‘Making HIStory With MJ’ In Cologne
17th August 2023
Over the weekend of October 7th & 8th there will be a Michael Jackson ‘Making HIStory With MJ’ event in Cologne, Germany at Dierks Studios.
Michael Jackson’s collaborators Brad Buxer and Michael Prince will be at the event and on Sunday, the talented guitarist Jennifer Batten will attend. The organisers ask you to come along for unforgettable stories about the King of Pop!
For more information about this event, please click here.
King Of Style Roundtable
7th August 2023
The first video of “King of Style” has been released and shared on the official Michael Jackson YouTube and social media channels.
The episode is a roundtable discussion that delves into the profound impact Michael had on the world of fashion and global trends that continue to reverberate through the industry to this day. This show centers around the transformative periods of Michael’s solo career, during which he not only defined trends but also established signature styles that left an indelible mark on the landscape of pop culture.
Stylist and designer, June Ambrose hosts and brings her passion for fashion to the forefront. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the evolution of style, Ambrose sets the stage for a compelling exploration of Michael’s fashion legacy.
First among the panelists is John Branca, the Co-Executor of The Michael Jackson Estate. As a key figure responsible for preserving and promoting Michael’s artistic legacy, Branca provides personal insights into the artist’s vision, creative process, and the way his fashion choices mirrored his artistic expression.
Next, we have Michael Bush, the esteemed costume designer who worked closely with Michael Jackson throughout his illustrious career. With firsthand experience in crafting the King of Pop’s iconic outfits, Bush offers a behind-the-scenes look into the collaborative effort that resulted in some of the most memorable ensembles in music history.
Adding further depth and perspective to the discussion is Rushka Bergman, a prominent Stylist and Contributing Editor to Vogue Italia. As an influential figure in the world of high fashion, Bergman draws connections between Michael’s pioneering style and its impact on the broader fashion industry, highlighting how his choices have influenced runway trends and designer collections.
Last but not least, the panel includes the renowned Supermodel and Fashion Expert, Kamini Chin Loy. With her expertise and experience in the world of modeling and fashion, Chin Loy provides her thoughts into the lasting influence of Michael’s style on the catwalk and beyond. Her perspective as a fashion insider adds a unique dimension to the discussion, shedding light on how the King of Pop’s fashion sensibilities continue to resonate in contemporary fashion circles.
As the roundtable unfolds, we’re taken on a journey through time, revisiting iconic moments in Michael’s solo career, from his trailblazing short films to his electrifying stage performances. Through a captivating blend of personal anecdotes, historical context, and expert analysis, “King of Style” celebrates the legacy of Michael Jackson as a true fashion icon whose influence transcends generations.
Watch the episode here:
Official Michael Jackson Statue
30th June 2023
Michael Jackson’s Estate has teamed up with Blitzway to create two versions of an amazing, highly detailed miniature statue, representing Michael Jackson in his iconic pose from the beginning of the Dangerous World Tour. This is also the pose used for the famous “HIStory” statue, which can be seen on the album cover. However, unlike that version, this is full of color and detail.
The two versions show the same Michael, but the materials used create a much different visual appeal. The first is called the Black Label version, and is the higher priced statue at $1,300.
The head and body of Black Label Michael Jackson are meticulously crafted with intricate detail using resin, a material known for its long-lasting preservation and resistance to deterioration. The hair is made from wool and is rooted into the sculpture, while the costume details are further enhanced with 18k gold plating, reflecting dazzling light in various lighting conditions. Advanced modeling techniques bring a lifelike appearance, capturing the grandeur of Michael’s stage performance. The figure even showcases muscle definition, with subtle flexion visible in the tightly closed mouth and clenched fist, effectively conveying a sense of tension. It’s 22.6″ tall (including base) and you can purchase this figure here.
The second cheaper version is just called the Standard version, and is available for $499. It still continues to achieve all the above with the Black Label version, but with less expensive materials, most noticeable the hair. It’s all made from PVC (body and hair) and no real gold is used in the metal.You can purchase this figure here.
Following the success of the “Thriller 40” immersive events in Germany and New York last year, a completely new immersive event will be taking place at the Blue Sapphire Celebration in Las Vegas this August, honoring Michael Jackson’s birthday.
The Estate of Michael Jackson, in collaboration with Cirque de Soleil, celebrate Michael’s birthday every year, through the “Michael Jackson ONE” show in Vegas. This year fans from around the world are invited to gather for a memorable experience filled with exciting activities and exclusive opportunities. From August 27th to the morning of August 29th (what would have been Michael’s 65th birthday), the Estate and Sony Music will host a unique immersive event to kick off the Blue Sapphire Celebration. This immersive experience, held in a location near the renowned “Michael Jackson ONE” Theater, will offer fans the chance to engage with album and song-focused exhibits, interactive elements, and social and photo opportunities. The exact location, operating hours, and reservation details will be provided in the near future, allowing fans to secure a specific time slot on their preferred date.
It is not yet known if the event will continue to be based around the 40th anniversary of “Thriller.” To stay updated on all the plans and details for Michael Jackson’s birthday celebration, be sure to visit the official Facebook event page. Here you will find exclusive information, ticketing details, and exciting announcements leading up to the big day.
Even More Funko Pop! Figures To Come
14th June 2023
Funko made an exciting reveal at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this week by introducing two additional Funko Pop! figurines of the legendary Michael Jackson. This announcement comes shortly after the introduction of the “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal” figures, which are set to hit the shelves later this year.
While the displayed Pops! are not necessarily reflective of the final product, it is worth noting that they have received official endorsement from Michael Jackson’s Estate and Triumph International. These new figurines capture iconic moments from Michael’s illustrious career, from his electrifying performance at the 1993 Super Bowl Halftime Show to the iconic “Thriller” album cover. Notably, the “Thriller” Pop! even includes a small tiger, adding an extra touch of detail.
Funko has yet to make an official public announcement regarding the release date and pricing for these new figures beyond their exhibition at the Expo. As seen with the previous two models, which experienced some delays after their initial announcement, it remains uncertain when these new additions will be available for fans to purchase.
‘Symphonic Jackson’ Winner
1st June 2023
On May 13th, MJWN’s ‘Symphonic Jackson’ ticket winner, Simon Stent, went along to the London Palladium with his daughter Millie, to see Peter Andre and the Royal London Philharmonic Orchestra perform Michael’s music. Simon described the show as “amazing” and he and Millie had a really enjoyable evening.
‘TDCAU’ Video Hits 1 Billion
24th April 2023
In a testament to Michael’s enduring popularity, his music video for “They Don’t Care About Us” has now joined the exclusive club of videos on YouTube that have reached over 1 billion views. The track, which was released in 1996 as part of the album “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I”, has become the second video of the King of Pop’s to achieve this milestone, after “Billie Jean” hit the mark in 2021.
The “They Don’t Care About Us” music video was directed by Spike Lee and features Michael singing and dancing through the streets of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, while also incorporating footage of police brutality and poverty. The song was controversial upon its release, which caused Michael to change the lyrics and re-release the album. However the song has become an anthem since its release and has continued to resonate with fans around the world. It was also used during many of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
Michael’s music has been a hit on YouTube for many years, with several of his videos racking up millions of views. In addition to “Billie Jean” and “They Don’t Care About Us”, other popular videos on the platform include “Thriller”, “Smooth Criminal”, and “Beat It”. Each of these are also on the precipice of hitting the coveted 1 billion views.
Michael recorded two videos for “They Don’t Care About Us,” both directed by Lee. The second video was set inside a prison, with Michael as a prisoner, pushing on the police brutality subject matter, and injustice of the disproportion of black people in jail. Due to how controversial the video was, the more famous second video, set in Brazil was filmed.
New Official Funko Pop! Figures This Year
19th April 2023
Brand new official Funko Pop! figures of Michael Jackson will be released in June and August this year.
The two figures represent his ‘Bad’ album look as well as iconic ‘Smooth Criminal’ outfit. It’s part of a collection being released called ‘Pop Rocks.’
Each figure measures approximately 3 3/4-inches tall and comes packaged in a window display box. Other musicians in the collection include Janis Joplin, Soundgarden and Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 Pop Album.
This is the second time Funko has released Michael Jackson figures, this time in collaboration with the Estate. The release for the ‘Bad’ figure will be on June 26th, while the ‘Smooth Criminal’ figure will be available on August 1st.
You can pre-order them from today. Click here for the Bad figure and click here for Smooth Criminal.
Win 2 Tickets For ‘Symphomic Jackson’
17th April 2023
Peter Andre is joining the National Philharmonic Concert Orchestra for ‘Symphonic Jackson’ at the London Palladium on 13th May, 2023.
Celebrating 40 years since The Jacksons and Michael’s Greatest Hits album topped the UK charts, the one-night-only show will see Andre performing their legendary hits.
Andre, who is a lifelong fan of MJ, will step into the shoes of his icon to perform some of the classic Jackson hits, reimagined in this brand-new show. Hear your favourite Jackson tracks specially orchestrated for Symphonic Jackson by the NPCO, including ‘Can You Feel It’, ‘Man In The Mirror’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Bad’, ‘Black or White’, ‘Blame it On the Boogie’ and many more.
“What an honour to be asked to celebrate the greatest hits of The Jackson’s and MJ, by performing this special one-off show,” says Pete. “Everyone knows that Michael Jackson was one of my biggest influences growing up, and to be able to bring his memory back to life on stage through his songs, it’s going to be fantastic, and I will be joined by other special guests! What a night it’s going to be – I can’t wait to see everyone there!”
You can win two tickets to see this fabulous one night only show! Let us know your name and email address and answer the simple question below:
Kygo Remixes ‘Say Say Say’
31st March 2023
Norwegian DJ and music producer, Kygo, has just released a remix of the classic hit “Say Say Say”. The original track of course was a collaboration between music legends Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. It was released in 1983 and quickly became a worldwide hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Kygo’s remix of ‘Say Say Say’ is a fresh take on the iconic song, blending the original melody with his signature tropical house sound. The track features the smooth vocals of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, layered over a catchy beat that are sure to get people dancing.
Kygo teased the remix on social media last week and has previously played at during live concerts. The DJ, who is known for his remixes of popular songs, has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Selena Gomez, Whitney Houston, and Coldplay.
Excited to finally announce that my remix of Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson’s “Say Say Say” is out Friday! I had so much fun making this one and have been playing it in my sets for a few months now.”
Kygo’s remix of “Say Say Say” is now available to stream on all major music platforms. With its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, it’s sure to be a hit on the dance floor and on the charts.
Black Or White Dancer Reflects
26th February 2023
Imagine being a dancer in one of Michael Jackson’s most iconic music videos. That’s what Yamuna Sangarasivam experienced when she was cast as an Odissi dancer in “Black or White” in 1991.
Yamuna was a huge fan of the King of Pop, but she never expected to meet him, let alone dance with him. She was studying anthropology of dance at UCLA when she heard about his request for ethnic and modern dancers. She decided to audition for the project as a way to learn about ethnography, a method of studying cultures.
She was thrilled when she got selected from over 3,000 applicants. She said that working with Michael Jackson was amazing and that he was very gracious, humble and kind. He even sent a Mercedes to pick her up and brought her mother a warm blanket on set.
Yamuna’s 20-second duet with Michael Jackson on an LA expressway made her famous among her friends and family. She said that people still recognize her from the video and ask her about it.
Today, Yamuna is a professor of anthropology and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Nazareth College in New York. She teaches courses on identity, culture and sexuality. She also continues to practice Odissi dance, a classical form from India.
Watch Michael and Yamuna rehearse for ‘Black or White’:
And of course watch the two together, as we’ve seen them 100s of times in the ‘Black or White’ short film:
30 Years Since Michael’s Super Bowl Performance
30th January 2023
The 1993 Super Bowl halftime show was a defining moment in the history of the game, as it featured a highly-anticipated performance by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The show, which took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, was watched by over 130 million people, making it one of the most-watched halftime shows in Super Bowl history. The halftime show was the highest rated halftime show at that time and even today is considered one of the best halftime shows in the history of the Super Bowl.
The halftime show was produced by Radio City Productions and directed by Bob Giraldi, who worked closely with Michael Jackson to create an unforgettable performance. The performance included a medley of Jackson’s hit songs, including “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” and “Heal the World.” He also performed a new song “Jam” with his band, adding a fresh touch to the performance. The performance was choreographed by Michael Jackson himself and was considered to be one of the most elaborate halftime shows to date. Jackson’s dedication to the performance was evident in the way he rehearsed and planned for the show, he wanted to make sure that the performance was not just great but also unforgettable.
Jackson’s halftime show was widely praised for its elaborate choreography, special effects, and the sheer star power of Jackson himself. The performance featured a group of dancers dressed in military-inspired costumes, a group of children dressed in colorful clothes, and a group of musicians dressed in white suits. The choreography was seamless, and the dancers and children were perfectly in sync with the King of Pop, making for an unforgettable performance. The choreography was so intricate that it made the performance look like a Broadway production. Additionally, Jackson’s performance featured a number of pyrotechnic effects, including fireworks and a giant rising sun. The special effects were designed to complement and enhance the performance, making it a visual spectacle that left viewers in awe.
The halftime show was also notable for the positive impact it had on the Super Bowl halftime show. Michael Jackson’s performance helped to establish the halftime show as an important part of the Super Bowl experience, and raised the bar for future halftime shows. The halftime show was credited for making the halftime show more than just a break in between the game and making it an integral part of the Super Bowl experience.
The event is still remembered as one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl’s history, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest halftime shows of all time. It was not just a performance but an event that people talked about for days, weeks and even months after the show. Michael Jackson’s halftime show was a true showcase of his talent and left a lasting impact on the Super Bowl halftime show, as well as on the audience who witnessed it.
In conclusion, the 1993 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Michael Jackson was a cultural and entertainment milestone. The elaborate choreography, special effects, and Jackson’s star power, made it a memorable event that is still talked about today. The halftime show helped to establish the halftime show as an important part of the Super Bowl experience, and set the standard for future halftime shows. It remains one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history and solidified Michael Jackson’s status as one of the greatest entertainers of all time. The halftime show was not just a performance, but an event that left a lasting impact on the Super Bowl halftime show and the audience who witnessed it. It was a true testament of Michael Jackson’s talent and showmanship.
Jafaar Jackson To Portray His Uncle Michael
30th January 2023
Jaafar Jackson, the 26 year old son of Jermaine Jackson, and nephew to Michael, will portray the King of Pop in the upcoming biopic “Michael.”
The director, Antoine Fuqua, posted the announcement on Instagram today, which was followed by Jafaar himself confirming and saying:
“I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.”
Jafaar Jackson himself is a singer and songwriter. He has been singing and dancing since age 12, and released a song in 2019 called “Got Me Singing.” You can hear his voice is clearly related to Michael! The upcoming biopic will be his acting debut.
The picture already has a strong director and screen writer who have all achieved immense success in the industry. On top of that the producer is Graham King, who turned the Freddie Mercury Queen story into the blockbuster “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The addition of a family member portraying Michael is an added bonus, and provides a lot of respect for the movie.
Michael Jackson Songs Stolen And Leaked
29th January 2023
Renowned music engineer Brad Sundberg’s laptop was stolen this week during a break at one of his “In The Studio With MJ” events in Brussels, leading to the leaks of several unreleased songs by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Sundberg’s laptop contained a significant amount of unreleased material by the iconic singer, predominately from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He would play them for fans who attended the events over the years.
The stolen songs, which were recorded during Michael’s “Bad” and “Dangerous” eras, have now surfaced on various online platforms, causing a frenzy among the fans. This is not the first time that unreleased material by Michael has been leaked, but under the circumstance of the theft, it’s certainly the most shocking and disappointing.
Fans have urged others to refrain from sharing or downloading the leaked songs, as they were not intended for public release and may contain unfinished versions of the tracks, as well as damage any plans for potential future releases.
We at MJWN are deeply saddened by the events. We hope those involved will be brought to justice. We will not be posting any links to the stolen material, nor naming the songs that have been leaked.
Michael’s Estate has yet to release a statement on the matter.
Nate Giorgio Creates ‘Thriller 40’ Artwork
19th January 2023
Artist Nate Giorgio has posted on social media concepts he created to celebrate “Thriller 40” that were commissioned by Sony Music but ultimately never officially used.
Giorgio became Michael’s official private artist in 1984 and the two remained close until Michael’s passing in 2009. Some of the portraits he created were displayed in Michael’s Neverland home as well as used on various commercial and private projects such as albums, books, calendars, and merchandise. Perhaps his most famous drawing of Michael was called “Remember the Children” which he created in 1986 and featured in the “HIStory” album booklet.
Most recently his artwork can be seen as the main visual for the Broadway hit musical “MJ.” Below are his “Thriller 40” concepts:
The artist also made a concept logo for the album, which again was decided not to be used:
Biopic ‘Michael’ Director Announced
18th January 2023
It’s been officially announced that director Antoine Fuqua will lead the upcoming biopic film entitled “Michael.”
It’s been nearly a year since the biopic was first announced. It’s being written by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan and produced by Oscar winner Graham King. John Branca and John McClain from Michael’s Estate will also be involved.
Principal photography is due to begin later this year, the movie is said to give audiences the never-before-told and in-depth portrayal of Michael and will explore all aspects of Michael’s life.
On announcing the director, the chair of Lionsgate, Joe Drake, said;
“Antoine is a perceptive and powerful filmmaker, and we feel very fortunate that he has chosen “Michael” as his next project. His visionary storytelling skills and commitment to his craft will make Michael an unforgettable film.”
Antoine Fuqua himself has released a statement saying;
“The first films of my career were music videos, and I still feel that combining film and music are a deep part of who I am. For me, there is no artist with the power, the charisma, and the sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson. I was influenced to make music videos by watching his work – the first Black artist to play in heavy rotation on MTV. His music and those images are part of my worldview, and the chance to tell his story on the screen alongside his music was irresistible.”
Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and Michael’s first wife, has died aged 54 of cardiac arrest.
Michael and Lisa kept their relationship a closely guarded secret at the beginning, until it was confirmed that the two were married in a private ceremony in 1994. The couple divorced in 1996.
Despite the short-lived nature of their marriage, Lisa spoke fondly of her time with Michael, saying “it was one of the highest points in my life when things were going really well, and he and I were united. It was a very profound time of my life.”
The news of their marriage sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. It became front page news when the 1994 MTV Awards opened with them kissing on stage for the world to see.
In 1995 she appeared in the music video of Michael’s number one song “You Are Not Alone.”
Our thoughts are with the Presley family during this difficult time.
Watch Michael in Sega’s ‘Scramble Training’ Game
9th December 2022
Michael’s work with Sega is pretty well known. He of course had both the Arcade and Megadrive/Genesis game of “Moonwalker” released in 1990. He also performed as Space Michael in the 1999 Sega game “Space Channel 5.” Then he’s the soundtrack composer for the 1994 “Sonic the Hedgehog 3.” The latter was only confirmed in recent years. However what is not well documented is his appearance in the 1993 simulator games “Scramble Training.”
Previously unseen footage of Michael as the lead actor in this game has been online for over a decade, though in bad quality, recorded from an old video camera. However due to sheer luck finding an old forgotten tape in an English car boot sale, Michael’s appearance has now been shared in much higher quality.
Ben Bizley is a video games trader from Hampshire, UK. On the story of “Scramble Training” he went to buy some gaming memorabilia that belonged to a man whose father, a former Sega employee, had recently passed away. He bought the D-2 tape (a form of videotape) within the collection without knowing what was on it for £300.
Without the correct equipment to find out what was on the tape, he posted pictures of it on Facebook gaming groups. Gaming writer Nick Greenfield recognised that the tape was from an AS-1 simulator in SegaWorld as he’d previously researched “Scramble Training.”
Greenfield suggested that Bizley got the tape digitized. A company called the Oxford Duplication Centre took on the challenge for £126. It took a weeks for them to complete the process. What came back was every single minute of the “Scramble Training” experience.
The tape included everything, including the full credits and the sound test and visual test cards. It became the first time you could see Michael Jackson’s performance in the game in high definition.
Watch the full 26 minutes that was on the tape here, with Michael performing and narrating the entire experience, including alternative endings.
‘Thriller’ Is The Number One Catalog Album
29th November 2022
After hitting number seven on the Billboard 200 album charts, Michael has charted in multiple other Billboard lists, including number one on the Catalog Albums chart.
The Billboard Catalog Albums rank the best-selling catalog albums. A catalog title has to be more than 18 months old. Effectively, the Catalog Albums chart is equivalent to the Billboard 200, with newer titles removed. This makes Michael’s “Thriller” number one.
Elsewhere Michael reached number two on both Billboard’s Vinyl Albums and Top R&B Albums, number four on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and number ten on the Artist 100.
This is a great success as we ramp up to celebrate the official 40th anniversary of “Thriller” tomorrow, November 30th.
‘Thriller’ Album Enters Billboard At Number 7
27th November 2022
The “Thriller” album has re-entered the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the first time since 1984. It’s re-entry after the release of “Thriller 40” has put it at number seven on this weeks album charts.
It earned 37,000 equivalent album units. Of that, album sales make up 27,500, SEA units comprise of 9,000 (equaling 13.17 million on-demand official streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 500.
“Thriller” originally spent 37 nonconsecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 between 1983 and 1984. It’s the most weeks for an album by any artist, barring soundtracks. The album had a twenty-four year gap from last being in the charts in 1985 until it returned at the end of 2009 due to catalog (older) albums not allowing to chart again. Between May 1991 through to November 2009, catalog albums were not allowed to chart on the Billboard 200. If they had we would have seen a massive spike around his death in June 2009.
For this weeks chart positions all versions of the “Thriller” album, old and new, are combined together for tracking and charting purposes. This means the original “Thriller” album along with the 2001 special edition, the 25th anniversary edition and of course the newly released 40th anniversary edition all counted.
‘Thriller’ Enters Top 20 In The UK Album Charts
25th November 2022
A week after the release of “Thriller 40″ and the album has cracked the Top 20 in the UK album charts.
On the <a href=”https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/albums-chart/”>official album charts</a> the “Thriller” album has re-entered at number 18, its highest chart position since Michael’s death in 2009. It gives the iconic album its 260th week on the UK charts since its original release in 1982. It has spent a total of 8 weeks at number one. It also entered at number 10 on the Vinyl album charts.
Sales and streaming of the original album, 2001 special edition, 25th Anniversary and the new 40th Anniversary edition all count towards the charts. The Official Charts even tweeted about the album re-entering after all this time:
Michael Jackson's (@michaeljackson) Thriller returns to the Top 40 thanks to a 40th anniversary re-issue.
The 34 track album starts with the original 9 songs that propelled the 1982 “Thriller” album to become the biggest selling album of all time. It then goes straight into the rarer tracks, kicking it off with “Starlight,” the original “Thriller” demo. The rarer tracks are:
Got the Hots – Demo
Who Do You Know – Demo
Behind The Mask – Mike’s Mix (Demo)
Can’t Get Outta The Rain
The Toy – Demo
Sunset Driver – Demo
What A Lovely Way To Go – Demo
She’s Trouble – Demo
The tracks that follow include remixes, edits and alternate versions of tracks from the original album. It ends with a megamix of the original album.
We’ve all been very excited to hear the unheard tracks. Due to age old leaks, previously released material, or newer versions being released, there’s only two fully new tracks that we have never heard any version of before. That’s “Who Do You Know” and “What A Lovely Way To Go.” The former certainly seems like the standout track from this collection.
‘Thriller’ 4K on YouTube
18th November 2022
The most popular video streaming service in the world now has the most revered and most popular music video of all time on its service! Michael’s 1983 classic short film “Thriller” is now available in stunning 4K resolution for the first time ever on YouTube!!
It’s arguably the most famous music video of all time. The dance sequence has become so iconic that along with Michael’s famous red leather jacket, that it is performed every year around the world. It also became the first music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry.
Running at 13 minutes, at the time of making it “Thriller” was the most expensive music video of all time. It was directed by John Landis, who wrote it with Michael.
Watch it in glorious 4K below.
Stuart Backerman Remembers Michael
17th November 2022
Michael Jackson’s former official spokesman Stuart Backerman sent us the below memories of his time with Michael.
Michael Jackson. The name still resonates for millions of people around the world, conjuring up dozens of hit songs and the incandes-cent performances that were an otherworldly experience for those who witnessed them—Michael Jackson at the peak of his powers.
I was one of Michael‘s biggest fans long before I started working for him, so when I received a call from Michael in Neverland that he wanted me to be his official spokesman and publicist, it was a dream come true.
I was thrilled, needless to say, when I heard his gentle voice on the end of the line saying, “Stuart, I just want to tell you I’m delighted to have you on board as part of the team. I can’t wait to meet you. I just want to say, ‘Welcome.’”
I reflected on that special mo-ment as I was sitting in the Neil Simon Theatre in New York earlier this year waiting for the curtain to rise on an-other sold-out performance of MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical, and feeling the electric sense of anticipation running through the crowd.
I started working for Michael in the spring of 2002 as part of a new management team that was dedicated to reviving Michael’s ca-reer, not only through his music, but through a number of visionary enterprises that would leverage his unique artistic vision and enter-tainment genius.
I still have vivid memories of those heady, exhilarating days and of our first meeting when I flew from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Los Angeles, renting a car for the trip to Neverland.
As I drove through the iconic gates on an idyllic sun-splashed morning, passing the thousands of blossoms that lined the shaded walkways, the melodic strains of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia,” coming from cleverly concealed speakers, gently wafted me into the magical world of Neverland.
Michael was having lunch on the patio behind his impressive Tudor-style house, so I joined him, his nanny Grace Rwaramba, and Blanket, Paris and Prince, eleven months old and five and six respec-tively, along with Dieter Wiesner, Michael’s closest advisor, who he’d first met in Germany in 1995 and who had become a father-figure to him over the years
“Great to meet you, Stuart,” he said, enthusiastically clasping my hand, his grip strong and masculine, firmer than I expected.
He introduced me to Paris and Prince, explaining that I was working for him and that I was from Canada.
Paris’s eyes widened.
I didn’t know what she’d read or knew about Canada, but she was at least curious about my country, for the words popped out of her mouth with an engaging ingenuousness, “Does it always snow in Canada, Stuart?” she asked.
I grinned. “No, Paris, and we don’t all live in igloos, either.”
She laughed, her eyes bright.
I wasn’t sure Paris even knew what an igloo was, but I told her we had a mild climate in Vancouver and invited her and her brothers to visit with their Dad.
“I’d be happy to show you around, and I’m sure you’d love it there,” I added.
They both beamed at the thought before standing up, shucking off their tops and plunging into the pool, tossing an inflatable beach ball back and forth and splashing about amid squeals of laughter.
Dieter and Michael and I discussed the plans of the team for Mi-chael’s career, and I spoke to him about his fans, saying how fortu-nate he was to have the greatest fans of any entertainer in the world, and that we planned to reach out to them in new and unprecedented ways.
Michael responded immediately, saying how much he loved his fans and appreciated their support.
“Stuart, outside my family, my fans are the most important thing to me. I want you to do everything that you can to help me con-nect with them in a more personal way.”
The members of the team and I took Michael’s directive to heart, initiating a series of events that did exactly that.
We orchestrated his return to Gary, Indiana, arranged a lavish 45th birthday bash at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles with the help of Michael Jackson’s fan clubs, who once again proved their en-during commitment to their idol and critical importance to the suc-cess of his career, and opened Neverland to the fans for a celebrity charity event, all of which brought Michael a tremendous feeling of satisfaction.
I think Michael’s return to Gary was the most meaningful to him. Returning to his roots was truly a healing experience and I don’t think he ever signed as many autographs in one day than he did the day he returned to his birthplace at 2300 Jackson Street and to where his incredible career started.
“I want Dieter to show you everything here at Neverland,” Mi-chael said when we finished chatting. “I want you to see all of it, so you know just how beautiful it is.”
Dieter and I hopped into a golf cart for a tour of the estate, so that I could see the famous landmarks that I’d already read so much about, including the zoo with its elephant, a gift from Elizabeth Tay-lor, and the giraffes and assorted other exotic animals.
Michael emerged from the house when we returned and asked if Dieter had showed me the movie theater.
We had only driven past it, but hadn’t gone inside.
“You got to see it,” Michael said. “I’ll take you there.”
So I hopped into the golf cart again and we zoomed off, arriving moments later.
Michael ushered me into the lobby and proudly showed me the theater itself with its fifty or so plush burgundy seats.
“Stuart, I want to show you something,” he said.
He opened a side door in the lobby and I followed him into a large room with about a dozen wheeled clothes hangers laden with his costumes and uniforms and sequined gloves as well.
He rolled the hangars away to reveal a floor-to-ceiling mirror that ran the entire length of the wall.
“Stuart, watch this,” he said, grabbing a black fedora from a bas-ket and slinging it over his head with a mischievous grin.
He tipped it down over his eyes and started to moonwalk.
I stood transfixed, mesmerized by the illusion of Michael walk-ing backward and forward at the same time, feeling a shiver run through me as I witnessed him perform his iconic dance move in per-son.
He did it twice alongside the mirror, classic Michael Jackson, a private performance from the legend himself.
I felt so privileged in that moment, so touched by his generosity of spirit and his gift of friendship.
“How do you like that, Stuart?” he laughed, lifting the hat and grinning at me. “Here, I want you to have this,” he said, tossing me the hat. “I know that we’re going to do great things together.”
We returned to the house and rejoined Dieter, Michael and I say-ing our goodbyes.
To my surprise, just as I was about to leave, he dashed out of the house with a book in his hand.
“Stuart,” he called out. “I want you to have this.”
I knew that Michael loved comics and had always wanted to buy Marvel and even star in his own production of Spiderman, so he was perhaps hoping the team could help him to rekindle that dream as he handed me, Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire—And Both Lost, by Dan Raviv.
I opened it and read the inscription he’d written: “Stuart, many thanks for your kind help and please don’t make plans for the next decade.”
Alas, it was never to be, for before we could prevent it, Michael’s career would begin the downward spiral that would end in his tragic and premature death.
Yes, memories of Michael flooded back to me in the Neil Simon Theatre as the show unfolded, a brilliant assembly of Michael Jackson hits from Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller and so many others, performed by the brilliant Tony-award winning Myles Frost.
The show was spectacular, with standing ovations at the end.
I knew then, without a doubt, Michael was back.
His tarnished reputation was rapidly receding into memory, and his music and performance artistry remained invincible.
After the show, I mingled with the throngs outside on 42nd Street, soaking up the excitement that only hit Broadway shows can deliver, and congratulating Myles the next day on his amazing per-formance.
Michael was not only back, his legacy as the greatest entertainer in history is secure.
I recalled what his long-time associate Brian Oxman had said to me when I first joined the team as Michael’s spokesman: “Working for Michael Jackson is an almost mys-tical thing. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”
Michael is gone now, but his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of his fan club members and his millions of fans worldwide who keep the flame of Michael’s life and spirit burning brightly in their hearts.
Yes, he really was the King of Pop, yet he was also a gentle spirit who tried to make the world a better place through his art, to lift hu-manity out of its suffering, and to create a better future for the chil-dren of this Earth.
I believe that it’s important to remember that and to simply honor the soul of Michael Jackson.
MJ Musical Gets Grammy Nomination
15th November 2022
After winning big at the Tony Awards in June of this year, the hit Broadway show “MJ Musical” has once again been nominated for a prestigious award.
This time it’s a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. It goes up against original cast recordings of “A Strange Loop,” “Caroline, or Change”, “Into the Woods,”
“Mr. Saturday Night” and “Six: Live on Opening Night.”
The winners will be announced during the ceremony at the Crypto.com Arena on Feb 5th, 2023.
‘Thriller’ And ‘Beat It’ Available in 4K
13th November 2022
Apple Music and iTunes now have the 4K versions of “Thriller” and “Beat It” to watch. We’re still waiting for “Billie Jean” to drop, and for the videos on YouTube to be updated.
We expect them to be more widely available by the release of “Thriller 40” next Friday. In the meantime the thumbnails used on the YouTube videos have been updated to the 4K resolution.
In the first 24 hours of the 4K versions of “Thriller” and “Beat It” being released on Apple Music, and even with no official promotion, they’ve shot straight to the top of the iTunes Music Video chart. “Thriller” sits at the top spot with “Beat It” at number 2.
“Thriller” was first restored in 2017 by the original director John Landis. It was shown in movie theaters across the US in 2018. It was a preview for those that had got tickets to watch the movie “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” Those screenings were in 3D, and seeing it on the big screen totally changed what you knew about “Thriller.”
Watching these new versions of the videos is like watching them for the first time. So many details were easy to miss before. This breathes a fresh lease of life into this classic short films from Michael.
Bonus Track: ‘Who Do You Know’
10th November 2022
The final bonus track for “Thriller 40,” which is being released next Friday has been announced. “Who Do You Know” is an unheard track that Michael first wrote and started work on this song in 1980 but was still working on it in February 1982. It’s never been leaked, though Michael did acknowledge its existence in a 1993 deposition, and he considered it as a song for the “Thriller” album.
When it failed to make the final cut for the album, Michael considered it again for The Jacksons “Victory” album in 1984 but chose to contribute three other songs to that instead (“State of Shock,” “Be Not Always” and “The Hurt”).
It’s been a week since Halloween, a season that’s closely associated with Michael Jackson. With the #thrillerchallenge, Zombie flash dances around the world and general ghoulish fun, it’s no surprise Michael has made an appearance in multiple charts.
On the Billboard Hot 100 the single “Thriller” entered at number 26 this week. This is the ninth time it’s charted on the Billboard Hot 100 since its original release in 1983 where it peaked at number four. This year makes the fifth consecutive year for the song to re-chart.
The album “Thriller” is no stranger to the Billboard 200 as it regularly makes appearances on there. This weeks marks the albums 546th week on the chart over the course of its forty year history. This Halloween season has driven sales and streams of the album up dramatically, entering the top 20 again at number 19. This makes it the highest position its got to in the 21st Century. It would have likely returned to the top spot when Michael died in 2009 (and potentially previously with the release of “Thriller 25”), however at the time re-releases were not eligible for the Billboard 200. This has since changed.
All of this has grown Michael’s popularity generally. He entered the Billboards Artist 100 chart at number 21 this week. That chart was launched in 2014 and combines performance across the Hot 100 chart, the Billboard 200 album chart, and the Internet-centric Social 50 chart.
Amazon, Spotify & iTunes
Throughout the week, Michael hit the top spot on Amazon’s Best Sellers, as well as number one on Apple Music. He also entered the top 10 on the iTunes chart. “Thriller” became the 9th most downloaded digital song of the week, and 19th streamed overall. On Spotify Michael gained 5 million more listeners taking his monthly average to 37 million and making him the 57th most streamed artist in the world on that platform.
Bonus Track: ‘Can’t Get Outta The Rain’
3rd November 2022
“Can’t Get Outta The Rain” has been the penultimate track to be announced for “Thriller 40.” The song is very familiar to fans, as it’s been included on multiple releases over the years including as the original B-Side of “The Girl Is Mine,” as well as the US version of “The Essential Michael Jackson” album in 2005.
The song originates from the song “You Can’t Win,” which Michael recored and performed in the 1978 movie “The Wiz.” Four years later “Part 2” of that song was created. Michael repeatedly sings the line “Can’t get outta the game” and the vocals were overdubbed, resulting in “Can’t Get Outta the Rain.” The melody and lyrics (except for the word “rain”) are identical to “You Can’t Win.”
This song was co-written by Michael and Quincy and, although it wasn’t released on the 'Thriller' album, it was the B-side of the first single for the album, “The Girl Is Mine." pic.twitter.com/ybyKzejqmM
Parties, Documentary And Immersive Events
1st November 2022
The Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Music have announced some promotion for its 40th anniversary of “Thriller.” It includes immersive events, screenings of the new 40th Anniversary Documentary, and parties. Below is what’s available and where as of today (November 1st). This page on the official michaeljackson.com will be updated as more are added.
NYC Immersive Event
A 3-day immersive event designed to fully transport attendees into the world of the iconic album Thriller with specific track-focused experiences, interactive elements and social + photo opportunities throughout — all to ensure an unforgettable experience for both new and die-hard fans celebrating the 40th anniversary of the world’s best-selling album of all time.
Running Friday, November 18 – Sunday, November 20 at:
415 5th Avenue New York, NY
Between E 37th and E 38th St
We are holding fan events around the globe in celebration of the 40th anniversary including DJ sets, midnight playbacks, screenings of the short films, themed food and drinks, competitions, giveaways and much more. These are happening in:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Taipei City, Taiwan
Victoria, Hong Kong
Details coming soon
Thriller Night At Hayvenhurst
30th October 2022
Every year Prince Jackson in collaboration with Taj and TJ Jackson host a Halloween party to raise funds for their charities “Heal LA” and “The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation,” called “Thriller Night.” This year it coincided with the upcoming release and celebration of the 40th anniversary of the “Thriller” album and therefore was very much a celebration of that event, while raising money for the two good causes. The event spanned over two nights, along with a daytime event for underprivileged children from the Los Angeles area.
The two nights, October 28th and 29th, were filled with fans, celebrities, performers and those that had collaborated with Michael. Held at Michael’s Hayvenhurst family home in Encino, the house we completely revamped for Halloween. There were zombie figures and animatronics littered inside and outside the home, and a maze throughout the home with strobe lighting and werewolves and zombies coming at you left, right and center. Also inside the house was the Legacy room, which housed awards and memorabilia of Michael’s. This included his 1983 Grammy’s, original “Thriller” jackets, rhinestone encrusted glove, black fedora, the white suit Michael wore on the “Thriller” album cover and more.
Outside the house was a large dance floor, stage and replica of the Palace movie theater, as seen in the “Thriller” music video. In front of that and in the garden area was the incredibly life like statues of Michael, made by the wonderful Godaiking Studios. Attendees were also able to peer into the home studio, where Michael created demos of his legendary songs, including “Billie Jean.”
Alongside Michael’s children Prince, Paris and Bigi Jackson, and his nephews TJ and Taj Jackson, some other key people in attendance were Chris Tucker, Greg Phillinganes, Matt Forger, Jonathan Moffett and Travis Payne.
The #thrillerchallenge was also plugged on stage by Taj and posters were shown on large TV screens.
Michael’s music was blasted all night; and with iconic history in front of you everywhere you looked, his presence was felt as we all celebrated the 40th anniversary of the worlds best selling album of all time.
Bonus Track: ‘Starlight’
27th October 2022
This morning “Starlight” was announced as the next bonus track for “Thriller 40.”
The recording is the demo of “Thriller,” with its original lyrics. This demo has previously leaked online, but in quite bad quality. Another title for the song that was considered (but never recorded) was “Midnight Man.” After the initial recording of “Starlight,” Michael and producer Quincy Jones asked the songs composer and lyricists Rod Temperton to reimagine the song with scarier overtones, which led to the monster hit (pun intended) that we know today as “Thriller.”
New ‘Thriller’ Magazine Released
24th October 2022
A new unofficial magazine has popped up on the shelves in stores around the US, which is dedicated to Michael’s “Thriller” album, as we gear up to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The 96 pager is produced by A360 Media and features Michael’s story, from his early days in Indiana with the Jackson 5, to the success of “Off the Wall” and how he followed that up with “Thriller.” The magazine focuses on specific tracks from the album, videos and also the legacy the groundbreaking album has left. The 12 chapters of the magazine are:
A life in show business
Where do we go after disco?
The Girl Is Mine
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
The magazine is filled to the brim with high quality photos. Peek inside the magazine below, and purchase your copy here.
Bonus Track: ‘Carousel’
20th October 2022
“Carousel,” written by Michael Sembello and Don Freeman, is the latest bonus track to be announced for the upcoming “Thriller 40” album.
The strong contender for the “Thriller” album but lost out to “Human Nature.” In 2001 an edited version was released on the “Thriller Special Edition” album. In 2008 the full version at 3 minutes and 40 seconds was released on the album “King of Pop – The Italian Fans’ Selection.”
It’s unclear if the version that will be released on “Thriller 40” will be in full, but we are assuming that to be the case.
This song, co-written by Michael Sembello, was originally one of the 9 tracks intended to be included on the Thriller album until the song “Human Nature” was discovered and wound up on the album instead.
Today kicks off the “Thriller Challenge” to try and get the song “Thriller” to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song has never reached the top spot before number one on Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at number four in 1983. This is now your chance to help make history by getting this Halloween anthem to number one between October 28th – November 3rd 2022.
The best way to help push a song up the charts is simply to purchase it! Sales of the actual song gain high points towards the Billboard Hot 100. The next big push would be to stream it lots. And finally, chart positions are also based on radio play. So a drive to request the song a lot on your local, and national, stations is a must.
We’ve created a page dedicated to providing you all you need. Links to buy and stream the song on the top services, as well as phone numbers to many radio stations around the USA. There’s also some that you can Tweet.
To get all the information you need visit our “Thriller Challenge” page now on our Thriller 40 website, and let’s get “Thriller” the placement it deserves this Halloween.
Bonus Track: ‘Sunset Driver’
13th October 2022
Today the sixth bonus track (out of ten) was announced as “Sunset Driver.” Our understanding is this is the same version that appeared on the 2004 “Ultimate Collection” album.
The song was written by Michael and recorded originally for “Off the Wall” and then again for “Thriller” in 1982. Michael even considered it for “Bad” a few years later. The 1982 version was eventually the on version released as a demo in 2004.
Bonus Track: ‘What A Lovely Way To Go’
6th October 2022
It’s Thursday, which means another song has been announced. This weeks is the first song that’s totally new and unknown to the fan community.
“What A Lovely Way To Go” was originally written by Michael in the late 1970s. He revisited it while he was writing songs for the “Thriller” album. It didn’t make the album and had never been released until now.
We’re super excited to hear this song. Something brand new like this will no doubt make these the stand out gems of the “Thriller 40” album.
Music journalist and filmmaker Nelson George is directing a documentary on the making of Michael’s “Thriller” album as part of the official 40th anniversary celebrations. This comes after previous documentaries by acclaimed director Spike Lee for “Bad” and “Off the Wall.”
The director has said;
“The release of “Thriller” redefined Michael Jackson, taking him from teen star to adult superstar, who composed memorable songs, sang beautifully and reached the highest level of on-stage performance. The album, and the short films they inspired, created a new template for marrying music and image. It’s been a privilege to explore this extraordinary album and revisit its magic.”
On talking about the documentary, in a statement Branca and McClain said;
“Michael opened and explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation on “Thriller.” In the process, he breached destructive barriers in the music industry and literally united the world through his music: there isn’t a place on this planet that hasn’t been exhilarated by the music of Michael Jackson. This documentary’s exploration of Michael’s process and impact is revelatory.”
The documentary is currently still in production and will include never-before-seen footage.
Bonus Track: ‘Got The Hots’
29th September 2022
Another week, another bonus track announced. Today it was the Rod Temperton penned “Got the Hots,” which fans will be familiar with due its release on the Japanese version of the 2008 “Thriller 25” album. It was previously considered for the 2001 “Thriller Special Edition,” but never made the got cut.
Today “The Toy” has been announced as another bonus track from the upcoming “Thriller 40” album.
This song was inspired by the 1982 Richard Pryor film of the same title. After not making the cut for the “Thriller” album, Michael continued to work on the song for the rest of his career. It first became “I Am Your Joy” and ultimately evolved into “Best of Joy,” which was released posthumously on the 2010 album “Michael.” It’s noted as being the last song he recorded during his life, likely in 2008.
This will be the first time the original incarnation from forty years ago will be heard by the public.
This song was inspired by the Richard Pryor film of the same title. After not making the cut for the Thriller album, Michael continued to work on the song and it ultimately evolved into "Best of Joy”. The original incarnation is now being released. https://t.co/X9oMHEZPenpic.twitter.com/VhIZgDJgNL
“She’s Trouble” has been announced as another bonus track on the forthcoming “Thriller 40” album. It will be the nineteenth track on the album, making it the final bonus track and shows on the track-list as “She’s Trouble (Demo).”
The song has floated around the fan community since the 1990s under the title “Trouble.” It will be a great fit for the anniversary album. Michael recorded it in 1982 however decided not to use it. A year later the band Musical Youth covered it and released it on their album “Different Style!” It was also covered in the same year by Happy Days star Scott Baio for his album “The Boys Are Out Tonight.”
It will be great to have this song recorded by Michael officially released after all this time.
Songwriters Terry Britten, Sue Shifrin and William Livsey, presented it to Quincy for consideration on Thriller. Although Michael demoed the song, it didn’t make the album and was given to other artists to record. The demo is released now for the 1st time https://t.co/X9oMHFhqCXpic.twitter.com/4nCUs2fiSc
Michael Jackson’s Estate, along with Sony Music, are announcing the bonus tracks for “Thriller 40” one at a time between now and its November release. Today they kick started their announcement with the original demo of “Behind the Mask.”
“Behind the Mask” was a song originally released by the Yellow Magic Orchestra. In the early 1980s Quincy Jones introduced the song to Michael. The singer then contributed more lyrics and added an accompanying melody. “Behind the Mask” was planned to be on “Thriller” but it was dropped due to a royalties dispute with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s management. A remix of Michael’s version was released on the 2010 posthumous album “Michael.” Several artists recorded Michael’s version and released it before his was made public. The most famous rendition came from British rock star Eric Clapton. His single hit number 15 on the UK charts in 1987.
Michael’s 2010 version included a new saxophone solo and crowd noise (taken from the 1992 Dangerous Tour). The single was released for radio only and as a limited 7″ vinyl for Record Store Day.
Michael heard the Yellow Magic Orchestra recording and got the go-ahead from YMO to write and record the song with lyrics. For the 1st time, hear MJ’s demo played along with demos of Billie Jean and Beat It at a listening session with Q. https://t.co/X9oMHFhYsvpic.twitter.com/ayDgWd5t2n
Additional ‘Thriller 40’ Tracks Unveiled
29th August 2022
As announced earlier today, as well as the 10 tracks, which will consist of rarities and demos, that will be released with the “Thriller 40” album, there will also be 15 additional tracks which have been previously released with past editions of the album. They will made available exclusively on digital/streaming sites. It’s been revealed that they are:
Billie Jean (1981 Home Demo)
Billie Jean (Long Version)
Billie Jean (2008 Kanye West Mix)
Beat It (Demo)
Beat It (2008 with Fergie Remix)
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Demo)
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Tommy D’s Main Mix)
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (2008 with Akon)
Human Nature 7″
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) (Demo Version)
P.T.Y. (Pretty Young Thing) (2008 with will.i.am)
The Girl Is Mine (2008 with will.i.am)
Thriller 7″ (Special Edit)
Thriller (Def Thill Mix)
Notably missing from these 15 tracks are “Carousel,” “Someone In The Dark,” and the original solo demo of “The Girl Is Mine.” We’ll find out between September 5th – November 18th what the 10 secret tracks are, and if those are included.
10 New ‘Thriller 40’ Tracks Coming Soon
29th August 2022
On Michaels’ 64th birthday, Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson have released an official press release to give an update on the upcoming “Thriller 40” double album.
They have confirmed that the double CD will be comprised of Michael’s original 1982 masterpiece and an exciting bonus CD of rarities and demos. The titles of the ten bonus tracks will be revealed one at a time, starting after Labor Day (September 5th) with the last track being revealed just before release date, November 18th. Additionally, 15 additional tracks which have been in limited release previously will be available as part of an expanded digital release.
As well as the new release, to celebrate the biggest selling album ever, pop up events and worldwide activations are planned to honor Michael’s epic creation. The new album artwork, which includes a shiny silver cover, now seems to be the dominant artwork being used in marketing materials.
In May this year it was announced that Michael Jackson’s most consequential album, “Thriller,” the biggest selling album of all time, would be celebrated in its 40th year.
It was kicked off at the Billboard Awards on May 15th and on May 16th the official “Thriller 40” double album was announced. It was there and then we at MJWN decided to launch thriller40.com and started to created a website to honor and celebrate the groundbreaking album.
Over the last three months, we’ve enjoyed researching the stories from Michael’s life during the early to mid 1980s. We’ve flicked through 100s if not 1000s of photos, gathering the best ones to use on this site and researched heavily all the songs from the “Thriller” album and beyond, along with all the news between 1982 – 1985.
We thought Michael’s birthday, August 29th, would be the perfect date to launch this site officially. Many have already seen what we were working on. Our thanks to all those who have stumbled upon the website so far and shared their love and appreciation on social media. It’s been wonderful to see the reaction, and we will continue to grow the site over the rest of 2022 as the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album.
Nicki Minaj Mentions Michael In Award Win
28th August 2022
Tonight Nicki Minaj won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at the MTV VMA’s.
Minaj is the first winner since Missy Elliott in 2019. The award was named after Michael in 1991. However in 2019 MTV dropped his name, though Missy Elliott referenced it by its full name in her acceptance speech.
Three years later and Michael is once again mentioned in the acceptance speech, on the eve of what would have been Michael’s 64th birthday. In her long list of thank you’ve, Minaj said:
“I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here. I wish people understood what they went through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for the people you think have perfect lives.”
Congratulations Nicki Minaj on winning the prestigious award!
‘Thriller 40’ Slip Sleeve Revealed
23rd August 2022
On the German version of Amazon, a new cover for the upcoming “Thriller 40th Anniversary” album, being released on November 18th, is now being featured.
The cover is a slip sleeve, which houses the new double album, with original cover artwork. It’s unknown if this new slip sleeve is shiny, though one could assume that to be the case. The 0 of 40 is cut out, which has Michael’s face nicely in place as it lines up so well with the original photo.
The slip sleeve is simple, delightful and elegant, and unlikely to cause issues among the Michael Jackson fan community.
Without any big fanfare or even an announcement, the 2010 album ‘Michael’ has been re-issued, now only containing 7 tracks instead of 10.
It’s not just that 7 was Michael’s favorite number, but that 3 of the tracks have been accused as using fake vocals. The three controversial tracks were removed from streaming services at the end of June, and it now seems you can purchase the album once again on CD, but this time exclusively with Michael Jackson’s vocals. The 7 songs that are left are fantastic, and make it a worthwhile purchase in itself!
Hold My Hand
(I Like) The Way You Love Me
Best of Joy
(I Can’t Make It) Another Day
Behind the Mask
Much Too Soon
Right now it’s only available through michaeljackson.com, however we’re sure this will be the only available version of the album everywhere soon.
Source: michaeljackson.com & MJWN
Controversial Cascio Tracks Removed
29th June 2022
Since it’s release in 2010, the first posthumously released album from Michael Jackson’s Estate has come under scrutiny and controversy from fans.
The album simply entitled ‘Michael’ included 10 tracks including ‘Hold My Hand’ with Akon, which was leaked in 2008. It also included ‘(I like) The Way You Love Me,’ an alternate version of which was released on the 2004 ‘Ultimate Collection’ multi disc album.
However three tracks have come under fire. ‘Keep Your Head Up,’ ‘Monster’ and ‘Breaking News’ have all had doubt cast over them as to whether or not it’s actually Michael singing or a sound alike. General opinion across the MJ fan community is that these three songs are fake.
While we don’t believe the Estate would intentionally release fake material, there is belief they were misguided by Eddie Cascio and his brothers. They were close friends of Michael during his life, and the songs were written by them. The tracks are now known as the Cascio tracks.
While fans have been vocal about their displeasure over the Cascio tracks, the Estate has also been hit with a lawsuit from fans claiming false advertising of a product. Amazingly today those three tracks have now been removed from most major streaming platforms including Apple Music. Spotify still have them on there, though we assume they will follow soon.
This is huge news and a monumental day 12 years in the making.
Update June 30th: Spotify, the largest streaming service in the world, has now also taken down the offending tracks.
‘Thriller’ Actress Ola Ray Releases Book
28th June 2022
At the age of 61, and 39 years since the iconic video was released, Ola Ray who starred opposite Michael in the ‘Thriller’ short film, has released her first autobiography called ‘The Thrill of it All.’
Ray started out as a model, and became a Playboy centerfold in 1980. Three years later she got the role on ‘Thriller,’ which changed her life. In the years following the actress complained over issues collecting her royalties for the short film. She blamed Michael and just a month before he died in 2009, she sued him. In 2012 the Michael Jackson Family Trust settled the lawsuit.
On her new book, Ola Ray says that she reached international fame as the co-star in ‘Thriller.’ She says:
“Whenever I am in a public, people seem to find a way to approach me, wanting to know what it was like to be in a music video with the King of Pop. I have remained in the shadows for decades, avoiding television and radio interviews from inquisitive reporters to protect the stroke of destiny that changed my life forever”.
‘Thriller Live’ And Siedah Garrett Record ‘Man In The Mirror’
25th June 2022
In support of Ukrainian refugees, cast members of the hit West End stage show, ‘Thriller Live’, have joined together with Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter, Siedah Garrett, to record a cover of ‘Man In The Mirror’ – the social justice anthem made famous by Michael Jackson, whom Siedah originally wrote the song for, alongside Glen Ballard.
Every penny from the download of the single will go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Siedah said, “When Glen Ballard and I wrote the song ‘Man In The Mirror’ for Michael Jackson, we had no idea that it would become such an important anthem, to inspire people the world over, encouraging each and every one of us to make this world a better place, starting with ourselves.”
She continued, “That’s why I’m so excited to join the cast members of the hit musical ‘Thriller Live’ in performing and recording a new version of the song to help raise funds for those courageous refugees in the war in Ukraine. Our hearts go out to you.”
More than 13 million people have fled their homes to escape the war in Ukraine. Leaving behind jobs, belongings and loved ones, they need shelter, food and water.
Homes have been destroyed or are unsafe to live in. Essential services have been hit. Families have been separated. People have been injured. Lives have been lost.
The song will be released on the 29th August, but you can watch the video and pre-order the single now:
You can also see the cast of Thriller Live perform ‘Man In The Mirror’ live, alongside the London Community Gospel Choir at MJ Day 30 on the day of release.
MJ Musical Performs And Wins At The Tony Awards
13th June 2022
‘MJ The Musical’ took home four awards at tonights Tony Awards in New York. This included Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Myles Frost!
Frost lead the cast in a performance of ‘Smooth Criminal’ during the show, making it the second Michael Jackson performance during a major awards ceremony this year, after ‘Lady In My Life’ was performed at the Billboard Awards last month.
Michael’s two eldest children, Prince and Paris, introduced the cast before they performed. Prince said;
“A lot of people seem to think our dad Michael Jackson changed popular music forever, and who are we to disagree? But what people may not know is he loved musicals, on film and on the stage. That’s why we are so incredibly honored to introduce the night’s first nominee for best musical, ‘MJ,’ which, using many of his iconic hits, looks at the complexities and brilliance of our father’s process.”
Here’s the list of awards they won:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – Myles Frost
Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Natasha Katz
Best Sound Design of a Musical – Gareth Owen
Best Choreography – Christopher Wheeldon
Congratulations to all involved!
Source: CNN & MJWN
MJ Day 30 in London On Michael’s Birthday
11th June 2022
Don’t miss the ultimate Michael Jackson party celebrating the King of Pop’s birthday at one of London’s most iconic venues, Madame Tussauds on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August 2022.
Appearing live for the first time in the UK we bring you one of the world’s greatest Michael Jackson tribute acts, Sergio Cortés! Also performing on stage are cast members from the record-breaking show, Thriller Live, and the incredible London Community Gospel Choir! We are also proud to announce that X-Factor winner, the amazing Dalton Harris will be singing live on stage. And if that’s not enough, we bring you one of Britain’s Got Talent’s greatest ever acts, Signature!
End the evening on the dance floor as our DJ spins a mix of Michael’s and Jackson 5 hits from ‘I Want You Back’ to ‘Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Bad’ and many more!
Make it an extra fun evening and live it off the wall by donning a fancy-dress costume, black tie or ball gown.
VIP TICKETS NOW ON SALE
VIP tickets will give you access to Madame Tussaud’s from 6:00pm, where you’ll be taken on the Spirit of London Ride through to our A-List lounge for a drinks and delicious food reception, giving you the chance to dine amongst all of the iconic waxworks, from Beyoncé to Tom Cruise. You’ll then be whisked into the Marvel Movie Theatre where you will watch our all-star stage show.
Afterwards you’ll make way to ‘Studio 54’ where you can live it off the wall for a night of pure Michael Jackson disco hits!
This event will be supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal on behalf of the humanitarian effort for the Ukrainian people.
MJ The Musical Cast Recording Album
10th June 2022
MJ The Musical will be releasing an Original Broadway Cast Recording of the show on July 15th digitally and on CD.
The track listing for the album is:
Jackson Five Medley (The Love You Save / I Want You Back / ABC)
I’ll Be There
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough / Blame It on the Boogie / Dancing Machine
Stranger in Moscow
You Can’t Win
I Can’t Help It
Keep the Faith
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
Earth Song / They Don’t Care About Us
Victory Tour (For the Love of Money / Can You Feel It)
Keep the Faith (Reprise)
She’s Out of My Life
Bad / 2 Bad
Man in the Mirror
Finale ( Jam / Black or White / Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’)
The musical is centered around the making of Michael’s 1992 Dangerous World Tour and created by Tony Award®-winning Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage.
The broadway show has quickly become a smash hit, and nominated for a 10 Tony Awards, one of the most nominated shows of the year! The winners will be announced this Sunday, June 12th.
Source: MJ Musical & MJWN
4K Short Films For ‘Thriller 40’
18th May 2022
When Thriller 40 was announced, the artwork divided the fan community. However Michael’s Estate has asked the fan community to focus on the products more than the artwork. They said that in selecting the new fonts, the goal was to make the design feel fresh and current for music fans who are only now discovering Michael Jackson and this iconic album.
In their communication they teased us with some of the material we should expect to see this year that’s yet to be fully announced. They said that what is coming is “directly in response to the numerous fan requests over the years,” and referenced unreleased material and 4K short films as examples.
As well as the announced double CD, there will also be a limited edition vinyl pressing of ‘Thriller,’ mastered from the original analog master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity’s UltraDisc One-Step 180g on 33RPM LP. It is presented in an open-ended slipcase, featuring a special foil-stamped jacket and faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording.
Source: MJ Online & MWN
‘Thriller 40’ Double Album Announced
16th May 2022
Sony Music and the Michael Jackson Estate have announced that they will be releasing a special 40th Anniversary edition of ‘Thriller.’
The double album will be released on November 18th and will include the original album alongside new Thriller-era bonus material including previously unreleased demos.
The announcement comes a day after Maxwell performed ‘The Lady In My Life’ at the Billboard Music Awards, and a week after the MJ musical on Broadway became one of the most nominated shows of the year for the 2022 Tony Awards.
Not much else is known about the upcoming release, or what else maybe planned to celebrate the biggest selling album of all time; but we’re very excited to hear that second bonus disc!! It’s available for pre-order from today.
Source: Billboard & MJWN
Maxwell Performs ‘The Lady In My Life’
16th May 2022
At the 2022 Billboard Music Awards tonight, Grammy award winning artist Maxwell performed Michael’s heart wrenching ‘The Lady In My Life‘ to celebrate 40 years of the ‘Thriller’ album.
Entering the stage similar to the opening of ‘Rock With You,’ Maxwell’s silhouette was seen as smoke filled behind him. He walked out wearing a glitter jacket, gloves and tie, along with black trousers and silver shoes. All the sequins were a great homage to the King of Pop.
He went on to perform the love ballad, which is the final track of the biggest selling album of all time. As he ended the performance he shouted “We love you Michael Jackson!” to screams and applause from the audience.
A strong start to the momentous anniversary we’ll continue to celebrate this year! Watch Maxwell’s performance:
Source: Billboard Awards & MJWN
Billboard Awards To Celebrate ‘Thriller’
15th May 2022
Michael’s Estate has confirmed that tonights Billboard Music Awards will kick off the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the ‘Thriller‘ album.
The award show will air at 5pm PST / 8pm EST / 1am BST. US fans can catch the show live on NBC and on their streaming service Peacock. Rumours are that the Grammy award winning artist Maxwell will perform ‘The Lady In My Life,’ which was the last track on the 1982 album and written by Rod Temperton.
‘Thriller’ was released on November 30th 1982 and quickly became the biggest selling album of all time, a record that it still holds today. It helped Michael earn a record breaking eight Grammy awards, and provided the world with some of the most iconic short films of all time with ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Beat It,’ and of course the groundbreaking title track ‘Thriller.’
Tomorrow, May 16th, there will be a press release with more information on how ‘Thriller’ will be celebrated this year.
Source: MJ Online & MJWN
MJ Nominated For 10 Tony Awards
9th May 2022
‘MJ’, the Michael Jackson musical that has taken Broadway by storm has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards, only three months since it opened at the Neil Simon Theater. It’s even been nominated for the most prestigious ‘Best Musical’ award. The nominated categories are:
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Myles Frost)
Best Book of a Musical (Lynn Nottage)
Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini)
Best Costume Design of a Musical (Paul Tazewell)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Natasha Katz)
Best Sound Design of a Musical (Gareth Owen)
Best Direction of a Musical (Christopher Wheeldon)
Best Choreography (Christopher Wheeldon)
Best Orchestrations (Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg)
The smash musical is centered around the making of Michael’s 1992 Dangerous World Tour. Christopher Wheeldon directs and choreographs the show and is a previous Tony Award winner. Lynn Nottage, who is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, wrote the show. And while the show has the audience on their feet as it showcases Michael’s best songs and signature dance moves, it also offers a look at his creative mind that catapulted him to legendary status.
The winners for this years Tony Awards will be announced live at the awards ceremony on June 12th.
Vote For Michael’s Simpsons Episode
24th March 2022
In 1991 Michael Jackson appeared in the season 3 opening episode of The Simpsons, voicing a man who claimed to be Michael Jackson. Now Billboard are running a poll, asking readers to vote for their favorite musical cameo, of which there have been many. At the time of writing, Michael is leading the poll with Britney Spears a close second.
Over the 30+ years since it launched the episode has become a classic and one of the most popular episodes of the long running cartoon sitcom, despite being pulled from circulation in 2019 by the producers, much to public uproar.
The episode is notable not just for Michael voicing the character, but also for the song ‘Lisa It’s Your Birthday.’ While the singing wasn’t voice by Michael, the King of Pop did do a recording of the song, which can be heard online.
Let’s make Michael proud and show the producers the grave mistake they made by pulling it out of circulation. Vote for Michael.
Source: Billboard & MJWN
MJ Musical To Go On North American Tour
22nd March 2022
The Michael Jackson music MJ, which has already become a huge Broadway hit has announced that it will go on a North American tour next year, starting in Chicago on July 26th 2023. It is scheduled to play 17 major cities over 60 weeks.
Lead producer of the show Lia Vollack said;
“We are thrilled by the Broadway response to MJ, and that we are already deep in preparations to bring this exhilarating show to Chicago and across the United States. Chicago is a premier theatre and music destination, and we are excited to be able to begin this journey in one of the Nederlander Organization’s most beautiful venues.”
John Barnes, who worked on many of Michael’s albums during the 1980s and 1990s, has passed away.
Michael met Barnes in the early 1980s. In an interview with The MJCast podcast, Barnes recalls his first meeting with Michael:
“Michael said I heard you can make your own sounds and play them. How many sounds can you make? And, I responded, ‘How much time do you have?’”
Barnes became part of Michael’s team after working as a synthesizer and arranger on the 1984 Jacksons album ‘Victory.’ He went on to collaborate with Michael on the 1985 charity single ‘We Are The World,’ the 1986 3D Disney short film ‘Captain EO,’ and then every subsequent major album from Michael into the late 1990s. He was also the musical director for the Bad World Tour. Credits with Michael included:
Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, has spoken about the time he spent with Michael. He befriended Michael in the early 1980s and appeared with the King of Pop in his 1988 hit movie ‘Moonwalker.’ Lennon said:
“I think that was a super strange time, but not in a dark way; in an odd way, in a unique way. It was odd because Bubbles was all dressed up in dandy outfits and we were all running around playing video games with this chimpanzee.”
Sean compared his time at Neverland Ranch to a combination of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and recalls fondly his memories with Michael. He continued;
“He was the coolest dude I’d ever met for sure. I mean people, you know, they have a lot of opinions about him and like anything else, my opinions can only be based on my experience.”
Michael Jackson & Sean Lennon (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
In 2016 Lennon released ‘Bubbles Burst,’ which was part clay motion depicting Michael and Bubbles. Sean said some listeners interpreted “Bubbles Burst” as criticism of Michael, or as a defense of him. Sean said it was neither. Rather ‘Bubbles Burst’ was a document of Sean’s surreal experiences with Bubbles.
Source: Showbiz Cheatsheet & MJWN
Gladys Knight Misses Michael “Every Day”
27th February 2022
Legendary singer Gladys Knight has told The Mirror she misses Michael Jackson “every day”.
She knew Michael from the very beginning of his J5 days and labelled herself “an older sister” to Michael,
She told the tabloid paper:
“I still miss him every day. Me and Michael, we started at a very young age. I know his mum and dad and brothers and sister. He knew all of my kids, we were very tight together. I’m so sad that he’s not here anymore. We would do shows together and afterwards sit in the lobby and just talk about life.”
During one particular memory the Grammy winner said;
“I remember one day he came over to my house, because he was friends with my kids, and we were having fun. And then he asked me something and it almost made me cry. He said, ‘Gladys, how do you make a family?’ I said, Michael, you’ll be able to have one, it’s got to be in your spirit, you’ve got to calm yourself down. It’s who you love, that’s what it is. You’ve got to take that time away, and one day love will fall into your lap. I think about him every day. He was an amazing young man.”