“We Are the World” On Its 30th Anniversary: 5 Things To Know

Sources: People – By Michael Miller | All Things Michael

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Thirty years ago, 45 of the biggest (and most diverse) names in American pop music came together on Jan. 28 to record a song with one purpose: ending famine in Africa.

The song was called “We Are the World” and megastars like Michael Jackson,Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and many more gathered together to record the track in one legendary night.

“We Are the World” sold over 20 million copies and won numerous awards, including three Grammys – but the most important number is the money it raised: an unprecedented $63 million for humanitarian aid.

In honor of the song’s 30th anniversary, here are five amazing facts about the extraordinary circumstances of its recording:

1. The song wasn’t fully written until the night before recording.
Jackson and Richie – who co-wrote the song – finished the lyrics and melody on the night before their deadline. “I love working quickly,” Jackson later said of the process as quoted in Michael Jackson: The King of Pop by Lisa D. Campbell. “I went ahead without even Lionel knowing, I couldn’t wait. I went in and came out the same night with the song completed – drums, piano, strings, and words to the chorus.”

2. The recording took place the same night as the American Music Awards.
Many of the stars who joined forces to record “We Are the World” were competitors just hours earlier. Lauper, Turner, and Richie were among those who came straight to the studio from the 12th annual AMAs. Richie actually hosted the award show, and Lauper and Turner had both given live performances. Jackson skipped the awards to record the guiding vocals to the song – but still managed to win two AMAs despite his absence.

3. “We Are the World” wasn’t the only song the stars sang that night.
“We Are the World” was the brainchild of activist/entertainer Harry Belafonte. It was Belafonte’s dream to gather a supergroup of his favorite artists to record a song that’s proceeds could be donated entirely to charity. In honor of his efforts, the entire room of stars broke out into an impromptu rendition of Belafonte’s classic hit, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song.)”

4. Lauper’s jewelry ruined one of the solo takes.
The motto of the evening was “check your ego at the door” – but in Lauper’s case, checking her accessories might have been more helpful. Still, she definitely won outfit of the evening.

The jewelry incident occurs at 2:00

5. No one left without swapping autographs.
“Mass hysteria broke out because everybody wanted everybody else’s autograph,” Richie of one point in the night. “I realized that there was a room of everybody being fans of everyone else.”

As Kenny Rogers remembers, “Everyone wanted a memento that we could all keep ourselves. And we had the sheet music so we had all the other artists sign it. I don’t think there was one out there who didn’t get everyone to sign it.”

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MiG Ayesa Interview

Sources: Music News – By Cate Altamura | All Things Michael

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Winning multiple awards and gaining recognition world-wide, Thriller Live has entered into the record books as the longest running show in the Lyric Theatres 125 year history. Starting out in 2009, the show was a tribute to Michael Jackson. Today, the show pays homage to the King of Pop.

Back on Australian shores for the Australian leg of the tour, MiG Ayesa, has a long list of achievements to his name including global hit TV show Rock Star: INXS, We Will Rock You, Rent, Burn The Floor andRock of Ages.

I recently had the pleasure to chat with the multi-talented MiG Ayesa about Thriller Live, the Jackson family and what he does in his spare time.

Music News – Congratulations on Thriller Live, I understand it was entered into the record books as the 20th longest running musical in West End History. How does it feel to be a part of a show that will live on in the record books?

It’s been a big honour to be representing Michael, his music and his legacy, but it also comes with a great responsibility. There are so many fans out there that love Michael’s music and we have to do it right. It’s an honour to be in show that’s been so successful and has so many accolades. I think its gone passed the top 20 and is now the top18th.

Music News – It’s great to hear that the show has surpassed its records. What do you think Michael would say about the show?

He’d probably want to be in it. (Laughs).

Music News – How did the Jackson’s respond to the show?

They are actually very supportive of the show and us. They love the show and in fact have all come to see it at different times……. Michael also had plans to come and see the show but unfortunately he passed away before he made it. They (the Jackson’s) are all behind it and we are very respectful of Michael and his legacy…….we have to pass everything we do through them and get there okay.

Music News – What can you tell me about Thriller Live and what can the audience expect to see?

It’s more a concert than it is a musical. It’s probably the closest thing you will get to a Michael Jackson concert. Everything is done live, that’s why the name “live” is in the title…. We have 5 singers, 14 dancers, 8 piece live band, pyrotechnics, videos, lights and lasers. It’s extravaganza – a celebration, so people should come with their dancing shoes and expect to have a good time because it is an uplifting celebration of Michael. We do touch on the fact that he is gone, but only very briefly. We focus on celebrating his life and the impact he has made on us and to popular culture.

Music News – Going back a little, I want to ask you about Rockstar:INXS. How did your experience on the show change the shape of your career?

Exponentially, it was a life-changing situation I must say. Being the only Australian in the mix, I felt like l needed to do really well, but not just for me, but for every Aussie out there (laughs). There was a lot of pressure and I felt like I buckled under pressure quite a bit and wish I could do it all again as I’d be wiser about the realities of reality TV, which is a monster in itself. It (the experience) definitely opened doors for me and changed my life – I moved to the states, got a recording deal and won a car. I live in New York City now and have been working on Broadway and around the United States and all over the world. Up until this day, people still talk to me about the show and it’s actually our tenth year anniversary. It’s worth celebrating the milestone of ten years.

Music News – Music aside, what do you like doing in your spare time?

At the moment, well actually I’ve got a very boring life. (laughs) I’m not doing anything other than working at the moment. I’ve also been working on a travel television show, that we filmed in the Philippines called, “Phil It Up” with co-host, Sophie Sumner. We are now in the post-production stages and I’m actually scoring the whole series. So I’ll do Thriller Live at night and in the day l’ll be in my hotel room with a keyboard and my computer scoring the series. So at the moment I’m not getting much free time.

Music News – Before I let you go, is there anything else you would like to share? 

My second album is currently out and it’s called, “More Than Ever”. It’s available on iTunes as well as on my website which is http://www.MiG-music.com. I’m also working on some new stuff and there are a few projects that are not confirmed yet,but if they do come to fruition, it will be very exciting and could be the biggest thing I ever did, so we will see.

Thriller Live is at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, January 28-February 8, and the Sydney Lyric, February 26-March 15.

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Rock And Roll History Sold At Caribou Ranch Auction

Sources: 9News | All Things Michael

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DENVER – A piano used by Elton John, a Corvette that counts Val Kilmer among its passengers and former President Grover Cleveland’s bed were among the items that were auctioned off in Denver on Saturday.

The items come from Caribou Ranch, a legendary recording studio near Nederland that saw everyone from Elton John to John Lennon to the Beach Boys to Chicago to Michael Jackson during its run from 1971 to 1986.

The ranch was put up for sale back in 2013 – and reportedly purchased by the Waltons, the owners of Wal-Mart.

Part of the proceeds from Saturday’s auction go to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame,which will induct Caribou Ranch this spring.

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Check out some of the items that were sold at the auction below:

A Guest Coat Parka Worn by Michael Jackson

Sold for: $5,000

The coat comes with with a signed Michael Jackson Victory Tour headshot, the People Weekly Extra, 1984 November/December featuring a photo of Michael Jackson in the coat and a Victory Tour album, tag reads: Arctic Snorkel Parkas.

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A Michael Jackson Used Red Honda ATC Three Wheeler 

Sold for: $1,875

ATC comes with together with the People Weekly Extra 1984 November/December featuring Michael Jackson driving the three wheeler and a Victory Tour album.

Michael Jackson ATV - Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

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Baby grand piano used by Elton John, Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson and more

Sold for: $52,500

The piano comes with a copy of the Rolling Stone featuring a picture of Michael Jackson and the piano. It’s also the instrument where Elton John wrote and rehearsed hits like “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

A Wm. Knabe & Co. Baby Grand Piano(Photo: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

A Wm. Knabe & Co. Baby Grand Piano(Photo: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

President Grover Cleveland’s bed

Sold for: $11,250

The bed was originally used by President Grover Cleveland, but used by Caribou Ranch visitors like Elton John, Michael Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

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Thriller Enters Seventh Year In The West End – Tito Jackson And Show Producers Speak About Its Success

Sources: West End Frame | All Things Michael

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Thriller Live John Maher, Adrian Grant, Tito Jackson, Gary Lloyd

The West End production of Thriller Live will celebrate tonight as it enters its seventh year in the West End by breaking more records.

Tito Jackson, who attended opening night at the Lyric Theatre in 2009 and has seen the show several times since with the rest of the Jackson brothers, has this week been speaking to the world’s press about the global success of Thriller Live.

He said: “It makes me feel very proud to see a show of this magnitude. It captures the personality of my brother, Michael. We always get new fans and new generations. One of the beautiful things about my brother’s career is its longevity and the multiple generations of fans who enjoy it.  His music has lived a long time, the songs are evergreen and will last forever.”

Thriller Live recently became the 20th longest running musical in the history of the West End. This Sunday (25th January) the cast will perform their 2,530th show at the Lyric Theatre and overtake the record set by Grease to rise to 19th position on the chart. On Sunday 12th April Thriller Live will pass the original 1960 production of Oliver! (at 2,618 performances) to take 18th position.

Producers Paul Walden and Derek Nicol said in a statement: “January 22, 2015 is yet another amazing milestone in the history of our show. It is only truly exceptional shows that run this long in the West End and we are very grateful to the fans of Michael Jackson and West End theatre audiences who have taken the show to their hearts.

“It is an honour for us to keep the music of Michael Jackson alive and bring it to the next generation of theatregoers. Michael Jackson was known as a perfectionist and we constantly strive to ensure that Thriller Live, celebrating the genius of his songwriting, ground breaking live performances and trend-setting dance moves, is the very best experience it can be for his fans and music lovers worldwide. Unlike other West End shows Thriller Live is constantly evolving and we have exciting plans for 2015 with the introduction of some new material and additional special effects added.”

Thriller Live was originally conceived and created by Adrian Grant, a long time associate of Michael Jackson, and author of Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary. The production recently extended its booking period at the Lyric Theatre to 6th September 2015.

 

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Thriller Live Gives Reporter A New View Of Michael Jackson

Sources: The New Zealand Herald – Catherine Smith| All Things Michael

Seeing the live stage celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and work is absolutely thrilling, discovers Catherine Smith.

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I’ll declare up front: I have never been a huge Michael Jackson fan. I’ve never had an encyclopaedic recall of every song/album/video, never worshipped at the Altar of Michael. Sure, I sang along in the playground to his first solo hit Ben (sweetly, recorded just before his voice broke in 1971, released in 1972). I’m pretty sure I bopped along to Off the Wall tracks, and I do remember the impact of Thriller.

But I wasn’t until I spent more than two hours on my feet dancing, singing and raging like I was 18 again at Thriller Live, that I realised that this man had created the soundtrack to my life. There was even, I confess, a teeny tear or two. Say what you like about the monkeys and the sleepovers, Jackson was an extraordinary artist, unmatched by many others.

Thriller Live is billed as a concert production that celebrates Jackson – it is not a tribute show, although one performer does remarkably resemble the king of pop, it is not a musical with “the rise of” yarn in the way of Buddy, or The Jersey Boys.

Adrian Grant, who developed the original concept for the show as an off-shoot of his annual Michael Jackson Celebration he began for UK fans in 1991, has documented the history of this entertainer with an ensemble of five singers and 10 dancers.

After getting Jackson’s nod in 2001, Grant developed the show into a proper spectacular. It previewed in 2005, went on a UK tour in 2007, and hit the West End. Like Jackson’s artistic legacy, Grant’s collaboration with director/choreographer Gary Lloyd and musical director John Maher is now one for the record books: the 20th longest running West End show, touring shows have played in more than 28 countries (significantly, not the United States, for copyright reasons) to audiences of more than three million people.

Michael endorsed an early version of the show, his brothers have all loved it.

Grant could well be the uber-fan boy. He met Jackson a number of times at Neverland and accompanied him on visits to children’s hospitals – and one of the joys of the show is the obvious love and admiration cast and directors have for him and his work.

Maher put the first show together in 2007 and is still touring with the production in Australia and New Zealand eight years later. The former school choir singer who played Riff Raff with Richard O’Brien in a 1986 production of Rocky Horror Showhad been an actor, been in a rock band, and still likes to do a bit of cabaret. He points out that this is not the sort of show where you do bold, new arrangements or re-invent someone’s work as an outsider.

“I had to study what makes [his music] tick, how to capture that. I had to study it like a forensic scientist. He was at the forefront of recording – the first big artist to use keyboard base, his rhythmic detail is phenomenal.

When you listen to his a capella recordings as a kid in the studio, the groove is so heavy, and that voice, his phrasing. I can’t think of a singer who sang more rhythmically,” he says.

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Katie Piper Reveals Why She Loves Michael Jackson’s History Album

Sources: Edited By – All Things Michael | Express.Co.UK – Caroline Rees

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Former model and TV presenter Katie Parker’s life drastically changed in 2008 after being raped, then attacked with industrial-strength sulphuric acid. The substance was thrown in her face by a hired accomplice of her former boyfriend, left her severely burned. She was blind in one eye. In a fight to not only save her life and reconstruct her facial features, the surgeons removed all the skin from her face, before rebuilding it with a skin substitute and skin graft. It was the first surgery of it’s kind to be completed in a single operation. Her vision was restored by a procedure known as  Ex-vivo limbal stem cell allograft transplantation (EVSCALT) at the Centre for Sight to restore her vision. Both men are now serving sentences for their crimes.

As you can imagine, the effects of the ordeal left her devastated, but she has come a long way. Relying heavily on family and friends, and thanks to the outstanding treatment she received in France, alongside her own incredible determination, she no longer feels that her burns define her. In 2009 she went on to set up her own charity The Katie Piper Foundation to help other burn victims.

In a recent interview, Katie listed Michael Jackson’s History as one of her six favorite albums to show how music has helped or inspired her life.

Michael Jackson: History (Sony)

I’m a diehard fan and love all the tracks. After I was attacked, I didn’t like songs about sex or violence but his songs are on world issues and not just about love. The music is uplifting and he stood up for what he believed in, which I admired.

Elvis Presley: The 50 Greatest Hits (BMG)

My dad is a massive Elvis fan and whenever I hear him I think of dad on family holidays doing karaoke versions of Always On My Mind. He’s so supportive that it’s music that makes me feel warm inside.

Spice Girls: Spice (EMI)

Cheesy but one of the first cassettes I bought. I was a teenager in the 1990s and this was my first experience of girl power. I knew the words to every track. It makes me smile if I hear it now because of those fond childhood memories.

John Legend: Love In The Future (Columbia)

For me and my partner, the beautiful ballad All Of Me from this is our song. The lyrics talk about loving somebody’s imperfections and my boyfriend related to it in the way he felt about me. We danced to it on holiday when someone sang it in a piano bar.

Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops And Hooligans (Atlantic)

The song Just The Way You Are came out when I was single and it resonated with me that there was no point trying to be something you’re not. Bruno’s style is similar to Michael Jackson and he’s got a fantastic range. I do charity runs and this is motivating when you’re exercising.

Mariah Carey: Music Box (Sony)

In my early recovery I made a video to track my progress and to thank my surgeon. For the part about him, I used Hero from this as the backing track. The lyrics jumped out at me and her voice is incredible.

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Sony Musical Acts Could Be Targeted Next By Hackers

Sources: Penarth Times | All Things Michael

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One Direction, Adele and David Bowie are said to be bracing themselves for the possibility that they could become the next high-profile victims of the Sony hackers.

The music stars are all signed to Sony Music, which has apparently released a blanket apology in advance of a potentially embarrassing incident, as hackers are said to have threatened to publish a string of private emails, according to the Daily Mirror.

Information that Sony bosses fear could be exposed relates to the stars’ riders, salaries, contracts and personal information, and as well as the British musicians, other big names who could be left red-faced include Beyonce, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Meghan Trainor.

Sony’s movie division was hacked last year following controversy over its comedy The Interview, which features an assassination plot on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and the FBI claims to have traced hacking group Guardians of the Peace to Pyongyang in North Korea.

A source said: “There is a terrible amount of stress in Sony about what the hackers have found. Already personal information about many of their movie stars, including passport details, the pseudonyms they use and health records, have been leaked.

“Bosses now fear similar details have been hacked on their music stars, including the demands each artist makes while on tour. There is a lot of nervousness at Sony HQ.”

The hackers have already revealed a top secret plan by Sony Music and CEO Michael Lynton to sell off the music publishing arm Sony/ATV, which owns Michael Jackson’s estate and the copyright to most of The Beatles’ songs.

Sony denied the sale would happen and Lynton was said to have issued a blanket apology to Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier and CEO Doug Morris, apparently “in advance for whatever else comes out”.

However, other Sony staff say it was not an apology and was just Lynton talking to “two top executives about a couple of very specific issues”.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the Sony hacking.

 

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Chvrches: “We Want To Channel Prince And Michael Jackson On Our New Album”

Sources: NME | All Things Michael

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Chvrches have revealed that they want to channel Prince and Michael Jackson on their as-yet-untitled forthcoming album, adding that they’re only using “the absolute key elements” on the songs.

In the new Albums of 2015 issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally, Martin Doherty discusses the band’s plans for the album, including their desire to make it leaner than debut record ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’.

“I think we’ll use fewer instruments but ultimately try and do more with them,” Doherty says. “When you listen to a Michael Jackson song or a Prince song, you realise there’s absolutely nothing in it but an amazing bassline, drums and singing. We want to channel some of that.”

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