“I Know It’s Out There!” – A Tribute to Michael Jackson

Source: Superheroyou – By Thomas Bähler | All Things Michael


We were recording at Westlake Studio A on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. Quincy Jones was producing Michael Jackson with Bruce Swedien, our masterful engineer. I had just finished recording a special sound on “Beat It,” Michael’s new song.

Michael and Quincy called me in because I owned a Synclavier, a revolutionary new digital synthesizer that was taking the business by storm, even though its cost was that of a small home. Michael wanted a particular sound, that he had heard on the Synclavier demo record the company had sent him, to be the first sound you heard on “Beat It”. He then asked me to play it once again, to announce Van Halen’s iconic guitar solo in the middle of the song.

I had come out from New york to do the gig and hang out at the studio as Quincy, Michael, Bruce and I had worked closely together for years and it was great to be with them again.

I soon found myself in the midst of a search for a snare drum sound for this song that had been going on for almost three weeks.

For those of you who don’t know what a snare drum is, play any pop song and listen to the drum that plays on beats two and four (the beats we clap on at a concert). Snares come in a wide variety of sounds, from sharp ‘piccolo snares’ to booming ‘field snares,’ and Michael had a sound in his imagination that he wanted to find in physical form.

We joined him on that search.

“Beat It” was somewhat of a departure for Michael because it was a rock song, and a killer one at that.

Normally, the production team would have already run its patience to the breaking point, listening to every snare drum type we could find in Los Angeles. But Michael’s enthusiasm kept our spirits running high.

“It’s out there! I know it’s out there!” he’d exclaim.

As he listened to each snare, they were either logged as possibilities or sent back, with Michael saying “I like that one,” or “That one mixed with another could do it.” It was clear he hadn’t yet found what he was hearing in his limitless imagination. But never through this process did I hear him say, “That doesn’t work,” or “No, that one’s no good.” When he listened to a snare that wasn’t going to make the cut, Michael would simply smile and say, “Let’s hear the next one.”

In all the years I worked with Michael as his principal vocal arranger, not once did I hear a negative word leave his lips – from the time he was 13 until his untimely death in 2009. In my opinion, Michael’s determined optimism played a major role in his phenomenal success.

I mean, isn’t that a Superhero quality?

Determined Optimism. It’s a powerful tool.

Determined optimism is what I call using my free will to decide that I am focusing on what I want.

If you’d like to see this process for yourself, watch the film created after he left this planet, This is It, and you’ll see firsthand what I mean. And it was obvious in the studio as we searched for the snare sound only Michael could hear. His positivity shone like the sun as we tried snare after snare, and he repeated often, “I know it’s out there!”

One afternoon, we received a Gran Cassa, a large symphonic bass drum that Michael and Quincy planned on using in another song. It took two guys to carry it, housed in its black fiberboard case.

They set it down in one of the isolation rooms next to the main room in Studio A and began unpacking it. When they set down the top half of the fiberboard case, a fairly large object fell off an adjacent shelf and hit it.

“That’s it!” cried Michael, his eyes gleaming with recognition. “That’s the sound! Svensk (Swedien’s nickname), let’s mic it!”

Then Michael jumped around the booth of Studio A, repeating, “I knew it was out there.”

Next time you listen to “Beat It,” you’ll notice there are two distinctive snare drum sounds. The first is a somewhat normal snare sound on beat two of each measure. The second snare sound occurs on beat four. It’s there you’ll hear the added resonance and weight of that big fiberboard case!

So how did Michael know that this sound he was looking for was out there?

He didn’t.

He used his superpower of Belief.

Michael believed.

When we believe, we open the door to limitless possibilities. When we doubt, we shut that door. It’s that simple.

If Michael had slumped into his chair saying, “We’re never going to find this sound,” he would have been right.

It’s like putting a fire under a teapot. We don’t stand there and watch it boil because that’s a waste of time. Instead, we pay attention and super-tune our awareness to hear the telltale whistle of the teakettle.

If you notice in this story, Michael was the only one who heard this sound when it happened. None of us responded to it, but Michael did. He was listening for it.

When we declare what we want, like Michael did, we command things to happen. When we declare what we want and it serves others, the universe responds and we get it.

This is another superhero trait, and yet so accessible.

The next time, you feel overwhelmed, stuck, lost, indecisive or full of doubt, stop and ask yourself:

What do I want?

This philosophy of trusting our intuition is an attribute of virtually all the great artists and CEO’s I’ve had the pleasure to work with. From Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, and Diana Ross to Henry Ford II, they all listen to and believe in their intuition. Quincy calls them goosebumps.

I understand and live this philosophy because my father instilled it in me as a young boy. It has worked for me throughout my life and has placed me in concert with the greats I’ve listed here.

Recently, this philosophy revealed itself to me as a tangible formula that has unwittingly ignited my imagination throughout my life. I am now thrilled and compelled to share it with you as a book and virtual program entitled, WHAT YOU WANT WANTS YOU: How to get what you want…every time.

I dedicate this article to ‘Smelly,’ our nickname for Michael, who inspired us with his superhero spirit and limitless gifts. We miss you and are grateful for the mountain of love you have left for us to enjoy for eons to come. You truly are a superhero.

Thomas Bähler has enjoyed a long and distinguished creative career, having composed, produced and served as creative director, songwriter, singer and arranger for numerous movies, TV hits, albums and theatrical productions. He has composed music for Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Among the many hits he has penned are Michael Jackson’s She’s Out of My Life and Cher’s Living in a House Divided. Thomas has over 30 Gold and Platinum records. The list of his musical accomplishments is extensive.

Thomas has performed as:

Musical Director for the finale of “Live Aid” and conductor of its finale
Creator of the vocal arrangements and associate producer for “We Are the World”
Creative Director for the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.

Music Director for many events sponsored by the White House including “America’s Millennium,” “Concert of the Americas” and President Clinton’s Inaugural Concert.

Thomas has also served as Creative Director at Radio City Music Hall and also for numerous Superbowl half time shows.

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, Thomas’ debut novel, has been called an “undeniable force of nature” by A Bookish Affair. Thomas lives in New York City is preparing to release his newest book and virtual program, WHAT YOU WANT WANTS YOU.

Come visit me at my website, on Twitter @tbahler, or on Facebook.

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou.


Read more: http://superheroyou.com/i-know-its-out-there/


Originally posted on 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year):


To commemorate the 5th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing I’m posting my 6 Favorite Post-Thriller Michael Jackson Releases from 1984 (very specific – I know – but the list fits perfectly within the theme of this blog and the focus of my obsessions).

These are the best songs either sung, written or produced by MJ that came out in the great (greatest) year of pop. Coming up today . . .

MJ 73#5 Farewell My Summer Love.

In 1984 everything and anything associated with Michael Jackson turned to gold (or platinum) so it’s no coincidence that in May of that year Motown ‘found’ this ‘lost track’ in its archives and released it. The label used existing Jackson vocals, originally recorded a decade earlier, and added new musical tracks. Hmmmm – a record label crafts a new release from old recordings completely without Jackson’s permission . . .  why does this seem so familiar? Hmmm.


View original 263 more words

The Night Bon Jovi Met Michael Jackson

Stunning photos of Bon Jovi from new book 'Sex, Drugs and Bon Jovi'

On the five-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, author Zack O’Malley Greenburg demonstrates the late superstar’s work ethic with an anecdote from his new book, in which the Jersey rockers get a visit from Bubbles the Chimp.

An unlikely encounter between the King of Pop and the Jersey rockers, revealed here for the first time, offers a rare glimpse into the private world of Michael Jackson — and sheds light on the other-worldly work ethic that helped him earn over $1 billion in his life. Adapted from Michael Jackson, Inc: The Rise, Fall and Rise of A Billion-Dollar Empire (Atria Books, June 2014).

In September of 1987, Jon Bon Jovi and his eponymous band were still riding the buzz of Slippery When Wet, which had catapulted the group to international superstardom a year earlier. They were playing a handful of shows in Tokyo’s 20,000-seat Budokan arena while Michael Jackson drew 135,000 fans over a sold-out three-night stand at nearby Korakuen Stadium. As it happened, they were all staying at the same hotel.

One night, [Jackson manager FrankDileo called and asked if Bon Jovi would like to meet Jackson, an invitation the rocker gladly accepted. The hotel was shaped like a hand, with the palm containing an elevator bank. The fingers radiated outward, each its own wing with multiple rooms; on the top floor, one wing was blocked off for Jackson and his inner circle.

Dileo led Bon Jovi and his bandmates down a long corridor to the singer’s suite, pausing to slick back his hair and extinguish his cigar before opening the door.

Stunning photos of Bon Jovi from new book 'Sex, Drugs and Bon Jovi'

“The room had been ripped to shreds and redecorated,” says Bon Jovi. “They put up mirrors against the wall so [Jackson] could practice his dancing, and a wooden dance floor in there. And they took over a wing of this hotel. Needless to say, spending money was not really an issue.”

Jackson, however, was nowhere to be found. So Bon Jovi and his pals waited on the couch. When the singer finally arrived, he made quite the entrance, decked out in one of his trademark outfits from the Bad Tour: all black leather and buckles, a spandex shirt, belts draped over his shoulder. “When he entered the room, your eyes sort of had to focus again,” Bon Jovi remembers.

The Jersey rockers, fresh from a string of tour dates in Australia — and new to the trappings of superstardom — immediately began regaling Jackson with tales from their trip. They were so big Down Under, they told him, that they had to buy wigs and fake mustaches to avoid paparazzi; the only way out of their hotel was in the laundry van. Jackson smiled and nodded, never giving away the fact that he’d been doing the same since his Jackson 5 days.

“So we made small talk and he couldn’t have been nicer,” Bon Jovi says. “We kept saying, ‘Michael, you’re sitting up here by yourself, man, we’re down two floors below you . . . we’re all here, on nights off we’re hanging out, come on down.’ ”

Again, Jackson smiled and nodded. Eventually Bon Jovi and his band bid their new friend adieu and headed back downstairs, hoping they might get to party later on with one of the only acts in the world bigger than them. But with each passing minute, they grew more certain that Jackson wouldn’t be coming. Imagine their surprise when Jackson sent down Bubbles the chimpanzee to entertain them.

“We proceeded to get very drunk, have a bunch of water fights, knock on doors, typical classic rock star things to do in the eighties,” Bon Jovi recalls. “And [we] blamed it all on Bubbles.”

Jackson never came downstairs. And despite the fact that Bon Jovi showed up at Jackson’s show, the singer didn’t return the favor.

It wasn’t out of any personal animosity, but rather an unstoppable focus on his work.

“We were having a blast two floors below with Bubbles, and he was up there practicing his dancing,” says Bon Jovi. “While we were being goofballs and enjoying our success, he was practicing even after the shows because he was just so ultra-über-focused on being Michael Jackson. The blessing was the curse.”

Read more: The Hollywood Reporter

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter |Michael Jackson, Inc – Zack O’Malley Greenburg | All Things Michael


MJ: He’s Still A Thriller (Art Contest Results)

Source: The Star – By N. Roma Lohan

Hachim Bahous, France

Hachim Bahous, France

Five years have passed since his untimely demise on June 25, 2009, but Michael Jackson lives on in the hearts of every person who listens to music.

Note: The images shown here were sent in by readers, who were invited to join in our celebration of the King of Pop’s visual legacy by submitting their original artwork for The Star’s ‘Michael Jackson – Visionary’ visual tribute gallery. Look out for more images throughout this week on the Star2 Facebook page.

NEIL Armstrong may have walked on the face of the moon in 1969, but in 1983, when Michael Jackson did the moonwalk at Motown’s 25th anniversary celebrations in California, NASA’s finest achievement momentarily took a backseat. Thus began a revolution for dance aspirants and every pop star wannabe from Wyoming to Timbuktu, by way of Ipoh, too.

There, my brothers and I stood decked out in matching track suits in 1984 … clearly inspired by the Break Dance and Beat Street movies, too, posing in front of the mirror to bust those moves as accurately as possible. Since performances for us were generally indoors, the pre-requisite was socks … hey, we had to be able to do the moonwalk friction-free.

That was the attention to detail we picked up on from MJ. Perfection came first, just like every whirl, every thrust of the hip, every en pointe, every kick – they were all planned, down to the nth degree. His was art for art’s sake. Fair enough, we never managed any of those moves successfully, but it was never for the want of trying.

str2_ma_2206_p10a Michael Jackson tributepdf

Kher Suat Day, Selangor

Perfection would come to define MJ’s career, and 12 years later, when on his historic HIStory tour of 1996, concert-goers in Malaysia got to see how sharp his craft remained at his show at Stadium Merdeka. If the Smooth Criminal dance sequence was out of this world, the Billie Jean routine had grown men in tears. Yup, it wasn’t just the girls who cried at MJ concerts. That was a show never to be forgotten. Artists only play a single date in Malaysia, but the world’s greatest played two. And waiting more than two hours to purchase a pair of tickets barely grated on my nerves.

But that’s how inextricably a part of our lives he was, for young and old alike. My parents weren’t exactly spring chickens to be bopping their heads to Billie JeanBeat It or Thriller in the early 1980s, but it was obvious mum and dad both knew those songs, if not by title, then at least by sound. Rock music might have had its detractors in the household, but not MJ’s music.

Jimmy Khalil, Kuala Lumpur

Jimmy Khalil, Kuala Lumpur

The holy trinity of Off The WallThriller and Bad are pop masterpieces, each and everyone of them. Sure, we all have favourites. Most people like Thriller, and the cool would say Off The Wall, but I liked Bad best. Thriller had P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), and Wanna Be Startin Somethin’ and Baby Be Mine seem like they belong on Off The Wall, but Bad was more an album of its time.

They say music and sport are the only two universal languages. And that’s completely true. No artist has brought the world together quite like MJ has, what with songs likeWe Are The WorldEarth Song and Heal The World. Starting from a Philippines penitentiary, the Thriller dance routine has swept through prisons around the world since it made its debut as a YouTube meme in 2007.

Ellie Yong Sze Ching, Miri, Sarawak

Ellie Yong Sze Ching, Miri, Sarawak

An artist of MJ’s status was always going to draw attention, like bees to honey. Intrinsically, human beings have the need to look up to someone as a role model. We gauge ourselves by their handiwork.

MJ was a gift to the music world like no other. When you think about it, it’s almost as if he was not of this earth – his talent transcends explanation or definition.

Katrin Yeoh, Air Itam, Penang

Katrin Yeoh, Air Itam, Penang

Five years have flown by since the devastating news of his death ripped through media channels on June 25, 2009. He was on the verge of reminding the world why he was the King of Pop with the ambitiously planned This Is It world tour.

It was not to be, and what the world was privy to in the end was a movie on the making of the tour, a picture of what could have been. It’s hard to imagine what pop music would be like without MJ’s contribution. Heck, half the R&B and pop artists of the day wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for him.

And neither would my brothers and I have been consumed by delusions of grandeur in pulling off some MJ moves. Unsurprisingly, our MJ tribute-breakdancing outfit never took off … we relinquished those lofty plans as soon as we realised how daft they were. But we’ve kept the music close to our hearts ever since, and often reminisce about that brilliance, like how every fan the world over will do this week – and forever more.

Michelle Christine Arul, Rawang, Selangor

Michelle Christine Arul, Rawang, Selangor


Read more: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/People/2014/06/22/Michael-Jackson-Hes-still-a-thriller/?

Read original post: http://vallieegirl67.com/2014/05/25/celebrating-michael-jackson-art-contest/

Lionel Richie On The Secret Chaos Behind Producing ‘We Are The World’ (VIDEO)

Source: Huffington Post / All Things Michael


In 1985, producer Quincy Jones gave Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson the assignment of a lifetime. To help fight famine in Africa, he wanted them to write a song for the most famous artists in the music industry to sing together. On his upcoming “Oprah’s Master Class” interview, Richie reflects on creating the song that would become an anthem heard worldwide.

“Quincy walks in the door and says, ‘I need the song now,‘” Richie says. “And a day later, we had the bones for ‘We Are the World.’”

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Now, it was just a matter or recruiting the talent. “Back then you couldn’t email it,” he says. “You had to put it on a cassette and send it to people. So we had people agreeing to be involved with a song they haven’t heard yet.”

The historic recording brought together an unprecedented number of artists, including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper.

“And of course, what [the song] did do was beyond our wildest imagination,” Richie says. “We became a country unto itself. We became the world.”

Jackson and Ritchie With Grammy   we-are-the-world wearetheworld_slide3 world1

“Oprah’s Master Class” with Lionel Richie airs Sunday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.


Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/20/lionel-richie-we-are-the-world_n_5516198.html


Remembering The Return Of Captain EO

Source: Angry Ap Blogspot / All Things Michael


Being a child from the 80’s was the best. We had the best music, video games, and cartoons. During this magnificent time, there was one man who defined it. That individual was Michael Jackson. Who would have thought that two of my favorite things (Disneyland and Michael Jackson) would come together to create one of the best attractions ever created: Captain EO.

As a kid, I remember experiencing Captain EO multiple times whenever I would go to Disneyland, and when it first closed in 1997, I was heart broken. Captain EO was taken out to make room for for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which was an underwhelming attraction for an underwhelming film. It was truly a sad day. Jump to February 23rd, 2010. The return of Michael Jackson and his rag-time-crew members to Disneyland.

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Guy, Jen, and myself (taking the picture) arriving at Disneyland.

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I wonder what Disneyland ever did with this sign?


Some of the best merch ever created.


Cast members marched us all in so we could get in line for Captain EO before the parked even opened.


Lots of media was set-up for this amazing reopening.


Seeing this sign, for the first time, brought tears to my eyes.


This is something you don’t see everyday.


The crowd getting packed into waiting area for the first showing.

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The crowd is watching the pre-show for the first time. This has to be one of the best pre-shows, from any attraction, I have ever seen.

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It was a packed house and a lot of energy was in the air.


It was an amazing first showings. People were yelling, screaming, crying, and fainting in their seats.*
*Some of the stuff in the above sentence didn’t happen but people were really excited*
The crowd disbursing after the first showing.
Even though Disney says that Captain EO will return after they stop their Guardians of the Galaxy 3D preview, this is just one step towards Captain EO being gone forever. To be honest, I am surprised, and thankful, that it has been around for this long. This was, hands down, my favorite Disneyland trip I have ever had. The icing on the cake was when Guy and I (mostly Guy) made it on TV. Enjoy.

Slash’s Pretend “Fight” With Michael Jackson Onstage

Source: Revolver Magazine / All Things Michael


Remember the time Slash overstayed his welcome during a live appearance with Michael Jackson?

We didn’t either–until we stumbled upon this video!

In the clip, which you can check out below, it seems as though Slash reeeeally doesn’t wasn’t to get off the stage — and doesn’t want his guitar solo to end.

Meanwhile, an “outraged” Jackson keeps dancing, hoping Slash will take the hint … but he doesn’t. Jackson even sidles up to the guitarist and tells him (OK, screams at him!) to stop playing … to no avail. Next, Jackson’s crew gets involved, and Slash fights them off!

Obviously, this event was staged–a total fake. We all know Slash is a humble guy and one of the nicest personalities in rock. Either way, the clip is enjoyable in its own way.


Read more: http://www.revolvermag.com/news/wtf-flashback-slash-fights-michael-jackson-onstage-video.html?

Flashback: ‘Local Girl Meets Michael Jackson’

Source: JS Online – By Alicia Armstrong 

Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, which granted its 5,000th wish Thursday, started in 1984 with Catina Scharf, shown after meeting Michael Jackson at a concert in New Jersey.

Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, which granted its 5,000th wish Thursday, started in 1984 with Catina Scharf, shown after meeting Michael Jackson at a concert in New Jersey.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article by Alicia Armstrong first appeared in the Milwaukee Journal on Aug. 1, 1984, with the headline “State of shock: Local girl meets Michael Jackson.” Catina Scharf’s wish was Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s first wish granted. The organization grants its 5,000th wish Thursday.

“Are you tired?” someone asked 11-year-old Catina Scharf shortly after she arrived at Mitchell Field from New York City late Tuesday afternoon.

“No,” she said. “No.”

Then the Milwaukee girl was off. Dashing here and there. Greeting this person and that person. Posing for pictures.

If you had seen her before, you would have been amazed, because she has been known to tire rather easily and has spent some time in a wheelchair.

There was no wheelchair at the airport Tuesday afternoon, however, because Catina was full of energy and full of life.

And why not. Her dream had come true. She had met superstar performer Michael Jackson Monday night before a Jackson brothers “Victory Tour” concert at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, N.J.

Catina, who is called Tina by her family and friends, has an inoperable brain tumor. And she had a wish. She wanted to meet Michael Jackson.

The Monday night meeting with him was arranged through Craig Davidson, a producer with Viacom Cablevision of Wisconsin, who has contacts in the entertainment world.

The new Wisconsin chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of American, which seeks to grant wishes of terminally ill children, paid for the trip to New Jersey by Catina, her parents, Sherry and William, and her sister, Lucinda, 18.

The Jackson organization provided tickets to the show for the Scharfs. Also, Catina had wanted a souvenir press pass, and the Jackson people gave her 6 of them.

“Look at the energy she has,” Catina’s mother said at Mitchell Field as she watched the girl move about, talking to friends and well-wishers. “She’s been going like this since 10 o’clock this morning.

“And she didn’t go to bed until 2 o’clock this morning. When she woke up today, she had a big smile on her face and she said, ‘He’s so cute.’ She was just starstruck.”

Now she has her memories, but they will be a little short on details, because she can’t recall what Jackson said to her. She does remember that he was dressed all in white, with glitter on his clothes, but his words are lost somewhere in her mind — or heart.

“They brought me into a little room and he walked in,” she said. “I didn’t say anything. I just stared. My mind was a blank. I couldn’t think of anything.”

This clearly was an event of almost cosmic importance for Catina — just being there in the same room with Jackson, seeing him up close and knowing that he had come to see her.

Words were not that important. His presence was.

She had thought that her wish to meet the superstar performer “was just going to keep on being a dream.”

And perhaps she had not even dared to dream that he would kiss her on the cheek, as he did, and hug her, as he did.

Catina and her mother were in the room with Jackson for 10 to 15 minutes, the child said. But no one was really timing the momentous even, which was shared by a New Hampshire boy who also has a brain tumor.

Jackson had more than a kiss and a hug for Catina. He also gave her his autograph. He signed a book about him that she has brought with her.

“Love, Michael Jackson,” he wrote, with big sweeping lines so that his autograph resembled a drawing of a bird’s nest.

Catina let people look at the autograph at the airport, but she told everyone not to touch it.

“It’s mine,” she said.


Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/flashback-local-girl-meets-michael-jackson