Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cheer-Me-Up Music From Michael Jackson

Whenever I am feeling low, songs from Michael Jackson always makes me feel better. I'll start listening to his music from when he was a child, all the way to adulthood, and be amazed. To hear someone emote feelings and emotions that can inspire you, uplift you, make you want to dance, that is a gift. He truly loved to sing, and you can hear that love.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Grammy Awards - 1984

If one takes a look at the history of the Grammys, it will reveal that Grammy winners are not always the true preeminent artists and recordings of their time. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences started the awards in the late fifties, to be music's equivalent to the Oscars. But many whom you would think have won in the past, never did.
Elvis Presley never won a Grammy for any of his major pop vocal performances, but he is considered to be at the time, the most influential pop vocal artist. Presley won three times for gospel recordings. Chuck Berry has been overlooked. The Beatles only received four Grammys, strange seeing that their music virtually changed pop music and culture. The Rolling Stones, Sly Stone, and Diana Ross have never received Grammy awards. The six or more thousand people who make up the Academy, are so conservative, the usually are not hip enough to recognize the importance of new artists.
It has been long rumored that the Grammy Awards are dominated by by major record companies, which in turn, has turned the award as a sham. Two powers in the record industry - WMG, which contains Warner Brothers, Elektra,Atlantic, and Rhino records, and the Columbia/ Epic group (CBS). It has been difficult for anyone outside of these companies to win. Motown artists, up to this point, with the exception of Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, and Smokey Robinson, were hardly ever in the running.
Now as far as Michael Jackson, the politics couldn't take over the fact that he could not be ignored. He was so popular, EVERYONE agreed he was the most important pop and rock hero. Plus he was a CBS artist. He had been nominated for twelve awards, the highest number for a single performer, up to that time, in Grammy history. Impressive to note, Thriller was up against the Police's Synchronicity, the Flashdance soundtrack, Billy Joel's An Innocent Man, and David Bowie's Let's Dance albums for album of the year.
His date for the evening was Brooke Shields. Michael apparently did not want to go with Brooke. She came by the Encino home expectantly to ask him if he would consider taking her to the show. It is not known if Brooke, who had been a friend of Michael's was genuinely interested in him, or if it was for public relations on her part.
However, he did ask LaToya and Janet what they thought of her request.
"I don't want to take her," LaToya remembered Michael saying. "I really, really don't."
Well then tell her, Michael," she instructed. "Tell her no if you don't want to take her."
"But I can't."
"Why not?" Janet wondered.
"Because I don't want to hurt her feelings, " Michael protested.
After agonizing over the situation, he came back a few minutes later. Decided to take her after all.
This was the famous Michael, Brooke, and Emmanuel Lewis appearance at the Grammys. Brooke protested, and heard saying to Michael "Let's get out of here. People are making fun of us."
It was definitely Michael's night. With the Pepsi commercials premering, he won eight awards.
Winning the Best Album award was particularly sweet, because Thriiler by that time , had sold 27 million albums, and was still number one on the Billboard charts.
Upon winning his seventh Grammy, he took off his sunglasses. Katherine Hepburn, "my dear friend," had told him to he should take off the glasses "for the girls in the balcony."
He accepted one award with the comment, "I have something very important to say... really," and paid tribute to legendary rhythm-blues star Jackie Wilson, who died recently.
Of course, he was the talk of Hollywood that night, and everyone who is everyone wanted everyone to know THEY knew Michael. However, Michael, who hosted a private party at the Rex restaurant in downtown L.A., was uncomfortable being around so many people. After recognizing guest that included Bob Dylan, Tony Curtis, Neil Diamond, Eddie Murphy, Cyndi Lauper, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others, he and Brooke ducked out and left about 11:30pm.
Michael accompanied Brooke and her mother back to the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, where the women were staying.
Michael escorted them out of the white Rolls Royce, kissed Brooke on the cheek, shook Mrs. Shields' hand, and got back in the car. "Congratulations Michael, Brooke said with a sad smile. "Must you go?"
"Yeah, I do," he replied. He rolled up the window, and the driver drove off into the night.
My opinion about Michael and Brooke. I believe she was far more interested in him than she would let on, and he, after time , grew to like her back. But as far a romantic relationship, it depends on what Michael perceived as romantic. Remember, he did not have a history with women or girls, but, apparently, he made a great companion once you got to know him. Reflecting on her memorial speech, Brooke had a wonderful relationship with him, the kind any young woman would want with someone of Michael's stature. Perhaps, she, upon looking back, regretted denying publicly just how close they were. Not that it was anything to be embarrassed about, but she could have helped the public understand the kind of man he was better.
Thank you, J. Randy Taraborelli, "Michael Jackson - The Music and the Madness pg. 341-347

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pepsi Commercial

There were two Pepsi commercials lined that Don King lined up as part of the contract with the soft drink company's endorsement of the "Victory" tour. Michael was not pleased with the endorsement. Quaker Oats offered 40 percent more than Pepsi offered, and though the contract was signed, John Branca tried to get Michael out of it. But his mother , Katherine, "talked some sense into him," and the deal was back on.

Michael was in complete control over the commercials. He had final word on EVERYTHING. His brothers, who were paid one million dollars each to do the commercials, would have no say, and that was fine with them.

Michael's experience was not a pleasant on with Pepsi-Cola. Paul McCartney and Jane Fonda thought that he would be "overexposed" by the commercials. In order to solve that problem, he decided that his face should be on camera for one close-up and only for a maximum of four seconds. He wanted his own cameo in his own commercial, and $5 million from Pepsi.

"Use my symbols. Shoot my shoes, my spats, my glove, my look- and then, at the end, reveal me." He even allowed the use of "Billie Jean," in which he would write new Pepsi-jingle lyrics. Michael was not trying to get out of the deal, just make it magical and spectacular. This drove the Pepsi executives crazy.

"I don't think this is going to work," said one executive. "I'm starting to have second thoughts about this Jackson guy and these commercials."

The feeling was mutual with Michael. "I still don't have a good feeling about this. In my heart, I feel it's wrong to endorse something you don't believe in. I think it's a bad omen." Michael shrugged his shoulders and added, "I just gotta make the best of it."

When Michael met with Roger Enrico, president and C.E.O of the Pepsi-Cols Company, he told him, "Roger, I'm going to make Coke wish they were Pepsi."

It was January 27,1984.

Three thousand people were in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to simulate a live concert to film the Pepsi commercial. "You're a Whole New Generation" was performed by The Jacksons.

It had been a long day. Most of the group arrived at nine A.M. Tito acted as Michael's stand-in as Michael would not arrive for hours.

The taping began at 6:30pm. Michael began to descend from a podium by going down a staircase with brilliant illumination. His bothers were on the stage, playing. A smoke bomb and some pyrotechnics exploded,as planned, momentarily blocking Michael from view.

There was the famous silhouette. A magnesium flash bomb went off with a loud bang, just two feet from Michael's head. As Michael headed down the stairs, the smoke became too thick. Something seemed wrong.

Michael began to dance.

He did a turn. Then another. Then another.

He spun three times and stood up on his toes.

The audience gasped when Michael turned. The explosion had set his hair ablaze. But Michael continued to perform. He would remember feeling the heat, but attributed it to the hot stage lights. Then, he suddenly he felt the burning pain.

He pulled his jacket over his head and fell to the floor. "Tito! Tito!" he yelled.

The first to respond was Miko Brando, Marlon Brando's son and part of Michael's security team. "I ran out, hugged him, tackled him, and ran my hands through his hair," Brando said, who burned his fingers in the process.

Pandemonium filled the auditorium, as no one in the crowd knew exactly what happened. Some thought it was an assassination attempt.

Authorities wanted Michael to exit from the back, but Michael insisted on leaving where the crowds and photographers were so they could see him. He said he wanted to be able to wave to everyone to show that he was okay.

"No, leave the glove on," he told the ambulance attendants. Ever the showman.

As he was being rolled rolled out, he noticed several Pepsi executives huddled in a corner with worried looks on their faces. They must have realized that this accident could turn out to be one of the biggest lawsuits in history. Michael Jackson could actually own Pepsi once the smoke clears.

Michael had been fortunate. His face and body escaped injury in the accident. He suffered a palm-sized patch of second and third degree burns on the back of his head. There was a quarter sized spot that was a third- degree burn. Doctors said most of his hair would grow back.

Michael had actually visited the burn unit at the same hospital on New Years Day. He visited twenty-three year-old mechanic Keith Perry, who had suffered third-degree burns over 95 percent of his body.

On the day he left the hospital, Michael went from room to room at the unit , saying goodbye, taking photographs, and signing autographs for each of the ten other burn patients.

The nursing supervisor said, "They were really happy he took the time out to see them, despite the fact that he himself was burned. He was an inspiration to them," Michael didn't use it as a "Hi.Bye" visit. He spent ample time with the patients and reached out and touched each bedridden patient with his magic glove.
Thank you J. Randy Taraborrelli "Michael Jackson- The Magic and the Madness" pages 328-333.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Seth Riggs Talks Michael Jackson and Kru Rodj, Voice Teacher in Thailand

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Seth Riggs Talks Michael Jackson and Kru Rodj, Voice Teacher in Thailand

The Stress of the "Thriller" Video

Michael considered himself a strict Jehovah's Witness. He didn't believe in blood transfusions, Easter and Christmas, which he felt were "pagan holidays." He even did not celebrate his own birthday. As other Witnesses, he did not believe in pledging allegiance to the flag.

Armageddon was near, Michael would say, and only God's most beloved believers (Jehovah's Witnesses) would survive. But of these, 144,000 would go to heaven to reside with Jesus for a thousand years, while the other Witnesses rebuilt Earth as a paradise for the resurrected.

"He was very devoted," recalled his voice teacher Seth Riggs. "He would come in for his lesson, and before we got started we would have a prayer and read the Bible. Then there would be another prayer before we actually began the lesson. Sometimes we would get down on our knees."

Despite being a devout Witness, and donated quite a bit of money to the religion, the church's elders were very upset with him, mostly because of the "Thriller" video.

Impressed with the An American Werewolf In London movie, Michael hired John Landis and Rick Baker to direct and create special effects for the "Thriller" video. The video would be fourteen minutes long, at a budget of $600,000. John Branca advised Michael to find a way to finance the expensive project.

Branca and Michael came up with the idea of a video called "The Making of Thriller." The behind the scenes footage, along with interviews, the video documented the production of the video. Then Branca approached Vestron Video, a video distribution company, and had them pay $500,000 for the right to distribute the project.

Then, he went to MTV and told them about the sixty-minute documentary, and that if they wanted to show it, they'd have to pay for it.

Because Michael was so popular, MTV agreed to finance part of the "Making of Thriller," if Michael would license the station for an official debut. Then, Showtime also paid for second rights to the video. So, with the video costing just over a million dollars, MTV and Showtime paid for half.

Now, we all know what the video "Thriller" is all about. It was fun and fantasy, with some of the greatest dancing put on film. Michael did not make it to advocate Satanism and the occult, but that's what the elders of the Jehovah's Witnesses implied. Even before the work on the video was finished, Michael was called into meetings with church elders at Kingdom Hall in Encino, to discuss the video concept, and the state of Michael's soul. Michael did not want to be told what to do, by his father, nor his church. The church insisted he repudiate his work. He refused.

Finally, when the elders threatened to force him to leave the religion, Michael became extremely upset. He made several call to John Branca's office, but no one recognized him because he sounded so distraught.

Long story short. Michael wanted to video destroyed. Branca assured him that they were invested in the project and the church had no right to dictate to his artistry. Branca never destroyed the tapes.

Branca happened to be reading a book about Bela Lugosi. Lugosi was also a religious man, but his religious beliefs did not interfere with his art, nor did the movies he made make him any less religious. He told this to Michael, and suggested that a disclaimer be put at the beginning of the video. Michael agreed, but John Landis said, "Bullshit! No Way."

Branca told him if there was no disclaimer, there would be no video. Then, he explained the whole story to Landis. "Jesus Christ," Landis said, this kid's in bad shape, isn't he?"

Michael ended up with the first videocassette to apply for gold and platinum certification. The Thriller album sale before the video's release was down to 200,000 copies a week, The week after the video was shown on MTV for five days, the album sold 600,000 copies, and shot back to number one!

"Thank goodness for Branca," Michael said to an associate. "If it wasn't for him, the "Thriller" video would be ashes by now and there would have been no "Making of Thriller." That was a close call, but when Michael asked Branca did he destroy the tapes of the video, Branca said yes, but they were sitting on his desk.

Thank you J. Randy Taraborrelli " Michael Jackson - The Magic and the Madness" pages 324-328.

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Morning Glow' is on my summer soundtrack

Morning Glow by Michael Jackson

Being I live in Miami, one can't think of a better song to start the day with. Michael's singing is so beautiful and pure, the song makes you want to run outside and breathe in the fresh air.

Human Nature by Michael Jackson

Perfect song to have playing in a convertable on South Beach.

2000 Watts by Michael Jackson

This song has the most pumping bass line, you have to roll down the windows of your car! If you don't already have hydrolics on you car, the sound from your system will make your car bump and jump!!! Plinky!

What Five People Would I Invite To Dinner?

Michael Jackson
He is the one famous person whom I have always wanted to REALLY meet. I just wanted to talk to him about what inspired him and what did he do to gain spiritual strength through adversity.

Eleanor Roosevelt
She was a fascinating and deeply insiprational woman whom I have always admired.She was cool for a woman when a woman's voice was not taken seriously and she never held back. Being a white woman, she was a great helper in the cause for civil rights for Black people in America.

Marlon Brando
Just because he has a lot of knowledge of the motion picture industry and all of its secrets. To me, he was one of the most beautiful people to grace the screen.

Tina Turner
She is probably one of the only people alive whom I would like to meet. She is a survivor, a worldly woman, and someone who I would like to be like when I grow up. I'm forty-six.

President Barack Obama
Just because he is who he is, and his story is one I want my son to have burned in his mind. He has made it possible for Black children to be anything they want to be, if they work hard and fight for truth and justice. But most importantly, BE KIND AND BE YOURSELF.

First Lady Michelle Obama
She is the perfect example of a beautiful, highly intelligent, and classy Black woman. Every Black girl should use her as an model towards success. Plus, the President is nothing without her and her input. She does not seem to be the "quiet" First Lady. Plinky!

What three songs sound best at full volume?

Three songs I feel will make your speakers beg for mercy.

"Layla" by Eric Clapton

When you realize this song was written to the then wife of George Harrison because he was stupid in love with her, you can understand. the range of intensity at the beginning, and the tender piano and guitar performance shows the sadness shoes the deepness of his love for this woman.

"Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones

Some say "Satifaction" is the best Stones song, but I think this song is because it stops me in my tracks everytime it plays!

"Remember The Time" by Michael Jackson

BASS,BASS,and more BASS!!!! If you are sitting down while this song is playing, you better have back problems! The most bored person will tap their foot, bop their head, or ever do a liitle hip grind to tihs jam!

I'd have 'Wanna Be Startin' Something' playing in my cafe

Wanna Be Startin' Something
Just from the title of the song, you know you are going to be in for a treat. Plus, it would be cool to see people dance in their seats.

Off The Wall
The song is great to listen to because as Michael says, "Gotta leave that nine- to- five up on the shelf, and just enjoy yourself." That's what I want people to do. Enjoy themselves.

Bad is not necessarily a negative thing. Then they are tasting the food, I want them to to say, 'Man, this food is BAD!!' Meaning GREAT!!!

The desserts will be dangerous!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dancing The Dream

Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is in the dance of the creator, Dancers come ans go in the twinkling of an eye but the dancer lives on. On many occasion when I'm dancing, I've felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I've felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy.

I keep on dancing and dancing..... and dancing, until there is only..... the dance.

Michael Jackson - DANCING THE DREAM page 1.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Revisiting 1986: A Tribute To Michael Jackson's 'Captain EO' - Monitor Mix Blog : NPR

Revisiting 1986: A Tribute To Michael Jackson's 'Captain EO' - Monitor Mix Blog : NPR A terrific post from someone re-visiting their teen years while watching "Captain EO."

Friday, February 26, 2010

So.. What About Michael Jackson?

Not to diminish the contributions of the late, great, Paul Newman, I have been an admirer of his for years. He, more than many of his contemporaries, deserves to be honored by Congress, for his philanthropic contributions, and the contributions he made in motion pictures. Toby Keith, okay, he went and supported the troops in Iraq. That's great. But notice how quickly they were honored by Congress in their work. It has been eight months since the death of Michael Jackson. WHERE IS HIS HONOR FROM CONGRESS?
There can be no doubt, the wonderful work that Michael has done for children, various fund raising for diseases (AIDS, Diabetes,etc.), for the hungry and poor of the world. It was announced at his memorial, that he contributed more than any other celebrity, toward charity. That is just what we know of. Michael was a giving man, that did not announce his contributions. He just did it, and sometimes anonymously.
I can't think of any reason for the delay. We should let Congress know, that Michael Jackson deserves to be recognized officially, as a humanitarian, and a philanthropist, and a peace maker. They waited six months to honor Paul Newman, and he rightfully deserved recognition.
Please take time to read the posts dealing with Paul Newman and Toby Keith, and tell me whether Michael Jackson is deserving of the same honor. I believe he is.

U.S. Congress honours late actor Paul Newman | Entertainment | Reuters

U.S. Congress honours late actor Paul Newman Entertainment Reuters

Toby Keith Honored in Congress - The Boot

Toby Keith Honored in Congress - The Boot

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Exclusive: Michael Jackson's guitarist pays tribute to lost superstar - The Daily Record

Exclusive: Michael Jackson's guitarist pays tribute to lost superstar - The Daily Record A wonderful interview with the lovely guitarist who toured with Michael and can be seen on the "Live from Bucherest" video playing along side Michael.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Michael Jackson told India: You are my special love | Ub News

Michael Jackson told India: You are my special love Ub News
There is a quote that Michael made once that Indians, from the sub-continent India, were," his people." He loved the Indian people and thought that they were beautiful. If you watch him in the "Black or White" video, he seems to enjoy the dance he has with the female Indian dancer. He, from what was told, said this was his favorite part of the video.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Did Michael Jackson Come To YOUR House Today?

Though Michael was famous and wealthy, he still continued going proselytizing for the Jehovah Witnesses. According to his mother, Katherine, he would go door to door "twice a week, maybe for a hour or two." When he was in town, he would attend Kingdom Hall meetings with his mother four times a week. Wearing a disguise- a mustache, hat, sunglasses, a tie, sweater, and holding a copy Watchtower, Michael came to the door of an apartment in Thousand Oaks, California in 1984. "I'm here to talk to you about God's word," he would say, as doors would slam in his face.
Louise Gilmore, recalls the day Michael Jackson came to visit. "It was very odd. At first, I thought it was some kind of trick-or-treat gag. A young black man came to my door wearing what was obviously a phony mustache and beard, and a big hat. His face was too smooth for all of that facial hair. Her looked like a little boy playing grown-up. He had this soft little voice and looked harmless enough. 'Can I talk to you for just a moment?' he said politely. I decided to let him in.
"He sat down and pulled out all of these books and pamphlets from a bag. 'You should read these,' he said. He gave me a little speech about the Jehovah Witnesses, which I paid no attention to, so I can't tell you what he said. He then had a glass of water, thanked me, and went on his way. I didn't think anything of it, except, 'My, what a polite boy.'
The next day my neighbor said to me, 'Did Michael Jackson come to your house too?' I said, 'What are you talking about?' When I put two and two together, I almost fainted. I've kept the material he gave me as souvenirs. No, I didn't join the religion."

Thank you, J. Randy Taraborreli, "Michael Jackson- The Music and the Madness" pages 323,324.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anjelica Huston - Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009 - TIME

Anjelica Huston - Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009 - TIME
Ms. Huston played as the evil queen on a distant planet with Michael in "Captain Eo." She shares her feelings of her experience working with him on the project, and his death.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Michael Jackson Really Saved The Music Industry

Just how significant and influential was Michael Jackson?

By the year 1984, Thriller had sold an unbelievable 13 million copies in the United States and 22 million worldwide. Up to that point, the soundtrack to the motion picture Saturday Night Fever sold 25 million copies since its release in 1977. Up until now, no other solo album had ever sold more than 12 million copies.

Michael Jackson had actually revived a dismally performing recording industry. When people went to the store to buy Thriller, they bought other records too, resulting in the best business the industry have had since 1978. Gil Friesen, then-president of A&M Records said, "The whole industry has a stake in Thriller's success." It also created interest in Black music in general.

MTV, the twenty-four hour cable music station rarely played the videos of Black artists. The station's format was "strictly rock and roll." In fact, of the over 750 videos shown on MTV during the channel's first eighteen months, fewer than two dozen featured Black artists.

When CBS submitted Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" to MTV, the station rejected it. Then CBS threatened to pull all of its other videos from MTV unless they ran it. Finally, in early March 1983, the video "Billie Jean" was played on MTV, and on heavy rotation. "Beat It, " soon followed, along with a few more videos by Black artists.

Thriller would ultimately sell between 65-100 million copies worldwide, making it THE biggest selling album of all time. An anomaly that will never be surpassed in our lifetime.

Think about how much money Michael Jackson made off of that album alone. Michael Jackson, at that time, had the highest royalty rate in the record business. That rate increased with the sales, but averaged 42 percent of the wholesale price of each record sold, or about $2.10 for every album sold in the United States- $32 million on Thriller's sales domestically.About $15 million was made in the foreign markets, and all those figures do not include the royalties for the four songs that Michael wrote for the album.

Michael Jackson, at twenty-five, had become a very rich young man. The 0.2 percent royalty rate Motown offered him was far in the distant past.
Today, things are a little different as far as royalties, but Michael was still making bank. The compulsory mechanical rate, which pays royalties on released songs to copyright owners, is 8.5 cents per track, up to 5 minutes per disk or tape made. Or $1.65 per minute of playing time, whichever amount is higher. Recording artists still are not making their fair share and are fighting with record companies with production costs, and other fees. Which is why Michael, with the help of John Branca, were so successful in negotiating his contracts.