Category: michael jackson

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The Jackson 5 rehearsing for The Bob Hope Show in 1973.

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Michael Jackson with his children Michael Jr (known as Prince) and Paris-Michael in 1999.  

Photos by Hamid Moslehi  

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Michael Jackson poses for a portrait session on September 7, 1976.

JAM
https://youtu.be/JbHI1yI1Ndk

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Michael Jackson photographed by Lynn Goldsmith

at Epcot Center, 1984.

Michael Jackson photographed by Henry Diltz, 1971.

On this day in music history: December 7, 1991 – “Black Or White” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell, it is the twelfth solo chart topper (sixteenth overall) for “The King Of Pop”. Issued as the first single from Jackson’s eighth album “Dangerous” on November 11, 1991, the single is premiered on radio just days before its arrival in stores. The track is supported by an elaborate eleven minute long short film directed by John Landis (“Thriller”), also starring actors Macaulay Culkin (“Home Alone”), George Wendt (“Cheers”) and Tess Harper (“Tender Mercies”, “Breaking Bad”). The video also breaks new ground visually for the face morphing sequence created by Pacific Data Images, digitally morphing the actors lip synching the song seamlessly into each other. Among the people seen during the sequence include model Tyra Banks and actors Khrystyne Haje, Cree Summer and Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter. The clip has its broadcast debut simultaneously on MTV, BET, VH1, and the Fox television network on November 14, 1991, drawing a record breaking viewing audience. However, the extended dance sequence of the film draws controversy due to several scenes of Jackson rubbing and grabbing his crotch as well as destroying a car and breaking windows. The singer issues a statement the next day apologizing, stating that “the violent and suggestive behavior was an interpretation of the black panther’s animal instincts”. The controversy does not hurt the songs’ airplay or sales. It becomes the fastest rising single on the Hot 100 since The Beatles “Get Back” in 1969. Entering the Hot 100 at #35 on November 23, 1991, it pole vaults to the top of the chart two weeks later. Jackson also becomes the first artist in history to have number one singles in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. On the UK singles chart, it is the first single to enter the chart at number one since Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now Or Never” in 1960. “Black Or White” also tops the charts in seventeen other countries, and is ranked the top single of 1991 by Billboard Magazine. “Black Or White” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: December 2, 1983 – “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” makes its television broadcast debut on MTV. Directed by John Landis (“National Lampoon’s Animal House”, “The Blues Brothers”), the nearly fourteen minute long short film based on the title track (written by songwriter Rod Temperton) to Michael Jackson’s blockbuster album becomes an immediate phenomenon. An homage to the classic horror film genre (particularly the Michael Landon film “I Was A Teenage Werewolf”, and director Landis’ “An American Werewolf In London”), the film stars Jackson with former Playboy model and actress Ola Ray. The films’ dance sequences are choreographed by MJ and famed choreographer Michael Peters (“Beat It”, “Running With The Night”), with make up and prosthetics designed by Oscar winning make up artist Rick Baker. Jackson’s signature red leather jacket is designed by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the wife of Thriller’s director. Filmed in October of 1983 at a cost of $500,000, the clip takes the art of the music video to another level, becoming the most celebrated and honored in the medium. However, the video is nearly discarded by Jackson before it is seen by the public. A practicing Jehovah’s Witness at the time, two weeks before it is scheduled to air, Michael summoned to  a meeting by elders of his church. They tell him that the video “promotes demonology” and that threaten him with being excommunicated. Upset by the meeting, Jackson calls his attorney and business manager John Branca, telling him to have the film negatives destroyed. Branca suggests that a disclaimer be added to the intro, stating that the film “did not reflect Jackson’s personal convictions”. Michael is satisfied by the suggestion, and the video is aired as planned. MTV pays $250,000 for the exclusive rights to air the video, with Showtime paying an additional $300,000 to air it exclusively on their network for a certain period. Its impact is immediately felt, sending the album back to number one over the Christmas holiday, spending another seventeen consecutive weeks at the top of the Top 200. The “Thriller” short film is also released on home video as part of a full length documentary titled “The Making Of Michael Jackson’s Thriller”. Originally released by Vestron Video, “The Making Of” sets video sales records (selling a total of nine million copies overall) winning a Grammy Award for Best Video Album in 1985. “Thriller” is inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2009 for its ongoing cultural and historic significance, making it the first time a music video has received an honor normally reserved for feature length films.

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Sepia magazine covers from the 1970s

On this day in music history: November 30, 1982 – “Thriller”, the sixth studio album by Michael Jackson is released. Produced by Quincy Jones & Michael Jackson, it is recorded at Westlake Audio and Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA from April 14- 15, August – November 8, 1982. Issued as the long awaited follow up to the hugely successful “Off The Wall”, Jackson is highly ambitious in his quest to surpass the success of the previous album. Writing four of the nine tracks himself, producer Quincy Jones finds other songs for the project from other songwriters including Rod Temperton, Steve Porcaro, John Bettis, Michael Sembello and James Ingram. After reviewing dozens of potential songs, the final nine tracks are chosen for the album. However, the tight deadline in recording and mixing the album (as well as recording “The E.T. Storybook Album” at the same time) takes its toll initially. The final overdubs for “Thriller” are recorded on the morning the album is due to be mastered. When the team listens to the original cut of the album, they realize the running time is too long (for the time limits of vinyl) and that several songs require remixing before it can be handed in. In spite of CBS being angered by the delay (with the first single “The GirI Is Mine” (#1 R&B, #2 Pop) already released and climbing the charts), Jones, Jackson and engineer Bruce Swedien push ahead, remixing and editing the tracks. With the final masters handed over at last, CBS Records puts the album on a crash production schedule, halting the pressing of other records at their three US pressing plants to quickly manufacture the two million plus copies initially shipped to record stores. “Thriller” achieves unprecedented success, spinning off seven Top 10 singles, winning eight Grammy Awards (including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year), becoming the largest selling album of all time. “Thriller” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008, and is added to the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress also in 2008. The album remastered and reissued on CD in 2001 with four additional bonus tracks, and interviews with Quincy Jones. It is remastered again in 2008 to commemorate its 25th anniversary with six bonus tracks and a DVD featuring the three original music videos and Jackson’s Motown 25 performance of “Billie Jean”. It is also reissued as a double vinyl LP set and picture disc. “Thriller” spends thirty seven weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts, ninety one weeks within the Top 10, and is certified 33x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Triple Diamond Certification.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228