The Sometimes Forgotten Stage Where Michael Jackson Unveiled the Moonwalk

'Motown 25 -- Yesterday, Today, Forever' TV Programme Special - 1983...Mandatory Credit: Photo by NBCUPHOTOBANK / Rex Features ( 819370d ) 'Motown 25 -- Yesterday, Today, Forever' -- Air Date 05/16/1983 -- Pictured: Michael Jackson 'Motown 25 -- Yesterday, Today, Forever' TV Programme Special - 1983

In 1983, Michael Jackson turned down Motown’s request to reunite with his brothers for a performance honoring the record label’s 25-year anniversary. NBC broadcasted the anniversary show as a television special called, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever. The special featured Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and other popular artists that were involved with the label. Michael eventually agreed to perform after Berry Gordy, Motown’s founder, personally requested his involvement—however, Michael made one stipulation—he wanted a solo spot to perform his own material. At that point in time, Michael had released the Thriller album a year prior, which became the best-selling album in history, a feat that has yet to be claimed by anyone else. He was on the heels of a collaboration with Paul McCartney and voiced the soundtrack for E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. Michael’s status was reaching a boiling point, everyone was coming to that consensus but no one was prepared for the magnitude of the stardom that would be bestowed upon Michael Jackson.

Motown 25 was filmed on March 25, 1983, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, an ornate theatre designed in 1932 with the philosophy of the City Beautiful Movement to evoke Italian Renaissance architecture, although its design makes several references representative of the locale. A pattern of ocean waves tapers across the façade, and colors used in its interiors summon the American Arts & Crafts Movement that have become synonymous with Pasadena for its concentration of craftsman-style masterpieces; the Gamble House and the Blacker House, and the Crow-Crocker House are just a few examples.

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium houses a historic Moller organ, Visit Pasadena commissioned a video to present the organ on YouTube and this is a still from the shoot.

On that Friday evening, several moments would go down in music history—the reunions of The Jackson 5, The Miracles, and The Supremes. But those who saw Motown 25 on television when it aired will undoubtedly argue that the most exciting moment of the show, so exciting that 33 years later it still causes goosebumps and watery-eyes, came after Michael performed with his brothers. The other Jacksons left Michael alone on stage for the solo Berry Gordy granted him. Towards the end of Michael’s performance of Billie Jean, he literally slayed the entire country all at once, audience members let out banshee-like screams as he slid across the stage in his first public exhibition of the Moonwalk. Immediately afterwards though, people went silent, it seemed like they were so confused from what they saw, that universally spectators became speechless. Michael performed a bunch of his other signature moves. Then he did it again. He Moonwalked as if to confirm that, what everyone thought they might have seen, was in fact what they saw. That performance was the precise moment in which Michael Jackson soared into insurmountable ultra-superstardom.


The stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium seems to be blessed by the pop culture gods. Before Michael’s Moonwalk, The Emmys setup camp at “The Civic,” as locals call it; and by the end of their run, The Emmys were televised from that very stage for two decades; a bunch of other award shows followed suit. Music legends seem to understand its juju, it was the setting for a television special celebrating the 50-year mark of Ray Charles’ music career, and Carlos Santana filmed a live concert during his 1999 comeback album, Supernatural, which garnered nine Grammys. More recently, the auditorium has been favored among reality talent shows America’s Got Talent, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and the like.


Read the full story here at The Eastsider

Sources: The Eastsider | The Best of Internet | All Things Michael

This Week in Billboard Chart History In 1988: Michael Jackson Made History With His Fifth No. 1 Hit From ‘Bad’


“Dirty Diana” darted to the top of the Hot 100, making “Bad” the first set to generate five No. 1’s.

July 2, 1988
Michael Jackson made Billboard Hot 100 history, as “Dirty Diana” reached No. 1, becoming the fifth leader on the list from his album Bad. The set remains the only album by a male artist to produce five Hot 100 No. 1’s.

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Gieves And Hawkes Features Iconic Michael Jackson Suit

Sources: I Choose Birmingham | All Things Michael


Cocktails, canapés, shoe-shining and a journey through some of the most iconic men’s suits ever crafted. All for free. The Mailbox are pushing the boat out on their next live event, which will be hosted at Gieves & Hawkes, one of the oldest continual bespoke tailoring companies on the face of the Earth.

G&H’s head tailor will be guiding all guests through a handful of the most memorable suits, why they had the impact they did and on whose famous shoulders they hung, and he’ll be bringing with him the actual military style suit worn by Michael Jackson on his 1988 BAD Tour (pictured). The suit was made by Gieves & Hawkes, a company whose history stems back to providing uniforms for the British Army and the Royal Navy.

Jackson’s entourage, so the story goes, drove past Gieves & Hawkes 1 Saville Row location in July of ’88, and MJ himself spotted a military suit in the shop front. One of his team called the shop. “We knew immediately what he was talking about,” Gieves & Hawkes director of military tailoring once said. “It was an official privy councillor diplomatic uniform. You couldn’t really miss it. He said Mr Jackson was in a hurry… He wanted one to be ready for the UK leg of his world tour: the Wembley Stadium shows were two weeks away.

“Normally, it takes four months to produce a piece of bespoke military wear, so a couple of us went right around to his hotel. I had a maximum of 10 minutes with him.

To find out how that one panned out, while supping on cocktails from Aluna and canapés from Malmaison, book your spot free at the May 24th event,here.

G&H will also be giving one attendee a ready-to-wear suit and fitting experience on the night. Which, with only 60 places available, makes for pretty decent odds. Those blooming lovely chaps from The Barber House will be on free shoe-shining duty and will also be offering the chance to win some male grooming prizes. See you there, then.


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Michael Jackson Scored Number 1 This Week In 1997 With Blood On The Dancefloor

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It’s still hard to believe that the iconic Michael Jackson passed away almost seven years ago. Thankfully, his music is still with us and he has even managed to maintain chart success with ‘new material’ – scoring a Number 1 album in 2014 with Xscape, a set of remixed off cuts from his glory days.

What’s almost as hard to believe is that it’s almost two decades since Michael was at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart. While he had no way of knowing it then, he would reach the top for the final time in his lifetime this week, 19 years ago, with one of his classics.

There’s certainly a Michael Jackson ‘sound’ that’s instantly recognizable, yet Blood On The Dance Floor felt like something of a departure for Michael. Despite on first appearances seeming like the usual banger we’d learn to expect from the King of Pop, beyond the energetic beats and catchy hook was a dark message. Returning to the slightly murderous undertones he’d first explored in 1988’s Smooth Criminal, Blood On The Dance Floor saw Michael explore violent themes. This time, however, it wasn’t Smooth Criminal’s ‘Annie’ who was in danger, it was Michael himself – this time at the hands of seductive Susie, who was plotting to charm Michael into her arms via a dance-off (kind of) and then stab him, for reasons best known only to Susie herself.

As this is all happening in Michael Jackson world, of course, it’s nowhere near as scary and gritty as it sounds – Blood On The Dance Floor was accompanied by one of his trademark big-budget, glossy videos. Terrifying murder in the club has never looked so appealing.

Michael’s success took R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly down after three weeks at Number 1, with Mike selling 83,767 copies in his first week, well over double R Kelly’s sales. Gary Barlow muscled in the following week with the Madonna-penned Love Won’t Wait, overtaking BOTDF from the number 1 spot.

During these 19 years, Blood On The Dance Floor has notched up a combined sales tally of over 207,700. It was the seventh solo Number 1 of Michael’s lifetime, following One Day In Your Life (1981), Billie Jean (1983), I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (1987), Black Or White (1991), You Are Not Alone and Earth Song (both 1995).

Click on the image to see how the full Top 100 looked today in 1997:


Sources: Official Charts | All Things Michael

How Michael Jackson Almost Built A Theme Park On The Detroit Riverfront

Pop super-star Michael Jackson and Detroit businessman Don Barden, right, pose in Barden's Detroit office during an interview with the Associated Press Wednesday, July 8, l998. Barden and Jackson on Tuesday announced plans for a $1 billion entertainment-and-casino complex. On August 4, Detroit voters will be confronted with ballot choices to approve Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer's three casino plan or approve a casino pitched by Barden, though the ballot does not specifically name him. Barden said Tuesday that if he doesn't get one of Detroit's casino licenses, then his Detroit development deal with Jackson will be off. (AP Photo/Richard sheinwald)

DETROIT – Imagine this: You walk down to the Detroit Riverfront, and see a Michael Jackson themed casino, hotel and amusement park inside of a giant dome.

It could have happened.

In 1998, Don Barden, Detroit multimillionaire and the first African American casino owner, submitted a proposal for one of the three casino licenses in Detroit.

Barden’s business partner in the project was Michael Jackson. Yes, that Michael Jackson.

The billion dollar project was named the “Majestic Kingdom” — an amusement park along the Detroit Riverfront, including an aquarium, a casino and a hotel.

The amusement park would be called “The Thriller Theme Park,” and the hotel would be called “The Mansion in the Sky.”

The plan also included restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Michael Jackson himself made several visits to the Detroit area trying to drum up support for the project.

Barden and Jackson were denied a casino license by Detroit City Council and Detroit mayor Dennis Archer. Barden tried to get the decision overturned, but Detroiters voted down the proposal in August of 1998.

Eventually, the three licensees were approved for MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown Casino.

Michael Jackson died in 2009, and Don Barden died in 2011.


Read more here.


Sources: Click On Detroit | All Things Michael

The Doors/Michael Jackson Connection


At first blush there isn’t any connection between The Doors and Michael Jackson (or the Lizard King and the King of Pop). While the groups were contemporaneous of each other they never played on the same bill together. But The Doors and Michael Jackson have one thing in common, the Hard Rock Café.

Doors fans are familiar with how the Hard Rock Café, a bar in the skid row section of Los Angeles (300 E 5th St), became part of rock and roll lore. After shooting what would become the cover photo for the Morrison Hotel album in early January of 1970 (see “The Doors Release Morrison Hotel February 9, 1970“), Henry Diltz and The Doors wanted to have a beer after taking the Morrison Hotel photographs and they discovered the bar. Or perhaps Diltz had already known about the bar. The band stopped in for a few beers with the bar’s regulars. They shared stories while Diltz continued to shoot pictures that would later be incorporated as the back cover of the album.


Thirteen years later MTV was the new thing in rock and roll and bands were producing videos for the TV station (The Doors also released videos for MTV by going through footage shot their documentary “Feast of Friends” and matched it the best they could to Doors songs). Michael Jackson wasn’t just producing videos of his songs he was producing mini-movies for his songs. The video for “Beat It” shows Jackson step between rival gangs and through dance and music reconcile their differences.


Around March 9, 1983 Jackson and his company were filming on east 5th street and the barroom scenes from “Beat It” were filmed in the still extant Hard Rock Café. As you can see in the video (above) by the time of Jackson’s filming the bar still retained its skid row ambiance. It isn’t known whether Jackson knew of the bar’s previous part in rock and roll history. “Beat It” premiered on MTV March 31, 1983. The building still exists and now houses the Green Apple Market.

Sources: The Examiner | All Things Michael

Read more about the MJ/Doors Connection here

Steve Barron: How I Made The Billie Jean Video With Michael Jackson

Sources: Irish Examiner | All Things Michael

Steve Barron directed the music video for ‘Billie Jean’, the chart-topping second single from 1982’s Thriller.

The video sees Jackson portray an enigmatic figure with seemingly magical powers, trailed by a shadowy “private eye” type character, and is very in keeping with Barron’s other work from this time, where fantasy, familiar iconography and technical innovations fused with pop culture. His brief time working with the King of Pop left an indelible impression.


“The idea was that he was a magical character and everything lit up around him, an idea that I had had for a Joan Armatrading video based on the idea of the Midas Touch,” Barron says.

“Michael had seen my Human League video and he wanted a cinematic fantasy of some sort. He really liked my idea.”

Also improvised was Jackson’s dancing: “His manager said that he had some dancing in mind but that he was practising in front of the mirror and would show us on the day. I left a couple of frames free where he could just dance; I didn’t see it until the day, which made it an even more amazing moment indelibly burnt on my brain.”

Michael jackson billle jean

“Michael had a brilliant idea for another scene where tailor’s dummies would come alive and dance with him. This was the first single they shot a video for so the record company wouldn’t give us any more money to do it anyway, but then Michael rang me up the night before the shoot, in the middle of the night, and said, ‘I’ve been thinking, let’s go back to your idea on that.’ It wasn’t until I saw ‘Beat It’ and ‘Thriller’, which were all about choreographed dancing, that I realised he wanted to save that idea.

“There is nothing like that moment when he actually danced. He’s up on his toes spinning around and I’m looking at this superhuman creature through the camera and it was steaming up with the intensity of what I was seeing.

“I just put the camera down at the end of that take and it was just… wow. Wow!”

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Promoter Neil Warnock On Touring With Michael Jackson

Sources: Forbes – By Jimmy Ness | All Things Michael


Neil Warnock has worked with some big names in the music industry.  He’s done all the big tours: from Pink Floyd to Russia before the end of the Cold War and with Michael Jackson to India.

Forbes magazine recently spoke to him about his experiences on the road. Here an excerpt about working with Michael on the HIStory tour:

You took Michael Jackson to India as part of the famed HIStory tour. What are your memories of him and the tour itself?

The first time I met him was in Los Angeles when he was rehearsing at an ex US airport space in the North. Actually watching him put his dancers, at that time I was watching him through rehearsals, was gruelling. He was unremitting in what he wanted to see and what he wanted them to do. He was really, really disciplined and working with Kenny Ortega in those days, his choreographer. It was great to see. But on the other side, he lived in a bubble. He was surrounded by families that have been with him from his childhood. He didn’t live in our world. He just didn’t. He wasn’t part of our world. He wasn’t either allowed to be or it was the way he was brought up. It was like somebody being brought up in a greenhouse. Actually I hadn’t thought of that before, but it was exactly that.

The security precautions when taking MJ through India must have been insane.

It was crazy. Getting the equipment in was a piece of work because at that time, I think, we had the five arctics that were available in India and everything else had to come in on flat-back trucks. It was just truck after truck after truck of gear. When we got Michael from the airport, there was just police out-riders and everything going on.

Because his fans are fanatical.

They were nuts. When we were getting very close to the city, Michael got them to stop his car. He got out of the car and he starts going to the people that were living by the side of the road. It was just like “woah, woah, woah!” But they were brilliant and I actually don’t think they even knew who he was. There wasn’t any mobbing. He was just like “oh hi, hello. How are you?” and this and that. They were more bemused by how much police [were there] and what was going on and the pandemonium around this guy, than who he is. But it was a brilliant show and it was immaculately presented because we took in everything that he needed. We had to build a city.

The thing about these tours, the Michaels, or Floyds or U2s, the very big tours, is that you’re literally moving a small town around every time, because that’s what it takes between building the stages. If you’ve got a big tour, however you’re leapfrogging to the next place, you’ve got to have advanced catering, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got security in place, you’ve got medics in place, you’ve got everything going. You’re probably building the next venue, a week before you get to it and so on and so on. The actual organization is very sophisticated to actually be able to do three or three shows a week, to enable the production back-line, everything to be in place to do these shows.

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