Honey The Family Dog Sings To MJ!

Honey the family pet loves long car rides with her owner, especially when Michael Jackson’s hit song “Will You Be There” (from the movie Free Willy) comes on the radio. From the first piano notes, Honey is beside herself with emotion and starts belting out along with the King of Pop!

Just like Jackson’s lyrics, “Hold me like the River Jordan, and I will then say to thee, ‘you are my friend,’” couldn’t be more appropriate as dogs love to be held and are also man’s best friend.

The adorable video was posted by I Love My Dog, a Facebook group made up of dog lovers who share precious, uplifting, and funny moments with their pets. Honey, a beautiful black-and-white mix, lifts her head up to the ceiling, howling and praising the music legend. She hits some high notes in the intro of the song as if she’s singing along with Jackson’s church choir.

Some dogs love MJ and others love the news… “My dog sings to the nightly news with Lester Holt song! Every night. We all join him!” added Facebook user Lori John Edwards, who liked the video of Honey singing in the car.

Jackson was a pop culture icon and phenomenon whose music continues to influence and inspire canines and humans alike, such as the little boy whose mommy catches him dancing to “Thriller,” and the female a cappella group from South Korea whose version of “Beat It” went viral.

Please SHARE this adorable story with dog lovers, die-hard fans of The King of Pop, and fans of the 1993 hit movie Free Willy! (You know you’re out there!)

Read more at Little Things | I Love My Dog |All Things Michael

Michael Jackson – Black Or White

Sources: Pop Icons | All Things Michael

hq-Black-or-White-pic-s-michael-jackson-16208481-1216-998

“Black or White” is a single by American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson. The song was released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991 as the first single from Jackson’s eighth studio album, Dangerous. It was written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell.

The song has elements of dance, rap and hard rock music such as Bill Bottrell’s guitars and Jackson’s vocal style. The song’s main riff is often incorrectly attributed to Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. His guitar playing is actually heard in the skit that precedes the album version of the song.

The video shows scenes in which African hunters begin dancing by using moves from West African dance, with Jackson following their moves and them mirroring his; as do, in sequence, traditional Thai dancers, Plains Native Americans, a woman from India and a group of Russians, (wearing Ukrainian clothing and dancing Hopak). Jackson walks through visual collages of fire (defiantly declaring “I ain’t scared of no sheets; I ain’t scared of nobody”), referring to KKK torch ceremonies before a mock rap scene shared with Culkin and other children.

Read more here

‘Uptown Funk’ And ‘Jam’ Mashup

Sources: MJWN | All Things Michael

uptown-jam

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.

 

Read more here

This Week in Music History: Black Or White Enters Seventh Week At #1

Sources: NJ1015 – By Big Joe Henry | All Things Michael

4177

December 6th, 1966The Beatles record Christmas greetings for two pirate radio stations. Radio Caroline and Radio London, both stations are broadcasting from ships anchored just off the British coastline.

December 7th, 1991Michael Jackson starts his seven week run at No.1 on the singles chart with ‘Black Or White’, his 12th solo No.1, also a No.1 in the UK. It was the fastest chart topper since The Beatles’ ‘Get Back,’ and made Jackson the first artist to have No.1 hits in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.

December 8th, 1963Frank Sinatra’s son was kidnapped at gunpoint from a hotel in Lake Tahoe. He was released a couple days later after Frank payed the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers, who were later captured, and sentenced to long prison terms. In order to communicate with the kidnappers via a payphone the senior Sinatra carried a roll of dimes with him throughout this ordeal, which became a lifetime habit, he is said to have been buried with a roll of dimes.

December 9th,1967 – Police arrest Jim Morrison as he performs onstage in New Haven, Conn. It’s the culmination of a wild night for the Lizard King, who clashed with a cop trying to hassle him and his lady before the gig. The cop in return maced him. When Morrison began complaining about his treatment by the New Haven police to the crowd, the house lights were turned up and Morrison was busted for breaching the peace.

December 10th, 1967Otis Redding is killed in a plane crash, aged 26. Redding and his band had made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio on the local ‘Upbeat’ television show the previous day. The plane carrying Redding and his band crashed into icy waters of Lake Monoma near Madison. Redding was killed in the crash along with members from the The Bar-Kays, Jimmy King, Ron Caldwell, Phalin Jones and Carl Cunningham. Trumpet player Ben Cauley was the only person to survive the crash.

December 11th, 1988 – Days after the death of the great Roy Orbison, Don Henley, Tom Petty, and Graham Nash perform a concert in his honor at the Wiltern Theatre in LA.

December 12th, 1970Smokey Robinson and the Miracles start a two week run at No.1 on the singles chart with ‘Tears Of A Clown’. It was the group’s 26th Top 40 hit and first No.1. The song was written by Stevie Wonder in 1966, and his producer Hank Cosby, but Smokey Robinson wrote the lyrics.

Read More: This Week in Music History

Michael Jackson: Posthuman

Sources: The Conversation – By Susan Fast | Edited By – All Things Michael

Mark Ryden’s art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 album Dangerous. Augusto Podrido/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Mark Ryden’s art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 album Dangerous. Augusto Podrido/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

The album cover for Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous was painted by American pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden. In it, he depicts a world in which the boundaries between human and animal, living and dead, whole and part, and celestial and terrestrial have been crossed and fused.

Surrealist painters like Ryden often aim to collapse such categories – to reconcile, in their art, what seems to be irreconcilable in life. But actually, this boundary-crossing doeshappen in life – increasingly so – and corresponds to what some have called posthumanism.

Cary Wolfe, an English Professor and author of the book What is Posthumanism, writes that we are “fundamentally prosthetic creatures,” that we rely on entities outside the self – other humans, animals, technology – in order to function and thrive.

In other words: the boundaries of our bodies and intellect are not as firm and finite as we want to believe.

Posthumanism also argues for the dismantling of the hierarchy that puts humans – largely because of our ability to “reason” – above other forms of life and technology.

Both of these ideas were central to Michael Jackson’s life and art.

It’s somewhat surprising that so few have considered him through this lens; instead, many have simply labeled him as weird or eccentric.

Yet Jackson’s entire career was defined by his rejection of normal boundaries. This includes not only the most obvious of these (race and gender) but also generational barriers, the limits of his physical body, and divisions among real and fictional species – not to mention the seamless way he could fuse artistic genres.

Jackson celebrated the prosthetic idea of the human in a number of ways. For example, through plastic surgery, cosmetic procedures, make-up, hair styles and costumes, he asks us not only to reconsider gender binaries (that’s the relatively easy part), but to question prevailing ideas about aesthetic beauty and what can be called “normal.” Our appearances are all products of outside intervention (even face creams and nail files count); Jackson’s extreme modifications could be thought of as a commentary on this.

tb7j54gj-1415396742

Jackson’s was posthumanist, blurring traditional boundaries. In Moonwalker, he appears as a cyborg: half human, half robot.

Fictional boundary-crossing was also a characteristic of his artistic practice – where, at various points, he presented himself as a werewolf, a zombie, and a panther. In the film Moonwalker he morphs into a spaceship; in Ghosts, he becomes a dancing skeleton, a grotesque monster, and a gigantic face that blocks a doorway.

Ghosts, in fact, is a film in which he addresses the perception that he is a “freak” and “abnormal” directly. It’s remarkable that so much of his morphing in this film is focused on his face – an object of constant scrutiny and derision in the media.

(In Ghosts, Jackson directly confronts his critics. Who has the authority to declare what is normal, and what is not?)

In both his life and his art, he held out his body as a work in progress, fully open to and trusting in limitless experimentation. There’s quite a long tradition of artists who have engaged in body modification as a means through which to test the limits of the flesh, like Orlan and Stelarc.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Jackson’s physical changes was the lightening of his skin. We should keep in mind that this was the result of the skin disease vitiligo. It’s thought, erroneously, that his skin color simply got lighter, but it actually fluctuated – so much so that his intent was certainly far from wanting to “be” white, as many have concluded.

Instead, it’s possible that vitiligo – painful as it must have been for him – served as an opportunity to start a conversation about race and skin color. He wanted to challenge the idea of race as fixed or linked to biology, rather than socially constructed.

Jackson’s boundary-pushing extended to his notion of family, which can be described as a sort of “queer kinship.” This has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but with how he challenged normative ideas about what constitutes family. His family included animals (Bubbles the chimp, yes, but also Muscles the snake and Louis the llama). It included children (Jackson could still play like a child, with children, when he was an adult, testing ideas about the normal, linear progression from childhood to adulthood). It included older Hollywood starlets, like Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli (again breaking the boundaries of normative generational affiliation); and it included Frank Cascio’s middle-class family from New Jersey, which Jackson adopted as his own, regularly showing up and spending time at their home, where he vacuumed and made beds with Cascio’s mother.

f6b2r7jt-1415397810

Much of this has been viewed as pathological because it’s a way of building family that does not conform; it crosses boundaries not normally crossed.

This makes many people uncomfortable.

But Jackson’s vision of the body and of kinship were actually forward-looking, a kind of reaching beyond societal norms that is often celebrated in other artists and activists, but still viewed with great suspicion in Jackson’s case. Elsewhere, I have argued that this is because Jackson crossed so many boundaries simultaneously. It was the combination of social transgressions that caused people to fear – rather than celebrate – his difference.

It was also that he truly lived these transgressions: there was nothing to mitigate Jackson’s differences. When other mainstream artists, like Lady Gaga, transgress boundaries on stage, the impact is often lessened by their private lives, which conform to societal norms.

In a 1985 essay about Michael Jackson, James Baldwin wrote that “freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”

Michael Jackson – gender ambiguous; adored and reviled; human, werewolf, panther; black, white, brown; child, adolescent, adult – shattered the assumptions of a society that craves neat categories and compartmentalization.

Order and normality are illusions, he said though his life and art.

 

Read more here

Happy Anniversary to the Dangerous album! On this day in 1991 Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album was released. Hundreds of fans lined up at stores nationwide to buy it on the first day.

Q&A: Teddy Riley—Chapter 3, “Reinventing Michael Jackson”

Sources: Soul Train.com – By Joe Walker | All Things Michael

allthingsmichaeledit3

The best should always work with the best. Given Teddy Riley’s reputation making hit urban and pop music, it was only a matter of time before the innovative, multi-platinum selling singer, songwriter, musician and producer crossed paths with Michael Jackson.

“The King of Pop” wasn’t content to let the Harlem, NY native simply pass him by. Jackson recognized that Riley was driving such artists as Bobby Brown, Big Daddy Kane, Keith Sweat, and his sister Janet up the charts, wanted to experience this hot vehicle himself.

Credited with creating New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley is considered the catalyst of modern soul, R&B, hip-hop, and pop. He shaped the sound of a generation, creating a sonic foundation current trends have since been built upon. What was it like for Teddy and Michael to build together?

SoulTrain.com: This is cliché, but name the people who made the biggest impact on your career.

Teddy Riley: Michael Jackson, Don Cornelius, Arsenio Hall, Donnie Simpson, and Frankie Crocker: Those are the people who played a very, very, very important part in my life and my whole career. Those are the people who really got me here.

SoulTrain.com: You got here working with a number of really talented artists. Working with Michael Jackson, though, that had to be quite the great experience.

Teddy Riley: It was a great experience working with all the artists I’ve worked with. But Michael…

SoulTrain.com: We can all only imagine. What was it like to be in the recording studio with The King of Pop?

Teddy Riley: It was amazing, man! It was like school; it was like doing a science project that could control the world, and if you failed, you’re out! It was like being nervous but you have to be in control because you’re the producer.

SoulTrain.com: One of the things critics talked about most about the documentary This Is It was how demanding Michael was of his staff to meet his expectation of perfection. He didn’t have a problem with you giving him directions?

Teddy Riley: Michael put me on the spot a few times to become the controller, not the writing partner or collaborator. He wanted me to control what I wanted him to do and sing, and what I wanted him to be for this Dangerous album.

SoulTrain.com: So, Teddy, Michael Jackson just basically presented himself to you like a block of clay for you to mold?

Teddy Riley: Yeah! And that’s how he wanted it! Michael wearing a tank top t-shirt was my idea. Michael pulling his hair back in a ponytail was my idea. Michael wearing what he wore in “Keep It In the Closet” was my idea.

MJ-keep-it-in-the-closet

SoulTrain.com: How far did your influence stretch over the entire album process?

Teddy Riley: It went far. I’m very instrumental in Michael picking the album cover he picked because he designed it right in front of me. They wanted the picture with the eyes being his album cover.

SoulTrain.com: A lot of discussions take place on big budget, marquee albums. Were you also included in all the creative meetings?

Teddy Riley: I was invited to all of the creative meetings, except the first one; Michael was about to fire the people because they didn’t bring me to the first artist creative meeting. They stopped the meeting for me to come, for them to drive me over to the meeting for my input. That’s how instrumental I was in theDangerous album.

SoulTrain.com: And there’s more than a few people out there who feel Dangerousis Mike’s best album. Whether you feel that way or not, it’s hard to deny how great it is.

Teddy Riley: It is! It’s a great album. And that was my first time working with him. Just to give you an idea of what I was to this album and my part, I was put into a position to become the next Quincy Jones by Michael Jackson.

 

Read more here

Excellent Book Review Of Susan Fast’s Michael Jackson’s Dangerous (33 1/3)

Sources: Michael Jackson Academic Studies – By Karin Merx | All Things Michael

71cgEwQzr1L

Abstract

Dangerous by Dr. Susan Fast, volume 100 33 1/3, Bloomsbury, ISBN: PB: 978-1-6235-9; ePDF: 987-1-6235-6102-4; ePub: 987-116235-6156-7

‘Dangerous’ is a must read for every Michael Jackson fan, non-fan, critic or music lover. Dr. Susan Fast meticulously researched Michael Jackson’s 1991 album in a way that has never been done before and in doing so she puts Jackson back where he belongs; in the spotlight as the highly talented black musician and artist he was… and he was dangerous too!

The book also makes readers want to re-listen to the music and re-watch the short-films again and again.

Fast structures the book by dividing the songs on the Dangerous album into categories: ‘Noise’, ‘Desire’, ‘Utopia’, ‘Soul’ and ‘Coda: Dangerous’. Before she starts analyzing the songs, she places them in the context of the time addressing the problems that surrounded Jackson, to make clear this album is by no means the end of his career but foremost the start of his adulthood. Fast explores the use of noise in the Dangerous album, Jackson’s adaptation of hip-hop and classical music through his own interpretation and she integrates his short-films into the discourse.

Fast explores the use of noise in Dangerous, including Jackson’s adaptation of hip-hop and classical music through his own interpretation and she integrates his short-films into the discourse. On her way, Fast debunks the dominant narratives that surrounded Jackson’s life and explains in-depth how he fought against racism and other world problems, while maintaining his sense of self as a (hetero) sexual being. A closer look reveals that he is not at all the man-child that the critics persistently described him as. Counteracting these narratives is Fast’s representation of a mature intellectual man, artist and performer who knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.

In the first two chapters, ‘Noise’ and ‘Desire’, Fast takes us along on a journey of the album’s first six songs. She dissects them, places them in context what Jackson meant and what critics made of them. At one points she has to ask herself if she watched the same short films that the critics did at that time. She describes in detail the sonic enhancements Jackson used as ‘non-musical’ sounds. She writes that on Dangerous, the noises are more than just a ‘cheap thrill,’ especially the breaking glass in the “Panther Dance” where Jackson ‘unleashes his profound rage against structural racism’.

In discussing the album cover art by Mark Ryden, where the globe is the central focus of the painting, Fast defines the fundamental idea at the heart of the Dangerous album as: ‘something is breaking, is broken.’ Jackson obviously used noise as a signifier for critique and he incorporated the hip-hop soundscapes, but he did it in his own way. From this album forward, he begins to use his voice more and more roughly, adding even more grittiness, “blackness”, machismo, noise and danger.

Fast also addresses the abuse Jackson had to endure regarding his gender and sexuality. He was often caught between being perceived as either the sexiest man on earth or a self-hater who destroyed his face to become a monster. The author neatly debunks critics who suppose that the sensual, passionate performances of Jackson must necessarily be carried over into everyday life. If he does not, the critics perceive the performance as faked. But Jackson was a master in modelling the intensity of his sensual body in his performances. According to Fast it is the combination of his softness and the erotic dynamism that makes fans believe he was the sexiest man ever.

Jackson apparently grouped the songs on this album to give four different views of love, and his message was that love could be complicated and cruel. She makes clear that Jackson was using an important strategy here, as he presented himself as shy, humble, respectful and disinterested in sex; which includes both on and off stage.

After the first six songs, she brings us into the theme of ‘Utopia’, which is defined as escape and mysticism. This section revolves around Heal the World (the seventh song of the fourteen), which is seen as ‘an important thematic pivot point’ because it moves the listener to a somewhat disturbing view of utopia. The songs are at the center of the album and Jackson offers two utopian visions: one more general view and one about race. For the first time the children are introduced and one can hear their voices in the music. As a matter of fact, on this album Jackson uses the voices of children for the very first time. But, Fast writes that it is important to know, he did not go for the conventional idea of a future that belongs to children. The song sounds white, and even though it is certainly clear that Jackson could easily made songs sound blacker. It is just not what he wants at this point with this particular song.

In “Black or White,” Jackson seems to mix white and black music conventions by having the black rap section performed by a white musician, while the white rock section is performed by Jackson himself, a black performer. She brings the short-film into the mix to discus Jackson’s racial politics and how he beautifully takes on the role of shutting the director out visually to emerge into his final coda. The “Panther Dance” is where the noise comes back; noise used as a form of protest. Jackson’s points were not immediately understood or accepted by the general public, which forced him to re-edit the “Panther Dance” with graffiti art, making it more intelligible to television audiences. Fast concludes that the circumcision of the “Panther Dance” was a violent act against Jackson as an artist and done only to ‘protect white sensibilities’. But she asked herself why he capitulated? Was Jackson aware of the fact that the public was not yet ready to be confronted with structural racism?

In the chapter titled ‘Soul’, Fast beautifully de-constructs the cover art by Mark Ryden, and reveals that Jackson also had the considerable input into the artwork himself. Given that Jackson was a very literate man, and a serious student of history and art history, the reference to Renaissance Christian art in his own work is really not so strange. The cover is divided into three parts like a triptych, with Jackson’s eyes behind the mask positioned at the centre. But there is more. We also see surrealism in the art that can be perceived as contradictory. It is a complex album cover that uses rich and ambiguous imagery. Fast wonders if it has any relation to theSgt.Pepper album cover of the Beatles and describes it as capturing Jackson’s expansive world-view, or ‘theology’.

The four songs that follow form the heart and soul of the record because they begin to address real ‘torturous personal struggle and quasi redemption’. No moralising, no children and no noise. Here we can read how Jackson attempts to merge these genres: the renaissance, classical, and rock. Jackson is able to use his voice, with its purity and versatility to the fullest expressive extent here, which is always pitch perfect.

Fast analyses how Jackson utilises Beethoven’s ninth. However, instead of answering the musical (unresolved chord) question like Beethoven does in the passage that follows, Jackson let’s it linger. This also brings to her mind the concept of Renaissance polyphony: ‘voices are reminiscent of the boys choirs’. However, the most important thing at that moment is how Jackson returns to the music of the black church; he gives the community a voice. In this cluster of four songs (“Keep the Faith”, “Will You Be There,” “Give In To Me” and “Who Is It”), Fast writes that Jackson made a spiritual journey, mainly by invoking different musical languages. The short-films for the three last songs I mentioned,do not do the music justice, according to Fast, and I must say I agree with her. For her, one of the reasons is the fact that Jackson does not dance. I have other reasons, but this is not the place to address them. Fast concludes that this group of songs expresses how Jackson was wrestling with religion, the soul, betrayal and redemption; serious adult stuff, she adds. And the cover art depicts the struggle so beautifully, bringing high and low art traditions together into one. This album is not merely about the ability to achieve commercial success, it is musical work about social unity.

“Dangerous”: The coda (which literally means ‘going back to the beginning’), signifies Jackson’s returning to noise, and to his breath. Fast describes Jackson’s musical use of breath as something of a sonic principle, sonically connecting the musical dots throughout this album. Fast calls “Dangerous” Jackson’s most ambiguous femme fatale song. According to Fast, all hisfemme fatale songs have different narratives and deserve a good thorough study.

Finally, when we reach the end of the album of this fine book, Fast concludes that Jackson was at his best when he was politically engaged and interested in social justice. She acknowledgesDangerous as a monumental album, the album that marks the point where he is fully matured as an artist.

Although it took 99 editions in the Bloombury series on popular music to dedicate the 100th edition to Michael Jackson, I am glad Susan Fast was the one who did the job. As a musicologist she is quite capable of writing about the complexity of Jackson’s music, offering a clear insight into his process. By placing the work in a cultural context: racism, politics, gender and sexuality, she also offers the non-musician an excellent read and good critical insight. Mostly because she makes crystal clear that Jackson knew exactly what he was doing as a writer and performer, his versatile voice and body combining high and low art to convey a serious message. Fast’s analysis also makes it clear that Jackson was able to ingeniously communicate his message through the compilation of the album itself. This book offers a much-needed in-depth analysis of Jackson’s music and art. Let’s hope it will forever silences the tabloids! Highly recommended… and don’t forget to listen and watch again!

Buy on Amazon

Read more here