Michael Jackson – Portrait – Ralph Ueltzhoeffer – Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29, 1958) also known as The King of Pop, is an American musician and entertainer whose successful music career and controversial personal life have been at the forefront of pop culture for the last quarter-century. Jackson began his musical career at the age of seven as the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and released his first solo recording, Got To Be There in 1971 while remaining as a member of the group. He began a full-fledged solo career in 1979 and formally parted with his siblings in 1984. In his solo career, Jackson recorded and co-produced the best-selling album of all time, Thriller, with worldwide sales over 60 million; received thirteen Grammy awards; and charted thirteen number-one singles in the United States. Throughout his four-decade career, Michael Jackson has been awarded numerous honors including the World Music Award’s Best-selling pop male artist of the Millennium, American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award, Bambi Award’s Pop Artist of the millenium Award, and is a double-inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (once as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997, and again in 2001 as a solo artist.) He is also a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Michael Jackson has sold over 750 million units worldwide to date. From 1988 to 2005, Jackson lived on his Neverland Ranch property, on which he built an amusement park and private zoo for economically disadvantaged and terminally ill children. His frequently held sleepover parties received disparaging media coverage after it was revealed that children frequently shared his bed or bedroom. These occurrences came to light first when he was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. His sleepover parties were brought into the spotlight again in 2003 during the infamous Living with Michael Jackson TV Documentary. This resulted in Jackson being tried and acquitted of more child molestation allegations and several other charges in 2005. Biography Early life and career: 1966–1980 Main articles: The Jackson 5 and Off The Wall The cover to Michael Jackson’s 1971’s Got to Be There.Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, the second-youngest brother of seven and the eighth of ten children of Joseph and Katherine Jackson. In 1966, after taking co-lead singing duties with brother Jermaine, the group’s name was changed to The Jackson 5. The group played local clubs and bars, building up a following and eventually signing a contract with Motown Records in 1968. The group hit stardom, with their first four singles charting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Jackson also released and charted many solo hit singles as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, including the hits “Got to Be There,” “Ben,” and a remake of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin.” The group’s sales declined after 1973, and the group chafed under Motown’s strict refusal to allow the Jacksons creative control or input. In 1976, the group signed a new contract with CBS Records (first joining the Philadelphia International division and later moving over to Epic Records). Upon learning that the Jackson 5 had signed a contract with another label, Motown sued the group for breach of contract. As a result of the legal proceedings, which were complicated by the fact that Jermaine Jackson had just married the daughter of Motown president Berry Gordy, the Jacksons lost the rights to use the “Jackson 5” name and logo and also lost Jermaine, who wanted to stay in Motown. They changed their name to simply “The Jacksons,” featuring youngest brother Randy in Jermaine’s place, and continued their successful career, touring internationally and releasing six albums between 1976 and 1984, with Jermaine eventually re-joining in 1983, making them a sextet. In 1978, Jackson starred as the scarecrow in The Wiz with former-labelmate Diana Ross playing Dorothy. The musical film’s songs were arranged by famed producer Quincy Jones, who established a partnership with Jackson during the film’s production and agreed to produce his first solo album in four years. Off the Wall, released in 1979, was a worldwide hit, and became the first album in history to spawn four top-ten hits, including “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You.” establishing Jackson as a singer without his brothers. The Thriller era: 1982–1986 Main articles: Thriller (album), We Are The World, and Captain EO The original album cover to 1982’s Thriller.In 1982, Jackson released his second Epic album, Thriller, which became the best-selling album in music history with more than 60 million copies sold worldwide. The album spawned seven hit singles, including “Billie Jean” (which was the first music video by a black artist to receive regular airplay on MTV), “Beat It” and the album’s title track which was accompanied by a revolutionary music video. The thirteen-minute “Thriller” was critically acclaimed, and massive airplay lead to it being packaged with the featurette “Making Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on VHS, where it became the best-selling music home video ever. Thriller spent 37 weeks at number one and remained on the Billboard album chart for 122 weeks. It was eventually certified 26x Platinum in the United States. In 1983, whilst performing “Billie Jean” at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever concert Jackson debuted what could now be construed as his signature move—the moonwalk. The media began paying more attention to this new, publicity-courting Jackson and his new-found superstar status and wealth allowed him to reap financial rewards. In 1983 he started a sponsorship deal with Pepsi-Cola, and as part of the deal Jackson agreed to star in a commercial. While filming a Pepsi commercial with his brothers present in 1984, before a live audience, his hair caught on fire when a pyrotechnic effect went wrong. Jackson suffered serious burns on his scalp, which required skin grafts. Later in 1984, Jackson won eight Grammy awards. Seven were for the critically acclaimed Thriller. Jackson also won a Grammy for the E.T. Storybook that year, breaking the record for the most Grammy awards won in a single year. Reuniting with his brothers, Jackson then helped to write the Victory album and performed and starred in the successful Victory Tour that summer. In 1985, Jackson was invited to the White House and was personally thanked by then-President Ronald Reagan at a White House ceremony for donating his song “Beat It” for use in drunk driving prevention television and radio public service announcements. Jackson continued his charity work in 1985 by co-writing (along with Lionel Richie) the hit single “We Are The World”. The charity single helped to raise money and awareness for famine in East Africa and brought Jackson his first taste of perception in the media as a humanitarian. Jackson in the video for Beat It.Controversy also followed when Jackson purchased shares in the ATV Music Publishing (Lennon’s estate and McCartney also co-owned), making himself the majority shareholder. The ATV Music Publishing company owned the rights to most of The Beatles’ songs. The move angered close friend and song co-writing partner Paul McCartney, who was interested in purchasing the Beatles catalog for himself and felt betrayed by Jackson’s actions. Ironically, it was McCartney who advised Jackson on the merits of song ownership. Their creative co-writing ended after this event. Following this controversial business deal, tabloid stories of Jackson sleeping in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to stall the aging-process, and an allegation claiming Jackson attempted to purchase the bones of the Elephant Man inspired the pejorative nickname “Wacko Jacko”. The name “Wacko Jacko” would come to be detested by Jackson. In 1986, Jackson starred in the George Lucas/Francis Ford Coppola 3-D film Captain EO. The film lasted just 17 minutes but with cost estimates between U.S. $17 million and $30 million, it was at the time the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis. However this was a seemingly logical extension of Jackson’s habit of starring in expensive, critically acclaimed entertainment music videos. It was commercially successful and made a great deal of money. In the USA the Disney theme parks hosted Captain EO. Disneyland featured the 17 minute 3D film in tomorrow-land from September 18, 1986 until April 7, 1997. Also featured in Walt Disney World in Epcot from September 12, 1986 until July 6, 1994. Bad and controversies: 1987–1990 Main articles: Bad (album) and Physical appearance of Michael Jackson In 1987 Jackson released Bad. This was his third album for the Epic record label, and final album with producer Quincy Jones. With high expectations after the success of Thriller, Jackson had complex ideas for the album. He initially wanted to make the album 30 tracks long, but Jones cut this down to 10. According to Jones, Jackson also wanted the title track to be a duet with fellow pop superstar Prince. According to Quincy Jones, Prince stated later that he thought the song would be a hit whether he was in it or not. Bad spawned seven hit singles. In comparison to Jackson’s previous work, Bad had lower sales. Numerous critics have said that this was due to the stripping down of the epic nature of Jackson’s work. Bad was still a huge commercial success. The number one singles off the album are: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, and “Dirty Diana”. The album was supported by a world tour which lasted for over a year and visited 15 countries, and for which Jackson insisted on a personal bus, plane and helicopter to be available to him all at the same time. Jackson hired film director Martin Scorsese to direct the video for the album’s title track. When the 18-minute music video debuted on TV, it sparked a great deal of controversy as it was apparent that Jackson’s appearance had changed dramatically. Although Jackson’s skin color was a medium-brown color for the entire duration of his youth, his skin had been becoming paler gradually since 1982, and had become a light brown colour. This was now so noticeable that the entire press, not just tabloids, took out widespread coverage on it and some tabloid stories claimed that Jackson had bleached his own skin. Another significant reason for the change in appearance was the use of plastic surgery. Despite a number of surgeons’ claims that Jackson has undergone multiple nasal surgeries as well as a forehead lift, thinned lips and cheekbone surgery, Jackson wrote in his 1988 autobiography Moon Walk that he only had two rhinoplastic surgeries and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin, while attributing puberty and diet to the noticeable change in the structure of his face. The success Jackson achieved during this period in his career led to him being dubbed the “King of Pop”, a nickname which he continues to be referred to by his fans. There are various conflicting reports as to the origin of this nickname although according to Jackson it was conceived by actress and long-term friend Elizabeth Taylor as she presented Jackson with an “Artist of the decade” award in 1989, proclaiming him “the true king of pop, rock and soul”. Additionally, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this period saw Jackson enjoy “a level of superstardom previously known only to Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra.” Dangerous and further career: 1991–1994 Main articles: Dangerous (album), 1993 child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson, and Michael Jackson marriages and children In 1991, Michael Jackson released Dangerous. The major hit from Dangerous was “Black or White”, which was accompanied by a controversial video featuring scenes of a sexual nature, violence and racism. The video was banned on most music-television channels until the scenes of violence and sex enacted by Jackson breaking windows and simulating masturbation were edited out of the video. On February 10, 1992 MTV kicked off its first global sweepstakes with “My Dinner with Michael.” Winners from around the world attended a dinner party hosted by Michael Jackson on the set of his music video “In the Closet.” Later that year, a biopic, The Jacksons: An American Dream debuted on ABC based on the true story of the rise of The Jackson 5 who later changed their name to The Jacksons. Named for his humanitarian single “Heal the World”, 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 rides and amusements Jackson had built on the property after he purchased it in 1988. In January 1993 Michael Jackson performed during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. It drew the largest viewing audience in the history of American television. Jackson began publically claiming at this time that his changing skin color was due to the skin disorder vitiligo. He first disclosed this whilst on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1993. In the interview Jackson stated that his skin was first overall black with white spots which he used to put make-up on in order to hide it. But later, some time after Thriller his skin became increasingly white with black spots, for that reason he started using white make-up in order to cover the black spots. Oprah Winfrey speaking with Michael Jackson on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1993.Jackson was reported to be inviting or allowing children to sleep over at Neverland. This practice came under much media and public scrutiny in 1993 when allegations of child molestation were brought against Jackson by a child who had stayed with him on several occasions. That year, Jordan Chandler, the son of former Beverly Hills dentist Evan Chandler, represented by civil lawyer Larry Feldman, accused Jackson of child sexual abuse. On December 22 Jackson responded to the allegations via satellite from his Neverland compound, and claimed to be “totally innocent of any wrongdoing.” On January 25, 1994, Jackson settled out of court with the accuser for an undisclosed sum, reported to be $20 million, and was not charged. After the allegations were settled in 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. The marriage was severely criticized by the media with many outlets regarding it as a sham. The marriage lasted less than two years. Despite some comments questioning the validity of this union, Presley maintained during their marriage that they both shared a married couple’s life and were sexually active. History and Blood on the Dancefloor: 1995–2000 Main articles: HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor Jackson in the video for “They Don’t Care About Us”.In 1995, Jackson released HIStory: Past, Present And Future – Book 1. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a fifteen-track greatest hits album (in 2001, HIStory Begins was re-released on its own as Greatest Hits – HIStory Vol. I), while the second disc, HIStory Continues, contained fifteen new songs. The first single released from the HIStory album was “Scream”, which reached the top 5 on the Billboard hot 100. The music video for Scream is currently the World’s most expensive music video ever. On September 7, 1995 at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards Jackson and Janet Jackson won three awards for the song “Scream,” from HIStory. “They Don’t Care About Us” was the fourth single released from HIStory in April 1996, and caused controversy – this time over anti-Semitic lyrics. The song contained the lyrics “Jew me, sue me” and “kick me, kike me.” After significant pressure from the Jewish community, later releases changed the verse to the same-sounding “do me, sue me” and “kick me, hike me”. To promote the album, Jackson embarked on the successful HIStory World Tour. On November 14, 1996, during the Australian leg of the tour, Jackson married his dermatologist’s nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe, with whom he fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (who publicly goes by the name “Prince”), and a daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson. Jackson and Rowe were divorced in 1999. Jackson later said that Rowe wanted him to have the children as a “gift”. The paternity of Michael Jackson’s children has been heavily debated by the public. Michael has always maintained that his first two children were conceived naturally. However the tabloid The Sun made two controversial claims about Jackson’s parentage: first, that Jackson conceived his first child via artificial insemination using his own sperm and, second, that the second child, Paris, was conceived in and named after Paris, France, where Jackson had gone to console Rowe for his having taken her first child, and all parental rights from Rowe. Jackson at the Brit Awards in 1996.At the 1996 Brit Awards Jackson performed the track Earth Song, dressed in white and surrounded by worshipping children and an actor portraying a Rabbi. Jackson proceeded to make Christ-like poses whilst lifted into the air by a crane with a wind machine blowing back his hair. Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker and his friend Peter Mansell mounted a stage invasion in protest. Cocker leapt onstage, pretended to expose his rear, danced and sat back down. In response to the ensuing media scrutiny of the action, Cocker responded, “My actions were a form of protest at the way Michael Jackson sees himself as some kind of Christ-like figure with the power of healing… I just ran on the stage and showed off… All I was trying to do was make a point and do something that lots of other people would have loved to have done if only they’d dared”. Cocker received vocal support from the British press – the 2 March 1996 edition of Melody Maker, for example, suggested Cocker should be knighted, while Noel Gallagher claimed “Jarvis Cocker is a star and he should be given MBE.” Gallagher said of Jackson’s behaviour “For Michael Jackson to come over to this country after what’s all gone on – and I think we all know what I’m talking about here – to dress in a white robe, right, thinking he’s the Messiah – I mean who does he think he is? Me?” The cover of Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix.In 1997, Jackson released an album of new material coupled with remixes of hit singles from the “HIStory” album titled Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. The album’s five original songs were named (“Blood On The Dance Floor”, “Is It Scary?”, “Ghosts”, “Superfly Sister” and “Morphine”). Of the new songs, three were released globally, including the title track which reached number-one in the UK. Other single releases from the album included “Ghosts”, and “Is It Scary?”, which were songs based on a film Jackson created that year titled “Ghosts”. The shortfilm, written by Michael Jackson and Stephen King and directed by Stan Winston, features impressive special effects and dance moves choreographed to original music written by Michael Jackson. The music video for “Ghosts” is over 35 minutes long and is currently the Worlds Longest Music Video. Jackson dedicated the album to Elton John, who reportedly helped him through his addiction to painkillers, notably morphine. In 1998 Jackson reached an out-of-court settlement with the Daily Mirror newspaper, which apologised for having described his face as “hideously disfigured and scarred”. Steven Hoefflin, a high-profile Hollywood plastic surgeon alleged to have operated on Jackson’s nose was, according to the press, also advising him against further surgery at this time.  Invincible, Berlin and Martin Bashir: 2001–2003 Main articles: Invincible (album) and Living with Michael Jackson Jackson’s latest album Invincible was released in October 2001 and debuted at number-one in thirteen countries. The singles released from the album include “You Rock My World,” “Cry,” and “Butterflies”. Jackson also recorded a charity benefit single entitled “What More Can I Give” which was never released to retail. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed Sony Music Entertainment head, Tommy Mottola, that he was not going to renew his contract, which was about to expire in terms of supplying the label with albums of full-new material for release through Epic Records/SME. In 2002, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were cancelled. Because of this, Jackson made allegations about Mottola not supporting its African-American artists. Jackson referred to Mottola as a “devil” and “racist” who used black artists for his own personal gain. He cited that Mottola called Jackson’s colleague Irv Gotti “fat nigger”. Sony issued a statement stating that they found the allegations strange, since Mottola was once married to biracial pop star Mariah Carey. Carey herself seemed nonchalant about Jackson’s claims on Larry King Live. In late 2002 Jackson’s Heal the World foundation had net assets of just $3,542 and reported $2,585 in expenses, mostly for “management fees”, according to the latest available tax filings. The foundation has been suspended in California since April 2002 for failing to file annual statements required of tax-exempt organizations, said John Barrett, spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board. Michael Jackson holding his youngest son over a balcony railing.In November 2002, Jackson traveled to Berlin to accept an award for his humanitarian efforts. He was surrounded by fans outside his room at the Hotel Adlon who were chanting in approval of the singer. According to the pop star, they also called out to see his baby. In response, Jackson brought his son onto the balcony, holding him in his right arm with a towel over the baby’s head, apparently to protect his identity. Jackson briefly extended the baby over the railing of the balcony. This raised concern as some perceived his actions as child endangerment. Jackson quickly returned the child to the room. After watching media coverage of the Berlin event, a California attorney and radio talk show host, Gloria Allred, wrote a letter to California’s Child Protective Services, asking for an investigation into the safety of the three Jackson children. She also spoke on CNN about the subject. Because Child Protective Services does not make their investigations public, it is not known whether any action was taken as a result of Allred’s letter. When a reporter asked Jackson what he thought of Allred’s complaints, he remarked “Ah, tell her to go to hell.” In a subsequent interview with Martin Bashir in 2003, Jackson said that the media were wrong in their comments about him being irresponsible with his children, “I love my children,” he explained. “I was holding my son tight. Why would I throw a baby off the balcony? That’s the dumbest, stupidest story I ever heard.” In 2003, a controversial documentary titled Living with Michael Jackson and including exclusive interviews with Michael Jackson about his personal life was shown to an international television audience. British journalist Martin Bashir and his film crew filmed Jackson for 18 months, also capturing his controversial behavior in Berlin (see above). One particular part of the documentary, which stirred controversy and raised a significant level of concern, showed Jackson holding hands with then 13-year-old cancer victim Gavin Arviso, and admitting to sharing his bedroom with him (but not in the same bed) as well as sharing his bed (non-sexually) with other children. Jackson felt betrayed by Bashir and complained that the film gives a distorted picture. He fought back by releasing his own documentary, filmed simultaneously by his own personal cameraman, who caught Jackson’s full explanations on the topics of plastic surgery, the “baby dangling” incident, and his relationships with children. In June 2003, Jackson’s friend, legendary actor Marlon Brando, signed a half-acre plot of land on his island Tetiaroa to Jackson, in gratitude for Jackson hosting a party for Brando’s daughter, Nina, then aged 13. Trial, acquittal and the aftermath: 2003–2006 Main articles: People v. Jackson, Michael Jackson post trial lawsuits, and I Have This Dream In November 2003, Michael Jackson and Sony Records released a compilation of his number one hits on CD and DVD titled “Number Ones”. The compilation has sold over six million copies worldwide to date. On the album’s scheduled release date, while Michael Jackson was in Las Vegas filming the video for “One More Chance” (the only new song included in the “Number Ones” compilation), the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department searched Neverland Ranch and issued an arrest warrant for Jackson on charges of child molestation. Jackson was accused of sexual abuse by Gavin Arviso, who appeared in the “Living with Michael Jackson” documentary earlier that year. The allegations later led to a 2005 trial in which Jackson was found not guilty of all charges. Michael converted to the Nation of Islam on December 17, 2003. Later in 2005, because of his links with the Bahrain Royal Family, he converted to Sunni Islam. After this conversion, he decided to build a mosque on land near the palace of the Bahraini royal family. Police mug shot of Michael Jackson taken in 2003.Marlon Brando, who was known to be a user of the internet informed Jackson on February 8, 2004 that the declarations made by Jordy Chandler relating to the 1993 child molestation allegations had been published on the internet site The Smoking Gun when Jackson was about to start an interview with journalist Ed Bradley for 60 Minutes. Jackson immediately left the studio and did not conduct the interview. Jackson also attended Brando’s memorial service in 2004 along with Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. Also on August 6, 2004, Man In The Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story debuted on VH1 starring Flex Alexander as the King of Pop. Rapper Eminem parodied new allegations raised against Jackson by Gavin Arviso in his music video for Just Lose It in 2004. The clip caused controversy and fueled Jackson himself to make a statement. The People v. Jackson criminal case began in Santa Maria, California during the spring of 2005. On June 10, Jackson’s publicist Raymone Bain was reportedly fired. Jackson’s now-defunct website cited that “”MJJ Productions regretfully announces the termination of Raymone Bain and Davis, Bain and Associates. We thank you for your services.” Bain later told the Associated Press that she had not been fired and that only Michael Jackson, not his production company (operated at the time by his brother, Randy Jackson), could fire her. Bain continues releasing press statements and answering media enquiries on behalf of Michael Jackson, and was named general manager of The Michael Jackson Company, Inc. on June 27, 2006. On June 13, Jackson was acquitted of all ten charges, including four additional lesser ones. CNN later reported that one of the jurors, Ray Hultman, believed he had committed child sex crimes in the past but there was not enough evidence to prove it, and he and another juror announced impending books on their experiences in the trial. In September 2005, Contact Music reported that Ray Hultman, one of the People v. Jackson jurors took legal action against the publisher of his book on his experiences in the trial, claiming heavy portions were plagiarised from a Vanity Fair article. Hultman also stated he felt “threatened” by the jury foreman Paul Rodriguez and regretted acquitting Jackson. After being acquitted of the child molestation charges, Jackson relocated to the Gulf island of Bahrain, where he reportedly bought a house formerly owned by a Bahrain MP. Jackson allegedly spent his time in the Gulf writing new music, including a charity single dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina entitled, “I Have This Dream”. Ciara, Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly, Keyshia Cole, James Ingram, Michael Jackson’s brother Jermaine, Shanice, the Reverend Shirley Caesar and The O’Jays all reportedly lent their voices to the charity song. After many delays, the single was not released, despite being announced on 13 September 2005. At the time, Jackson’s spokesperson, Raymone K. Bain, said the list included Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, James Brown and Lenny Kravitz. These artists later appeared to be no longer participating. One year later, the Katrina Charity Single still remains unreleased. In 2006, allegations of sexual assault were leveled against Jackson by a man who claims Michael Jackson molested him, intoxicated him with drugs and alcohol, and forced him to undergo unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Michael Jackson’s lawyer Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended him against allegations of child molestation in 2005, said “the charges are ridiculous on their face. They will be vigorously defended.” Visionary and Tokyo: 2006–Present In February 2006, Jackson’s label released Visionary – The Video Singles, a box set made up of twenty of his biggest hit singles, each of which were issued individually week by week over a five-month period. The Visionary box set.An appeals court ruled on February 15, that a lower court improperly terminated Deborah Rowe’s parental rights to her two children with pop star Michael Jackson, opening the door to a possible custody battle between the singer and his ex-wife. The retired judge, Steven M. Lachs, acknowledged in 2004 that he failed to have state officials do an independent investigation into what was in the best interests of the children. As of September 29, 2006, the case has reportedly been settled according to the lawyers representing each party. On March 9, 2006, California state labor officials closed the singer’s Neverland Ranch and fined him $69,000 for failure to provide employment insurance. The state “stop order” bars Jackson from “using any employee labor” until he secured required workers’ compensation insurance. In addition to being fined $1,000 for each of his 69 workers, Jackson is liable for up to 10 days pay for those employees who now are no longer allowed to report to Neverland for work. Thirty Neverland employees have also sued Jackson for $306,000 in unpaid wages. Hot on the heels of this payment, Jackson’s spokesperson announced on March 16, 2006 that Jackson was closing his house at Neverland and had laid off some of the employees but added that reports of the closing of the entire ranch were inaccurate. There have been many reports of a possible sale of Neverland, but nothing tangible has been reported yet. Michael Jackson with his daughter Paris Katherine at Disneyland Paris, June 18, 2006, photo by JJ MereloIn a move named by Jackson’s advisors as “refinancing,” it was announced on April 14, 2006 that Jackson had struck a deal with Sony and Fortress investments. In the deal Sony may be allowed to take control of half of Jackson’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing (worth an estimated $1 billion) which Jackson co-owns. Jackson would be left with 25% of the catalogue, with the rest belonging to Sony. In exchange, Sony negotiated with a loans company on behalf of Jackson. Jackson’s $200m in loans were due in December 2005 and were secured on the catalogue. Jackson failed to pay and the Bank of America sold them to Fortress investments, a company dealing in distressed loans. However, Jackson hasn’t as yet sold any of the remainder of his stake. The possible purchase by Sony of 25% of Sony/ATV Music Publishing is a conditional option; it is assumed the singer will try to avoid having to sell part of the catalogue of songs including material by other artists such as Bob Dylan and Destiny’s Child. As another part of the deal Jackson was given a new $300 million loan, and a lower interest rate on the old loan to match the original Bank of America rate. When the loan was sold to Fortress investments they increased the interest rate to 20%. None of the details are officially confirmed. An advisor to Jackson, however, did publicly announce he had “restructured his finances with the assistance of Sony.” On April 18, 2006, Michael Jackson signed a management deal with English music producer Guy Holmes. Holmes is the recently appointed CEO of Two Seas Records, with whom Jackson has signed a recording contract for one album. The album is set for a fall 2007 release. On May 27, 2006, Michael Jackson accepted a Legend Award at MTV Japan’s VMA Awards in Tokyo. It was his first major public appearance since being found not guilty in his child molestation trial almost a year earlier. The award was honoring his influence and impact in music videos in the last 25 years. Following the award ceremony, Jackson also made an appearance on SMAPxSMAP. In 2006 F. Marc Schaffel, a former associate of Jackson filed a suit for millions of dollars allegedly owed to him after working with Jackson on an unreleased charity record (named “What More Can I Give”) and documentaries. Florida businessman Alvin Malnik who had advised Jackson appeared in court and stated that Jackson appeared to be bewildered by financial matters. Schaffel claimed to have made frequent loans to the singer totalling between $7m and $10m (£4m-£5.5m). Schaffel had received an urgent plea from Jackson for $1m (£550,000) so that Jackson could buy jewelery for Elizabeth Taylor so that she would agree to sign a release for her involvement in a Fox special. These Court proceedings also brought to light unsuccessful projects planned with the actor Marlon Brando, including a dual interview at the actor’s private island near Tahiti, and a DVD on acting. Brando’s son Miko Brando, a long time bodyguard and assistant to Jackson stated “The last time my father left his house to go anywhere, to spend any kind of time, it was with Michael Jackson,”, “He loved it … [He] had a 24-hour chef, 24-hour security, 24-hour help, 24-hour kitchen, 24-hour maid service.”. Michael Jackson with his children, Paris Katherine (center) and Prince Michael II (right) at Disneyland Paris, June 18, 2006, photo by JJ Merelo]]
On July 14, 2006, the jury awarded Schaffel $900,000 of the original $3.8 million he sued Jackson for, which Schaffel later reduced to $1.6 million, and finally to $1.4 million. The Jury also awarded Jackson $200,000 plus interest of the $660,000 that Jackson claimed he was owed by Schaffel. The trial revealed that Schaffel had been dismissed after Jackson learnt of his past work as a director of gay pornography. Schaffel claimed that Jackson “once wanted him to go to Brazil to find boys for him to adopt. He later modified that statement to “children” to expand Jackson’s family.” Jackson’s lawyer Thomas Mundell said that he had never heard the allegation during the pretrial investigation and that “It was an effort to smear Mr Jackson with a remark that could be interpreted to hurt him in light of the case against him last year.”  On July 31, 2006, a federal judge allowed a $USD48 million claim against Jackson and one of Jackson’s trusts for unpaid fees and breach of contract. All parties were ordered to reappear in court in September. On November 2, Access Hollywood will be airing a special “Michael Jackson in Ireland” and it will show Jackson in the process of recording a new album at his Irish home. He was seen collaborating with Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. On November 15, 2006, Michael Jackson will be presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards. It will mark his second public appearance at an awards show since the trial of 2005. Michael Jackson will also be performing at the award show. Music samples
“Ben” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Ben released in 1972
“Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Off The Wall released in 1979
“Billie Jean” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Thriller released in 1982
“Beat It” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Thriller released in 1982
“Somebody’s Watching Me” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me released in 1984
“Man in The Mirror” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Bad released in 1987
“Jam” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Dangerous released in 1991
“Black or White” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Dangerous released in 1991
“You Are Not Alone” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from HIStory released in 1995
“Blood on the Dance Floor” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Blood on the Dance Floor released in 1997
“You Rock My World” (2001) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Invincible released in 2001
“We’ve Had Enough” (file info) — play in browser (beta)
from Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection released in 2004
Problems playing the files? See media help. Solo discography
Main articles: Michael Jackson album discography and Michael Jackson singles discography
1971: Got to Be There
1973: Music and Me
1975: Forever, Michael
1979: Off the Wall
1997: Blood on the Dance Floor
US and UK number-one singles
1972: “Ben” (#1 US)
1979: “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1980: “Rock With You” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1981: “One Day in Your Life” (#1 UK)
1982: “The Girl Is Mine” (with Paul McCartney, #1 US-R&B)
1983: “Billie Jean” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B, #1 UK)
1983: “Beat It” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1983: “Say Say Say” (with Paul McCartney, #1 US)
1987: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B, #1 UK)
1987: “Bad” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1987: “The Way You Make Me Feel” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1988: “Man in the Mirror” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B)
1988: “Dirty Diana” (#1 US)
1988: “Another Part Of Me” (#1 US-R&B)
1991: “Black or White” (#1 US, #1 UK)
1992: “Remember the Time” (#1 US-R&B)
1992: “In The Closet” (#1 US-R&B)
1995: “You Are Not Alone” (#1 US, #1 US-R&B, #1 UK)
1995: “Earth Song” (#1 UK)
1997: “Blood on the Dance Floor” (#1 UK)
Main article: Michael Jackson filmography
Notable music videos
“Billie Jean” (1983) – Directed by Steve Barron
“Beat It” (1983) – Directed by Bob Giraldi
“Thriller” (1983) – Directed by John Landis
“Bad” (1987) – Directed by Martin Scorsese
“The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987) – Directed by Joe Pytka
“Smooth Criminal” (1988) – Directed by Colin Chilvers
“Leave Me Alone” (1989) – Directed by Jim Blashfield
“Black or White” (1991) – Directed by John Landis
“Remember the Time” (1992) – Directed by John Singleton
“Scream” (1995) – Directed by Mark Romanek
“Earth Song” (1995) – Directed by Nicholas Brandt
“Blood on the Dance Floor” (1997) – Directed by Michael Jackson & Vincent Paterson
“You Rock My World” (2001) – Directed by Paul Hunter
The Wiz (1978)
Captain EO (1986)
Men in Black II (2002, Cameo appearance)
Miss Cast Away (2004, Cameo appearance)
The Jacksons TV Show (1976-1977)
The Simpsons, Season 3 Episode 1, “Stark Raving Dad”, (1991) (Credited as John Jay Smith)
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is an arcade game that was ported to the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and Sega Master System and various 8-bit home computers, including the Amiga, which sported more levels and better graphics.
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 features sampled noises from Jackson and his instrument players who worked for him at the time. Due to his 1993 scandal some songs written by him were removed; however the original game still contains some content from him and his team although Jackson is uncredited. New Sega PC ‘retro’ versions do not contain any of the material from Jackson or his team.
Space Channel 5 for the Sega Dreamcast featured Michael Jackson in the later levels.
Space Channel 5 Part 2, a dance game for the PlayStation 2 and Sega Dreamcast also featured Michael Jackson in the later levels.
Ready 2 Rumble Round 2 is a fighting game for the PlayStation 2 and Sega Dreamcast featuring Michael Jackson as a hidden character.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for the PS2, PC, and Xbox includes two songs by Michael Jackson: Billie Jean and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.
Michael Jackson articles
Records and achievements by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson marriages and children
Michael Jackson controversies
1993 child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson
Living with Michael Jackson
People v. Jackson
List of Michael Jackson awards
List of Michael Jackson tours
Bubbles, pet chimpanzee
Other related articles
Best-selling artist of all-time
List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
List of best-selling albums worldwide
List of best-selling music artists
List of most expensive music videos
List of number-one dance hits (United States)
List of number-one hits (United States)
^ michaeljackson.com, Official Jackson Site – History 1970s November 6, 1971: Jackson releases his first recording. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ – Victory Tour Interesting facts: At the last show of the tour Michael announced his split from The Jacksons.
^ “US fans shun Michael Jackson CD”from BBC News, July 30, 2005. URL Accessed October 2006.
^ Grammy Winners – Official Grammy’s Site Jackson, Michael – Total: 13. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Dick Clark Productions to Produce 29th Annual “American Music Awards” on ABC-TV January 9th; Michael Jackson to Receive “Artist of the Century” Award from FindArticles.com, January 8, 2002. URL Accessed November 5, 2006.
^ 29th Annual American Music Award Winners from the Rediff Guide the Net: Top Awards, January 10, 2002.
^ Michael Jackson and Halle Berry Pick Up Bambi Awards in Berlin from Hello! Magazine, November 22, 2002. URL Accessed November 5, 2006.
^ Michael Jackson, displays his Golden Bambi Award during the awards ceremony in Berlin from the Computer Science Division of EECS at UC Burkley
^ Official Rock Hall page for Michael Jackson 2001 inductee: Jackson, Michael. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Official Songwriters Hall of Fame page for Michael Jackson 2002 inductee: Jackson, Michael. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Message from Raymone Bain RE- World Music Awards from MJTKOP.com (Michael Jackson The King of Pop.com), October 30, 2006. URL Accessed November 5, 2006.
^ Michael Jackson’s Biography on VH1. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ The Jacksons Story on Barnes & Noble.com. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Official IMDb page for The Wiz Cast overview, first billed only: Diana Ross…Dorothy, Michael Jackson…Scarecrow. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ michaeljackson.com Official Site – History 1970s August 5, 1979: Off The Wall, is released. It was the first album in history to spawn four top ten singles. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ a b c d e f g Michael Jackson’s History in the 1980s from Michael Jackson’s official website. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ BBC.co.uk – On This Day 1984: Michael Jackson burned in Pepsi ad. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Guinness Records At the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984 Michael Jackson won eight Grammy awards.
^ Adcouncil History on Drunk Driving – 1985 Jackson is personally thanked by Ronald Reagan. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ “Michael Jackson owns the rights to the Beatles’ songs” from Snopes
^ Allmusic.com Biography by Steve Huey. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Bad Special Edition CD, Quincy Jones Commentary
^ a b Bad Fortune – The Guardian Newspaper, UK – Wednesday June 15, 2005. URL Accessed November, 2006.
^ Neverland Valley – Bad Directed by: Martin Scorsese
^ Anomalies Unlimited – The HisTory of Michael Jackson’s face 1987 age 29: people and the press are really talking now
^ ABC News – Surgeon: Michael Jackson A ‘Nasal Cripple’ February 8, 2003 by ABC news
^ Moonwalk, Michael Jackson’s 1988 autobiography.
^ Michael Jackson Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Retrieved August 16, 2006
^ Oprah interview Jackson: “I have a rare skin disorder called vitiligo”
^ BBC News – On This Day 1993: Michael Jackson accused of child abuse
^ Prime Time interview(Real Player Required)
^ a b c Michael Jackson’s History in the 1990s on Michael Jackson’s official website
^ World’s most expensive music video “Scream”
^ Living with Michael Jackson transcript Jackson: [Rowe] wanted to do that for me as a present
^ Jarvis’s onstage interruption Record of the nights events.
^ Noel Gallagher interviewed by Chris Evans on TFI Friday, 1996
^ The Official Charts – All the No.1s Blood On The Dance Floor, 3/5/1997
^ IMDb page for “Michael Jackson’s Ghosts”
^ Michael Jackson Trader page on “Ghosts” Based upon an original concept by Michael Jackson & Stephen King, Score Composed and Performed by Michael Jackson.
^ “Ghosts” The World’s Longest Music Video
^ Michael Jackson – History 2000s October 30, 2001: Michael releaseuns Invincible. The album debut at #1 on charts in 13 countries
^ Larry King Live with Mariah Carey (Real Player Required)
^ Jackson’s foundation now virtually defunct – MSNBC
^ Michael Jackson Tells Attorney To ‘Go To Hell’ – MTV News. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Victims’ Rights Lawyer: TV Fixture – CBS News
^ IMDb page for “Living with Michael Jackson”
^ Michael Jackson’s statement Thursday, February 6, 2003 Posted: 6:03 a.m. EST (1103 GMT)
^ Brando offered tropical haven to Jackson, The Guardian, April 5, 2005. Accessed October, 2006.
^ MJinf.co.uk – Number Ones Current best estimate: 6.5 million
^ Arrest warrant issued for Michael Jackson By Tracy Wilson, Steve Chawkins and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2003. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Jackson not guilty Tuesday, June 14, 2005 Posted: 5:23 p.m. EDT (2123 GMT)
^ Report: Jackson converts to Islam
^ Michael Jackson and Islam
^ Jackson Shows Islam Support With Mosque.
^ The Oddfather, Rolling Stone, Jod Kaftan, April 25, 2002
^ Archive, The Smoking Gun
^ Jackson jury enters second week BBC – Monday, 13 June, 2005, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
^ Jackson spokeswoman denies she was fired 06/12/2005, Associated Press
^ Juror’s Advice For The King Of Pop 14/06/2005 13:37:22, NY Daily News, republished by MJ Star
^ Jackson Juror Sues Over Book Deal 11/09/2005 14:30, Contact Music
^ Gulf News 23 January 2006 – Archived
^ ABC News: Michael Jackson’s Katrina Song Said Ready February 17, 2006 – ABC News
^ New Molestation Suit By TMZ.com staff (Jan 12)
^ MJ Visionary Full release list
^ Jackson’s ex-wife’s parental rights improperly terminated Thursday, February 16 – CNN (Seems to have AP sourcing)
^ Ninemsn – Jacko’s ex-wife battles for kids custody Friday, February 17 – (A)AP
^ Post Chronicle – Back Off, Jacko! Deborah Rowe Spanks Michael Jackson Saturday, February 18 – Wire Reports
^ Workers Barred From Neverland Thursday, March 9, 2006 – thesmokinggun.com
^ Demand of Payment of Wages Thursday, March 9, 2006 – thesmokinggun.com
^ Jackson closes Neverland house
^ Michael Jackson Bailout Said to Be Close 13/04/2006, Source: New York Times (Free Sign Up Required)
^ Jackson strikes deal over loans 14/04/2006, Source: BBC. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Jackson confirms new management deal Tuesday April 18, 01:29 p.m. by WENN. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ a b Court hears Jackson’s frantic phone messages, The Daily Mail, July 6, 2006. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Brando became close friend of Michael Jackson, The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman, September 25, 2004
^ Michael Jackson ordered to pay $900,000on MSNBC. URL Accessed October, 2006.
^ Split Decision In Michael Jackson Trial on ABC. URL Accessed on October, 2006.
^ Jackson sent witness ‘to adopt boys in Brazil’ – The Independent on Sunday (London); Jul 9, 2006; Linda Deutsch; p. 38 Retrieved from Library News Archives in July, 2006.
^ NY lawsuit against Michael Jackson trust goes ahead – Reuters
^ Michael Jackson to make rare public appearance at World Music Awards in London
^ Michael Jackson will perform live at the World Music Awards in London next week (15.11.06). from PR inside
^ Michael Jackson to moonwalk at WMAs from Life Style Extra
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Michael JacksonSony’s Official Michael Jackson website
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page on Michael Jackson
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Complete coverage of the Michael Jackson criminal trial
Michael Jackson art: paintings by David Nordahl and portraits and sculptures by other artists