For The Children: Syl Mortilla’s Michael Jackson Biography

Originally posted on Syl Mortilla:

One of the many things that Michael said which has stuck with me, was how he spoke of his admiration for people that used their talents to further the prospects of children. This is what I aspire to do.

Towards the end of the notorious Martin Bashir documentary Living With Michael Jackson, when asked why the welfare of children meant so much to him, Michael, choking back heartfelt tears, responded with the words, “I’m just very sensitive to their pain.” Given a platform to speak at Oxford University, Michael used the occasion to propose a Children’s Bill of Rights, with one of these being “the right to be loved without having to earn it”. Michael promoted these beliefs until his dying breath, as evidenced in the gut-wrenching recording that Conrad Murray made of Michael as he groaned in anaesthetised oblivion, where he is heard talking about his dream of…

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Holiday Songs To Lift Your Spirits

Sources: Star Pulse – By Brent Faulkner | Edited By – All Things Michael

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Not in the holiday mood?  Has shopping fatigue set in?  Well, take a moment and enjoy some Christmas classics that will not only lift your spirits, but will also put some pep in your step! In addition to the author’s song picks, we have added a few favorites of our own.  Enjoy!

The Jackson 5, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (originally from Christmas Album, 1970)

Was there EVER another version of this? The reasonable, sensible answer is yes, but The Jackson 5’s take on this holiday classic would make the worst Ebenezer Scrooge feel the Christmas spirit.  Young Michael Jackson’s voice shines prodigiously as he reminds us all of what a joyous time Christmastime is.

The Jackson 5, “Give Love On Christmas Day” (originally from Christmas Album, 1970)

The Jacksons were the first to record Berry Gordy’s “Give Love On Christmas Day,” but The Temptations went on to record it for a reconstituted version of their Christmas album a decade later. The debate over the best Motown Christmas album is a two-horse race between J5 and The Temps, but “Give Love” is where the Jackson boys pull ahead. This sweet medley reminds what the season is all about.

Donny Hathaway - “This Christmas” (Single release from Atco Records 1970)

It’s just not Christmas until you hear certain songs and this classic is one of them. Since Hathaway recorded his original version, “This Christmas” has become something of a modern holiday standard, covered by a wide range of artists, too many to list here.

Elvis Presley, “Blue Christmas” (originally from Elvis Christmas,1957)

“Blue Christmas” has undoubtedly become noted as Elvis’ classic.  Even though Presley’s version is considered the preeminent version, “Blue Christmas” has roots before the King, as unbelievable as that may be.  Still, is Christmas really Christmas without this memorable classic? Nope, not in the least!

Mariah Carey, “O Holy Night” (Merry Christmas, 1994)

It takes a big voice to deliver on this definitive holiday classic. Not everybody can sing “O Holy Night” – that might be the biggest understatement ever.  Mariah Carey is no ordinary musician – she nails it.

Mary J. Blige featuring The Clark Sisters, “The First Noel” (A Mary Christmas, 2013)

Mary J. Blige and The Clark Sisters “make the church say amen” on this rousing rendition of “The First Noel.”  It begins slow with great poise, but blooms into something greater and more dynamic.  Everyone should be on his or her feet by the end – there’s no excuses – “Born is the king of Israel!”

Andrea Bocelli & Mary J. Blige, “What Child Is This” (My Christmas, 2009)

What happens when you combine two dynamic vocalists together for a duet?  The answer is nothing short of magic.  This recording of “What Child Is This” gives chills with each and every listen.

 Josh Groban, “Ave Maria” (Noel, 2007)

“Ave Maria” has been covered countless times. It’s as standard as standard, classical repertoire comes.  Even if it is no surprise when its performed, pop-opera standout Josh Groban does it its due justice.  Groban’s tone emits warmth, and “Ave Maria” is a piece of music that deserves such.

The Temptations, “Silent Night” (Give Love At Christmas, 1980)

What’s anymore traditional than “Silent Night?”  The answer is “Silent Night.” It’s everybody’s favorite sacred Christmas Carol, hence why it is among the most performed carols of them all.  Many have delivered on this this classic, but among the greatest takes was by none other than soul’s ‘it’ group, The Temptations.  Blue’s bass, Eddie Kendrick’s sick upper register – C-L-A-S-S-I-C, classic!

Pentatonix featuring Tori Kelly, “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy” (That’s Christmas To Me, 2014)

Call this a two-for-one, and who doesn’t like a two-for-one? Pentatonix slaughter (in a good way) this rendition of “Winter Wonderland,” giving it the Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy” treatment.  Awesomeness exemplified as everyone’s favorite a cappella group kills it again.

The Drifters, “White Christmas” (1954)

Although Bing Cosby’s version is the most well known, the Drifter’s version of this classic song by Irving Berlin is quite endearing and has been used in many films. Home Alone prominently featured in the song during a scene in which the lead character Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) is applying his father’s aftershave while mouthing the lyrics. The Drifter’s version is also featured in the 1994 films Mixed Nuts and  The Santa Clause.

Andy Williams – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (The Andy Williams Christmas Album 1963)

The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season, focusing primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

“George Wyle, who is a vocal director, who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets and trios and things that I did with all the guests, he wrote a song just for the show — I think the second Christmas show we did — called “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. So I did that, you know, every Christmas, and then other people started doing it. And then suddenly it’s become—not suddenly but over 30 years—it’s become a big standard. I think it’s one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time now.”

 

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Nick Young Posts Photo Of Himself As A Young Michael Jackson After Big Win

Sources: Bleacher Report – Brian Chen | Edited By –  All Things Michael

Source: The Warner Cable Sportsnet

Source: The Warner Cable Sportsnet

After hitting a clutch three-pointer that proved to be the game-winner against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, Nick Young wanted everyone to see just how much swag he has.

Just hours after the win, the flamboyant Los Angeles Lakers guard posted a photo of himself on Instagram as a young Michael Jackson.

No one had more swag than the King of Pop.

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100 Great Summer Soundtracks

Sources: New.com.au |Edited By – All Things Michael

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It’s summertime in some parts of the world and you don’t want to be indoors putting together a playlist. So we’ve done it for you, neatly broken up into ten different genres giving you 100 rather diverse songs for summer. Before you get antsy, these aren’t meant to be the best songs ever, just a selection of excellent tunes.

GET THE PARTY STARTED

Make some room on the dancefloor — it’s going down once these kick in.

Michael Jackson — Don’t Stop `Til You Get Enough

Released: 1979

We all miss Michael, but we really miss this Michael. This song managed to bottle a timeless disco groove forever and he’s clearly having fun, something he’d sadly lose the ability to do later on.

Diana Ross — Upside Down

Released: 1980

The ‘disco sucks’ campaign once derailed his band Chic, but Nile Rodgers has had the last laugh. He’s the coolest man in music again and his songs, like this, helped invent dance music.

Deee-Lite — Groove is in the Heart

Released: 1990

This song could make a statue dance. A mix of funky samples, Q-Tip rap and Lady Miss Kier’s fierce vocals, they released three albums but would never better their perfect first impression.

Prince — 1999

Released: 1982

Before there was dancing like no one’s watching there was dancing like someone could drop a nuclear bomb and the world could end any minute. This would have been a great last song though.

Madonna — Into the Groove

Released: 1985

A career-defining classic — she’s made a mint singing about the lure of the dancefloor but has never put it better than “only when I’m dancing can I feel this free.”

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Pulp — Common People

Released: 1995

The planets aligned for UK band Pulp here — a literate, wildly infectious song about a rich girl slumming it for kicks became an anthem that still gets the blood gushing to the head.

Beyonce and Jay-Z — Crazy in Love

Released: 2003

Quite simply, one of the best songs created this century. Instantly elevated Beyonce to another level, a pedestal she’s remained on since. Her husband’s not too shabby either.

Salt’n’Pepa — Push It

Released: 1987

A hip hop classic, Push It has endured over the years and generations and can still fill floors from cool clubs to weddings.

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Whitney Houston — How Will I Know

Released: 1985

Yeah, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, but that’s too easy. Whitney’s first big hit here also showcased that big voice and so much ’80s gold including the then-obligatory sax solo.

Daft Punk — Get Lucky

Released: 2013

The biggest song of 2013 sounded like it could have been made in 1978. Pharrell Williams plus Nile Rodgers plus French disco robots equals an instant future retro classic.

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‘Uptown Funk’ And ‘Jam’ Mashup

Sources: MJWN | All Things Michael

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The new track by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars called ‘Uptown Funk’ is setting the music world on fire at the moment. Its popularity has soared recently in the UK after an X Factor contestant performed it live and it’s steadingly climbing the Billboard Hot 100 as well, currently sitting at number 8. UK betting shops have also put it in line to potentially be this years Christmas number one (a feat Michael had in 1995 with ‘Earth Song’).

Mars has always taken a lot of influence from Michael Jackson, citing him as his favourite artist and often performing Michael’s songs live in concert. So it’s fitting that a fan has mashed up his new hit ‘Uptown Funk’ with Michael’s classic ‘Jam’ from 1991. The songs fit perfectly together and provides a floor thumping tune to listen to.

 

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Student Filmmakers Feature Michael Jackson And Others Historical Figures For Annual Academy Event

Sources: The Crozet  Gazette – By Rebecca Schmitz | Edited By – All Things Michael

Brownsville students (L-R) Maren Eanes, Oriana Haynes, Tori Keller, Zach Farmer, and Elliott Crotteau produced a film about Michael Jackson called “The Tonight Show.”

Brownsville students (L-R) Maren Eanes, Oriana Haynes, Tori Keller, Zach Farmer, and Elliott Crotteau produced a film about Michael Jackson called “The Tonight Show.”

On the morning of November 8, a group of talented actors, directors, editors, producers, and screenwriters gathered at U.Va.’s Campbell Hall to present the results of three months of intensive filmmaking. The films premiering on the big screen that day were impressive—especially considering the oldest filmmakers were only in middle school, and one young cameraman was just in second grade. These children were part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Academy, which began in 2009 with Crozet Elementary as its pilot school and has since grown to include schools from all over the county. More than 550 students participated in this year’s academy, a countywide challenge designed to introduce them to a career in filmmaking and cultivate their critical and creative thinking skills.

Working largely on their own, with limited parent and teacher instruction, students from Brownsville, Crozet, Meriwether Lewis, and Henley spent hours working during and after school to write, direct, produce, and star in their own films. They filmed on school grounds, at their homes, and around the community at locations such as Crozet Great Valu. This year’s theme was the “Big Screen,” and each student team was challenged to tell the story of a contemporary or historical figure of their choice. Teams also had to incorporate a screen into their film in some way, whether as a screen door, screen saver, or even a split screen.

Film subjects were wide and varied. One team from Crozet Elementary featured an interview with astronaut Kathy Thornton. Other films focused on Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Thomas Jefferson, and soccer star Pele. Films featuring musicians such as the Beatles and Michael Jackson were full of music and energy. The children put their own creative “spin” on their subjects—Michael Jackson was portrayed as a guest on The Tonight Show, Thomas Jefferson was thrust into a time machine, and two members of the Beatles made a ghostly appearance to a modern day elementary student who was learning to appreciate their music.

Brownsville students Emma Sexton and Elke Beaumont work on editing their film, “Beatles Illusion.”

Brownsville students Emma Sexton and Elke Beaumont work on editing their film, “Beatles Illusion.”

Bearing names such as “Fuzzy Puppies,” “Screaming Llamas” and the always-delectable “Bacon,” the teams mastered technologies including green screen and iMovie, a video editing software application. Students at Brownsville met twice a week after school under the guidance of gifted resource teacher Mary Dettmann, who began each session with a short lesson on one aspect of filmmaking. Outside experts also came in from time to time teach the children about topics such as special effects, use of sound, and adding titles. Afterwards, teams broke into groups and worked on applying the lessons when developing their films.

Patience and perseverance were vital.  Brownsville fourth grader Tom Aslett learned that “It’s trial and error in filmmaking. Sometimes the camera gets it wrong, and sometimes you get it wrong. It’s not just a quick thing.”

Condensing their stories was also tricky. The films could be no longer than two minutes, which, Brownsville fifth grader Emma Sexton said, was one of their biggest challenges. “It’s harder than it sounds to make a two-minute film!”

“We talked about roles in the film, but we didn’t assign them,” Mary Dettmann said. Students had to decide on their own who would be the actors, which roles they would play, and how they could best contribute their skills. Some discovered they preferred to stay behind the camera, while others enjoyed being on screen.

Parent volunteer Melissa Collier, whose sons Charles and Evan played Sgt. Pepper’s-era John Lennon and George Harrison in the movie “Beatles Illusion,” was amazed by how quickly all the students were able to master iMovie. “Just watching these kids work out their ideas with one another—they rose to the challenge so easily.”

Dettmann said the greatest lesson learned, however, was not just how to make a movie, but how to work together effectively as a team, in spite of differing opinions and passionately debated opposing ideas. With parent volunteers on hand as mediators, children worked through their disagreements and learned to compromise and accept differing approaches to filmmaking. “The kids became really close to their team members. They really got to know each other in a new way. It opened up new windows of friendship.”

Paula White, gifted resource teacher from Crozet Elementary, said, “Collaboration was absolutely the biggest challenge. Everybody comes with his or her own skills and ideas. Their understanding of how to negotiate definitely grew during this project.” She was also impressed by the students’ hard work and determination. “The kids’ understanding of quality increased.” The team who filmed the movie “Famous in Futbol” on Crozet’s soccer field, for example, expected to spend just 10 minutes filming.  Instead, they spent 30 minutes doing take after take to ensure that the sound quality of their film was top-notch.

Yarden Batson, the third-grade student teacher who headed the project at Meriwether Lewis, noted that the students also had to master getting things done in the most efficient way possible. “Time management was also a challenge, since there was a great amount of tasks to accomplish before their films were finalized. Students learned just how valuable their time spent on their films was. By the second week of practicing, they learned to have their props ready before they even entered the classroom. One example was when students were self-motivated to get their props from other classrooms on their way back from lunch, rather than walk back to our classroom and then go get their props.”

She also said that her students “…learned that being prepared required them to stay organized and informed about their films. They took home scripts to memorize and wrote what they would need for their specific films in their assignment notebook each day.”

Brownsville had 12 teams of fourth and fifth graders participating in the Academy, Meriwether Lewis had three teams of third graders, and Crozet had 10 teams of students of third to fifth graders, with second grader Elliot Rothman serving as the cameraman on the “Best Of” film “Now and Then.”

Crozet teacher Paula White has seen the lasting impact the project has had on students and the interest it has sparked in a career in filmmaking. “Any time you can get kids to participate in things as authentic and real as possible, it has the potential to change lives. It’s an opportunity for kids to find their passion.”

Teachers were also impressed by the students’ acting abilities. Henley’s “Best Of” film, titled “Flashback,” portrayed a ringing phone and students answering the phone in different decades, from the 60s through the 90s. “It was amazing how well the actors took on the different personas, considering they didn’t live during those decades,” said Henley’s gifted services teacher Teresa Goodin.

The day of the screening, parents and children clapped and cheered excitedly, and the students’ pride in their work was evident. The best thing about the project was expressed by fifth-grader Emma Sexton: “It’s all ours. It’s no one else’s idea!”

Films Selected for the “Best of Young Filmmakers Academy” Screening:

Brownsville Elementary

“Beatles Illusion”

Team Members: 

Elke Beaumont, Linden Skalak, Lexi Larkin, Emma Sexton, Charles Collier, and Evan Collier

Crozet Elementary

“Now and Then”

Team Members:  Maya MacMillin, Anya Rothman, and Elliot Rothman

Meriwether Lewis Elementary

“Abe” (about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln)

Team Members: Joshua Burke, Lillian Davis, Tenzin Druknya, Thomas Shannon, Lucas DiCesare, and Owen Streed

Henley Middle School

“Flashback”

Team Members: Camille Kielbasa, Katherine Mata, Peyton Beaumont, and Evelyn Garey

 

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Walking In The Footsteps Of The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye And More: A Music Theme Road Trip Through Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland

Sources: Daily Mail – By Ted Thornhill | All Things Michael

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Studio A. Some would argue that what happened right where I’m standing changed the world.

To look at, it’s not much. There’s a grand piano, a couple of music stands, some rudimentary-looking sound-proofing, some black-and-white photographs, microphones, a drum kit and an old synthesizer.

But the roll call of who played the piano and synthesizer, and sung into those microphones, is enough to hush the tour group I’m with to a reverential silence.

The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Marvelettes, The Four Tops… Their careers all took off after they’d recorded tracks here in Studio A, in Hitsville, Detroit. The home of Motown.

Sacred spot: Ted at the hallowed ground of Studio A, where the likes of The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye recorded hits

Sacred spot: Ted at the hallowed ground of Studio A, where the likes of The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye recorded hits

A certain famous Liverpudlian once made a pilgrimage to this hallowed spot. We learn that he stood in the studio in awe, simply wanting to pay homage to the talent that was incubated here.

Then he noticed that the grand piano was in poor condition, so he offered to pay for its restoration as a way of thanking the Motown record company for the music it had bestowed on the world’s ear drums.

His name was Paul McCartney.

I’m on a music-themed road trip, exploring the rich musical heritage of Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit.

From blues to jazz, rock and roll to Motown, I’m paying homage to some of the genres that developed in these cities and helped these cities develop, tracing some of them to their source and plugging into the buzz at bars and cafes that champion them.

The visit to Hitsville, which isn’t a town, by the way, but a house on West Grand Boulevard, is quite extraordinary.

Pondering its sheer musical fertility is enough to make you dizzy. And though the studio isn’t used any more, there is still a star at work there – tour guide Peggy Adams.

Her inside knowledge, charisma and enthusiasm is something to behold – on a couple of occasions she even stirs our tour group into singing Motown hits My Girl by The Temptations and Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye.

Hitsville has been left undisturbed since records were made here between 1959 and 1972. You can gaze upon the sofa Marvin Gaye slept on inbetween his warbling sessions and eye the floorboards worn down by foot-tapping in the edit suite overlooking Studio A.

Rather astonishingly, we bump into Motown’s former head of PR, Miller London, during a pitstop at Bert’s Market Place – an event-venue-cum-jazz café that happens to excel at down-home bbq fodder.

Mr Miller lends Bert’s his marketing nous – something he possesses in spades. After all, this is the man who helped propel Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to superstardom.

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He’s a friendly, chatty soul and obligingly poses for photographs next to some of the gold Motown discs that he’s had put up at Bert’s.

‘Working at Motown was wonderful,’ he tells me. ‘I wouldn’t change a single day. Apart from the day Motown was sold.’

The next stop on our musical pilgrimage is United Sound Systems Recording Studios. Founded in 1933, it was the first major independent recording studio in the U.S – and another studio that wears a disguise.

United Sound Systems Recording Studios

United Sound Systems Recording Studios

Like Hitsville, it was originally a residential property. Screw your eyes up and it almost looks abandoned – but the huge hangar-style extension gives the game away.

This is where the biggest studio can be found.

And inside, it’s a classy affair. Floors formed from rich, burnished wood run between walls adorned with gold and silver discs celebrating the label’s artists.

Here we’re talking about legendary funk musicians such as George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, plus, the likes of Whitney Houston, R-Kelly and John Lee Hooker have warbled into its mics.

It’s also where Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones recorded the song and video for Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

USSRS is still doing business today and we’re taken on a guided tour around its three hi-tech recording studios, mesmerised yet again to be standing where so many stars have cut tracks.

Detroit is rightly proud of its musical heritage – and equally proud of the vibrant music-making in its bars and clubs.

Bert’s is a pillar of the scene, with two other venues crucial parts of the architecture.

Cliff Bell’s – established in 1935, closed between 1985 and 2005, then renovated – is a jazz club of some note. Generous quantities of mahogany and brass adorn its lavish art-deco speak-easy-style interior, immediately making us wish we’d donned suits and trilbies.

Had I been wearing one I would have tipped it to the manager for fixing semi-circular tables to the bar – both thoughtful and stylish.

This is an establishment dedicated to top-end crooning, with the likes of Chicago’s jazz vocalist Sam Fazio gracing the stage regularly.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is similarly memorable, thought it won’t be if you have too many of the generously alcoholic gin and tonics.

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You’ll find it a few miles from downtown Detroit, but it’s well worth a cab fare. It’s the city’s oldest jazz club – and a historically significant one – with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davies and Nat ‘King’ Cole all having played there.

The bar is shaped like a grand piano, with a black-and-white key-style bar top. Very groovy.

Bands play next door in a dimly lit lounge area.

The night we visit it’s populated with some very friendly locals who even introduce us to the star of the upcoming performance – vocalist Armond.

It has a brilliant house party atmosphere – and it’s all from the heart.

Cleveland is the next stop on our pilgrimage – or, as one local described it to me by email before I flew the pond, ‘the mistake on the lake’.

Don’t be put off, though. Okay, it’s not Manhattan, and yes, this industrial, gritty city (there’s a concrete and stone works adjacent to the downtown area, for starters) seems more at home with its sleeves rolled up than with evening finery – but there’s a feast of fun and intrigue awaiting tourists. Especially music-loving ones.

The main draw is The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by the lakefront.

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From the outside it looks like a Swiss bank from the 22nd century, but inside it’s rock’n’ roll to the core, with a bewildering array of rock-themed treasures and information.

The volume of memorabilia on show is just astonishing. John Lennon’s upright piano? Check. Michael Jackson’s fedora? Check. Kurt Cobain’s cardigan? Check.

My journalist antenna takes me quickly to the Rolling Stone magazine exhibit, which features letters written to the founding editor from John Lennon and Mick Jagger and an internal memo from the then sports editor Raoul Duke to the staff complaining that the head office had become a ‘dude ranch’.

It’s fascinating. And what the museum does so utterly brilliantly is that not only does it wow you with the personal effects of global superstars, but it tells you the story of rock and roll – and of several other major music movements – using immersive video exhibits and interactive technology, including jukeboxes with Beats by Dr Dre headphones.

Michael Jackson exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Michael Jackson exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Top 10 Most Decadent Homes In The World

Sources: Chadwicks | Edited By – All Things Michael

For some an extension to the rear of the house or some decking will suffice. For others a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are the stuff dreams are made of. Then there are those select, wealthy few, who have insatiable desires for glamour and decadence. We’re talking gold gilded toilet seats, marble floors throughout, elevators and live-in staff. Here are the top 10 most decadent homes in the world. Now this is some serious home improvement.

1- Antilia, Mumbai

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Business man Mukesk Ambani owns and lives in this 27 storey ‘home’ in Mumbai. It boasts six underground levels of car parking and three helicopter pads. Well how else will his 600 staff get to work?

2 -Villa Leopolda, French Riviera

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This massive French Villa was built by a king in 1901 and remains one of the most expensive houses in the country. It contains up to 20 bedrooms, a bowling alley, a cinema and olive groves on its 20 acres of land. It was once used as the set to Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief.

3 – Versailles, Orange County

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So ambitious, or greedy, were the Siegel family with their plans for their mansion in Orange County that they ran out of funding before they could complete the project. When finished it’s expected to be worth over $100million and set over 90,000 square feet. They need not worry about being far from a bathroom however as there will be 25 of them. Even though the owner David doesn’t like wine, his cellar will house 20,000 bottles. Just ’cause.

4 – The Manor, LA.

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Television tycoon Aaron Spelling built ‘The Manor’ in 1988 at a cost of $12million but it recently sold for $85million. This opulent resident boasts the usual bowling alleys, cinemas and gold plated lifts. You get the picture. What sets this one apart, however, is the three entire rooms dedicated solely to wrapping presents. Really?

5- Fair Field, The Hamptons.

South Fork,  East Hampton, Ira Rennert Property, Long Island, New York

Billionaire Ira Rennert Hampton getaway costs a cool $200million and covers 100,000 square feet of prime property in the Hamptons. They have at least two of everything. Two tennis courts, two bowling alleys and three swimming pools because you never know when you may need an extra one. The property even has its own power station to support the estate. This way they never ever have to leave and risk bumping into the riff raff.

6 – Ellison Estate, California.

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One of the classier designs on this list, Larry Ellison’s Japanese-style home is worth an estimated $43 Billion and set over 23 acres. While the buildings may look modest, there are 10 of them spread over the estate and he can float between them on his man-made lake and ponder life in the customised tea house.

7- Kensington Palace Gardens, London.

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Known as Billionaire’s Row, this tree-lined street houses some of the richest houses in the world and Lakshmi Mittal’s home is no exception. It’s playfully called the ‘Taj Mittal’ as Lakshmi imported marble from the same quarry as the Taj Mahal. He can relax in his private Turkish baths or bejewelled swimming pool.

8- Mar-A-Lago mansion, Florida.

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Donald Trump bought this Florida mansion in 1987 for $10 million. Though used to living in luxury he may have found the 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms and the ballroom too much to handle, not to mention 3 bomb shelters. It’s now better suited as private members club.

9- Fleur De Lys Mansion, Beverly Hills.

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Yet another home based on the Palace of Versailles this palace sits on only 5 acres but packs a lot into that space. The manager of the property gets their very own house as do the staff. Marble and gold line the walls and floors and a 50 seater cinema. We bet they get free popcorn too.

10 – Neverland Ranch

Neverland

The former home of the most famous man in the world, the Neverland Ranch is the stuff of legend. If a child could design an estate this might come close to what you’d get. Complete with a carnival, zoo and man-made lake, it was a paradise for children and for adults to get in touch with their inner child. While it’s no longer a functioning estate, it is being restored and will be put up for sale.

 

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