF member institution Fisk University by President Dr. Henry Ponder during the UNCF 44th anniversary dinner in New York.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Had Three Nominations And Received The Humanitarian Of The Year Award At The Soul Train Awards. 09-03-'93

Soul Train Awards (09-03-1993)Despite having sprained his ankle the day before during dance rehearsals, he attended the awards presentation and he performed 'Remember The Time' from a wheelchair as scheduled.

Michael's first appearance during the telecast came when he was named the 'Humanitarian of the Year'. The award was presented by Michael's friend, Eddie Murphy.

As the cheers from the crowd threatened to drown Murphy out, he cut his remarks short and said, "Hey, just show the film, huh!" A short film tribute to Michael, narrated by Eddie Murphy, outlined a few of Michael's countless efforts to help children and make the world a better place. Michael, who was on crutches, was helped to the stage from his front row seat by Bill Bray. He was dressed in black pants and a black jacket with belts across his chest, a red armband, and one shoe.

After blowing kisses to the wildly cheering crowd, he apologized for his injury, and Murphy insisted he tell how it happened, "You can't just come out like that and not tell us what happened." Michael replied, "You really want to know? I was dancing and I went into a spin and I twisted my ankle very badly. But I wanted to come here to thank everyone." After poking fun at Murphy, "Eddie, I heard you have a new album out, that you're the one whose 'dangerous'.

Michael's next award was for Best R&B Soul Single, Male for 'Remember The Time'. Michael was wheeled out from backstage in a wheelchair by Bill Bray, then he stood with the aid of a crutch to accept the award.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Brings Joy To The “Heart” Of Heart Patient Teen Donna Ashlock. 08-03-'86

Donna then 14 years old needed a heart transplant to live. One that retrieved Donna from the verge of death and ennobled the death of her donor, his boyfriend 15-year-old Felipe Garza Jr. Felipe, who’d been experiencing severe headaches, collapsed with a brain hemorrhage that proved fatal. Some days earlier, he told his family he had had a premonition. He was going to die and he would like the girl he loved, Donna Ashlock, who he had heard needed a donor, to have his heart.

After the transplant, Donna gets a phone call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she is a big fan of his. Michael invites her to his home in Encino as soon as she is feeling better. This visit takes place on March 8th 1984. Donna stays for dinner and watches a movie together with Michael. Donna’s body rejects the heart transplant and needed another. On March 7, 1989 Donna died at the age of 17 .The Ashlocks received a phone call and condolences from Michael Jackson last week on their loss and they were gratful for this comforting call from the pop star.

“I had more fun with my Idol Michael Jackson then even meeting the President of the United States…” Donna Ashlock.

Michael and Donna Ashlock (08-03-1986)
Michael Jackson poses with 14-year-old fan Donna Ashlock and his pet chimpanzee Bubbles at the Hayvenhurst family home. Donna was recently the recipient of a heart transplant from high school friend Felipe Garza, who died of a brain haemorrhage.

Source: Billie Jean


'We Are The World' Of USA For Africa With Michael Jackson Is Released By CBS. 07-03-'85

We Are The World Single Cover'We Are The World' was released on March 7, 1985 in both a 7" and 12" format, and reached the top of the sales charts within a month, half the average time it usually takes for a single to do so.

Although Michael was present throughout the evening’s events, he recorded his vocal parts earlier in the evening, before the other group members arrived. Consequently, his appearance in the song’s video stands out for being the only instance where a singer is not surrounded by his or her peers. Even among the world’s biggest stars, Michael’s star power was at least equal to the rest of them combined.

The song quickly became an anthem for the 80's, and along with the Band-Aid single, inspired a wave of musical charity events, from Live Aid on July 17, 1985 (which, ironically, Michael did not participate in, due to being tied up in filming Captain EO) to Hands Across America on May 25, 1986.

The music-charity movement grew to become far greater than the sum of its parts, but Michael’s crucial contribution guaranteed him a special place in a mass movement that came to define the 1980's pop culture almost as much as 'Thriller' had two years earlier.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Announces 'Curtain Call' Concerts. 05-03-'09

Reclusive pop icon Michael Jackson will perform 10 concerts in London in July beginning on July 8 during a short press conference at the O2 Arena. The event named 'This Is It' .

"These will be my final shows performing in London. 'This Is It' really means this is it," said Jackson, wearing a trademark black military-style jacket with sparkling embroidery and black sunglasses. Jackson blew kisses and saluted his fans as they chanted "Michael! Michael!"

"I'll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. I'll see you in July and I love you so much." Watch Michael Jackson's announcement.

The star was held up in traffic as he traveled from his central London hotel to the venue on a peninsula of the River Thames in southeast London. An exclusive video that was to be shown before his arrival on stage then failed to play on cue.

Jackson Announcement in London (05-03-2009)
Michael Jackson appeared in front of fans and media at the venue in London to announce the 'This Is It' shows.

In front of over 300 reporters, and thousands of screaming fans, Jackson announced his 'This Is It' Tour. In his statement, he announced that the ten performances (which later jumped to fifty), would be the singer’s final performances. Public interest was immediate, as over a million pre-sale tickets were sold in 24 hours, and sales of Jackson’s albums also increased with 'Thriller' and 'Off The Wall' both having the highest percentage at 200%.

Preparations for the concerts began in early June, and Jackson rehearsed for the numbers that would be performed in the shows including 'Smooth Criminal', 'Wanna Be Startin’ Something', 'Thriller', and 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. But unfortunately, 'This Is It' would never get off the ground. On June 25th, Jackson died from cardiac arrest at the age of 50. The first planned show would have been underway eighteen days later, and the O2 arena would soon begin issuing refunds for tickets buyers. While 'This Is It' would be the concert tour it would never be, it would live on in another realm.

Source: Billie Jean


Michael Attends little Craig Fleming’s Funeral. 03-03-'95

Michael Jackson privately attend the funeral service for little Craig Fleming, a two year old boy whose mother threw him over the bridge in California along with his four year old brother Michael before jumping to her own planned death. The mother Donna, aged 24 and four year old survived the incident, although the child, Michael was badly battered, requiring medical aid.

According to J. Randy Taraborrelli, "Michael was in the recording studio finishing up his current album (HIStory) when one of his aide came to his and told him what had happened. According to eye witnesses in the studio, Michael broke down and wept openly and was so torn out about the tragedy."

Michael Jackson later dedicated the song 'Childhood' on the 'HIStory' album to the memory of Craig Fleming with these words: 'Childhood' is dedicated to Little Craig Fleming and his surviving brother Michael, for whom special scholarship fund was been established to ensure that his childhood usher in a future of all possibilities.

Michael attends little Craig Fleming’s funeral (03-03-1995)
Michael Jackson turns up unannounced at the funeral of Craig Fleming.

Source: Billie Jean


Grammy Awards (02-03-1988)Grammy Awards '88. 02-03-'88

Michael performed two songs ('The Way You Make Me Feel' and 'Man In The Mirror') at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards on March 2nd, 1988. Despite bringing the crowd to its feet with his spirited performance, Michael lost the Record of the Year award (his only nomination, for 'Man In The Mirror') to Bobby McFerrin for 'Don’t Worry, Be Happy'.

Michael's performance on 30th Annual Grammy Awards was his first TV performance since 1983's Motown 25 special 5 years earlier.

Suddenly. the lights dimmed and a silhouette appeared from behind a screen. Michael stood, poised very still, with a hat perched on his head, down over his eyes. He slowly glided from one position to another as the screen slowly rose revealing Michael wearing short black pants, well above his ankles, and a blue shirt with a white t-shirt underneath it. He also had a white strip of fabric tied around his waist, and one around his wrist, looking he just stepped from the set of the video for 'The Way You Make Me Feel'.

He descended a small staircase and sang very slowly the opening lines of 'The Way You Make Me Feel', putting out an imaginary cigarette on the floor. In a special cameo appearance, Tatiana crossed the stage in front of him. As the music assumed its usual uptempo beat, Michael tossed the hat, pulled his shirt tails out and was joined by four dancers. The dazzling choreography borrowed from the song's video, and showcased Michael's new variation on the moonwalk, gliding around in a circle.

After the performance of an abbreviated 'The Way You Make Me Feel', the dancers left the stage to Michael. After a pause for applause, he began 'Man In The Mirror'. He was joined on stage by the New Hope Baptist Church Choir, all in blue gowns. Michael's other background singers included Siedah Garrett and Andre Crouch, who at one point went out to Michael to help him up from his knees and wipe his forehead, a gesture reminiscent of James Brown's performances. Michael gave an outstanding performance, falling to his knees at several points and giving full emotion to the song's moving lyrics.

Michael was given a standing ovation for his performance that evening, but no Grammy...

Despite his shutout, Michael won over the audience with a performance recalling his 1983 Motown special stunner.

His minimal showing in the statuette sweepstakes hardly diminished his uncontested talents.

Source: Billie Jean


Diana Ross TV Special (02-03-1981)Diana Ross TV Special. 02-03-'81

Michael, now a man at twenty-one, teamed up with his old partner Diana Ross again in 1981, appearing as a guest on her CBS-TV special, called Diana (not to be confused with Diana!, another CBS Ross special where Michael made his TV debut in 1971), which was broadcast at 10 p.m. on March 2, 1981.

Michael displays his true vocal talent during a solo performance of 'Rock With You', he also duets with Diana on 'Ease On Down The Road', 'Rock With You' as well as a brief chat. Michael joins Diana on stage during one of her concerts singing 'Upside Down' Live in Los Angeles.

The performances of 'Rock With You' and 'Ease On Down The Road' both solo and as a duets with Diana Ross were recorded at the old KTTV Studios.

Source: Billie Jean

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