Nov 23 2011
I’ve written about this subject before – how Michael’s huge desire to do films went back many years and how it seemed he was thwarted every time he started to more fully realize this dream. Rolling Stone has also written about the same subject, though not as in-depth.
For me, this has been one of the saddest things about the loss of Michael from our world: that we will never be able to see what else he would have done creatively. It’s such a huge loss when the dreams of a genius are snuffed out by premature death. I don’t mean a monetary loss, though I’m sure that is how the estate, Sony, AEG, Hollywood, et al likely see it. I mean a huge loss to our culture and our humanity. No one talks about that much because it’s hard to speak of in quantitative terms. In other words, it’s an immeasurable loss.
Besides his incredible short film/music videos, Michael did do some regular film work but he apparently wanted to do much more because he considered it a more permanent, indelible artform. Most people know Michael starred in ‘The Wiz‘, and there is the unforgettable ‘Moonwalker‘ film, and Ghosts‘ (whose gouls are better than Thriller, IMO) and his cameos in ‘Men in Black‘ and ‘Men in Black II‘. And, though Michael did not appear in ‘Free Willy‘ or ‘Free Willy II‘, his music certainly did, and his well-suited voice narrated the ‘ET Storybook‘ whose related film was a huge hit in its day.
Three months before his death, Bryan Michael Stoller said that Michael had committed to produce and co-direct an independent film called ‘They Cage the Animals at Night‘. That film would have been based on Jennings Michael Burch’s 1985 book of the same name, which describes his real-life experiences growing up in foster homes. This film, like other films and projects Michael dreamed of, was stopped dead in its tracks by salacious allegations against him. Michael had made an appearance in ‘Miss Castaway and the Island Girls‘, also by Stoller, but ‘Cage‘ was never created.
And then there’s the fabulous ‘Caption EO‘ which after Michael’s death is still playing at Disneyland again, and is said to continue as long as it’s popular. Rusty Lemorade produced and co-wrote Captain EO. Rusty recounts how in the early ’90s, Michael came to sign on for a remake of ‘Angels With Dirty Faces‘ (a James Cagney film) and a re-make of a 1964 Tony Randall film. But once again, Michael’s dreams were halted by allegations:
Michael was pretty pleased with our relationship, and he had just set up his film company at Sony-Columbia. And the problem was, with all the development people, etc. – and it was a pretty thick company with people – he wasn’t committing to anything. I think people didn’t understand how to relate to him. I used to say to him, ‘You’re a little like Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can’t do any part. The part has to be tailored to you. He became a star because of Terminator.‘ Well, Michael said, ‘You come up with some ideas.’ And I came up with two fairly quickly.
Jimmy [Cagney] was the screen idol Michael hoped to emulate in ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’. One was to remake an old film called ‘7 Faces of Dr. Lao’, which was a  Tony Randall film that involved a child protagonist, and the other was to remake the film Angels with Dirty Faces, which is a James Cagney film. Michael was a huge James Cagney fan.
Michael loved both projects. Part of it was the way I explained it to him, talked him through it. We had sketches done and creatures made – you really had to turn it into the toy version. On Dr. Lao, we had the set miniatures built of the circus and he committed to both, which was a major event at the time. One was set up at Warners. And the other was set up at Turner – who owned the remake rights. And everything was going great. Fantastic!
And then the first scandal hit.
I remember it as vividly as I remember when I heard President Kennedy was shot. I was in my car driving to this studio where we were building these miniatures, where people were going to come and see them. And someone called me and said, ‘Did you see what’s on the news? Michael Jackson’s ranch has been raided.‘
The truth of the matter is, very simply – and in fairness to Hollywood and the big studios – they have huge investment obligations to their shareholders. So they got very nervous. They didn’t know if the audience would still be there for Michael. Suddenly, nobody wanted to touch him… It was quite sad that it never happened, because it was very important for Michael to be in movies.
During the 30-minute interview, Rusty also reveals how he came to earn Michael’s trust while he and ‘The Godfather‘ director [Francis Ford Coppola] were working on Captain EO:
The secret of working with Michael Jackson was to think, how would you, literally, deal with a 10-year-old boy?
Francis got it. At one point, he was having trouble directing Michael. Michael didn’t seem to respond to the kind of word dialogue that a director largely uses.
So [Francis] sent out for some masks: happy masks – like clown masks – and scary masks. And when he wanted to elicit an emotion from Michael, he would put on those masks and it would be as if a child were reacting to a mask. And it was effective!
Michael loved to go toy shopping. But the adult in him wanted to drive his car. And he drove like a maniac. I was always grippin’ my seat. He loved masks. He had masks in his glove compartment, which he would put on as he drove. His explanation was, ‘If I don’t put it on, people will see it’s me and they’ll chase me.’ Then we’d go into a toy store. Then it was funny, because the mask he’d wear into the store would usually be like a woman’s harem mask kind of thing, with a veil across his face.
You can hear part of the interview with Rusty Lemorade here:
You can also read the rest of the interview here: http://blog.blogtalkradio.com/celebrities/michael-jackson-planned-step-jimmy-cagneys-shoes-captain-eo-producer-longtime-pal-rusty-lemorande/
Notice Lemorade’s comments above about Michael’s driving. I’ve written before on MJ-777 about that subject as well. One account from Sam L. Parity says that back during the ‘Bad‘ tour, Michael hit everyone’s car in the studio lot at least once. And there’s another account in his mother Katherine’s book which mentions sister LaToya’s fear of Michaels hair-raising driving habits. I’m told he also terrified Karen Faye, his make-up artist, with his wild driving.
Back to the subject at hand, Michael apparently very much wanted to star in or direct films because he felt ‘he would have been lost to the world’ otherwise. Below is an excerpt from an interview Lisa Robinson did with Michael by phone from Encino, California on September 4, 1979:
L.R. – How was it filming The Wiz?
M.J. – I had the time of my life. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I’m just dying to do the next film. It’s really killing me—and when I say killing me, I really mean it. Sometimes I could just scream, but I’m so busy with other things, and what I really want to do more than anything is film. Film will last forever. I can go on tour and it’s exciting, but when it’s done, it’ll be lost to the world. But if I do a movie, it’ll be there forever, that’s what I love about film: it’s something captured, a moment captured that’ll be there for eternity. The stars die, like Charlie Chaplin—he’s gone, but his films will be here forever. If he did Broadway and plays while he was alive, he would have been lost to the world. I’d have to set time aside to do films, but I always do things through force and feeling, and I always follow my instincts. If it’s meant to be, it’ll come, it’ll happen. It will make itself known.
MORE about Michael and films:
Film Critic Praises Michael Jackson’s Filmmaking Artistry:
“After this, we’re doing films”
Thriller First Music Video Named to the US National Film Registry:
Aug 28 2011
Michael Jackson was born an angel at 7:33 p.m. US Central Time on August 29th, 1958. After a lifetime of humanitarian work, of putting others before himself, and bringing people together all over the world through his performance, music, film, and dance, he tragically received his wings on June 25th, 2009. It broke millions of hearts to see him physically leave this life. There are endless experiences and stories that tell us we were in the presence of an angel here on Earth. And, there are at least a few that tell us he’s still around. Not physically, but as a divine spirit. I’ll share a little bit of both types of stories with you today, in honor of his physical birth day.
Remember that I wrote on January of this year about the numbers 111 or 1111 as “angel numbers“. I’ve read that ‘111‘ can symbolize a gateway of divine communication from angels to mortals and I know myself and many others have been seeing the sequence ‘111‘ or ‘1111‘ frequently popping up here and there. When you see these numbers around you, mind what you’re thinking at that moment. Are you seeing your dreams manifested in your mind’s eye or are you distracted or grousing about something else? Are you helping or giving to someone else, or just worrying only about your own problems? It’s said that ‘111‘ or ‘1111‘ means the angels have left the door open to let you know there is a way to your dreams and/or a way to help other achieve theirs — no matter how seemingly simple and insignificant or how seemingly insurmountable or impossible they are. Think about that. Especially if you’re seeing these numbers pop up everywhere.
A fellow writer named Aberjhani shared with me some dreams he had about Michael a while back. I found them quite compelling but it wasn’t yet time to share them. Recently, Aberjhani contacted me about these dreams and said he was told: “It’s time” for them to be shared. So, here are Aberjhani’s two dreams about Michael:
1. He (Michael) and a group of us were playing a very laid-back game of touch football, with more laughing and goofing around than hardcore running or dodging. Michael had the ball so everyone attempted to converge on him and he literally danced toward the sidelines. Just as the others reached him, he tossed the ball over everyone’s head, more like he was doing a basketball skyhook, and it went over to Randy, who had been left alone, and Randy went for the touchdown. While everybody stood around stunned by the unexpected pass and touchdown, I noticed a medallion on a silver chain around MJ’s neck and moved closer to get a better look it. When I did, he held it up and I saw the sculpted outline of an angel. I couldn’t resist reaching to touch it, but when I did, a brilliant light streamed out of it, covered everything in rays of white and gold, and then the dream faded.
2. I was inside a radio station with a suitcase when MJ suddenly appeared in a broadcast booth with windows that appeared somewhat foggy, but it was clearly him. He began to perform a pantomime of putting on a puppet show and with his fingers drew figures on the foggy window. Several people realized what was happening and were stunned to see Michael Jackson in the booth putting on this unusual show. One man was passing by and said there was no way he could miss this. Two children and a couple of women came up to the window and stared in awe, both at the fact that it was MJ and at whatever they understood him to be writing on the glass. I was supposed to be getting dressed to go somewhere but decided I also had to stay, so opened the suitcase I was carrying and started to change out the pajamas I was wearing into jeans, shirt, etc., trying to get ready before the word hit the streets and radio station became too crowded to really enjoy the experience. As I changed, MJ continued to pantomime and his song “Butterflies” started to play over the radio speakers.
I won’t try to interpret these dreams. I suspect they will have different meanings for everyone, depending on each person’s heart, mind, and soul. Personally, I find the first one most compelling. The second one is a little bit similar to a dream I had myself about Michael in that it involves getting dressed.
In my dream, Michael was coming to my home or office. The space didn’t particularly look familiar. I wasn’t dressed yet and ducked into a side cove to get my top completely on. Just as I finished, Michael came through the door with others and I hugged him warmly saying: “Hi Michael, it’s so good to see you!“. It felt like I had met him before or knew him. He was wearing a red shirt and black pants, his straight black hair and no hat this time. Later in the dream, I was lying down on a table with some sort of jug or container sitting in that upside-down ‘V’ at the center of my ribcage. Michael was pouring stuff through a tube into the jug and it overran and spilled all over me and down onto the floor. It wasn’t a problem though. There was no upset – it didn’t seem anything was wrong. It was all very calm and peaceful. The entire dream – from greeting him to the part with the stuff spilling over onto me and the floor, felt so calm, warm, loving, sweet. It felt like I knew him from somewhere before. I awoke smiling. But I wondered what it was he was doing, and what he was pouring into that container?
Another dream I had was so vivid that I can’t really call it a dream. I haven’t shared this one publicly thus far though it happened quite a while ago. Michael, I believe, came to tell me goodbye. Or, he simply doesn’t like to sleep alone, I’m not sure which. See, I had been sleeping with his picture tucked beneath my pillow and went to sleep thinking of him and ‘talking‘ to him in my head/heart a little bit every night. He told me some wonderful things, many of which I’ve previously written about here. One night though, I fell asleep out in the living room on my recliner, instead. At around 4:00 in the morning, Michael came down my hallway, which is right to the side of the recliner I was in. I can see straight down the hall from that chair. He came through a gray curtain just outside my bedroom door. He was wearing an untucked dark blue shirt, black pants, and his black loafers. He had straight, black hair and he had on his sunglasses. Michael sat down right next to the recliner, sitting with his feet tucked under him. He would barely look at me and looked very sad, mostly looking down at his hands. I was of course so excited and my mouth was so dry that I could hardly talk. I said: “Hi Michael, it’s so great to see you!” I put my arm around his shoulder and pulled him close and tried to kiss him. I recognized his eyes and eyebrows. It was unmistakably Michael. I said: “I love you.” He looked down sadly at his hands clasped in his lap and said in a very quiet voice: “I love you too“. Then poof!, he was gone.
I “woke” up and was a bit frantic. I apologized for trying to kiss him, for my mouth being so dry and wondered what this all meant. Was he trying to tell me he had no voice anymore? I could barely hear him when he spoke. Was he saying “goodbye” to me? Was he upset because I wasn’t in bed “talking” to him as I had been most every other night since he passed? Was he upset because I tried to kiss him? I’m still not sure about any of that. I do know this was far too vivid and real to have been a “dream“. It had been Michael. I had a similarly vivid dream years after my stepfather passed while my mother was visiting me. I believe people’s spirits often visit the living in dream form, so as not to alarm those they want to communicate with.
Now let’s move from dreams to real stories from those who knew Michael
A lovely young woman named Talitha was one of those lucky enough to be able to follow Michael around the world for years. She has generously written about her experiences with Michael on a new website as a way to share her memories with the world. The name of her website is ‘Michael Jackson The Last Angel‘. Her memories of her time with Michael are incredible reading. In the introduction to her site, Talitha writes:
Have you ever met an angel? I have. He has a mesmerizing presence, a dazzling aura and a heart of gold.
My name is Talitha and I grew up in Ireland. I went to Michael Jackson as a fan but, as he did with so many others, he treated me as a friend. I have created this web site to share some of what I observed and experienced over the years, as a tribute to the angel that he is and for all of those who love him – for those who spent time with him and have their own special memories and those who didn’t so you know that if you’d gone to him, he would have welcomed you into his world and loved you too. Because that’s all he knows how to do… is love.
I began traveling to see Michael in 1996, spent a day with him at Neverland in 2003, was around him on a daily basis for months at a time, and visited him and his children inside their LA home in 2009.
Stepping into Michael’s world was like stepping though a secret doorway to Narnia or sliding down a rabbit hole to Wonderland. Whenever I was with him, I felt like I was inside a fairytale, being swept up in a cloud of magic and joy and love. I will never forget the silvery quality of his voice and the light of his presence, floating me to heaven again and again.
Everything Michael did, he did for all of us, for children, for animals, and for the future of the planet. He is a true angel. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or is wrong.
David Nordahl, Michael’s personal artist and friend for 21 years, shared the following about Michael:
Michael spent a third of a billion dollars on helping children, paying for surgeries, building hospital wings, orphanages, a burn center and on and on and on. The good things he did, he would never talk about them. You’d always have to hear it from people who were around him because Michael always thought if you did a charitable act & then you talked about it or bragged about it … all of the good you’re trying to do, that it negated all of that. So he never would talk about those things.
I asked him, “Michael, how can you do that? How can you spend the time with these children who are dying and then go from that, on stage and give that kind of performance?” He said, “How could I not? If these children want to see me, I know I’m not important, but Michael Jackson the superstar is, and if I can make a child live an extra minute or an hour or a day or a month, then wouldn’t that be worth it?”
Michael was always that way. If he would get a call from somebody and a child was dying, he would get on a plane and go and he would tell them, ‘I’m going to be back in 2 weeks to see you,’ and alot of the times he extended little kids’ lives that way. It gave them something to look forward to down the line. You have to admire something like that.
– David Nordahl
My friend Aberjhani who greatly admires and respects Michael, just wrote a new piece in honor of Michael’s birthday. In his article, Aberjhani says of Michael:
Yet neither the glittering crowns of royalty, nor the impressive might of statesmen, nor the luxurious comfort of five-star hotels caused his eyes to turn away from the needs of others.
This boy in the video above suffered a brain aneurysm which left him permanently confined to a wheel chair, and unable to speak. The boy made a wish to meet Michael Jackson, and on November 24, 1992, his wish came true. He was invited to Neverland, and, with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, got to meet his idol. The two shared an “I Love You” in sign language before saying goodbye. Sadly the boy passed away on July 26, 2004.
Finally, as everyone has heard, we lost Frank DiLeo just this past week. In honor of both Frank and Michael and as an illustration of the fact that Michael must have known on some level that he was an angel, here are a couple of memories from their time together. From a December 30th, 1984 article in People magazine:
Midnight to 3 a.m. is the time Dileo and Jackson usually spend discussing business and receiving special guests. One night in Dallas, it was a 9-year-old boy who had a brain tumor and spinal cancer, rushed up to Michael’s room on a stretcher. Dileo turned away in tears when the boy weakly reached up with a gloved hand to touch his idol, but then Tookie once more saw in Jackson the sinew beneath the satin. “Don’t feel sad, don’t cry,” he told Dileo. “This is why I’m here.”
The quote below is from another anecdote Frank DiLeo shared in Part 2 of Aphrodite Jones’ Michael Jackson segment on True Crime ID, which aired on April 29th, 2010. Frank was in an orphanage with Michael visiting a dying child. Frank was actually crying because it was so upsetting for him to see, and below is what Michael said to him at that moment.
You have to understand Frank, this is our job. Not on the stage. This is our job. To make somebody feel good.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m convinced given what he told Frank DiLeo, David Nordahl and many others, that on some level, Michael Jackson knew he was an angel. He at least knew with little uncertainty what his purpose was in life. He said many times and showed us in many ways who and what he really was, and he wasn’t about himself at all. He was all about giving to others. Most everything he did was for someone else. Because most people are all about themselves and all about taking rather than giving, Michael was deemed a ‘freak‘ by many. It’s sad that in our society, people don’t recognize a truly decent human being (or an angel) when they see one. Instead, they demonized him because he’s different, when they should have been trying to emulate him instead.
Finally, here’s what Michael himself said about Angels in ‘Dancing the Dream’. Michael wrote:
It’s hard to see angels, although I’ve stared at their pictures for hours. Some people can see them without pictures, and they tell interesting tales. Guardian angels are all female, for instance, which didn’t surprise me once I found out. A birth angel, recruited from the younger ranks, attends every baby when it appears, while another angel, older but not grim, helps the dying to leave this world without grief or pain.
You can pray to the angels and they will listen, but the best way to call them, I am told, is to laugh. Angels respond to delight, because that is what they’re made of. In fact, when people’s minds are clouded by anger or hatred, no angel can reach them.
Not all angels have wings — so the visionaries claim — but those who do can unfurl a span of golden feathers stretching over the entire world. If you had eyes that could look straight into the sun, you would see an overwhelming angel presiding there; a more serene one smiles out from the face of the moon.
Angels spend their entire lives, which are forever, spinning around the Creator’s throne, singing His praise. People with keen ears have listened in. The harmonies of the angelic choir are incredibly complex, they say, but the rhythm is simple. “It’s mostly march time,” one eavesdropper affirmed. For some reason, that fact is almost the best I have learned so far.
After a while it got lonely hearing about angels you couldn’t see for yourself. When an angel-watcher heard that, she was shocked. “Not see?” she said. “But you have an angel in you. Everybody does. I can see it right now, and I thought you could, too.” “No,” I said sadly, and I asked what it looked like. “Did it look like me?”
“Well, yes and no,” the angel-watcher mysteriously answered. “It all depends on what you think you are. Your angel is a speck of light perched at the very center of your heart. It is smaller than an atom, but just wait. Once you get close to it, your angel will expand. The closer you come, the more it will grow, until finally, in a burst of light, you will see your angel in its true shape, and at that very instant, you will also see yourself.”
So now I am looking for my angel all the time. I sit silently, turning my gaze inward. It wasn’t long before I caught a glimpse of something. “Is that you, Angel, holding a candle?” One flicker and it was gone. Yet that was enough to set my heart wildly beating. Next time my angel will be waving a lamp, then holding a torch aloft, then lighting a bonfire.
That’s what the angel-watcher promised, and now that I have caught sight of glory, I know enough to believe.
“Angel of Light” – Michael Jackson, from Dancing The Dream
Michael, if you wanted to see an angel, all you had to do was look in the mirror. Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson. ♡
Feb 09 2011
I’ve missed one anniversary in this piece by a couple of days but I’ll post it anyway. I felt the piece from Lisa the Lawyer should take precedence with the trial coming up so quickly.
I had been looking for a comprehensive list of all of Michael’s Guinness records and seems maybe I’ve found one to share. I’d really like a comprehensive list of all awards Michael has won and all the records he has broken, and broken again (in some cases he broke his own records).
When you see even a partial list of Michael’s exhaustive achievements, you quickly realize just how much he really accomplished in his life, not only as the world’s best entertainer, artist, and filmmaker but also as one of the world’s most generous and empathetic humanitarians, one of the finest human beings to ever live – nevermind the consistently negative medialoid propaganda about him that is hellbent on ignoring all this.
Along with his more prominently-known humanitarian work, let’s not forget all those whom Michael mentored and inspired, lives he saved, and people he helped along the way. Much of that is documented here and of course elsewhere, while you won’t hear a peep about it from the media. Taken all together it’s just astounding. An entire book or documentary could be created just covering Michael’s humanitarian work – and one absolutely should be. Part of the problem is, so many of those he helped were silent during his life of course, in order to protect his wishes for privacy. After he left this life, some have come forward and I share as many of their stories here as possible – but one has to wonder how many more there are?
The other problem is that funding for such an endeavor is non-existent and no major media outlets are interested, of course – unless they could taint the thing with their own particular brand of misinformation and tabloid garbage about the man.
Considering all he’s done, it’s not a stretch to say that Michael Jackson was unmatched, unbeatable, and unmistakably ‘The Best’. There will never be another entertainer, humanitarian or human being who can or would do all he did in his tragically shortened life. One has to wonder too, what other astounding things Michael might have accomplished had he not been taken from us so soon.
February 7, 1984: Michael, along with 1500 invited guests, attends the New York Metropolitan Museum of Natural History to receive awards from CBS and ‘The Guinness Book Of World Records’. To date, ’Thriller’ has sold over 25 million copies worldwide – more than any other album in recording history. Michael is presented with the first edition of the 1984 paperback version of ’The Guinness Book of World Records’, which he receives from Norris McWhirter.
For the first time ever, Bantam Books halt the presses between January 20 and 23 so that two new entries can be added to the book at the last minute announcing ’Thriller’ as the largest-selling album of all time and the album with the most Top Ten singles (six).
Despite below-freezing temperatures more than 1,000 fans wait patiently for a mere glimpse of Michael. The invitation itself was unique, printed on a single white cloth glove.
Allen Davis, President of CBS Records International says:
“Tonight Michael, your milestones for the album ’Thriller’ are a total of 67 Gold and 58 Platinum awards in 28 countries on six continents. And the singles, with 9 million sales have earned 15 more awards, bringing the total of 140 Gold and Platinum awards.”
I’ve always wanted to do great things and achieve many things, but for the first time in my entire career, I feel like I have accomplished something because I’m in The Guinness Book Of Records!
-Michael Jackson, 7th Feb 1984
Mr. Jackson was the most famous person in the world. He was a beloved and talented entertainer who leveraged his fame, musical genius and talent to spread his humanitarian messages in lyrics and as an ambassador of change in order to make the world a better place for people and particularly children. Jackson is reported to have personally contributed to the support of 39 charities and reportedly donated $300 million dollars to charities and philanthropic organizations on behalf of children of the world.
Most Successful Concert Series – Guinness Book Of World Records:
Michael Jackson sold out for seven nights at Wembley Stadium, London, England in the summer of 1988. A total of 504,000 people saw Michael perform July 14-16, 22-23, and August 26-27, 1988.
Biggest Selling Album Of All Time – Guinness Book Of World Records:
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Album is the biggest selling album of all time, with over 50 million copies sold worldwide. Thriller is also the biggest selling U.S album with sales of 25 million copies.
80’s Most #1 Hits:
By The End of the 1980’s Michael Jackson had more #1 hits than any other artist for the decade.
Entertainer Of The Decade:
With the #1 (Thriller) and #2 (Bad) ranked albums in the world Michael was the 1980’s Entertainer Of The Decade.
Most Grammy Awards – Guinness Book Of World Records:
Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammy Awards in 1984, more than any other artist in one year.
Largest Contracts – Guiness Book Of World Records:
$890 million (Sony Music) Contract, with prospective earnings of $1 billion.
Greatest Audience – Guiness Book Of World Records:
The highest-ever viewership was 133.4 million viewers watching the NBC transmission of Super Bowl XXVII on June 31, 1993. Michael was spotlighted during the half-time peformance.
Highest-Paid Commercial Spokesperson – Guiness Book Of World Records:
Pepsi Cola paid Michael Jackson $12 million to do 4 TV commercials.
Bad Tour – Guinness Book Of World Records:
Michael Jackson’s world tour brought in a record gross revenue of over $124 million during September 1987-December 1988.
100 Million Records:
Michael has sold over 100 million singles and albums outside of the U.S.
Michael Jackson is the first person in the 37 year history of the chart to enter at # 1, with his single “You Are Not Alone“. Michael broke his previous record held by his single “Earth Song” which debuted at #5.
Biggest Selling Video:
Michael Jackson’s “The Making Of Thriller” is the biggest selling video to be released by an artist.
Billboard “Hot 100” Singles Chart:
Most #1 Hits by Male Artist (13)
Michael’s “Bad”, “Dangerous”, and “HIStory” albums all debuted at #1.
Consecutive #1 Singles:
Jackson 5 were the first group to ever have four consecutive #1 singles.
#1 On Charts:
In 1983 Michael became the first artist to simultaneously hold the number one spots on Billboard’s rock albums and rock singles charts, as well as the R&B albums and singles charts.
Michael Jackson was the first black artist to have a video aired on MTV.
For more information, visit: http://www.seeing-stars.com/museums/guinness.shtml
• • •
Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility. A 13-time GRAMMY recipient, Michaels career transcends musical and cultural genres and his contributions will always keep him in our hearts and memories.
The Recording Academy
Michael Jackson’s achievements include 14 Guinness World Records—including one for “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time“—18 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards, 12 World Music Awards and the sale of over 750 million units worldwide. Winning numerous awards for his humanitarian endeavors, the singer has been honoured by two Presidents of the United States.
He has also been named as the artist of “the Decade“, “Generation“, “Century“, and “Millenium” and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the most awarded artist of all time and has more Guinness World Records than any other artist.
Dec 19 2010
My last post here was about Michael’s mentoring of Kobe Bryant, star player of the LA Lakers. Michael noticed that Bryant was catching hell for being “different“. Because he understood what Bryant was experiencing, Michael contacted Bryant and began to offer him friendship and encouragement, to teach him what it takes to stay focused, work hard, ignore the naysayers and detractors, and to go to the pinnacle of success and beyond – to achieve perfection.
Besides that article from Kobe Bryant, there have been others that have come to my attention recently that discuss how having a particular notable talent or skill while being “different” than the status quo can mean one is possessed with some level of genius in one area or another, be it music, sports, writing, painting, filmmaking, storytelling, dance or whatever ignites an unstoppable passion in a person while causing them to be looked askance at by society for being “different” than “everybody else” and for not “fitting in“. The impassioned “genius” may lack social skills, stutter, be painfully shy, seem aloof, even seem dumb in some ways, dress differently than others, having their own sense of style and what is important in life. They see the world in ways that most of us do not or can not.
This is another area where I have personally connected with Michael, having never been considered “normal” or having never “fit in” much of anywhere myself, and having always been considered “odd“, and an outcast. I never had many friends because I didn’t share the same interests as others my age or others of my sex. I have a creative talent or two and guess what my family and friends think of them? They don’t. They never have. They never will. As for family, I think they just hope that if they ignore it, it will go away. And in fact it did and I went with it. Oh I love my family and they love me. But in no way, shape, form or fashion do they begin to understand me. I was and still am to some extent painfully shy (my writing skills far exceed my social ones) and I still have a skin disease that I was teased for as a kid, and many times if I mentioned my dream to friends or family, I got laughed at or completely ignored. I’m the “crazy aunt” to my sister’s kids – the “weird” one in the family. My own father never wanted anything to do with me because I didn’t live my life in the way that he approved or understood. So, I understand being a weird outcast amongst the society and family in which I live, and being lambasted, negatively defined, attacked, ganged-up on, speculated about, and abused because of it. If I was really lucky, I was just ignored.
Now, I’m not saying I’m any genius, far from it! But I do know what it feels like to be “different” and to not fit in anywhere, to be painfully shy, to “look funny“, and to have a gift that is screaming to be developed and given to a world that doesn’t begin to understand the human being behind it, or even to care about that person unless it’s to negatively define them for fun and profit, or because they feel threatened by them. When society does not understand something (including a person), they fear and thus want to either control or destroy it, just like they did to Michael Jackson. The world doesn’t mind taking their gifts, but it too often seems to have no use for the human beings from which they emanate – denigrating, destroying, then tossing them overboard like so much trash. Sort of like the wrapper off of a candy bar. This is how and why it’s so easy for artists, musicians, sports stars, writers, etc. to be abused by those who are responsible for managing and marketing their talents, and further denigrated by a media hellbent on making profits by telling sensationalist lies about them. And the rest of society just eats it all up, the gifts and the lies, rarely ever considering the human being behind them – until well after they’re gone from this life.
There is an article that asserts Michael may have been the reincarnation of Mozart. Now, I don’t know that I subscribe to that but it speaks about similarities between the two musical geniuses and suggests that perhaps even Michael himself thought that possible. I’ve never heard of him mentioning such but according to this article, he did use “W.A. Mozart” as an alias when he wrote “Happy Birthday Lisa” for an episode of the Simpsons. Michael could be quite silly though, so this could have simply been some silliness on his part.
Other similarities in the article are listed as follows:
The article also points out that “Mozart was described as small, thin and pale with large, intense eyes and a soft speaking voice which could be very powerful when required. All the same could easily be said of Michael Jackson. Bear in mind also Michael Jackson’s penchant for flamboyant 18th century European-style costumes.”
And then there’s this article written in 2009, which I was quite impressed with. It’s called: No One Who Was Normal Ever Made History: A Tribute to Michael Jackson.
The author says:
Very few people could understand Michael’s enigmatic life, and I’m not suggesting that I’m unique in that regard. However, as a student of history, what I do understand is that Michael’s life, when considered within the broader scope of highly creative people throughout history, was not really that unusual after all.
For instance, let’s consider Friedrich Nietzsche, the German existentialist born in 1844. Throughout his life, he was continually frail and plagued with illness, a consummate recluse, an alcoholic and considered very controversial for his day. His ideas on God made him a complete outcast to the conservative majority of his day. In college, I devoured Nietzsche mostly because he was provocative and deep. I also thought it was cool to be controversial. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” became my mantra. Ultimately, Nietzsche suffered a psychotic breakdown, had two strokes which partially paralyzed him and died of pneumonia, still in his 50s.
Consider Walt Whitman, the nineteenth-century transcendentalist poet who continues to be one of the most influential poets in the world today. Yet in his time, many thought him to be a madman. His homosexuality or possible bisexuality just didn’t fly in the Civil War years. He refused to commit himself to any one religion, stating that all were equally valuable. He spent considerable time alone, and after suffering a stroke near the end of his life, he was too weak to even lift a fork and knife. He wrote, “I suffer all the time: I have no relief, no escape: it is monotony — monotony — monotony — in pain.” He died of pneumonia as well.
In the realm of religion, consider the Christian prophet, the man known as Jesus. He was born of Jewish descent, and yet he was constantly breaking Jewish laws and butting heads with the religious leaders of his own heritage. Jesus too is documented on several occasions as going off by himself and spending significant time in solitude. In one particular case, he spent 40 days and nights in the desert fasting. Pretty extreme. As you know, he was ultimately sentenced to death by crucifixion.
The point is that those who leave a major impact on the world are not marching to the same drum as the mass majority.
They often, as with Michael, live controversial and turbulent lives, and they’re often greatly misunderstood. Isn’t it unfortunate that if someone is 10 feet ahead, they’re considered a leader, but if someone is 10 miles ahead, a target? Michael certainly had his share of playing the target for the media. It’s easy to take shots at those at the top, particularly if they’re “different enough.”
Even though Michael was acquitted on all counts in his court cases, it didn’t matter. He would still be plagued with negative comments and jabs. The very creativity that brought the moonwalk, highly produced choreography and music that emotionally moved all ages and races was the same unique mind that drove him to live a very different life that defied societal norms.
In a nutshell, when you’re a unique thinker, you have a very hard time relating to mass consciousness. Small talk becomes painful, and your inner world more fulfilling than your outer world. This results in behavior that’s often misinterpreted as being aloof, arrogant or sometimes downright weird, which is too bad because people have no idea how very lonely it can be at the top. Furthermore, the contributions of many of these leaders are often never appreciated until long after they’re gone.
It’s a shame that our indifferent, narrow-minded, rigidly conformist society, infected by a mob mentality, and saddled with a ‘profit-at-any-cost‘ media manages to crucify anyone with a gift who is “different” than “the rest of us“. It would be a true evolutionary feat if we could learn to love our “odd” geniuses when they’re with us as much as we love the gifts they bestow upon us — instead of chewing them up and spitting them into their graves while some psychopathic corporate entity or other – before the body is even cold – proceeds to manipulate a steady profit stream off of their posthumous work for decades.
I’ll keep hoping and dreaming that some day, humans will evolve beyond this knuckle-dragging “be like us and fit in or we’ll destroy you!” mob mentality, as well as its insidious, incessant greed and jealousy. After all these years and after having witnessed the brutalized life and suspicious death of the gentlest genius I’ve ever known in my own lifetime – Michael Jackson – I’m cynically uncertain we’re capable of it.