Today In Entertainment History: February 23, 1988 – BAD Tour Begins In US

Sources: Michael Jackson The Visual Documentary |WTAX | All Things Michael


1957: Porter Wagoner joined the Grand Ole Opry.

1965: Stan Laurel of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team died in Santa Monica, California. He was 74.

1978: At the 20th annual Grammy Awards, The Eagles won Record of the Year for “Hotel California.” “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac won the Album of the Year award.


1988: Michael Jackson kicked off his first solo U.S. tour in Kansas City performing to an audience of 33,918 during two sell-out shows at the Kemper Arena. The standing room only concerts bring in more money than any other artist has ever achieved at the venue, including Elvis Presley.

The newly revised shows included more songs from the ‘BAD’ album than did the shows in Japan.

For the first few shows of the tour, there were also surprise appearances by Tatiana Thumbtzen for the performance of ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’. It was also a surprise for Tatiana, who was contacted by Michael’s secretary only one week before the tour’s opening. She was glad to be a part of the show, describing it as being like Christmas in February.

Watch Michael perform ‘Rock With You’ in Kansas here: (Source)

2003: Norah Jones won five Grammys, one for every category in which she was nominated, including album of the year. The Grammys show opened with Simon and Garfunkel, the first time they had performed together in a decade.

2004: The finale of “Sex and the City” aired.

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The Grammys Honor Legends George Harrison, Buddy Guy And The Bee Gees

Sources: Bio – By Catherine McHugh | All Things Michael

12th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

When CBS broadcasts the 57th Annual Grammy Awards live on Sunday, February 8, at 8 p.m. EST from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, part of the show will be devoted to this year’s recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which include George Harrison, The Bee Gees and Buddy Guy, among others. Each will be honored at the Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards in a separate, invitation-only event on February 7.

That ceremony will certainly be heavy with emotion, as two of the three Bee Gees have died, as has Harrison. George Harrison passed away in 2001 at the age of 58, while The Bee Gees’ Maurice Gibb died in 2003 at the age of 53 and his brother Robin in 2012 at 62. Barry Gibb is the only surviving member of the band.

In a press statement, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow noted, “This year we pay tribute to exceptional creators who have made prolific contributions to our culture and history. . .whose timeless legacies will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.”

Here’s a look at these music legends and some facts about their incredible careers that you may not know:

The Bee Gees

The three Gibb brothers – Barry and fraternal twins, Maurice and Robin –were the sons of English bandleader and drummer Hugh Gibb, and started performing together in 1955.  Their trademark harmonies helped the Bee Gees to sell more then 200 million records worldwide. Though their career was punctuated by commercial dry spells, and critics frequently dismissed them, their songs have undeniably struck a chord in the public consciousness.

Early Days and Harmonies

By 1958, the brothers were singing in talent shows and other amateur outlets. They signed with Australia’s Festival Records in 1962, and hosted a weekly TV show. Arriving in England in the late 1960s, the band had its first international smash, “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” The brothers developed a rock-pop sound, which featured their signature three-part harmonies.

Disco Kings

By the mid-1970s, the trio had reinvented their sound by producing more dance-oriented music. “Jive Talkin” became a number-one hit in 1975. The following year, the group topped the charts with “You Should Be Dancing.”

In 1977, the brothers were asked to supply some songs for the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta. Driven by their chart-toppers, “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” and “How Deep Is Your Love,” the album stayed on the charts for more than two years and eventually sold 30 million copies worldwide. The Bee Gees won six Grammys for their work on the soundtrack, which reigned as the top-selling album in history until Michael Jackson released 1982’s Thriller – which he in turn acknowledged was inspired by Saturday Night Fever.

Surviving the Backlash

After Saturday Night Fever, even the platinum album, Spirits Having Flownseemed anticlimactic. As of 1979, the Bee Gees had released five platinum albums and more than 20 hit singles.

Intense anti-disco sentiment created a backlash against the group and their phenomenal success. However, alone and together, the brothers continued to work steadily, and also wrote and produced hits for other artists, includingDiana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Frankie Valli, and younger brother Andy Gibbas well as the title tune for the film version of the Broadway hit Grease.


True-Life Tragedy

In March 1988, the Bee Gees’ younger brother Andy Gibb died of a heart condition at age 30 and his surviving brothers retired for a time. They returned with 1989’s One – the title track was the trio’s highest-charting single of the 1980s.

The Bee Gees’ knack for creating hits earned them a belated critical respect. In 1997, the Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1994, they were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Buddy Guy


For a man who name is nearly synonymous with the Chicago blues sound,Buddy Guy has one of the warmest smiles in the business. Rock titans, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan have all cited him as a major influence on their own music.

Now 78, the 2005 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has barely slowed down as he continues to encourage and inspire a new generation of musicians.

George Harrison


George Harrison was born in Liverpool in 1943. He joined John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the Quarry Men as lead guitarist at age 15. Though he was known as the quiet Beatle, Harrison’s contributions to the most famous band in the world spoke volumes. His early influences included rockabilly hero Carl Perkins and British skiffle legend Lonnie Donegan.

Harrison’s retooled rockabilly licks were key to the Beatles’ early sound, and he wrote some of the band’s best-loved songs, including, “If I Needed Someone,” “Taxman,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Harrison also introduced Western ears to Indian music, first by playing the sitar on “Norwegian Wood” (1965).

His final solo album, Brainwashed, was co-produced by his son Dhani Harrison and Lynne, and released posthumously in 2002. Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001, at a friend’s home in Los Angeles at age 58.
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Jessica Simpson’s Son Ace Channels Michael Jackson

Sources: E Online – By Rebecca Macatee | All Things Michael


Jessica Simpson‘s son isn’t even 2 years old yet, but he’s already mastering the moonwalk!

Yep, the always adorable 20-month-old Ace Johnson was “working on his Michael Jackson moves” while hanging out with the family recently. Uncle Evan Ross Instagrammed a photo of the precocious, fedora-wearing tot mid-dance (practicing his “Thriller” routine, perhaps).

“The other day with the amazing baby Ace,” noted Evan, whose wife Ashlee Simpson Ross is currently pregnant with the couple’s first child. She is also the proud mom to 6-year-old Bronx, whose father is ex-husband Pete Wentz.

Evan, clearly impressed by amazing Ace’s M.J. impression, enjoys spending time with the in-laws. “Always the best of times with the family,” he wrote, hashtagging Jess, her hubby Eric Johnson and mama Tina Simpson.

Of course, Jess’ 2-year-old daughter Maxwell was sure to be hanging out with the fam on this fun day, and maybe even showing off some dance moves of her own! She’s still young, but Maxi has already proven that like her mogul mama, she loves being the center of attention!

She might’ve gotten some of her mommy’s sass, too. Jess Instagrammed her mini-me a few months ago after she broke into mom’s lipgloss drawer, and Maxwell looked quite proud of her pink pout and borrowed loot!


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“Black HIStory” (Or, Why I Think Black People Need To Re-Introduce Themselves to Michael Jackson”)

Originally posted on Confessions of a Crazy MJ Fan:

Settle in, Loves…. This is about to be one bumpy ride.

I did not plan to write this particular blog for Black History Month, but three happenings I witnessed on social media pretty much forced my hand. Given the nature and source of these incidents, I thought this month might be perfect after all.

The first of these incidents was an African American artist’s “imagining” of how Michael would have looked today had he lived past 50 and without the effects of plastic surgery or vitiligo. The other was a vicious string of disrespectful, mean, and misinformed comments under a photo of Michael on a predominantly African American R&B page on Facebook. The third strike was a person who thought it was a good idea to post a question that asked if the members of this particular page felt “Michael Jackson should have gotten therapy in the 70’s before his…

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Thriller Live Review: Sean Christopher’s Michael Jackson A Show Stopping Tribute To King of Pop

Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald – By Chloe Smethurst | All Things Michael

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Capturing the spirit of Michael Jackson’s legacy without relying entirely on mimicry, Thriller Live is buoyed up by a funky live band and several brilliant vocalists, plus a team of dancers. The staging is lively, with several levels and projection panels filling the space with visuals and the sounds of Jackson’s best-loved songs.

British performer Sean Christopher is so good he’s almost unbelievable. With his trilby pulled down low, he gives a rendition of Billie Jean so close to the original it’s as though the King of Pop himself was onstage, slicing the air with his hands, crackling through each joint and sliding backwards in a slick moonwalk.

Where Christopher excels in recreating MJ’s presence, fellow vocalists Wayne Robinson, J Rome and Peter Murphy give terrific, faithful versions of the hits without looking like imitators.

Moving easily between songs and even decades, the production resembles a concert more than a musical, which makes Mig Ayesa’s hammy acting seem out of place. Luckily, his impressive voice is perfectly tuned for ballads such as She’s Out of My Life.

Prinnie Stevens’ performance gains momentum throughout the show, reaching a high point with her show-stopping version of The Way You Make Me Feel.

Spangled jackets, gloves and belt buckles lend extra zing, as does the immersive lighting and atmospheric digital projections. If only the group choreography was tighter and more interesting, Thriller Live would be hard to fault.

With just enough audience participation and all that classic music, Thriller Live is a winner.

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How The NFL Convinced Michael Jackson To Perform For The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Sources: Sports Illustrated – By Austin Murray | All Things Michael



The calculus changed radically in 1992, after ice skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill got their heads handed to them by In Living Color comedians Keenen and Damon Wayans. CBS’s Nielsen rating dipped from a 42.1 to a 32.8 during that halftime, and the NFL suits had seen enough. Overnight it was decided: The days of jayvee, dinner theater–caliber entertainment were over. The league sent everyone deep. They decided to go after Michael Jackson.

For a month they got nowhere. Steeg sat down with the King of Pop’s manager, Sandy Gallin, 11 months before Super Bowl XXVII. “I remember pitching them,” he says, “and them not really having a clue what we were talking about.” At a subsequent meeting, producer Don Mischer pointed out that the Super Bowl would be broadcast in more than 120 countries. Now he had Jackson’s full attention.

Steeg recalls Jackson saying, “So you’re telling me that this show is going live to all those places where I’ll never do a concert?” A pause. “I’m in.”

“Michael worked harder than anybody [who’s done the halftime show], before or since,” says Steeg, who remembers seeing Jackson still rehearsing his act at seven the night before the game, in a tent outside the Rose Bowl.

And it showed. Jackson, rocking a bandolier-draped frock coat on loan, apparently, from Muammar Gaddafi, was sensational. The final moments of that show were the most viewed in the history of television at the time.


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Thriller Live Gives Reporter A New View Of Michael Jackson

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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