5 Reasons We’ll Never See Another Artist Like Michael Jackson

Sources: Hit Fix (Published June 25, 2014) | All Things Michael


Five years ago today Michael Jackson died. It feels like it was yesterday. His music still floods the airwaves and theaters and his popularity remains undiminished.

Here are five reasons we’ll never see the likes of his singular talent again:

1. He had time to develop: There’s no real development process anymore: whether it’s the immediacy of “American Idol,” “The Voice,” etc., or YouTube, wanna-be artists get exposure often way before they are ready—even though they think they are. Jackson and his brothers incubated in Gary, Ind., away from any spotlight. Though Michael became famous at a very, very early age, that was only after the Jackson 5 had worked their way up through local talent shows, regional tours and more before Motown signed them in 1968.


2. He was born a star: Jackson came alive on stage in a way that only a handful of artists since the advent of modern entertainment have: Elvis, Jackson, Springsteen. These aren’t artists who simply enjoyed/enjoy being on stage: They crave it and have to have it and feel more alive on stage than anywhere else. There is a magic that happens when the lights go down and they walk on the stage that can’t be taught, it can’t be learned. It can be nurtured, but you’re either born with it or you’re not and 99.999% of all performers aren’t. Jackson was.

3. He worked hard: Jackson had an unbelievable amount of talent bestowed upon him by the talent gods, but he then took those gifts and worked on them incessantly. He studied Gene Kelly’s dance moves, he practiced singing and worked to find different places his voice could go. He was constantly trying to improve and up his game. There never seemed to be a moment where he felt like he could rest on his laurels.

4. He didn’t play it safe: It’s easy to forget how adventurous he was musically because the risks he took have since cleared the path for other artists. When “Beat It” came out, the thought of having a rock solo by the likes of Eddie Van Halen on a pop/R&B track was unheard of…and he encountered plenty of push back. Just like pioneers always do.  He transcended genres with a fearless abandon and commitment to pushing music forward.

5. He could sing: His stage presence and dance ability were so otherworldly, it’s easy to overlook what a great vocalist he was. Listen to those records: the tear in his voice on “She’s Out Of My Life,” the hopeful determination in “Man In The Mirror,” unbridled joy on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” the growl in “Dirty Diana.”  He had range and strength, but he also had emotion. Not that many artists have that hat trick.

Read more at Hitfix

Moonwalking Forward: The Posthumous Chart Legacy of Michael Jackson

Source: Pitchfolk – By Chris Molanphy | All Things Michael

Photo by Neal Preston

Photo by Neal Preston

Hey, did you hear that awesome Michael Jackson song that popped into the Top 20 a month ago? It just materialized all the way up at No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 one week in late May, and it was better than anything on the chart that week. Supple, propulsive, impossible not to dance to—it was a reminder of everything that made the late Jackson great.

The name of this killer cut? “Billie Jean”.

The all-time pop classic, which spent seven weeks at No. 1 in 1983, re-debuted on Billboard’s premier song chart, 31 years after it fell off, for a very modern reason: YouTube. In May, a video of high-school junior Brett Nichols recreating Jackson’s immortal Motown 25 performance of “Billie Jean” live in front of his whole California school, and absolutely crushing it, went viral. It racked up more than 11 million views in a week, according to Billboard.

Any YouTube video that uses at least 30 seconds of an original recording now counts toward that song on Billboard’s charts. So that huge viewing total sent “Billie Jean” to No. 2 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart; its streaming numbers among all songs that week were second only to 2014 chart-topper “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. Because Streaming Songs is now a component of the Hot 100, “Billie Jean” was able to reappear on the big chart. For that one week, its No. 14 rank was actually two notches higher than “Love Never Felt So Good”, the “new” Jackson single reimagined by producer Timbaland and currently being promoted to radio by Sony.

This delightful oddity tells us something about what’s happened to the charts since Michael joined the choir invisible five years ago this week—and what’s happened to Jackson’s legacy.

YouTube did exist the year Jackson died, but it wasn’t a factor in Billboard. In 2009, the labels had only just stopped fighting YouTube, let alone figuring out how to monetize and generate hits on it. (The industry’s YouTube-partnering Vevo channel would launch six months after Jackson passed.)

What’s more, old songs like “Billie Jean” generally weren’t eligible to appear on the Hot 100 in 2009. A major overhaul of chart policy since then has reshaped both the single and especially the album charts—a liberalization Jackson’s death inspired. (More on that in a moment.)

But of course, what’s most poignant about the video of the 17-year-old Brett Nichols that sent “Billie Jean” back to the Hot 100 is the knowledge that the kid was basically a preadolescent when Jackson died. He stands in for the millions of millennials who’ve embraced Jackson since his death—a generational embrace of a performer whose best days as a performer were behind him when they were all born. Watching Nichols recreate Jackson’s galvanizing performance move for move—from hat-toss to moonwalk—is more a powerful homage to his legacy than any encomium you might have read this week on the five-year anniversary of Jackson’s death.

I wrote one of those encomia back in 2009, for my former Idolator column “100 & Single,” running down all of the amazing sales and chart achievements Jackson tallied during his lifetime. As I wrote at the time, “Jackson is one of very few acts for whom chart achievements serve as a fairly accurate barometer for artistic and cultural impact…We won’t see his like again.” To recap in brief, the feats I chronicled in that 2009 article were as follows:

Youngest act to top the Hot 100. When the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” reached the penthouse in January 1970, lead singer Michael was just shy of 11 and a half.

First act to launch with four No. 1 singles. “I Want You Back” was followed in Billboard’s top slot by the Jacksons’ “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There”, a then-unprecedented feat.

Most Top 10 hits pulled from a single album. First Off the Wall produced four Top 10s (tying a then-record, in 1979–80), and then Thriller generated seven Top 10s in 1982‒84, starting with “The Girl Is Mine” and ending with “Thriller”.

First R&B-to-rock chart crossover. Billboard’s Album Rock chart, launched in 1981, was still in its infancy when Jackson’s Eddie Van Halen–supported “Beat It” made its debut in April 1983. It peaked at No. 14 on the Rock chart, making Jackson the first African-American to score a serious AOR hit.

First album to spawn five No. 1 hits. From the fall of 1987 to the summer of 1988, Jackson’sBad spun off the chart-toppers “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, and “Dirty Diana”. Prior to that, the upper limit had been four.

First song to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Jackson’s last chart milestone came in 1995, when “You Are Not Alone” burst onto Billboard’s flagship chart in the top slot, another then-unprecedented feat.

World’s top-selling album: Thriller still handily outdistances all worldwide challengers.

Five years later, all of these records are essentially still intact: another testament to Jackson’s inimitable legacy. Obviously the “firsts” can’t ever be taken away—even though the Jackson 5’s record of four career-launching No. 1s was actually beaten in 1991 by Mariah Carey, who led off her career with five; and “Beat It”’s R&B-to-rock crossover was later outshone by bigger AOR hits like Robert Cray’s “Smoking Gun” or Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. The debut at No. 1 by “You Are Not Alone” in 1995 is still notable, even though it has been followed by another 20 chart-topping debuts; such debuts have actually increased in frequency since Jackson died—seven more songs have duplicated the feat since 2009, including smashes by the likes of Eminem,Britney SpearsLady Gaga and Ke$ha.

As for the other records, since 2009, the walls of Fortress Jackson have been scaled, but not breached. No one younger than 16-year-old Lorde has reached No. 1 since ’09, leaving 11-year-old Michael’s record intact. The Thriller record of seven Top 10s from a single album hasn’t been seriously challenged since Bruce Springsteen and Janet Jackson tied it in 1986 and 1991, respectively; since 2009 no one’s pulled more than six Top 10s in a single album-release cycle.

Just one Jackson record has been equaled since 2009, and it was nearly beaten: Bad’s quintuplet of No. 1 songs from a single album. In 2010–11, Katy Perry managed to tie the record with five chart-topping singles from the original release of her Teenage Dream album; if she hadn’t stalled at No. 3 with the album’s sixth single, “The One That Got Away” (apt title), she’d have taken the record from Jackson. (A subsequent No. 1 from a rerelease of the Dream album, “Part of Me”, doesn’t count for the record books.)

So the Jackson chart dossier holds up quite well. About the only chart or sales feats that have seen any change since Jackson passed happened within the first year after his death.

The big one was a change to Billboard chart policy with far-reaching effects: the elimination of the catalog rule preventing old albums and singles from appearing on the magazine’s flagship charts. Throughout the SoundScan era, Billboard had long maintained rules that removed old discs from the Billboard 200 album chart. Albums were yanked after they were older than two years and fell below the top half of the chart—lest discs like Journey’s Greatest Hits, Bob Marley’s Legend or Led Zeppelin IV ride the chart every week for eternity.

The problem, in the weeks immediately after Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009, was that his old albums Number Ones (2003) and Thriller (1982) became two of the top-selling albums in America; the former was actually the top-seller for a month and a half that July and August. ButBillboard’s rule hid that fact from the public; chart-watchers were confused and frustrated that Jackson wasn’t scoring the posthumous No. 1 album he deserved. Finally, later that year, inspired by Jackson’s sales feats, the magazine changed the rule. Now on the Billboard 200, as much as one-fourth of a typical week’s chart may be older albums—Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd fans have Jackson to thank for these stalwart bands being allowed to jostle for chart position with the likes of Iggy Azalea and Luke Bryan. On the Hot 100, Billboard also loosened its criteria for allowing old songs to reappear on the chart—any song with enough sales or streaming points to rank among the Top 50 is allowed to reappear on the chart. Beneficiaries since Jackson’s death have included the late Whitney Houston, the unkillable Bon Jovi and, as noted above, Jackson himself. It is appropriate, if depressing, that Michael would be the one to effect a change that reminds us, weekly, just how big old music is. After all, it’s the Jackson estate that has emerged as the biggest money-maker of any musical act, living or dead, since his passing.

The other change in the record books since Jackson died has been subtler, and oddly muted: the record for biggest-selling U.S. album. As noted above, on a global scale, Thriller bests all comers, even when sales-figure hype is taken into account. However, it’s been a tighter horserace at home, and in the record books of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

When Jackson died in June 2009, Thriller was actually one million in sales behind the Eagles’ perennial best-selling 1976 compilation Their Greatest Hits, 1971–1975—28 million for the former, 29 million for the latter as of that month, according to the RIAA. Indeed, the Eagles disc had quietly taken the record away from Jackson as far back as 1999. (The 90s were good to the Eagles—a decade in which they reunited and toured endlessly, and a new generation of Garth Brooks–era country acts cited the band as a formative influence, particularly the early country-flavored hits captured on the 1976 hits disc.) In my 2009 column on Jackson’s feats, I wrote, “You don’t have to be a virulent Don Henley-hater to find this standing offensive—a bloody hits compilation, topping one of the greatest original pop recordings of all time?”

In August 2009, however, less than two months after, Thriller was recertified by the RIAA at 29 million in sales. And that’s where the two discs still stand, nearly five years later—a two-album tiebetween the Eagles greatest-hits disc and Thriller as America’s all-time top-selling album. I think I speak for pop fans everywhere when I say it’d be nice if Jackson’s album could sew the record up already and retake the crown. Surely, Thriller has sold enough by now?

According to the helpful folks at Nielsen SoundScan, since Jackson’s death in the last week of June 2009, Thriller has sold just shy of two million copies (1.905 million). In that same period, the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 has only shifted about a half-million. Slam-dunk, right?

There are several problems with this back-of-the-envelope math, however. For one thing, the Eagles hits disc hasn’t been recertified since 2006; a full RIAA audit might well turn up a couple more million in sales, and prior to Jackson’s death Thriller wasn’t selling all that well (although a 2008 reissue undoubtedly helped). Additionally, SoundScan and the RIAA measure different things—albums sold and albums shipped. While many more music fans buy digital albums now, for stalwart acts like these two, physical goods still sell, and there are likely millions of Jackson and Eagles albums in the retail pipeline. Finally, albums are only recertified when labels request an audit from the RIAA. Sony (Jackson’s conglomerate) and Warner (the Eagles’) might well have their own reasons for holding off on asking for that next multiplatinum sales tier, including the possibility of mutually assured destruction.

Still, in all, five years later, it’s an anticlimax for Thriller to remain stuck at 29-times-platinum—tied with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, and with a triple-diamond certification tantalizingly close. Sony Music and the keepers of the Jackson estate have been heavily focused lately on getting Michael back on the radio and reanimating his live presence with smoke and mirrors. Honestly? If they really want to do his legacy justice, they should get the late Jackson the one career plaudit he loved more than anything: a sales record all to himself. Just ask Brett Nichols’s teenage classmates in that packed gym what album they think deserves the all-time title.


Read more at Pitchfork


Why Michael Jackson Was A Style Icon

Source: The Times of India –  Kasmin Fernandes /  All Things Michael


Michael Jackson was more than a genius musician and fabulous dancer, he was a trendsetter and style icon. He set himself apart from the artistes of his time, taking risks and making bold sartorial choices that often paid off and were eventually followed by the rest of the world. And his style was so androgynous, it has inspired both, men and women. Various pop stars today swear by his influence on their art and appearance, from Chris Brown and Usher in the US to AR Rahman, Prabhu Dheva and Remo D’Souza closer home. Gone too soon, on June 25, 2009, his legacy continues to live on in popular culture, music and fashion. On his fifth death anniversary, we rewind to his most memorable style statements.

Metallic mayhem MJ would explode on stage in iridescent and metallic outfits that were futuristic to the core. Fast forward to today, and you’ll see iridescent and metallic colours having a big draw in retail stores.



Military Jackets MJ made a veritable uniform out of an array of military jackets at the height of his career in the mid-90s. The trend is religiously followed even today. Reigning popstars Rihanna and Beyonce declare their love brazenly.


Suit up Jackson also pulled off minimalist and retro styles with elegance. Tuxedo suits, stark white socks, pegged pants and black shoes are signature Michael Jackson. From leather suits and cropped pants to fedora hats and skinny ties, hipster and metrosexual fashion today heavily borrows from Jackson’s trademarks.


Sequinned glove The single white glittering glove is one of his crazy ‘look at me’ statements that has gone on to become a stage item with artistes like Usher, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

Bold stripes He burst onto the music 70s scene in fringed shirts, bell bottoms and platform shoes. He pulled off zebra stripes and psychedelic prints on stage. Come 2014, you can’t walk down the street without spotting one of the latter two.


Aviators and wayfarers He almost always stepped out — in real life and in his cinematic videos — with a pair of aviators or wayfarer shades perched on his nose. Fashion historians give him credit for making these two styles of sunglasses popular with teenagers. Considering his massive teen following, we aren’t surprised.


Black and white MJ knew the power of a classic white shirt over cropped black pants. Even AR Rahman channelled his black-and-white ensemble in the video for Vande Mataram.

Punk biker With his album Bad out in 1987, he went all badass in a black buckled jacket, studded belt, thick black eyeliner and skinny jeans — all bonafide men’s wear trends today.


Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/music/news-and-interviews/Why-Michael-Jackson-was-a-style-icon/articleshow/37126541.cms?

Michael Jackson Ultimate Fashion Trademarks

Source: Stylelight / MJWN / All Things Michael


King of Style

Source: fanforum

Source: fanforum.com

Michael Jackson was not only the King of Pop; in many ways he was also the King of Style. From the very beginning of his career, Michael had a very particular sense of style that, at times, only he could pull off. In fact, he popularized many fashion items that would go on to become huge trends throughout his career. On June 25th it will be 5 years since he passed away, and as a tribute to his legendary fashion, we have broken down his ultimate fashion trademarks with some amazing facts about each one. So “shamone” and take a look into Michael Jackson’s wardrobe!


Do You Remember The Time…

In 1983 Michael performed his hit single ‘Billie Jean’ at the Motown 25 event and the performance instantly became legendary. Not only did he debut his famous moonwalk during the show, he also introduced his single, white rhinestone glove to the world.

Something you might not have known about that night: during the performance, Michael tossed his sequin jacket to a fan in the audience. Apparently, somebody then grabbed the jacket and stole it from the fan. Michael saw this however, and sent his bodyguards to retrieve the jacket. Later, he personally returned the jacket to the fan backstage.

Slave to the Rhythm

At the Billboard Awards this year, Jackson was briefly resurrected again for a mind-blowing performance. A hologram Michael Jackson was shown dancing and singing to ‘Slave To The Rhythm’, a new song from his posthumous album Xscape, released this May. We were amazed by the awesome technology, and thrilled to see a glimpse of the King of Pop once again. In case you missed it, see the special performance in the video below:

Thanks to this new technology, Michael’s incredible back catalogue, and his newly released posthumous album, the spirit of Michael Jackson lives on. Fans around the world continue to celebrate his incredible talent and remember the ways in which he inspired generations of people.

So, in the spirit of the King of Pop, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough with this ultimate Michael Jackson playlist!


Read more: http://www.stylight.co.uk/Love/Michael-Jackson-King-Of-Style/#.U8Pxf0DVISM

Art of Making Money: Michael Jackson’s 3 Money Making Secrets

Source: Huffington Post – By Shaahin Cheyene / All Things Michael ( Published May 27, 2014)

Photo of Michael JACKSON

This is part 2 of a 12 part series on the art of making money, a fast paced system for the guerrilla entrepreneur.

“When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose” Bob Dylan (Like A Rolling Stone)

Indisputably, Michael Jackson remains one of the top grossing and most influential pop artists of all time. The mercurial and controversial businessman made billions of dollars in his lifetime. Now postmortem he is on his way to making even more. But Michael Jackson was a money making genius.

Jackson often described his creative process as recovering something that already existed. How could the rest of us apply Jackson’s philosophy to our own lives? How can we crack the DNA code of Jackson’s creative process and artistry to make it our own?

1. Start from zero.
Start from zero. Great artists, business people and great thinkers alike come into greatness when they let go of their existing beliefs and start from zero. Your current set of beliefs is what keeps you where you are. To reach greatness you need to break out. To break out you need a clean slate. The foundation of all great creativity is a blank slate.

2. Thrive in chaos. 
You can’t master surfing by reading books. You have to jump in the waves and get wet. The waves are chaotic. Chaos gives you focus. When there is an overwhelming amount of noise you have no choice but to do the essential. Achievers master this. There is no rhyme or reason to how the waves break but there is a rhythm. Michael was a master of this rhythm. An essential quality of a guerilla entrepreneur is the ability to thrive on Chaos.

3. Get no satisfaction. 
“I’m never pleased with anything, I’m a perfectionist, it’s part of who I am.” Michael Jackson said. Olympic runners never aim for the finish line. They aim for an area well beyond the finish line. Similarly a consistent quality of top achievers is constant dissatisfaction and continual improvement. As a top achiever, you are never done.

When I started my first company making Herbal Ecstasy I was 16. Everything I owned fit into a small back pack. I was fearless, bold and didn’t care what others thought. I didn’t know I could loose. I had no choice but to win. In less than 6 months I had taken my company from nothing to $350,000,000 a year.

Daily, I am reminded that it is this fearlessness and disregard for outcomes that allows the achiever to focus on what matters: the work and the result. It is this detachment that leads to ultimate success. Michael Jackson knew this. In my opinion you can see it not only in his great body of work but in every great artist and business person.


Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shaahin-cheyene/art-of-making-money-micha

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


Michael: Despite The Scandels, “In The End, It’s The Music That Counts”

Source: -iGroove Radio – By Raymond Bola Browne / All Things Michael


It’s been nearly five years since the death of Michael Jackson on June 27, 2009. During the last decade of his career, the King of Pop, who had once ruled the charts and MTV during the 1980s, now made more headlines with his personal life than with his music. There was the much-publicized baby-dangling incident in 2002 and the circus-like child-molestation trial in 2005 (which ended in an acquittal for Michael). Then there were the plastic surgeries and rumors swirling around them. On the musical front, almost any other artist would have been delighted with the level of success that MJ’s Invincible album achieved in 2001, but by Jackson’s standards it was a disappointment, causing him to complain publicly that the release had not been promoted properly by his label, and to suggest that racism played a role in the neglect. Taken together, it seemed like Michael’s career was in decline, a familiar tale in the entertainment business, and especially in Hollywood. Revelations about indulgent spending amid mounting personal debt only reinforced the image of a superstar in a downward spiral.

When news broke of Michael’s death just as he was rehearsing for a series of much-anticipated concerts, fans were shocked. Following a pattern that had developed around Jackson, the news soon focused on scandal. Some claimed that MJ was so weak and emaciated that he was barely able to perform. The release of the concert film This Is It proved otherwise: Michael was as good as ever at the end. When the cause of death was determined to be a hospital-grade anesthetic propofol, Jackson’s doctor was charged with involuntary manslaughter. At about the same time, Jackson family members sued concert promoter AEG Live for wrongful death. Five years after Michael’s passing, Dr. Conrad Murray has been tried, sentenced, imprisoned, and released, and the Jackson family has lost its case against AEG and been denied appeal.

In the wake of his death, Michael Jackson’s albums sold in record numbers, as fans rushed to find some last connection with the star and the music they loved. It was soon learned that Michael had always written — and often recorded — many more songs than he needed for most of his albums; this seemed to mean that fans could expect the release of “new” material for years to come. As it turns out, the recordings that remained were mostly demos and clearly unfinished in terms of production — tracks many felt Michael would not have wanted fans to hear. The first posthumous album was released in 2010; the idea of Michael was that producers would finish off these demos as Jackson would have intended. The recent album, Xscape (2014), is the second posthumous album and employs a different approach; a small group of top producers used only the vocal tracks from the demos and created new musical settings for each demo. While the musical results of this recent collection are interesting, they don’t really tell us much about Michael Jackson. They are a series of “variations on a theme by Michael Jackson” and, as such, serve more as showcases for the producers than as new tracks by Jackson. In terms of hearing Michael in the music, the approach of the first collection from 2010 is preferable, though the results are probably less commercially promising. Fortunately for historians and historically minded fans, a deluxe edition of Xscape includes the original demos for each of the songs. As stunning as some of the production on the new “variations” tracks is, I prefer Michael’s demos, even if they are plainer and unfinished.

Whatever one’s views about these posthumous releases is, however, once we start debating these albums, we are also turning our focus back to the music, back to what made us really care about Michael Jackson in the first place. It will be Michael Jackson’s music that endures. Celebrity has a short shelf life, and the public memory of scandals soon fades. How many still remember the last couple of years of Elvis Presley’s life when they think about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Elvis’ decline before his death in 1977 was fodder for late-night comedians and newspaper cartoons; no longer the slim and sexy man he once was, Presley had become paunchy and puffy, a relic of rock’s past. By contrast, only a few years after his death — and the scandals surrounding it — Elvis’ image was no longer that of the overweight Las Vegas singer: He was the lean, young Elvis of the 1950s, or the leather-clad Elvis of the 1960s comeback special, or the jumpsuited Elvis of 1973′s Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite. Graceland became a popular tourist destination, and album sales soared (and remain healthy).

Now that the scandals concerning Michael Jackson’s personal life and tragic death have mostly run their course, his legacy will be defined primarily by his music, and by the ways he impacted the history of pop — the rise with the Jackson 5 as part of the Motown empire, the partnership with Quincy Jones on those iconic albums that they produced together, and the astounding, mesmerizing dancing. Long after the scandals have been forgotten, people will remember Thriller. The success of two Cirque du Soleil shows devoted to MJ and his music suggests that this transformation is already well underway. Admittedly, elements of scandal continue to cling doggedly to the Jackson legacy: There are fresh child-molestation charges, a class-action suit over three songs on the Michael album was recently filed, and the Jackson family continues to consider further legal action against AEG. But while there will be more of these kinds of extra-musical eruptions in the years to come, this part of the story is mostly over. Fifty years from now the details of Jackson’s personal life will be relegated to the footnotes of his career. Increasingly, the Michael Jackson legacy will be defined by the music, as well as by the dynamic performances of it that he delivered. Michael Jackson’s place in the history of popular music is secure. In the end, it’s the music that counts.


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