Last week was the second anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
To commemorate this event, an auction of Jackson’s memorabilia was held.
The red and black jacket which he wore on the “Thriller” album was sold for a whopping US$1,8 million. To spend that kind of money on a jacket would be considered crazy by the average Zimbabwean, but don’t we all live in a crazy and weird world?
Michael himself did strange things in his life, which can be described as weird, hence the nickname “Wacko-Jacko”.
There are many weird situations about his life that it would be impossible to mention all of them in this limited space. I will give just one example.
After attaining solo superstardom, he developed an inferiority complex about being black. At an early age, he was said to be filled with self-revulsion that he began to hate his own kind by employing only white people as his stage crew. He felt that he was too dark and developed a colour complex. He then embarked on a mission of self-annihilation by means of dilution into a white gene pool. He changed his skin colour and the shape of his nose.
His inability to reconcile two opposing cultures forced him to pay white sperm donors so that he could have white children.
Despite all this, Michael Joseph Jackson was one of the world’s most talented music stars who dominated all the continents of the universe with his pop music. The history of Michael Joseph Jackson began when he was born on the 29th of August 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the seventh of nine children – brothers: Sigmund “Jackie”, Toriano “Tito”, Jermaine, Marlon, Steven “Randy” and sisters Rebbie, Janet and Latoya Jackson.
Michael began his musical career at the age of five as the lead singer of the Jackson Five who formed in 1964 and were active until 1990. in these early years the Jackson Five – Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and lead singer Michael played local clubs and bars in Gary Indiana and moving further afield as their talents grew and they could compete in bigger competitions.
From these early days Michael would be at the same clubs as big talented stars of those days, such as Jackie Wilson and would be learning from them even back then. in 1968 the Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers discovered the Jackson Five and from there they got an audition for Berry Gordy of Motown Records. The Jackson Five signed for Motown and moved to California.
Their first four singles, “I want you Back”, “ABC”, “The Love you Save”, and “I’ll be There” all made US Number one hits. The Jackson Five recorded 14 albums and Michael recorded four solo albums with Motown.
The Jackson Five stayed with Motown until 1976. Wanting more artistic freedom they felt they had to move on and signed up with Epic. The group name Jackson Five had to be changed as it was owned by
Motown, so they reverted to The Jacksons as they had been known in the early days. Brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy’s daughter and stayed with Motown. Youngest brother Randy joined in his place. The Jacksons had a number of hit records and in total made six albums between the years of 1976 and 1984.
In 1977 Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical “The Wizard of Oz” playing Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. it was at this time Michael met Quincy Jones who was doing the score for the film. Michael teamed up with Quincy Jones as his producer for his first solo album with Epic Records. The album titled “Off The Wall” was a big success around the world and the first ever album to release a record breaking four number one singles in the US.
In 1982 Michael Jackson released the world’s largest selling album of all time, “Thriller”. this album produced seven hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide. Michael was keen to use music video or short films as he called them to promote his singles from the album. He worked with the best directors and producers, using the latest technology and special effects for the hit song “Billie Jean”.
The short film “Thriller” used the latest make-up artists technology combined with fantastic dancing and choreography, to produce a 14 minute video, with a start, a middle and an ending. so successful was this video that ‘The making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller’ became the world’s largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales. in 1983 Michael performed the now legendary moonwalk dance for the first time on the ‘Motown 25 years’ anniversary show. this performance alone set Michael undoubtedly into the realm of a superstar. in 1984 Michael won a record breaking eight Grammy awards in one night. The awards were for his work on the ‘Thriller album and his work on the narrative for the ‘ET Storybook’.
On 9 December 1984 at the last concert of the Jackson’s Victory Tour, Michael announced he was splitting from the group and going solo. in 1987 Michael released his much awaited third solo album, titled “Bad”, and launched his record breaking first solo world tour. in 1988, Michael wrote his first autobiography, Moonwalk, talking for the first time on his childhood and his career. At the end of the 1980s Michael was named
“Artist of The Decade” for his success of “Thriller” and “Bad” albums. in 1991 Michael signed with Sony Music the largest ever recording company and released his fourth solo album, “Dangerous”. He toured the world again in 1992, taking his concerts to countries that had never before been visited by a pop/rock artist. Also Michael founded the “Heal the World Foundation” to help improve the lives of children across the world.
In 1994 Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis Presley. The marriage only lasted for 19 months, as they divorced in 1996. 1995 saw Michael release a fifth solo album, “HIStory”, which was a double album, first half new material and the second half filled with his greatest hits. Michael toured again over a two-year period. in between legs of the tour on November 14th 1996, Michael married for the second time to Debbie Rowe who was a nurse that Michael had met in the treatment of his skin pigment disorder. Together they had their first child Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr born on 13 February 1997 and a daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson born on 3 April 1998. Both these children are white. this, explains that Jackson could not have been the biological father.
In 1997 Michael released the remix album “Blood On The Dance Floor” which also contained five new songs linked with a 38min film “Ghosts”. in this film Michael played five roles using the latest special effects and make-up artistry, combined with his dance and music. in September, 2001 Michael celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo artist with two concerts held in New York, USA. Many support artistes at the concert such as Whitney Houston, Usher, Destiny’s Child, Shaggy and many more performed their own and Michael Jackson’s past songs. Michael then reunited with all of his brothers and performed their biggest hits. He went on to perform solo some of his biggest hits.
In October 2001 Michael released the album “Invincible” releasing only 2 singles including the big hit “You Rock my World”. Shortly after the albums’ release there were rumours of a rift with Sony Music and a clear lack of promotion of the album. The second single “Cry” was released with a very poor music video which did not feature Michael and no other singles were released. in November 2003 a new single “One More
Chance” was released as a single and was also a track on new compilation album “Number Ones”.
After this, Michael was ensconced in legal battles where allegations of child sexual abuse were levelled against him, but he was acquitted of all charges. He then decided to move to the Middle East where he spent a number of years, with the assistance from his managers and agents, thinking about how he would come back onto the music scene in a big way.
In March 2009, Michael announced a shock comeback tour at the O2 Arena in London to start in July 2009, initially for 10 dates but the total grew to a sold out 50 dates with over 750 000 tickets sold. all tickets sold out within minutes of being released. On June 25th 2009 just two weeks before his “This is It” concerts were due to start, Michael Jackson died suddenly of a reported cardiac arrest which was triggered by drug abuse. He was 50 years old. He will be remembered as the greatest pop star of the 21st century.
Fred Zindi is a Professor at the University of Zimbabwe. He is also a musician and an author of several books on music.
More News on allAfrica.com AllAfrica – all the Time Tue Jul 5 08:05:46 2011