Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grand opening of Everland a Liberian Orphanage built with funds donated by Michael Jackson Fans.

 Everland Children's Home in Liberia is completed. It was built with donations from Michael Jackson's fans. I, so proud of all the Mj fans who supported and promoted this effort. We really can honor Michael by making the world a better place and keeping his charitable Legacy alive through our good works.~ Qbee


Fermanagh doctor’s Christmas Day with African orphans

WHILE the rest of us will be opening presents on Christmas morning Garrison native, Dr Patrick Treacy, will be opening an orphanage in Liberia in west Africa in honour of his friend, the late Michael Jackson.

Healing Bed once used by Michael donated by Dr. Treacy

The internationally renowned surgeon has been given the role of Honorary Ambassador by Michael Jackson fans from around the world and invited to open the Everland Children’s Home on Christmas Day.

In attendance will be the Vice President of Liberia and other government dignitaries.

“It is an honour to be asked. The fans got together to build this orphanage and it is a fitting tribute to Michael and all the work he did in Africa and I am very honoured to be asked to open it.”

The Everland Children’s Orphanage was built on two acres of land near Liberia’s capital of Monrovia.

The land was originally owned by a local church and mission school dedicated to children’s welfare in the largest slum community around Monrovia.

“Michael Jackson gave so much of himself, of his time, his heart, and his talents,” Dr Treacy revealed.

“In 1993, he gave all the profits from 67 concerts over eighteen months on the Dangerous World Tour to the Heal the World Foundation. In 1999, he organised a series of benefit concerts with Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti from which he donated the total proceeds to the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund”, the Red Cross and UNESCO.”

In keeping with Jackson’s dream of a children’s hospital, it is hoped that Everland will also encompass a small clinic as the nearest medical facility is over two hours drive away.

“I have never been to Liberia as most of my travels to Africa have been along the east coast and I certainly did not envisage going out there on Christmas Day, but when the request came to open the orphanage there was only one place I was going to be.”

Since Liberia is not considered a safe destination for travellers, it has become somewhat a forgotten land and, by default, the suffering children there are forgotten too.

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, torn apart by war, ravaged by poverty, and recently overrun with barefooted children arriving alone from the neighbouring war-torn Ivory Coast.

“It is not a very safe country and it can be forgotten about so I am delighted that this orphanage has been built and it is a fitting legacy to the work that Michael did. Michael never asked for anything in return for what he did, except for one thing. “Help me to help the children”, he wrote. If his spirit is anywhere, it is with needy children throughout the world.”


Dr Treacy Visits with the children and opens Everland on behalf of the fans on Chrismas day

Speech from Dr Treacy
Honorary Ambassador for Michael Jackson fans at the opening ceremony

" Friends and Government Dignitaries,

We have started a new century, a new millennium. The first ten years have been some of the most brutal the planet has ever encountered. The century started with terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Liberia underwent its second civil war. Liberia to oust a leadership that had made this country internationally known as a pariah state. These actions dragged this great nation into other conflicts in Sierra Leone and left 250,000 people dead and devastated this nation's economy. These wars cast a dark shadow over humanity: Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil wars and their consequent economic upheaval, but about 85% of the population continue to live below the intenretional poverty line. So much violence, so much bloodshed, so much agony to children but the watching world will not stand back and remain indifferent.

Seventy years ago, World War 2 ended, Liberia had joined the Allies and helped rid the world of the evils of Nazism. Liberia was a founding member of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. It stood up for for the destitute, for the victims of disease and injustice. And then it entered a dark period from which it is now slowly emerging. It is fitting that we are all here today to remember the legacy of Michael Jackson, someone I am privileged to call my friend, somebody who often stood alone to fend for the children in the world. Michael was very troubled by the suffering of this continent and in fact his first words to me when we met were

'Thank you so much for helping the people of Africa'.

I had been to Africa and seen the devastation of the plague of HIV at first hand and when we discussed it, there was tears in his eyes and he said we had to do something together for the people of Africa. He planned to hold a great concert in an abandoned airfield in Rwanda and we would fly there together in his private plane and then down to see his great friend, Nelson Mandela. Sadly, these events were not to happen and the world lost one of its great humanitarians.

Michael Jackson brought light where there was darkness, hope where there was despair; he never turned away from cruelty when he could give compassion. Following the 1984 Victory Tour, Michael donated his $5 million share from the tour's profits to charity. In 1985, he co-wrote the single "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie and donated all of the proceeds to help the needy in Africa. Almost 20 million copies of "We Are the World" were sold, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. The project raised millions for famine relief.

Michael Jackson felt the pain of the hungry children of Africa, walking for miles with swollen bellies, dying without dignity in the night as the rest of the world emptied its supermarket food waste into the bins of New York, London and Dublin. He knew and felt deeply about a continent ravaged by civil war and pestilence where children were forced to hack off limbs of their parents and eat the beating hearts of other humans. None of these children asked to become involved in an adult war, where man’s inhumanity to each other is only outdone by the evil that lies within their hearts. There are times when we all feel that God has abandoned this world, the terrible earthquake in Haiti, the bloody streets of Northern Ireland, and at evening time when shadows fall over the coffin makers in Nairobi as another HIV infected child is put back into the earth from which they were born. Well, I say to you here today that there is a God who looks down on all of this wrong and he brought us an angel in the form of Michael Jackson to help to solve it.

This building is a testament to the Humanitarian legacy to the Michael Jackson, built by his wonderful fans and it will be remembered by generations as yet unborn. This is a story of regeneration of the human spirit here in the heart of Africa, a part of the world that my very dear to the great singer. Let's be grateful to God that he sent us such a person to live amongst us for a while and leave us this wonderful legacy. We cannot be indifferent to the wrongs in this world that we see around us. Already, the Michael Jackson Legacy Foundation is making plans to open another Everland in Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people sleep under plastic sheets at night and like Monrovia have to suffer some of the worst rains on this planet.

I see the kids in the street with not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their need?
They follow each other on the wind ya know?
'Cause they got nowhere to go, that's why I want you to know

Well now they have somewhere to go - it's here. It's called Everland Children's Home."

To learn more visit Michael Jackson's Legacy - Facebook
Your donations will be giving these children, not only food, clothing, education, and love, but a place to call home. A home called Everland. We can and we will make this world a better place.

If you would like to discuss this with other fans join us at MJJCommunity

Friday, December 14, 2012

"ULTIMATE" Holiday gift for any Michael Jackson fan on your list.

Are you a Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Bestie of a MJ fan

Want to have them squeal with delight this year when they open their gift.
(yes the men will too)   LOL   Then give them the ...

BAD 25 - Deluxe Collectors Edition 
This is the "ULTIMATE" Holiday gift to give to any MJ fan on your Christmas list.
The ultimate fan experience, enclosed in a unique HQ faux leather BAD-themed case.
Order now  and they will recieve it in plenty of time for Chrismas.

This limited-edition collection includes a variety of rarities and memorabilia

• HQ faux leather BAD-themed case
w/  zippers buckles and all
• (3 CD / 1 DVD )  Booklets, sticker, Double sided Poster
Cd1 Original Bad album tracks / Cd2 Unreleased and remixes
Cd3 Live BAD concert album /  DVD Live  BAD Wembly concert

• Exclusive t-shirt design by artist Nate Giorgio (not available anywhere else!)
Request size with order Small, Med, LG, XL
• Reproduction of the original 1988 BAD Tour Program

I Just Can’t Stop Loving You 7" Single (Vinyl)
Baby Be Mine B side
• BAD25 noise isolating in-ear earphone (3.5mm in-ear earphone)
imprinted with BAD25 Logo
• All-access backstage VIP pass and lanyard •
• Concert ticket replica (Date Sat, July 16 1988)

Deluxe Collectors Editon Unboxing 

This beautiful, collection is available only through the Michael Jackson webstore.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michael Jackson The Untold Humanitarian Work

Im so happy you enjoyed the sweet Christmas story about Michael so in the same light . Today I would like to feature some beautiful videos that highlight the many charitable and humanitarian efforts of Michael Jackson throughout his life. While his fans are well aware of these stories they are mainly ignored by the media, so much of the general public is not aware. We can teach and enlighten the world by sharing the stories and videos that show how kind and generous Michael really was not only to children but to all of mankind.  ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson The Untold Humanitarian Work  Part 1

Michael Jackson The Untold Humanitarian Work Part 2

Michael Jackson is a true Humanitarian, an example to us all. He has devoted much time and money to a wide range of charities. He loves children and takes time out when touring secretly visting sick children. He also has special rooms at his home Neverland for sick and terminally ill children to stay over. He was listed in the 2000 edition of the Guiness Book Of World Records for breaking the world record for the "Most Charities Supported By a Pop Star". It states that Michael Jackson has supported 39 charity organizations either with monetary donations through sponsorships of their projects or by participating in their silent auction. 

Source: Produced and uploaded by phonochristland

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michael Jackson Was Santa to 300 Manilla Orphans

I just wanted to share this beautiful Christmas story  about Michael Jackson and the love and generosity he shared with the Children and people of Manila  during his HIStory tour in December 0f 1996.  In the true spirit of Christmas not only did  Michael  play Santa  to the delight of over 300 orphans he also took time to visit children a Manila community hospital and donate proceeds from his HIStory  tour to them.  Of course we know Michael didn't need the excuse of Christmas to be so loving, kind and generous, he did this all over the world throughout his tours.  I hope you enjoy this lovely Christmas story. ~ Qbee

A close encounter with MJ in Manila
By Gwen Cariño (The Philippine Star) Updated July 11, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - (The author, Gwen Cariño a former PR officer of the Manila Hotel,
 writes about her experience with hotel guest Michael Jackson in December 1996.)

When I was a public relations officer at Manila Hotel, I was assigned to head the annual Orphan’s Christmas Party where 300 children from different orphanages around Metro Manila were treated to a day of fun and surprises. It was one of the biggest projects on my plate and it was such a challenge to focus on work the day before the big event, knowing Michael Jackson was billeted in the hotel.

Two nights before, I had been fortunate to be part of his welcome line at the hotel lobby together with the rest of the PR and sales staff and saw him walk by.

The day before, a guy claiming to be Michael Jackson’s aide from Mamarao Productions came to the office. I couldn’t recall his name but he looked for the “person in charge“ and said his boss had read the announcement about the event in the Dear Guest flyers we had circulated to all the rooms a week before. Michael wanted to know how he could help. His aide went up to the Penthouse and down to the PR office several times after we gave our suggestions.

Michael offered to fill up the 300 loot bags with goodies and toys, candies and chocolates. But after getting close to 50 sponsors, it was actually a problem for us to dispose of everything.

So I thought hard... how can the King of Pop meaningfully join the affair? I couldn’t possibly have him be with the kids in the palayok game or the pabitin as he might end up being mobbed! And since the annual event was really all about giving, I mustered all my courage and told the Mamarao guy that the best thing I could think of was for Michael to literally be present to help distribute the loot bags, sign autographs and pose with the children for photos.

“Wow, that may not be easy. You’re talking about handing goodie bags to 300 children and I can just imagine the chaos. We’ll see. I’ll get back to you,” he said.

Lunch break came and it was the most hurried one I ever took in my life. It wasn’t until after 5 p.m. that Michael’s aide came back and said, “Michael is more than happy to do whatever you suggest. How do we go about it tomorrow?” I wanted to scream. I had to calm myself and regain composure as the Lizzie Maguire in me said, “Get real, get back into focus.”

We agreed that Michael would come in after the games, musical program and snacks, at the last part to give out the loot bags. My colleague Annette Africano and boss Dulce Agnir requested for additional security around the garden and the stage area as this was where we decided to distribute the gifts. We made sure the children would form an orderly line.

Then the moment arrived. It was at the Champagne Gardens on Dec. 7, 1996. I was surprised to see him walking towards us, guided by his aide. Michael came up to me as I had to brief him.

“Hi, how are you? Thanks so much for letting me in, I know I’m early ’cause I didn’t want to miss the program.”
I said, “Are you kidding? Thanks so much for volunteering! Here’s what Michael – why don’t you just sit here and watch the musical numbers before we get into the gift giving. I will have to tweak the program a bit.”

He replied, “Sure, anything you say... (pausing to look at my name tag) Gwen!” I was stunned at how incredibly sweet and modest he was. And in my mind it was, “Oh my God, this is really happening!”

Amazing how he patiently sat through the whole program. Carol Banawa, then an “Ang TV” mainstay couldn’t believe MJ was watching her perform. She had her red blouse signed by him right after her number.

Then followed Stefano Mori’s dance number. Later, his back up singers and dancers came up on stage followed by select kids from different orphanages who danced to the beat of ‘Billie Jean’. Oh, the smile on Michael’s face was just amazing.

Then we announced that Michael will be distributing gifts onstage. I explained to him that there’s a loot bag for the younger kids and another for the older ones and he nodded. The thrill and excitement he gave those children was incredibly touching. It was in between the gift bag distribution that I caught a glimpse of MJ, not as a performer but as a person.

It was one in the afternoon. Santa Claus (David Endriga, a friend of fellow PR officer Francis Capistrano) was with us. The heat was scorching and I was worried that Michael felt so hot with his black long-sleeved signature attire and hat.

“Are you alright Michael? We can let you take a break,” I asked.

He said, “I’m cool, Gwen. Just imagine how Santa feels inside his velvet suit and beard. We’ll be fine.”

I never heard him complain or say a word about how hot it was or how long the line was. He had the most beautiful manners. He didn’t even ask for a drink or a towel to wipe his sweat but one of our banquet staff made sure he got a glass of fresh orange juice.

An hour passed and we were halfway through gift-giving when we noticed that the garden was getting filled up. Suddenly, there were people from media, politicians, officials and hotel guests, including those in a wedding reception at the nearby Champagne Room who deserted the newlyweds just to get a glimpse of the King of Pop.

“Oh, this isn’t supposed to be, I’m so sorry,” I said.

“It’s all right, we’ll get through it,” Michael said, smiling. As we finished giving out the last loot bag to an 11-year-old orphan, a new line of more kids and adults formed. Michael’s bodyguard, Wayne, said. “We can leave now.”

Michael replied calmly, “We can’t leave when there are still people in line. It’s Christmas, dude.”

I felt my heart beat faster and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. He wasn’t just the most electrifying performer, but the most generous person.

One of the most memorable moments was when a lady came up to him for an autograph. Laughing and holding his tummy, he said “Hey Gwen, you’ve gotta check this out.” He whispered, “It’s a blank check. The lady is making me sign on a blank check.”

We laughed hard and little did we know that it wasn’t even half of the comedy. He later showed me and Wayne other stuff people would use or pick up on the ground when they couldn’t find paper for him to sign on. One lady made him sign at the back of her elegant, designer Filipiniana gown. One teenager came up to him holding a dead leaf and another one, a popped balloon. Imagine how our laughter ballooned as well.

It was an amazing, genuine experience. At one point he asked if I was going to catch his History concert and I said, “Tomorrow night.”

“Oh, you’ll have a blast!” Michael told me.

At this point he became concerned about the stage as adults outnumbered the kids. His face had nervousness written all over it but he still didn’t complain. He tapped the wooden floor with his foot several times making sure it was sturdy enough not to fall apart.

“I’ve experienced the stage collapse and I just want to make sure we’re all safe here,” he explained.

Half of me wanted the line to finish because we were literally melting and worried about our safety, but half of me didn’t, knowing that once the line ended, Michael would leave.

At some point it did end. I managed to get an autograph for my sisters and me before our general manager, Clem Pablo, requested him to sing ‘Give Love on Christmas Day’.

Cesar Sarino, one of the hotel’s officials, addressed his thank you note to the King of Pop. Then I saw his guards and aides whisking Michael off stage. I said in my mind, “Oh man, I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye.”

Suddenly, I saw Michael return on stage and say, “Thanks so much to you and your team, Gwen. This really means a lot.” Then he held me beside him and said, “I’ll see you at the concert.”

As Michael Jackson is laid to rest and returned to pristine condition in the afterlife, these two incredible acts of the King of Pop – volunteering for charity and unselfishly spending time with the less fortunate – will forever be the way I will remember this man.

P.S. During his last day at the Manila Hotel, Jackson also left a message on his bathroom mirror. He wrote," I'll miss you!" using a red lipstick and placed a kiss mark beside the message.


Michael also visited the Parañaque Community Hospital during his stay in Manila

06 December 1996, Philippines Manila - Michael Jackson History World Tour concert in Manila was a huge success, with 145,000 Filipinos turning up to watch him live on Dec. 8 and 10. Before performing, Michael Jackson visited the pediatric ward of Parañaque Community Hospital where he kissed and hugged several babies and met young patient, and with town officials.

Michael donated part of his earning on his HIStory Tour Manila for the renovation of the hospital, the Philippine officials said the hospital had received a donation from the singer but refused to say how much.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Exclusive Premiere: Musicians From Michael Jackson's BAD Tour Recall Their Experiences after watching BAD25

This is so exciting for me.  So nice to see them all together remembering Michael and the great times they had being a part  of Michael visison. I  know  many of you feel just like me  that they are familiar like family after seeing them perform so many many times with Michael.  I just wish it was longer.  I could listen to the stories all day long.  Enjoy ~ Qbee

Today premieres  this exclusive, 12-minute, in-depth interview clip from the 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's Bad.  After they watched the BAD Tour documentary.

The footage features the live musicians and vocalist who  performed and played instruments like guitar, drums and keyboards on the BAD tour, including Dorian Holley, Jennifer Batten, Greg Phillinganes and more .. recalling and reflecting on life on the road and Michael.
Enjoy this clip, as the artists who experienced it give their perspective on one of the most memorable and important tours of the modern era. They were there; they lived it. So hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Watch video at the link below. They don't allow embedding.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Michael Jackson: Bad 25 - Takes a Bite out of Thanksgiving and Leaves quite an indelible image once it’s finished.

I really love this article. It seem there is nothing but priase for Spike Lee's Documentary and with the Estate  securing all Michaels  personal debt we have much to be thankful for. Its is a good week indeed.  There isnt much I can say or add...  "It is finished." Just thankful we can continue to enjoy your work and art for all time.   Just speaking for all fans I will say  "We Love you Michael.. You always make us so us proud"   ~ Qbee 

Michael Jackson: Bad 25 takes bit out of Thanksgiving Holiday Television programming for ABC and leaves quite an indelible image once it’s finished.

 It couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time than on Thanksgiving evening as ABC has scheduled the television premiere of Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed documentary “Bad 25.”

The documentary had its public premiere at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this year and was released into theaters shortly afterwards. According to ABC, Lee trimmed almost an hour for the television version, nevertheless, critics say it will still have enough bit to be thankful for on this turkey night.

Award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee, reaches into the Michael Jackson catalog of hit albums and pulls out the one production that represents the opus of Jackson’s life, consumed with music and the inaccurate view that he was immorally bad. Lee craftily captures the pop star’s pain and glory, pictured with arms outstretched, head back in a Christ like posture on the cross. This one Lee got right. The director understood Michael’s the complex history. Clearly “Bad” appeared designed to tell the story only Lee could tell.

Undoubtedly, Jackson’s 1987 follow-up album represents not only his career peak, solidifying him as the “King of Pop,” it also epitomized the most accurate overall portrait of the fallen creative idol.

You have to applaud Lee. The documentary is a terrifically warm, affectionate and celebratory study of the “Bad” album, and Lee simply wanted to clear the tabloid smoke of erroneous sensationalism, and bring the focus back to Jackson’s professional craftsmanship and musical genius.

The film ABC will show its viewing audience tonight is a reassessment of Jackson the quintessential entertainer. Moreover, when all is said and done, it is clearly a stronger tribute to the musical monarch’s creative persona than 2009′s hasty hit “This Is It.”

A Spike Lee joint as the film is branded, but who could argue with the straight-ahead, which exhibits his unmistakable fingerprints throughout the narrative; a narrative I might remind you that reflects less of the firebrand filmmaker’s touch than much of his other nonfiction works. Lee’s personality is largely muted so as not to impose on that of Jackson, with whom Lee enjoyed a firsthand friendship. Nevertheless, it Lee’s firsthand friendship that brings forth a Michael many observers never knew.

If you’re one of those looking for a more critically insightful view on Jackson’s output you won’t find such a portrait in Michael Jackson: Bad 25; it’s not that complicated. Even devoted interviewees, admit to certain artistic miscalculations on “Bad,” such as the missed opportunity of lackluster Stevie Wonder collaboration “Just Good Friends,” or the curious choice of MOR ballad “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as the propulsive LP’s lead single.

There were several tasty nuggets unearthed by Lee in the film, for instance, “Bad,” the single, was initially conceived as a Whitney Houston duet; when the soul diva, another prematurely departed pillar of 1980′s pop culture, presents Jackson with a career tribute in a choice bit of archive footage, which Lee was able to subtly integrate into the documentary.

Lee begins the journey by looking at Jackson’s earlier album, Thriller, which established the singer’s extraordinary global dominance. And then “Bad” comes along, during a time in Jackson’s life he was beginning to feel as though his star was beginning to wane. Audiences seemed to be seeking something new, and Prince appeared on the scene as the new pop sensation as a time when hip-hop was first emerging. Moreover, Michael felt he was being criticized on the issue of African-American solidarity and also for having allegedly failed to exert enough raunchy virility. Lee’s penetrating efforts palpably expose some of this pain, which was quite real to Jackson.

“Bad” intended to change all of Jackson’s shortcomings: an intensely competitive counteroffensive, which effectively separated itself from all competition as the first album to be conceived on a stadium scale. Jackson had in mind a bold new video, or “short film” based on the true-life story of a black boy shot by a New York cop. Scorsese directed the film that showed Jackson as a shy student, confronting Wesley Snipes’s tough guy, outfacing him with his dance moves and finally getting street respect: he’s “Bad.” Lee allows the audience to pick up on this as he seeks to demonstrate that Michael’s art imitated life; his life.

I’m hopeful that ABC and Lee were able to keep a fairly funny interview showing Scorsese and his editor Thelma Schoonmaker watching the film now, with a touch of bemusement. Obviously, he isn’t convincing as a warrior, but the point is that Michael Jackson, that delicate pop aesthete, alchemizes his vulnerability and naivety into pure strength. And it works: he really is and was “Bad.” Lee takes no credit as he clearly puts Michael Jackson’s brilliance and glory on the stage for all to see.

Lee makes sure the audience is aware of Jackson’s distinct dance talent is not taken for granite as he links it to a tradition encompassing Fred Astaire and Buster Keaton, and he makes a persuasive claim that Michael is a centrally important figure in that tradition.

Unlike Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley, Jackson did not make conventional feature films, and so we don’t have that as a visual resource, and of course the videos and live footage, startling and brilliant though they are, can’t give us an extended view of what Jackson was like in ordinary, walking-and-talking real life. Moreover, his interviews were rare, and almost always guarded. Nevertheless, Jackson vigorous work towards perfection produced supreme artistic accomplishment and is cleverly revealed by Jackson with aching pain and triumphant glory.

Lee emphasizes what Jackson’s achieved in the public arena, and his exuberant reverence for the lonely Pop King is contagious throughout.

No narration is necessary since the upside of Lee’s closeness to his subject – and, of course, his individual clout – is that he’s been able to assemble a growing ensemble of top-drawer celebrity names, from super-producer Quincy Jones and “Bad” video director Martin Scorsese to longtime entourage members to fans like Mariah Carey and a typically boisterous Kanye West. The latter contingent adds youth appeal to this silver-anniversary nostalgia piece, though one wonders if Lee is sometimes cheekily using them to further flatter his subject.

Lee also makes sure he shows Jackson’s relevance as he includes a scene where current teen phenom Justin Bieber remarks that Jackson’s video for “The Way You Make Me Feel” was an influence on his own hit “Baby,” the artistic disparity between them is politely implicit.

“Bad 25″ is refreshingly uninterested in celebrity mythos, focusing principally on the practical and physical nuts and bolts of Jackson’s talent as a songwriter, producer, dancer and vocalist. (Another archive rarity that will thrill fans is a recording of one of Jackson’s vocal coaching sessions.) In this regard, Lee’s unstylish but methodical structure for the documentary moving through the album on a track-by-track basis, the cinematic equivalent of highly detailed liner notes – proves an asset; and for the documentary to keep its magical continuity the edited version prepared for ABC must maintain this chronological approach.

If the edit is able to retain Lee’s full vision, it will doubtlessly reflect TIME Magazine’s accurate critique stating that it’s “an intimate view of a performer at his peak in the intense splendor of creativity.”

The requisite montage of interviewees’ “where was I when … ” reactions to Jackson’s death is attached to a specific song, the self-realization anthem “Man in the Mirror,” which proved the biggest radio hit from his catalogue in the immediate wake of his passing, isn’t allowed to overwhelm the dominant spirit of musical celebration.

The documentary’s final image is taken from film of his famous July 16, 1998 concert at Wembley Stadium in England of the “Bad Tour.” Jackson finishes singing “Man in the Mirror,” which proved the biggest radio hit from his catalog in the immediate wake of his passing. It was a song that has become Jackson’s unofficial anthem; but the closing image was particularly important to Spike Lee as Jackson throws back his arms and head in a final flourish sort of resembling his tragic life.

“I am not going to say Michael was Jesus Christ,” Lee remarked in a news conference at the festival. “But if you look at the performance, he was somewhere else. That was one of the greatest performances, ever, ever, ever. He is not of this world.”

With that said, Lee was inspired to leave an indelible image of Jackson pop-star who had been so misunderstood by many whom he came across during his short lived life. So Lee, in his own genius leaves a glorious and simultaneously disturbing image on the screen for all to see, and it was “Bad” 25 years after; the image completely captured Jackson’s pain and glory.

It is interesting that the television premiere comes at a time that Jackson’s estate has reportedly paid off the last dollars on a loan connected to Mijac Music, the catalog that’s home to many songs composed by the King of Pop, including hits like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.”

According to Forbes Magazine, the payment means that the estate has eliminated the last of Jackson’s outstanding personal debts. It’s quite an amazing accomplishment considering the fact that his obligations were estimated at approximately half a billion dollars–left behind by the singer when he passed away in 2009.

The irony of such an achievement has sort of a poetic meaning when you juxtapose Forbes’ account with Lee’s climatic final image of the man, which is left on the screen as the credits roll. Perhaps, the biblical impression will ring that much more as his audience is brought closer to the real Michael and one combines Lee’s final image with the knowledge that Jackson no longer owes any man; the timing couldn’t be more perfect, at least for Michael’s sake and ours, indeed, “it is finished.”

It is finished ...Amen


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Who's BAD - Michael Jackson's Personal Debts Paid Off, Just In Time For Bad 25

I'm so proud of the phenomenal job The executors are doing  for Michael's  musical legacy and his Estate. This is certainly great  news.  Just as we get ready to celebrate Spike Lee's Bad 25 Documentary,  yet another thing to be thankful for.   Happy Thanksgiving. ~ Qbee


Michael Jackson's Personal Debts Paid Off, Just In Time For Bad 25

On the eve of the Thanksgiving debut of Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary,
 the late Michael Jackson has a lot to be thankful for.
Bad is Good: Michael Jackson's personal
 debts have been paid off, as of this week.

Yesterday a representative of the singer’s estate confirmed to FORBES that, on Monday, the estate paid off the last dollars on a loan connected to Mijac Music, the catalog that’s home to many songs composed by the King of Pop, including hits like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.”

The payment means that the estate has eliminated the last of Jackson’s outstanding personal debts (FORBES reported last month that Jackson’s personal debts would be paid off by the end of the year). That’s no small feat, considering the pile obligations–roughly half a billion dollars–left behind by the singer when he passed away in 2009.

Jackson’s estate has been able to pay off that debt earlier than expected thanks to the enduring popularity of the King of Pop and his work, which spurred earnings of $145 million over the past year alone.

Financial highlights since 2009 include a $60 million advance for concert film This Is It, which went on to become the most successful concert film in history with a worldwide gross in excess of a quarter billion dollars, as well as a new $250 million record deal with Sony, the largest ever.

More recently, the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour–a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil–grossed $160 million during its first leg, making it this year’s top tour in North America. The show now moves abroad, and is currently wending its way through Germany.

There are still some business debts left for Jackson, namely a loan that FORBES estimates at $280 million, connected to the Sony/ATV publishing catalog.

But the loan’s interest rate of 2.9%, negotiated down from 5.8% shortly after the singer’s death, seems innocuous enough–and perhaps necessary for continued expansion of the company, which is half-owned by Jackson’s estate.

Meanwhile, the show goes on. Lee’s BAD 25 documentary, which celebrates the quarter-century anniversary of Jackson’s followup to Thriller, will air on Thanksgiving at 9:30pm Eastern time on ABC.

Source:Zack O'Malley Greenburg

Monday, November 05, 2012

Michael Jackson’s 1993 Mexico Deposition Prove His Songwriting / Music IQ Were Off The Charts

Michael is going through this grueling interview in court  but it gives us a real glimpse into his genius creative process. You can see his face light up with joy when he listens to the tape of him creating the Girl is mine. It's truly a spiritual process for him to create his songs.  By the way Michael won this case against those accusing him of stealing their music. Its self evident by the tapes and his explanations that he did not. They were a gift from above just  as he said . ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson’s 1993 Mexican Deposition

Prove His Songwriting / Music IQ Were Off The Charts

The elements of songwriting are simple to some: compose a melody, get some words together and turn it all to form. For those who are songwriters in today’s mainstream music industry, assembly line pop music doesn’t necessarily count. A majority of songwriters today write songs just to get spins on the radio; which means basic song structure consisting of easily-caught melodies and words. But then there are some songwriters who are so gifted at their craft, it’s just mind-blowing on how they come up with their particular composition in terms of structure and rhythm. Michael Jackson, the late great king of pop, was, of course, a renowned entertainer whose talent was limitless in terms of the art. But it was his knowledge of musical song structure, which further pushes his claim into the songwriting Mount Rushmore.

It’s known that Jackson’s songwriting was a strong suit of his, but he never exactly went in depth into a step-by-step guide of how he takes the composition from step one to completion. At last, and ironically, amidst a deposition in Mexico which he was being questioned for a plagiarism suit, he explained in excellent detail how he composed the song “The Girl is Mine” that was featured on the Thriller album. To keep in mind, Michael Jackson didn’t physically write music, he recorded what was in his head into a tape recorder. But never mind why he was there and what exactly he composed his music on, it was his knowledge on song construction that, to me, impressed and made me cherish the gift that he had even more. He explained in the Deposition video he could compose the bass, percussion and drums all in his head. He structured the rhythm of the slow, catchy groove of The Girl is Mine; he explained how he composed the string lines of the song, he knew exactly when the bass section of the song would change into keyboard’s bass section, and he also explained that he used “musical counter lines that could go against the main part. It could be a keyboard, it could be a flute, and it could be a string part. It’s a tapestry of sound, which is what the law of music is.”

The point that he had no formal musical composition training: besides learning from his fellow Motown label mates as a member of the Jackson 5, makes his songwriting gifts a rarity. And it’s safe to assume he was only 23 at the time of the composition, which was a prelude to the strong body of work that would originate from years to come. From the self-composed numbers of “Billie Jean”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Leave Me Alone”, “Heal the World”, “Stranger in Moscow”, and “Earth Song”, the musical composition talent Michael Jackson possessed is a constant reminder of the creativity that flowed through him.

While of course, no one is exactly taught to have sounds that would be in popular music, not everyone understands the magnitude and importance of each musical instrument, the melody, structure and arrangement of a song. It should make the musical mind wonder if there are any tapes of how he exactly composed his landmark songs such as “Billie Jean” and “Earth Song” and the others I named previously. Musical Geniuses may not be born, but some come with the pre-loaded craft to mold and build. Michael Jackson’s musical IQ was a rare but brilliant ability that some musicians and classically trained musicians/singers do not possess. I’ll end with a quote from Michael Jackson about letting a song create itself:

“Don’t write the song, don’t write anything. Let the song create itself. Let the strings tell you what to do and where it should come. Let the piano tell you what chords to hit. Let the bass tell you what it should be doing.” ~ MJ


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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Michael Jackson: Nearly back in the black.

The Estate attorneys are on the ball. Great work in getting the exuberant interest rates lowered on these high debts on the catalogs so they can pay them off quicker. Plus the lucrative projects showing Michael's earning power still thrives. ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson's Personal Debts To Be Paid Off By Year's End
When Michael Jackson passed away in June 2009, his departure was met by the grieving of millions of fans around the world—and by a great deal of discussion and speculation over the fate of the half-billion dollars he owed to creditors ranging from big banks to “Thriller” director John Landis.

Michael Jackson: Nearly back in the black.
Many questions have been answered over the past three years as the King of Pop’s estate has continued to pull in nine figures on an annual basis, most recently $145 million over the past year. And according to representatives from the estate, the late singer’s personal debts will be paid off by the end of the year.

The last major non-business loan left is connected to Jackson’s Mijac Music, the entity that contains the copyrights to the songs he wrote over the course of his career. Shortly after the singer’s death, the estate started paying off a $75 million loan he had taken out against the catalog, negotiating the interest rate down from an exorbitant 15.5% to a very manageable 4%. The final payments on are set to be made this fall.

It’s a major milestone for Michael Jackson’s growing postmortem business empire, especially considering where the estate began. After the singer’s death, it appeared that many of his assets were close to default, if not already there. But a handful of deals—including a $60 million advance for the concert film This Is It and a $250 million record deal with Sony, the largest in history—gave the estate the steady cash flow needed to pay off creditors.

In addition to paying down the massive loan on Mijac Music, the estate has paid $35 million owed to concert promoter AEG (in connection with Jackson’s planned This Is It tour) and the $4.1 million mortgage on the Jackson family estate in Encino, Calif. Smaller debts to individuals have been renegotiated and resolved, including an agreement with Landis, who had alleged that Jackson still owed him $2.3 million in 2009.

A substantial business loan ($280 million, by FORBES’ estimate) remains on Jackson’s 50% stake in the Sony/ATV publishing catalog. The singer shrewdly bought the entity’s precursor, ATV, for $47.5 million in 1985 after recognizing the value of the rights to songs it contained by The Beatles. Ten years later he merged the catalog with Sony’s publishing catalog after the company paid him $100 million as part of the deal, retaining half of the newly-formed combined entity for himself.

Today, the Sony/ATV catalog itself is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion, thanks to its ownership of copyrights by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and others. The interest rate on Jackson’s loan connected to the catalog has been sliced from 5.8% to 2.9% since his death. At that low rate, paying back the loan quickly, in full, may not even be financially expedient—the company’s funds could be better utilized by buying up new, money-generating copyrights. That said, given Jackson’s postmortem earnings prowess, the estate could probably pay off that loan fairly soon if necessary.

The singer’s Immortal World Tour, a joint venture with Cirque Du Soleil, has grossed $160 million this year, making Michael Jackson the top-grossing live act in North America three years after his death. Other deals–including one with Pepsi, Jackson’s first endorsement pact in two decades–should continue to add to the estate’s coffers. Not even John Landis could have imagined such a resurrection.

For more on the business behind the King of Pop, sign up for news on my upcoming book, Michael Jackson, Inc (Simon & Schuster, 2014). You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By: Zack O'Malley Greenburg

Friday, October 19, 2012

Michael Jackson Bad25 Documentary Trailer

This  60-second trailer previews the documentary film by award-winning director Spike Lee, celebrates the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's landmark "BAD" album and tour.

Spike Lee's BAD25 Documentary to air on ABC Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 22 9:30-11:00 p.m. EST on ABC

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Michael Jackson Doc 'BAD25' Coming to Movie Theaters in New York and Los Angeles

Wow this is very exciting news. I wont be able to attend but Its great Promo for BAD25  exciting for MJ fans and Im not sure but  think it may make the Documentary eligible for and Oscar nomination. ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson Doc 'BAD25'
Coming to Movie Theaters in New York and Los Angeles

The Spike Lee-directed film, which recently debuted at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, will see exclusive one-week engagements on the coasts beginning Oct. 19.

The Spike Lee-directed documentary BAD25, which chronicles the making of Michael Jackson's 1987 hit album and recently debuted at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, will see a limited theatrical run beginning Oct. 19. That's when fans in Los Angeles and New York will be able to screen the doc in exclusive one-week engagements (see locations and dates below).

The doc is one of several projects timed to the 25th anniversary of Bad. They include a deluxe package of remastered music along with a second disc of 13 rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks, as well as the first ever DVD and live CD from the Bad world tour (shot and recorded on July 16, 1988 at Wembley stadium).

Said John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of The Estate of Michael Jackson, in a statement: “Spike was the only choice for us when we decided to open up the archives and make this documentary. He has done a masterful job taking the audience behind the scenes and revealing how this ‘coming of age’ project was created.”

 See BAD25 screening information below:
New York: Oct. 19 to 26 at AMC Loews Theater; 66 Third Ave.
Los Angeles:  Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 at Chinese 6 Theaters; 6801 Hollywood Blvd.

After the theater run, BAD25 will air on ABC on Thanksgiving night (Nov. 22).


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spike Lee calls media treatment of MJ 'shameful'

TORONTO -- Spike Lee's new documentary "Bad 25" captures Michael Jackson in the turbulent time before he crafted 1987's "Bad," a period when the notoriously meticulous King of Pop worked with feverish obsession on trying to top his own megahit "Thriller" while the tabloids vigorously devoured the remnants of his personal life.

But even after "Bad" made good and topped charts around the world, the album's release saw the decided shift of attention from Jackson's pristine pop to his apparently bizarre personal behaviour (Chimps! Amusement parks! The Elephant Man's bones!).

And for that media-fuelled rubbernecking, Lee says there's plenty of shame to go around.

"People, they had the hater-ade. They were drinking hater-ade," the two-time Academy Award nominee said in an interview from a swanky hotel suite Saturday during the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie screened.

"Read the reviews of the 'Bad' album. They wrote like this was some piece of (crap). And (they) don't call him by his name -- 'Wacko Jacko?' It's shameful.... Those people should be ashamed what they did to him."

And while Lee's reverential film remains studiously focused on Jackson's work, it also reveals much about an intensely private man who really never experienced privacy.

"Bad 25" picks up in the wake of the titanic success of Jackson's second album as an adult solo artist, 1982's game-changing stunner "Thriller." The best-selling album of all time, "Thriller"'s sales numbers are still too gaudy to believe -- after all, it's been certified platinum 29 times over in the U.S. alone while going twice diamond in Canada.

But Jackson wasn't satisfied with that. Just as he was determined to make "Thriller" a much bigger success than his 1979 disco-informed classic "Off the Wall," Jackson thought he could similarly top the biggest hit of all time. As Lee's film uncovers, Jackson even used to scrawl "100,000,000" on mirrors and notebooks as a reminder to himself of the impossibly lofty sales number he wanted to achieve with "Bad."

Of course, that produced an almost unprecedented amount of self-imposed pressure for a pop artist.

So Lee's film captures Jackson obsessing over not just the 11 tracks that formed "Bad" but also its ambitious music videos (one of which was directed by film luminary Martin Scorsese), the choreography of the album's eventual epic tour (which included a show in front of 72,000 fans at London's Wembley Stadium) or even bits of promotional minutiae only tangentially related to Jackson's music.

(As an example, one of the film's lighter moments arrives in the form of self-shot archival footage of Jackson acting out specific instructions for the animators of a California Raisin commercial that was to feature his image).

Lee says Jackson believed that he couldn't stop pushing himself or everything he had worked to build would deteriorate.

"He was not stupid," said Lee, clad in a glittering Michael Jackson T-shirt with matching custom Nike kicks.

"He saw people, black artists, who were at the top and then broke. He saw many great black artists who were confined to just being black artists.

"Michael's about breaking boundaries."

Still, Lee can't necessarily relate to Jackson's unyielding eye for detail.

"There's nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. Now, me, I'm not going to do 80 takes like David Fincher of somebody picking up a magazine. I'm not going to do that!" he adds, laughing as he picks up and slams a nearby lifestyle mag for emphasis.

"But it was his money.... He put his money into his work."

And Lee does identify with Jackson in other ways.

The legendary filmmaker behind "Do the Right Thing" and "Malcolm X" was born in 1957, a year before Jackson.

He vividly recalls seeing Jackson as the overwhelmingly gifted young phenom headlining the Jackson 5 when they first shimmied across the stage at "The Ed Sullivan Show." Years later, Lee was a film-school student left so enthralled by the videos for "Thriller," "Billie Jean" and, yes, "Bad," that he aspired to helm such clips himself.

So when Jackson died in summer 2009 after a cardiac arrest (his doctor, Conrad Murray, was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter), Lee was devastated.

"I was messed up for months about that," said the 55-year-old. "I grew up with Michael. I'm a year older than him. When I was 10, he was nine. So I didn't know him, but I saw him grow up."

Along with Lee's film, the 25th anniversary of "Bad" is being celebrated with a spiffy new deluxe re-release on Tuesday.

The new two-disc set includes a remastered version of the original album, plus a slate of worthy B-sides that were once axed from its concise tracklist. (With characteristic honesty, Lee dismisses a portion of the second disc's new material, screwing his face into a frown as he warns: "Forget about the remixes.")

Lee doesn't think there's room for debate over how the record -- which featured such hits as the title track, "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Smooth Criminal" -- wears its age.

"Look at the Billboard charts when 'Bad' was released 25 years ago, and then listen to those songs, and see if they still sound contemporary or dated," said Lee, whose film will air on ABC on Nov. 22 in Canada.

"'Bad' still stands up. Those other songs that were on the Top 10 list 25 years ago? Who were they? Thin Lizzy? Are we still speaking about those people?" he asks incredulously. (In actual fact, Billboard's Top 10 the first week "Bad" topped the charts included Whitney Houston's sophomore album alongside the "La Bamba" soundtrack and records by Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Heart.)

"The greats will stand the test of time. It's not even an argument."

Although Lee has condemned those who eagerly gawked at Jackson's downfall (the film doesn't cover the accusations of child sexual abuse brought against the singer in 1993), he does admit to some level of curiosity about one specific element of Jackson's life: his gradually lightening skin tone.

While it was later reported that Jackson's colour was changing due to the skin condition vitiligo and treatments for lupus, Lee watched the transition with some interest.

"Black folks were wondering about (that) -- I'm not going to lie," Lee said with a chuckle, pinching his own skin. "Because Michael never came public that he had this disease. I was one of them. Like, 'Wait a minute man. What's up brother?'

"I'm not going to lie. That's full disclosure. And I'm not speaking on behalf of 45 million African Americans, but there were discussions about Michael's complexion."

Of course, there were discussions about virtually every element of Jackson's life.

Lee had access to a deep well of sensational archival footage, supplementing original interviews conducted with Jackson collaborators including Scorsese and director Joe Pytka (as well as such admirers as Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Canada's Justin Bieber) with clips of Jackson in the studio or warming up on video sets.

But amid all the shots of Jackson fervently fretting over some seemingly insignificant tone or lyric, there are revealing insights about the strange way he lived his life.

This is a man who adopted devious disguises just to meet up with his brothers for dinner, whose every public appearance devolved into hysteria and whose earliest memories of childhood were indivisible from showbiz.

"He had to sing and dance to eat since he was six years old," Lee said simply.

At one point in the film, a teary-eyed confidante of Jackson's relates a conversation they shared in which the singer yearned to be a fly on the wall at a party, to see what normal people talked about.

And one of the bonus tracks on "Bad 25" is the knotted, claustrophobic "Price of Fame," in which Jackson laments the cost of dealing with the demands of a massive audience that's blindly obsessed with him.

Lee doesn't think long when asked what that cost was.

"Look, he's not here. He's not here. Not in this physical form," he replies.

"You get to be the most recognizable person on this planet, there's a price for that.... You could say he paid with his life, really."


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad': Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos

Author Joseph Vogel and Matt forger, a recording engineer and longtime Jackson friend give us a track-by-track review of the demos and unreleased songs from the soon to be released Bad 25 Album. Ive heard some snippets of the songs and they sound great. Anticipation is building and I can hardly  I'm getting more excited and cant wait till I recieve my Deluxe  3CD and DVD Package.~ Qbee

 Abortion, Fame, and 'Bad':
Listening to Michael Jackson's Unreleased Demos

by Joseph Vogel Sep 11, 2012

The stories behind the tracks that will finally see the light of day for the album's 25th-anniversary rerelease

In late 1986, Michael Jackson was pacing in Westlake Audio's Studio D, singing to himself: "I feel so bad, I feel really bad, God music makes me feel good."

"At the time, we had no idea the name of the album was going to be called Bad," jokes assistant engineer, Russ Ragsdale.

It wasn't the only revelation for the crew at Westlake. It turned out in the interval between Thriller and the official start of the Bad sessions, Jackson had written some 60-70 new songs. Eleven ended up on the official album, leaving numerous great tracks on the cutting room floor in various stages.

Over the past couple of years, under the direction of Jackson's estate, a team has been carefully archiving and digitizing these demos. "Some tracks we found were very early recordings," says Jackson estate co-executor John Branca. "Some were actually so complete that any other artist but Michael Jackson might consider them finished tracks. Still others were in between." Of these, six demos were chosen for Disc 2 of the forthcoming Bad 25 box set (out September 18).

Recently I was given an exclusive listen to these never-before-heard demos. I was struck by how finished and enjoyable they are. These are not mere song fragments. While the production on a couple of them sounds a bit dated, all have great hooks and choruses. What makes them really special, though, is their authenticity. None have been given a modern makeover. What they offer is a more intimate picture of Jackson the recording artist, circa 1985-87. We hear his ideas, his warmth, his pain, his humor, and his energy. The best of the bunch, for me, is the gorgeous mid-tempo ballad, "I'm So Blue," though a case could easily be made for the edgy rhythm tracks, "Price of Fame" and "Al Capone." Each of these six demos (and two others that had been previously released) contains its own unique imprint—and most importantly, all are 100 percent real, unembellished Michael Jackson.

What follows is a track-by-track review with additional insights from recording engineer and longtime Jackson friend, Matt Forger:

"Don't Be Messin' 'Round"
I wrote an in-depth piece on the making of this infectious, Bossa Nova-styled rhythm track back in June when it was released as a B-side to Jackson's No. 1 hit ballad, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." You can read that piece here. A fan favorite (and a song Jackson worked on many years and for which he had great affection), it is an appropriate opener to this collection. Some day it would be fascinating for listeners to hear the extended cuts (many of Jackson's songs and demos have longer versions which he often reluctantly trimmed down at Quincy Jones's bequest) as well as its later re-incarnations.

Matt Forger: "The thing I love about these demos is the rawness. Michael had the freedom to just get the expression out there without thinking, 'Oh, Quincy is going to be judging the vocal, or it has to be perfect.' It's just Michael going for it, experimenting, having fun."

"I'm So Blue"
This is a simple but beautiful ballad about singing to keep the blues away. Its languid, wistful feel is augmented by a lush keyboard bed, airy strings and soulful harmonica. It conjures a warm, summer dusk as Jackson narrates a tale of lost love. "I've been singing for so very long," he laments. "Still I'm crying/ Tell me what should I do." The wordless chorus (sha da da da da da da) is a resigned sigh. Like the blues men of old, he takes refuge from his loneliness and sorrow in the music.

Matt Forger: "This was a song Michael worked on with me and Bill Bottrell. It was already mixed from that era. It's a mid-tempo, melancholy, rainy-day-by-the-fireplace kind of song. It's a bit reminiscent of Stevie Wonder—the harmonica, the tonality. Stevie was a big part of Michael's life. It's not unusual that you would see that influence in his work."

"Abortion Papers"
Jackson isn't the first recording artist to explore the controversial subject of abortion in song. It has also surfaced in the work of Neil Young, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor, and Lauryn Hill, among others. In "Abortion Papers," Jackson approaches the matter carefully (and ambiguously): rather than presenting a dogmatic political perspective, he personalizes it through the story of a conflicted girl raised in a deeply religious home and her Bible-admonishing father. In his notes for the track, Jackson wrote, "I have to do it in a way so I don't offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully....I have to really think about it." Jackson narrates the track with a strong, passionate vocal. Ironically, the main drawback of the track is its catchiness. It feels a bit strange wanting to dance and sing along to a song about abortion, but that's exactly what the addictive groove inspires. Kudos to Jackson for attempting to tackle a sensitive issue in a thoughtful manner, though it appears even he wasn't quite sure about how it would play to listeners.

Matt Forger: "This was a song that we initially missed during archiving. It was titled 'Song Groove' on the box so we overlooked it. Once we figured out what it was we started to put the pieces together. It was recorded by Brian Maloof and Gary O., a couple of engineers who worked with Michael for a brief time. When we heard it we knew it could be controversial, especially with what's been going on politically. But when you listen to the song there's a story being told. Michael really reflected on what the approach should be. He wasn't sure how to narrate it. There were different variations with vocals—he didn't want it to be judgmental. He was very clear about that. But he wanted to present a real, complicated situation."

"Got to be free," Jackson exclaims in this breezy ballad's conclusion. His bright, breathy vocal hearkens back to the carefree vitality of the Jacksons/Off the Wall era. The verses on this track were clearly still being worked out, but the chorus ("Free, free like the wind blows/ To fly away just like the sparrow...") and harmonies are enough to whisk one away from the worries of the day. Beautiful song.

Matt Forger: "There were times when going back and listening to this stuff was really an emotional experience for me. That was especially the case when I started working on the song, 'Free.' When you listen to this song you hear Michael's spirit and joy. It's raw, it's loose, it's him in his element, doing what he loved to do. The first time I listened to it I broke down. This is what it was like every day."

"Price of Fame"
One of the recurring themes in Jackson's work—pervasive on the Bad album and its outtakes—is about being in control versus being controlled. Given the nature of his life, particularly after Thriller, this preoccupation makes sense. How does he retain his identity, his sanity, his privacy amid such suffocating scrutiny, adulation, and expectations? Out of this context comes the dark psychological rumination, "Price of Fame," with its Police-like, "Spirits in a Material World" opening and "Billie Jean"-esque verses (there are also chords with echoes of "Who Is It"). "Father always told me you won't live a quiet life," he rues, "if you're reaching for fortune and fame." The vocal throughout is drenched in painful irony. Where "Billie Jean" relays a mother's plea to "be careful who you love," here the father dominates via harsh dictums about the realities of show business. "It's the price of fame," Jackson sings in the chorus. "So don't you feel no pain/ It's the price of fame/ So don't you ever complain." While the song's production isn't complete by Jackson's standards, it does offer a powerful vocal (listen to the way he bites into the lyric: "My father never lies!"). It is a striking juxtaposition to the easy bliss of the previous track, revealing why he so desperately yearned to fly away and be "free."

Matt Forger::"Bill [Bottrell] and I worked on this one and I believe this is Bill's mix from that era... You can just tell it's an emotionally charged song. It's clearly based on his experience. But Michael often did songs that are based on his experience but blended with other characters and people's experiences as well."

"Al Capone"
"Al Capone" sounds about as much like "Smooth Criminal" as "Streetwalker" sounds like "Dangerous" (i.e. not very much at all). In both cases, however, Jackson took elements he liked and transformed them into something completely new. It is a testament to Jackson's instincts, patience, and work ethic. While this earlier version has great potential (and likely would have been released by many of Jackson's contemporaries as is), he kept at it and came up with the timeless classic that is "Smooth Criminal." The demo also demonstrates Jackson's remarkable knack for choruses that stick. One listen and those falsetto harmonies are on repeat in the brain.

Matt Forger: "This is an example of a song where a part of it inspires the next version of the song. There have been many cases where Michael has done that, where he would dwell on a song and refine concepts, or lyrics or melodies. The bass line in 'Al Capone'—you can see how it evolved into 'Smooth Criminal.' And the whole gangster theme carried over—though as it evolved it became less about a particular historical figure and more about a situation and a story. You can also hear Michael experimenting with this staccato-type of vocal, this rapid wordplay that he would later use."

"Streetwalker" retains its place as the best of the Bad-era outtakes (closely followed by the unincluded standout, "Cheater"). While it was first released on the 2001 special edition of Bad, it is nice to have it in this collection as it fits so perfectly with the other material on the album and will now be heard by millions more listeners. Jackson actually wanted the track on the final lineup of Bad, but eventually conceded to Quincy Jones on "Another Part of Me." The song features a killer bass line, bluesy harmonica fills, and a classic Jackson vocal.

"Fly Away"
Also originally released on the 2001 special edition of Bad, this beautiful ballad is pure sonic bliss. Unlike some of the early Hayvenhurst demos, the production here is pristine and showcases Jackson's voice in sublime form.

There are a handful of remixes at the end of Disc 2, intended, no doubt, to introduce Jackson to a new generation of listeners. By far, the best among these is the driving, high-energy remix of "Speed Demon" by Nero. It feels like it could be a club or radio hit today. You can take a listen here.


Joseph Vogel - Joseph Vogel is a freelance journalist and the author of five books, including Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson and The Obama Movement. He lives in New York, where is an instructor and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rochester.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spike Lee's Bad 25 Documentary: Venice Review

I'm so happy the reviews have been very favorable for Spike Lee's Michael Jackson BAD 25 Documentary. We know sometimes the media can be very biased when it comes to MJ.  We have some members from MJJC who will attend the UK premier Sun. Sept 2 and I'm looking forward  to their first hand account. I'm also excited about it airing on ABC Network on Thanks Giving Day. It will also be released on DVD but  not sure when, probably in time for Christmas  ~ Qbee

Bad 25: Venice Review
6:09 AM PDT 8/31/2012 by David Rooney

The Bottom Line
Even those of us who developed a Michael Jackson allergy during the saturation attention
that followed his death will find rich rewards in Spike Lee's terrific documentary tribute.

Spike Lee captures a specific pinnacle in Michael Jackson's career and a precise period in American popular music culture with his comprehensive recap of the making, marketing and legacy of the 1987 album, 'Bad.'

VENICE – Michael Jackson continues to be bigger dead than alive. It might have seemed that Kenny Ortega had his legacy covered with the 2009 documentary This Is It, but Spike Lee goes one better with Bad 25, an obsessively detailed quarter-century anniversary tribute to the 1987 album that capped the three-prong commercial tsunami Jackson began with “Off the Wall” and “Thriller.”

The film is a sensational snapshot of the peak of the music video as art form, as well as the intricately layered process by which superior pop is crafted. More poignantly, it serves to remove the veil of late-period craziness and allegations and restore the reputation of Jackson as a multi-hyphenate musician of peerless discipline, professionalism and perfectionism – not to mention a pioneering influence in dance and fashion. Following its Venice and Toronto bows, Bad 25 is scheduled to air on ABC at Thanksgiving.

Lee directed Jackson’s 1996 music video for “They Don’t Care About Us.” Despite conducting the interviews personally, he keeps himself out of the picture here aside from one or two audio snippets. But it’s clear that his connection to this material runs deep, revealing itself, for example, in his exhaustive attention to the making of Martin Scorsese’s short film for the album’s title track. No less fascinating is his recap of the multiple choreographic influences that went into the video for “Smooth Criminal,” ranging from Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon to Soul Train to Bugs Bunny to Buster Keaton. The wealth of primo talking-heads fodder makes this of interest far beyond Jackson fans to anyone curious about the production and marketing of popular music.

The director’s appetite for trivia is contagious. Who remembered that Wesley Snipes made his acting debut in the “Bad” video? Or that the arcane refrain “Shamone!” was Jackson’s homage to Mavis Staples? Or that the line “Annie, are you OK?” was inspired by the standard name given to CPR demonstration dummies?

It’s obvious that Lee is having as much fun as the audience sitting in with Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker as they look back over their work on the Bad short 25 years on. Writer Richard Price, who scripted the film for Scorsese, is – forgive me – priceless, discussing how an asthmatic Italian and an asthmatic Jew were enlisted by Jackson to make a video “to show the brothers that he’s down with them.” But Lee also gives serious consideration to the ways in which Jackson reaffirmed his connection to the black community.

Despite acknowledging the album’s flaws – everyone, including Stevie Wonder, agrees that his duet with Jackson, “Just Good Friends,” was a dud – the film is not guiltless of hagiography. But the fandom of interviewees like Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Chris Brown and Sheryl Crow, who performed as a big-haired backup singer on the Bad Tour, is generally disarming. (Perhaps the exception is Kanye West, who seems too self-regarding to really serve someone else’s tribute.)

Arguably, Lee’s one significant misstep is to lurch abruptly – at the end of a meticulous track-by-track reconstruction of the album’s recording and the shooting of its many music videos – to footage of Jermaine Jackson announcing his brother’s death. Lee then strings together a series of “Where were you when you heard he’d died?” responses, holding the camera on the subjects as they tear up. This feels manipulative and heavy-handed compared to the stimulating social context and illuminating insights that distinguish the doc and pinpoint it at a key moment in Jackson’s career.

But that’s just nitpicking. As forcibly inserted as they are, the memorials do serve to usher in a stirring assessment of “The Man in the Mirror” as a master class in how to build the perfect anthemic pop song. Input here comes from co-writers Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, as well as producer Quincy Jones and choirmaster Andrae Crouch, among others. The knockout closing footage of Jackson performing the song in a 1988 Wembley Stadium concert, accompanied by 72,000 screaming fans, is the film’s emotional high point.

It’s to Lee’s credit that he doesn’t just go for the famous faces. Instead he digs into every aspect of the music by talking with engineers, arrangers, session musicians, vocal coaches, video actors, dancer-choreographers, recording industry execs, managers, lawyers, biographers and music journalists. Particularly humorous is plain-speaking Joe Pytka, who directed the “Dirty Diana” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” videos. But invaluable contributions come from a wide variety of sources.

The film doesn’t shy away from the negatives. It covers the inescapable hype that accompanied the album release; the “Wacko Jacko” stigma; the specter of racism; the animosity toward Jackson in some circles for his stratospheric success; and the perceived encroachment on sacred terrain when he purchased the Beatles catalogue. Significant time is spent on the goldfish-bowl vulnerability of being in the spotlight since childhood, reflected in the song “Leave Me Alone,” with its “Gulliver’s Travel”-style, tabloid-nightmare photo-animation video.

Mostly, however, Lee keeps the focus on the extraordinary professional achievement that the album still represents, capturing Jackson at the apex of his quest for full creative independence. Beyond its value as a deep-probe portrait of the artist, this is a superb account of the music business and an indispensable pop-cultural time capsule.

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Out of Competition)

Production companies: Optimum Productions, Forty Acres & a Mule Filmworks, Optimum Productions
With: Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Antonio L.A. Reid, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Walter Yetnikoff, Larry Stessel, John Robinson, Ollie Brown, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Cee Lo Green, Joe Pytka, ?uestlove, John Branca, Joe Vogel, Richard Price, Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard, Ruben Blades, Steve Stevens, Tatiana Thumbtzen, Will Vinton, Jeffrey DanielDirector-producer: Spike Lee

Executive producers:
John Branca, John McClain, Antonio L.A. Reid
Director of photography: Kerwin DeVonish

Barry Brown

No rating, 129 minutes