Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off The Wall- review

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“Michael may be the purest talent I’ve ever seen. He’s incapable of a false moment.”
– Director Sidney Lumet, on Michael Jackson in “The Wiz.”

Michael Jackson, along with his almost otherworldly talent, was always one of the most emotional performers. In the pantheon with James Brown, Judy Garland, Jackie Wilson, and a handful of other electric live performers, Jackson’s onstage persona and performing ability was akin to the Big Bang, there was no end to the expansion. People responded to him personally, and, because he started out so young, a generation grew up with him, identified with him, watched in awe at his transformations. Spike Lee’s documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall,” premiering on February 5th on Showtime, is as emotional as its subject matter. Kobe Bryant, interviewed in the documentary, says at one point, “It’s easy for people to get sidetracked. They talk about his complexion. They don’t focus on what this man was, and how he was that.” What with the tabloid frenzy of Michael Jackson’s life, not to mention his early death, Lee’s documentary is a welcome corrective as well as an almost aggressive act of redress and celebration. It does not get “sidetracked.” It’s about Michael Jackson’s work, and how he worked. Maybe most pleasingly, it’s a track-by-track history lesson of Jackson’s 1979 album “Off the Wall,” an album that still gets so much radio play today that if you didn’t know better you might think it was released last weekend.

The plot points of Jackson’s early life (the rise of the Jackson 5 on Motown, their jump to Epic, Michael emerging as the solo star, culminating in Off the Wall) may be well-known to those who grew up in that era but Lee presents it in a way that passes the information on to a new generation. When there is an artist as big as Michael Jackson was, as important, as … improbable, really (and it’s more improbable the more you learn), it’s essential that an understanding of the achievement of that art is passed on (especially to kids who may only know him as the weird man in sunglasses on the cover of every tabloid). A film like Lee’s says: “See what he did? See how much space he created for others? For you? Honor that.”

To read the rest of this great review of Spike Lee’s tribute documentary to Michael Jackson please click link below to be redirected to RogerEbert.com

READ FULL REVIEW

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Dear Hollywood: Michael Jackson Was Black (and Proud)

Michael Jackson: Say it out loud – He was black and PROUD

A. K. Staggers

As submitted to the Huffington Post Blog

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The casting of a white man as Michael Jackson in a TV series set in 2001 is more than unnerving. It is actually a complete contradiction of who MJ was in 2001 and throughout his life. The year 2001 was a year, that if you look and listen to Jackson himself, he was nothing but a black man ringing the alarm about racism in the music industry. The industry was shaken by his outing of racist practices pertaining to black artists and, in a way, retaliated with MJ once again being portrayed as a druggie whose accusations were the rantings indicative of an addict and by 2003, an accused child molester. The latter, if you research the charges, the district attorney’s office, the witnesses and the testimony of others, was nothing more than an aberration of his character and a clear attempt to…

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Was Michael Jackson a Modern Day Prophet?

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Writer Chaz Harris posted the following article in his blog, Over The Rainbow:

Was Michael Jackson a Modern-Day Prophet?

I find myself troubled as I sit here thinking about how it is one year today since Michael Jackson’s untimely, tragic and unexpected death. Last year, when the London concerts were announced, I made sure my brother was on the phone the day tickets went on sale and instead of trying for the July dates right off the mark, I told him to get tickets for one of the dates in September, which he managed to do.

I was really excited about going home for the show as I had always wanted to see Michael Jackson performing live and I was walking around in a weird state of disbelief during the days after it happened. I think most people were expecting it to be a huge publicity stunt to promote the tour and that MJ would reappear and reassure us that he was fine…but that moment never came.

Whatever you may think of him, it has to be acknowledged that he was considered and probably always will be one of the most influential figures in entertainment. Michael Jackson’s rise in popularity was an important part of the post civil-rights era in the US and opened up black entertainers to the mainstream markets like no other artist has. He also had the ability to own a stage like nobody else – just as he did with this performance at the 1993 Superbowl.

Even through the controversial court cases, I remember always dismissing them as gold-digging parents who just wanted to cash in on his generosity as he always came across as unassuming and someone who always saw the best in people. The guy grew up a child-star and missed out on having a childhood, but I don’t believe in him being a pedophile even if he appears to “fit the profile”. This was compounded by the countless comments and tributes that celebrity friends and his staff made after he died last year, including Donna Summer, who said of the alleged accusations, “I can’t even imagine he [Michael] would ever try to hurt a child. I felt more like it was exploitation, personally, from other people. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I just – you know, I just think he was a sitting duck at times.”

While I was back in the UK, it was announced that This is It was going to be made and released and I remember being slightly hesitant and cynical about what I was going to see. However, when I went in and saw the film on opening night, I was blown away and delighted to discover that Jackson retained the brilliance and showmanship at 50 that he did all those years before in ’93. It was as if no time had passed and it would have without doubt been one of the most eye-popping and spectacular concerts ever held.

On the DVD, there is a whole section on the various costumes and one of these was a suit complete with lights built into it so that it could light up and shoot colourful beams down the arms and legs. It was to be used when he performed Billie Jean. It would have been epic and I felt a mix of excitement and melancholy watching that film.

The odd thing to me is how consistent Michael Jackson’s message of peace, love and saving the planet for the children and our children’s children was. And yet, the man was persecuted, misunderstood and treated as an outcast by the very media spotlight that helped create this spectacle in the first place. Why do people turn on those who try to spread positive messages in the world? Do we think they have some kind of hidden agenda?

If I believed in God, then I would say Jackson was the closest thing we had in recent times to a modern-day prophet. His followers and fans outnumber any other modern religious or public figure and he always spread his message of healing, love, peace and acceptance. When it comes down to it, I know I definitely believe in MJ and his message because I have proof that he was real.

The tragic impact we’re seeing from the BP disaster has been bringing back chilling images of Earth Song. Whenever Jackson spoke about disasters it’s like he knew something worse was just around the corner. A quote from This is It says it all “I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening in the world: that every second I hear the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me. That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know, to get some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people.” Jackson then went on to say: “The planet is sick, like a fever. If we don’t fix it now it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have or it’s like a runaway train…The time has come, This is It. It starts with us. US. or else it’ll never be done.”

The words his children said at the memorial last August were enough to obliterate any doubts (if any) that I had about Jackson’s innocence when his daughter Paris said “daddy was the best father you could ever imagine”. Some people disagreed with the kids being allowed to speak, but I could sense it was heartfelt and something she felt like she needed to say. After all, Jackson cut his father out of his will over the alleged abuse he suffered as a child because he never wanted to see his own children go through that. Why would anyone assume he’s guilty just because statistically there have been suggestions of child abuse victims repeating that behaviour? Are there no exceptions?

I’ll leave you with the parting poignant words of one of my favourite MJ songs. In fact, they almost sound like they could be someone’s wedding vows: “In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care? Will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations. Through our doubts and frustrations. In my violence, in my turbulence. Through my fear and my confessions. In my anguish and my pain. Through my joy and my sorrow. In the promise of another tomorrow, I’ll never let you part, for you’re always in my heart.”

Was Michael Jackson a modern-day prophet? Why does humankind have a tendency to attack or turn against those who try to spread a message of love, acceptance and healing?

R.I.P. Michael Jackson – The King of Pop

Chaz Harris @Over the Rainbow

 

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Thriller 1st Album EVER Certified by RIAA 30xMulti-plantinum

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Michael Jackson’s Thriller is now the only album in music history to be certified 30X Multi-Platinum in the United States, breaking the album’s own historic record. Thriller has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. The King of Pop also remains the biggest selling artist of all time with over 1 billion records sold globally. Thank you to all of Michael’s fans who have contributed to this milestone. Read the complete announcement:

MICHAEL JACKSON’S THRILLER IS THE FIRST ALBUM CERTIFIED RIAA 30X MULTI-PLATINUM THE KING OF POP MAKES HISTORY (AGAIN)!
THRILLER REMAINS THE BIGGEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME, TOPPING 100 MILLION SALES WORLDWIDE

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings announced today that Michael Jackson’s THRILLER is the first album in RIAA Gold & Platinum Program history to be certified 30X Multi-Platinum for U.S. sales, continuing The King of Pop’s reign as the biggest selling artist of all time with worldwide sales of over 100 million for Thriller and 1 billion overall.

“RIAA has awarded Gold & Platinum records on behalf of the music business for nearly 60 years, but this is the first time an artist has crossed the 30X multi-Platinum plateau,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA. “We are honored to celebrate the unique status of Thriller in Gold & Platinum history. What an exceptional achievement and testament to Thriller’s enduring spot in our hearts and musical history.”

Let us not forget Thriller is the only music video initiated into-LIbrary of Congress TWICE –

2008 Thriller Album – http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/08078/nrr.html …  

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and in 2009  as a FILM  http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-250.html … 

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Michael Jackson’s masterpiece Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, won a record setting 8 Grammys, more than any album ever, and has been earning awards and setting new standards of success since its release on November 30, 1982. Thriller spent nearly 2 -1/2 years on the Billboard album chart and holds a modern day record of 37 weeks at #1. It was the first album in history to spend each of its first 80 weeks in the album chart’s Top 10, a feat only reached by one other album in the more than three decades since. During its 112th week on Billboard’s album chart, it became the first title ever to be certified RIAA 20X multi-Platinum (October 30, 1984). Worldwide, Thriller went to #1 in practically every country in the world, including the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and apartheid South Africa.

The album was acclaimed for its range and depth. Rolling Stone referred to the album as a ‘’watershed” moment for Michael, and Newsweek prophetically wrote that “Michael’s voice haunts these songs, gives them heart…It is what will make this music endure.” Seven tracks from the album became Top 10 singles, and three, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller”, went #1. ALL nine assumed a permanent place in hearts and memories of everyone on the planet.

More than just an album, Thriller has remained a global cultural multi-media phenomenon for both the 20th and the 21st centuries, smashing musical barriers and changing the frontiers of pop forever. The music on Thriller is so dynamic and singular that it defied any definition of rock, pop or soul that had gone before. ‘“Beat It” was a new kind of pop rock hybrid and demolished the longstanding segregation between black and white music with Eddie Van Halen’s incendiary guitar. On “The Girl Is Mine” a black man and a white man bantered about the same girl. On the same album were songs like the African-rooted “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and the rhythm and blues based “Billie Jean”. No one had ever released an album with such a vast range of material.

“Perhaps Michael’s most significant racial trailblazing came with music videos,” wrote Joe Vogel in Man in the Music. Fascinated with the fledgling art form Michael wanted to tell a story and entertain on a grand scale. Despite the luscious cinematography, dramatic narrative and spectacular choreography of “Billie Jean”, a fledgling MTV, which was programming white rock artists almost exclusively, refused to play it. Epic persisted. Once the wall came crashing down, MTV’s ratings soared and a door was opened for a generation of African American artists. “He was MTV’s Jackie Robinson,” said cultural critic Touré. Next came the unforgettable short film for “Beat It” which featured Michael bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance. And then there was “Thriller”. Premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983, it sold out every night for three weeks. No other video before or since has generated such excitement and has such a hold on our attention such that more than 30 years later we all share it as a collective memory and it remains the only music video to be inducted into the elite National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The importance of Thriller was recognized by Michael Jackson’s industry peers at the Grammys. Thriller was nominated in a record breaking 12 categories, and won a history making eight, which stands as the record for most Grammy Awards to be won by any album. Seven of those Grammys that year were awarded to Michael for: Album of the Year; Record of the Year (“Beat It”); Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (“Thriller”); Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical (Thriller); Best Male Rock Vocal Performance (“Beat It”); Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (“Billie Jean”); Best R&B Song (“Billie Jean”). (Michael’s eighth Grammy that year was in the Best Recording for Children – Single or Album, Musical or Spoken category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”). That same year, Michael Jackson took home eight American Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, “The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller” took home the Best Video Album trophy at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards.

During his extraordinary career, Michael Jackson sold more than a billion records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and “Thriller” as the World’s Top-Selling Album of All Time. His artistry, choreography and music continue to inspire generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists and fans.

“It is crystal clear that Michael Jackson is simply the greatest, and biggest artist of all time,” says LA Reid, Chairman & CEO of Epic Records. “Not only are his charts hits and sales stats staggering, but his pure musicality was other-worldly.  Thriller was groundbreaking and electrifying…it was perfection. I am extremely proud that Michael is the heart and soul of Epic Records and he will forever remain the one-and-only King of Pop.”

“100 million albums and counting. There has never been a phenomenon like Thriller,” says John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. “Michael opened the floodgates of his creativity, explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation. In the process, he breached destructive barriers in the music industry and literally united the world through his music: there isn’t a place on this planet that hasn’t been exhilarated by the music of Michael Jackson. 30 years after its release, Thriller continues to be a revelation.

Music from Thriller and Michael’s other hit albums is featured in the hit Las Vegas show Michael Jackson ONE, produced by Cirque du Soleil and the Estate of Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson ONE is selling out shows and amazing fans at the Michael Jackson ONE Theatre at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

SOURCE  :http://www.michaeljackson.com

http://www.mtv.com/news/1628945/michael-jacksons-thriller-added-to-national-film-registry/

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The adventures of Michael Jackson’s defenders in the world of his haters

EVERY MJ Advocate who has a blog should REBLOG this post .. the trolls can not possible shut us all down- we’re MJGLOBAL afterall!!

Vindicating Michael

Recently all those who read, comment and write in this blog were stunned to find that it was suddenly suspended. And a couple of days later all of us were similarly stunned to suddenly find it back.

What happened?

The way I understand it Michael Jackson’s haters wanted to have the blog taken down and complained to WordPress that our reserve wordpress blogs were “spam” intended to promote the main site, and this is why the whole bunch of them should be taken down.

The WordPress looked it up, suspended the reserve blogs but restored the main one. So the bad news is that now we have only one blog (with no back-ups and no archives for the earlier posts), but the good news is that now this website is the only one and unique.

It means that if haters go on impersonating us (read about it in a post…

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Michael Jackson’s Classical Music

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More details on instrumental album Michael Jackson started before his death, and his love of classical music by Tim Smith

JULY 10, 2009

More details on instrumental album Michael Jackson started before his death, and his love of classical music.

TV and film composer and conductor David Michael Frank may have been one of the last persons to collaborate with Michael Jackson on an artistic project. The pop singer’s untimely death left that project in an uncertain state. Initial reports suggested that Jackson planned to do an album of “classical music” he had written; the pieces were to be orchestrated by Frank. Actually, Frank says, the pieces were closer to film music and would have gone into an all-instrumental album had Jackson lived. The Baltimore-born Frank, interviewed by phone in California, gives an account here of his experience with the King of Pop.

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Four or five months ago, I received a call from Michael Jackson’s longtime personal recording engineer, Michael Prince, who told me Michael was looking for someone to arrange some music for orchestra. I thought it was going to be for the tour he was going to do. For the next month or two, he would call, saying, ‘Michael Jackson says he’s going to call you.’

At the end of April, another Michael, Michael Jackson’s personal assistant, called me and asked me to come the next day at 10 a.m. and asked me the make and model of my car. I drove to the Holmby Hills home. I drove up to the front door, and was met by an assistant who told me to go inside. I was met there by a woman dressed like a housekeeper, but with a white turban on her head. She said, ‘Michael Jackson will be with you shortly.’ About two minutes later, he came down the stairs.

I was reluctant to shake his hand because I had heard that he was concerned about germs, but he immediately stuck his hand out and gave me a very firm handshake. He was very skinny, but not the least bit frail. He was wearing a suit and a hat. He was going to rehearsal later for the tour. He said, ‘You look familiar.’ I told him a long time ago I worked on a TV tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr. at Shrine Auditorium [that he had participated in]. I told him I had met him briefly there.’ He said, ‘I never forget a face.’

He told me, ‘I have three projects going on simultaneously.’ One was the tour that the whole world knew about. The other two I believe no one knew about. One was to be an album of pop songs. Then he said, ‘The other one is that I want to record an album of classical music’ — what he called classical music.

He said he listened to …classical music all the time; it was his absolute favorite. I was impressed with the pieces he mentioned: Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait; Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. I mentioned Bernstein’s On the Waterfront. Then Michael mentioned that he loved Elmer Bernstein’s film music, too, and he specifically mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird.

I realized that almost all the classical pieces he mentioned are childlike, very simple and pretty, like Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. He also mentioned Debussy several times, specifically Arabesque [No. 1] and Clair de lune. He was very soft-spoken when were talking about music, but when he got animated about something, he was very changed. When he mentioned how he loved Elmer Bernstein, and I said I liked the Magnificent Seven score, Michael started singing the theme very loudly, almost screaming it.

He said, ‘I’m making a CD.’ Then his son, Prince Michael, came in, and Michael asked him to find a CD player. Paris found one and brought it in with Prince. Michael played the CD. It was very pretty music. He said, ‘But a section is missing.’ He played a second piece. And he said, ‘But a section is missing, too. But I can hum it to you.’ I asked if there was a piano in the house, and he said there was one in the pool house. We headed out there, but Michael stopped when he saw the dog was outside, soaking wet from being in the pool. He didn’t want us to get splattered. It was kind of funny. Michael got another assistant to hold the dog while we went to his pool house.

I sat at the piano and Michael hummed the missing part of one of the pieces. I had taken a little digital recorder with me and asked if I could record him. He was in perfect pitch. I tried to figure out chords to go with it as he hummed. He said, ‘Your instincts are totally right about the chords.’

We talked about classical music some more. I played some Debussy pieces. Michael seemed very happy and I think he felt very comfortable with me. He mentioned Leonard Bernstein again, and I played some of West Side Story. He told me he had met Bernstein once and that Bernstein had said he was a big fan of Michael’s.

Back in the house, whenever he’d go from room to room, you’d hear, ‘I love you, Daddy.’ ‘I love you, Paris.’ They all seemed pretty normal and happy.

Michael was very anxious to get the pieces orchestrated and record the music with a big orchestra. I suggested we record it at the Fox, Sony or Warner Brothers lot. I asked if he could have someone call me to discuss the budget and he said he would take care of it. When I left there were several fans outside the gate.

[Later] I talked to Michael on the phone. He asked me how the project was going and I said I was waiting to hear from someone so we could set the deal. I suggested we could record the music in London while he was doing the show there. He liked the idea. He again brought up Arabesque.

I laid the music all out on my computer and started on the orchestrations. Finally, a week before Michael died, his manager, Frank Dileo, called and asked me for an email with the budget and an electronic mock-up of the music, the costs of orchestration.

Now I have no idea what’s going to happen with this. I’m hoping the family will do something to get this done. I will not bring it up [with them] until after what I think is an appropriate time.

My guess is that each piece would be seven to ten minutes long. [Each one] is more substantial than a song. It’s very pretty music. One piece had an Irish quality about it. I suggested that we could use a Celtic harp. The pieces sound like pretty film score music, with very traditional harmony, and definitely very strong melodies. One of them was a little John Barry-ish, like in Out of Africa — that kind of John Barry score. I could hear [in my head] sweeping strings and French horns in unison.

I told Michael I was going to use one of Leonard Bernstein’s batons I had bought at auction when we did the recording. I knew he would have gotten a big kick out of that. I guess I still will use that baton if I ever get to conduct the music.

PHOTO OF DAVID MICHAEL FRANK COURTESY OF THE COMPOSER

In honor of Michael Jackson’s interest in classical music, as reported by David Michael Frank, here’s a performance of Debussy’s ‘Arabesque’ that the late singer apparently held in high regard:

Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage. 

View the Artsmash blog

 

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Court documents about the 1993 CASE and MALICIOUS PROSECUTION of Michael Jackson

ANOTHER GREAT POST from Helena at Vindicate MJ -” Just like sun and moon, truth shall not long be obstructed” – Buddha

Vindicating Michael

We continue studying the 2005 court documents in search for MJ’s phantom victims and their millions, as well as the “wealth of evidence” from the 90s which allegedly could not be admitted at trial due to some technicalities.

This is already part 3 of the search and up till now not a single trace of the above has been found. On the contrary, we learned that all discovery from the 1993 case was requested by the defense and it was the prosecution who blocked it with excuses that it is extremely “complex” and “demanding of time” and they have “limited resources”, and to crown it all, the discovery from prior investigation is “irrelevant”.

A short reminder from the defense’s motion on September 3, 2004:

“The prosecution has not responded in writing to this request. The prosecution has stated in court, however, that discovery from the prior investigation is irrelevant” 

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