Archive for August, 2008

50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad? Part 3-Michael Jackson

Posted in Controversy, Dance, Fashion, Film, Living, Music, News Media, Nights Out, Racism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad Part 3 Michael Jackson

Happy 50th Birthday to the King Of Pop

Michael Joseph Jackson


The last great entertainer/song and dance man from the 20th Century in my opinion.

Michael Jackson has broken down boundaries visually and musically, and exceeded expectations never explored during the last 50 years for Black entertainers and music as a whole.

In the 1980’s no-one could touch him. PERIOD, not even Prince or Madonna.

He started singing on stage in the spotlight under media attention from the age of 11…

Unfortunately Michael has had in the last 15 years a lot of falls and criticisms.

This has marred his talent which is still there but is been dampened down by pain and general jealousy.

Here in this blog is a description from the beginning of where Michael started out, where he has gone in this journey and a conclusion as where he might go and the legacy he has left behind and until he has died.

In the series of these blogs

He is my favourite Musician and even deep down in people’s heart, people still consider him a super natural talent which at one time was so recognisable that an Eskimo to a little African boy in a hut in Kenya would know who Michael Jackson was and perhaps is.

Live on stage. In concert/public appearance-Michael Jackson’s effect was ‘Jesus Like’ and that is one reason I believe he has been persecuted in a modern day lynching with the allegations of his portrayal to race, his child abuse allegations and other turmoil’s within his life.

He may be broke money wise but spiritually he is RICH…Mark my words he is ready for something BIG, even if it means the ultimate.

It is how Michael has always been, ‘I got to top this!’

That drive has made him the legend he is.

The Beginnings and The Jackson 5

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary Indiana (an industrial suburb of Chicago) to a working-class family on August 29, 1958. The son of Joseph “Joe” Walter and Katherine Estehr (nee Scruse), he is the seventh of nine children. His siblings are Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy, Janet, La toya and Rebbie Jackson. Joseph Jackson was a steel mill employee who often performed in an R&B band called The Falcons with his brother Luther. Jackson was raised a Jehovah’s Witness by his devout mother.

From a young age Jackson was physically and mentally abused by his father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling. Jackson’s abuse as a child affected him throughout his grown life. In one altercation—later recalled by Marlon Jackson—Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and “pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks”. Joseph would often trip up, or push the male children into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Jackson suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.

Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he often cried from loneliness and would sometimes get sick or start to regurgitate upon seeing his father. In Jackson’s other high profile interview, Living With Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face with his hand and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse. Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed and that “[i]f you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you.”

Jackson showed musical talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates and others during a Christmas recital at the age of five. In 1964, Jackson and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers—a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine—as backup musicians playing congos and tambourine, respectively. Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group’s name was changed to The Jackson 5. The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1965 to 1967. The band frequently performed at a string of black clubs and venues collectively known as the “chitlin’circuit”, where they often opened for stripteases and other adult acts. In 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, led by Michael.

The Jackson 5 recorded several songs for the local record label Steeltown in 1967 and signed with Motown Records in 1968. Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as “a prodigy” with “overwhelming musical gifts”, noting that Michael “quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer” after he began to dance and sing with his brothers. Though Michael sang with a “child’s piping voice, he danced like a grown-up hoofer and sang with the R&B/gospel inflections of Sam Cooke, James Brown, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder”. The group set a chart record when its first four singles (“I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There”) peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. During The Jackson 5’s early years, Motown’s public relations team claimed that Jackson was nine years old—two years younger than he actually was—to make him appear cuter and more accessible to the mainstream audience. Starting in 1972, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There and Ben.

These were released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, and produced successful singles such as “Got to Be There”, “Ben” and a remake of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin”. The group’s sales began declining in 1973, and the band members chafed under Motown’s strict refusal to allow them creative control or input.Although the group scored several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single “Dancing Machine” and the top 20 hit “I Am Love”, the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975.

1976–1981: Move to Epic and Off the Wall

The Jackson 5 signed a new contract with CBS Records in June 1975, joining first the Philadelphia International Records division and then Epic Records. As a result of legal proceedings, the group was renamed The Jacksons. Also Randy replaced Jermaine Jackson in the group due to him being married to Hazel Gordy and signed to Motown as a solo artist. After the name change, the band continued to tour internationally, releasing six more albums between 1976 and 1984. From 1976 to 1984, Michael Jackson was the lead songwriter of the group, writing hits such as “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”, “This Place Hotel” and “Can You Feel It”.

In 1978, Jackson starred as Scarecrow in the film musical The Wiz The musical scores were arranged by Quincy Jones, who formed a partnership with Jackson during the film’s production and agreed to produce the singer’s solo album OFF THE WALL. In 1979, Jackson broke his nose during a complex dance routine. His subsequent rhinoplasty surgery was not a complete success, and Jackson complained of breathing difficulties that would affect his career. He was referred to Dr. Steven Hoefflin, who performed Jackson’s second rhinoplasty and other subsequent operations.
Jones and Jackson jointly produced Off the Wall, whose songwriters included Jackson, Heatwave’s Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

Released in 1979, Off the Wall was the first album to generate four US top 10 hits, including the chart-topping singles “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You” (One of top 5 favorite Michael Jackson tunes).Off the Wall reached number three on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified for 7 million shipments in the US and eventually sold over 15 million copies worldwide (nowadays that would be a huge selling record and was at the time the biggest selling black music album).

In 1980, Jackson won three awards at the American Music Awards for his solo efforts: Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Single (for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”). That year, he also won Billboard Music Awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”). Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt Off the Wall should have made a much bigger impact, and was determined to exceed expectations with his next release.

1982–1985: Thriller, Motown 25, We Are the World and business career


In 1982, Jackson contributed the song “Someone In the Dark” to the storybook for the film E.T.; the record won a Grammy for Best Album for Children. That year Jackson issued his second Epic album, Thriller. The New York Times called him a “musical phenomenon”, saying that “in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else”. The album remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks there and 37 of those weeks at the peak position. It was the first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”. Thriller was certified for 27 million shipments by the RIAA, giving it Double Diamond status in the US. It is often cited as the best-selling album of all time, with worldwide sales between 47 million and 104 million copies.

Jackson changed the way the industry functioned; as an artistic entity and a financial, profitable organisation. His attorney John Branca noted that Jackson had the highest royalty rate in the music industry at that point; approximately $2 for every album sold. He was also making record breaking profit from compact discs or the sale of The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller; a documentary produced by Jackson and John Landis. Funded by MTV, the documentary sold over 350,000 copies in a few months of sale. The era saw the arrival of novelties like the Michael Jackson doll, that appeared in stores in May 1984 at a price of $12. Thriller retains a position in American culture; biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli explains, “At some point, Thriller stopped selling like a leisure item—like a magazine, a toy, tickets to a hit movie—and started selling like a household staple.”

Gil Friesen, President of A&M Records, said “the whole industry has a stake in this success”. Thriller raised the importance of albums, but multiple hits also changed notions about the number of singles to release.TIME magazine explained that “the fallout from Thriller has given the [music] business its best years since the heady days of 1978, when it had an estimated total domestic revenue of $4.1 billion”. Time summed up Thriller’s impact as a “restoration of confidence” for an industry bordering on “the ruins of punk and the chic regions of synthesizer pop”. The publication described Jackson’s influence at that point as “Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street.

A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too”. According to the The Washington Post, Thriller paved the way for other acts such as Prince.

On March 25, 1983, Jackson performed live on the Motown 25:Yesterday, Today, Forever television special, both with The Jackson 5 and on his own singing “Billie Jean”. Debuting his signature dance move—the MOONWALK —his performances during the event were seen by 47 million viewers during its initial airing, and drew comparisons to Elvis Presley’s and the The Beatles’ appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. The New York Times said, “The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing”. – 87k

Jackson suffered a setback on January 27, 1984. While filming a Pepsi Cola commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Jackson suffered second degree burns to his scalp after pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. Happening in front of a full house of fans during a simulated concert, the incident was the subject of heavy media scrutiny and elicited an outpouring of sympathy. PepsiCo settled a lawsuit out of court, and Jackson gave his $1.5 million settlement to the “Michael Jackson Burn Center” which was a piece of new technology to help people with severe burns. Jackson had his third rhinoplasty shortly afterward and grew self conscious about his appearance.

On May 14, 1984, Jackson was invited to the White House to receive an award presented by American President Ronald Reagan. The award was given for Jackson’s support of charities that helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.

Jackson won eight awards during the 1984 Grammys. This was unheard of for a commercial album and shocked a lot of people but quality shines through even if it’s successful.

Unlike later albums, Thriller did not have an official tour to promote it, but the 1984 Victory Tour, headlined by The Jacksons, showcased much of Jackson’s new solo material to more than two million Americans. He donated his five million dollar share from the Victory Tour to charity.

With help from Lionel Richie, Jackson co-wrote the charity single “We Are The World”, released worldwide to aid people in Africa and the US. Jackons was one of many music celebrities who performed on the record. Released in March 1985, the single became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars raised for charity. It was the first time Jackson was seen as a humanitarian.

The next chapter is when Michael annoyed a lot of Industry people, and in my belief a reason people then tried to put things on him to bring him down..

The singer then purchased Northern Songs, a music catalog holding thousands of songs. The catalog includes The Beatles’ back catalog and songs by Elvis Presley among many others.
Jackson outbid Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono at a cost of $47.5 million, also no-one reports much that also Lionel Richie and other music superstars bid on the catalog but wouldn’t pay the money Michael Jackson paid, the catalog is estimated to be worth at least $500 million.

The idea came to Jackson while working with McCartney on the two hit singles “The Girl Is Mine” and “Say Say Say” a few years prior. The pair became friendly, occasionally visiting one another. In one discussion, McCartney told Jackson about the millions of dollars he had made from music catalogs; he was earning approximately $40 million a year from other peoples songs.

Jackson began a business career buying music and shortly afterward Northern Songs was put up for sale. He was warned that he would face strong competition, excited, he skipped around the room saying, “I don’t care. I want those songs. Get me those songs Branca [his attorney]”. Branca then contacted the attorney of McCartney, who clarified that his client was not interested in bidding because, “It’s too pricey”.

After Jackson had started negotiations, McCartney changed his mind and tried to persuade Yoko Ono to join him in a joint bid, she declined, so he pulled out. Jackson eventually beat off the rest of the competition in negotiations that lasted 10 months. When McCartney found out he said, “I think it’s dodgy to do things like that. To be someones friend and then buy the rug they’re standing on”. Reacting to that statement, biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli observed that McCartney made millions of dollars from the music of other people. He had more money than Jackson at that point so could have made a substantial bid for his own music and would not have suffered financial danger from Jackson owning the catalog.

But the biggest issue with this is for many years the music industry owned Black peoples music Little Richard and others don’t own any of their songs, Michael Jackson does. In some respects they would rather have Michael Jackson owning them then a Jewish Lawyer…

One day I will do a blog on publishing on who owns what…

1986–1990: Tabloids, appearance, Bad, autobiography and films

In 1986, the tabloid press ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbolic oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying down in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue, Jackson disseminated the fabricated story himself.

The singer was promoting his upcoming movie Captain EO and wanted to promote a sci-fi imagine of himself. Jackson had a fourth rhinoplasty and, wanting masculine features, had a cleft put in his chin.
Then he starred in the Francis Ford Coppola -directed 3-D film Captain EO. It was the most expensive film produced on a per-minute basis at the time, and was later hosted in Disney theme parks. Disneyland featured the film in its Tomorrowland area for nearly 11 years, while Walt Disney World screened the film in its Epcot theme park from 1986 to 1994.

Jackson bought and befriended a pet chimpanzee called Bubbles which extended his eccentric persona, in 2003 the singer claimed that Bubbles shared his toilet, and cleaned his bedroom. Later it was reported that Jackson bought the bones of The Elephant Man. Although untrue (he had asked about them as Jackson has a fascination with Biology, he even got a spare human brain to study and other body parts to study in his spare time), it was a story that Jackson again disseminated to the tabloid press.

These stories inspired the pejorative nickname “Wacko Jacko”, which Jackson acquired the following year. He would eventually come to despise the nickname. Realizing his mistake, he stopped leaking untruths to the press. However due to the profit being made, the media began making up their own stories.

Jackson’s skin was a medium-brown color for the entire duration of his youth, but starting in the early 1980s, his skin gradually grew paler. This change gained widespread media coverage, including rumors that Jackson was bleaching his skin.

In the mid-1980s, Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus; the latter is in remission in Jackson’s case, both illnesses make him sensitive to sunlight (interesting as he lived in Bahrain for a while).
The treatments he uses for his condition further lighten his skin tone, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches, he can appear very pale.

The structure of his face has changed as well; several surgeons have speculated that Jackson had undergone multiple nasal surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips and a cheekbone surgery. Changes to his face were, in part, due to periods of significant weight loss.

Jackson became slimmer in the early 1980s because of a change in diet and a desire for “a dancer’s body”.

Witnesses reported that Jackson was often dizzy and speculated that he was suffering from anorexia nervosa; periods of weight loss would became a recurring problem for the singer later in life. Some medical professionals have publicly stated their belief that the singer has body dysmorphic disorder, a psychological condition whereby the sufferer has no concept of how they are perceived by others.

This could have been brought on by the media’s perception from Jackson young age and his bullying by his brothers and especially his father.

A quote from Michael about his press treatment

Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight”, people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth”.
Michael Jackson

Above the bad cover without grafetti

With the industry expecting another major hit, Jackson’s first album in five years, BAD (1987), was highly anticipated. Bad had lower sales than Thriller, but was still a significant commercial success.
In the US, it spawned seven hit singles, five of which (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana”) went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, more than any other album. The album sold over 25 million copies worldwide, and shipped eight million units in the US.

This below was originally the reported cover for Michael Jacksons album (i think this was created for publicity which worked) 

The Bad World Tour began on September 12, 1987, and finished on January 14, 1989. In Japan alone, the tour had 14 sellouts and drew 570,000 people, nearly tripling the previous record of 200,000 in a single tour.

Jackson broke a Guinness World Record when 504,000 people attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. He performed a total of 123 concerts to a total audience of 4.4 million people, and gained a further Guinness World Record when the tour grossed him $125 million. During the trip he invited underprivileged children to watch for free and gave donations to hospitals, orphanages and other charities.

In 1988, Jackson released his first autobiography, Moonwalk, which took four years to complete. Jackson told of his childhood, his experience in The Jackson 5 and the abuse he suffered as a child. He also spoke of his plastic surgery, saying he had two rhinoplastic surgeries and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin.

In the book, he attributed the change in the structure of his face to puberty, weight loss, a strict vegetarian diet, a change in hair style and stage lighting.

Moonwalk reached the top position on The New York Times best sellers’ list. The musician then released a film called Moonwalker, which featured live footage, music videos, and a feature film that starred Jackson and Joe Persci. Moonwalker debuted atop the Billboard Top Music Video Cassette chart, staying there for 22 weeks. It was eventually knocked off the top spot by Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues.

In March 1988, Jackson purchased land near Santa Ynez, California to build Neverland Ranch at a cost of $17 million. It is a 2,700-acre (11 km2) property complete with Ferris wheels, an exotic menagerie, a movie theater and a security staff of 40. The property was valued at approximately $100 million in 2003.

In 1989, his annual earnings from album sales, endorsements and concerts was estimated at $125 million for that year alone.

Jackson’s success resulted in his being dubbed the “King of Pop”, a nickname conceived by actress and friend Elizabeth Taylor when she presented Jackson with an “Artist of the Decade” award in 1989, proclaiming him “the true king of pop, rock and soul”. President George H.W Bush presented the singer with The White House’s special “Artist of the Decade” award in recognition of Jackson’s musical influence in the 1980s; Bush commended Jackson for acquiring a “tremendous following” among other achievements. From 1985 to 1990, Jackson donated $500,000 to the United Negro College Fund, and all of the profits from his single “Man in the Mirror” went to charity.

1991–1992: Dangerous and Super Bowl

In March 1991, Jackson renewed his contract with Sony for $65 million; a record breaking deal at the time. Jackson released his eighth album Dangerous in 1991. The Dangerous album had 7 million shipments in the US and sold 30 million copies worldwide; its sales were higher than Bad’s.

In the US, the album’s first single “Black or White” was the album’s biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide. The album’s second single “Remember the Time” spent eight weeks in the top five in the US, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

In 1993, Jackson performed the song at the Soul Train Awards in a wheelchair, saying he had suffered an injury in rehearsals.

In the UK and other parts of Europe, “Heal the World” was the biggest hit from the album; it sold 450,000 copies in the UK and spent five weeks at two in 1992, due to Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You”.

Jackson founded the “Heal the World Foundation” in 1992. The charity organization brought underprivileged children to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, located outside Santa Ynez, California, to go on theme park rides that Jackson had built on the property after he purchased it in 1988. The foundation also sent millions of dollars around the globe to help children threatened by war and disease. The Dangerous World Tour began on June 27, 1992, and finished on November 11, 1993. Jackson performed to 3.5 million people in 67 concerts. All profits from the concerts went to the “Heal the World Foundation”, raising million of dollars in relief.

He sold the broadcast rights to his Dangerous world tour to HBO for $20 million, a record-breaking deal that still stands. Following the illness and death of Ryan White, Jackson helped draw public attention to HIV/AIDS, something that was still controversial at the time. He publicly pleaded with the Clinton Administration at Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Gala to give more money to HIV/AIDS charities and research.
In a high-profile visit to Africa, Jackson visited several countries, among them Gabon and Egypt. His first stop to Gabon was greeted with a sizable reception of more than 100,000 people in “spiritual bedlam”, some of them carrying signs that read, “Welcome Home Michael”. In his trip to the Ivory Coast, Jackson was crowned “King Sani” by a tribal chief.

He then thanked the dignitaries in French and English, signed official documents formalizing his kingship and sat on a golden throne while presiding over ceremonial dances.

One of Jackson’s most acclaimed performances came during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. As the performances began, Jackson was catapulted onto the stage as fireworks went off behind him. As he landed on the canvass, he maintained a motionless “clenched fist, standing statue stance”, dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained completely motionless for several minutes while the crowd cheered. He then slowly removed his sunglasses, threw them away and began to sing and dance. His routine included four songs: “Jam”, “Billie Jean”, “Black or White” and “Heal the World” this song used the crowd display a collage of children’s faces.

It was the first Super Bowl where the audience figures increased during the half-time show, and was viewed by 135 million Americans alone; Jackson’s Dangerous album rose 90 places up the album chart. Jackson was given the “Living Legend Award” at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

1993–1994: Sexual abuse accusations and marriage

Jackson gave a 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993, his first television interview since 1979. He grimaced when speaking of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father; he believed he had missed out on much of his childhood years, admitting that he often cried from loneliness. He denied previous tabloid rumors that he bought the bones of the Elephant Man or slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The entertainer went on to dispel suggestions that he bleached his skin, admitting for the first time that he had vitiligo. The interview was watched by 90 million Americans, becoming the fourth most-viewed non-sport program in US history. It also started a public debate on the topic of vitiligo, a relatively unknown condition before then. Dangerous re-entered the album chart top 10, more than a year after its original release.

Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old child named Jordan Chandler and his father Evan Chandler. The friendship between Jackson and Evan Chandler broke down. Sometime afterward, Evan Chandler was tape-recorded saying amongst other things, “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever…Michael’s career will be over”.

A year after they had met, under the influence of a controversial sedative, Jordan Chandler told his father that Jackson had touched his penis. Evan Chandler and Jackson, represented by their legal teams, then engaged in unsuccessful negotiations to resolve the issue in a financial settlement; the negotiations were initiated by Chandler but Jackson did make several counter offers. Jordan Chandler then told a psychiatrist and later police that he and Jackson had engaged in acts of kissing, masturbation and oral sex, as well as giving a detailed description of what he alleged were the singer’s genitals.

An official investigation began, with Jordan Chandler’s mother adamant that there was no wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. Neverland Ranch was searched; multiple children and family members strongly denied that he was a pedophile. Jackson’s image took a further turn for the worse when his older sister La Toya Jackson accused him of being a pedophile, a statement she later retracted. Jackson agreed to a 25-minute strip search, conducted at his ranch.

The search was required to see if a description provided by Jordan Chandler was accurate. Doctors concluded that there were some strong similarities, but it was not a definitive match. Jackson made an emotional public statement on the events; he proclaimed his innocence, criticized what he perceived as biased media coverage and told of his strip search.

Jackson began taking painkillers, Valium, Xanax, and Ativan to deal with the stress of the allegations made against him. By the fall of 1993, Jackson was addicted to the drugs.

Jackson’s health deteriorated to the extent that he canceled the remainder of the Dangerous World Tour and went into drug rehabilitation for a few months. The stress of the allegations also caused Jackson to stop eating, losing a large amount of weight.

With his health in decline, Jackson’s friends and legal advisers took over his defense and finances; they called on him to settle the allegations out of court, believing that he could not endure a lengthy trial.

Tabloid reaction to the allegations put Jackson in an unfavorable light. Complaints about the coverage and media included everything from bias against Jackson, accepting stories of alleged criminal activity for money to engaging in illegal activity themselves. On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled with the Chandler family and their legal team out of court, in a civil lawsuit for $22 million. After the settlement Jordan Chandler refused to continue with Police criminal proceedings. Jackson was never charged, and the state closed its criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence.

Later that year, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley. They had first met in 1975 during one of Jackson’s family engagements at the MGM Grand, and were reconnected through a mutual friend in early 1993. They stayed in contact every day over the telephone. As child molestation accusations became public, Jackson became dependent on Lisa Marie for emotional support; she was concerned about his faltering health and addiction to drugs. Lisa Marie explained, “I believed he didn’t do anything wrong and that he was wrongly accused and yes I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it.” In a phone call he made to her, she described him as high, incoherent and delusional.

Shortly afterward, she tried to persuade Jackson to settle the allegations out of court and go into rehabilitation to recover—he subsequently did both. Jackson proposed to Lisa Marie over the telephone towards the fall of 1993, saying, “If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?”. Presley and Jackson married in the Dominican Republic in secrecy, the parties denied that they had married for nearly two months. The marriage was, in her words, “a married couple’s life … that was sexually active”. At the time, the tabloid media speculated that the wedding was a ploy to prop up Jackson’s public image in light of prior sexual abuse allegations. Jackson and Presley divorced less than two years later, remaining friendly.

1995–1999: HIStory, second marriage and fatherhood

In 1995, Jackson merged his Northern Songs catalog with Sony’s publishing division a decade after he originally purchased it. He retained half-ownership and earning $95 million in the deal as well as the rights to even more songs.

He then released the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.

The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a 15-track greatest hits album, and was later released as Greatest Hits — HIStory Vol. I in 2001, the second disc, HIStory Continues, contained 15 new songs. The album debuted at number one on the charts and has been certified for seven million shipments in the US. It is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all-time, with 18 million copies (36 million units) sold worldwide. The album won a Grammy Award for “Best Video of the Year”.

The first single released from the album was “Scream”, sung and performed with Jackson’s youngest sister Janet. The single had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five, and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals”. “You Are Not Alone” was the second single released from HIStory; it holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was seen as a major artistic and commercial success, receiving a Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance”.

In late 1995, Jackson was rushed to a hospital after collapsing during rehearsals for a televised performance; the incident was caused by a stress related panic attack. “Earth Song” was the third single released from HIStory, and topped the UK singles chart for six weeks over Christmas 1995; it sold a million copies, making it Jackson’s most successful single in the UK.

The HIStory World Tour began on September 7, 1996, and finished on October 15, 1997. Jackson performed 82 concerts in 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans. The show, which visited 5 continents and 35 countries, became Jackson’s most successful in terms of audience figures; he has not toured since.

During the Australian leg of the HIStory World Tour, Jackson married dermatologist nurse, Deborah Jeanne Rowe, with whom he fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (also known as “Prince”), and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. The pair first met in the mid-1980s, when Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo.

She spent many years treating his illness as well as providing emotional support, they built a strong friendship, before becoming romantically involved. Originally there were no plans to marry, but following Rowe’s first pregnancy, Jackson’s mother intervened and persuaded them to. The couple divorced in 1999, with Rowe giving full custody rights of the children to Jackson, they still remain friends.

In 1997, Jackson released Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which contained re-mixes of hit singles from HIStory and five new songs. The record sold 6 million copies worldwide, becoming a best-selling remix album. It reached number one in the UK, as did the title track. In the US, the album was certified platinum, but only reached number 24. Forbes placed his annual income at $35 million in 1996 and $20 million in 1997.

Throughout June 1999, Jackson was involved in a number of charitable events. He joined Luciano Pavarotti for a benefit concert in Modena, Italy. The show was in support of the non-profit organization Warchild, and raised a million dollars for the refugees of Kosovo, as well as additional funds for the children of Guatemala.

Later that month, Jackson organized a set of “Michael Jackson & Friends” benefit concerts in Germany and Korea. Other artists involved included Slash, The Scorpions, Boys II Men, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti. The proceeds went to the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund”, the Red Cross and UNESCO.

2000–2002: Label dispute, Invincible and third child

In 2000, Jackson was waiting for the licenses to the masters of his albums to revert back to him; this allowed him to promote his old material how he liked and prevented Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur early in the new millennium, however, due to the fine print and various clauses in the contract, this revert date is still many years away. Jackson began an investigation, and it emerged that the attorney who represented the singer in the deal was also representing Sony, creating a conflict of interest. Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest.

For a number of years, Sony had been pushing to buy all of the Northern Songs catalog from the singer. If Jackson’s career or financial situation were to deteriorate, he would have to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson’s career failing. Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was leaving Sony.

As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled. Jackson made allegations in July 2002 that Mottola was a “devil” and a “racist” who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own personal gain. He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a “fat nigger “-I am not surprised at this due to being Italian and being linked to the mafia, and Mottola left Sony very quickly afterwards and even now in the US they celebrate every week that Mottola left as he left Sony in a mess, with his personnal spending..Soemthing even Yentikoff would never have done. 

Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the US.

Six years after his last studio album and after spending much of the late 1990s to early millennium out of the public eye, Jackson released Invincible in October 2001 to much anticipation. To help promote the album, a special 30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden occurred in September 2001 to mark the singer’s 30th year as a solo artist. Jackson appeared on stage alongside his brothers for the first time since 1984. The show also featured performances by Mya, Usher, Whitney Houston, N’Sync, and Slash among other artists.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jackson helped organize the United We Stand: What More Can I Give benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.. The concert was aired on October 21, 2001, and included performances from dozens of major artists, including Jackson, who performed his song “What More Can I Give” as the finale.

Invincible was a commercial success, debuting atop the charts in 13 countries and going on to sell approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It received double-platinum certification in the US.

However, the sales for Invincible were notably low compared to his previous releases, due in part to a diminishing pop music industry, the lack of promotion, no supporting world tour and the label dispute. The album spawned three singles, “You Rock My World”, “Cry” and “Butterflies”, the latter did not have a music video, but won song of the year at the BMI songwriting awards.

Reviews of Invincible were generally favorable, but there was a consensus that it was one of Jackson’s least impressive records, mostly because it was too long. Allmusic gave the record three out of five stars saying, “Ultimately, the record runs too long, losing steam halfway through…[It’s] not enough to make Invincible the comeback Jackson needed…but it does offer a reminder that he can really craft good pop”.

NME gave the record six out of ten, stating, Invincible is a relevant and rejuvenated comeback album made overlong”. Rolling Stone gave Invincible three out of five stars, believing that the early R&B tracks were good, but the later ballads made the record too long. Reviewer Robert Christgau gave the album an A-, saying, “His skills seem undiminished…his funk is steelier and his ballads are airier, both to disquieting effect. At 78 minutes this is too long.”

This was the same grade he gave Jackson’s landmark album Thriller when originally released. Jackson and his supporters maintain that reviews were unfair, often discussing the singer’s perceived eccentric image and past troubles, or making him the subject of ridicule.

NME called him “Michael ‘Actually Quite Scary Now’ Jackson”, a “Fucking freak” and “a bit of a wanker”.Allmusic brought up “[Jackson’s] truly ugly public scandal, and swirling rumors about his diminishing finances”. Rolling Stone believed that “every song is full of grandiose desperation. It’s an excruciatingly self-referential place, worsened further by its namesake’s unmatched controversies and weirdnesses.” Robert Christgau believed Jackson had a “grotesque life magnified by his grotesque wealth”. He was also of the opinion that Jackson singing about helping children was “offensive”.
Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (also known as Blanket) was born in 2002. The mother’s identity has not been released by Jackson, but he has said the child was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells.

In November of that year, Jackson brought his new born son onto the balcony of his hotel room. Holding him in his right arm, with a cloth loosely draped over the baby’s face, Jackson briefly extended the baby over the railing of the balcony, causing widespread criticism.

2003–2007: Documentary, trial and business ventures

In 2003, Sony put out a compilation of Jackson’s number-one hits on CD and DVD, titled Number Ones, which sold over six million copies worldwide.

In the US it peaked at number 13 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. At the same time, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in order to commit that felony; all charges regarded the same boy, Gavin Arvizo, who was under 14 at the time of the alleged crime.

Earlier that year, a Granada Television documentary featuring Jackson showed him holding hands and discussing sleeping arrangements with Arvizo, who would later accuse him of child sexual abuse. In the same documentary Jackson was observed spending large amounts of money in an apparently frivolous manner, when he spent $6 million in a single store.

Jackson denied the sexual abuse allegations, saying that the sleepovers were in no way sexual in nature. Jackson’s friend Elizabeth Taylor defended him on Larry King Live, saying that she had been there when they “were in the bed, watching television. There was nothing abnormal about it. There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it.” During the investigation, Jackson’s profile were examined by a mental health professional called Dr. Stan Katz; the doctor spent several hours with the accuser too. The assessment made by Katz, was that Jackson had become a regressed 10-year-old and did not fit the profile of a pedophile.

Following his upcoming trial, Jackson became dependent on morphine and Demerol, which he subsequently overcame. The People v. Jackson trial began in Santa Maria, California, two years after Jackson was originally charged. The trial lasted five months, until the end of May 2005. During the trial, the singer again suffered from stress-related illnesses and severe weight loss, that would alter his appearance.

In June, Jackson was acquitted on all counts. Following the trial, Jackson relocated to the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain.

Sony BMG released Visionary: The Video Singles to the European market: a series of 20 of his biggest hit singles of the 1980s and 1990s. Each single was issued weekly over a five-month period in Dual Disc format (DVD video on one side, CD audio on the other), and the whole group of discs was made available as a boxed set afterwards. The box set was released in the US on November 14, 2006.

Reports of financial problems for Jackson became frequent in 2006 after the closure of the main house on the Neverland Ranch as a cost-cutting measure. One prominent financial issue for him concerned a $270 million loan secured against his music publishing holdings. After delayed repayments on the loan, a refinancing package shifted the loans from Bank of America to debt specialists Fortress Investments.

A new package proposed by Sony would have had Jackson borrow an additional $300 million and reduce the interest rate payable on the loan, while giving Sony the future option to buy half of Jackson’s stake in their jointly owned publishing company (leaving Jackson with a 25% stake). Jackson agreed to a Sony-backed refinancing deal, although details were not made public. Despite these loans, according to Forbes, Jackson was still making as much as $75 million a year from his publishing partnership with Sony.

Jackson’s first documented public appearance since his trial was in November 2006, when he visited the London office of the Guinness World Records. He received eight records, among them “First Entertainer to Earn More Than 100 Million Dollars in a Year” and “First Entertainer to Sell More Than 100 Million Albums Outside the United States”. Jackson was awarded the Diamond Award on November 15, 2006, for selling over 100 million albums, at the World Music Awards. Following the death of James Brown, Jackson returned to the US to pay his respects. He, along with more than 8,000 people, paid tribute during Brown’s public funeral on December 30, 2006.

In late 2006, Jackson agreed to share joint custody of his first two children with his second ex-wife. Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom in 2007. This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others.

I’ve been in the entertainment industry since I was six-years-old…As Charles Dickens says, “It’s been the best of times, the worst of times.” But I would not change my career…While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.
—Michael Jackson

2008–present: Thriller 25 and King of Pop

Jackson issued the double-disc album Thriller 25, a 25th anniversary edition of Thriller. The set contained the original nine tracks from Thriller, re-mixes and a new song called “For All Time”. Two singles were released to moderate success: “The Girl Is Mine 2008” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008”. Thriller 25 was a commercial success, having done particularly well as a re-issue, peaking at number one in eight countries and Europe. It reached number two in the US, number three in the UK and top 10 on over 30 national charts.

In the US, Thriller 25 was just 14,000 copies short of reaching the peak position, selling 166,000 copies. It was ineligible for the Billboard 200 chart as a re-release, but entered atop the Pop Catalog chart, where it stayed for 10 non-consecutive weeks and had the best sales on that chart since December 1996. In 12 weeks, the album had sold 556,000 copies in the US and 3 million copies worldwide (the 10th biggest selling album in 2008)

Fortress considered a foreclosure sale of Neverland Ranch to service his loan, but ultimately sold the debt to Colony Capital LLC in May of that year.

To celebrate Jackson’s 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a compilation album called King of Pop in various countries. These albums included tracks from Jackson’s group and solo career, all voted for by fans. Sony added rare tracks, previously unreleased material and a “MegaMix” by Jason Nevins. The albums had a different tracklist, according to how the fans of each nation voted.

Vocal style

Jackson has been singing since a child, and over time his voice and vocal style have notably changed, either through puberty or a personal preference to align his vocal interpretation to the themes and genres he chooses to express. Between 1971 and 1975, Jackson’s voice “descended ever so slightly from boy soprano to his current androgynous high tenor”. In the mid-1970s, the singer adopted a “vocal hiccup” as seen in “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”. The purpose of the hiccup—somewhat like a gulping for air or gasping—is to help promote a certain emotion; be it excitement, sadness or fear.

With the arrival of Off the Wall in the late 1970s, Jackson’s abilities as a vocalist were well regarded; Allmusic described him as a “blindingly gifted vocalist”. At the time, Rolling Stone compared his vocals to the “breathless, dreamy stutter” of Stevie Wonder. Their analysis was also that “Jackson’s feathery-timbered tenor is extraordinary beautiful. It slides smoothly into a startling falsetto that’s used very daringly”. 1982 saw the release of Thriller, and Rolling Stone were of the opinion that Jackson was then singing in a “fully adult voice” that was “tinged by sadness”.

The release of “Bad” in 1987 displayed gritty lead vocals on the verse and lighter tones employed on the chorus. A distinctive deliberate mispronunciation used frequently by Jackson, occasionally spelt “cha’mone” or “shamone”, is also a staple in impressions and caricatures of him. The turn of the 1990s saw the release of the paradoxical, introspective album Dangerous, here Jackson used his vocals to intensify the split themes and genres described earlier. The New York Times noted that on some tracks, “he gulps for breath, his voice quivers with anxiety or drops to a desperate whisper, hissing through clenched teeth” and he had a “wretched tone”.

When singing of brotherhood or self-esteem the musician would return to “smooth” vocals. “In the Closet” contained heavy breathing and a loop of five scat-sung syllables, whereas in the albums title track, Jackson performs a spoken rap. When commenting on Invincible, Rolling Stone were of the opinion that—at the age of 43—Jackson still performed, “exquisitely voiced rhythm tracks and vibrating vocal harmonies”. Nelson George summed by Jackson’s vocals as, “The grace, the aggression, the growling, the natural boyishness, the falsetto, the smoothness—that combination of elements mark him as a major vocalist”.

Music videos

Steve Huey of Allmusic observes the fact that Jackson transformed the music video into an art form and a promotional tool through complex story lines, dance routines, special effects and famous cameo appearances; simultaneously breaking down racial barriers.

Before the success of the Thriller album, Jackson struggled to receive coverage on MTV because he was African American. Pressure from CBS Records persuaded MTV to start showing “Billie Jean” and later “Beat It”, leading to a lengthy partnership with Jackson that helped other black music artists gain recognition.

The popularity of his video on MTV helped to put the relatively young channel “on the map”; MTV’s focus shifted in favor of pop and R&B. Short films like Thriller largely remained unique to Jackson, while the group dance sequence in “Beat It” has frequently been imitated. The choreography in Thriller has become a part of global pop culture, replicated everywhere from Bollywood to prisons in the Philippines. The Thriller short film marked an increase in scale for music videos, and has been named the most successful music video ever by the Guinness World Records.

In the 18-minute music video for “Bad”—directed by Martin Scorsese—Jackson began using sexual imagery and choreography not previously seen in his work. He occasionally grabbed or touched his chest, torso and crotch. While he has described this as “choreography,” it garnered a mixed reception from both fans and critics; Time magazine described it as “infamous”. The video also featured Wesley Snipes; Jackson’s videos would often feature famous cameos roles in the future.

For “Smooth Criminal”, Jackson experimented with an innovative “anti-gravity lean” in his performances, for which he was granted US Patent No. 5,255,452.


Although the music video for “Leave Me Alone” was not officially released in the US, in 1989, it was nominated for four Billboard Music Video Awards, winning three; the same year it won a Golden Lion Award for the quality of the special effects used in its production. In 1990, “Leave Me Alone” won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form.

The MTV Video Vanguard Artist of the Decade Award was given to Jackson to celebrate his accomplishments in the art form in the 1980s; the following year the award was renamed in his honor. “Black or White” was accompanied by a controversial music video, which, on November 14, 1991, simultaneously premiered in 27 countries with an estimated audience of 500 million people, the largest viewing ever for a music video. It featured scenes construed as having a sexual nature as well as depictions of violence. The offending scenes in the final half of the 14-minute version were edited out to prevent the video from being banned, and Jackson apologized. Along with Jackson, it featured Macaulay Culkin, Peggy Lipton and George Wendt. It helped usher in morphing as an important technology in music videos. “Remember the Time” was an elaborate production, and became one of his longest videos at over nine minutes. Set in ancient Egypt, it featured groundbreaking visual effects and appearances by Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson, along with a distinct complex dance routine.

The video for “In the Closet” was Jackson’s most sexually provocative piece to date. It featured supermodel Naomi Campbell in a courtship dance with Jackson. The video was banned in South Africa because of its imagery.

The music video for “Scream”, directed by Mark Romanek and production designer Tom Foden, is one of Jackson’s most critically acclaimed. In 1995, it gained 11 MTV Video Music Award Nominations—more than any other music video—and won “Best Dance Video”, “Best Choreography”, and “Best Art Direction”. The song and its accompanying video are a response to the backlash Jackson received from the media after being accused of child molestation in 1993. Foden commented “Mark had written the treatment and the general idea was that Michael and Janet were on this large spacecraft. And they, were alone …

They were getting away from Earth, and the different sets were the different environments on the spacecraft where they could have a little bit of fun and where they could relax”. Production of the music video’s 13-piece set was restricted to a one-month period and was produced by Foden art directors Richard Berg, Jeff Hall, and Martin Mervel. Foden described the assignment as a “military operation” as he explained “[t]he idea was to give each of the art directors three sets: a complicated one, a not-so-complicated one, and one of the smaller, easier vignettes.” A year later, it won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form; shortly afterward Guinness World Records listed it as the most expensive music video ever made at a cost of $7 million. “Earth Song” was accompanied by an expensive and well-received music video that gained a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1997.

The video had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, war ends and the forests re-grow.Released in 1997 and premiering at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Ghosts was a short film written by Jackson and Stephen King and directed by Stan Winston. The video for Ghosts is over 38 minutes long and holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s longest music video.

Legacy and Influence

Inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984, Jackson has had a notable impact on music and culture throughout the world. He broke down racial barriers, transformed the art of the music video and paved the way for modern pop music in his own country. Jackson’s work, distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced numerous hip hop, pop and R&B artists, including Mariah Carey,Usher,Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, R. Kelly and Ne-Yo. For much of his career, he had an “unparalleled” level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions.

Throughout his career he received numerous honors and awards, including the World Music Awards’ Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium, the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award and the Bambi Pop Artist of the Millennium Award. He is a double-inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997 and later as a solo artist in 2001. Jackson was also an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. His awards include multiple Guinness World Records (eight in 2006 alone), 13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and the sale of over 750 million units worldwide.

He is characterized as “an unstoppable juggernaut, possessed of all the tools to dominate the charts seemingly at will: an instantly identifiable voice, eye-popping dance moves, stunning musical versatility and loads of sheer star power”. In the mid-1980s, Time described Jackson as “the hottest single phenomenon since Elvis Presley”. Daily Telegraph writer Tom Utley called him an “extremely important figure in the history of popular culture” and a “genius”.

His total lifetime earnings from royalties on his solo recordings and music videos, revenue from concerts and endorsements have been estimated at $500 million; some analysts have speculated that his music catalog holdings could be worth billions of dollars. Jackson’s successful career has made him a part of pop culture for almost four decades. In recent years he has been cited as one of the world’s most famous men.


Will Michael Jackson do a new album?, as reported. I hope he does for musicians who love his music, but his main focus is looking after his children and if he needed money he could sell his publishing catalogs and that includes his other half of Sony Publishing which is worth a lot of money-if BMG publishing went for 2.5 billion, Michael´s Beatles catalog alone is worth 1.5 billion so i reckon for Michael´s publishing catalogs excluding his own music work will be worth 5 billion.

Also he owns many properties around the world including the house his parents live in the US. 

I believe Michael will continue to venture into new projects and eventually will do a childrens film, when well i don´t know, and maybe feature on others tracks, more then doing his own material.

But also I believe Michael will announce he is a Muslim, and he will be trying to keep out of the public eye and will live in Las Vegas. 

He may do a tour,but not very big, not like Prince or Madonna. 

But if he never does another project i won´t mind as he has done four solo albums which have sold over 15 million each and he will go down in History as the biggest entertainer in the late 20th Century.


Lenny Henry’s Happy 50th Birthday Letter To Michael Jackson

Posted in Comedy, Controversy, Music, News Media, Nights Out with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

Lenny Henry: Michael Jackson and me

The self-styled King of Pop turns 50 tomorrow. Lenny Henry offers a personal birthday greeting

Thursday, 28 August 2008

From the Guardian

Dear Michael “King of Pop” Jackson, happy birthday!

You and I were born on the same day – 29 August 1958 – and as a result of that spectacular occurrence, I thought it would be cool to go back and contrast and compare just how similar our lives have been. So here we go!

August 1958, Michael Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana, USA; Lenworth George Henry is born in Dudley, West Midlands, UK.

For a moment, do you mind if we compare our birthplaces, Dudley and Gary?

Gary is the largest city in Lake County, Indiana. It is about 25 miles from Chicago, and borders Lake Michigan. It is known for its large steel mills, high crime rate and open-minded outlook.

Dudley is the capital of the Black Country, located 10 miles or so west of Birmingham. We’ve got a zoo, a canal, and a museum.

My parents moved there in the Fifties; the deciding conversation went like this: “I’m sick of all this sunshine and jerk chicken and great music – pack the dominoes, we’re going to Dudley!”

By 1970, you, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito had become the pop/soul juggernaut known as the Jackson 5. You made history when your first four hit singles shot to number one in the USA – “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There”. You were 12 at this point – 12, for God’s sake! When I was 12, I was sticking straws up frogs’ bums and blowing – we made our own entertainment in those days.

We leap like gazelles to 1979: you release Off the Wall, which sells 20 million copies worldwide and has four UK Top 10 singles… “Genius”, as The Mighty Boosh would say.

I remember dancing my ass off to “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (honestly, Michael, it literally fell off in the middle of the dance floor!), while in Bournemouth with the Black and White Minstrels. I think it might have stopped me from jumping off a high building.

Jump to 1982: you release Thriller, which goes on to be the best-selling album of all time.

I was on Three of a Kind and occasionally appearing on Blankety Blank. There’s no comparison, really, is there?

I remember being at Radio One when Dave Atkey (my producer) told me that he’d managed to get hold of a copy of the “Thriller” video. I watched it at least four times that day and vowed that I would do a parody of it for the first show in my new television series.

Geoff Posner, producer/director of The Lenny Henry Show, and Kim Fuller, our head writer, were in agreement that this was a good idea. So off we went, full-tilt into creative mode, trying to parody one of the most successful video clips of all time.

It was a gift, really – you had zombies; you were looking more alarming as yourself (“I’m not like other guys”) than when you were the werewolf; the dance routine itself; the zombies body-popping; numerous rhymes for “Thriller” – I think Kim managed to get “Aston Villa”, “I’m getting thinner / won’t eat my dinner” crowbarred in there, too.

“Bad” came out in 1987 – you got Martin Scorsese to direct the video for you, and Wesley Snipes was in it! You wore black leather and still managed to look like a big Jessie (as my friend Rab Coltrane would say) – but, damn, you worked with Marty!

We parodied this video, too – our version was, of course, called “I’m Mad”, because by this time your skin colour was akin to Edward Scissorhands’ and you were doing all kinds of weird stuff, so we had lyrics like, “When I was young, I didn’t like my face, so they moved my nose, to a different place,” and “I’m mad, I’m mad – one sandwich short of a picnic!”

I’ve had my ups and downs in recent times, but nowhere near as calamitous as you, Michael. Bloody hell, what you’ve been through makes Chef! being cancelled seem like a walk down Dudley high street.

Your reputation took a real hammering, but that’s the point, isn’t it? When you reach the heights that you have, you become a target, fair game for anyone who wants to take a shot at you. It means you have to watch what you get up to, because everyone’s watching.

It’s going to be great when your kids get older, because they’re going to want to know why they’re called Paris Katherine, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II.

I’m sorry, dude, but you just can’t name your children after a crap blonde socialite and a minor member of the British Royal Family (twice over) – it’s not fair.

I’m signing off now; massive amounts of respect to the hip-hoppin’, body-rockin’, pop-lockin’, soul-shockin’ dancing and prancing. Take care of yourself, cos people love you, man. Peace and happy birthday, Mr “King of Pop”.

Yours sincerely,

Lenny Henry CBE (also 50 today)

PS: You might also want to cease all leather trouser-wearing activities… it’s just a suggestion.

Michael Jackson’s new album, ‘King of Pop’, is out now on Sony

The 50 Most Beautiful Women In The World According To DMSR

Posted in Beauty, Diet, Fashion, Film, Food & Drink, Health and Beauty, Literature and Books, Living, Music, News Media, Racism, Religion, Romance, Sex, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

The Most Beautiful 50 Women In The World According To DMSR

1. Monica Belucci

The reason I pick Monica Belluci as the most beautiful women in the world is for many years Monica Belluci’s beauty has been outstanding and breathtaking and as she gets older she becomes more radiant. She doesn’t seem to age? Not everybody’s ideal but nevertheless Monica’s womanly physique, and facial attributes stand her high up in most beautiful peoples lists and will continue to do so for more years to come.

2. Natalie Portman

I met Natalie Portman by accident about two years ago in a trainer/sneaker shop in Brick Lane, East London and in the flesh she is radiant and flawless, she has amazing skin and a personality that is so down to earth and normal and that self assured attitude makes her sexiness bewilder you. Someone again who has grown up in the media eye and even has a degree from Harvard. Beauty and Brains and now dates Devandra Bernhardt, who is an amazing conscious musician!

3. Rosario Dawson

A mixed race beauty that has a great aura and attributes, her confidence is incredibly alluring. Never highly regarded in many beautiful women lists or very highly regarded in Hollywood either but every film I have ever seen her in she exudes skill, intelligence, and beauty and is someone who seems to be able to adapt her look. Look at the films Rent, Alexander, Sin City and her own film Descent. Though Josie in the pussycats wasn’t her greatest film, she still is amazingly stunning in it.  She also hasn’t succumbed to plastic surgery which is rare in Hollywood!


4. Padma Lakshmi

Salman Rushdie’s ex wife, I bet he is kicking himself, another amazingly beautiful women who again is never high in lists or featuring at all, can speak up to 8 different languages, has a huge intelligence and another women I have seen in the flesh and nearly gone run over by a London cabbie, again like Natalie Portman my breath was taken away.


5. Halle Berry

Since watching the film Boomerang, and Fallen Angel, Halle Berry has lit up cinema screens. Now 40 years old Halle is even more beautiful then she has ever been and is now settling into her new life and being a mother gives her added glow (when she was pregnant and came to London for her premier she looked like a Greek goddess) after the heartache and pain of previous relationships. Another adaptable women in her beauty and her profession, i just wish she never had a nose job and kept more of her Black features.


6. Scarlett Johansson

When you think of all the Movie heroines in the 1950’s, wonderful lips, body, shape, eyes, now roll on 50 years later and this is what Scarlett Johansson has and every film I see her in you are bewildered by her beauty and in some ways it must take away her creditability as a actress and recently a singer (very much an album like Nico from Velvet Underground would do if alive) a beautiful women who has married a interesting man in Ryan Reynolds .

7. Liya Kebede

A black model who has been gaining a more recognisable profile in the last 2-3 years, not just as a model but an actress, and spokes person for many issues. Deserved to be one of the four separate models on ‘The Black Issue’ Vogue cover along with Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn. Her beauty is astounding and will only get better with age and will become the next Iman to have modeling work way into her mid-40’s to later life.


8. Jennifer Lopez

A latin beautiful women of the highest order, Jennifer Lopez since the late 1990’s has been adapting and turning heads with her famous ASSet and her stunning looks. The multi talented actress, stylist, singer (may not have the greatest voice but some songs are okay), has been working hard and now seems to exude beauty still into her 40’s and still looks amazing, I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years brings.  Again another women who has not succumbed to plastic surgery.

9. Josie Maran

Again not such a known model worldwide, even in America she is known for who she’s dating (David Blaine being one of the lucky culprits). But the face of the cosmetic adverts of Maybeline, has been outstandingly beautiful and has a natural body, which reminds you of all the models past and present.

10. Drew Barrymore

Ever since ET Drew Barrymore’s face has been in my mind, and when she was older Drew’s beauty has always stood out. A natural, intelligent, and radiant person who is not regarded highly in beautiful lists and maybe not as a serious actress in Hollywood, but as a business women don’t dismiss her, as she co-produced the Charlie’s Angels films. A women like Scarlett has a very 1950’s quality about her. In her mid 30’s she seems to be not aging at all.

11. Penelope Cruz

A Spainish actress who has become more and more prominent in Hollywood, she has had a reputation as a heartbreaker due to her romances with Nicolas Cage, Mathew Mc and famously Tom Cruise. A naturally beautiful woman with great attributes and shines in many diverse films, blockbusters or independent films. Her confident approach mixed with her humble European nature makes her a very alluring women.

12.. Nicole Scherzinger

When watching music videos every so often you do see a beautiful women, and when I saw this sassy, pouting beautiful women singing and moving, I was hooked. ‘Don’t Cha’ this song was a call and response to beauty and the Pussycat Dolls were now known and seen. Nicole eludes sexiness, and has supermodel good looks, and to consider she is in her mid 30’s she will probably get more attractive when older. Her dress sense is also a little eccentric but can look amazing in plain outfits too. Every fashion magazine shoot and every music video she is in shows what a beautiful women she is, it is a shame they couldn’t’ t get her solo career going as the package is great but no songs with any musical bite.

13. Kate Winslet

The English rose with a naturally beautiful face, her warmth of her personality is showed on interviews and even off the cuff she still exudes sexiness, without even trying. I remember seeing Kate Winslet in titanic and gladly she was for a film which sank like a ship in my memory apart from her ravishing beauty and still now 10 years on Kate Winslet is one of the most beautiful women in the world..

14. Jessica Alba

From her first appearance on Dark Angel to her latest offerings in film Jessica Alba is a beautiful women and no denying that. Amazing facial features and a body to match and eventually her sexiness potential was shown in Sin City and from then on her offers of film roles (not all good-Awake?), but this women has a bright future and even a child birth won’t affect this ladies beauty. Rumour has it that she was Tom Cruise’s first choice before getting his team to contact Katie Holmes.

15. Gisele Bundchen

The Supermodel that has for over 10 years graced many catwalks and fashion magazines is still going strong. She is the highest paid supermodel in the world and is the worlds richest supermodel. Here beauty is obvious to see and her mix of Germanic descent and Brazilian upbringing makes her attributes attract a wide range of people hence her popularity. Also her humanitarian efforts should eb priasede and always seems to give beack to poor communties in Brazil to set-up projects..

16. Naomi Campbell

A model who has for a at least 20 years been gracing the catwalks and was one of the first major Supermodels, has been a influential women to many young Black women who wish to enter the fashion industry which is predominantly racist. Her personal life has overshadowed her effect on the industry and that is due to being unfairly persecuted but also her own ‘Diva’ demands haven’t helped. However at over 40 Naomi still has a body most 20 years old yearn for let alone over that age, a toned dancer’s body on an Amazonian beauty.

17. Audrey Tautou

When watching the film Amelia I was captivated by a beautiful face and slender frame, the film was not the most amazing experience for a film but adding to the visual aspect seeing this lady changed my views on certain types of beauty, in every film Audrey Tautou oozes class, beauty and a sophisticated look reminisce of her namesake Audrey Hepburn.

18. Charlize Theron

A former fashion model and ballet dancer but now known as an actress and film producer. She was discovered for acting in random circumstances and then three years later become known for her emotional acting abilities first displayed in The Devils Advocate. Her beauty is a mixture of Germanic/French decent and was born in South Africa and has a wide appeal among movie goers which is alluring but still can have a girl next door charm.

19. Naomi Harris

A outstandingly strong beautiful woman who has been and come through immense personal adversity, whilst growing up and studying for her degree to becoming a professional actress. I remember seeing her face in a magazine such as GQ as one to watch for the future and remembered her in television adaptation of Zadie Smith‘s White Teeth, and then appearing in films such as 28 Days Later, and then minor roles in big blockbusters. But Naomi’s best features for me is her approach to life being a Buddhist and how she will not leave London to move to Hollywood which I imagine has gone against her in gaining big roles instead of supporting roles. To me a strong minded woman exudes beauty and then her looks only compensates her attitude.

20. Sienna Miller

21. Alyssa Milano

22. Aishwarya Rai

23. Kelis Rodgers-Jones

24. Alicia Keys

25. Kerry Washington

26. Lisa Bonet

27. Kate Beckinsale

28. Jennifer Love Hewitt

29. Ashley Judd

30. Raquel Welch

In her heyday and stil looks great now in her 60’s/70’s

31. Pam Grier

Still looks great now even recently in the L word

32. Demi Moore

33. Lucy Liu

Looked like a Goddess in Ally McBeal and continued to blossom to beauty in films.

34. Eva Mendes

35. Stacey Dash

Still an amzing beauty after Clueless and her Playboy poses a few years ago show this.

36. Elizabeth Shue

The dog wasn’t harmed during the picture being taken..

37. Jourdan Dunn

38. Iman


At this front cover celebrating her 50th Birthday


39. Thandie Newton

40. Sanaa Lathan

This may shock people but her lips alone are what men die for in a woman.


41. Salma Hayek

42. Zoe Kravitz

A future model waiting to blow-up, the off-spring of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet.


43. Shakara

44. Veronica Webb

45. Rachel Yamagata

46. Zadie Smith

47. Kristin Davis

48. Mayra Andrade

New world singer from Cape Verdenan who is 20 years old and sounds like a veteran and has an amazing presence live

49. Grace Jones

At 60 years old one of the most striking Black women who still models now


50. Kate Bush

A strange one to be considered but Kate Bush was in her heyday and still is an exceptionally beautiful woman


The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers-Is they Don’t Eat You

Posted in Cartoons, Comedy, Controversy, life, Living, Politics, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

Silly Blog I know


When I woke up this morning, running around getting ready for work, I realised about children’s books and TV programmes

The one what was at the forefront of my mind was Winnie The Pooh

A Bear called Pooh? MMMMMMMM!

Then I thought of the story where the characters told Tigger to leave the 100 Acre wood, which is sad and I remember being upset at this as Tigger was my favourite character, Pooh Bear was sad about this, but Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore and the others wanted him gone.

So as you know the story goes on and eventually they look for him and he helps save Rabbit, who in turn thanks him..

Happy Tigger pushing Piglet in Flowers

Happy Ending-In Reality NO!

A Real Tiger

Tigger is a TIGER who lives in a forest (not a jungle), and he gets told to basically F*Ck OFF by a little pig, Donkey, and a stupid hyperactive Rabbit

This docile stupid looking Rabbit

They should be lucky Tigger didn’t decide to eat them all, look at Sher Khan in Jungle Book he nearly kills Baloo, a bear 6 times the size of Pooh.

If I was Tigger I would have gone scitzo if a rabbit told me to bugger off, Tigger should have made a rabbit and carrot stew and blackmailed Pooh for his house so he didn’t eat Piglet or the beautiful tough meat of Kanga or Roo

Kanga is a single mum who would help her out OWL?

OWL gets in flap when he gets flooded let alone when a tiger is ready for his dinner BBQ Rabbit

So next time someone bigger annoys you, allow sometimes as mark my words

It won’t be like the Winnie The Pooh stories, but how fast can you run before being beaten..

A picture of Tigger ready to pin his Human Prey and devour him

It’s not what you know but who you are-The King of Wealth…

Posted in Accomadation, Controversy, Education, Health and Beauty, Living, News Media, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 22, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

Thai king world’s wealthiest royal

With a fortune estimated at 35 billion dollars, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s richest royal sovereign, and oil-rich Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi is far back at No. 2, Forbes magazine reported Thursday.

King Bhumibol, 80 and, at 62 years on the throne the world’s longest-serving head of state, pushed to the top of the richest royals list by virtue a greater transparency surrounding his fortune, Forbes said.

It said that the Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of his family’s wealth, “granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.”

Forbes called it a good year for monarchies, investment-wise. “As a group, the world’s 15 richest royals have increased their total wealth to 131 billion dollars, up from 95 billion last year,” Forbes said on its website.

With oil prices soaring, the monarchs of the petro-kingdoms of the Middle East and Asia dominate the list.

Sheik Khalifa, 60, the current president of the United Arab Emirates, was estimated to be worth 23 billion dollars, on the back of Abu Dhabi’s huge petroleum reserves.

In third was the sovereign of the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, 84, who inherited the Al-Saud family throne in 2005, came in with a fortune of 21 billion dollars.

The previous king of kings, wealth-wise, 62 year old Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of tiny, oil-endowed Brunei on the Southeast Asia island of Borneo, fell to fourth place with 20 billion dollars.

“The sultan, who inherited the riches of an unbroken 600-year-old Muslim dynasty, has had to cut back on his country’s oil production because of depleting reserves,” Forbes explained of his dwindling fortune.

Fifth was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, 58, of another Emirate, Dubai, with a net worth of 18 billion dollars.

One of two Europeans on the list, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, 63, ranked six on the list with 5 billion dollars in wealth. However the bank that is a key source of his family’s wealth, LGT, is under investigation by the United States for helping wealthy people evade taxes.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 56, came in at seventh, worth two billion dollar; eighth was King Mohammed VI of Morocco, 46, his 1.5 billion dollar fortune based on phosphate mining, agriculture and other investments.

Number nine was Prince Albert II of Monaco, 50, his diverse fortune in the southern European principality put at 1.4 billion dollars.

Tenth on the list was Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, 67, worth 1.1 billion dollars.

Rounding out the top 15 were: The Aga Khan Prince Karim Al Hussein, 71 (1.0 billion); Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 82, 650 million dollars; Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, 79, 500 million dollars; Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, 70, 300 million dollars; and King Mswati III of Swaziland, 40, with 200 million dollars.

Forbes noted that because many of the royals inherited their wealth, share it with extended families, and often control it “in trust for their nation or territory,” none of those on its list would qualify for the magazine’s famous annual world billionaires ranking.

“Because of technical and idiosyncratic oddities in the exact relationship between individual and state wealth, these estimates are perforce a blend of art and science,” it added.

But one thing I have noticed with Royality from The Arab Nations, though they are wealthy they are very humble and a good thing they always smile and look happy (They have a great life and give back always when they can)

Queen Elizabeth on the other hand is so miserable, she gets her money from British taxpayers, so really British people should be able to go into Buckingham FREE, but unlike the Arab rulers who earn their money from Oil or other business she bleeds us dry and gets to go to the best hospitals and everything else.

Makes me a little sick

Some of us are born priveleged, but what makes a person special is when they give back after they recieve or before, and that is my problem with most royality, as they seem to forget who keeps them where they are…

So if you do watch the Queens speech, remember all her clothes, pictures and antique articfacts, are all paid by the upkeep of one set of people in Britain


Maxwell Returns For First Tour In Six Years

Posted in Music, News Media, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

Absent from the scene for ages, R&B star Maxwell will embark on his first tour in six years this fall, beginning Oct. 8 in Boston and running through Nov. 21 in Philadelphia.

The artist hasn’t released a new album since 2001’s “Now” but continues to work on a three-part follow-up, “Black Summers’ Night.” There is no release date at the moment or additional information about the Columbia project, according to a spokesperson.

The most recent details about “Black Summers’ Night” came last September, when Columbia urban music exec Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua told Billboard that “Maxwell’s still working with Sade’s band, his tried-and-true team. He took some time off and now he’s ready.”

Joshua added, “He’s recorded so much material that he’s got a couple of albums done.”

In the past couple of years, Maxwell has eked out previews of new songs on his MySpace site, including “Pretty Wings,” which has racked up more than 762,000 plays. He also made his first major appearance in recent memory at the BET Awards in June, performing “Simply Beautiful” as part of an Al Green tribute.

This is Maxwell talking about the new shows coming up and what he wants to do

The album is reportedly out July 7th 2009, anymore information, I will let you know…..

50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad? Part 2-Madonna

Posted in Controversy, Dance, Education, Fashion, Film, Living, Music, News Media, Nights Out, Politics, Racism, Romance, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad?

Part 1 was Prince

Part 2 is The Queen of POP


Madonna Louise Ciccone born on August the 16th 1958

Madonna has pioneered pop music for women beyond belief, her critics when she first came out stated Madonna wouldn’t be around too long, how wrong they were..(though in the early 90’s her career was close to ending on more occasions then I care to remember)

The critics have been a part of Madonna career and sometimes it’s worked in her favour and othertimes devalued her value as a artist.

Compared to Prince or the next person on Part 3 of this blog, “50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad” Madonna is not so musically talented, can’t play instruments (well the guitar now?) and is not such a natural talent but Madonna has overall been more successfully in keeping afloat.

Many reasons are accountable for this, Madonna is a great marketing genius, she knows what sells, to push the right buttons and her greatest asset is making the most of what she has got..

Race could be a part of it, though Part 3 of this blog will challenge this alot…

Madonna also doesn’t seem to alienate her record company either, she just gets on with her music..

Her Background…

Early life and career debut

Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan. Her mother, Madonna Louise (née Fortin), was of French Canadian descent, and her father, Silvio “Tony” P. Ciccone, was a first-generation Italian American Chrysler/General Motors design engineer whose parents originated from Pacentro in Italy. Madonna is the third of six children; her siblings are Martin, Anthony, Paula Mae, Christopher (who has decided to write a book about his relationship with his sister-interesting read and very bitter), and Melanie.

Madonna was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac, Michigan and Avon Township (now Rochester Hills, Michigan). Her mother died of breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963. Her father married the family housekeeper, Joan Gustafson, and they had two children; Jennifer and Mario Ciccone. “I didn’t accept my stepmother when I was growing up,” Madonna said, “in retrospect I think I was really hard on her.”

Madonna convinced her father to allow her to take ballet classes. Madonna attended St. Frederick’s Elementary School and St. Andrew’s Elementary School (present day Holy Family Regional) and West Middle School. She attended Rochester Adams High School, becoming a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. Madonna received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan after graduating from high school.

Madonna’s ballet teacher persuaded her to pursue a dance career, so she left the University of Michigan at the end of 1977 and moved to New York City.

Madonna had little money and for some time lived in squalor, working at Dunkin’ Donuts and with modern dance troupes. (This shows her drive and what I really appreciate Madonna for)

Speaking of her move to New York, Madonna said, “It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”

While performing as a dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez on his 1979 world tour, Madonna became romantically involved with the musician Dan Gilroy, with whom she later formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club in New York.

In it, she sang and played drums and guitar before forming the band Emmy in 1980 with drummer and former boyfriend Stephen Bray (who continued to write with her during the 80’s). She and Bray wrote and produced dance songs that brought her local attention in New York dance clubs. Disc jockey and record producer Mark Kamins was impressed by her demo recordings, so he brought her to the attention of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.

1982–1985: Madonna and Like a Virgin

In 1982, Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire Records, a label belonging to Warner Bros. Records. Her first release was “Everybody” on April 24, 1982. Her debut album, Madonna was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas.

Madonna’s look and manner of dress, performances and music videos, became influential among young girls and women. Defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross, and bleached hair, it became a female fashion trend in the 1980s.

Her follow up album, Like a Virgin, became her first number one album on the U.S. albums chart;its commercial performance was buoyed by the success of its title track, “Like a Virgin”, which reached number one in the U.S. with a six week stay at the top.

The album sold 12 million copies worldwide, eight of which in the U.S.

She performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards, wearing her then-trademark “Boy Toy” belt.

Like a Virgin is listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.

A personnal opinion, I think this was helped by the fact the songwriters Madonna had were of very good quality-who has a history of writing very successful pop songs, Like a Virgin was written by the songwriting duo of Steinberg and Kelly-

The link to how the song was written and a original demo


The album was produced by Niles Rodgers of Chic fame. Plus with the success of Thriller and 1999, and Purple Rain this album fitted into a nice Niche for a female market and dare i say ‘Gay Market’ in 1984..

In 1985, Madonna entered mainstream films, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in the film Vision Quest. Its soundtrack contained her second U.S. number-one single “Crazy for You”. Later that year, she appeared in Desperately Seeking Susan. The film introduced the song “Into the Groove”, which became her first number-one single in the UK.

Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in the U.S. in 1985 titled The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys.

In July that year, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of black and white nude photos of Madonna taken in the late 1970s. Madonna took legal action to try and block them from being published, but when that failed she became unapologetic and defiant. At the outdoor Live Aid charity concert at the height of the controversy, Madonna made a critical reference to the media and stated she would not take her jacket off because “they might hold it against me ten years from now”.

1986–1991: True Blue, Like a Prayer and the Blond Ambition Tour

Madonna released her third album, True Blue, in 1986, prompting Rolling Stone to say that “it sounds as if it comes from the heart”. The album included the ballad “Live to Tell”, which she wrote for the film At Close Range, starring her then-husband Sean Penn.

True Blue produced four Top 5 singles on the Billboard charts: “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Open Your Heart” and “True Blue”.

In the same year, Madonna starred in the film Shanghai Surprise and made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe’s Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Sean Penn.

In 1987, Madonna starred in Who’s That Girl, and contributed four songs to its soundtrack; including the title track and the U.S. number-two single, “Causing a Commotion”.

In the same year, she embarked on the Who’s That Girl Tour. It marked her first conflict with the Vatican, as Pope John Paul II urged Italian fans not to attend her concerts.

Later that year, Madonna released a remix album of past hits, You Can Dance. In 1988, city officials in the town of Pacentro began to construct a 13-foot (4 m) statue of Madonna in a bustier. The statue commemorates the fact that her ancestors had lived in Pacentro.

In 1988, Madonna starred as Karen in a play by David Mamet called Speed-the-Plow.

In early 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft drink manufacturer Pepsi (Michael Jackson had done many years before-the commercial and the infamous story of his hair catching alight and the BAD tour) . She debuted her new song, “Like a Prayer”, in a Pepsi commercial and also made a music video for it.

The video, which features many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, was condemned by the Vatican. Also Jesus was represented by a Black Man (which the Gnostics believe) is a true representation not the Vatican and Italien Renaissance representation.

Since the commercial and music video were nearly identical, Pepsi was unable to convince the public that their commercial had nothing that could be deemed inappropriate. They revoked the commercial and cancelled their sponsorship contract with Madonna.

But in all honesty Madonna kept the money and showed that she didn’t need anyone to back her..A shewd business move in a very unothordox way.

Madonna’s fourth album, Like a Prayer, released in 1989, was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray.

Rolling Stone hailed it as “…as close to art as pop music gets”.

Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the U.S. album chart and sold seven million copies worldwide, with four million copies sold in the U.S. alone.

The album produced three Top 5-charting singles: the title track (her seventh number-one single in the U.S.), “Express Yourself” and “Cherish”.

In 1990, Madonna starred as “Breathless” Mahoney in a film adaptation of the comic book series Dick Tracy. To accompany the launching of the film in May 1990, she released I’m Breathless that includes songs inspired by the film’s 1930s setting. It features her eighth U.S. number-one single, “Vogue”, and her Academy Award-winning song “Sooner or Later”. The second single released from I’m Breathless was “Hanky Panky”, which peaked in the U.S. at number nine.

In April 1990, Madonna began her Blond Ambition World Tour. Featuring religious and sexual themes, the tour drew controversy from her performance of “Like a Virgin” during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation.

The Pope again encouraged Italians not to attend to it. A private association of Catholics, called Famiglia Domani, also boycotted the tour for featuring eroticism. In response, Madonna said, “I am Italian American and proud of it” and the Church “completely frowns on sex… except for procreation.”

In November 1990, Madonna released her first greatest hits compilation album, The Immaculate Collection, which includes two new songs: “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me”.

“Rescue Me” became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in the U.S. chart history at the time, entering at number 15 and peaking at number nine.

“Justify My Love” became a number-one dance hit in the U.S written by Lenny Kravitz (who she was reportedly dating at the time-hence the disolvement of his marriage to Lisa Bonet). Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity.

It was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and banned from the station, hence this got the song infamous whereas really it was quite forgetable.

In 1991, Madonna starred in her first documentary film, Truth or Dare, which chronicles her Blond Ambition Tour, as well as her personal life. The following year, she appeared in the baseball film A League of Their Own with a portrayal of Italian American Mae Mordabito, and recorded the film’s theme song, “This Used to Be My Playground”.

1992–1997: Maverick, Sex controversy and Evita

In 1992, Madonna founded her own entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records) the label did very well in the mid 90’s due to Alanis Morrisettes Jagged Little Pill selling 25 million copies worldwide and were the first label British Rock band Muse were signed to, later on she had to sue them due to bad financial management , a film production company (Maverick Films), and also music publishing, television, merchandising and book-publishing divisions.

It was a joint venture with Time Warner as part of a $60 million recording and business deal. The deal gave her a 20% royalty, equal at the time to Michael Jackson’s.

The first release from the venture was Madonna’s first publication Sex, a book consisting of sexually provocative and explicit images photographed by Steven Meisel. It caused media controversy but sold 500,000 copies in the U.S., it featured models such as Naomi Campbell and musicians (Vanilla Ice? who she dated for 8 months) and actors/actress-Sandra Bernhardt a lesbien affiar which supposedly took place.

At the same time she released her fifth studio album Erotica, featuring three sexual songs—”Erotica”, “Where Life Begins”, and “Did You Do It?”. The album peaked at number two in the U.S., becoming one of her least successful records.

Its title track peaked at #3 in the U.S. Hot 100.

The album also produced five further songs; “Deeper and Deeper”, “Bad Girl”, “Fever”, “Rain” and “Bye Bye Baby”.

During 1993, she starred in two films.

First was the erotic thriller Body of Evidence. The film contained S&M and bondage and was poorly received by critics. (it was awful and just should never have been made)

The second was the first production for Maverick Films, Dangerous Game. It was released straight-to-video in North America but received some good reviews for Madonna’s performance. The New York Times described that “She submits impressively to the emotions raging furiously around her.”

Madonna was publicly unhappy with the end result saying that “Even though it’s a shit movie and I hate it, I am good in it.”

She also expressed her disappointment regarding the final cut of the film, claiming that the director had cut many of her key scenes and completely changed the ending.

Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour at the end of 1993. It featured her dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix, surrounded by topless dancers. The controversy continued in Puerto Rico when she rubbed its flag between her legs on stage, while Orthodox Jews protested against her first ever show in Israel.

In the spring of 1994, Madonna released the single “I’ll Remember” which she recorded for Alek Keshishian’s film With Honors. That year, she also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, using four-letter words and asking Letterman to smell her underwear.

Later that year, she released her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories which was a further commercial disappointment.

It produced four singles— “Secret”, “Take a Bow”, “Bedtime Story” and “Human Nature”. But for myself the songs off this album were good quality written by Babyface and Dallas Austin they just needed a better singer on them. This is my last Madonna album I bought due to the rest of her material becoming too trite.

In November 1995, Madonna released Something to Remember, a collection of her ballads which featured her cover of the Marvin Gaye song “I Want You” produced by MAssive Attack and the top ten song “You’ll See”.

In 1996, Madonna’s most critically successful film, Evita, was released. She portrayed the main part of Eva Perón, a role first played by Elaine Paige in the West End.The soundtrack album contained three of her singles, of which “You Must Love Me” won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song From a Motion Picture. Madonna also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

1998–2002: Ray of Light and Music

Madonna’s 1998 studio album Ray of Light debuted at #2 in the U.S. Allmusic called it her “most adventurous record.” The album produced two U.S. top 5 singles: “Frozen” (her last best song in my opinion and the last best thing William Orbit produced) and “Ray of Light”.

It won three Grammy Awards.

Its title track won a Grammy for “Best Short Form Music Video.” and was used by Microsoft in its advertising campaign to introduce Windows XP.

“Frozen” was adjudicated to be a plagiarism of Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva’s 1993 song “Ma Vie Fout L’camp”, and the album banned in Belgium. The album has been ranked #363 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 1998, Madonna was signed to play a violin teacher in the film Music of the Heart but left the project, citing “creative differences” with director Wes Craven.Madonna followed the success of Ray of Light with the single “Beautiful Stranger”, recorded for the 1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack. It reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 with airplay alone.

In 2000, Madonna starred in The Next Best Thing. She contributed two songs to the film’s soundtrack, “Time Stood Still” and the international hit “American Pie”, a cover version of the 1970s Don McLean single this was a number one in the UK (probably one of the worst cover songs ever).

Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, was released in 2000 and debuted at #1 on the U.S. album charts.It produced three successful singles in the U.S.; “Music”, “Don’t Tell Me” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl”. The latter having a video which depicts murders by car, was banned by MTV and VH1.

In 2001, Madonna began her first world tour since 1993, the Drowned World Tour, visiting cities in North America and Europe. The tour was a success as one of the highest grossing of the year.

It grossed $75 million from 47 sold-out shows. She also released her second greatest hits collection, GHV2 to coincide with the home video release of the tour.

In 2002, Madonna starred in the film Swept Away directed by her husband Guy Ritchie. The film was a commercial and critical failure and released straight-to-video in the UK. Later that year, she released the title song “Die Another Day” to the 20th James Bond film, in which she had a cameo role. It reached number eight in the U.S. Hot 100 and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song.

In 2002, Madonna starred in a play by David Williamson titled Up for Grabs.

2003–2006: American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor

In April 2003, Madonna released the album American Life, themed on American society. It received mixed reviews (it was in my opinion her worst album she has ever made).The song peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Having sold 4 million copies, American Life became the lowest selling album of her career.

Later that year, Madonna performed the song “Hollywood” with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott at the MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna kissed Spears and Aguilera during the performance, resulting in tabloid press frenzy.( To be honest if this was done in the 80’s or early 90’s it would have been ok, but this looked like a trailer trash mum kissing her daughters and on Madonna part very desperate)

That fall, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears’s single “Me Against the Music”.

During the Christmas season of 2003, Madonna released Remixed & Revisited, a remix EP that included rock versions of songs from American Life, and “Your Honesty”, a previously unreleased track from the Bedtime Stories recording sessions.

In March 2004 Madonna and Maverick sued Warner Music Group and its former parent company, Time Warner, claiming that mismanagement of resources and poor bookkeeping had cost the company millions of dollars. In return, WMG filed a countersuit, alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars on its own.

On June 14, 2004, the dispute was resolved when Maverick shares owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev were purchased. The company was now a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music. but Madonna is still signed to Warner under a separate recording contract.

Later that year, Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention World Tour in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million.

She made a documentary about the tour named I’m Going to Tell You a Secret. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked her #36 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

2006 Confessions Tour in Los AngelesIn January 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song “Imagine” on the televised U.S. aid concert “Tsunami Aid”, which raised money for the tsunami victims in Asia. In July 2005, Madonna performed at the Live 8 benefit concert in London, run in support of the aims of the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty. Her performances of “Like a Prayer”, “Ray of Light” and “Music” were included in the Live 8 DVD.

Her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor was released that year and sold more than 8 million copies. The album received positive reviews. It produced four singles — “Hung Up” reached #1 in a record breaking 45 countries. “Sorry” became Madonna’s twelfth number one in the UK, making her the female artist with the most #1 singles in the UK charts.

It was also a #1 U.S. Dance hit. “Get Together”, became her thirty-sixth number one dance hit in the U.S.The fourth single, “Jump”, reached number nine in the UK.

“Hung Up” reached number one in 45 countries, Madonna’s first international chart-topper since “Music” in 2000. It sold 8,698,000 units, and according to the United World Chart, is the 5th most successful song since 1999

In mid-2006, Madonna became the worldwide model for H&M. Included in the deal was a specially designed track suit, created by Madonna.

The next year, the clothing line M by Madonna was launched internationally.

Madonna’s Confessions Tour began in May 2006. It had a global audience of 1.2 million people and, with reported gross sales of $260.1 million. The use of religious symbols such as the crucifix and Crown of Thorns in the performance of “Live to Tell” caused controversy. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia urged all members to boycott her concert. Prosecutors in Düsseldorf threatened to sue her and a Protestant bishop said, “the only way an aging superstar can attract attention is to offend people’s religious sentiments.”

Vatican officials claimed her mock crucifixion was an open attack on Catholicism, to which Madonna responded: “My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole.”

In December 2006, PETA criticized Madonna for wearing a chinchilla fur coat in a London restaurant.

Madonna opposes American President George W. Bush. In her Confessions Tour performance of the song “I Love New York”, she replaced the original lyrics “just go to Texas, isn’t that where they golf?” with “just go to Texas and suck George Bush’s dick!”

She endorsed Wesley Clark’s Democratic nomination for the 2004 presidential election in a letter to her fans saying, “the future I wish for my children is at risk.”

In late 2006, she expressed her support for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 election.

Most recently, she stated that she would be behind Al Gore if he decided to run for the 2008 elections after seeing his documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. She also urged her fans to see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

2007–present: New record deal, directorial debut and Hard Candy

In May 2007, Madonna released the download-only song “Hey You”, in anticipation of Live Earth, which was free for its first week. She also performed it at the London Live Earth concert in July 2007.

In October 2007, Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records and a new $120 million, ten year contract with Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists.

The Warner Bros. deal will be completed with a compilation album due at the end of 2008 or early 2009.

In November 2007, the New York Post claimed animal enthusiasts were “horrified” by Madonna dyeing her sheep for a photograph, and “vilified” for organising pheasant-hunting parties at her estate. In December 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008. The ceremony took place on March 10, 2008. Madonna also directed her first film, Filth and Wisdom and produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians directed by her former gardener Nathan Rissman.

Filth and Wisdom received mixed reviews from the British press. The Times Online said she has “done herself proud” while The Daily Telegraph described the film as “not an entirely unpromising first effort [but] Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job.”

The Guardian praised I Am Because We Are, saying that she “came, saw and conquered the world’s biggest film festival.”

In 2008, Madonna promoted her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, with the Hard Candy Promo Tour. It was lauded by Rolling Stone as an “impressive taste of her upcoming tour.” The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, where Madonna achieved ten number one albums.

Hard Candy sold 100,000 copies in the United States upon its first day of release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with over 280,000 copies sold. The album received mostly positive reviews worldwide, though some critics panned it as “an attempt to harness the urban market”.

Its lead single “4 Minutes” reached number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the U.S. Radio & Records Pop Chart. Future promotion of the album will include the Sticky & Sweet Tour due to begin in August 2008.


Most people know about Madonna’s private life whereas I always look at her as a couragous artist, not so daring as Prince or musically faultless songs like Michael Jackson, and out of three people for the three part blog she is my least favourite artist but one thing i will commend Madonna for is no matter how many knocks she has, she dusts herself and reinvents herself and sells and proves people wrong,

So in that respect Madonna is a great artist as the say “you can never knock a great person down, as they will alway prove you wrong”

So Happy 50th Birthday Madonna!