Michael Jackson And Charlie Chaplin


Michael Jackson’s Original Painting of Charlie Chaplin


This painting was created by Michael when he was 9 years-old. Chaplin was influential to Jackson and their lives held many similarities. Chaplin is quoted as saying his childhood ended at age 7 as he began performing. Both became international celebrities and experienced life under the watchful and critical eye of the public. While in London, Jackson toured Chaplin’s Childhood neighborhood and was so excited he and a photographer went and purchased clothing for Jackson to dress as Chaplin and take photos. Jackson called Chaplin his “inspiration.” 


Michael drawing a pictue of Chaplin as a teenager

Jackson recorded a version of Chaplin’s signature song “Smile” for his History album. The single release cover showed Jackson again dressed as Chaplin.


About Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was born April 16, 1889 in London England. He died on December 25, 1977 of natural causes Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. He was 87 years old.Charlie Chaplin worked with a children’s dance troupe before making a huge mark on the big screen. His character “The Tramp” relied on pantomime and quirky movements to become an iconic figure of the silent-film era. Chaplin went on to become a director, making films like City Lights and Modern Times, and co-founded the United Artists Corporation.

Charlie Chaplin’s rise to fame is a true rags-to-riches story. His father, a notorious drinker, abandoned Chaplin, his mother and his older half-brother, Sydney, not long after Chaplin’s birth. That left Chaplin and his brother in the hands of their mother, a vaudevillian and music hall singer who went by the stage name Lily Harley.

Chaplin’s mother, who would later suffer severe mental issues and have to be committed to an asylum, was able to support her family for a few years. But in a performance that would introduce her youngest boy to the world of performance, Hannah inexplicably lost her voice in the middle of a show, prompting the stage manager to push the five-year-old Chaplin, whom he’d heard sing, onto the stage to replace her.

Chaplin lit up the audience, wowing them with his natural presence and comedic angle (at one point he imitated his mother’s cracking voice). But the episode meant the end for Hannah. Her singing voice never returned and she eventually ran out of money. For a time, Charlie and Sydney had to make a new, temporary home for themselves in London’s tough workhouses.

Early Career

Armed with his mother’s love of the stage, Chaplin was determined to make it in show business himself and in 1897 using his mother’s contacts landed with a clog dancing troupe named the Eight Lancashire Lads. It was a short stint, and not a terribly profitable one, forcing the go-getter Chaplin to make ends meet anyway he could.

“I (was) newsvendor, printer, toymaker, doctor’s boy, etc., but during these occupational digressions, I never lost sight of my ultimate aim to become an actor,” Chaplin later recounted. “So, between jobs I would polish my shoes, brush my clothes, put on a clean collar and make periodic calls at a theatrical agency.”

Eventually other stage work did come his way. Chaplin made his acting debut as a pageboy in a production of Sherlock Holmes. From there he toured with a vaudeville outfit named Casey’s Court Circus and in 1908 teamed up with the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, where Chaplin became one of its stars as The Drunk in the comedic sketch, A Night in an English Music Hall.

With the Karno troupe, Chaplin got his first taste of the United States, where he caught the eye of film producer Mack Sennett, who signed Chaplin to a contract for a $150 a week. 

Film Career

In 1914 Chaplin made his film debut in a somewhat forgettable one-reeler called Make a Living. To differentiate himself from the clad of other actors in Sennett films, Chaplin decided to play a single identifiable character. “The Little Tramp” was born, with audiences getting their first taste of him in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914).

Over the next year, Chaplin appeared in 35 movies, a lineup that included Tillie’s Punctured Romance, film’s first full-length comedy. In 1915 Chaplin left Sennett to join the Essanay Company, which agreed to pay him $1,250 a week. It’s with Essanay that Chaplin, who by this time had hired his brother Sydney to be his business manager, rose to stardom.

During his first year with the company, Chaplin made 14 films, including The Tramp (1915). Generally regarded as the actor’s first classic, the story establishes Chaplin’s character as unexpected hero when he saves farmer’s daughter from a gang of robbers.

By the age of 26, Chaplin, just three years removed from his vaudeville days was a movie superstar. He’d moved over to the Mutual Company, which paid him a whopping $670,000 a year. The money made Chaplin a wealthy man, but it didn’t seem to derail his artistic drive. With Mutual, he made some of his best work, including One A.M. (1916), The Rink (1916), The Vagabond(1916), and Easy Street (1917).

Through his work, Chaplin came to be known as a grueling perfectionist. His love for experimentation often meant countless retakes and it was not uncommon for him to order the rebuilding of an entire set. It also wasn’t rare for him to begin with one leading actor, realize he’d made a mistake in his casting, and start again with someone new.

But the results were hard to refute. During the 1920s Chaplin’s career blossomed even more. During the decade he made some landmark films, including The Kid (1921), The Pilgrim (1923), A Woman in Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), a movie Chaplin would later say he wanted to be remembered by, and The Circus(1928). The latter three were released by United Artists, a company Chaplin co-founded in 1919 with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith.

Off-Screen Drama

Chaplin became equally famous for his life off-screen. His affairs with actresses who had roles in his movies were numerous. Some, however, ended better than others.

In 1918 he quickly married 16-year-old Mildred Harris. The marriage lasted two years, and in 1924 he wed again, to another 16-year-old, actress Lita Grey, whom he’d cast in The Gold Rush. The marriage had been brought on by an unplanned pregnancy, and the resulting union, which produced two sons for Chaplin (Charles Jr., and Sydney) was an unhappy one for both partners. The two split in 1927.

In 1936, Chaplin married again, this time to a chorus girl who went by the film name of Paulette Goddard. They lasted until 1942. That was followed by a nasty paternity suit with another actress, Joan Barry, in which tests proved Chaplin was not the father of her daughter but a jury still ordered him to pay child support.

In 1943, Chaplin married 18-year-old Oona O’Neil, the daughter of playwright, Eugene O’Neil. Unexpectedly the two would go on to have a happy marriage, one that would result in eight children for the couple.

Later Films

Chaplin kept creating interesting and engaging films in the 1930s. In 1931, he released City Lights, a critical and commercial success that incorporated music Chaplin scored himself.

More acclaim came with Modern Times (1936), a biting commentary about the state of world’s economic and political infrastructures. The film, which did incorporate sound and did not include “The Little Tramp” character, was, in part, the result of an 18-month world tour Chaplin had taken between 1931 and 1932, a trip in which he’d witnessed severe economic angst and a sharp rise in nationalism in Europe and elsewhere.

Chaplin spoke even louder in The Great Dictator (1940), which pointedly ridiculed the governments of Hitler and Mussolini. “I want to see the return of decency and kindness,” Chaplin said around the time of the film’s release. “I’m just a human being who wants to see this country a real democracy . . .”

But Chaplin was not universally embraced. His romantic liaisons led to his rebuke by some women’s groups, which in turn led to him being barred from entering some U.S. states. As the Cold War age settled into existence, Chaplin didn’t withhold his fire from injustices he saw taking place in the name of fighting Communism in his adopted country of the United States.

Chaplin soon became a target of the right wing conservatives. Representative John E. Ranking of Mississippi pushed for his deportation. Chaplin was openly satirical of American society and as a direct result of his opinions, in 1952, the Attorney General of the United States obliged when he announced that Chaplin, who was sailing to Britain on vacation, was not permitted to return to the United States unless he could prove “moral worth.” The incensed Chaplin said goodbye to United States and took up residence on a small farm in Vevey, Switzerland.

Final Years 

Nearing the end of his life, Chaplin did make one last return to visit to the United States in 1972, when he was awarded a special Academy Award from the Motion Picture Academy. The trip came just six years after Chaplin’s final film, A Countess from Hong Kong(1966), the filmmaker’s first and only color movie. Despite a cast that included Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando, the film did poorly at the box office. In 1975, Chaplin received more recognition when Queen Elizabeth knighted him.

In the early morning hours of December 25, 1977, Charlie Chaplin died at his home in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. His wife Oona and seven of his children were at his bedside at the time of his passing. In a twist that might very well have come out of one of his films, Chaplin’s body was stolen not long after he was buried from his grave near Lake Geneva in Switzerland by two men who demanded $400,000 for its return. The men were arrested and Chaplin’s body was recovered 11 weeks later.

Charlie Chaplin was not just a screen writer, composer, actor, comedian, his life, his laughter continue to serve even today as our guiding light to love humanity. He left a timeless legacy of bringing us smiles and a guiding light to love others. The movies, the music he gave to us and to the world is timeless. We must not get lost in the fun and frolic, we must remember especially as Americans that an important part of his life was spent in exile because he spoke openly about pre-judgments. His living contribution is his last chapter in his career – his goals for humanity for unity and non-discrimination.

Our US history must be remembered along with our present and past pre-judgments. What this entertainment genius gave to the world is also a great mirror of who we were as Americans at that time in history. We cannot grow unless we remember who we were – else we will slip back into that abyss. Source

Similarities Between Chaplin and Michael


Chaplin was known the world over for making people smile. His career is denoted by laughter. And as a composer, he stuck with that theme writing one of the greatest songs of all times “Smile”. Smile has been recorded by every great singer from Barbara Streisand to Sammy Davis to Nat King Cole. I was told of Charlie’s talent but never really understood – until now. It gives me great pleasure to share with you the works of this amazing creative genius. Upon closer review, I believe Charlie Chaplin’s greatest legacy was not the laughter that he left with us, not the most famous song entitled “Smile” but with his humanitarian efforts expressed so eloquently in his final films. Charlie Chaplin always personified the change he wished to see in the world. His lasting legacy extends beyond the great comedic silent movies he created, directed, produced and acted in. His lasting legacy is even grander than his stellar career. His lasting legacy is his his humanitarian efforts towards peace. Source

Michael Jackson was also a man of peace who used his status and platform to teach the world about causes that plagued us. He also back up his beliefs by giving more to charity than any other entertainer in the world. 

  • Michael and Charlie started show business at the age of 5.  They both loved the stage.
  • Both men arose from rages to riches. 
  • Chaplin’s father physical abandoned him. Michael felt emotional abandoned by his father
  • Chaplin was raised by his mom.  Michael loved and relied on his mother for support and comfort.
  • After being pushed on stage to replace his mom, Chaplin showed much natural stage presence.  Michael had so much stage presence, he wowed everyone when he first sang, “Climb Every Mountain” at a school talent show. Soon afterwards, he replaced his brother Jermaine as lead singer of the Jackson 5.

“I was so nervous when he walked out on the stage, because he was always shy. He started singing the song, and he sang it with such clarity and didn’t miss — not flat or anything.”

His paternal grandfather, who was in the audience “cried like a baby, looked around, and I was crying, too,” she said. “He got a standing ovation for his performance and he wasn’t nervous. I was shocked. I think he must feel more at home on stage.”

Older brother Jermaine was the Jackson 5′s lead singer from the start, but their mother told her husband it should be Michael. “I told him Jermaine needed help, and I told him Michael could help him,” she said. “He didn’t believe me, so I forced him to listen. And that’s how Michael got the job.”   ~ Katherine Jackson (CNN)

  • Chaplin was a virtual genius who tried his hand at everything from acting, directing film, songwriting, comedy etc..  Michael was as equally dedicated, hardworking and genius.  He was an actor, songwriter, director, choreographer, singer and muscian.  He also could draw and paint.  He was well-read and very intelligent.
  • Chaplin was married several times to young women, which caused a lot of controversy.   Michael’s two marriages were controversal and met with much suspicion.
  • Chaplin was ostrosized for his views and stances on world politics, as well as his lifestyle.  Michael was ridiculed for everything, including his looks, lifestyle, etc.
  • After a European excursion in 1952 Chaplin, was not allowed to disembark his ship to return to America. Michael was emotionally exiled by his own country when he was falsely accused and scorned for child molestation.  
  • Both men were great humanitarians and strived to be different to make chances in the world.
  • Charlie Chaplin wrote the song, “Smile.”  Michael’s favorite song was “Smile.”
  • The intentions and creative genius of both men were greatly misunderstood by the people of their time.  Future generations will look back and see  and appreciate the great and mightly men that they both were. Comparison written by All Things Michael

Chaplin’s Version of a “Moonwalk”

Michael Jackson and Oona Chaplin Meet


People have wondered if Michael Jackson and Charlie Chaplin ever met. They did not. Michael was a famous child and teenage singing star with the Jackson 5, as well as some solo work during Chaplin’s later years. Michael was a huge fan of Chaplin’s and the song ‘Smile’ was his favorite song. Jackson did say he always wanted to meet Oona Chaplin, which he did in the 1980s.
According to Jane Scovell book – ‘Oona: Living in the Shadows’ Oona’s old friend Sophia Loren, “something of a Jackson groupie,” had been attending Jackson’s concerts, and when the singer came to Switzerland the Italian actress did arrange for them to meet on June 16, 1988. He (Michael Jackson) went to the Manoir and was given a tour of the estate by Oona. At one point she told him that he and Charlie “had a lot in common: you were born poor and had to strive to achieve all that you have.” - ‘Oona: Living in the Shadows’ by Jane Scovell/ Edna’s Place

Here is a tour of the Manior in Switzerland by Chaplin fan Rainer Mann. LINK

Michael holds two Honorary Awards given to Chaplin in 1929 and 1972 by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Chaplin’s wife, Oona O’Neill holds the Academy Award for Best Original Score, awarded in 1973.


SWITZERLAND: One of Michael’s dreams came true when he met one of his idol’s family in Switzerland as told by family circus producer Rolf Knie.

Michael Jackson came incognito visit to the Chaplin family, in Corsier (VD). Rolf Knie has served as a guide. The circus man tells this unforgettable encounter with a polite and shy singer, a prisoner of its success.

It was June 17, 1988 and Rolf Knie has forgotten nothing. Over twenty years later, the feelings associated with this special day are always deep. The discovery of a simple and endearing Michael Jackson. The outrage at what has been said about him then …

That day, the clown and now producer of the circus Salto Natale served as a guide to Bambi in the famous mansion Ban inhabited by the Chaplin family, in Corsier-sur-Vevey. “I remember the extreme politeness of Michael, his calmness, his shyness. I remember the way he waited qu’Oona Chaplin sit down to do the same, how he did not dare ask first a Pepsi. It is these details which denotes someone. It was just normal. Since then, I keep to his defense when attacked. The journalists have invented the horrors on him. For fifteen years, they will not stop the killing. “

We must tell. Originally the meeting, there Geraldine Chaplin, the eldest daughter of Oona and Charlie Chaplin. At a concert of Michael which she attends, the singer says he admires how her father. Geraldine called Rolf Knie, an old family friend and regular at the Manor. “Michael would come to Corsier. Can you arrange something? “

In a passage from Michael in Basel, Rolf Knie starts: he phoned his hotel and met his agent, Frank DiLeo. “Some friends told me it was crazy and impossible … Half an hour later, however, reminiscent of Michael himself. “He was very happy. We agreed to an appointment for a Friday to 15 hours. “

On that day, families await Knie Chaplin and the star. The time line, it does not happen. “Around 15 h 30, the doorman came running in saying,” Somebody just called, I did not catch his name. “It was Michael. “I took the phone. It was quite embarrassed, he apologized a thousand times. He had lost and he was calling from a service station in Vevey … The porter is going to look there. The singer arrives without bodyguard, just accompanied by his assistant, a gentleman of a certain age. “The archives have marveled. Then he played in the park with my son Gregory innocently. I think that children who take as it is, he could finally show normal. it left a big one. “

Another aspect of the star has impressed: “He knew perfectly the life of Chaplin, a true lexicon. The dates of the films, the names of the actors, everything. we have a summary type uneducated, was totally false. “The parallel between Jackson and Chaplin seems natural to him:” Even poor children, even lawsuits against them. they emit the same wave and they experienced similar problems with the world when they have common as well. Both did not give interviews. they responded with their films or their music. Had they known, they would have spent whole days together
Two months later, Michael Jackson calls Oona Chaplin and Rolf Knie his concert in Lausanne. “Before the show, we have visited him in his locker. There were long tables covered with caviar and salmon. Michael shrugged: “Oh, it’s not for me, but my team is hungry … “

In the end, Rolf and Oona attending the hasty departure of the star: “The music still sounded when he was quickly engulfed in a car behind the scene. We followed him and we feared: Thousands of fans have been assaulted. I realized that Michael lived every day. he was a prisoner of his success. “The clown keeps bitterness. “Today I am angry against those who did not have mercy on him. And glad he found peace. Source

French: encounter with Eudokia Sofianou and Wendy Rose Jackson. Source

A memory by Keira Chaplin, Charlie’s granddaughter ~ “I went for tea at my grandmother’s house and Michael Jackson was sitting there. I was about seven years old and we lived next door to my grandmother, Oona. I went round one day and there was a helicopter in her garden. I went in to see her and Michael was sitting there. I was terrified because he was my absolute idol and I was actually holding my Michael Jackson doll. I couldn’t speak to him as I was such a fan. He was there because he was a fan of my grandfather Charlie Chaplin. He asked me to sit on his lap but I was too shy.”


 Michael, Oona Chaplin and Rolf Knie backstage Bad Tour

Michael’s Chaplin Photoshoot Feature in the Michael Jackson Opus

Michael often told me that “Smile” was one of his favorite recordings. I remember we were in the studio, and I came up with the idea at the end of the song to have the piano sound old, like in an old movie theater, with the sound slowly disappearing. Michael told me it would work magically with the short film he had planned for the song. He would walk away from the camera just like Charlie Chaplin did at the end of his movies. He loved Chaplin, said he saw a lot of himself in him. —David Foster – Source: LA Times Magazine – December 2009 – By —Peter Guber /Michael Jackson Opus 


CHIEFS: Jordan Sommers, left, Jeff Wald and Deborah Wald of Opus. Jackson evoked Charlie Chaplin in 1994. (Christina House / For The Times)

The black-and-white photos of Michael Jackson are remarkable not only as previously unreleased images of one the last half-century’s most photographed men. They also reveal much about the pop superstar’s abiding impulses: his impish sense of humor, his fealty to yesteryear’s master showmen and his concern about his own place in the pop culture firmament.

Sporting a threadbare black suit, pancake makeup and a miniature brush mustache, Jackson is a doppelgänger for Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character from 1921′s “The Kid.” The photos, taken in 1994 by Steve Whitsitt, were originally intended as a companion piece to the Chaplin-inspired video the director-photographer was shooting for “Smile” — the cover of the silent comedian’s famous song that appears on Jackson’s “HIStory” album. But when the Chaplin estate issued a cease-and-desist order to stifle “Smile’s” release as a video and single, Whitsitt abandoned the photos to his archives.

Until earlier this year, that is, when the photographer received a surprise phone call from photo editor Deborah Wald, who was working on a new Jackson omnibus. “I asked him if he had something special, something of Michael that hadn’t previously seen the light of day,” Wald said. “And he said, ‘I think I have something.’ Source: LA Times/Michael Jackson Opus December 9, 2009 – By Chris Lee

Michael’s Thoughts and Words About Chaplin

COLACELLO: Why do you want to forget so much? Do you think life is really hard?

JACKSON: No, maybe it’s because I just like jumping in other people’s lives and exploring. Like Charlie Chaplin. I just love him to death. The little tramp, the whole gear and everything, and his heart—everything he portrayed on the screen was a truism. It was his whole life. He was born in London, and his father died an alcoholic when he was six. He roamed the streets of England, begging, poor, hungry. All this reflects on the screen and that’s what I like to do, to bring all of those truths out . . . Source: Interview – By Bob Colacello

He stated “If I could work with anybody, it would be Charlie Chaplin who I love so much”

“You have to have that tragedy, that pain to pull from. That’s what makes a clown great. You can see he’s hurting behind the masquerade. He’s something else externally. Chaplin did that so beautifully, better than anyone.” Source

Michael Dressed As Chaplin Over the Years

1979 – Pictures By Tony Prime

The pictures were taken by British photographer Tony Prime when the Jackson 5 visited the UK in 1979. 

Prime was the only snapper with the Jacksons on a day they were doing interviews at London’s Capital Radio station. It was there that a shy [Jackson] asked Tony if he was a Londoner because he wanted someone who could tell him where to buy the military-style jackets that were to become his trademark stage outfit. Tony told him that there was a shop across the street from the radio station and took him there.

The singer then insisted his new friend come with him on a tour of London and both jumped into the white Rolls-Royce the Jacksons were travelling in. [Jackson] told Tony he was obsessed with Charlie Chaplin and asked him to show him where the comedian was born. The snapper’s pal added: “Jackson was fascinated by the life of Chaplin and wanted to know all he could about where the comic grew up.”Tony told him he would take him for a drive around and point out various places related to Chaplin. Then all of a sudden Jackson said he wanted to get dressed up as Chaplin so they took him out and bought him the clothes and a cane.”

Then, dressed as his comic hero, [Jackson] posed on the streets of Stockwell in south London where the silent screen legend was born in 1889.

He was so thrilled with the pictures he asked Tony if he could have a set. The pal added: “It was just one of those magical one-off moments. “They shared a few fun hours together and the pictures show that, but Tony never heard from him again. He has always been happy though knowing that his pictures were in Jackson’s private album.” 

Michael dressed as Charlie Chaplin~The Little Tramp, photo by Tony Prime, also from South London in 1979 in East Street, South London,the birthplace of Charlie Chaplin. Michael was so charming during the photoshoot that a neighbourhood woman gave him her Chaplin scrapbooks and Michael in turn purchased a bathtub for her. Original source no longer available

Charlie Chaplin Museum

1.1_98_cc-en-pleine-gloire_gPlanning for this project has been going on for quite a while. The museum is expected to officially open in the spring of 2015. I am sure that Michael would have have attended.



Rewinding The Charts: USA For Africa’s ‘We Are The World’ Tops Hot 100

Source: Billboard – By Gary Trust


On this date 29 years ago, the all-star ensemble hit No. 1 – and helped launch a legacy of philanthropy

On Dec. 20, 1984, Harry Belafonte placed a call to nonprofit consultant/music manager Ken Kragen in hopes of staging a concert to raise funds to fight hunger in Africa – specifically Ethiopia, where famine killed nearly 1 million in 1983-84. Kragen, who managed Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers at the time, thought that a supergroup charity single would make more of an impact.

Kragen initially planned to recruit a dozen artists for the song, but industry response was so enthusiastic (seemingly inspired by the success of the then-current “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” a similar charity single by British and Irish stars that would soon hit No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100) that 50 artists ended up in the group, dubbed USA for Africa (with the “USA” officially short for United Support of Artists). Richie and Michael Jackson wrote the song, producer Quincy Jones assembled the artists at Hollywood’s A&M Studios in early 1985, and “We Are the World” was born.

On April 13, 1985, the superstar-spangled single, released on Columbia Records, topped the Hot 100 in just its fourth week, becoming the chart’s fastest-flying No. 1 in nine years (since Elton John’s “Island Girl” also needed just four frames to breeze to the summit). It additionally ruled Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Adult Contemporary and Dance Singles Sales charts and dented Mainstream Rock Songs and Hot Country Songs.

As impressive as its chart performances were, “World” has also helped raise more than $100 million to fight famine. Nearly three decades later, the USA for Africa foundation continues to raise funds and awareness for multiple African causes.

The week that “World” took over the Hot 100, Billboard noted that the song was touching not only consumers, but Capitol Hill, as the Recording Industry Association of America had mailed 12-inch copies of the single to each member of Congress on March 29. “Three working days later,” Billboard reported, “the [RIAA] had received 51 letters and personal notes of congratulations and appreciation from the nation’s legislators, including a number of Senate and House leaders.”

One congressman “even enclosed a personal check to help in the all-star effort.”


Read more: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6049853/rewinding-the-charts-usa-for-africas-we-are-the-world-tops-hot

Would You Visit Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch?

Source: Throwback

The Pinnacle List

The lustrous, gold-embellished front gate opened onto a world filled with extravagance and childlike whimsy. Guests gazed upon Jackson’s exotic animals, rode trains on the Flamingo Island railroad, played arcade games, caught some hoops on the basketball court and endured the high speeds of the Zipper roller coaster. In September of 2003, Michael’s “Once in a Lifetime” event provided select fans with personal tours of the ranch from the King of Pop himself, as well as a gift bag of Neverland paraphernalia.

To read more, click here.

More pictures of Neverland

Michael Jackson Auction


Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Popular Songs

Source: Times Union – By Frank Pallotta


There are plenty of unknown stories behind popular songs that have become part of our lives.

Some famous songs were initially rejected, written for someone else, by someone else, or have hidden meaning in the lyrics.

From Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” learn the surprising stories behind your favorite songs.

Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” was originally written by Pharrell for Michael Jackson


One of the best songs on Justin Timberlake’s debut solo album, “Justified,” was meant for Michael Jackson.

Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body,” which was also written by Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes, was supposed to be on Michael Jackson’s final album “Invincible.” However, Jackson’s management ultimately rejected the song and it ended up with the beat-boxing Timberlake instead.

For JT, this helped jumpstart his solo career with “Justified” debuting at No. 2 and selling more than 3.5 million copies in the U.S.

Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was originally written for Celine Dion


1998′s “Armageddon” would have sounded a lot differently if not for Aerosmith’s power ballad “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.”

Especially if it went to the artist it was intended for … Celine Dion.

Since the film starred singer Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv, the band was set to write a song for the soundtrack. Yet with the band running low on time and ideas, they went with a song written by Diane Warren for Dion.

“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” went on to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, get nominated for an Oscar, and become one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits.

Kurt Cobain accidentally named Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” after a deodorant for teenage girls


Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ushered in the age of grunge, and changed music forever.

However, the song takes on a new meaning when you realize its title was a complete accident that had to do with a deodorant for teenage girls.

Katherine Hanna, the lead singer of Bikini Kill (and band mate of Cobain’s girlfriend at the time), scribbled the phrase on Cobain’s wall as a joke about his smelling like the female deodorant “Teen Spirit.”

Cobain — mistaking it for a rebellious phrase — turned it into a song title, helping “Nevermind” to sell 30 million albums worldwide.

Prince was the writer of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2U.”


“Nothing Compares 2U” might be Sinead O’Conner’s biggest hit, but the song was originally written by Prince

O’Conner turned the song into a global sensation, but didn’t meet the man who wrote it until after the song had been released.

“We didn’t really hit it off,” O’Conner said in an interview. “But that’s best left in the past.”

The song, which is still performed by Prince, along with a very simple but memorable music video, went platinum and made O’Conner a household name.

Otis Redding was R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ing in “Respect” Before Aretha Franklin


Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is one of the best female-empowerment songs of all time, but the song was originally sung by male artist, Otis Redding.

The song may have been performed by Redding first, but once Franklin got her hands on it, the tone and meaning of the song changed.

“It also became a really important song for women,” said Lauren Onkey, executive producer of the American Music Masters to Cleveland.com. “Of course, Aretha Franklin singing about respect at home sounds different than Otis Redding singing about it.”

“Respect” would become Franklin’s first No. 1 hits and was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Guns N’ Roses’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” was written in five minutes

Sweet Child o’ Mine” from Guns ‘N Roses’s debut album “Appetite For Destruction” is a great rock song … that was mostly the band screwing around.

“It was an interesting sort of pattern,” Slash told Rolling Stone. “I never thought it was going to become a song.”

If that wasn’t enough, lead singer Axl Rose wrote lyrics and completed the song in five minutes after hearing the guitar playing from another room.

“Sweet Child o’ Mine” would go on to spend 24 weeks on the charts, peaking at No. 1, which isn’t too bad considering it was made in minutes.


Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” is about birth control

bob-marleys-i-shot-the-sheriff-is-about-birth-controlIf someone was trying to figure out what Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” was about, not many would say birth control.

But that’s exactly the meaning behind it.

Marley was an opponent of birth control, finding it to be sacrilegious, so he disliked the doctor who was prescribing the medication to his girlfriend.

That doctor would later go on to become sheriff, and “I Shot The Sheriff” would help Bob Marley’s greatest hits “Legend” pass 10 million copies.

 The Police’s romantic “Every Breath You Take” isn’t romantic at all. It’s about surveillance.the-polices-romantic-every-breath-you-take-isnt-romantic-at-all-its-about-surveillanceThe Police’s “Every Breath You Take” is a romantic-sounding song that has to do with themes like surveillance and control.

When lead singer Sting wrote the song, he was dealing with jealousy and obsession during the collapse of his marriage.

“I think the song is very, very sinister,” Sting told the BBC.

Despite the true meaning, many people still think of it as a classic love song, one of Sting’s most profitable of all time, for which he still receives $730,000 annually.

Many of Britney Spears’s greatest hits were rejected, meant for, or written by other artists.


1.What would have TLC’s “Baby One More Time” sounded like?
2.How about “I’m A Slave 4 U” by Janet Jackson?
3.Would Rihanna and Lady Gaga be as famous if “Umbrella” and “Telephone” went to Britney Spears instead?

These all could have happened considering many of Spears’s hits were rejected or written by other artists

TLC and Janet Jackson both rejected songs that ultimately went to Spears, while Spears then rejected “Umbrella” and “Telephone.”


Now that you know the facts behind some of music’s best songs …


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/surprising-facts-about-popular-songs-2014-4?op=1

Making the Greatest Music Video of All Time

Source: Newsweek – By Tim Baker


The six Top 10 singles preceding “Thriller”—“The Girl Is Mine,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Human Nature” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”—were record-setting. No other album in the history of pop music had produced so many individually successful tracks. Though it might be surprising to modern fans of the classic video, according to John Landis, who directed the music video Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the success of the previous singles made Michael’s record label less, not more, likely to foot the bill for a “Thriller” video. “What’s important to remember,” says Landis, “is Thriller had already become the most successful album of all time. So this is what was called a vanity video… They don’t sell records; they’re there to make the artist happy.” 

Michael’s idea for the video was simple: He wanted to turn into a monster. An admirer of Landis’ film An American Werewolf in London, especially Rick Baker’s masterful makeup work, Jackson approached the filmmaker. “Michael loved the idea of the transformation [in American Werewolf]. Obviously he was a guy who was fascinated by metamorphosis,” muses Landis. “ All he cared about was turning into a monster on screen. That was our marching order.” So great was Michael’s desire to transform into a singing, dancing mutant monstrosity that he was willing to front the film’s budget himself, an idea Landis flatly turned down. By brokering a deal with then-nascent cable network Showtime, and later with MTV, the film’s budget was secured in exchange for airtime.


Landis enlisted makeup genius Rick Baker, and the two men showed up at Michael’s family home in Encino, Calif., with books of movie monster photos. “Michael really wanted to be a werewolf, but I felt that was too much like American Werewolf,” Landis adds with a laugh. Eventually, on Michael’s insistence, Baker designed the unique werewolf-cat creature that helped make Michael Jackson’s Thriller an icon emulated by fans across the world, from Philippine prisons to the Grammy stage.

Once the monster was designed, the script written and the players signed, the epic work of condensing an entire musical horror film into 13 minutes began. The budget eventually ballooned to nearly $500,000, at that time the most expensive music video ever by a substantial margin. “Most rock videos at that time averaged $30,000 to $35,000, and a really expensive one was $50,000, to give you an idea,” says Landis. Despite the film’s ambitious use of effects, sets and makeup, a sizeable portion of the budget went into preparation for the even more ambitious dance numbers. “The one thing I insisted on,” continues Landis, “and one of the reasons it was expensive, was I wanted the dancers to have real rehearsal time.” 

Michael Peters, who had worked with Michael on the video for “Beat It,” choreographed the soon-to-be-famous “Thriller” dance with Michael’s help. “Michael Peters and I talked about what we wanted,” says Landis, “and he came back to Michael Jackson, who made everything his own.” The short film was even able to secure an unofficial mascot in the person of horror legend Vincent Price. In the video, the film Michael and his date see is a fictional Vincent Price movie called Thriller. At the video’s conclusion, Price appears in full zombie makeup, and his eerie cackle closes the video. 

When Michael Jackson’s Thriller was completed, Landis set a plan in motion that would ideally have given the short film a countrywide theatrical release, even putting together a red carpet premiere in Los Angeles. “We had our premiere at the Crest Theatre, and it was one of the most star-studded things, including AFI dinners and the Academy Awards and anything that I’ve ever been to,” says Landis with a chuckle. “I’ve seldom been anywhere with more stars.” Landis felt so guilty about the grand scale of the premiere in contrast to the film’s length that he asked Walt Disney Studios to produce a new Silly Symphony cartoon called “The Band Concert” to play before the film “so I could at least show two things. 


“It was incredible who was there!” says Landis, who still seems surprised by the turnout more than 30 years later. “We had a wonderful screening and, famously, at the end, a huge ovation. It was very exciting, and then Eddie Murphy stood up and shouted, ‘Show it again!’ So we did! And they all watched it again.” Even though Landis’ dream of a theatrical release didn’t come to pass, Michael Jackson’s Thriller leveraged television to sear itself into the cultural zeitgeist. The big-budget music video was born, and Michael and Landis had irrevocably changed the art of the video, proving cinematic devices like the idea of a film within a film could be used in music videos as successfully as in full-length features.

Though the story behind the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller is more than enough to make it memorable, the most interesting thing about the short film as far as Landis is concerned is its longevity. “It was a very pleasurable experience. It was fun, and we made it, but the truth is no one had any idea what would happen, that it would be this extraordinary success,” says Landis, who credits Michael Peters’ and Michael Jackson’s dance moves for the continuing success of the film. “I think it’s partially the choreography by Michael and Michael,” he continues. “It’s not a hard dance to do. It’s economically choreographed; there’s, like, four moves that anybody can do. You’d make that gesture with your arms and everyone would know that’s the ‘Thriller’ dance.” More than 30 years later, nothing has changed. Two arms in the air like a light-on-the-feet zombie still only means one thing: “Thriller.”

The “Thriller” Jacket


Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the designer who crafted Michael’s most unforgettable piece of outerwear and wife of John Landis, ranks the Thriller jacket as one of her finest creations, a bold statement considering she is also the genius behind Indiana Jones’ jacket and fedora and Bluto’s “College” sweatshirt from Animal House. “I had the red leather on the cutting table in front of me. I had the straight edge, and I drew those Vs myself,” says Landis. “I gave the jacket to Michael, and he gave his performance to the world.” Part of the reason the jacket was such a success, according to Landis, is that it enhanced Michael’s slim silhouette. “What do you think of when you think of the ideal male body? A small waist and big shoulders,” says Landis. “So I quilted the shoulders of the jacket, and I created that V.” The design of the jacket also helped support the narrative of Michael transforming into a demonic dancer. “In the history of fashion, there’s something about the chevron and the V that’s associated with the Devil,” says Landis. “And the fact that it’s red!” The bold hue of Michael’s jacket and jeans also help throw the superstar into contrast with his surroundings. “We created these fabulous ghouls and zombies and covered them in dust,” says Landis. “And here is Michael looking perfect! When he was dancing, you couldn’t look at anything else.”


Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/making-greatest-music-video-all-time-244524


Top 10 Motown Stars

Source: Evening Times

motown-artists-picture-031 Stevie Wonder: Blind singer, had his first hit when he was aged just 13.stevie-wonder-fingertips-tamla-motown2 Marvin Gaye: The Let’s Get It On singer was shot and killed by his father 30 years ago this week after an argument.MarvinGayeTammiTerrell3 Four Tops: Reach Out I’ll Be There was one of a string of hits for this band.FourTops4 Diana Ross and the Supremes: She was the Queen of Motown – burst on to the scene in 1964 with Baby Love.the-supremes5 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: Old Smokey is still performing hits like Tears of a Clown.Robinson--The-Miracles_tx8006 Temptations: Another four-piece vocal group, their biggest hit was My Girlthe-temptations7 Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: They did the original 1964 recording of the soul classic Dancing in the Street.126936-004-A5E867CE8 Jackson 5: Including a young Michael, they had hits with I Want You Back and I’ll Be There.Jackson59 Jimmy Ruffin: One of three singing brothers, he had a massive hit with What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.JimmyRuffin10 Mary Wells: She is best remembered for one of Motown’s early hits, My Guy.

Read more: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/opinion/columnists/top-10-motown-stars-158108n.23852081

From Taco Bell, To Statues Of Michael Jackson, See Eight of The Best PR And Marketing Stunts

Source: Real Business


1. Paddy Power

Paddy Power sent two Daft Punk impersonators to gatecrash the Brit awards red carpet in 2014. The impersonators managed to convince everyone they were the actual members of the band, but soon after they whipped off their trousers revealing green Paddy Power underwear to the audience and paparazzi.

2. Taco Bell

In 1996 Taco Bell took out an advertisement in The New York Times that read “Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell”, claiming that the historic landmark would be renamed ‘Taco Liberty Bell’.
After thousands of people called in to complain, Taco Bell admitted that it was an April fools prank. The stunt generated millions in sales after it got covered by thousands of media outlets.

3. KFC

In 2007 KFC built the largest logo in the world near Area 51 in Nevada, USA. They shot the logo with Google Earth’s satellite, which generated over 600 million views. The publicity stunt was made to promote KFC’s new logo.

4. Red Bull

When Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier in 2012 with a 24 mile space jump, Red Bull made sure their ‘Gives you wings’ slogan was taken seriously. About eight million people watched the Red Bull sponsored jump, as Baumgartner became part of one of the greatest marketing stunts of all time.

5. Sony Music


In 1995 Michael Jackson and Sony Music were preparing for the release of the pop icon’s new album. To promote the album, Sony created a 33 foot tall statue of Michael that floated along the Thames, under Tower Bridge in London. It was only one of the ten statues placed around Europe to launch the ‘HIStory’ album.

6. Blair Witch Project

When the film hit theatres in 1999, the producers were determined to convince people it was real. So they hung missing posters around Sundance Film Festival, claiming the actors were missing and assumed dead. The hoax was a very successful one, as the film grossed around £150m, with a modest budget of £13,000.

7. Samsung

Ahead of its launch of 3D TVs, Samsung worked to create an event that generated over 2.4 billion media impressions. The event consisted in an impromptu Black Eyed Peas concert in the middle of Times Square. The surprise concert was filmed by Avatar director James Cameron, adding to the wow-factor of this marketing stunt.

8. British Airways

In 2000, British Airways was head sponsor of the London Eye, but during the press conference, the wheel could not be lifted off the ground. After several failed attempts, Richard Branson came up with the idea of sending an airplane fly over with a banner reading “BA can’t get it up.” The stunt is considered one of the wittiest of all time.


Read more: http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/26241-eight-of-the-best-pr-and-marketing-stunts-ever/page:2

This Day in Black History: March 25, 1983 (Motown 25)

Source: BET – By Johnathan Hicks


It was a glittering reunion of some of the most prominent figures in the American music industry on the evening of March 25, 1983. However, the 25th anniversary of Motown Records produced some moments of awkward tension. The program, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, was particularly notable for Michael Jackson’s performance of “Billie Jean,” the event where the world became familiar with his now-famous “moonwalk.”

Read more: BET


20 Songs From The ’80s That Your Kids Should Know By Heart

Source: WIBW


(WCBS) — Music is a culture all its own. In fact, it’s like a language. If we stop using it, it will disappear and be forgotten. So here is a small attempt to keep it alive.

We’ve already given you 40 Songs From the ’60s and ’70s That Your Kids Should Know By Heart; so now, here are twenty songs from the 1980′s. What’s great about this decade is the variety of music, you might think of Madonna and Michael Jackson but there are so many other amazing songs and artists to remember.

Now it’s up to you to teach these to your children and make sure they appreciate them too. After all, who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new appreciation for some yourself!


Well we certainly couldn’t leave MJ off the list. This was an international hit, certainly for its driving, underlying beat and MJ’s smooth voice. This is one of the songs where he has very clear vocal hiccups that are unique and appealing.


This song is so ’80s! The slow tempo but hip-hop beat kind of draws you in right off the bat. And not to mention this is one of those romantic love songs, unlike in the ’70s when they were romantic sex songs. Really, the only part anybody knows from this Hall & Oates song is the chorus, “Because your kiss, your kiss, is on my list/Because your kiss, your kiss, is on my list/Your kiss on my list of the best things in life.” It’s sweet.


One of the things that makes this song so good is that it’s a jealousy song – and who can’t relate to that?! It’s kind of sweet, but really the whole song makes you feel bad for Rick because he wants Jessie’s girl so bad that it hurts and he can’t do anything about it because Jessie’s his friend. The main lyrics, “Jessie’s got himself a girl/And I want to make her mine/And she’s watching him with those eyes/And she’s lovin’ him with that body, I just know it,” are romantic and cute – but the jealousy is flowing out of his voice. Any age group can relate to this song.


This was John Mellencamp‘s biggest single and we really like it, but we’re not exactly sure why. It’s a classic love song, from a third person perspective. The bass and clapping are what really make it musical and easy to sing to. But it’s more-so the kind of song that you sing in the car, with the windows down in the summer, alongside a bunch of friends.


Eye of the Tiger is one of the original pump-up songs. Everything about it is preparing you to fight the fight, win that game or crush your opponent. It’s motivational and bad-ass. That’s it. Your kids really should already know this one, unless you raised them under a rock.


This song never gets old. This was a great rock song that came after its prime and thrived. Anybody who has heard this song before knows the words and can’t help but sing along when they hear it. There isn’t one specific thing that makes this song worth mentioning. It’s the beat, the words, the way it makes you feel that gets you excited and happy.


Something about this slow rock song makes you want to scream it in the shower with a soap mic. The single sold well over nine million copies making Bonnie the first and only welsh singer to make one of the top spots on Billboards Top 100. It’s a little bit sad but when you’re singing it, it just seems like everything you’ve felt after a breakup is somehow in words.


Well, we aren’t the only ones who think this Eurythmics song is worth the mention. It topped charts in more than ten countries and has been covered by a handful of people. One of the weirdest, but strangely popular covers, was by Marilyn Manson and one of the more upbeat and happier covers came from Stereo Express. In fact, the band actually remixed it themselves and re-released the song in 1991. Pretty much everybody today has some version of this song to use in dance clubs – and with good reason.


This song was nominated for three GRAMMYs, which in itself is pretty impressive, and won one of them. This was also the song that held off “Sweet Dreams” from usurping the Number 1 spot for four weeks. It’s a great example of one of the great things about the ’80s. The two songs, “Every Breath You Take” and “Sweet Dreams” were released around the same time but they have completely different vibes and were both incredibly popular. This song is definitely a favorite though, just for Sting‘s lyrics. It’s an interesting song that sounds mellow and sweet but the lyrics are a little darker and kind of intense: “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.”
Stalker much?


This song got it’s start from the film Flashdance (which is why the video is from the scene that includes the song). It’s a good pairing too; the song screams ’80s workout music. It’s motivational, upbeat and it has an intensity…but the best/worst part is that it’s one of those songs that stays in your head for hours, even though you only know the chorus.


This song topped the charts in Australia nearly overnight after its debut, but didn’t even reach the US until late 1982. We think it is such a fun song because it’s about Australia and what do we know about the outback? Plus nobody knows what they’re talking about when they say Vegemite (eew!), but it sounds good in the song.


Toto keyboardist, David Paich was inspired because he was unhappy with what he was seeing on TV and in the news about Africa, so even though he had never been to the dark continent, he wrote this song. One of the cool things about it is the underlying drum beat that stays constant throughout the entire song. It sounds a little boring but it gives it a real African chant kind of feel. The instrumentation in this track is what makes the song worth more than a few listens.


Let’s just start by saying that this song is not necessarily one that your kids need to know by heart, but YOU definitely should. It’s a classic. It’s only good because it’s so dirty – and it has a cool sax part – but mostly because of lyrics like, “She’s a very kinky girl, the kind you don’t take home to mother.” It’s far more scandalous than most songs of the ’60s and ’70s and I would even venture to say that this was one of the songs that paved the way for many of today’s rap songs that are, to put it nicely, much more salacious.


We had to mention this one because everything about it screams ’80s. The music video is trippy, the song is absolute club music and the eclectic use of instruments is what makes it catchy too. It barely made the Billboard Hot 100 list, coming in at 98 but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. It was just a little different…again that’s what made the ’80s great, the variety of music. The band’s name is quite fitting; after the suicide of their lead vocalist Ian Curtis in Manchester’s answer to The Doors, Joy Division, the remaining three members (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris) continued their music as New Order and became much more dance music oriented.

RED RED WINE, UB40 (1988)

A timeless hit. This song is amazing because it has that slow, chill vibe but also makes you want to dance a little. Maybe it’s the fact that they say “Red Red Wine” so much but it kind of makes you want to dance with a group of friends while polishing off a few bottles of vino. Though the song was originally recorded by Neil Diamond, this rendition is much more appealing for its reggae feel. Diamond’s version (BAH DAH DAAAH!) is a little bit sadder and slower but UB40 turned this song into a Number 1 hit with their smooth soulful singing.


We’d be surprised if anyone knew any lyrics from this song except for “Push it” and “Oooo Baby, Baby.” But I mean really, there’s no need to know any of the other lyrics. It’s not a karaoke song, it’s a club song that probably inspired the transition from grooving to grinding on the dance floor. Just watch the two girls in the video dance, that is ’80s prime promiscuity right there, and we love it! Dancing got fun and crazy around this time and there were no rules. Break Dancing was a real thing that people practiced and got great at! Salt-N-Pepa did the dance world a favor with this one.


This song should be, and probably already is, engraved in your child’s mind. It’s been covered and recovered, referenced in TV shows and played on movie soundtracks. It’s Bon Jovi’s most recognizable hit and one of the most sung love songs around the world. It topped out at Number 1 in five different countries and came in in the Top 5 in another six countries. A love story during poverty. Everyone likes the underdog. When this Jersey boy put it to a song that you can sing along to… it was bound to be a hit.


Madonna, the ultimate ’80s icon. We needed to include her and the best way we knew how was by mentioning this song solely for the music video. Madge was always pushing her limits (and society’s) but this one was way over the line for many people and it stirred up quite the controversy. Good for her! There is so much going on in the video: Madonna first witnesses a murder and sees the wrong man arrested; she goes to church and kisses a statue that comes to life (which is either Jesus or a Saint); then she’s dancing in front of burning crosses. The racist confrontation in the video is the backtrack for the religious blasphemy that people condemned her for. Either way, it’s a great song, by a great artist and should be commended not condemned.


Everybody loves a diva. There was Whitney in the ’80s, Toni Braxton in the ’90s, then Beyonce in the ’00s and beyond. They attract an audience like flies to honey. It’s a little noticeable in Whitney’s voice, but you don’t get the full diva-effect until you watch the video. A wardrobe change in every scene, her hair flips, her clear attitude… all diva characteristics, which makes it that much better because she’s singing about needing somebody and being lonely. But both her singing and the video are what make this song incredible; it’s fun, energetic and timeless.

TAKE ON ME, AHA (1984)

Here is one more song made famous by its music video. The video was featured on MTV in 1986 and won six awards out of the eight it was nominated for at the MTV Video Music Awards. Sure the music video is interesting and was a pretty original idea at the time – but the song should not be overshadowed by its visuals. It’s an easy listen and fun to sing along to, even if you’re mostly singing the keyboard part.

Read more:  http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/20-Songs-From-The-80s-That-Your-Kids-Should-Know-By-Heart-251792951.html

On This Day In MJJ History: Michael Jackson Is Awarded An Honorary Doctorate – March 10, 1988

45425432543543In 1986, Michael Jackson donated $1.5 million to UNCF to establish a scholarship endowment, The Michael Jackson Scholarship—a fund whose interest funds scholarships each year while the original gift continues to earn interest so that future students can receive scholarships. This fund has enabled over 500 students to attend college since 1986, and thanks to foresight on Jackson’s part, the original gift continues to earn interest so that future students can also receive scholarships.

Michael Jackson


In 1988 Michael was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary Doctorate) aka The Frederick D. Patterson Award, the UNCF’s highest honor from UNCF member institution Fisk University by President Dr. Henry Ponder during the UNCF 44th anniversay dinner in New York. Michael’s close friend Quincy Jones delivered the tribute to his friend and Whitney Houston sang at the event.

018-MichaelJackson_44th_United_Negr 50cde754de1aa09f38ca0400-30167 imagesCACGTNOK

President Ronald Reagan even sent greetings to him:

“Michael, I’m sorry that Nancy and I could not be with you for this very special day, but I want to congratulate you for the honors you are receiving tonight from the United Negro College Fund and the honorary degree awarded you by Fisk University. Let me be the first to call you the new Dr. “J.”-Ronald Reagan, 1988.

Michael stresses the importance of education during his acceptance speech stating at one point.

“An education opens a person’s mind to the entire world. And there is nothing more important than to make sure everyone has the opportunity for an education.” Jackson concluded his speech “I would like to say this about the United Negro College Fund. An education opens a person’s mind to the entire world, and there is nothing more important than to make sure everyone has the opportunity for an education. To want to learn, to have the capacity to learn and not to be able is a tragedy. I am honored to be associated with an evening that says this will never happen.”

Michael Jackson Receives Award whitney THE DIVAS W LIZ, LIZA, MICHAEL + UNID BL MAN 1988 3-10 POSS UNCF

Jackson’s philanthropic efforts were praised by Kellogg Company Chairman and CEO William E. LaMothe , Sony Corporation of America President and CEO Neil Vander Dussen and Barclays Bank Of New York President and CEO John Spencer. Also in 1988, Michael headlined a sold-out UNCF benefit performance at Madison Square Garden in New York and donated proceeds of $600,000 to UNCF.


Michael Jackson Scholarship for the Communication Arts

Siblings Michael and Janet Jackson created this scholarship for UNCF students majoring in Visual/ Performing Arts in addition to English, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication.

See more (Application period currently closed): https://scholarships.uncf.org/Program/Details/63bba4f6-e533-4a3e-b3c3-6a4fb13fda69



Also read this informative piece from All For Love Blog about Michael’s doctorate (click link): Michael Jackson, HLD…AKA “Dr. J”

Source: Links for Change for L.O.V.E/ All For Love / UNCF

Top 10 Songs From The 1980s

Source: The Examiner – By Don Keko

Michael Jackson Victory Tour

The 1980s have devolved into a stereotype of plasticity. The world was materialistic, but not as narcissistic as it would become. The music industry did reflect this materialism and plasticity, but also demonstrated an amazing abundance of diversity. Pop music in the middle of the eighties was much more diverse than today’s music. This diversity can be seen in this list of the top songs of the decade. These were selected on popularity, cultural impact, and relevance to the times.

1. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson: “Billie Jean” changed the game. The sound was revolutionary, but it also opened doors. The song received extensive MTV play when black artists were absent from the network. Without the breakthrough, rap and hip hop may never have exploded into the mainstream. Additionally, it often tops best of polls of dance and pop tunes from both critics and fans alike. When Jackson performed “Billie Jean” at the Motown 25th anniversary concert, it was a seminal moment for a generation.

Billie-Jean-michael-jackson-9604179-400-300 (1)

2. Every Breath You Take by The Police: “Every Breath You Take” is either the ultimate break up song or the ultimate stalker song. It’s about a controlling obsessive individual, but people heard a sweet love song. BMI listed it among the greatest songs of the 20th century. Sting’s timeless classic spent eight weeks at #1 in 1983 and has been played on the radio over 9 million times.

3. London Calling by The Clash: The Clash released London Calling in 1980. The album recounted postindustrial England complete with high unemployment, crime, racial tensions, and drug addiction. The title track documents the desperation of the times, which people living through the Panic of 2008 can relate to. The song recounts the Three Mile Island meltdown (“a nuclear error”), worries about the Thames flooding London (“London is drowning and I live by the river!”), and fears over the coming ice age (“the ice age is coming”). Nowadays, the song is used in pop culture whenever someone goes to London. However, students interested in the seventies can get a feel for the period listening to this album and song.

4. Another Brick in the Wall by Pink FloydRoger Waters rails against the English education system and boarding schools in “Another Brick in the Wall.” The song includes a teacher berating the students, who later declare their independence with the refrain “Hey! Teachers! Leave us kids alone.” The wall concept as a whole derived from Waters feeling of isolation and separation from his audience. Interestingly, the album,The Wall, resonated within the context of the Cold War. The communists built the Berlin Wall to prevent professionals from fleeing to the west. The album has a few selections that sound as though it came out of a Cold War documentary.


5. When Doves Cry by Prince: Prince scored his first #1 song with “When Doves Cry” in 1984. The song was written for the film, Purple Rain. The film’s director wanted a song that caught one of the central tensions in the film. The work did not sound like anything on the radio at the time, or since for that matter. It remains completely unique and has the rare ability to capture a moment in time (the summer of 1984) and at the same time remains timeless.


6. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen: Originally, Bruce Springsteen conceived “Born in the USA” as a slow acoustic piece opining about the lost American dream. However, the song was reincarnated for theBorn in the USA album and morphed into a solid rocker. It recounts the story of a returning Vietnam vet that can’t catch a break. However, the song’s new structure inadvertently took the emphasis off the protagonist’s struggles and instead focused on the chorus. As a result, a veteran’s lament accidentally became a patriotic anthem. “Born in the USA” as an anthem fit the country’s resurgent patriotic spirit that emanated down from the Reagan White House rather than the concern expressed for the lost veterans of Vietnam, the forgotten promise of America, and the failure of the sixties

7. Like a Virgin by Madonna: This song shaped a generation. It propelled Madonna to superstardom and made her the last word on fashion and mores. The song’s critics complained about Madonna’s hyper sexuality and argued she could not become a star without exploiting her assets. Madonna provided a template for future generations of female acts. Without “Like a Virgin”, there is no Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus.

madonna LAV gif

8. With or Without You by U2: U2 transitioned to superstardom and away from youthful angst when they released “With or Without You.” They were already critical darlings after The Unforgettable Fire album, but this pushed them over the top. The Joshua Tree album as a whole dealt with U2′s interpretation of America and the 1980s. “With or Without You” advances beyond their topic and became their most successful single to date that time.

9. Beat It by Michael Jackson: Michael Jackson combined pop with hard rock when he recorded “Beat It.” Eddie Van Halen provided the guitar solo and even helped arrange the song. Jackson tells people to avoid violence, drugs, and conflict and to just “Beat It.” At the time, America’s crime rate had hit its zenith, which might have inspired Jackson to write “Beat It.” The song was used in anti-drunk driving campaigns and resulted in presidential recognition.


10. Call Me by Blondie: Stevie Nicks turned down “Call Me”, but Blondie did not. The song remained at #1 for six weeks and was the top track of 1980. Debbie Harry says the song was about driving, but the lyrics obviously refer to a call girl. Over 30 years later, “Call Me” has appeared on a number of lists recording the greatest songs in music history.

Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/top-10-songs-from-the-1980s?cid=rss

Today in Rock: March 7 – “We Are The World”

Source: The Examiner – By William  Phoenix


There were several significant events on this day between the years 1943 and 2013.

On this day in 1943 Chris White, future bass player for The Zombies is born in the UK.

On this day in 1945 Arthur Lee, future frontman/multi-instrumentalist of the band Love is born in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this day in 1954 Jo Stafford’s “Make Love to Me” hits number 1 in the US.

On this day in 1967 The Beatles are recording the song “Lovely Rita”.

On this day in 1970 Simon and Garfunkel’s platter Bridge Over Troubled Water hits number one in the US.

On this day in 1977 The Eagles’ “Hotel California” hits number one in the US.

On this day in 1985 The “We are the World” single is released. It becomes a worldwide success. The song was co-written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. It was recorded for charity to help fight famine in Africa. It is performed by the supergroup USA for Africa and includes a list of big names in music including Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper and Dionne Warwick.

The song and related promotions eventually raised about $63 million. Source: UPI.com (See link at the end of the article) 


On this day in 1987 the first Beatles LPs are released on CD including Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale and Help!. This is also the first time the official UK platters are available in the US.

On this day in 1994 the rap artists 2 Live Crew is cleared in a lawsuit brought by the publisher of Roy Orbison‘s music over their parody of Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman”. The publisher denied 2 Live Crew permission to sample the Orbison’s tune so the rap group wrote a parody instead, which held up in court.

On this day in 2013 Peter Banks, the guitarist of Yes dies at the age of 65.

Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/today-rock-march-7

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2014/03/07/The-almanac/UPI-76391394181000/#ixzz2vHoWecPu

Rock Hall Anniversary: Announcement of Michael Jackson’s This Is It Tour

Source: The Examiner – Ryan Davis

Michael Jackson

By 2009, it has been nearly twelve years since Michael Jackson embarked on a concert tour. But on March 5th, it seemed that a return to the stage would be in order.

In front of over 300 reporters, and thousands of screaming fans, Jackson announced his This Is It Tour. In his statement, he announced that the ten performances (which later jumped to fifty), would be the singer’s final performances. Public interest was immediate, as over a million pre-sale tickets were sold in 24 hours, and sales of Jackson’s albums also increased with Thriller and Off the Wall both having the highest percentage at 200%.

Preparations for the concerts began in early June, and Jackson rehearsed for the numbers that would be performed in the shows including “Smooth Criminal”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”, “Thriller”, and “The Way You Make Me Feel”. But unfortunately, This Is It would never get off the ground. On June 25th, Jackson died from cardiac arrest at the age of 50. The first planned show would have been underway eighteen days later, and the O2 arena would soon begin issuing refunds for tickets buyers. While This Is It would be the concert tour it would never be, it would live on in another realm.

As it was soon discovered there was over 100 hours of footage of preparations and rehearsals, Columbia Pictures released Michael Jackson’s This Is It in October 2009, to worldwide critical and commercial acclaim. Also released was the accompanying soundtrack, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts, and sold over ten million copies worldwide, both further enlightening the musical legacy Jackson left behind.

Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/rock-hall-anniversary-announcement-of-michael-jackson-s-this-is-it-tour

Throwback Article 11/15/2006: Michael Jackson Named Most Successful Entertainer Of All Time

Source: City News


The King of Pop has broken eight world records, including being named the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time by the organization. Jackson stopped by the Guinness World Records headquarters in London Wednesday to pick up his certificates ahead of an appearance at the World Music Awards.

Jackson holds records for the Youngest Vocalist to top the U.S. Singles Chart (he was 11 fronting The Jackson Five); First Vocalist To Enter The U.S. Single Chart at No. 1 (You Are Not Alone); First Entertainer to Sell More Than 100 Million Albums outside the US; Most weeks at the top of the US album charts (non-soundtrack) (37 weeks for Thriller); Most successful music video (Thriller sold over 1 million units); First entertainer to earn more than $100 million in a year; and the Highest paid entertainer of all time ($125 million in 1989 Forbes list).

After spending time in seclusion after his acquittal on child molestation charges, the moonwalker is inching his way back into the spotlight.

Earlier this year he travelled to Tokyo to accept MTV Japan’s Legend Award and he’s currently in England for his first performance in the UK in nine years. He’s set to receive the Diamond Award at the World Music Awards Wednesday night where he’s also expected to sing some of the hits off his Thriller album. 

Singer Michael Jackson receives the Diamond Award and a certificate for his 8 Guinness World Records on stage during the 2006 World Music Awards at Earls Court on November 15, 2006 in London.

Singer Michael Jackson receives the Diamond Award and a certificate for his 8 Guinness World Records on stage during the 2006 World Music Awards at Earls Court on November 15, 2006 in London.

Read more: http://www.citynews.ca/2006/11/15/michael-jackson-named-most-successful-entertainer-of-all-time/

This Week In Billboard Chart History: Michael Jackson Moonwalks To No. 1 With ‘Billie Jean’

Source: Billboard- Gary Trust


This week in 1983, Jackson began a seven-week Hot 100 command with one of his signature songs. Plus, remembering key chart feats for Adele, Debbie Gibson and Britney Spears

Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history

March 3, 2012
Adele’s aptly-titled “21″ collects a 21st week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, passing Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” to become the longest-leading album by a female artist. “21″ went on to total 24 weeks on top.

March 4, 1989
Debbie Gibson soared to her second Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, as ballad “Lost in Your Eyes” lifted 2-1. “Obviously, dance songs can stand the test of time, but nothing penetrates and spans all age groups, all ethnicities or all genders like a ballad,” Gibson told Billboard recently upon the 25th anniversary of the release of parent album “Electric Youth.” “One of my favorite things, to this day, is that many people come up to me and tell me that they learned how to play the piano from that song and from that sheet music, which is such an honor to me.”

March 5, 1983
Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” began its seven-week command of the Billboard Hot 100, marking his longest reign of 13 No. 1s; “Black or White” would also rule for seven frames in 1991. His 13 leaders remain the most among solo males in the chart’s history. (The King of Pop also made four trips to the summit with the Jackson 5.)

March 6, 1981
Happy birthday, Chart Beat! On this date, Billboard premiered its signature charts column. Since 2009, the entire charts department has contributed to writing Chart Beat news and features, while the column also presents video interviews and the popular “Ask Billboard” reader mailbag.

March 7, 2009
Britney Spears scored her fifth Pop Songs No. 1, as “Circus” jumped 3-1.

March 8, 2003
Eleven years ago today, 50 Cent began a nine-week reign on the Billboard Hot 100 with “In Da Club.”

March 9, 1985
Slow dance time: Rockers REO Speedwagon began a three-week command of the Billboard Hot 100 with their love song “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

Read more: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/5923028/this-week-in-billboard-chart-history-michael-jackson-moonwalks

Casey Kasem’s America’s Top 40 Song List For March 3, 1984

Source: Kgor


Chart Date: March 3, 1984

#40 “MISS ME BLIND” – Culture Club
#39 “GIRLS” – Dwight Twilley
#38 “RADIO GA-GA” – Queen
#37 “MIDDLE OF THE ROAD” – The Pretenders
#36 “COME BACK AND STAY” – Paul Young
#35 “LIVIN’ IN DESPERATE TIMES” – Olivia Newton-John
#34 “HOLD ME NOW” – The Thompson Twins
#33 “NEW SONG” – Howard Jones
#32 “RUNNER” – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
#31 “BACK WHERE YOU BELONG” – .38 Special
#30 “LET’S STAY TOGETHER” – Tina Turner
#28 “ALMOST OVER YOU” – Sheena Easton
#27 “THINK OF LAURA” – Christopher Cross
#26 “RUNNING WITH THE NIGHT” – Lionel Richie
#25 “ADULT EDUCATION” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
#24 “GIVE IT UP” – K.C.
#23 “THIS WOMAN” – Kenny Rogers
#21 “AUTOMATIC” – The Pointer Sisters
#20 “TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP” – The Romantics
#19 “YAH MO B THERE” – James Ingram w/Michael McDonald
#18 “THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE” – Dan Fogelberg
#17 “GOT A HOLD ON ME” – Christine McVie
#16 “FOOTLOOSE” – Kenny Loggins
#15 “THAT’S ALL” – Genesis
#14 “AN INNOCENT MAN” – Billy Joel
#13 “NEW MOON ON MONDAY” – Duran Duran
#12 “JOANNA” – Kool & The Gang
#11 “HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN” – Eurythmics
#10 “I WANT A NEW DRUG” – Huey Lewis & The News
#9 “LET THE MUSIC PLAY” – Shannon
#6 “KARMA CHAMELEON” – Culture Club
#5 “NOBODY TOLD ME” – John Lennon
#4 “THRILLER” – Michael Jackson
#2 “99 LUFTBALLONS” – Nena
#1 “JUMP” – Van Halen


Read more: http://www.kgor.com/onair/casey-kasems-american-top-40-50664/sunday-march-2-2014-show-12099307/

On This Day In MJJ HIStory: 1988 Grammy Performance / Michael Performs With Diana On Her 1981 TV Special

Paul Simon and  U2 won big at the 1988 Grammy’s, but Michael Jackson had the best performance of the night with “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror.” 


The King of Pop wowed the star-studded crowd at the Grammy Awards, starting out with a slowed-down version of “The Way You Make Me Feel” and climaxing with “Man in the Mirror” with a full gospel choir accompanying him.

“Black man gotta make a change!” “White man gotta make a change!”

By the end of the song, Michael is literally preaching to the world about making  a change. This is the greatest Grammy awards show performance of all time, hands down! 

Here’s what two writers had to say about Michael’s spellbounding performance.

In this 1988 Grammy Award performance, legendary entertainer Michael Jackson performs a couple of his many hits, including “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror” –in which the incomparable Mr. Jackson gets a case “caught up in the Holy Ghost”– like the Good Lord caught his soul on fire and took him up to heaven to let him have just a little glimpse of the days to come.”

“When he spins and hits the floor and nearly starts “preaching” it wasn’t part of the act, he actually got on his knees and started crying … then the man in the back walks over to help him back up and he goes back into the performance.” Source: Allvoices

◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙

“The first few notes of “Man in the Mirror” do things to me, spiritually. I can’t explain it, but I know the journey that I’m about to go on, and it’s always a beautiful, teary roller coaster. The reason this song and, as we will see, this performance are so good is that Mike has all of the human emotions, and they’re all expressed in this one clip. He feels everything.” Source: Grantland


DIANA ROSS 1981 TV SPECIAL Entitled “Diana”

Original Air Date: March 2, 1981

(Featured guests: MICHAEL JACKSON, Larry Hagman, The Joffrey Ballet, Mohammad Ali and Quincy Jones)


The show, produced by Steve Binder, in association with Diana Ross Enterprises, combined footage from a concert held in L.A. on February 5, 1981, with studio footage. Diana and Michael sing several songs during the show (See song list below). Michael is practically glowing and giddy with joy while performing with his childhood idol.


Diana brought out Jackson’s shy demeanor, teasing him about being “very sexy.” “You are embarrassing me,” he replied, laughing. But he was quick to return the compliment.

“But I alway knew that you would.”  

“What?” Diana replies.  

“Be sexy!” Michael responses as he asks the audience if they agree with him.


Show song list:

1.  I’m Coming Out (Opening Credits) 
2.  The Boss 

3.  It’s My Turn 
4.  Rock With You 

5.  Home 
6.  Ease On Down the Road (duet with Michael Jackson with Quincy Jones on Piano)
7.  “Hanging with Michael Jackson” 
8.  Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand 
9.  “Hanging with Larry Hagman” 

10. You are Everything -duet with Larry Hagman 
11. Reach Out to the Audience 

12. Reflections 

13. Supremes rock medley 

14. Upside Down (duet with Michael Jackson) Live In Los Angeles

15. Rock With You (duet with Michael Jackson) 
16. Do You Know Where You’re Going To 

17. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

These 22 Lost Classics Of Motown Deserve To Be Rediscovered

Source: Huffinton Post – By Ashley Woods


When it comes to songs about first love, true love and heartbreak, we go back, again and again, to a record label that took its heart and soul from Detroit: Motown.

The home of Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and the young Michael Jackson. The music itself is pop rooted in the traditions of gospel, accompanied by pounding drums, layers of strings and brassy call-and-response bits. But it’s easier just to say “Motown.” It’s music that actually sounds like love, and you don’t need to speak English or have grown up in the 1960s for that message to translate.

Here’s the secret all Motown junkies know: The label began by Berry Gordy in a little house on Detroit’s Grand Boulevard had more hit songs, and more talent, than those four walls could ever hold. And for every hit single crafted by Smokey Robinson or the crack songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, there were equally great songs that flopped, and equally talented singers who were unfairly denied marketing or access to tracks. There were lawsuits, feuds and falling outs. Even further in the background were session musicians like the Funk Brothers and background singers like the Andantes who gave their all on dozens of records before fading into obscurity.

Below, you can find a collection of little known singles, unreleased tracks and deep cuts from Hitsville USA’s heyday, about 1963 through 1971. Some of these 22 songs come from Motown artists you know and love. Others come from groups that might be new to you. All of them deserve to be recognized as “lost classics” of the Motown sound.

8. The Jackson 5, “2-4-6-8″

You can’t talk Motown without including a song from this pint-size band of brothers. Everybody knows their song “ABC,” but this counterpart from the same album remains relatively unknown. “2-4-6-8″ features one of Michael’s most adorable spoken word parts ever recorded: “I may be a little fella / but my heart is as big as Texas!” Another incredible outtake from the “ABC” recording sessions. (See below, song number 4)


Listen to Michael cover Ray Charles’ “A Fool For You” with singing chops a vocalist twice his age would envy. 

Click here to see complete list: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/27/lost-classics-motown-songs-tracks-soul

If you’re a Spotify user, click here to open the Lost Classics of Motown playlist, featuring even more forgotten songs from the glory days of Motown.

Today’s Music: Michael Jackson’s Historic Night Included Grammy For Kids Book (Audio Clip)

Source: MPRNews – By Perry Finelli

jackson_et_02 (1)

Thirty years ago today, Michael Jackson made music history by winning a record eight Grammy awards in one night. Most were for the album “Thriller” — one of the most successful records of all time. But one of those Grammys was for something completely different.

Jackson was the narrator on an audio-book version of the movie “E.T.” It won “Best Children’s Recording.”

Click here for audio: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/02/28/music-segment-michael-jacksons-historic-night-included-grammy-for-kids-book?refid=0

Throwback Article February 28, 1984: JACKSON WINS 8 GRAMMYS!

Source: The New York Times 


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28— Michael Jackson tonight won an unprecedented eight Grammys, including album and record of the year, but was beaten twice by the Police ballad ”Every Breath You Take,” the year’s top new song.

Mr. Jackson’s hit album ”Thriller,” which spawned seven Top 10 singles that dominated the airwaves throughout 1983 and has sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide, was named the year’s top LP over rivals including ”Synchronicity” by the Police and the ”Flashdance” soundtrack.

Mr. Jackson’s ”Beat It” was named record of the year and his ”Billie Jean” was chosen best new rhythm and blues song.

Mr. Jackson picked up three best male vocalist awards – with ”Beat It” for rock, ”Billie Jean” for rhythm and blues, and ”Thriller” for pop.

He was also named producer of the year, along with Quincy Jones, and won for best children’s recording for his non-musical narration on ”E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”

Mr. Jackson’s eight Grammys topped the record of seven won by Paul Simon in 1970, and the six collected by Roger Miller for 1965′s ”King of the Road.”

Mr. Jackson, nominated for a record 12 Grammys, had to sweep the final two awards of the telecast after being upset twice earlier in the evening by ”Every Breath You Take,” which was named best new song and also defeated ”The Girl is Mine,” by Mr. Jackson and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, for best pop performance by a duo or group.

The Police won a third Grammy, for best rock performance by a duo or group, with ”Synchronicity.” Sting, the group’s lead singer, won a fourth Grammy for best rock instrumental performance on the ”Brimstone and Treacle” movie soundtrack.

Mr. Jackson’s triumph overshadowed Sir Georg Solti, whose four classical awards gave him a career total of 23, passing Henry Mancini, who has won 20, as the all-time Grammy winner.

The ”Flashdance” soundtrack got three Grammys – for Irene Cara as best female pop vocal, ”Love Theme” as best instrumental composition, and the entire album as best original score for a movie or television special. The Tony-winning ”Cats” won for best original cast show album.

Chaka Kahn also won three awards – for best female rhythm and blues performance for ”Chaka Kahn,” best rhythm and blues performance by a duo or group for ”Ain’t Nobody” with Rufus Kahn, and best vocal arrangement for ”Be Bop Medley” with Arif Mardin.

Wynton Marsalis, a 22-year-old trumpeter, the first artist ever nominated in both jazz and classical categories, also became the first to win in both, for jazz instrumental performance and as classical instrumental soloist.

Duran Duran won both video awards, for ”Duran Duran” as best video album and ”Girls on Film” as best video short.

Other winners in voting by members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences included Culture Club with Boy George as best new artist, Pat Benatar for ”Love is a Battlefield” as best female rock vocal performance and George Benson for ”Being With You” as best pop instrumental performance.


Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/1984/02/29/arts/jackson-wins-8-grammys.html

Awards won in one night: Best R&B Vocal, Male for ‘Billie Jean’, Best R&B Song (Songwriter) for ‘Billie Jean’, Best Rock Vocal, Male for ‘Beat It’, Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), Best Pop Vocal, Male for ‘Thriller, Best Video Album for ‘Thriller, Best Recording for Children (Quincy Jones (Producer) & Michael Jackson for ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’, Record of the Year ‘Beat It’ and Album of the Year for ‘Thriller.’

On This Day In MJ History: Thriller Album Goes To Number One

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – By Shelby Morrison


On February 26, 1983, Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit Number One on the Billboard 200 chart. The 1982 release was revolutionary, a watershed moment in the history of rock and roll. It earned a record-breaking number of Grammy awards, sold in record numbers, resulted in music videos that changed promotional possibilities, broke down racial barriers and left a legacy of influence that continues to this day. 

Thriller was recorded with a production budget of $750,000 in 1982 and was produced by 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee Quincy Jones. Jackson and Jones combed through more than 700 demos – some Jackson had committed to a voice recorder – to find songs for his new album, eventually settling on a handful of tracks that included Jackson originals “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “The Girl is Mine,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” All four of the songs that Jackson composed were reflections of both personal and social issues surrounding the “King of Pop”: In “Billie Jean,” Jackson speaks about an obsessive fan who alleges that Jackson has fathered a child with her; “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” was a rebuttal against gossip surrounding his life and the media; “The Girl is Mine,”was a song about interracial love;  and “Beat It” was an anti–gang violence masterpiece that was Jackson’s first successful rock-cross over. All four songs reached the Top 10 on the Billboard charts.

The album remained in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for a full year, and it spent 37 weeks at the Number One spot – more than any other Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee (Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours spent 31 weeks). Thriller was released on November 30, 1982, and in a little over a year had become – and still remains – the best-selling album of all time. It is estimated that Thriller has sold between 65 and 110 million copies****, worldwide. Thriller also won eight Grammys in 1984, including Best Pop Male Performance, Best Rock Male Performance, Record of the Year and Album of the Year. The album also won Jackson eight American Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards.

The video created for the title track, written by Rod Temperton, is among the most influential music videos of all time. The idea to create a music video for this song came in the summer of 1983, when the album’s sales began to decline. Jackson’s manager at the time, Frank DiLeo came up the idea to create a video for the title track of the album to reinvigorate sales, telling Jackson, “It’s simple – all you’ve got to do is dance, sing and make it scary.” The nearly 14-minute video was directed by John Landis (who had previously directed such films as Animal House and The Blues Brothers), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jackson. “My idea was to make this short film with conversation… in the beginning – I like having a beginning and a middle and an ending, which would follow a story,” explained Jackson. “I’m very much involved in the complete making and creating of the piece. It has to be, you know, my soul.” The video starred Jackson, actress Ola Ray, noted actor Vincent Price (who supplied voiceover for the album recording) and a host of dancing zombies.


In addition to “Thriller,” videos for “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” received regular rotation on MTV. At the time, Jackson’s blending of film and music to create an entertaining story helped usher in more MTV airplay featuring African-American artists. Jackson effectively shifted the perspective of the video channel, broadening the mix from a more straightforward focus on pop music and opening the doors for other black artists to utilize music videos as a wildly effective promotional tool.

Jackson was one of a kind, and his music and legacy will live on, according to friend Steven Spielberg: “Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson – his talent, his wonderment and his mystery will make him a legend.”

Michael Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2001 and is among the artists featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland’s Legends of Rock exhibit.

Read more: http://rockhall.com/blog/post/michael-jackson-thriller-album-number-one-video/

****Since Michael’s death, the number of sales for Thriller has noticeably changed from what was reported in earlier years in the hundred millions. I believe that those previous sale numbers are far more accurate. See below.

In 1984, Thriller had sold over 25 million copies according to the Guinness Book of World Records only two years after it was released. (See 4:30 – 6:27).  

 At the 2006 World Music Awards, it was announced that Thriller had sold 104 million copies worldwide (See :35). 

 Michael Jackson’s Thriller Set To Become Top-Selling Album Of All Time

(MTV – July 20, 2009)

Article Summary: In March 2009,  Thriller was certified platinum when it passed 28 million. After his death, demand for physical copies of his albums (an estimated 82 percent of his sales were actual CDs) ramped up the number of copies of Thriller in circulation. The RIAA believes that demand brought the number up to 29 million. That does not necessarily mean that Thriller has sold 29 million copies, as the RIAA’s certification process is based on the number of albums shipped to stores, not necessarily the number actually scanned and sold. 

“The RIAA’s certifications are simply a formality as Thriller is already recognized as the top-selling album according to worldwide sales. Though numbers vary, it’s reasonable to estimate that the album has moved 110 million copies worldwide since its 1982 release. As a comparison, the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits has moved an estimated 42 million — a formidable number for sure, but less than half of Jackson’s total. 




Pop Rewind: Michael Jackson “Billie Jean”

Source: Mimo – By Tim Ferrar/ MJ Upbeat


From a music history standpoint, Michael Jackson really had two careers: a child singing star who stole the spotlight among his brothers early on as part of the Jackson 5; and his emergence as the “King of Pop” in the 1980s.  This week’s rewind, “Billie Jean,” the second single from 1982’s breakthrough album Thriller, is one of the songs that helped propel Jackson’s second career into megastardom.

Ironically, “Billie Jean” almost didn’t make the track list for Thriller, as producer Quincy Jones didn’t feel the song was strong enough (proving that even Quincy Jones can make a mistake).  Nevertheless, it seemed the song was destined to be a game-changer in the pop scene. Audio engineer Bruce Swedien reportedly mixed the song a whopping 91 times attempting to heed Jones’ instructions to create a never-before-heard drum sound.  And even after becoming a worldwide hit, “Billie Jean” became a ground-breaker in another way, as Jackson used it to unveil his signature “moonwalk” dance move on national television. Appearing on the 1983 TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever, Jackson broke out the move only twice during his performance—a few seconds’ worth of television footage—but those few seconds launched a global phenomenon as millions of young people began attempting to copy the move.

Today, “Billie Jean” remains one of the best-selling singles of all time, and the Motown 25 performance has made many lists as of the all-time most powerful moments in television history. Below is the official video for “Billie Jean,” along with Jackson’s appearance on Motown 25. Enjoy!

Read morehttp://mimo.recordingconnection.com/pop-rewind-michael-jackson-billie-jean/968151/

Pop Stars Still Look Back To The Luxury of Egypt’s Past For Creative Inspiration

Source: Albawaba - By Ati Metwaly

michael jackson katy perry

Katy Perry’s release of her music video ‘Dark Horse’ on Thursday created a great deal of buzz among fans on a wide variety of social media platforms. In the video, the American pop star poses as Katy Patra, an ancient Egyptian queen within an imaginary pharaonic setting infused with modern embellishments and also with what could be viewed as unfortunate visual simplifications of ancient Egyptian civilization. 

Perry is not the first pop star to incorporate ancient civilisations into her work. In fact, the phenomenon of displaying iconic cultural civilisations in music videos is known to attract the viewer’s interest in impressive scenery and ancient history. Unfortunately however, these replications of ancient worlds are rarely faithful to the culture of interest, an issue that stems from focusing on its more lavish aspects for the sake of attracting viewers.

When observing referrals to ancient Egypt specifically, perhaps the most well-known examples are the 1986 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles and Michael Jackson’s 1992 video for “Remember the Time.” While the Bangles incorporated a light-spirited, catchy reference to ancient Egypt in a repetitive line, Jackson replicated lavish ancient Egyptian scenery and ambience to create a sense of luxury and power.

“Walk Like an Egyptian” is a song about people walking on a ferry and struggling to keep their balance. Its music video was disappointing as it was low quality and failed to illustrate the song’s concept. Realizing the value of the visual incorporation of Ancient Egypt, the Bangles re-issued the single in 1990 with cover art displaying a row of figures on the walls of Egyptian temples and graves. Unfortunately this did little to revive the song’s initial success.


“Remember the Time” is a song from Jackson’s eighth studio album Dangerous; the music video features appearances by Eddie Murphy, Iman, and basketball player Magic Johnson. The video was well-received by fans and was described by critics as a “gorgeous ancient Egyptian extravaganza.”Remember-The-Time-michael-jackson-11204899-709-530

In the video, Jackson demonstrates his ability to portray the more extravagant aspects of ancient history in a manner that attracts viewers. “Remember the Time” was a one of the most lavish productions in pop history, something that Katy Perry seeks to reincarnate in “Dark Horse.”

Power and luxury set within the royal environment of an ancient culture intertwined with additional fables and imaginary elements has proven to be an excellent tool in guaranteeing commercial success to producers. Moreover, the depiction of the royal lifestyle of such ancient societies as opposed to the less colourful lives of average citizens from the same era makes it easy to display such extravagance. Moreover, the videos often have little to do with the song’s lyrics, showing that visual abundance is the pop industry’s driving force.

Read more here: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/katy-perry-556511

15 Stars Who Started Their Careers At The Apollo (PHOTOS)

Source: Huffington Post

Jackson 5

Jackson 5 Early Portrait In Chicago

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1969

The world famous Apollo Theater is an iconic landmark that has been credited with launching a plethora of black entertainers’ careers through the years. Since opening in 1934, the prestigious Harlem establishment has hosted its ‘Amateur Night’ weekly showcase highlighting budding entertainers vying for stardom.

And though, countless legendary performers such as, Ella Fitzgerald, went on to win the Wednesday night competition, other future stars including Lauryn Hill and comedian Dave Chappelle have been famously boo’ed off the stage by patrons.

In honor of the theater’s 80th anniversary and Black History Month we decided to take a look at xx amateurs whose talent made the Apollo’s motto “Where Stars Are Born and Legends Are made,” a reality.

Jackie Wilson

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images Apollo debut year: 1950

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1950

James Brown

Tom Copi via Getty Images Apollo debut year: 1956

Tom Copi via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1956

Sammy Davis Jr

United Artists via Getty Images Apollo debut year: 1947

United Artists via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1947

Lena Horne

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images Apollo debut year: 1935

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1935

Stevie Wonder

Echoes via Getty Images Apollo debut year: 1962

Echoes via Getty Images
Apollo debut year: 1962

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/15-stars-born-legendary-apollo-theater-_n_4733397.html?utm_hp_ref=michael-jackson