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Music Event Promoter Testifies In Trial Involving Michael Jackson Co. 30-12-'15

Michael and Broderick Morris
Michael and Broderick Morris

A music event promoter testified Wednesday that Michael Jackson promised him in a Tokyo hotel room in 2006 that he would receive 1.6 percent for life of any business done by a new entertainment company the singer formed a year after he was acquitted of child molestation charges.

Broderick Morris said he believed Jackson’s commitment to him meant he would be compensated even if he was not involved in a particular project initiated through the Michael Jackson Co.

Jackson also intended for him and three others to serve on the board of directors of the fledgling entity, said Morris, the former CEO of Positive Productions.

Jackson envisioned the company as being the vehicle for various ventures related to music, public appearances and other projects, including the singer’s desire to explore the field of animation, Morris said.

Morris testified that he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money setting up two trips by Jackson in 2006 and 2007 to Japan, where Morris lived and worked promoting concerts and other entertainment events. He said Jackson’s image was badly damaged by the publicity from the molestation trial, even though he was acquitted in June 2005.

“At this time, because of the trial, people didn’t trust him at all,” Morris said.

Morris -- one of four people claiming part ownership in the Michael Jackson Co. -- took the witness stand on the third day of a non-jury trial resulting from a petition filed by the Jackson estate, which is seeking to have the estate declared the sole owners of the Michael Jackson Co. LLC.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50 of a drug overdose while in Los Angeles preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London.

Read the whole article here.

Source: Daily News / Billie Jean

Believe It Or Not: A Michael Jackson Court Case Is Going On Right Now In Los Angeles. 29-12-'15

It’s hard to believe, but six and a half years after his tragic death, yet another court case involving Michael Jackson is going on right now in Los Angeles.

Raymone K. BainThe case is billed as Qadree El-Amin vs. Michael Jackson Estate (John Branca, John McClain). Although she’s not named as a plaintiff, the person lurking behind this effort to extrude money from the Estate is Michael’s former p.r. lady and “manager,” Miss Raymone Bain.

When Tom Mesereau, Michael’s criminal attorney, fired her right before the jury decision in June 2005 for Jackson’s child molestation case, she called me. I was driving back to L.A. after another week in wonderful Santa Maria, California. I turned right around. Raymone, who’d ruled the roost, was out.

Yet she returned a year later, after Jackson’s self-exile in Bahrain and other places. She was his manager now, and would be until Tohme Tohne ousted her in a coup. The Raymone Era could take up its own book. She sued Michael for $44 million after he died. Well come on, why not? Ah, Raymone. She is a legend. She should get points for tenacity and perseverance.

El-Amin et al’s complaint, filed in May 2013– almost four years after Michael’s death-alleges that back in 2006 he, someone named Broderick Morris, and Bain’s assistant all contracted with Jackson to start a new company that would house all his film and recording projects. They have documents to prove it, they say.

Who is Qadree El-Amin? I have no idea, really. But from 1997-2013 he has about 20 cases in civil court. They range from breach of contract to a domestic dispute to a divorce. There’s also a paternity case and several Small Claims cases. Whoever he is, Mr. El-Amin is no stranger to L.A. Superior Court.

The complaint El Amin filed is full of mistakes in its timeline and generalizations about Jackson. I’m sure Howard Weitzman– handling the trial himself, I hear– is going to town on this stuff, as well as the omission of how Tohme got rid of Bain and how she wouldn’t let go. (Then, of course, Tohme wouldn’t let go.)There’s no jury, but the trial judge must be getting an earful.

By the way: My favorite part of the complaint is an exhibit– in which El-Amin et al add on their June 1, 2006 contract with Jackson. The agreement claim that Michael intends for his son Prince to become Chairman of this new company they all started together when the boy “finishes scoool.” Yes, that’s the way it’s written, just above Michael’s floating signature.

Source: Showbiz411 / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson And I Were Working On A Comeback, Man Tells Court. 28-12-'15

Qadree El-AminA businessman claiming part ownership in a company Michael Jackson created testified today the late singer could have earned up to $1 billion in a career comeback.

Qadree El-Amin took the witness stand in a non-jury trial resulting from a petition filed by the Jackson estate, which seeks to have the estate declared the sole owners of the Michael Jackson Co. LLC. Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50 of acute propofol intoxication.

El-Amin told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maria Stratton that Jackson could have overcome allegations of child molestation and recharged his career by making public appearances, performing on tour and making more music.

According to El-Amin, when he and three other people outlined plans for an entertainment comeback to Jackson in Tokyo in 2006, Jackson’s demeanor changed from downcast to upbeat and confident.

“When we first got there he was really broken down, then he became energized,” El-Amin said. “He was in charge, he was calling the shots.”

In his opening statement, the estate’s chief lawyer, Howard Weitzman, disputed the ownership claims of El-Amin and the others and said they were looking for a “windfall.”

But lawyers for El-Amin -- Broderick Morris, Raymone Bain and Adean King -- say they collectively own about 15 percent of the company under a 3 a.m. deal Jackson made with them in a Tokyo hotel room on June 1, 2006.

They say it was Jackson’s idea to form the company and that he reserved 75 ownership for himself; 10 percent each to his mother, Katherine, and Bain, his general manager; and 1.68 percent each to El-Amin, Morris and King.

King worked at the time for Bain, who testified in a sworn declaration that she met Jackson through tennis star Serena Williams. El-Amin was the manager of Boyz II Men. Morris was the chief operating officer of Positive Productions Inc., a Japan-based company that promoted concerts and other events in that country.

El-Amin said that in the early days of their meetings, Jackson worried about his finances.

“I need money, I need money,” the singer repeatedly said, according to El-Amin.

El-Amin said he felt obligated to Jackson in part because the entertainer allowed him and his wife to get married at Neverland Ranch the same day the singer and his sister, Janet, were making a video at Universal Studios.

El-Amin said Jackson was enamored with the singer’s own idea of making animation projects as part of his comeback.

“He loved Japanese animation,” El-Amin testified.

El-Amin said a series of positive meetings leading up to and including the 3 a.m. session had Jackson and everyone in the room optimistic for the future.

“I’m telling you and I couldn’t sleep and he (Jackson) was (also) happy,” El-Amin said.

Pressed by Weitzman to describe any successful deals that resulted in 2006 or 2007 from the alleged 3 a.m. agreement, El-Amin struggled to provide any details. However, he said he believed some positive results occurred.

Maxwell Blecher, an attorney for El-Amin and the three other respondents, said he does not know how much his clients may be entitled to if they win the case because the estate’s lawyers have not given them documents demonstrating the value of the estate. However, he said that despite the lack of information, it is worthwhile for the four to push forward.

“I believe there is substantial money there,” Blecher said.

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune / Billie Jean

The Ultimate Collector Book Volume IV CoverThe Ultimate Collector 'Dangerous' Book Volume IV. 27-12-'15

You've all discovered in the early years of super book 'The Ultimate Collector's Book: Volume V, HIStory 1995-2000'.

In the month of July, we invite you to contact the authors of this book if you too, you held a collector of 'Dangerous' time for the next volume of this series will be devoted to this rich period in collectors.

Here now the cover of this book to come but the release date has not been announced, the book's authors are still at work. The year 2016 will be at least an excellent book to offer. This is great because the album 'Dangerous' will celebrate its 25 years.

To be continued...

Source: MJ France / Billie Jean

After Paris, Brad Sundberg And 'In The Studio With MJ' Going Through Brussels ... January 25, 2016.

Brad Sundberg Winter TourFollowing our previous information about appointments 'In The Studio With Michael Jackson' that will take place on 23 and 24 January next in Paris, know that Brad Sundberg gives appointment at our Belgian friends the next day January 25, 2016 from 4PM at 10PM in Brussels. This would be an opportunity for the francophone close to Belgium to not miss this meeting.

If reservations are made on inthestudiowithmj.com/events knowing that Brad Sundberg wanted to send a message to all European fans on the occasion of this small tour that will pass by before Helsinki on 16 and 17 January and in Stockholm on 18 January.

Brad Sundberg joined Michael's Jackson team during the production of 'Captain EO' in 1985, and remained with Michael as one of his engineers and Technical Director for nearly 18 years. Brad was actively involved in the studio production of four of Michael's studio albums: 'Bad', 'Dangerous', 'HIStory', and 'Blood On The Dance Floor'. He also worked on remixes and edits for countless singles, short films, and tour preparations associated with these projects.

Source: MJ Backstage / Billie Jean

Monster Retailer Awards And Concert At CES 2016 To Feature Michael Jackson Tribute. 24-12-'15

Heal The WorldHigh-performance audio manufacturer Monster pulled the curtain on its CES 2016 Monster Retailer Awards and Concert, which will be held at the Axis Theatre at Planet Hollywood on Thursday, January 7. There, Monster will present “Heal The World, A Tribute to Michael Jackson,” which the company said will be a star-studded event featuring some of the biggest names in music entertainment, including several of the Jacksons themselves.

The full list of performers will be revealed on January 1, but Monster did say that they will all be backed by a 30-piece orchestra arranged and conducted by Grammy award-winning producer and engineer Vassal Benford.

The concert will include some of MJ’s most popular hits, including the song the night is named after, 'Heal The World'.

“Our CES concert series has always been about sharing Monster’s heart and soul, our love for great music and for an authentic live music experience. Over the years, it’s been our great honor and privilege to present so many iconic artists to CES attendees. This year’s tribute to Michael Jackson is truly fitting. His song ‘Heal the World’ truly speaks to the needs of today’s times and Monster feels that it’s part of our obligation as corporate citizens to bring social consciousness to CES to help fight terror, violence, and to clean up the environment for future generations.”

Monster said that it expects more than 5,000 consumer electronics professionals to attend the invitation-only event, meaning the 7,000-seat venue will be at near capacity. And aside from enjoying a night of live entertainment, attendees will also learn who will be honored with Monster’s prestigious Retailer Awards. Awards will be handed out in a number of categories that include the top award of “Most Monsterous Retailer of the Year.”

Also, Monster will share some of the details on their plan to expand into new and emerging markets in 2016 and beyond. In a statement, Monster said those plans include expanding relationships with existing partners, as well as new partners in categories that include fitness, lifestyle, and gaming headphones; speakers to complete their line of SuperStar Bluetooth speakers; and a new mobile line.

Source: Dealerscope / Billie Jean

Joseph FiennesSky Preps Michael Jackson Roadtrip Drama. 22-12-'15

Joseph Fiennes is to play Michael Jackson in a one-off drama for Sky Arts that will immortalise an outlandish roadtrip the singer took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.

Jackson invited Taylor and Brando to attend his concert at Madison Square Garden in September 2011, but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the trio hired a rental car and drove across the country in a bid to get home.

The celebrities made it to Ohio, reportedly stopping off at a number of KFC's and Burger Kings en route to sate Brando, before flying back to California.

Now Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes and Stockard Channing will respectively star as Brando, Jackson and Taylor in the 30-minute dramatisation.

Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon is produced for the pay-TV broadcaster’s Playhouse Presents strand by Ralf Little’s indie Little Rock Pictures.

It marks the Sky Vision-backed company’s first commission since it was established earlier this month by the Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and former Sprout Pictures chief operating officer Zoë Rocha.

The drama was commissioned by Sky Arts director Phil Edgar Jones and written by Delete This At Your Peril’s Neil Forsyth and directed by Ben Palmer.

Source: Broadcast Now / Billie Jean

Visual Of The ‘Off The Wall Documentary’ Released. 21-12-'15

Today, Spike Lee just released the visual of his new documentary on Michael Jackson: 'Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall'.

Visual Of The 'Off The Wall Documentary'

'Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall' / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee) — Catapulted by the success of his first major solo project, 'Off The Wall', Michael Jackson went from child star to King of Pop. This film explores the seminal album, with rare archival footage and interviews from those who were there and those whose lives its success and legacy impacted.

Source: MJ Vibe / Billie Jean

'Thriller Live' Becomes The 17th Longest Running West End Musical Of All Time. 17-12-'15

'Thriller Live', the West End concert spectacular, has played its 2,901st performance at the Lyric Theatre, thereby passing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, which opened in 1978, to become the 17th Longest Running West End Musical of all time.

'Thriller Live' is currently booking until September 4, 2016. It will start its 8th year in the West End in January and will soon pass another major landmark – 3,000 West End performances.

'Thriller Live' has now taken more than $150million at the global box office.

Producers Paul Walden & Derek Nicol said: “Becoming the 17th Longest Running West End Musical of all time is yet another amazing milestone in the history of our show. Very few productions have ever run this long in the West End and we are grateful to the fans of Michael Jackson who have taken the show to their hearts.”

'Thriller Live' looks very different to the version that first opened in the West End in January, 2009. A brand new version of the show, with four new songs, a new opening, new production elements including new video, new costumes and special effects, opened last month.

'Thriller Live' continues to set and break records and play new territories around the globe. In 2016, Egypt will become the 32nd country to premiere the show.

Thriller Live

'Thriller Live' is a two and a half hour concert celebrating the music of The Jackson 5 and the solo work of Michael Jackson. It had already been performed in the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and Scandinavia before opening at the Lyric Theatre, London on 2 January 2009. The show was conceived by Jackson family friend and author, Adrian Grant

Source: Indie London / 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.

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.

Branca noted that Jackson wrote the album to appeal to a broad audience, which helped fuel its popularity abroad.

"He didn't want to sell records to blacks or whites or Americans," Branca said. "He wanted to sell records to everyone, Africa, Asia, everywhere. It's just continued to sell and sell and sell."

Branca was cautious about declaring that Jackson and 'Thriller' had set an unbreakable record.

"You can't say never," he said, noting Adele's album '21' has sold 11 million copies in the U.S. since 2011. "Nobody saw that coming."

But, he added, "You wouldn't want to bet that there's another one coming along. Not these days."

A greatest-hits collection of songs by the Eagles is Jackson's closest competitor at the moment, with 29 million albums sold, according to the RIAA.

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

Iconic Magazine 21 CoverIconic Magazine Issue 21 Has Arrived! 15-12-'15

The New Iconic Magazine has arrived! Titled ‘The Dance’, Issue 21 is full of dance moves! Not one! Not 2! But 3 of Michael Jackson’s Dancers have spoken to the Iconic team about their time with Michael on sets of videos and tours.

Kevin Stea, known from his debut on ‘Black Or White’ as well as his dance move on ‘Blood On The Dance Floor'; Lorraine Fields, dancer on ‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ and Barry Lather from ‘Captain EO’ and ‘Ghosts’.

The new Iconic is also full of articles like MTV ’95 where Pez Greaves comes back to that momentum! The Ultimate Dance routine also gives a countdown of the most famous Michael Jackson dance routines!

And obviously the usual suspects with the ‘You Know You Want Me’ collector page, the News and the fans!

To order your copy, click here.

Source: MJ Vibe / Billie Jean

Insurance Broker That Covered Michael Jackson Is Sold. 15-12-'15

The entertainment insurance broker that has arranged cover for the likes of Michael Jackson, Queen and Cliff Richard has been sold to a US rival.

Robertson Taylor and its sister firms within Entertainment Insurance Partners (EIP) found protection for 14 of the top 20 grossing tours worldwide last year, the company said as it unveiled its sale to the US firm Integro.

As well as the world's biggest bands, its customers have included the Brit Awards, the British Olympic Association and a string of films and TV programme's. The company helped the Foo Fighters with the cost of canceling their European tour after frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg this summer.

About half of the company's revenues come from the US and Canada, while the UK generated £6.3m of its £17m revenues last year. It has offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville.

'This Is It' Ticket

One of Robertson Taylor's biggest policies covered Michael Jackson’s sold-out stint at the O2, described as “the greatest concert that no one got a chance to see” after the singer’s death shortly before the residency began in 2009.

Other unusual policies arranged by the firm’s founders include cover for Pink Floyd’s Battersea power station photoshoot, which ended up with one of the helium-filled inflatable pigs breaking loose and drifting over Kent.

Rivertrade, owned by former Man Group director John Kinder, has acquired a number of entertainment insurers since 2000 and rolled them into Entertainment Insurance Partners. The firm did not respond to a request for comment on the sale.

Source: The Telegraph / Billie Jean

Michael and BubblesMichael Jackson Chimp Script 'Bubbles' Tops Black List. 14-12-'15

The 2015 Black List, the annual rundown of Hollywood's best unproduced screenplays, was revealed and the top vote-getter was an unlikely choice: A biopic about Bubbles, the chimpanzee that was adopted by Michael Jackson in 1983. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plot for Bubbles finds the chimp "narrating his own story" and "details his life within The King of Pop's inner circle through the scandals that later rocked Jackson's life and eventually led to Bubbles' release."

Jackson adopted Bubbles from an Austin, Texas research facility in 1983, eventually settling at the Neverland Ranch. A source of derision throughout the Eighties, Bubbles was frequently seen at Jackson's side at public events and video shoots and was even rumored to sleep in a crib in Jackson's room at the Neverland Ranch. Jackson poked fun at the controversy over Bubbles in his 'Leave Me Alone' video, a tabloid-taunting clip where one of the headlines read "Michael Confides in Pet Chimp."

In 2003, Jackson revealed that he had given Bubbles to a California trainer because the chimpanzee became overaggressive; Bubbles was later transferred to a monkey sanctuary in Florida where he remains today. While the Jackson estate would likely never allow a biopic that focused on the King of Pop's "scandals," telling the Jackson story through the eyes of his beloved pet is an interesting, unique narrative device.

The Isaac Adamson-penned script received 44 votes among the 500 executives polled for the Black List, placing it ahead of biopics about Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman – Stronger, which has since been picked up with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role – and Rocket* about former Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens. The Hollywood Reporter notes that eight of the last 16 Oscar-winning scripts originated from the Black List, as did two of 2015's frontrunner's, The Revenant and Spotlight.

Source: Rollings Stone / Billie Jean

In The Studio with MJIn The Studio With MJ Presents “MJU” June 20th – 23rd, 2016. 13-12-'15

What if…

What if we did something like never before… in a huge studio in LA?

What if we built an event that stretched out over four days – with special guests and one-of-a-kind experiences?

What if we brought in the guys who helped make iconic records like 'Off The Wall', 'Thriller', 'Bad', 'Dangerous','HIStory', 'Invincible' and 'BOTDF'?

What if we had a full day focused only on the tours, and brought in some of the people who traveled and worked on those amazing shows?

What if we offered special evening get-togethers like watching 'Moonwalker', 'Ghosts' and 'Captain EO' in a studio full MJ fans, with a monster sound system?

What if is was a place for learning, laughing, feeling what it was like – from the people who were there?

What if we called it “MJU”?

What if is about to become a reality.

MJU will be offered next June 20th – 23rd, 2016, Hollywood, CA.

Four full days of music, stories, learning, laughing and feeling what is was like working and touring with Michael.

Each day will be different and a new experience. Special guests will share behind-the-scenes memories and stories.

MJU – Summer 2016.

In just 189 days – Class will be in Session.

Tickets go on sale tonight.


Source: All Things Michael / Billie Jean

The Jacksons Concert Cancelled At Ridgefield Playhouse. 11-12-'15

Due to circumstances beyond our control, The Jackson's 50th Anniversary and Holiday Show originally scheduled for Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at The Ridgefield Playhouse has been cancelled. The band will be ending their tour a few days early.

For those who have already purchased their tickets, they can be exchanged to one of our other exciting shows including LaserSpectacular's The Spirit of Michael Jackson on Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m., Donny Osmond on Friday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m.or 8:30 p.m., Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. on Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m., Paul Anka on Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m., or any of the other shows on our schedule.

For more information, call or visit the box office at The Ridgefield Playhouse, (203) 438-5795, or order online at ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Source: Broadway World / Billie Jean

Morris "Mo" Pleasure‘Michael And Me’ - By Morris 'Mo' Pleasure. 10-12-'15

On Friday we saw Mo give a 'This Is It' masterclass at Wardour Street’s Yamaha Music, with full band. Switching between instruments, talking about Jackson – “a prankster”, he confides – and introducing vocalists, including one he discovered at a workshop, Mo demonstrated the music pulsing through his veins. While working on a million projects, he spends considerable time helping budding musicians and those from difficult backgrounds. It was his work with the Amy Winehouse Foundation that led him to Chalk Farm Road’s Camden Guitars, leading to a friendship with owner Deicola Neves.

Musicians wishing to benefit from this maestro’s knowledge – Mo has worked with everyone from Earth Wind and Fire to Roberta Flack, Christina Aguilera to Janet Jackson – should follow this page. He will soon be holding masterclasses at Camden Guitars, helping musicians as the shop’s in-house producer in its new music studio and to find jobs and gigs. His album Mo – Elements of Pleasure and Michael Jackson Tribute album are out next year.

“Since Michael died I dedicated myself to recreating his songs in different styles,” said Mo. just 'Another Part Of Me' was a major funky tune. I’ve got it as a straight jazz version, like Miles Davis’ So What.” He feels the depth of Jackson’s music production and vocal percussion techniques were not given the recognition they deserved.

“He knew everything about everything – the lighting cues, the CGI, the magic, he was part of every bit of it,” Mo said. “From what I understand, he did the show for his children. They knew he was a superstar but they’d never seen him in concert. It is horribly sad.”

Mo thanks his wife for leading him to Jackson after she learned of his tour from friends. “Us musicians, our wives talk to each other,” he said. Michael’s music director happened to contact Mo and mentioned he was working with Jackson but said they already had a keyboard player.

“Stay tuned,” he added. The keyboard player was locked into an American Idol contract so Mo was brought in three weeks behind in rehearsals.

“I started in March, Michael died on 25th June,” said Mo. “We were days away from coming to the O2. We would have started in August.”

Unsurprisingly, Jackson was very much the perfectionist and required flexibility from his musicians.

“He was adamant about sounding like the record,” said Mo. “We had to learn all songs in three or four keys. When you’re singing, the voice changes and sometimes you can’t sing as high. Michael wanted to be able to choose, so at any given day he could change the key.”

Read the full story here.

Source: Camden Review / Billie Jean

The Jacksons’ 50th Anniversary And Holiday Show At Ridgefield Playhouse Wednesday, Dec. 16.

When The Jacksons perform the group’s “50th Anniversary and Holiday Show” at the Ridgefield Playhouse next week, it will be hard to fit in all the songs they’d like to sing.

Marlon Jackson said he and his brothers, Tito and Jackie, will do hits like 'ABC' and 'I’ll Be There', along with newer tunes made famous by their late brother Michael, but it’s always challenging to cull the list. Plus, they have to leave time for some holiday songs, as well.

“We have so many songs and records that to try to get them all in during a 90-minute set is hard; we do the best we can do,” Marlon said in a recent interview. “It’s a high-energy Jackson show.”

The Wednesday, Dec. 16, concert includes dancing, along with video retrospectives of Michael and his worldwide appeal as the “King of Pop.”

Marlon and his musical family grew up in Gary, Ind., where he was the sixth of 10 children. He was 17 months older than Michael, who died in 2009.

Today, Marlon lives in Georgia, a married grandfather of four. At 58, he still loves to entertain. Some of the songs he’ll perform in Ridgefield are among the tunes he sang with The Jackson 5. The group scored 17 top 40 singles.

'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)' is among Marlon’s favorites. “Michael and Randy wrote it,” he said of the 1978 song. “People seem to enjoy it. I have no idea what inspired it. In those times, we were writing a bunch of songs.”

Seeing audience members interacting and enjoying themselves is what Marlon likes most about performing. “There are 8-year-olds who weren’t born when these songs came out, yet they’re singing them,” he said. “That makes me feel good inside.”

The Jacksons

The Jacksons, Tito, left, Jackie and Marlon, are celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary and will perform a holiday show at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The Jacksons have been touring on and off since 2012. “We had a lot of emails from fans wanting us to do something, so we decided to do it.” Marlon said. “It never leaves you.”

He said the synchronized dancing he performs with his brothers isn’t too challenging to master, because he grew up with it. As for the moonwalk, he said, “That’s Michael’s thing. We do the other stuff.”

Marlon doesn’t mind traveling for for concerts, but acknowledged that “you can get tired of anything.” The Jacksons use a tour bus if the performance venues are near each other, but usually they wind up traveling by air.

“We fly in and out. I’d rather take the tour bus; it’s more relaxing,” Marlon said. “Going through scanners and all that stuff at the airport can take a toll on you, especially the way the world is these days.”

Meeting with fans is what he really loves. “We have a meet-and-greet after the show, which is great,” he said. “People share their memories. They say this song or that song is why we got married. We hear that all the time.”

Marlon said in the beginning he never realized music could have such an effect on people’s lives. Fans often share how they play Jacksons’ tunes for their kids.

“My UPS guy came to my home and wanted an autograph; I said no problem,” Marlon said. “He told me it was for his 5-year-old son, and that he watches the Jacksons’ cartoons.”

It’s been six years since Michael’s sudden death at the age of 50. Marlon said the last time he saw him was at a family gathering on June 14, two weeks before his brother was found dead at his Los Angeles home. He said he doesn’t know anything about whatever legal wrangling may still be going on in connection to his death, but that Michael’s children “are fine.”

“One of the hardest things is when we have gatherings with the family, we know for sure that he won’t be there,” Marlon said.

When asked if he wanted to add a final thought, he said, “Remember peace. That’s what the world needs.”

Source: Norwalk Citizen / Billie Jean

In The Closet - On the setMore Herb Ritts Photos To Arrive At Rock Hall In 2016. 09-12-'15

When it comes to having a exhibit on the top floor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the only person who can replace Herb Ritts is Herb Ritts.

The legendary music photographer shot everyone from Madonna and Justin Timberlake to Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. Ritts, who passed away in 2002, is also known for making the transition from still photography to directing well-known music videos like Chris Isaak’s 'Wicked Games' and Michael Jackson’s 'In The Closet.'

Much of Ritts’ work has been on display in “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits,“ which opened this past March on levels 5 and 6 of the museum.

The exhibit will close on Feb. 28 and be replaced by more Herb Ritts photographs. A new exhibit will open sometime in March or April, featuring more than 60 photos donated by Ritts family.

“This one will be a smaller show, but very special in its own right,” says Karen Herman, vice president of collections and curatorial affairs for the Rock Hall. “Some of the prints we’ve shown, some we haven’t.”

Source: Cleveland / Billie Jean

Spike Lee's Michael Jackson Film To Premiere At Sundance. 08-12-'15

Films by Spike Lee and Werner Herzog will be among those premiering at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Lee's film revisits Michael Jackson's life story in Journey from 'Motown to Off The Wall', while Herzog has made a documentary about online culture.

Festival organisers announced the dramatic and documentary premieres days after revealing the competition titles.

Kristen Stewart, Anna Kendrick and Danny DeVito are among the actors in the festival's line-up.

The festival kicks off on 21 January in Park City, Utah.

Lee had suggested he’d love to do more Michael Jackson album docs if the singer’s estate and Sony/Epic Records, which released the majority of his recordings before and after his death, were willing, and it looks like both were pleased with 'Bad 25' and have thus signed off. In an interview with Thompson On Hollywood about 'Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus,' Lee revealed that he is currently working on a documentary about Jackson’s pioneering 1979 disco-pop solo album 'Off The Wall', which launched the singer into mega-stardom and led to the pop cultural juggernaut 'Thriller'.

'Brooklyn Loves MJ,' which we’ve written about previously, is a Cain and Abel-esque story set against a backdrop of gentrification in Lee’s Fort Greene neighborhood during the summer of ’09, when fans were mourning Jackson’s death. Given that the singer’s death and music is written into the script, including his likeness, image and myriad references beyond just an inclusion in the title, we’d assumed the stoppage on the project —it was all ready to go with a cast in 2009— was due to music rights. But since Lee, the MJ estate and Sony are on board for further Jackson documentaries, it sounds like funding is the main obstacle. Calling Megan Ellison, the current patron saint of American auteurs: do the right thing.

Spike Lee

'Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall' / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee) — Catapulted by the success of his first major solo project, 'Off The Wall', Michael Jackson went from child star to King of Pop. This film explores the seminal album, with rare archival footage and interviews from those who were there and those whose lives its success and legacy impacted.

On top of his 'Off The Wall' project, Lee also has a documentary on Brazil in the works called 'Go Brazil, Go', which coincidentally is the country in which he shot his first Michael Jackson music video, 'They Don’t Care About Us'. 'Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus' is available for rental and download on Vimeo now and is open in limited release in several markets.

Source: BBC / The Playlist / Billie Jean

The Most Googled Musical Artists. 07-12-'15

Musixmatch conducted a study focusing on vocabulary size throughout the music world, crowning hip-hop as the style with the largest vocabulary. Heavy metal came in second, folk and rock come in 3rd and 4th, country and indie rock at 5th and 6th and pop came in at 7th place. The results concluded that there is no direct correlation between the average vocabulary size and the popularity of a genre

The study also includes a list of the most Googled artists in each of the top eight genres of music.

Googled Musical Artists

Michael Jackson ranked in the pop category at number 3 and in the rock category at number 6.

Google ranks 51 artists for each genre, although some artists may cross over into other styles of music. These lists are cleaned (leaving indie rock with 50 artists since ‘Sub Pop’ is returned as an artist) and matched to the corresponding entries in the Musixmatch database.

Source: All Things Michael / Billie Jean

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