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Home / News Archive / News January 2008

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MJFC Italy'Thriller 25TH' Official Party - Italy. 31-01-'08

Sony BMG Italy, in cooperation with Teamworld and MJFC-Italy, invites you to the 'Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition' official launch party which will be held at the Piper Club in Rome (Italy) on Saturday, February 9, 2008.

Navi, the world's #1 MJ impersonator, will be the special performer of the evening. After entertaining audiences worldwide and mesmerizing Michael Jackson himself by dancing several times in his presence, Navi is now ready to rock Rome and the Italian fans after two years from his last show in our country!

Don't miss the chance of celebrating 'Thriller' and the innovative genius of Michael Jackson with the most "thrilling" Italian party of the year!

Source: MJFC / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson And His Children Visit Ronn Lucas Comedy Show. 30-01-'08

On Tuesday afternoon (January 29), Michael Jackson and his children attended the Ronn Lucas family comedy/ventriloquist show at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. At least one paparazzi agency attempted to photograph Michael Jackson as he left the show, but they were prohibited from doing so by a bodyguard.

Ronn Lucas has been dubbed "the world’s best ventriloquist" by printed media and over the years he has appeared on a variety of television specials, including a repeat annual appearance on Jerry Lewis' MDA Telethon.

Ronn Lucas Show in Las Vegas (29-01-2008)
Michael Jackson attends the Ronn Lucas show with his chidren at Luxor Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Source: LVRJ / Billie Jean


'Thriller Live' On The Tube. 28-01-'08

Today the biggest selling album of all time went underground when London commuters were taken by storm with a filmed performance of the famous 'Thriller' dance on the London district line tube.

Already an instant hit on YouTube, the video shows passengers looking flabbergasted as the impromptu performance by fellow commuters kicks off. One viewer said: ‘This is amazing!!! Slick as hell. I love the people who pretend they’re not interested.’ Another Internet watcher said: ‘The polite applause at the end is the best bit – very British.’

The video has been picked up across the world with the Metro paper running a huge feature together with TV coverage on ITV London Tonight. This viral has clearly captured the imagination of the London commuters with a serious debate across blogs, websites & YouTube about this dance extravaganza.

The dance was performed by professional dancers from 'Thriller Live' which is a full budget mega-show celebrating the music of the World’s Greatest Entertainer. Kicking off its UK tour on March 27th, the dance crew got together with Sony BMG to plan the 25th anniversary of the release of 'Thriller' and thought it would be fun to perform the 'Thriller' dance in various locations around London.

The first “tube” video has been hugely popular…. Where might they appear next?

 

Source: MJWN / YouTube / Billie Jean


'The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am' & Wanna Be Startin' Somethin 2008 with Akon'. 28-01-'08

'The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am' has entered the Hot Canadian Digital Singles Charts this week (02-02-2008) as a new entry at #61.

'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 with Akon' featuring Michael Jackson and Akon has entered the US Billboard Pop 100 Airplay Charts this week as a new entry at #47.

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's Super Bowl Comeback. 28-01-'08

Jackson wants to kick off a 'Thriller' comeback on the Super Bowl stage, The Post has learned.

As part of a marketing plan for the 25th anniversary of the album 'Thriller', a TV spot for SoBe Life Water, a vitamin-enhanced beverage from PepsiCo, will air during the big game next Sunday (February 3) with a 'Thriller' theme, according to documents.

An internal memo from Jackson's former label Sony, written by marketing director Andrew Feigenbaum, prominently mentions the TV spot as "confirmed."

PepsiCo has refused to acknowledge collaborating with The Gloved One on the super-secret project. There was no immediate comment from a Jackson spokeswoman.

The week of Feb. 8 will deliver what the internal memo describes as a "major TV, radio, online and outdoor advertising campaign."

It's likely the covers of the anniversary edition of the album - called 'Thriller 25' - which feature photographs of a much younger Jackson with a much darker complexion and a different facial structure, will be seen on billboards around the country.

The official Jackson Web site has been completely redone to resemble a one-stop shop for all things Jackson. Links to the social-networking Web sites MySpace and Face book are new. Lucrative ring tones have been created for all of the songs from the original album as well as for all the remixes and previously unreleased tracks.

There are also plans under way for Jackson to appear at the Grammy Awards on Feb.10 with young hip-hop artists Fergie, will.i.am and Akon, who also accompany him on remixed or new versions of 'Thriller' album tracks.
Blockbuster 'Beat It' will now feature Fergie, while Akon joins 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and will.i.am provides vocals for 'P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)' and 'The Girl is Mine'.

Meanwhile, the classic 'The Girl is Mine', which featured Paul McCartney, has been completely re-recorded, erasing all traces of the former Beatle.

Next month's Black Entertainment Television Honours program is set to include a tribute to Jackson.

Jackson is scheduled to appear at both events, but not perform.

Jackson has spent the last year bumming around Las Vegas after a year and a half of globetrotting - including stays in Europe and the Middle East, sleeping on the couches of rich pals in the wake of beating kiddie-sex charges in California.

While no specific figures were mentioned, it's clear that the 'Thriller' campaign is a multimillion-dollar effort and that the Sony-designed p.r. blitz could be a major boost to Jackson's flagging career. Ironically, the record company dumped the star in 2006.

He hasn't released an original album since 'HIStory' in 1995 and hasn't toured since October 1997.

Michael Jackson comeback attempt:

The Gloved One is trying to revive his flagging career with the release of a 25th anniversary 'Thriller' edition and a flurry of high-profile appearances.

* 'Thriller'-themed Super Bowl soft-drink commercial

* Re-mixed songs on 'Thriller 25' with vocals by hip-hop artists Fergie, Akon and will.i.am

* New track based on 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

* Erased any trace of Paul McCartney vocals on 'The Girl Is Mine'

* Album will include never-released 1982 tune, 'For All Time'

* Grammy Awards appearance scheduled

* BET will host special honouring him

* Launching major TV, radio, online and outdoor ad campaign around Feb. 8

* Negotiating ring tone and other download deals with Sprint and other carriers

Source: NY Post / Billie Jean


'The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am' Climbs On UK Charts. 28-01-'08

'The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am' made a big jump on the official UK Singles Charts this week. After entering the charts at #78 last week it climbed to #44 this week (week of January 28, 2008).

Source: UK Charts / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson’s NRJ Video Message. 27-01-'08

Here is the Michael Jackson’s video message to NRJ Music in France:

The show was broadcast on TF1 in France on Saturday 26th, the appearance had been organised by NRJ and Sony to coincide with the release of 'Thriller 25'.

Michael Jackson ultimately decided to give a videotaped award acceptance speech instead. Wearing his trademark dark shades and dressed in black, Michael Jackson thanked the fans for their continued support, reflected on the "mind blowing" success that 'Thriller' has had throughout the past 25 years, and reassured the audience that "there is still much more to come from Michael Jackson."

 

Source: YouTube / Billie Jean


Thriller 25MTV Italy To Celebrate 'Thriller 25'. 27-01-'08

MTV Italy joins celebrations for the 'Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition'.
Contests:
On TRL there will be a contest, starting January 22 until January 31, 2008, on TRL.
Contest is intended for all viewers of TRL who:

Must own the 'Thriller' album.
Must own Michael Jackson memorabilia like t-shirts, concerts’ tickets, etc…to be taken into consideration. The most prestigious ones will increase the possibility to win the contest.
Must be able to faithfully reproduce a Michael Jackson move.
Participation in the competition will be via e-mail. Competitors must write an e-mail stating why they fulfil the conditions set out above, as well as highlight the reasons they should be preferred over other competitors.

The winner and a companion will fly to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony and walk on the red carpet immediately before the show. Everything will be filmed and broadcast later on TRL. An I-Pod limited edition containing 'Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition' in digital format will be consolation prizes awarded in dates subsequent to February 1.

From February 4-8, 2008, TRL will give away 10 T-shirts, posters, magnets, and mouse pads promoting 'Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition'.

Special Programming:

MTV Italy and MTV Gold will host a special programming dedication to the King of Pop: 'Live In Bucharest' (1992) followed by 'Ghosts'. MTV Gold (channel 705 of SKy) will honour Michael Jackson as 'Artist Of The Week' from March 10-14 at 2.30 pm and 10.30 pm and March 16 at 8 am.
MTV' series 'The Most Icon' will devote an episode to Michael Jackson.
And MTV.IT will do its part with specials and exclusives.

Source: King Of Pop FC / Billie Jean


Michael JacksonMichael Jackson's US Sales 2007. 25-01-'08

Sales figures for Michael Jackson related products in the USA for the year 2007:

Number Ones: 190,885 (+26%)
Thriller: 128,935 (+86%)
Number Ones (DVD): 79,335 (-34%)
The Essential Michael Jackson: 74,670 (+12%)
Off The Wall: 43,470 (+38%)
Live In Bucharest (DVD): 36,815 (-44.5%)
Greatest Hits: HIStory, Vol. 1: 28,330 (-18.5%)
Greatest Hits; HIStory (DVD): 15,780 (+6.5%)
HIStory On Film - Vol. 2 (DVD): 10,095 (-7%)
Bad: 9,765 (-10%)
Dangerous: 9,130 (+7.5%)
Ultimate Collection: 8,295 (-34%)
Invincible: 5,630 (-21%)
HIStory: Past, Present And Future: 3,415 (-2.5%)
Dangerous - The Short Films (DVD): 2,315 (-6%)
Blood On The Dance Floor: 1,475 (-5.5%)

Source: King Of Pop FC / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson To Receive NRJ Award In France. 23-01-'08

According to various French sources Michael Jackson had agreed to attend the NRJ Music Awards on Saturday (Jan 26).

The show will broadcast on TF1 in France, the appearance had been organised by NRJ and Sony to coincide with the release of 'Thriller 25'.

It's still not certain whether or not Michael Jackson will attend.

Source: NRJ Music Awards / Billie Jean


Johnny DeppJohnny Depp Would Play Michael In A Film. 23-01-'08

Johnny Depp has told Bang Showbiz in an interview that he would be prepared to play Michael in a movie or TV film if the opportunity arose.

Depp told Bang Showbiz: “I have heard that I based Willy Wonka on Michael Jackson before, but no, that was not my plan, I wish I had thought of that though.”

His most famous role is of course for playing Captain Jack Sparrow in the 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' trilogy but one of the most memorable for Michael’s fans was when he acted as J. M. Barrie in 'Finding Neverland'.

Source: AZ Central / Billie Jean


Thriller 25'Thriller' Phenomenon. 21-01-'08

With the 25th Anniversary album of 'Thriller' just around the corner, renowned Michael Jackson author Chris Cadman, has released a new website dedicated to 'Thriller', which is probably the only site on the internet you’ll find with so much research and archives from that era under one roof!

You can find exclusive archives displaying all the news, reviews, advertisements and stories from 1982-1984 and spin offs Michael was involved with from 1982-1985. The information also includes sleeves from around the world, worldwide book releases and front covers of magazines that included Michael. Chris also has all the pictures too!

If your background knowledge of the 'Thriller' era isn’t up to scratch, learn more with the complete discography from the UK and USA, 'Thrillers' worldwide chart performance, merchandise available from the time and you can even read articles from 1982-1985, each scanned and in text form.

Source: Thriller Phenomenon / Billie Jean


Beat It Single Cover24 Hours Of 'Beat It'. 21-01-'08

WJPZ-FM, a student-run, Top-40 radio station at Syracuse University, is changing formats to a rhythm-and-blues-oriented format. And they used Michael Jackson to mark the occasion.

The station played the song 'Beat It' continuously from midnight Sunday (January 20) until midnight Monday as a PR stunt.

This prompted dozens of puzzled listeners to call the station at SU's Watson Hall to find out what was wrong, according to Lauren Levine, the station's public relations director.

Afterwards, the song was replaced with a recording of a heartbeat, which was scheduled to finally flat line.

Source: Syracuse / Billie Jean


Single Release Date Change In UK. 18-01-'08

Sony UK have informed MJWN that the CD and three track digital release of 'The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am' has been pushed back a week to February 4, 2008.

Source: MJWN / Billie Jean


Rolling Stone Spain Magazine. 18-01-'08

The Spanish edition (January 2008, No. 99) of Rolling Stone has a wonderful picture of Michael on the cover. Taken from the 'Thriller' era, he is wearing a white sparkly jacket and shirt, and his famous rhinestone glove.The magazine celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the biggest selling album of all time, which is, of course, ‘Thriller”.

Source: MJJShop / Billie Jean


Lincoln Center's Walter Reade TheaterSpecial Presentation At Lincoln Center, NYC. 18-01-'08

Michael Jackson is the subject of a one-of-a-kind presentation this week at New York City’s Lincoln Center. As part of the Dance On Camera Program, distinguished NY Press film critic Armond White is dedicating an entire evening to the work of Michael Jackson in the music video genre. His “Pop Video Artists and Hollywood Influence” will be held at 6:15 pm at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater.

In this 90 minute presentation, esteemed critic and author Armond White will take an in-depth look at Michael Jackson’s early music videos and examine the influence of Hollywood choreographers and Hollywood dance icons in them. Armond White currently writes for the weekly newspaper, The New York Press and the periodical First Of The Month.

In 1992, his essay on Michael Jackson’s ‘Black Or White’ music video, entitled 'Black Or White, The Gloved One Is Not A Chump' won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Music Criticism. In 1994, he was the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. He’s served on the jury for the Sundance Film Festival and his music video presentations have been shown in film and video festivals all over the world since 1993.

Source: Billie Jean


'Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008: Michael Jackson with Akon. 18-01-'08

In the USA, the first single to be released from Michael Jackson’s forthcoming 'Thriller 25 Anniversary Edition' will be the newly recorded rendition of 'Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

It is a new track produced by Akon and Michael, featuring Akon's vocal and a brand new 2008 Michael Jackson vocal track.

Sony have also emphasised that this is not a remix, but totally new!

Source: michaeljackson.com / Billie Jean


Thriller JacketFirst Hard Rock Café In Romania Features MJ Jacket. 18-01-'08

On Sunday (January 20), Bucharest (Romania) will enter the exclusive circuit of the towns that host the famous pub network Hard Rock Café, that achieved a great fame due to the collection of objects that once belonged to rock stars.

The walls of Hard Rock Café Bucharest will for example be decorated with a pair of trousers from Shakira, one of Richie Sambora’s guitars, a costume worn by John Lennon, and one of the peculiar stage outfits of Sir Elton John. Yet, the main attractions are a top once worn by Madonna and the red jacket Michael Jackson used to wear in his 'Thriller' period.

The Café will be located on 32, Kiseleff Boulevard.

Source: Nine O'Clock / Billie Jean


'Thriller Live' Is Back! 17-01-'08

To coincide with the launch of 'Thriller - 25th Anniversary Edition' Flying Music and Adrian Grant are pleased to announce a NEW spring tour for ‘Thriller Live’. Over 50 shows have been announced which will take place mainly in the UK from March 27 - May 25, 2008 plus several in Holland.

Source: Thriller Live / Billie Jean


Matt Fiddes
Michael Jackson's ex-bodyguard Matt Fiddes.

The Most Misunderstood Man In The World. 16-01-'08

Matt Fiddes (28) has worked for Michael Jackson as a bodyguard on several occasions - and is proud to count him as a personal friend. When his mum was battling breast cancer, the entertainer even called her regularly to cheer her up. And dad-of-five Matt also had no qualms about his children meeting Michael.

Matt says:

"Michael must be the most misunderstood man in the world.

He is such a nice guy behind closed doors. Once you get to know him, you see that - but for most people his huge international profile tends to get in the way.
Michael definitely wants to keep the mystery going. It's like a game to him. He knows he can go out and be photographed and the photos will be used worldwide.

During a visit to London in 2002, Michael took my stepsons, Archie and Charlie, on a shopping trip to Hamleys toy store. He's a great guy and I didn't have any problem with it. It sounds like a dream come true to most kids, but the boys were too shy to choose anything expensive. They came home with just a few bits and pieces."

Matt Fiddes was introduced to Michael Jackson by Uril Geller after taking part in a fitness video alongside Geller.
"One night Uri called me at 2am and said 'You have to come to my house now, or you'll regret it for the rest of your life.'
I made the three hour trip from Devon to Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire. My jaw dropped when I watched Martin Bashir's documentary at Uri's house. I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into Uri's living room and Michael Jackson was sitting there on the sofa.

Michael mentioned he was looking for a bodyguard in the UK and asked me to keep in touch. From then on I was his bodyguard on trips to the UK."

Amazingly, Matt was present at the Renaissance Hotel in London in 2002 when Martin Bashir pitched Michael Jackson the idea for his famous and so very controversial documentary.

"Martin told Michael it would be the best thing he could do for his career.

It was supposed to be about the music and Mike's children were to be kept out of the final cut. Of course it was nothing of the sort and my jaw dropped when I watched the show at Uri's house.”

During filming for Martin Bashir's documentary, Matt also worked for Michael Jackson, who tried to escape the press:

Michael would come up with elaborate plans to escape the crowds. He asked me to dress up like him to distract the fans and he would sneak out the back door. He produced white socks, a military-style jacket and sunglasses for me to put on. The US security team of four bodyguards came with me through the front of the hotel. People were grabbing my hands and talking to me as if I was their hero. Meanwhile Michael snuck out the back with one bodyguard and had about 20 minutes of hassle-free browsing before he was recognised.

Another time, Michael and I ordered a takeaway curry and escaped to Uri's house in Berkshire. I had to pinch myself when I was sitting on the floor with the King of Pop eating a curry and watching Bruce Lee movies."

Despite the excitement, Matt's memory of the time is tinged with sadness. During the same period his mum, Majella Norris, was diagnosed with breast cancer and given just six months to live. But when Matt confided in Michael, the star didn't waste any time giving his stricken mum a call.

"That really touched me.

Michael's a very sensitive human being and he'd ring my mum every day to see how she was coping.
He makes a big impression on everyone, and she really appreciated his best wishes. Thankfully Mum pulled through and is loving her retirement."

Source: The Sun / Billie Jean

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