Jun 09 2011

Michael’s 1986 photo shoot with Kenny Rogers

Category: Friends,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 1:53 am


Michael with Bubbles, photographed by Kenny Rogers

Michael with Bubbles, photographed by Kenny Rogers

SOURCE: http://discoverywatch.webnode.com/michaels-past/misc-fun-stuff/

In 1987, country singer, Kenny Rogers released a book of photographs he had taken of some of his famous friends, titled “Your Friends and Mine”. Rogers recounts the story of the idea behind the book’s creation and publishing. In one of the photos Michael, dressed casually in worn jeans and a simple shirt, poses with Bubbles in his arms.

Below, is the book’s introductory excerpt about how Rogers met the Michael, and his pleasant impression of the star he would call a “friend”:

The first person I shot for the book was Michael Jackson. In 1986, I hosted the Grammy Awards telecast in Los Angeles. That night, my son Christopher met Michael backstage. Christopher had always loved Michael. He would even dress like him at home […] As it happened, Marianne, [Roger’s wife] sent me some flowers with a little plastic Grammy attached. Unbeknownst to me or anyone else, Christopher took the plastic Grammy, walked into Michael Jackson’s press conference, and handed it to him. The next day, Michael called to tell Christopher how much he appreciated it. He also invited him out to his house to see his animals, so Marianne and Christopher went out to Encino.

Michael knew I was a photographer, he mentioned that he’d like it if I took a picture of him and Christopher together. I called Michael th next day to set up an appointment, and he agreed to come down to my studio. I told Michael during our first session that I was thinking about doing a book of portraits and calling it “Your Friends And Mine”. I had heard about his chimpanzee, Bubbles, and we did a shot with the chimp. Later on, Michael and I did another session alone, at his request. That was the start. Michael Jackson’s agreeing to be part of the book was, in fact, the jumping off point for the whole project.

Michael Jackson is unique, both as an individual and as a performer. Yet, while I’d been around him many times, I never honestly felt I knew him until we spent a day together in the photography studio. As I explained earlier, Michael had invited Christopher, my youngest son, to his home to see his zoo. They had such a good time that Michael, who heard I was a photographer, suggested I take a picture of him and Christopher in my studio. I told him of my ideas for this book and asked him to bring his chimp, Bubbles. There were maybe twenty-five people in the studio that day, and the chimp was the center of attention. That meant the focus was off Michael, and I think the relative anonymity gave him a chance to relax. And Bubbles was so human it was almost frightening. He would take Christopher by the hand, walk over to the refrigerator, open it, take out a banana, and hand it to him. Christopher was amazed – we all were.

The session was the first time I’d had the chance to be one on one with Michael. It means a lot to me to be able to say that not only do I love his music, but I also like him very much as a person and consider him a friend.

Michael with Christopher Rogers and that plastic Grammy

Michael with Christopher Rogers and that plastic Grammy

I wonder if some of the other photos Kenny Rogers took that day were available anywhere but I’ve been unable to locate any. It seems the one above with Bubbles was the only one included in his book. I did locate the one below from the same era, but it was taken by Matthew Rolston.

Michael with his Fedora photographed by Kenny Rogers

Michael with his Fedora. Photograph by Matthew Rolston

Those Eyes….

Michael's stunning eyes. Also from Matthew Rolston.

Michael's stunning eyes. Color closeup of the photo above from Matthew Rolston.

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{ Thanks to my friend ‘Blues Away’ for leading me to the information about the photo of Michael and Bubbles & helping to sort out the photos! -Seven }

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14 Responses to “Michael’s 1986 photo shoot with Kenny Rogers”

  1. Gypsy Taylor says:

    I would like permission to use content from this article for a video on my YouTube channel. I would give credit and a link to your website.

  2. Bertrand says:


    the closeup photo of Michael with hat in B&W and in colour is by Kenny Rogers !
    Check the BAD tour program 1987, and you will see it is credited to Kenny.
    I love this picture !!

  3. Sarah says:

    Yes, those eyes, as others have also noted here. David Nordhal and a fan who met him also said to the effect that those eyes, when they fixed upon you, were the most arresting and deep and that often photos didn’t do them full justice. Imagine! If eyes are the windows to the soul, we can tell of the depths of his just by looking at them and also the integrity and innocence which seems to frame THOSE eyes.

  4. Anne Mette Jepsen says:


  5. Bernadette says:

    I enjoy your website. Every 3-4 days there is always a new piece here. It is a wonderful tribute initiative for Michael Jackson and I also really like reading the loving comments left for him by others.

  6. Vanessa Donovan says:

    Thank you so much for all the lovely photos and sharing Kenny Rogers moments with Michael with us, Michael was so beautiful, and as the anniversary of his death approaches there is great sadness amongst us all that this wonderful, sweet man is no longer with us.

  7. Peggy Baker says:

    This was very interesting!! You have a great website and I love all the information you find and share with us.

  8. Ellen says:

    When I gaze into those beautiful, soulful eyes, I feel I am entering heaven’s door. Michael was beautiful inside as well as outside and his light and messages of love will remain forever in my heart. There will never be another angel such as Michael. His time with us here on earth was ever so brief, yet so very meaningful. Rest in heavenly peace sweet Michael and know how very much you are loved. Always and forever God’s sweetest angel.

  9. Susan Trout says:

    Gorgeous photos. Isn’t it amazing to learn that Kenny Rodgers is such a talented photographer? Amazing, too, to learn how much Bubbles wanted to “share”–probably a reflection of his nurturing and care from Michael. Matthew Rolston’s pics are mesmerizing! He’s the photog who did the wonderful December ’07 Ebony photoshoot of MJ at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Those pics are among my favorites of him. I’m with you, Joyce! Michael Jackson’s eyes are indescribably beautiful. Even in photos, you can look into his eyes and “feel” his soul. I realize it’s not good manners to stare at someone, but to look into his eyes in person must have been beyond verbal expression. Thanks, Seven. I REALLY enjoyed this beautiful vignette.

  10. Joyce says:

    Oh WOW! Thank you so much Seven for the addition of the close up photo of those fabulous eyes!! There really aren’t words to adequately describe the beauty in Michael’s eyes. I think I could just get lost in them forever!

  11. nan says:

    I really enjoyed this..Thank you for posting it..I guess it would make sense that Bubbles would take the spotlight off Michael..That probably was some kind of relief for a man gawked at most of his life..Those pictures of him are absolutely beautiful.His are the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen..

  12. Joyce says:

    Thanks for another lovely remembrance of Michael. I love looking into Michael’s amazing eyes in that photo with the Fedora. No other eyes can ever compare to Michael’s! I think it is so incredible how children were and still are immediately drawn to Michael’s talent and his gentle, kind and caring spirit.

    I remember seeing a Kenny Rogers video from a couple years ago that Christopher Rogers appears in as the main character. He is a handsome young man. I wonder what his memories are of his experience with Michael? I’m sure they are treasured memories.
    If you want to check out the video, the song title is “I Can’t Unlove You” and it is probably on YouTube somewhere.
    Thanks again Seven!

  13. Max says:

    I used to think Michael wore his “entertainment uniforms” to establish himself as a brand, i.e. for name recognition. But then I realized it didn’t matter what he wore, he still looked striking and wholly himself. It wasn’t just the unique face, but the lithe body. Unlike his brothers, who were hunks when they were part of the group, Michael took excellent care of his throughout his whole life, and it showed.

  14. blues says:

    Thanks to you, Seven, for sharing whit us all of this wonderful articles about Michael.