10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Michael Jackson

Originally posted on AM 1310: The Light:

Michael Jackson Birthday

Beloved singer, entertainer, and songwriter Michael Jackson and his unfortunate passing in June of 2009 shocked the globe, with fans across various nations still mourning the loss of the “King Of Pop.” With his brand still strong and his legacy largely intact, Jackson was as enigmatic as he was talented. While today (August 29) would have marked his 54th birthday, NewsOne fondly remembers Michael Jackson as a peerless superstar that has influenced some of music’s biggest current stars. Below, we list 10 facts that casual fans may not have known about the notoriously private Michael Jackson.

1. Michael Jackson Is The Highest-Earning Deceased Artist: Besting the vaunted Rock and Roll artist Elvis Presley and former Beatles member singer-songwriter John Lennon, Michael Jackson has been recognized by the Guinness Book Of World Records in a new category for Highest-Earning Deceased Artist, gaining the top honor. In the first year after…

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Michael Jackson: The King of Pop And Style!

Sources: Mid-Day | All Things Michael

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On Michael Jackson’s birth anniversary, there’s no better tribute to MJ than remembering what a great performer he was. We look back at the music icon’s best music videos and his style statements.

Merging film making and music for the first time, ‘Thriller’ is voted as the most influential pop music videos of all times.

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‘Beat It’ is noted for its mass choreography, a Jackson trademark. The video received numerous awards.

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‘Billie Jean’ was the first video by a black artist to be aired by a music channel, as the executives felt black music wasn’t ‘rock’ enough.

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‘Bad’ was directed by Martin Scorsese and the plot and video of the background was strongly influenced by West Side Story.

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‘Remember the time’ is one of the few videos in which Jackson is seen kissing. Later, in 1993 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Iman (the queen in the video) remarked that Jackson was a ‘very, very good kisser.’

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The King of Pop will also be remembered as THE entertainer of all time, but his enigma wouldn’t have been half as omnipresent without his calculated-made-to-seem-casual sense of style.

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S&M: The King of Pop juxtaposed military austerity with cheeky S&M when he combined jackets with lapels and epaulettes with leather bondage and belts with rivets.

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The revisited the retro mobster look of his Smooth Criminal video in the hit song ‘You Rock My World’ for his album ‘Invincible’. The video features Hollywood legend Marlon Brando and stars Chris Tucker and Michael Madsen.

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The glove: Only Michael Jackson could carry off a beaded jacket with a sequined glove, teamed with US police uniform trousers and a badge for a buckle. Incidentally, this glove worn by Jackson during his 1984-85 Victory tour, and again when he picked up eight Grammys for his album Thriller, fetched $99,100 (Rs 5 lakh approx.) on an online auction.

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Jerry curls: Jerry curls peeking from underneath the fedora hat, kohl eyes resting behind mirrored aviator sunglasses, a smack of lip gloss and some rouge, will eternally define his personality.

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The track Smooth Criminal ushered in Michael Jackson with women co-dancers dressed in spiffy suits and skinny ties (seen in the background). Want to know the mystery behind his moves in the iconic video? In 1992, Michael Jackson along with Michael L Bush and Dennis Tompkins patented the shoe that allows the wearer to lean 45 degrees forward beyond the center of gravity.

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An Autistic Teen’s Guide To Impersonating Michael Jackson (A Must Read)

Sources: Kuow.org | All Things Michael

Impersonating Michael Jackson made it easier for Lorenzo Manuel to deal with the social pressures of middle school.

Impersonating Michael Jackson made it easier for Lorenzo Manuel to deal with the social pressures of middle school.

It was homecoming dance at Roosevelt High School, and the Roosevelt football team had just been crushed. As it started getting late, the energy sunk even lower. People were mostly slow dancing; it was all Taylor Swift at that point.

Just then, a familiar tune started to play. The thinning crowd began to roar. A spotlight came on. As the first lyrics of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” shook the room, a skinny kid with short brown hair and a sparkly glove began to dance.

“When I impersonated, I just kind of would think… like, what would Michael do?”

That skinny kid was Lorenzo Manuel, now a senior at Roosevelt. But he just goes by his first name, Lorenzo. His story started when he was 13 years old. It was the night Michael Jackson died, and for Lorenzo it was a near-cosmic shift.

“The night he died,” Lorenzo said, “I had this dream where I was in a field and he was at an ice cream cone stand, and he gave me an ice cream cone.”

This mystifying dream had an unexpected effect. Lorenzo felt called to impersonate Michael Jackson.

He had just been diagnosed with autism, though he had known his whole life that he didn’t quite fit in with the other kids. He couldn’t handle the social pressures of middle school.

The cover to 18-year-old Lorenzo's self-produced first album includes a tribute to his idol. Can you spot the Michael Jackson face hidden in the image?

The cover to 18-year-old Lorenzo’s self-produced first album includes a tribute to his idol. Can you spot the Michael Jackson face hidden in the image?

“People were bullying me because I was a little bit more feminine, because I was more artistic, and people would call me gay,” Lorenzo said. “And even though I am gay, back then it was just hard, and I didn’t know it then.”

His mom, Christine, remembers him coming home from school every day depressed and confused about the teasing. She even considered transferring him to a different school.

But impersonating Michael Jackson changed all that. With Lorenzo’s newfound passion, he started having easier interactions with his peers. He would even pretend to be Michael Jackson when he felt uncomfortable in social situations. He felt a connection to Michael. They were both shy people with an almost obsessive interest in music. When he couldn’t rely on his own skills, he called on Michael’s.

The response Lorenzo got for impersonating Michael Jackson surprised him. People at school became more accepting of him, not less. Most surprising, even Lorenzo’s dad seemed to accept him more. “He’s usually very critical,” said Lorenzo. “And the fact that he was pretty accepting of it … that was one of the reasons I wanted to keep pursuing it.”

Lorenzo’s idol is ever present in his life. He pointed out a prized possession in what he called the Michael Jackson area of his bedroom: “He actually signed this paper. See? That’s his writing.”

Lorenzo’s bedroom also includes a Michael Jackson cut-out from the “Bad” era, an old turntable with records, and some collectible dolls. One is still in its box from 1995, the year Lorenzo was born.

But being Michael wasn’t enough. Now, through years of studying how to be someone else, Lorenzo has found a way to be himself. Through Michael, he has found acceptance for his own creativity and ingenuity.

“I definitely knew I was an artist,” mused Lorenzo, “because of all the different phases I’ve gone through with drawing, and painting, and acting, and singing, and dancing, and music, and photography. I just knew I was meant to do something in the arts.”

Now, his days of impersonation are behind him. He’s started writing, recording, and performing his own music. “I really enjoy that,” said Lorenzo. “And performing as myself now … I feel a lot more free.”

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Michael Jackson In Videogames

Sources: Paste | All Things Michael

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Last week, in the introduction to our gallery of 33 different screenshots of musicians in videogames, we promised that we’d have a special follow-up gallery featuring nothing but Michael Jackson. The King of Pop, who would have turned 56 two weeks from today, was a huge videogame fan, which is no surprise considering his love of cartoons and the fact that he lived in an amusement park. He showed up in a variety of games, both as the hero of games built entirely around his music and image, and in smaller, unexpected cameo roles in other places. One developer even announced a posthumous MMORPG based on Jackson’s life that’s now seemingly cancelled. Here are screenshots from every major game Jackson appeared in, including three significantly different versions of his most famous game, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker.

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The arcade version of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was a beat-em-‘up where Jackson used dance magic to beat Mr. Big’s thugs.

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The home version of Moonwalker for the Genesis was more dance-focused than the arcade version.

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The poorly received PC version of Moonwalker had little in common with its more famous arcade and console brethren.

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MJ’s next game appearance came in 2000, with a cameo as Space Michael in Sega’s rhythm game Space Channel 5

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Later in 2000 Jackson inexplicably showed up as a master of the sweet science in Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2

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Michael could even beat up himself in Ready 2 Rumble

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Space Michael returned with a larger role in 2002’s Space Channel 5 Part 2

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After his untimely death Michael starred in 2010’s Michael Jackson: The Experience, a rhythm and singing game that featured many of his most beloved songs.

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A massively multiplayer online game called Planet Michael was announced in 2010, but only a few pieces of concept art have been released. It’s presumably been cancelled.

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Of all his game appearances, the Genesis version of Moonwalker probably remains Michael’s best known in America.

 

Read more at Paste

World’s First: Michael Jackson To Premiere A Place With No Name Music Video On Twitter

Sources: Metro | All Things Michael

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He revolutionised the music video in his lifetime and now Michael Jackson is set to make music history from beyond the grave by being the first artist to premiere a music video exclusively on Twitter.

A Place With No Name will be the second single to be taken from the late star’s latest posthumous album, Xscape, which went to number one in the UK on release earlier this year.

The track serves as the follow-up to Jackson’s previous single, Love Never Felt So Good, featuring Justin Timberlake.

The video will be revealed via the Bad singer’s official Twitter account @MichaelJackson tomorrow at 10pm.

Directed by Samuel Bayer (The Rolling Stones, Nirvana), it will also be simultaneously broadcast on the Sony screen in Times Square, New York.

A spokesperson for UK-based fanclub, the Michael Jackson World Network told metro.co.uk:’It’s great to see Michael’s Estate continue his legacy the way he created it, which was all about innovation.

‘As fans, we’re blessed to still have a stream of new projects being released that can excite us! Doing this is new ways that haven’t been done before is a great way to also continue the publics interest Michael Jackson.’

Here’s the audio of Michael Jackson’s A Place With No Name for you to enjoy in the meantime:

 

Read more at Metro

25 Fashionable Moments In Album Cover Art

Sources: Paste – By Mari Andrew| All Things Michael

The fashion adage, “Dress like you’re on an album cover,” isn’t used enough. In the case of these 25 albums, that could mean: make your shoulder pads wider, your tie skinnier and your flattop higher. What it really means is: look your best and push the envelope, just like these icons whose funky, sleek or understated style was immortalized by cover art.

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Help!, The Beatles: Because proper outerwear is always stylish. There’s nothing fashionable about shivering or getting soaked for lack of jacket.

album7beatleshelp2Purple Rain, Prince: Prince is the only man in history–and that includes men on US currency, Lord Byron, Italian noblemen, and Jerry Seinfeld–who could make a ruffled collar look sexy.

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Nightclubbing, Grace Jones: One of the most iconic hairstyle of the early 80s was Grace Jones’ flattop. In 2014, our most iconic haircut is Macklemore’s “The Macklemore.”

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Read more at Paste

Michael Jackson: Purpose and Passion that Touched the World

Sources: Valorie Burton (Published June 26, 2009) | All Things Michael

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I was standing in the nose-bleed seats on the fifth level of Mile High Stadium with my parents, my cousin Tyrone, his dad – and most importantly, my binoculars.  This was my first concert.  I was never an excitable kid, but when Michael Jackson stepped onto the stage with his brothers for the “Victory” tour concert that night, my hands flailed in the air and I screamed uncontrollably – like one of those silly girls I’d previously made fun of from old footage of The Beatles.  I was in 7th grade and I thought he was the cutest, sweetest, most talented, most entertaining guy in the world.  His photo graced the inside of my locker at school.  I marveled at his dance moves, regularly sliding backwards across the kitchen floor in my socks fruitlessly attempting to moonwalk.  I sat for hours and listened to every song on the Thriller album, memorizing all the words, and when the Thriller video came out, my parents let me stay up late one night to see it. 

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We wonder how people can feel emotional when someone they never knew passes.  But the truth is, in this media age, we let many people into our lives that we don’t know – we buy their music, watch their movies, and invite them into our homes through our television sets.  In moments with people we know and care about, these entertainers and public figures become a part of both our milestones and everyday moments.  We don’t know them personally, but the gifts they share become a memorable part of our life experience.

I often write about the importance of knowing your purpose – and how that purpose emerges from your innate talents.  And even though his talent is far beyond what most of us can imagine for ourselves, he was an example of the power of using what God gave you to make an impact.   Your purpose can be as simple as “bringing joy,” “provoking thought,” or “influencing attitudes” – in his case, he probably did all three through music and entertainment.

Your purpose should answer this simple question:  How is someone’s life better because they cross your path?   Besides elevating the music industry and breaking records, Michael Jackson gave millions of us entertainment that made us smile, dance, and connect with the people around us – and I can say for sure that my life has been richer for it.
 

Coachable moment:

How is someone’s life better because they cross your path?  You don’t have to be a megastar or have immense talent to have an impact.  Know your gift and use it to the best of your ability.

Michael Jackson, 10,000 Hours And The Roots Of Creative Genius

Sources: OUP Blog – By Arturo Hernandez | All Things Michael

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That any person could become an expert in something if they simply spend about 3 hours per day for ten years learning it is an appealing concept. This idea, first championed by Ericsson and brought to prominence by Gladwell, has now taken root in the popular media. It attempts to discuss these differences in terms of the environment. The idea is that practice with the purpose of constantly gathering feedback and improving can lead any person to become an expert. If becoming an expert requires 10,000 hours, does a prodigy need 20,000. Lets consider, Michael Jackson, as an example of a prodigy. He grew up in a musical family in Gary, Indiana just outside Chicago. His father Joe played in an R&B band. All of his siblings played music in one way or another. Unlike his siblings and father, Jackson did not really play any instruments. However, he would compose songs in his head using his voice. One morning he came in and had written a song which eventually became ‘Beat It’. In the studio, he would sing each of the different parts including the various instruments. Then the producers and artists in the studio would work on putting the song together, following his arrangements. studio-michael-jackson-22216220-500-189 Work in cognitive neuroscience has begun to shed light on the brain systems involved in creativity as being linked to psychometric IQ. Work by Neubauer and Fink suggests that these two different types of abilities, psychometric IQ and expertise, involve differential activity in the frontal and parietal lobes. They also appear for different types of tasks. In one study, taxi drivers were split into a high and low group depending on their performance on a paper and pencil IQ test. The results showed that both groups did equally well on familiar routes. The differences appeared between groups when they were compared on unfamiliar routes. In this condition, those with high IQs outperformed those with low IQ. So expertise can develop but the flexibility to handle new situations and improvise requires more than just practice. Reports of Michael Jackson’s IQ are unreliable. However, he is purported to have had over 10,000 books in his reading collection and to have been an avid reader. His interviews reveal a person who was very eloquent and well spoken. And clearly he was able to integrate various different types of strands of music into interesting novel blends. If we were to lay this out across time, we have perhaps the roots of early genius. It is a person who has an unusual amount of exposure in a domain that starts at an early age. This would lead to the ability to play music very well. Michael_Jackson_with_the_Reagans Jackson came from a family filled with many successful musicians. Many were successful as recording artists. Perhaps Michael started earlier than his siblings. One conclusion we can draw from this natural experiment is that creative genius requires more than 10,000 hours. In the case of Michael Jackson, he read profusely and had very rich life experiences. He tried to meld these experiences into a blended musical genre that is uniquely his and yet distinctly resonant with known musical styles. The kind of creativity is not restricted to prodigies like Michael Jackson. Language, our ultimate achievement as a human race, is something that no other animal species on this planet shares with us. The seeds of language exist all over the animal kingdom. There are birds that can use syntax to create elaborate songs. Chinchillas can recognize basic human speech. Higher primates can develop extensive vocabularies and use relatively sophisticated language. But only one species was able to take all of these various pieces and combine them into a much richer whole. Every human is born with the potential to develop much larger frontal lobes which interconnect with attention, motor, and sensory areas of the brain. It is in these enlarged cortical areas that we can see the roots of creative genius. So while 10,000 hours will create efficiency within restricted areas of the brain, only the use of more general purpose brain areas serve to develop true creativity.

Arturo Hernandez is currently Professor of Psychology and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience graduate program at the University of Houston. He is the author of The Bilingual Brain. His major research interest is in the neural underpinnings of bilingual language processing and second language acquisition in children and adults. He has used a variety of neuroimaging methods as well as behavioral techniques to investigate these phenomena which have been published in a number of peer reviewed journal articles. His research is currently funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. You can follow him on Twitter @DrAEHernandez. Read his previous blog posts.

Read more at OUP Blog