Choosing Top Ten Albums Favorites Is Not As Easy As You Think

Sources: New Zealand Herald – By Paul Yeoman | All Things Michael

I naively assumed compiling a list of my top 10 classic American albums would be a 20-minute doddle. That was until it dawned on me that quite a few on my list were actually by Canadian artists. With Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young out of the picture, another issue emerged. It was near-on impossible choosing favourites among my favourites.

My struggle started with Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life. I sat for 30 minutes just staring at the track listing for this album as well as Innervisions and Talking Book. These three records are gold, but I begrudgingly made my choice on the basis that this vast and genre-hopping double-LP is the record I always return to, even if Talking Book does contain one of the best songs ever written, Superstition.

Fleetwood Mac posed the same problem. It’s impossible to choose. One could also argue it’s a British band, but for me it has always been about Stevie Nicks: American music royalty. I’m going with Tusk, as it’s one of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest and boldest works. It also has some of my most loved Nicks tunes, Sara and Storms. You should know, however, this could all change by next week.

Other not so clear-cut decisions included Lauryn Hill. I’ve thrashed The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill over the years but it’s her MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 album that makes this list. Critics called it her meltdown record. And yes, she does ramble a bit between songs. But Hill pours everything she’s got into this acoustic album. It’s rough, raw and truly remarkable.

I was torn between two Michael Jackson records, too. Off The Wall and Thriller were important parts of my childhood. Both are brilliant. But hitting play on Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – the very first song on Off the Wall – is as thrilling now as it was watching in anticipation as my sister dropped the record player needle on it when I was 7. So it wins.

There were no hesitations in including these next albums. I love each of the artists, but these particular records stand out heads above the rest as my favourites. First and foremost is The Best of Dolly Parton. I know it’s a bit of a cheat to include a “greatest hits” here, but this was the first full-length album I ever owned. I was 11. And that battered vinyl still gets played 29 years on. I still often listen to Paul Simon’s Graceland, too. It’s an example of the perfect album. Tapestry by Carole King is another that has stuck with me since childhood. It’s perfect as well.

My angsty teens weren’t spent listening to Nirvana, although I now see the error of my ways. And in my defence, at 13, I loved Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction so it wasn’t all Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton and intense, moody folk – as it pretty much is nowadays. Oh, and I had a massive thing for Patti Smith. But who didn’t? Again, it’s hard to pick favourites; however, I’m going with the obvious – Horses.

By comparison, I was a latecomer to Townes Van Zandt but he’s a staple listen in my vinyl collection now and you can’t beat 1969′s simply titled Townes Van Zandt.

I desperately want to stretch this list out to 20, even better, 100. But the editor says no.

But let me just namecheck these records: Born in the USA, Jagged Little Pill (Alanis Morissette has dual Canadian-American citizenship), Let’s Get It On, Doolittle, Tracy Chapman, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Purple Rain, Private Dancer, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sweet Baby James, The Eminem Show, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Belladonna, The Wild Heart … Oh I give up.


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5 Expensive Pieces Of MJ Memorabilia Sold On The Web

Source: New York Post | All Things Michael


From the fedora featured in “Smooth Criminal,” to the “Billie Jean” concert jacket, these pieces of Michael Jackson memorabilia were among eBay’s hottest commodities.

This week marked the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death and it prompted a wide range of tributes across the music world, including a letter of remembrance from Beyoncé. But his fans are keeping his memory alive in a slightly different way, by bidding against each other on eBay for pieces of memorabilia and reaching some astounding figures.

These are some of the most expensive Michael Jackson items sold on the Web site during the last year.

Signed and used pillowcase with Jackson’s hair


The price: $89,999.99

Both were saved from the hospital that Jackson was treated in after suffering burns during a Pepsi commercial shoot in 1984.

‘Billie Jean’ stage-worn rehearsal jacket


The price: $20,001.00

Even though he didn’t wear it in the video for “Billie Jean,” Jackson frequently donned sequined jackets for live performances of the song, and this stage-worn example was enough to make one fan spend more for it than some people would spend on a brand new car.

‘Thriller’ album and singles shadowbox, with signed letter


The price: $12,999.99

We’re unlikely to see sales like those of Jackson’s 1982 album “Thriller” ever again, so commemorative discs are becoming rare sights. These discs mark one million sales for “Thriller,” itself, as well as its three biggest singles — “Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.”

Swarovski crystal glove


The price: $7,000

The glittering glove was undoubtedly Michael’s signature throughout his solo career, and there were many versions. Although this worn one sold for a cool $7,000, it’s nothing compared to the one he had on during the Motown 25th anniversary concert in 1983, where he unveiled the moonwalk for the first time.

That one sold for $350,000 in 2009.

Signed, video-worn ‘Smooth Criminal’ fedora


The price: $6,100

Jackson’s white-suit-and-fedora combo was first seen in 1988’s mobster-themed “Smooth Criminal” video (which was also part of the “Moonwallker” movie released at the same time). Not only was the hat an iconic new look for the singer, it became an integral part of the “Moonwalker” video game, in which you could use it as a projectile to kill the bad guys.

That’s one dangerous piece of head wear.


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Michael Jackson: A Journalist Remembers ‘The King of Pop’ and The Day She Decided to Defend Him

Source: Eur This N That – By DeBorah B. Pryor | All Things Michael


In 2003, I wrote an editorial entitled, “Will Humanity Ever Visit The Media: A journalist speaks out on the attempts to castrate Michael Jackson.” As most editorials go, it was borne out of frustration, anger, and the decision to take a stand on something I believed in.

Additionally, the Martin Bashir interview had just aired.

I knew that as a journalist it was a risky move to make; reprimanding the media itself – which I am a member of; and coming off as defending someone – hell, not just anyone, Michael Jackson of all people, when it was not popular to do so.

I didn’t give a shit, and did it anyway.

I remember being nervous as I pushed “send” – forwarding the article to a handful of colleagues to see what they thought, and a few publications, including the Los Angeles Times. And a few days later, as I followed up with them, the woman on the other end of the phone at the L.A. Times said, in a most nasty tone, “We wouldn’t print anything like this.”

Fortunately, Lee Bailey’s EURweb felt differently, and without even responding to my email, published it in short order.

Although I had been working as a journalist since the 70′s, and had written a multitude of articles, I had never really done anything like this before. Well, there was that time in 1993 when I had my own radio show and did an ‘Open Letter’ on the subject of Michael. But at this time, my real paycheck came from my work at a special needs school – which is where I had (foolishly) sent the email proposing the story. If you know anything about sending “personal” emails out (with an attachment, i.e. the story) from work you realize how risky a move that was. By the time I realized what I had done, it was too late.

At best, still reeling from the L.A. Times nasty response, you can imagine my shock when I came into work the next day and turned on my computer. There were literally HUNDREDS of emails with the title of my article in the subject line! And emails were still coming in. My eyeballs got as big as saucers, and, although I had my own office – the way I was looking around the room you would’ve thought people were watching me.

I was scared shit-less that the tech people would report me to my boss, or even worse, the president of the agency. They usually quickly usurped this kind of thing for fear of viruses. So how the hell did all these emails get through undetected?

I started to recognize some of the email addresses and hesitantly started clicking on them. I got emails from colleagues, professors, fans, teachers, parents – from all over the world. All supporting the article and my decision to write it.

I remember one student in Australia said his teacher had dedicated an entire class to talking about the article.

Feeling compelled to at least thank these strangers for taking the time to, not only read the editorial, but respond to me, I stole further time from my workday and started to answer some of the emails. But as you can imagine, it became overwhelming, so I actually had to write a Thank You article in the same publication that had so graciously put it out there: EURweb.

I, along with millions of others, miss Michael more than words can ever express. And although I never met Michael personally, or even spoke with him on the phone, I do consider myself among the luckiest people. Because of my family’s connection to him, he personally invited us to celebrate two birthdays at his homes in Encino (where I played scrabble with Mrs. Jackson) and at Neverland; where we watched movies, ate popcorn and all the candy one could want.

Katherine Jackson, DeBorah B. Pryor, Encino, California

Katherine Jackson, DeBorah B. Pryor, Encino, California

I even remember a staff member at Neverland drove my little Volkswagen Cabriolet, at the time, “across the pond” to an actual 76 Station WHICH WAS ON THE PROPERTY, and filled up my tank FOR FREE.

On this day, June 25, 2014, I publicly show my love, respect, and gratitude to one Michael Joseph Jackson, for giving his all to his craft, in spite of the sacrifices.

Click on the link to read the article, “Will Humanity Ever Visit The Media.

“Will Humanity Ever Visit The Media?

If the documentary Living With Michael Jackson is any indication of what journalism has become, we’re in trouble. I have to wonder what the bottom line is on the media’s obsession to defile the character of Michael Jackson. For Martin Bashir, it was clearly money and fame. But, for the record, the public should also know that not every journalist shares this view; and if for nothing but balance alone, our stories should be told as well.

As journalists, there is something we seem to have forgotten: our “title” should not replace our “species.” We are still human beings, but in our work, do we always act as such? While we may certainly recognize the eccentricities and even the naiveté of someone like Michael Jackson, these traits in themselves are not crimes. We should be careful not to use them as a summation of his character, or as a means to detract from his long-standing career as an entertainer and humanitarian.

If journalism were truly unbiased, this would not be the case. Martin Bashir’s documentary Living With Michael Jackson lacked integrity. In the opinion of this writer, it should be remembered as nothing more than an exercise in how to gain someone’s trust, then manipulate it to tell the story you had written before ever meeting the man or setting foot on his property.

Apparently, the need for journalistic excellence has left the building; leaving behind in its place only two prerequisites for getting your story picked up: how low can you go and how much are they willing to pay. Clearly, Bashir fulfilled the first requirement; and with several airings of his documentary to their credit, ABC and VH1, the second.

By all accounts, I’d say the attempts to castrate Michael Jackson are keeping a lot of people in business. The sad part is that this tabloid-style documentary has become more prevalent over the years. Where in the past they seemed to find safe shelter on programs like Hard Copy, it’s difficult to conceive that 20/20, a news-oriented program once considered “serious,” would put out such a welcome mat. Jackson has arguably been the only celebrity continuously raked over the proverbial coals.

It seems such a shame that all the media chooses to grasp from such an illustrious, long-standing career, is material on plastic surgery and unfounded allegations of child abuse. It is the blatant obsession with and subsequent regurgitation of this type of biased material that encourages dehumanization. It is a behavioral style that is becoming increasingly more acceptable, and celebrities, Jackson in particular, are seen not as people, but as objects. Even so-called “serious” journalists have stooped to new levels; asking shameless questions like Diane Sawyer did a few years back in her interview with Jackson and former wife Lisa Marie Presley: “I’ve spent most of my life being a ‘serious’ journalist, but, … do the two of you have sex?” Excuse me? This line of questioning is more than intrusive, it lacks any association with civility! Yet, these ridiculous questions keep resurfacing for Jackson. No other celebrity has had his or her dignity tested in this way. The type of programming reiterated by Bashir’s documentary has contributed to the more discerning public’s perception of the media as a growing joke.

If ever there was a sense of trust, it’s flying out of the window fast. There was a time you could turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and clearly distinguish serious news from tabloid. There were network warnings; or they were in different sections of the newspaper. Such distinctions have now become much more difficult.

While the private life of Michael Jackson is in no way comparable to our nation’s pending war with Iraq, if we had to spend two hours Living With him, why rehash the same thing? As a journalist with a unique opportunity, couldn’t Bashir have used it better…more intelligently?

Perhaps, considering the power of the media, and the country’s current crisis, focus on Jackson’s travels around the world over the past eight months; the meetings he may have had with dignitaries in an effort to initiate peace. Celebrities are doing such important things today in addition to their craft. Just look at U2′s Bono, actor Chris Tucker, and Jermaine Jackson.

Couldn’t Bashir have explored how this icon uses the power of his celebrity and wealth as a vehicle to change the state of the world?

Now is the time the public needs to hear such things. With the dawning of a new century, and our society’s undeniable state of spiritual awakening, more than ever before, we are learning not to judge. It’s insulting that judgment is the exact tool continually used by the media to perpetuate prejudice; and in this case, via Jackson. Because there is such a lack of balance where he is concerned, it’s that much more noticeable to discerning eyes. Bashir used the word “disturbing” several times with regard to Jackson’s relationship with children.

I’d like to flip the script and offer some disturbing perceptions of my own. With regard to his misuse of Jackson’s young friend, Gavin, did he put any forethought into the fact that he had to return to school the next day and face his classmates and friends following his portrayal of the teenagers’ friendship with Jackson in the documentary. As a mother and grandmother, I know that life is hard enough for young boys entering into manhood without having their faces plastered on television and adding insult to injury – as Bashir did – with innuendoes of reference to sexual impropriety. As a friend of Gavin’s family, I am very aware of the effect that Jackson’s unrelenting support and compassion has had on them through their lengthy battle with Gavin’s illness.

Bashir’s decision to exploit the relationship as anything more than genuine sickens me. I am not on Michael Jackson’s payroll; and as a journalist, I have no fear in choosing not to be a part of the popular vote. My interest, quite frankly, lies solely in the fact that I have seen the drama played over and over again. In media, as in society, we work to create these larger-than-life figures and then seem to revel in the dismantling of our own creation. It’s a very sick cycle.

If humanity ever decides to pay a visit to the media, I hope it will consider staying a while. I hope it will pull up a chair and have a sit-down conversation on how we can implement it in our work without the threat of our stories having any less substance. I hope it will show us how to bring respect back to the media; so that we can respect the public enough to trust they will come to their own conclusions, based on the presentation of unbiased material. If humanity ever decides to pay a visit to the media, I hope it has the opportunity to get a two-hour interview … on television … in primetime.


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

He ain't heavy, he's Rockwell

He ain’t heavy, he’s Rockwell

The world couldn’t get enough of Michael Jackson in 1984. Even after the constant radio airplay and video rotation generated by Jackson’s 1983 pop masterwork, Thriller; we still wanted more. And Michael delivered. Instead of taking a break after the insane success of Thriller - Michael Jackson ran a victory lap (pun intended) in 1984.

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of his passing I’m going to post my 6 Favorite Post-Thriller Michael Jackson Releases from 1984. These are the songs either sung, written or produced by MJ that came out in the great (greatest) year of pop.

Read here to see why I think 1984 was such a pivotal year for Jackson.

#6 Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell. Chorus vocals by Michael Jackson.
Joining me to discuss this song is Cutie Pie, the author of my absolute favorite Michael Jackson blog – All Things Michael!

Let’s all…

View original 335 more words

Michael Jackson Song Inspires Dance Tribute To Paul Lee

Source: Oregan Live – By Stephanie Yao Lung

Paul Lee, right, poses with his sister Alicia, left, and older brother Albert during his graduation from Westview High School in Beaverton in 2013.

Paul Lee, right, poses with his sister Alicia, left, and older brother Albert during his graduation from Westview High School in Beaverton in 2013.

People who knew Paul Lee knew he loved to dance.

During a public memorial service for Lee, 19, who died on June 5 after a shooting at Seattle Pacific University, more than one person tried to give meaning to his spontaneous moves, which seemed boyish and fun on the surface.

Dominic Kan, one of Lee’s youth pastors, thinks there was something divine in how the young man danced.

“People who have seen Paul dance, have seen him worship(ping) God,” Kan said to the audience at Village Baptist Church in Beaverton.

Lee was described as a faithful Christian, but one that was constantly probing friends, mentors and professors for what that exactly meant.

During the service, which attracted people from as far away as Korea, fellow Westview High School graduate and Seattle Pacific alum Ronald Comoda performed a dance tribute.

Comoda chose Michael Jackson’s posthumously released “Love Never Felt So Good” as his music for the freestyle dance, which is improvised. He says he heard the song in the days after Lee’s death, and was inspired.

“It expressed to me the ideal emotion: of how it feels to be happy,” Comoda explains. It seemed “perfect for how (Paul) celebrated life in dance.”

On stage, Comoda’s moves were equally defiant and submissive, powerful yet tender.

Following his solo performance, Comoda went straight to Lee’s family sitting in the front row and gave each member a huge hug.


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Cute 5 Year Old Wins Talent Show Competition As Mini Michael Jackson

Source: Philnews – By Ed Umbao


The Mini Michael Jackson, Nhikzy Vheench Calma was declared as the first-ever winner of the Mini Me segment of the top-rating noontime show, It’s Showtime during the gran finale held on Saturday, June 14, 2014. He was able to get the highest scores from the judges and brought home the P300,000 cash prize.


The 4-year-old Mini Michael Jackson topped the hottest segment of It’s Showtime featuring talented young kids aged nine years old and below. Each of the finalist were featured as a mini version of his or her celebrity idol and perform their chosen talent.


Aside from Nhikzy Vheench Calma who was declared as the winner of Mini me, other winners includes first runner-up winner John Steven de Guzman who portrayed as Mini Vhong Navarro while the second runner-up went to Zymon Ezekiel Pineda as Mini Bamboo.

Here’s the Complete List of Special Awards which are listed below:

  • Zymon Ezekiel Pineda = Most Charming Award
  • Nhikzy Vheench Calma =  Friendly Award
  • Margarette Mitch Naco = Most Behaved Award
  • Isaac Biel Reodica = Best in Artwork Award
  • Telesa Marie De Torres = Best in Talent

The judges during the grand finale of Mini Me were Bobot Mortiz, Empress Schuck, Niño Muhlach, Janice de Belen and resident judge Jhong Hilario. During the grand finale episode of Mini Me, the official hashtag “#MiniMeTheBigFinale” dominates the Twitter Trending topics online.


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Top 10 Most Memorable Athlete Cameos in Music Videos

Source: The Richest – By Adrian Asis

When it comes to producing music videos, hype is the name of game. The more buzz that a music video generates, the more people will view it and the more it can promote a record (e.g. Miley Cyrus‘s Wrecking Ball). Not surprisingly, some music artists have resorted to creating hype for their videos by convincing celebrities to make cameos in them. And of course, it cannot be denied that top athletes have the recognition and the fan base to attract considerable attention.

The success that music artists have enjoyed in directing attention to their music videos by incorporating athlete appearances in them are varied.  Some of these videos largely went unnoticed, but many others, such as the ten featured in the list that follows, went viral and helped make their songs massive hits.

1. Michael Jordan in Michael Jackson’s Jam

Take two MJ’s, both giants in their fields, and put them in a music video where they’re shown teaching each other their expertise, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the most memorable music videos of all time. Surprisingly, however, Michael Jordan wasn’t so sure he wanted to appear in the 1992 Jam music video with Michael Jackson.

First I said, “I don’t know if I want to do this, because this guy’s going to try to get me out there to dance, and that’s going to be really embarrassing.” But then I said, “Well, shoot, it’s Michael Jackson. When would you ever get an opportunity to get to know him socially for a little bit, and yet at the same time, get to do his video?” So I changed my mind and went on and did it.

Good decision, Mike!

2. Various Athletes in Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit

The 1991 music video for Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit has been labeled among “the worst music videos of all time,” but sports fans are still likely to remember it fondly mainly for the huge number of big-name athletes it featured delivering the silly “2L2Q” hand gesture. They include baseball’s José Canseco, Kirby Puckett, Rickey Henderson, and Roger Clemens, basketball’s Isiah ThomasChris MullinDavid Robinson, and Lynette Woodard, and American football’s Jerry RiceDeion SandersAndre Rison, Roger Craig, and Ronnie Lott. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville also make cameos.

Partly because of the huge appearance fees charged by these athlete-celebrities, the music video turned out to be one of the most expensive videos ever produced.

3. Anna Kournikova in Enrique Iglesias’s Escape

When you come up with a music video that features universal heartthrob Anna Kournikova making out with Spanish-American singer Enrique Iglesias in various hot settings, the song is more than likely to be a huge hit. However, even Iglesias probably didn’t foresee that it would reflect so much on how his love life would turn out.

It was through the 2002 music video for Escape that Iglesias and Kournikova met, and more than twelve years later, the two still find themselves in an on-off relationship, similar to the kind of love affair the song’s lyrics describe. Very recently, however, Enrique has been talking about how he’s considering marrying the title-less former tennis star. Well, if the now 38-year-old crooner ever decides not to put a ring on it, there’s sure to be a long line of men waiting to take his place.

4. Baron Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, and Mike Tyson in P. Diddy’s Bad Boy for Life (feat. Black Rob & Mark Curry)

What better way for Diddy to prove that he’s a Bad Boy for Life than to portray him living in the midst of huge celebrities? Well that’s exactly the lifestyle that he shows off in the music video for his 2001 hit. In fictional Perfectown, USA, Diddy is featured rubbing elbows with former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitaristDave Navarro, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, actors Ben Stiller and Richard Dunn, rappersXzibitIce Cube, and Snoop Dogg, rap rock band Crazy Town, basketball players Baron Davis andShaquille O’Neal, and boxer Mike Tyson.

This is how Diddy described the music video:

You’ve got this perfect middle-American town. They keep their doors open and everybody gets along with everybody. There ain’t no parties thrown. Everybody goes to bed at 9 o’clock. Then P. Diddy and the Bad Boy Family move in. You see how the cultures mix and we’re all able to get along.

5. Various Athletes in Hootie and the Blowfish’s Only Wanna Be With You

Hootie and the Blowfish are huge Miami Dolphins fans. In fact, a line from their 1995 smash Only Wanna Be With You that goes “I’m such a baby ’cause The Dolphins make me cry” is a reference to how Darius Rucker felt in the years that the team often struggled to make the playoffs. Quite appropriately, the music video from the song is sports-themed, with the members of the band shown failing in their attempts at various sports. Witnessing their misery were former Dolphin Dan Marino, golfer Fred Couples, and the NBA’s Alonzo MourningMuggsy Bogues, Alex English, Walt Williams, and Charles Smith.

6. Professional Wresters in Cyndi Lauper’s Videos

Multi-awarded singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper had a strong connection to the WWE from the very the start of her career. In fact, during the inaugural WrestleMania event in 1985, Lauper appeared as the manager of legendary female wrestler Wendi Richter. But even before that, Cyndi had risen to fame with the help of wrestlers.

In 1983, her first major single, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was accompanied by a quirky music video featuring wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano as Lauper’s father. The video went on to be among the greatest of all time and won Cyndi the 1984 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video.

The following year, Lauper released She Bop as a single, and the music video featured Richter as a waitress.

A year later, in 1985, Cyndi contributed The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough for the movie The Goonies, and in its music video were numerous wrestlers, including Randy Savage, “Captain” Lou Albano, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Wendi Richter, The Fabulous Moolah, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Freddie Blassie.

7. Magic Johnson in Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time

It’s not often mentioned that five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson was good friends with the lateMichael Jackson. Actually, Johnson was close to all of the Jackson brothers, even going on tour with them and engaging them in pillow and balloon fights at their hotel rooms.

That’s probably why Michael was able to convince Magic to make a cameo on his Remember the Timevideo from 1992. At that time, it had been less than two months since Johnson publicly announced that he was living with HIV, and even though his role as an Egyptian guard was a minor one, it still created considerable buzz.

8. Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in Colt Ford’s Drivin’ Around Song (feat. Jason Aldean)

Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are among the hottest athlete couples in sports, so they certainly helped call attention to Colt Ford’s 2013 single, appropriately titled Drivin’ Around Song when they appeared in his music video. Patrick plays a mischievous small-town girl, while Stenhouse, Jr. portrays a mechanic who has to deal with Danica’s flirting. Later, Patrick gets bored and takes country rapper Ford, who also happens to be a former professional golfer, on a joyride.

Describing her experience shooting the video, Danica reminisces,

It was a lot of fun to do. It was a beautiful day in Mooresville that day and those are the fun things that you get to do outside of the car. So, I enjoyed that. That was good fun. And obviously, I had a pretty hot mechanic working on the car.

Notably, in 2006, Patrick made an appearance with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the following Jay-Z music video:

She also had a prominent role as a car thief in this 2012 music video by country superstar Miranda Lambert:

9. LeBron James in Jay-Z’s D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)

Jay-Z‘s D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune), released in 2009, is actually what it seems to be from its title: an indictment of the musical trickery that is auto-tune. That’s a pretty strong statement from an artist who’s worked with “the king of auto-tune” himself — Kanye West. Well, what better way for Jay-Z to send the message that he’s not afraid of taking on anyone in the world than to engage arguably the best basketball player in the world in a game of one-on-one?

4:10 into the video, none other than now four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion LeBron James is shown defending Jay-Z as the rapper dribbles the ball in between his legs and subsequently takes a step-back jump shot over James. Quite anti-climatically, the video doesn’t show whether or not the shot goes in.

10. Rafael Nadal in Shakira’s Gypsy

In GypsyShakira sings that she “might steal your clothes and wear them” if they fit her. Well, in the music video for the song, it seems like someone stole both Shakira’s and Rafael Nadal‘s clothes instead. They appear close to naked throughout most of the steamy clip, which features a scene where the Colombian siren dances seductively as the topless Spaniard does his best to keep cool in his seat.

Of the experience, World #1 tennis player Nadal shared,

Shakira, as always, was spectacular. Working with a woman as charming as her, well, it makes it a lot easier, to tell the truth. It was great, very easy; she’s really sweet and that always makes the hours go by faster.

We’re pretty sure, though, that it wasn’t only time that Rafa felt was going faster during the video shoot.



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My Brief Meeting with Michael Jackson

Source: Jonas Maxwell (2013)

Fullscreen capture 672014 124512 PM

Photograph autographed by Michael Jackson during his 2008 visit to Centaur Art Galleries in Las Vegas.

My boss came into my office one day and, out of the blue, told me, “We’re shutting the gallery down.”  I was a bit stunned.  I knew the economy was bad, but I thought we had been doing okay.  Then he told me the real reason.  “Michael Jackson wants to do some shopping.”

Apparently, a Jackson associate had called our president, then come to the gallery to meet with him.  They came to an agreement so we closed our doors and waited.  About two hours later, our back doors opened and in comes Michael, three associates, three children, and our own escort.  Michael was dressed down – dark slacks, a dark sweatshirt with a hood pulled up over his head, a surgical mask, and athletic shoes.  No glove.

I stayed in my office, but I can see the entire gallery on security monitors.  I watched as Michael, holding two of his childrens’ hands, entered the back of the gallery and started browsing through the art.  Initially, the chidren stayed right with Michael, and I was impressed at how Michael would bend down to their level in order to hear what they had to say, and to speak to them.  He gave them his full attention.

As they made their way through the gallery, they began to get near the front area which is all glass.  Our concern was that mall visitors would recognize Michael, and things might get out of control.  I continued to watch closely as Michael seemed to be getting too close to the glass windows.  Michael moved back into the gallery, and I could breath again.  About this time, his children apparently became bored with the art, slipped into a small viewing room in the center of the gallery, sat on the sofa, and talked.

It then occurred to me that we had a few small paintings by artist Steve Kaufman who had just completed several personal appearances at the gallery for the opening of his 2008 exhibition.  I thought it would be nice to give one of the paintings to each of the children.  I picked three out and went out into the gallery to find the children.  Just outside the viewing room was one of Michael’s associates.  I told him I wanted to give the children a gift, and he stopped me.  “I’ll have to check with their father first,” he said.  He took one of the paintings and walked away.

Up until that point, it hadn’t occurred to me that the three children were Michael’s.  I felt kinda stupid at that point since Michael could afford just about anything the children wanted, and I was giving them these small paintings.  A minute or two later, the associate came back and gave me the green light.  I went into the viewing room, handed each child a painting, and started to tell them about the artist.  Their expressions were priceless – just like you might expect from any child.  Their faces said “So…?”  They didn’t know who Kaufman was, and didn’t seem to care.

Then Michael came into the room. “Thank you, thank you so much, thank you, thank you very much…”, he repeated, bowing down slightly with his hands in a praying position.  He was within two feet.  I could easily have extended my hand, but I didn’t.  That’s not why I was there.  My intentions were to leave Michael alone so he could shop, and give the small paintings to the children.  Later, I was told that Michael’s hand gestures were his way of avoiding shaking hands, so I felt good that I didn’t embarrass either of us. (see note at the end)

I went back to my office and Michael continued to shop.  I watched as Michael ventured all the way into the front entrance area to look at LeRoy Neiman art.  He was within a few feet of the glass doors.  I was more than a little concerned.  But I stayed in the office and watched.  His associates were always nearby.  The children stayed in the viewing room.

I started looking on the Internet for a good quality photograph of Michael, just in case I had the opportunity to get his autograph.  I know that entertainers always appreciate compliments on their work, but many also cherish their privacy.  I have a tendency to respect that privacy, but I thought I’d pick the photo just in case.  I printed the photo on my Canon i860 printer with OEM ink.

After Michael had finished his shopping, they all began to exit through the back door, near my office.  As Michael came through the door, I rushed over and asked him if he had time for a quick autograph.  He was gracious, took the Sharpie and the clipboard with the photograph on it, and signed a large, beautiful signature (which is illegible except for the year – 2008 – apparently because the photograph was not a recent one).

“I love your music,” I said as Michael and his entourage walked away.

“Thank you very much,” Michael replied.  I think he meant it.

Michael and I are about the same age.  I remember little Michael when the “Jackson 5″ debuted.  I was re-introduced to the “Jackson 5″ and their incredible talent, particularly that of Michael, many years later when I was hired to transcribe the dialogue from old episodes of television’s Soul Train for translation into other languages for foreign syndication.  Those shows from the first few years of Soul Train featured many great talents of the early seventies, including the “Jackson 5″, and later Michael as a solo artist.  It was a real pleasure to be paid to listen and watch Michael and his brothers perform.

Our generation watched as Michael grew up, triumphed, stumbled, suffered, and withdrew.  He lived a life that few others will understand, and many condemn.  He had more than his share of challenges.

I had only a brief period of time to watch Michael with his children in a relatively personal setting, and only a few moments to speak with him.  Whatever Michael was or wasn’t, he made a good first impression on me.  What I think I learned in my brief encounter with Michael was that 1) he was humble and down-to-earth, 2) he was a caring, attentive father, and 3) he was grateful for the blessings he had received in his life.

Thanks, Michael, for the music, the dancing, the fashion, the culture, and the lessons.  R.I.P.

Read more and see video:

Note:  The author of this story was sadly misinformed that Michael didn’t like to shake hands. He has admitted his error in the comments on the original. Michael not only shook hands with people, but hugged and kissed them as well. He has always been very loving to his fans.