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Michael Jackson Part II

628x471In 1993, Michael confirmed on the Oprah Winfrey Show that the depigmentation of his skin was due to an illness called vitiligo. In the same year, he was accused for the first time of sexual child abuse. Evan Chandler, a disbarred dentist in Beverly Hills, accused him of sexually abusing his son, Jordan, who at the time was a minor. When formalizing the prosecution in a civil and not in a criminal court, he revealed that his sole purpose was to demand a payment. On January 25, 1994, Chandler was paid an unspecified amount of money and the media backed off Jackson. After Jackson sued Chandler for extortion phone calls that proved Jackson’s innocence surfaced. Over the years, the same Jordan Chandler sued his father for attempted murder. In the days following the death of the artist, he told the media that his father pushed him to lie for money and asked the deceased Jackson for forgiveness. The boy’s father, on November 18, 2009, was found dead after he shot himself in a hotel.

In 1994 the King of Pop married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, who he met in 1992. The marriage was highly criticized by the media, but he really loved Lisa, who, however, did not want to give him children, so they divorced two years later.

In 1995 he astonished the world yet again as a dancer with the sidewalk and the skywalk, also called airwalk that was presented at the MTV Video Music Awards. In the same year the double album “HIStory: Past, Present and Future-Book I” was released. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a collection of 15 of the best Jackson tracks, published till then, while the second, HIStory Continues, contained 15 new songs; the cd was promoted by the history World Tour. During the Australian tour, on November 14, 1996, he married his former nurse, Deborah Jeanne Rowe. Two children were born from this union, Michael Joseph Jr. (whose name was changed to Prince Michael), and Paris-Michael Katherine. Three years later, the couple divorced and custody of the children was given, at the behest of Deborah, to the singer, and this made it possible to establish a good relationship between them.

In 1997 he released an album with new material, with remixes of singles from HIStory titled “Blood on the dance floor.” He dedicated the album to Elton John, who helped him fight against his addiction to morphine. Of the 5 new video songs, the most impressive is that accompanying “Ghosts”, a short film that lasted more than 35 minutes, which is still today the undisputed record for a music video.

MjinvincibleFour years later, “Invincible”, the last album before the singer’s sudden death, was published. Shortly before the release of the disc, he informed Tommy Mottola (former President of Sony Music) that he did not intend to renew his contract. In 2002, all the singles, videos and promotions for Invincible were canceled and the singer denounced Mottola, accusing him of boycott.

In the same year he went to Berlin to receive an award for his humanitarian efforts. Jackson was staying at Hotel Adlon and it was here that some fans gathered outside of his hotel room asking him to show his youngest son Prince Michael Jackson II, simply nicknamed Blanket. Later on, the singer affirmed that this child was the result of an artificial insemination from a surrogate mother. He brought the child onto the balcony, holding him with his right hand, and extended him over the railing. This gesture was very much criticized by the media.

In 2003 the documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” was released. Martin Bashir and his staff filmed him for eight months; a scene of the documentary showed Michael holding hands with Gavin Arvizo, a thirteen-year-old cancer patient. The singer admitted to having shared a bedroom with the child, but not the bed. Feeling forsaken by Bashir, Michael accused him of showing the documentary in a distorted way.

While Michael was in Las Vegas, the Santa Barbara Police confiscated the singer’s Neverland Ranch and sent him an arrest warrant for child sexual abuse on Gavin Arvizo. The FBI opened an investigation and closed the case because the facts did not subsist. Nevertheless, in 2005 Jackson had to go to court, but was acquitted of all ten charges as well as of the other four minor charges.

In 2003, actor Marlon Brando granted Michael sanctuary for the rest of his life on his 2,000 m² Onetahi Island, in the Polynesian archipelago, as a sign of their friendship. In the same year, his albums, Bad, Off the Wall, and Thriller were included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Three years later Visionary: The Video Singles, with 20 of his most successful singles was published. That same year, the Californian government ordered the closure of the Neverland Ranch, and asked him to pay $69,000, as a compensation for his employees; a week later, Michael closed Neverland and fired some employees.

On May 27, 2006, he won a “Legend Award” at the MTV Awards in Tokyo, and a month later he disclosed the foundation of “Michael Jackson Company, Inc.”, a production company.

In 2006 he took part in the World Music Awards in London, where he received a Diamond Award, which honors the artists who were able to sell more than 100 million copies, and sang “We Are the World” accompanied by a kid’s chorus. The performance of this song was to be programmed with the accompaniment of the other winners of the night, but this did not take place, due to some setbacks. Jackson also claimed to be dissatisfied with the high cost of the ticket, given that he had requested to get in for free. He was also honored by a representative of the Guinness World Records for selling 104 million copies of his Thriller album. On this occasion he was followed by the cameras of Access Hollywood, which filmed a documentary shown on his return at the meeting site of the Guinness World Records. He was the prizewinner seven times in his lifetime.

In 2008, on his 50th birthday, a greatest-hits album, titled King of Pop, for which the fans had chosen the songs to put on the disc, was released. The same year, Off the Wall and Thriller joined the Grammy Hall of Fame. Later on in that same year, he sold a part of the Neverland Ranch to Colony Capital.

On March 5, 2009, in a conference that was held at the O2 arena in London, he announced that he was planning a series of concerts in July and that at these concerts he would perform for the last time. But it was not clear whether he was referring only to London or speaking in general; this announcement led to many debates among journalists.

In June 2009 he was in Los Angeles when he was not feeling very well at his home in Holmby Hills. From the statements of Dr. Murray, on the night of June 24, Jackson was unable to fall asleep, despite the fact that he had been given a few doses of benzodiazepine, so the doctor administered the anesthetic Propofol, and later Michael was able to fall asleep. His doctor left him alone for two minutes to go to the bathroom, even though he was not connected to any infusion pump, which is required to adjust the dose of the medicine. Once back in the room, and seeing that the singer was not breathing, he began practicing CPR on the bed, where it is useless because it must be done on a hard surface. During the investigation it turned out that, after the administration of the drug, Murray was using two different mobile phones to make calls and send emails. The paramedics were called several times after about an hour by Jackson’s bodyguard Alvarez. The paramedic, who was on the scene, also testified to having received Alvarez’s call. Despite the timely transfer to UCLA Medical Center, resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 14:26.

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The autopsy determined that his death was caused by an excess of Propofol, that the singer was in good health, and confirmed that he suffered from vitiligo. According to some sources, Michael used to take large amounts of pills, but toxicology tests showed that there were no trace of drugs in addition to those administered by his doctor.

The day of his death, the Internet exploded and social networks were blocked for several hours due to a lot of messages that fans wrote in his memory. Even U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to the Jackson family, expressing his condolences.

On July 7, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a public commemoration with the presence of more than 18,000 fans, friends and relatives was held; on September 3, a private funeral was organized at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, where Jackson’s body can be found still today.

In his will, signed in 2002, Michael gave custody of his three children to his mother, Katherine, and his friend Diana Ross, who was named the guardian, if his mother is unable to care for them. But soon doubts and controversies arose: the day he is believed to have signed the documents, Jackson was in New York, while the documents state that he was in Los Angeles. In addition, it seems that the names of Jackson’s children were spelled incorrectly, and the family of the singer claimed that he would never have misspelled the names of his children on such an important document for their future.

At the time of his death, Jackson was about $400 million in debt, and the ensemble of his assets was estimated at more than a billion dollars, in addition to the $75 million estimated for the copyright of his songs. All sales of posthumous publications account for approximately $90 million. His entire estate was given to the Michael Jackson Family Trust Foundation.

In the three weeks following the death of the singer, over 9 million copies of his albums were sold worldwide. In October 2009 a new song titled This Is It, dating back to 1980, was played on the radio.

In 2012, the Jackson brothers wrote a letter, demanding the resignation of John Branca and John McClain as executors, and denounced AEG, which included Sony and Colony Capital. Reverend Al Sharpton also said that Michael was with him in New York on the day that he signed the will.

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On November 7, 2011, after forty-nine witnesses, six weeks of hearings, and nine hours of deliberation, Conrad Murray was found guilty of the death of the King of Pop, due to the administering of a surgical anesthetic that should only be administered in the hospital. He was convicted to four years in prison for manslaughter.

On November 21, 2011 Immortal was released; the disc contains Michael’s most famous songs.

Michael Jackson, thanks to his work, broke many taboos in the world of music, and contributed to the spread of black music, by breaking down racial barriers.

Annunci

Michael Jackson Part I

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana.

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Eighth of ten children, Michael discloses his talent since childhood, at the age of five, when he joins, a band formed by his brothers, The Jackson 5, who for the first time won a local talent show. In 1968 they signed a contract with the label Motown, and it was with this same label that Michael released his first four solo albums. One year later they debuted with the album “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5”, but after a few years, sales began declining, and the group left Motown to sign with CBS Records. However, before signing their new record deal, their old record company accused them of breaching their contract since they’d changed the band’s name to the “Jacksons.” With the departure of Jermaine, as a result of his marriage with the daughter of Motown’s president, they called Randy as a replacement and continued to tour and release albums including Destiny (1978), the band’s best-selling song.

Jackson met the record producer Quincy Jones during the filming of the musical “The Wiz” and he agreed to produce Michael’s next solo album, “Off the Wall.” Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney also took part in this production. The album was a great success and even yielded several awards including a Grammy Award and an eight-time platinum disk in the U.S., making Jackson the first black artist to enter a rank for whites, breaking racial barriers and creating unified charts.

Michael went back to the recording studio with his brothers to record a new album, Triumph, released in 1980. The album was a success, but not as successful as “Off the Wall.” This was a clear sign that Michael was headed towards a soloist career.

In 1982 Jackson recorded the song “Someone in the Dark” for the soundtrack of the movie “ET: the Extra-Terrestrial” and received a Grammy. In the same year the second solo album by Michael entitled “Thriller” was released. The album was certified double diamond disk and it is still the best-selling album in music history. The impact of the album was also huge in popular music, to the point that on January 29, 1984, Michael receives more than eight statuettes for “Thriller” at the Grammy Awards.

The peak of his fame, however, culminated on March 25, 1983. That evening, Michael and the Jacksons, performed at the concert for the 25th anniversary of Motown. After singing with his brothers he came back on stage wearing a sparkly black jacket, a black hat and a white glove on his hand and began performing the song “Billie Jean.” Here he launched the moonwalk, now synonymous with the single. That particular clothing became so famous that Michael would continue to wear it for years to come when singing “Billie Jean” at all his concerts.

Michael Jackson (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Many consider Michael the person who invented this move, but he did not exactly invent it, rather he refined it, as he modified and improved a similar step of the French actor and mime Marcel Marceau. Since then, it was regularly broadcast on MTV and he became the first African-American artist to appear on that TV station. Later, in 1984, he produced the music video for the single “Thriller”, and he invented the step mimicking the movement of zombies, a milestone in the music history. During this period he invented the sidewalk, in other words a lateral step based on the same principle of the moonwalk revised. He performed these two moves in many of his choreographies.

On January 27, 1984 the Jacksons were hired for an advertisement for Pepsi Cola. The band simulated a concert in front of thousands of fans, when Michael’s hair accidentally caught fire due to a pyrotechnical malfunction. The singer suffered severe second-degree burns to the scalp, and underwent some reconstructive plastic surgery. Due to this surgery, he became addicted to painkillers until 1993. The singer decided not to sue Pepsi and instead donated his settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California, that currently has a center named “The Michael Jackson Burn Center.”

On May 14, 1984, the artist was invited to the White House to receive an award from former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, for the support that Jackson had given to charities in the fight against alcohol and drugs.

In the same year, he officially announced his separation from the Jacksons to pursue his solo career.

In 1985 he co-wrote with Lionel Richie the philanthropic single “We are the World”, to raise money in the fight against hunger in Africa. At that time there was a controversy regarding Jackson who had bought ATV Music Publishing (headed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon) at an auction. Paul asked Yoko Ono, Lennon’s wife, to join financial forces to buy it back, but without avail. This, however, damaged his friendship and artistic collaboration with Paul McCartney. The rumor that Jackson had tried to buy the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, also began to circulate. Due to this incident he was nicknamed “Wacko Jacko”, which he detested. The news was later denied by the artist.

In 1986, the singer was diagnosed with a rare and acute form of vitiligo, a disease that causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. For this reason he often appeared in public with umbrellas to protect himself from the sun. Jackson would be “bleached” gradually and completely within a few years. To hide the disease he used many applications of foundation to homogenize his skin.

On August 31, 1987 “Bad” was released. It was an instant success and Jackson went on a world tour for over a year. In September 1987, the colossal Bad World Tour, Jackson’s first solo tour, began. The music video for Bad was filmed in a subway station in New York and for the first time the physical change of the singer was shown. The press, due to the clearing of his skin, covered this story many times and the tabloids spread the news of hypothetical surgical operations. In the bargain, they accused Jackson of denying his African-American origins.

The following year “Moonwalker”, a film written by and starring Michael Jackson that traces his career, and includes many unreleased films and music videos of the last album was published. He also wrote the autobiography “Moowalk”, in which he clarified that he had only undergone two nose surgeries and one chin surgery, and that puberty and his diet had affected his other physical changes. At that time he was honored with the title of “King of Pop.” Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Murphy awarded him with this prize.

In 1988 he also showed off his talent as a choreographer and dancer with the Antigravity lean, the famous anti-gravity movement of the “Smooth Criminal” video, in which Michael tilts forward 60°. In the video he used ropes, while in his live performances, he used modified shoes, of which he held the patent.

In 1991 he published “Dangerous” which was a success, largely due to the lead single “Black or White”; the actor Macaulay Culkin was also in the video.

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The following year he began a promotional tour for the album, the Dangerous World Tour, an extraordinary tour with great special effects, that became one of the greatest shows in history. He founded the “Heal the World Foundation”, a charitable foundation for underprivileged children, and donated the entire proceeds of the concert to his association. The singer received many awards in the humanitarian field and an honorary degree from Oxford University. He was a real philanthropist and one of the most prominent humanitarian figures of all time. He holds the Guinness World Record for donating more money to charity than anyone else.

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