Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Michael Jackson's 20 Greatest Videos: The Stories Behind the Vision

Another nice article  from Rolling Stone this time featuring Michael's  Short films and videos. with the background and stories from the directors he collaborated with. While the best is always subjective, I appreciate the behind the scene stories and history of Michael's work.   I'll be doing follow up articles with separate entries for some of my favorites.  ~ Qbee

Michael Jackson's 20 Greatest Videos: 
The Stories Behind the Vision

The most important visual artist in music history, 
remembered by the directors he collaborated with

No single artist has shaped, innovated or defined the medium of "music video" more than Michael Jackson. The popularity of MTV itself was rocketed into the stratosphere by a clip so good that it defied antiquated, racially biased ideas of rock music programming. The iconic directors behind decades of cinematic masterworks – The Godfather, Raging Bull, Do the Right Thing, Boyz N The Hood, The Social Network – can all claim his as a collaborator. And 13,597 people in Mexico City didn't break the world record for dancing to Prince now did they? Here are his 20 best, with stories of how they came to be. By Christopher R. Weingarten , Additional reporting by David Browne

20. "Jam" (1992)

Michael Jackson and NBA superstar Michael Jordan were the most dominant performers on Earth circa 1992 – how would they work together? "We didn't really chitchat," says director David Kellogg. "It was easier just to play the music and let them go – either dance or play basketball. It was so loud that they couldn't really talk, so they had to let the music tell them how to behave."

David Kellogg, director: We found this rat-infested, abandoned, bombed-out armory in a neglected neighborhood in Chicago. I think it was the Southside. Somewhere near where the Bulls play. The production went into the neighborhood under the guise of a mayonnaise commercial. Neither the police or the landlord really knew what we were planning. Michael Jackson arrived in a motor home. We built a tunnel for him so he couldn't really be seen entering the building. It was followed shortly by Michael Jordan, who drove himself.

They're arguably the best physical performers in each of their areas of performance. And that was sort of the charm of it, really. How can these two guys that are really great physical performers be so inept at the other's form? Michael Jackson was not a particularly good basketball player, Michael Jordan wasn't a particularly good dancer. Michael Jackson just went in kind of wanting to have fun. My takeaway was that I never saw basketball the same way since. Basketball players are just dancers running around in a choreographed and improvised routine with a prop, doing spectacular acrobatics before a large audience of pumped up fans.

At one point [Jackson] had the flu or something. He would be sitting hunched over in the corner with his head hanging in his hands, and waiting for us to get our act together with the lighting. He did not look well and I thought we would have to cancel. But when it came time to shoot he pulled it together in such a remarkable way. We'd crank the music and he would step up with such passion and energy and snap that, honestly, it would send chills up my spine. Where did this come from? Standing 0 feet away from this was inspirational. What feats are we capable of? We're griping about standing on our tried feet and lunch break, and this guy goes from zero to 100 with the flip of a switch.

As long as he was having fun, everybody else seemed to be having fun. He just wanted to have water balloon fights and Super Soakers and run around. That was who he was.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com

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