Michael Jackson World Network Fan Club
Michael Album CD Re-Issued
9th July 2022

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!

Tracklisting:

  1. Hold My Hand
  2. Hollywood Tonight
  3. (I Like) The Way You Love Me
  4. Best of Joy
  5. (I Can’t Make It) Another Day
  6. Behind the Mask
  7. 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.

Source: MJWN

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”.

You can buy ‘The Thrill of it All’ here.

Source: MJWN

‘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!

CHARITY FUNDRAISER

This event will be supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal on behalf of the humanitarian effort for the Ukrainian people.

FOR TICKETS VISIT:

www.mjday30.com

Source: MJ Day & MJWN

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:

  1. Beat It
  2. Jackson Five Medley (The Love You Save / I Want You Back / ABC)
  3. I’ll Be There
  4. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough / Blame It on the Boogie / Dancing Machine
  5. Stranger in Moscow
  6. You Can’t Win
  7. I Can’t Help It
  8. Keep the Faith
  9. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
  10. Earth Song / They Don’t Care About Us
  11. Billie Jean
  12. Smooth Criminal
  13. Victory Tour (For the Love of Money / Can You Feel It)
  14. Keep the Faith (Reprise)
  15. She’s Out of My Life
  16. Human Nature
  17. Bad / 2 Bad
  18. Thriller
  19. Man in the Mirror
  20. 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:

  1. Best Musical
  2. Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Myles Frost)
  3. Best Book of a Musical (Lynn Nottage)
  4. Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini)
  5. Best Costume Design of a Musical (Paul Tazewell)
  6. Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Natasha Katz)
  7. Best Sound Design of a Musical (Gareth Owen)
  8. Best Direction of a Musical (Christopher Wheeldon)
  9. Best Choreography (Christopher Wheeldon)
  10. 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.

Source: Tony Awards & MJWN

Michael Jackson And The Lakers Game
7th April 2022

NBA superstar Magic Johnson has opened up about his close relationship with Michael Jackson.

Johnson and the King Of Pop had been friends since the early 1970s, befriending Michael during the Jackson 5 days, when he would accompany the brothers on tours. Reflecting on those days he said;

“Michael Jackson, he was such a perfectionist. You know, see him look in a mirror for two hours, working on his moves without his brothers.”

One time the basketball star invited Michael to an LA Lakers game, but Michael only reluctantly agreed as he thought the fans wouldn’t let him watch it in peace. Johnsons says;

“He was right. He sat down; people went crazy. They were running from upstairs, the sides. We had to stop the game to get him out.”

This happened a lot for Michael during his lifetime, often having to turn down the chance to watch something he would enjoy, as to avoid stealing the limelight.

Source: Variety & MJWN

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.”

To see all the latest tour stops visit the MJ Musical website.

The show has been at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre since February 1 and has become one of the hottest tickets in town. We can’t wait to see it light up theater’s around the USA.

Source: Playbill & MJWN

Producer John Barnes Passes Away
20th March 2022

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:

  • Bad (1987) – Synthesizer, Piano, Arranger, Programming, Vocal Arrangement, String Arrangements, Rhythm Arrangements
  • Dangerous (1992) – Bass, Keyboards
  • HIStory (1995) – Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards
  • Blood on the Dance Floor (1997) – Synthesizer, Keyboards

Source: John Barnes Music & MJWN

Sean Lennon Talks About Michael
4th March 2022

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.”

 

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.”

Source: Bang Showbiz & MJWN

Donny Osmond And Michael Jackson
20th February 2022

Donny Osmond has spoken about his friendship with Michael and the advise he got from the King of Pop. This isn’t the first time Osmond has spoken publicly about his time with Michael when they were teenagers. In the new interview he says;

“I remember seeing Michael peeking out the side of the curtain watching me during the show. In hindsight that was a pretty amazing moment, but at the moment it was like, ‘There’s my buddy looking at me stage right.’”

Earlier on in the day they would have just been playing around backstage like two normal 13-year-olds do. He added:

“It’s really difficult talking about … these two little teenagers who are just selling amazing amounts of records and having number-one records and very powerful recording artists, and all they want to do is just be kids. Those were the innocent, wonderful moments before life got difficult and complicated.”

In the early 1980s they went to see the movie “The Dark Crystal” together and Michael insisted they wear disguises; trench coats, wigs and sunglasses. “We were just trying to be normal,” Osmond said. Still, everyone knew it was them!

While Michael was achieving great success with ‘Thriller,’ Osmond’s career had stalled. On asking Michael for advise, Michael told him to change his name as it was poison. Reflecting on that Osmond said;

“It was quite offensive, but what’s interesting is that he told me that in ’83, and it wasn’t until 1989, that ‘Soldier of Love’ became a hit without my name. So Michael was right.”

Many more years passed and Osmond said that he and Michael had plans to record a duet together of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” but those plans fell through. The last time he spoke to Michael was in 2008 where Michael told him that he had rented a tour bus and was with his kids in Phoenix. Osmond invite him to come and stay with his family, but it never came to be.

Source: Page Six & MJWN

Guitarist Steve Stevens Remembers Michael
19th February 2022

Rock guitarist Steve Stevens, who featured on ‘Dirty Diana’ has spoken to Ultimate Classic Rock about his experience with the King of Pop, and how it came to be.

It all started when Quincy Jones reached out to him to ask him to record. Stevens flew to LA expecting a huge entourage, Bubbles the chimp and lots of craziness, but the reality was far different. Stevens said;

“I get to the studio and I open the studio door, and it’s just Michael and Quincy and an engineer…and I said, ‘Oh, I’m at home. This is cool.'”

Stevens remembers Michael being “very exacting about the rhythm” and making a few suggestions about the “big picture” of the song, but otherwise he let Stevens have free reign of the track. “He wasn’t one of these guys to say, ‘Play a B-flat here and diminished,’ you know. He would just hum it,” he adds.

Stevens got the larger than life experience that he was expecting when it came to being part of the ‘Dirty Diana’ short film.

“I pull up, and there’s a van outside the soundstage. There’s toys and swings and all this stuff set up. I go ‘Wow, this is great. They take care of the kids.’ No, no. This is [for] Bubbles”

The guitarist fondly recalls meeting Bubbles and says the whole production was “exactly the way you’d imagine it.”

During the shoot, Michael asked Stevens about various elements of stage production, as he was about to embark on the first solo tour. Stevens recalls;

“He had previously just done Jackson 5 tours, and on the R&B circuit, the productions weren’t as big, lighting wasn’t as big, sound wasn’t [as big]. But Michael had seen Queen and Van Halen, and he knew what a rock show was about. So he was really hitting me up for all of, ‘Who does your sound? Who does your lights?'”

Michael, being as humble as ever, even said to Stevens “‘Oh, do you know Eddie?’ I go, ‘Yeah, I know Eddie.’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, he played on “Beat It.”‘ Like who doesn’t know that? I go, ‘Yes, Michael. I know that’s Eddie Van Halen on “Beat It.”‘”

And that’s when Stevens saw Michael do something he’ll never forget. “He goes, ‘Do you like Van Halen? I like Van Halen,'” the guitarist remembers. “And he proceeded to do – now if you can imagine this, this is Michael Jackson, doing an impression of David Lee Roth. Now, that is something that probably I saw, and no one else on the planet. He did the whole, ‘Look at all the people here!’ Had him down perfectly, the strut. Great, man. That was the moment that I said, you know, I’m like pinching myself. I go, ‘Am I watching Michael Jackson impersonate David Lee Roth? Is that really what I’m seeing?'”

‘Dirty Diana’ went on to be a number one hit on the Billboard charts in the US, and Steve Stevens even joined Michael on stage to perform it at Madison Square Garden in 1988 during the ‘Bad Tour’.

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock & MJWN

Victory Glove Up For Auction
12th February 2022

Michael’s white crystal glove is officially back up for auction at Goldin. The iconic glove was worn by Michael during the 1984 Victory Tour with his brothers. The glove features real Swarovski crystals and was custom designed for Michael by Bill Whitten in the early 1980s.

While the minimum bid was $20,000, it has already surpassed this amount. In 2009 it was purchased for $350,000 at auction, though went down in value in 2020 to $100,000. This glove was originally donated to UNICEF in the 1990s, who went on to sell it in 1998.

The crystal-studded glove comes with a letter of provenance from David Miller, a former employee of MJJ Productions, and was personally given this glove from Michael Jackson himself.

If you have some money to spare and would like to own a piece of HIStory, you can bid on the auction here. The auction ends on February 23rd.

Source: Pop Crush & MJWN

Official Michael Jackson Biopic Is Coming
7th February 2022

An official Michael Jackson biopic project, backed by Michael’s Estate, has been given the green light and picked up for worldwide distribution rights by Lionsgate.

The biopic will be penned by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) and produced by Oscar winner Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody, Ali) along with John Branca and John McClain from Michael’s Estate. King and Logan also previously collaborated on Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.

The film, which has a working title of ‘Michael,’ is set to be an in-depth portrayal of a complicated man who became the King of Pop. It will bring to life Michael’s most iconic performances and show his artistic process as well as exploring his personal life.

Producer Graham King has said;

“I first met the Jackson family in 1981 and I’m humbled to bring their legacy to the big screen. Sitting at Dodger Stadium watching the Victory Tour, I could never have imagined that nearly 38 years later I would get the privilege to be a part of this film.”

Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson has also spoken about the project;

“Ever since Michael was little, as a member of The Jackson 5, he loved the magic of cinema. As a family, we are honored to have our life story come alive on the big screen.”

Source: Deadline & MJWN

Janet Jackson Documentary
4th February 2022

If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should!

The new Lifetime four part documentary series on Janet Jackson is the number one documentary to watch right now, with nearly 16M people already who have watched it. The intimate series shows Janet’s history, dating back all the way to the Jackson 5 days as she watched them rehearse, to joining them on their variety shows in the 1970s, to becoming a star in her own right.

She goes on to speak very personally about her love for Michael and how much the allegations hurt her, both professionally and personally. She talks about how he was the person she was closest to, and struggled to come to terms with his death.

Other Jacksons, including Katherine, are interviewed for the enlightening documentary and there’s plenty of unseen Michael footage and behind the scenes clips of the making of Scream to watch out for. It’s as much as history lesson on the Jacksons, as it is on the astonishing career of Janet Jackson!

Watch all 4 parts for free on Lifetime TV.

Source: Lifetime & MJWN

MJ Musical Officially Opens
2nd February 2022

After previews late last year, last night the Broadway show ‘MJ’ opened its doors and raised its curtains. On its opening night it had multiple standing ovations and cheering throughout the show.

The show covers Michael’s life from the Jackson 5 through the 1992 rehearsals for his ‘Dangerous’ World Tour. Director Christopher Wheeldon and dramatist Lynn Nottage created the entertaining piece of theater that shows Michael was human, and not invincible to problems, but concentrates on the music.

The cast is led by Myles Frost who sings out classics like ‘Bad,’ ‘Beat It,’ ‘Billie Jean’ and more. In total there are over 30 songs performed (some shorter than others), leading up to the finale ‘Man in the Mirror.’

Among those in attendee for the opening night were Michael’s three children Prince, Paris and Bigi (formally known as Blanket), actor Samuel Jackson and friend and director Kenny Ortega.

Get your tickets for the show now!

Source: Showbiz 411 & MJWN

Playbill Celebrate MJ
1st February 2022

The new Broadway show ‘MJ’ has its opening night tonight and Playbill have released four collectable Playbill covers, for the first time in its 138 year history! They will be distributed throughout the month of February to not only celebrate the new musical and Michael Jackson, but also to honour Black History Month.

These collectable Playbills each feature a different illustration of an iconic Michael Jackson pose, illustrated by Nate Giorgio who created the artwork for the musical.

Source: Times Square Chronicles & MJWN

Rare Audio of Michael And Taj
14th January 2022

Michael’s nephew Taj Jackson has shared a rare recording he has come across of Michael interacting with him when he was only 2 years old. Of the must listen audio he said;

The bond of an uncle.

Some people will never fully understand the special bond I had with my uncle Michael. I feel truly blessed how close we remained through out his life. I am also very fortunate that I’ve been entrusted in both honoring him and standing up for him whenever necessary. I don’t take this responsibly lightly.

The other day I was transferring video tapes for my MJ series and came across an old tape cassette labeled “Taj – Baby Talk”.

I wanted to share with you around 2 minutes of this 6+ minute tape. It brought a huge smile to my face and I hope it does for you guys as well.

Listen to it here:

Dangerous Album Artwork Concepts
26th November 2021

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of ‘Dangerous’, artist Mark Ryden who created the beautiful artwork for Michael’s 1991 album, has shared some of his original concepts on his Instagram page.

He said;

30 years ago today, Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album was released. Here are my other sketches for the project. I’ve never shown these before. I had 5 days to come up with ideas. I feverishly worked that week and came up with one resolved design per day. The parameters I was given were to focus on Michael’s eyes, show the earth in peril, and include kids and animals. I was instructed the image could be scary, but should still be fun. This was the most exciting project of my life up to that point.

 

Source: Instagram & MJWN

‘Thriller’ In Billboard Top 20
8th November 2021

Michael horror classic ‘Thriller’ single has returned to the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA at No. 19, marking its highest placement since its original chart run in 1984!!

It originally peaked at No. 4, but it re-entered the chart in 2021 with nearly 13 million streams, 8.2 million radio airplay audience impressions and 6,300 downloads sold in the Oct. 29-Nov. 4 tracking week.

The title track of Michael’s 1982 album was produced by Quincy Jones and written by Rod Temperton. It helped propel the album to become the biggest selling album of all time, while cranking out the scary song year after year to be a Halloween staple. The famous John Landis directed short film was inducted into the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry.

This also means that Michael has had a presence in the Billboard top 20 in the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, ’10s and ’20s. If you include his lead in Jackson 5 then he also hit the top 20 in the ’60s thanks to their debut hit ‘I Want You Back.’ Michael is the only artist with top 10 Billboard hits in five distinct decades as a soloist (’70s-’10s).

Source: Billboard & MJWN

25th Anniversary screening of GHOSTS
22nd October 2021

MJ DAY 30 will now take place on the 30th April 2022, but there will still be some Halloween celebrations this year as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary screening of GHOSTS on 30th October 2021, between 7pm – 10pm at The Vue Cinema, Leicester Square, London.

The screening will also feature an online live Q&A with the movie’s co-writer, Mick Garris. After the film they’ll be a private reception where you can enjoy some MJ classics over a drink or two!

All current MJ DAY 30 event ticket holders can attend – just RSVP to info@mjday30.com with your ticket number and name, ASAP.

If you don’t yet have an MJ DAY 30 ticket, and wish go to the screening or the party, please visit www.mjday30.com for full ticket details!

Source: MJWN

Glen Ballard Remembers Michael
5th October 2021

Michael’s long time collaborator Glen Ballard who perhaps most famously co-wrote ‘Man in the Mirror’ has shared his studio memories of the King of Pop.

His first encounter with Michael was writing a song for the ‘Thriller’, that ultimately never made the final cut. However in 1987, with Siedah Garrett he wrote the number one mega hit ‘Man in the Mirror,’ which Michael released on his ‘Bad’ album and has gone on to be one of his most iconic songs.

On the recording of MITM, Ballard said;

“It’s one of the great weeks of my life to have Michael and the choir and we all felt something special was happening on that record…Michael was so generous with his time and with his patience…He was just a sweet presence always and always encouraging.”

Four years later he penned ‘Keep the Faith,’ also with Garrett for Michael’s 1991 ‘Dangerous’ album. On the writing process he said;

“We wrote a song called Keep The Faith and I sat at the piano and Siedah Garrett was there with me and Michael. We spent half the time laughing and having fun and just trying to find the easy end for the song. It was never like a gun to your head, it was just fun. That’s the Quincy Jones way. We’ve got to have fun while we’ll working.”

Source: Express & MJWN

Walter Yetnikoff Passes Away
10th August 2021

Walter Yetnikoff, who led CBS Records during the boom years of Michael’s ‘Thriller’ album, has died of cancer, aged 87.

In one of his first acts as president of CBS Epic, Yetnikoff signed the Jacksons, snatching them from Motown Records. Initially he wasn’t overly impressed with their self-titled first album in 1976, however he started to have a close relationship with Michael, and supported him in expanding into solo work.

At the 1984 Grammy Awards, Michael brought Walter Yetnikoff on stage, calling him “the best president of any record company.”

“That’s unheard-of,” Mr. Yetnikoff bragged afterward, “You don’t bring record executives up at the Grammys, ’cause no one’s interested. I went back to CBS and said, ‘Give me another $2 million for that!’”

Source: New York Times & MJWN

New Adrian Grant Interview
6th July 2021

Adrian Grant, author of ‘Michael Jackson: The Visual Documentary,’ was recently interviewed by Brice Najar for his website. Adrian is also the founder of MJWN, and has been involved in the fan club world since setting up Michael’s very first fan club in the late 1980’s. He’s also the brains behind ‘Thriller Live,’ as well as the Annual MJ Day; a public celebration of Michael that was held over many years in London, including one that Michael personally attended in 2001.

Adrian will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Annual MJ Day, with a Michael Jackson Halloween party at Madame Tussauds, London on the 30th October. For more details sign up at www.mjday30.com.

Read the complete interview between Adrian and Brice below:

First, can you tell us how you became a Michael Jackson fan, and share your oldest memories of that era?

My dad was a big music fan, mainly soul and lovers rock (reggae). His pride and joy were his HiFi system, speakers and record collection. They did sound great, and from a young age I enjoyed listening to the various artist he played such as Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Maze, Odyssey, Diana Ross and Earth, Wind & Fire. However, I strongly remember when I first heard the Jacksons on the radio. The song was ‘Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)’. I would have been about 9-years old, and I just loved their energy and sound.

That said it wasn’t until the first time I saw Michael moonwalk during the Motown 25th Anniversary TV special that I really became a huge fan. His whole performance was electric and on point, and it turned Michael from a superstar into a megastar overnight.

The ‘Thriller’ album had been released several months earlier, and I remember my school friend Helen raving about it. She lent me the cassette she had bought (yes, there were no downloads or internet back then, lol). I took it home and played it on my boombox, and was blown away by the first track, ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’. Wow, the vocals, the lyrics, the beat. Actually, to this day it’s still one of my favourite Michael tracks.

Then came the ‘Thriller’ short film itself! It was shown on a programme called ‘The Tube’ which aired on Channel 4, hosted by Jools Holland and Paula Yates. They had a late-night premiere (1am!) and I, like most of the nation, stayed up to watch. The public were mesmerised. Firstly, we had never seen a music video so grand, but also the choreography, the special effects and the way Michael looked in that red leather jacket was perfect. Everything was just off the scale.

I was now a big fan of Michael, so it was great whenever he was mentioned in magazines or newspapers. He was a trailblazer during the 80s and many other pop and RnB acts followed his lead. So, it was with bated breath that I waited for his next album, ‘BAD’, to be released. I recall some months or weeks before seeing a track listing published in Number One magazine and thinking what the meaning behind each song was, or what the video may be like. As fans we already knew about ‘Another Part Of Me’, as it was from the Disney film, ‘Captain Eo’. But song titles such as ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ really set the imagination alight.

When the ‘BAD’ video premiered it was another must-watch TV event. Michael had been somewhat away from the media eye prior to its release, so when the public first saw his new look, it was an OMG moment! The hair, the boots and buckles. This was a new, sharp grown-up Michael Jackson, who really was bad, in a good way!

The following day, 1st September 1987, the ‘BAD’ album was released in the UK (it had been released on the 31st August elsewhere around the world, but that was a bank holiday in England. Tuesday morning couldn’t come quick enough as I scuttled into town, and bought a vinyl copy of the album from Our Price Records. On the bus ride home, I felt like Charlie Bucket with his winning golden ticket. I studied every word on the album, from the cover to inner sleeve. Taking in the names of all the musicians, writers and Michael’s messages of thanks to those who had made the album possible. Back in the day those liner notes were as a much a part of an album release than the music itself!

When I got back home, I put the record on my dad’s beloved turntable, cranked up the volume and let the music burst out of those glorious huge speakers! At the time, ‘Another Part of Me’ and ‘Liberian Girl’ were amongst my favourite tracks, but it was ‘Man In The Mirror’ that got rotated most. “Make that change!”

The 80s were a magical time for music full-stop. We had the likes of Madonna, Freddie Mercury and George Michael at their peak. But there will never be another Michael Jackson. The music industry has changed and is far more instant now than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. Michael had grown up during the Motown era, and worked hard with his brothers touring and perfecting their craft. Furthermore, he had learnt from greats such as Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson and James Brown. He once said, “Believe in yourself. Study the greats. And become greater.” And that he did!

You may find an individual who can sing better, or dance better – but what made Michael the King of Pop was that he did everything, and he did it so very well and with his own style. Look at some of the hits he wrote such as ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Remember The Time’, ‘Earth Song’ and ‘Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough’ – pure pop classics. As a singer he had an incredible 4-octave range, and as a dancer he created breakthrough videos such as ‘Beat It’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’.

I sometimes think he was underrated as an artist, because people focused more on his lifestyle and the hype around him, than the actual quality of his music and performances.


How did you get the idea to do something for the Jackson community of fans and create the ‘Off The Wall’ magazine in 1988 when you were only 19 years old?

After completing a Business Studies diploma at college, I had been discussing with a friend the idea of starting our own company. We looked at various ventures from window cleaning to selling fresh orange juice! Fortunately those ideas came to nothing, and we both jumped into what I would call, ‘safe’ career choices – James working in Insurance whilst I went on to work as an Accounts Assistant for a computer company. But after several months I was finding the job boring. What I really wanted to do was to work in entertainment and media producing content. So, I applied for many different jobs at various record companies, radio stations and TV channels. However, rejection letter upon rejection letter fell on my doorstep.

Then one day I was in Tower Records browsing through a fanzine called ‘Controversy’ for the artist Prince, whom I was also a fan of, and had a light-bulb moment. I thought if Prince has a magazine why doesn’t Michael Jackson? Fortune favoured the brave, and I wrote to CBS/Epic Records to see if it they had a problem with me starting a Michael Jackson fanzine in England. They said it would be fine. I then wrote out a business plan and applied for a Grant from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust. I received £1,500 which allowed to me purchase a computer, some desktop publishing software and print 200-copies of the fanzine. The first issue of ‘Off The Wall’ magazine was published on the 1st July 1988, just two-weeks before Michael’s record-breaking concerts at Wembley Stadium on his ‘BAD’ world tour.


How did you manage to write articles and get photos at the beginning of the adventure? And how did the magazine evolve and keep growing in the course of its existence?

As we had no social media in the 80s, teenagers tended to make friendships by having pen pals. I had met Denise Pfeiffer this way, who was probably one of the biggest Michael Jackson fans in the country. She was also a good writer and helped with a lot of content in the early years. I also acquired content from some American fans who became regular contributors including Gayle Stever, who at the time was writing a thesis on fan behaviour for her master’s degree in counselling at Arizona State University.

Then there were other more mysterious writers including Mr Tibbs and Benny Cool, who were actually just figments of my imagination to make my editorial team look bigger than it actually was.

The first few issues of the magazine were quite frankly not very good. It was very much trial and error, as I had never produced a magazine before and there were many mistakes. But it was raw, real and passionate and the fans were loving it, as they had no other dedicated source of Michael Jackson news.

For the second issue I managed to get some distribution in Tower Records and Virgin Megastore and circulation quickly rose from 200, to 500, to 700 and kept growing.

For pictures I had to go to a photo agency in London and spend hours trawling through their files to get one decent photo of Michael for use in the magazine. Others were supplied either by Sony Records, and later by MJJ Productions.

Eventually the magazine peaked with a distribution of over 25,000 copies and readers in 47 different countries!

Do you know how Michael Jackson first heard about your magazine? How did it feel to know that your idol took your work into consideration?

The magazine was published every three months and I used to send it over to Michael’s President of Communications, Bob Jones. He was very supportive of my work and passed the magazine onto Michael, telling me that he really liked the publication and all the fans’ comments. I was blown away to think that Michael was actually reading my magazine, and that made me even more determined to improve its quality.

It soon went from being printed in black and white to colour, and I think by the seventh or eighth issue I had obtained national distribution in shops like WH Smith, and even into Rita Fairclough’s corner store in Coronation Street (a popular British soap).

As the magazine became more popular it attracted more and more writers. Chris Cadman was a very important contributor at the time, as was John Powner. Later on Gloria Haydock became the editor of the magazine and was meticulous with her proof reading which really helped!

The team continued to grow and I’m glad to still be in touch with some of them including Jayne Ross, who now runs the Michael Jackson World Network, something that had grown from the endeavours of the magazine.


A crucial moment in your relationship with Michael Jackson was the trip you made to Los Angeles in March 1990 when you presented him with the ‘Off The Wall Appreciation Award’. How did you get the idea to have a montage made by painter Vincent McKoy to give to Michael?

I can’t remember the exact origins, but I recall wanting to present Michael with an appreciation award from the readers of the magazine. I believe it may have been Chris Cadman that suggested a painting, so I did some research and came across Vincent McKoy, who had been putting together some incredible oil paintings of famous personalities.

I told him I would like a montage of Michael Jackson images from the past 20-years (1969-1989), gave him some references and told him he only had two-months to complete the painting. I think he did it in 6-weeks and had sent me a photograph of the finished canvas, cheekily asking ‘if this would do?’. It was incredible!


Can you tell us about your meeting with Michael for the first time? Did you already know that you would be allowed in the studio and experience those fabulous moments?

In March 1990 I flew over to Los Angeles after Bob Jones had set up a meeting for me to present the ‘Appreciation Award’ to Michael at Record One Studios where he was recording his new album, ‘Dangerous’.

Just getting the 6 x 3 foot painting to the studio in one piece was a mission. Firstly, when it was unloaded off the plane from cargo at LAX, I noticed a hole in the packaging and feared it may have gone through the canvas. Then I was interrogated by security for what felt like an hour, as to its contents and did I know there had been a recent oil painting heist. And then my taxi driver decided to pursue a hit and run he had witnessed instead of taking me straight to my hotel. Welcome to America!

The following day I made my way to the recording studio and was surprised by its surroundings. It really was a non-descript neighbourhood, and not one where you may have thought the world’s biggest star was at home recording the follow up to two of the best-selling albums of all time!

Still I was fairly relaxed and didn’t know what to expect of the day. I first met photographer Sam Emerson, who helped me place the picture above a fireplace in a lounge room next to the recording studio. Bob Jones was also there, but it was Sam who was doing most of the talking and telling me some interesting stories about some of the famous people he had worked with.

We then waited, and waited some more (or so it felt), and then I heard a beautiful voice singing acapella. It was Michael, adlibbing a tune. He walked into the room, and I swear it felt like the moment he walked into Club 30 from the ‘Smooth Criminal’ video. Everything around me just disappeared, and all I could see was Michael Jackson in glorious technicolour right in front of me! Still, I kept it together. Although Michael looked fabulous, and he was the world’s biggest most famous celebrity, whom I had dedicated a complete magazine to and my whole career. Yes, he was that man, the reason why. And his first glance, was not towards me, but the incredible 6 x 3 foot oil painting that was hanging on the wall. Oh no, he’s going to ignore me I thought. But he didn’t, he stretched out his hand, as Bob Jones introduced me. I can’t remember the first words that I or Michael spoke, but I did feel instantly at ease in his presence.

I presented Michael with the painting, told him the story behind it, and Sam busily took photographs of us both grinning from ear to ear. I then asked if Michael would give Vincent a call, and this he did – to thank him for his beautiful artwork. It must have been early morning when Vincent received the call, but he was certainly wide awake as he spoke to Michael, although a little shocked!

From there on the day just got better and better. I asked Michael if he would pose for a picture for the cover of ‘Off The Wall’ magazine, and this he did, much to Bob Jones surprise who stated, “He’s not going to do that Adrian!”. Michael replied, “It’s ok, it’s for the magazine.” And that’s how Michael was, and our relationship. He really was the most giving person I have ever met, and he gave his time to me because he knew it was for the fans.

Michael then asked if I would like to hear a track from the new album, which I’m led to believe no one else had heard at them time. He played me ‘Men In Black’, which was funky and loud, but ultimately never made it onto the final track listing. I stood by his side nodding my head to the beat, as Michael sat at his mix desk pushing various buttons. We talked some more, and he read through some of the letters and messages the fans had sent me to bring along. Then Michael wrote a heartfelt note for the fans, which was published in the magazine.

And then time stood still again, when Michael asked me if I would like to come over to his ranch, Neverland, that coming weekend for lunch. Did I just hear correctly? Would I like to go to Neverland Valley for lunch with Michael Jackson on Saturday, when my flight home leaves on Friday? Ummm, yes, absolutely. Would love to, even if I have to walk home!

What memories do you hold of that first visit to Neverland?

Needless to say, visiting Neverland was the most memorable experience ever. It really was a fantasy land, filled with fun things to do and the most beautiful scenery everywhere you looked.

As I walked through the gates I saw two chimpanzees, Max and Alex, rolling around on the grass, giraffes, llamas, the funfair and classical music was echoing out from the flowerbeds. I said to the security guard who was escorting me up to the main house that this wasn’t reality, but he replied that it was reality for Michael Jackson, that this was what he woke up to every morning. And that was true. Michael had lived a life that pretty much since the age of 11, when he had his first number one with The Jackson Five, he was able to have almost anything that he wanted or had his every whim catered for. Fortunately, Michael chose to channel most of his desires towards something positive and getting to know him I saw how much he really did care for children – often opening the Neverland gates to the underprivileged or disabled. I feel this (his charitable work), along with four decades of great music is his greatest personal legacy.

For the rest of the visit Michael was very hospitable. He chatted a lot during lunch which was shared by a couple of other musicians who were working with him on the ‘Dangerous’ album. They talked a little about some of the songs, but in the main Michael was relaxed and jovial. I then had a tour of the grounds, which included an extended period of me playing on the arcade machines. Later as Michael showed me the movie theatre, we passed through a dance studio, and I asked if I could teach him any moves. The grin and on Michael’s face was a definite, thanks, but no thanks!

At the end of the day Michael said come back anytime and I did that just that, being fortunate enough to visit the ranch many more times in future years.


You met with Michael several times over the following years (backstage during tours or shootings of videos, and at ceremonies. Can you share a few anecdotes about those moments and your relationship with Michael that surely had evolved over the years?

There were many memorable moments I had with Michael, but I recall a trip to Budapest in 1994. Michael, along with Lisa Marie-Presley, was visiting children’s hospitals, handing out gifts and toys. I was fortunate to be the only ‘media’ allowed to accompany them into the hospitals, and I was delighted to help in giving the gifts to some of the sick children. However, the sceptical press suggested the trip (part of Michael’s ‘Heal The World’ campaign), was nothing more than a publicity stunt. What they didn’t report was the moving moment when Michael brought a smile to the face of a dying girl who had lain motionless and silent for weeks. Her mother, at her side in constant vigil, broke down in tears as her daughter reached out and touched Michael’s hand.

A few months later I was fortunate to spend some more time with Michael at the Hit Factory in New York where he was recording the ‘HIStory’ album. I was there for about three days. On one occasion Janet was there, along with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, presumably they had been working on ‘Scream’. The next day, Lisa Marie Presley was in the studio, and Michael treated us to a preview of the songs, ‘Stranger In Moscow’, and ‘Smile’. Both songs were incredible. Especially ‘Stranger In Moscow’, hearing it breathe around the acoustics of the state-of-the-art studio complete with a 96-channel mixing console. This indeed was history being made right there. Lisa and Michael were very relaxed and happy together.

I suggested to Michael that for ‘Smile’ he could appear in a video alongside actual footage of Charlie Chaplin, as Tom Hanks had done in the movie, ‘Forrest Gump’ with the likes of John F. Kennedy, John Lennon and Richard Nixon. Michael replied saying that’s exactly what he intended to do, but unfortunately a video was never made for the song.

The following day we were meant to do a photo shoot at the studio, but Michael didn’t feel up to it. This led to one of my most memorable conversations with Michael when just the two of us spoke for half an hour in his office about life in general, and my hair, lol. I think every time we met, I had done something different to it. Actually Michael felt bad about the postponed photo shoot, so he flew me to Chicago a few months later, and I got to take my favourite ever pictures with him, in which I sporting a very funky hair style, lol.

Looking back I feel very privileged that I got to know one of the greatest entertainers of all-time so well. He inspired me greatly to do the things I love, working in music, film and theatre. As a person he was always kind, giving and funny and as an artist he was a true genius.


You also published three books about Michael Jackson. How did you move on to that next step? How did Michael react to your work as a writer?

Being the editor and publisher of ‘Off The Wall’ gave me great access to Michael’s world and I was invited to cover many stories from concert tours to video shoots and more recording sessions. These were all so special and I believe in time Michael grew used to me being around and trusted me enough to have chats not just about his own work, but life around him.

The first book, ‘Live And Dangerous’, was published in 1992, and was really just a review of the ‘Dangerous’ concert. It was more of a magazine, but I was pleased I was able to capture the magic of that tour in a commemorative publication.

‘Making HIStory’ was very similar to ‘Live And Dangerous’, again more of an extended magazine, of which the focus was an interview I did with Michael in February 1998, talking about the making of the ‘HIStory’ album. However, it was originally intended to be much bigger book published back in 1996 to coincide with the ‘HIStory’ tour. Michael was going to contribute some drawings, poems and we were going to chat about the most memorable moments of his career, for which I had agreed a publishing deal. But Sony were looking for a more lucrative contract. In the end it never happened, and the rest as they say is history, lol.


The concept of your book ‘The Visual Documentary’ was obviously a very demanding work, describing Michael Jackson’s life day by day. How did the concept of that project emerge, including the numerous updates and new versions that followed? Were you nervous about the fact that Michael himself was expecting it?

‘Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary’, really was a labour of love and at the time was a book that I wanted to be the most concise chronology of Michael’s life ever published. To make that possible I had an amazing team of researchers including Chris Cadman, Lisa Campbell, Angelika Meisel and Gloria Haydock who spent months trailing through newspapers, reports and other books to make sure we had as many facts as possible. For later editions of the book Deborah Dannelley, Jayne Ross and Luigi Pedone would also be very important contributors.

I also spent about three weeks in LA going backwards and forwards to the beautiful offices of MJJ Productions on Sunset Boulevard, when at the time they had a massive vault of photographs that I was able to make a selection from. Again, Bob Jones was most supportive of my work, and transcripts of the book were sent to Michael in advance of it being finished for his approval.

I remember on one visit to Neverland, I saw a copy of the book in Michael’s lounge, and that made me really proud.


Organizing musical shows is also part of your work. How did you come up with the idea of ‘Thriller Live’ during the 2000s, while Michael was less to be seen in the musical news?

Michael was a big fan of the ‘Annual Michael Jackson Day’ that I used to produce once a year in London, first starting in 1991. He loved them so much that he used to send his own video crew to film them, as well as donating signed prizes for the raffle, and recording personal video messages for the fans.

Then on the 10th anniversary in 2001 Michael came to watch the event personally. Unlike previous MJ Days this was more of a complete show, a tribute concert that featured various singers and dancers, and after the performance, Michael came on stage (having watched from the wings in a tent to shield him from the fans) and said it was ‘Incredible and beautiful!’ He loved all the acts and seeing the young kids ‘impersonating’ the Jackson 5 and other renditions of the songs he had made famous.

That gave me the idea and belief that the annual celebration could become a touring show, not just for Michael’s fans – but for everybody to get a little taste of what Michael Jackson was like live on stage.

Shows like ‘We Will Rock You’ (Queen) and ‘Mamma Mia’ (Abba), went onto become massive hits, and both groups, like Michael were very theatrical. The Queen musical especially inspired me, and I had originally wanted to create a book musical that saw Michael’s songs woven into a fictitious story which I had written.

However, there were various obstacles in my way and I couldn’t get the grand rights for a book musical, plus Michael had to sadly face more trials and tribulations in court during 2005. But when he was rightly vindicated, I thought now is time people need to be reminded of his music and what a great artist he is. This led me to create the first ‘Thriller Live’ show in August 2006, then the following year I teamed up with Flying Music, an experienced theatrical and concert producer for more than 25 years and they took the show on a UK and European tour in 2007. Since then ‘Thriller Live’ has played in 34 different countries to almost 5 million people!

I am fortunate we have always had an amazing team of creatives, crew and performers working on the show from the company manager to sound engineers, video technicians, dressers and chaperones to everyone in the producer’s officer who take care of marketing, bookings and a multitude of other task.

Add to that the work of director and choreographer, Gary Lloyd and musical director, John Maher, whom are both meticulous in their efforts in putting the show together, as we all strive for a production that will make Michael’s fans happy.

Looking back, do you consider Thriller Live as a posthumous tribute, even though it was launched while Michael was still alive?

The show was always a celebration of Michael Jackson’s music, and its format has never changed from the time it was first produced in 2006 until now. It was created out of love and respect for Michael’s work, and that remains true today, so I wouldn’t call is a posthumous tribute. Every time I see the show, and hear and see our performers dancing and singing, it feels as fresh to me now as it did the first time. I can feel Michael’s energy all around the production, and whilst we cannot replicate his magic, we can certainly honour him with the best show possible and I am proud of what we have achieved over the past 15-years with ‘Thriller Live’.

As a conclusion, I would like to evoke your long-lasting relationship with Michael Jackson. How and why did it remain so strong over the years, in your opinion?

I was always honest with Michael, and I would like to think that I spoke with him like I would any other friend. Because of that he trusted me and allowed me access to his world – that is Michael Jackson the normal man at home, and Michael Jackson the megastar on stage.

But at the end of the day Michael opened his doors to me because I was a fan, like many others who he gave access to.

After Michael’s memorial in 2009, I went back to Havenhurst and spent some time with the family. I had met Katherine once before, but this time I was introduced as a writer who always spoke well of her son. Katherine replied, “Well what else could he write, Michael was only every good.”

And that Mrs. Jackson is very true. Michael was the best!

Source: Brice Najar, Adrian Grant & MJWN

Billie Jean’s 1 Billionth Video Stream
16th June 2021

Michael’s classic and arguably biggest hit ‘Billie Jean’ has crossed the 1 billion view mark on YouTube, marking the King of Pop’s first entry into the Billion Views Club.

The 1983 mega hit is the third music video from the 1980s to reach this milestone, following Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and a-ha’s ‘Take on Me.’

The song, taken from his 1982 ‘Thriller’ album, helped propel the album to become the biggest selling album of all time, and was a number one hit in many countries including the USA and UK. It won two Grammy Awards and became a staple performance of his live shows, during which you’d catch Michael slide backwards across the floor performing his iconic moonwalk.

Source: Billboard & MJWN

Michael Jackson ONE Returns!
16th June 2021

After nearly 18 months since it stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Jackson ONE is officially reopening in August at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas!

Tickets are available now. The first show date will be on August 19th. Also, Michael’s Estate has plans to celebrate both the relaunch of the show and Michael’s birthday on the weekend of August 28th and 29th!

If you want to attend the show with the Estate and its special guests, please make sure your secure tickets for Saturday night August 28th.

Source: MJ Online & MJWN

Kelsey Grammer Shares Michael Memory
16th June 2021

Frasier star Kelsey Grammer appears in a new film called ‘The Space Between’ with Michael’s daughter Paris Jackson. During the press tour for the movie he shared a story of when he once met her father, the King of Pop, and while he told it, it brought him to tears.

“I was checking into the Waldorf [Hotel] and there was Michael. He was recording something. It was just the sweetest moment…cos, you know…boy they went after him, took shots at him all the time. And I just thought how the hell do you handle that?”

The actor went on to say how during that encounter he met Paris for the first time;

“He stopped to say hello. We sort of shook hands and he had his little mask on, but then she said, ‘Daddy’…”

At this point Grammer, gets emotional and struggles to continue’

“And he uh….he just took her in his arms, and I said ‘oh hello little one’ and she was so lovely, it was so beautiful.”

Watch the video here of him recounting the story here:

Source: Extra TV & MJWN

We Be Ballin
14th May 2021

Update: Since posting this article, this track has since been removed from streaming services.

In 1998 Michael recorded a short chorus for a song entitled ‘We Be Ballin’. It was to be used in a remix of Ice Cube’s song ‘We Be Clubbin’, which also featured Shaquille O’Neal.

The remix was set to be released on an NBA compilation album and feature in commercials; however the project was shelved due to the player-initiated strike against the league.

For the past 20 years the track has been leaked online, however today a song with the same time has been released to streaming services using the same unreleased hook that Michael recorded. This version of ‘We Be Ballin’ doesn’t include Ice Cube, but is instead by Jethro Sheeran, a British music producer.

We’ve reached out to Michael’s Estate to learn more about this release.

Source: MJWN

MJ Musical Update
11th May 2021

Originally set to open last summer, but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic; ‘MJ The Musical’ will now have its preview curtain go up at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway in New York on December 6th 2021, ahead of an opening night on February 1st, 2022.

Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes will perform in the new musical, which was written by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph the show which will have Michael’s hit catalog throughout.

There will also be a special Pre-Sale window exclusively for Michael’s fans, so check out the official social media pages on Friday for full details.

Source: MJ Estate, Broadway.com & MJWN

Robson’s Case Dismissed Again!
26th April 2021

Today, a Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed Wade Robson’s case, which was against Michael and his Estate.

The Estate was represented by Jonathan Steinsapir and the late Howard Weitzman of the law firm

Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump LLP. Steinsapir issued the following statement;

“As of today, a summary judgement against Wade Robson has been granted three different times by two different judges of the Superior Court.

Wade Robson has spent the last eight years pursuing frivolous claims in different lawsuits against Michael Jackson’s estate and companies associated with it. Robson has taken nearly three dozen depositions and inspected and presented hundreds of thousands of documents trying to prove his claims, yet a Judge has once again ruled that Robson’s claims have no merit whatsoever, that no trial is necessary and that his latest case is dismissed.”

James Safechuck’s case was also previously dismissed by a court.

Source: Roger Friedman/showbiz411.com & MJWN

Neverland Statues Being Sold
21st April 2021

Twenty-eight of the statues that were in the grounds of Michael’s Neverland Ranch, are being sold via Noble Art Lovers, who are based in Dubai.

The private collector who owns the statues, is currently asking $2.5 million for them. They will not be sold off individually, but as a job lot.

Source: Allhiphop.com & MJWN

Howard Weitzman Has Died
7th April 2021

Howard Weitzman, who was an attorney for Michael Jackson, as died of cancer in Los Angeles, at the age of 81.

Weitzman was a founding partner in the law firm The Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump LLP. The firm issued a statement on Thursday morning saying; “Our beloved friend and partner Howard Weitzman passed away yesterday. A renowned trial lawyer and dealmaker, Howard skillfully handled some of the most famous cases in Hollywood. Howard’s wit, charm, and brilliant legal mind are legendary, and we will miss him dearly. We send our love and condolences to Howard’s wife Margaret, his sons Armen and Jed, and to his many clients, friends, and admirers. RIP Howard, you will always be a giant.”

Weitzman was also an attorney for other celebrities including Marlon Brando, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman.

Source: Deadline.com & MJWN

John Branca Interview With Billboard
24th February 2021

Billboard.com has published and interview with John Branca on Michael’s interest in owning publishing rights to songs.

John Branca says in the interview; “Michael is the person who was single-handedly most responsible for the growth of Sony/ATV. That’s not to take anything away from Martin Bandier (former chairman) who was very influential and instrumental in growing the company, or present chairman/CEO Jon Platt, with whom the company is in great hands. But it really started with Michael.”

Billboard asks when John Branca became aware of Michael’s interest in publishing?

“Michael and I started working together in 1980,” Mr Branca said. He was an innovator like Sam Cooke. When he hired me, he didn’t own his masters at the time. But ‘Thriller’ gave him the leverage and the platform for me to go to Sony and get him ownership of his masters. That was very important to him. Right after ‘Thriller’ came out, Michael said he wanted to buy copyrights. We bought the Sly and the Family Stone catalog and bought more wonderful copyrights later like ‘When a Man Loves a Woman,’ McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,’ and Jackie Wilson’s ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.’ Then when Michael bought ATV in 1985, that was part one of his dream, to create the biggest publishing company in the world. Then the merger with Sony in 1995 was the next step in the process. Michael was also on Sony/ATV’s board of directors, so he remained active in helping to build the company as it continued to buy important publishing catalogs.

Along the way, I represented Leiber and Stoller when they sold their catalog to Sony/ATV and also represented Berry Gordy in selling the Jobete song catalog to EMI Music Publishing. After Michael’s unfortunate passing, we were able to help Marty Bandier and Rob Wiesenthal (chief financial officer) buy EMI to create the biggest publisher in the world. When we did that, it was kind of a nod to Michael because that was his dream. He was always focused on that.

Billboard asks what Michael’s thought process was in determining which catalogs and copyrights to acquire?

“He appreciated great songs and great songwriting and in his mind the Beatles were the greatest. So when the Beatles catalog came up, my God, he couldn’t rest. It took almost a year to finish that deal and get that catalog, but I can’t tell you how excited he was.

During the interview they also ask if Mr Branca has a special memory about Michael’s publishing pursuits?

“I remember mentioning to him that growing up, I’d been a fan of Dion and the Belmonts and noted that Dion’s ‘Runaround Sue’ and ‘The Wanderer’ were for sale,” Mr Branca explains. “Michael said, “I don’t know those songs; send them over.” Michael would always spend Sundays dancing, so on Monday morning, he called me up: “Branca, Branca. I love the songs! We’ve got to get them. I danced all day to ‘Runaround Sue.’’’ Michael was passionate beyond belief.”

Read the full interview.

Source: Billboard & MJWN

Jacksons Albums – Expanded Release
30th January 2021

‘The Jacksons’, ‘Goin’ Places’ and ‘Destiny’ albums will be released digitally on February 12th with the addition of bonus tracks. ‘The Jacksons Live’ will also be released on March 25th.

‘The Jacksons’ album will contain some 7” and 12” mixes as well as a re-edit of ‘Living Together’ by Dimitri. ‘Goin’ Places’ features 7” mixes and ‘Destiny’ will also feature 7” mixes as with the addition of as disco mixes by John Luongo and a DJ Edit.

Here is a full list of the Bonus Tracks:

‘The Jacksons’
‘Enjoy Yourself’ – 7” Extended Version
‘Enjoy Yourself’ – 12” Version
‘Show You the Way to Go’ – 7” Version
‘Living Together’ – Dimitri From Paris Disco Re-Edit

‘Goin’ Places’
‘Goin’ Places’ – 7” Version
‘Find Me a Girl’ – 7” Version
‘Even Though You’re Gone’ – 7” Version

‘Destiny’
‘Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground’ – 7” Version
‘Destiny’ – 7” Version
‘Blame It On the Boogie’ – 12” Version John Luongo Disco Mix
‘Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)’ – 12” Version John Luongo Disco Mix
‘That’s What You Get (For Being Polite)’ – 12” Version
‘That’s What You Get (For Being Polite)’ – DJ Reverend P Edit

‘The Jacksons’ album was originally released in 1976, ‘Goin’ Places’ 1977, ‘Destiny’ was in 1978 and ‘The Jacksons Live’ album was released in 1981.

Source: RollingStone & MJWN

Kardashian Birthday Party
30th January 2021

Kim Kardashian West, who at one time was dating Tito’s son, T.J. Jackson, celebrated her 14th Birthday at Michael’s Neverland Ranch during the mid 1990s. She told ‘People’ magazine;

“When you drove up, there were baby elephants and chimpanzees in overalls, and they’re all the rides. It was everything you can possibly imagine. The memories I have from that place will last for the rest of my life!

I had my birthday at Neverland Ranch. Who else can say that? It was just me and my friends. It was something I’ll never forget.

That was the most magical place on earth.”

Source: People & MJWN

Michael Jackson Legacy
7th January 2021

Michael Jackson Legacy Organisation have contacted us to tell us about their new project – Everland Malawi. They are trying to raise enough money to build two classrooms and toilet block for children with special needs.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit:

Everland Malawi – funding NOW!

Source: michaeljacksonslegacy.org & MJWN

Pharrell Williams Wrote Songs For MJ
7th January 2021

In November, 2002 Justin Timberlake released his debut album ‘Justified’. Now Pharrell Williams has said that all the songs, apart from one, were written for Michael. “All but one song, they were all written for Michael,” he said.

He also added that Michael wasn’t interested in the tracks and was looking more for something closer in style to the N.O.R.E. collaboration Pharrell had in 1998.

Source: NME & MJWN

Neverland Valley Ranch Has Sold
24th December 2020

Michael’s Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, California has finally sold. The buyer, Ron Burkle, who is a billionaire and has been reported as once being an associate of Michael’s, is reported to have paid $22 million for the property.

The ranch was owned by the Michael Jackson Estate along with a fund managed by Colony Capital.

Michael paid around $19.5 million for the property back in 1987.

Source: Wall Street Journal & MJWN

Happy Holidays
21st December 2020

MJWN would like to wish ALL Michael’s fans, wherever you are, a very HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We also hope that you have a great and better New Year.

Thank you once again for your continued support. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys!

Please remember to stay safe and keep Michaeling!

Estate Wins Appeal
15th December 2020

The Michael Jackson Estate has won an appeal that will allow them to pursue arbitration against HBO, for breaking a non-disparagement clause with the airing of ‘Leaving Neverland’.

Michael’s Estate has previously sued HBO for $100 million saying the documentary breaks a confidentially clause they had with them.

HBO later appealed, but now a panel of three judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling by the lower court. The judges agreed that the lawsuit may be “frivolous” but have said that it needs to be decided now by an arbitrator. “The contract contained a broad arbitration clause that covers claims that HBO disparaged Jackson in violation of ongoing confidentiality obligations, “ the judges said. “We may only identify whether the parties agreed to arbitrate such claims. It is for the arbitrator to decide whether those claims are meritorious.”

This leaves HBO to appealing or taking the case to an arbitrator.

Source: NME & MJWN

“Blood On His Hands”
10th December 2020

Recently, BBC reporter Martin Bashir, has been in the news as Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has compiled a list of of deceitful things the journalist did to win Princess Diana’s trust in order to obtain an interview with her in 1995. This included the faking of two bank statements, which the BBC has since apologised for.

Bashir later convinced Michael to be interviewed in 2003, twisting the footage and causing the allegations that Michael was acquitted for in 2005. Now a lawyer who once represented Michael, Brain Oxman, has been interviewed by the Daily Mirror over Bashir’s interview with Michael.

Oxman said Bashir had Michael’s “Blood on his hands” and he wanted Michael “brought down” on television like Princess Diana. That he “induced” him into making admissions after praising his “parenting skills”. Unaired scenes have Bashir saying; “It almost makes me weep. Your interaction is just so natural, loving.” Oxman also said that Bashir was misrepresenting Michael and lying “over and over again” promising Michael that it would be a positive documentary.

Michael’s lawyers apparently tried to take Bashir to court over the misrepresentation, by he avoided cross examination by using a local law that protects journalists from divulging details of their unaired interactions. “Michael was fuming. Bashir had many questions to answer,” Oxman said and he added that Michael was “tormented Jackson until the day he passed”.

Source: Daily Mirror & MJWN

Toto’s Steve Lukather On Michael
7th December 2020

In an interview with Justin Beckner of ultimateguitar.com, Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather talks about what it was like in the studio with Michael Jackson working on ‘Thriller’.

Beckner: You’ve worked with so many great people. What was your first impression of Michael Jackson? What was that first meeting like?

Lukather: “I was a fan. I always thought he was a great singer and all that. At the time I had been doing all of Quincy’s stuff. It was after ‘Off the Wall’ and he told me he would like to have me on the next record so I said that would be killer, I’d love to be on the next record. So one of the first things we did was the duet with McCartney, so that was a hell of a way to start it all off. It was just a blast, being in a room with these guys. They were the biggest stars in the world. Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, George Martin, Jeff Emrick, all of us, it was just a trip. That was a ‘pinch me’ moment. It was like, ‘How did I get here?’. But Michael was always really cool to me. Michael was cool, man, he was a pro. He knew what he wanted and I guess he loved what we did. He kept hiring us.”

Beckner: Is it true that the original riff for ‘Beat It’ was deemed too heavy?

Lukather: “Yeah, that’s true. I did it knowing that Eddie (Van Halen) was already on it. So I figured if he’s going to do something with Eddie, let’s rock ‘n’ roll it up. So, I quadrupled the riff with some Marshalls and stuff like that and sent it over to him. I played all the guitar parts and all the bass parts. He said, ‘It’s too much. The guitars are too heavy. You’ve got to use one of you little Fender amps or something.’ So I went in with my little Fender Deluxe and that calmed it down a little bit.
They didn’t really crank it in the mix. Then I went over and overdubbed and came up with some of the other rhythm parts that are on the record with Michael and Quincy in the room. The other stuff was just me and Jeff (Porcaro) trying to make everything work because someone in Eddie’s camp cut the 2-inch tape and screwed up the SMPTE Code so it wouldn’t sync back up. So we had to make a new version to the old version that didn’t have a click track or anything. Jeff Porcaro, the genius that he was, kind of put that whole click thing together and we were able to remake the record.”

Source: ultimateguitar.com & MJWN

Bruce Swedien Has Died
17th November 2020

Music Producer and Audio Engineer Bruce Swedien has died at the age of eighty-six.

Fifteen time Grammy winner Swedien, has worked with many people in the entertainment industry including Mick Jagger, Nat King Cole and Jackie Wilson, but is also known for his work with Michael and was the engineer on his ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Dangerous’ albums.

In recent years, he was running master-classes via his web site and he also wrote books on recording music.

Source: MJWN

Michael’s Again The Highest Paid Dead Celebrity
13th November 2020

Even though the last 18 months has been rougher than those that came before for Michael’s name, it’s clear that regardless how the media want to portray him, and however much HBO and all involved try to soil his legacy, he remains the King of Pop and is beloved by millions all over the world.

Year after year since his passing 11 years ago Michael has hit the top spot in Forbes ‘Highest Paid Dead Celebrities’ more times than not, and 2020 is no different. Over the last year Michael’s Estate earned $48m!

Trailing him at number two and three is Dr. Seuss ($33m) and Charles Schulz ($32.5m). Other notable names in the top 10 are Elvis Presley ($23m), Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this year ($20m), and Prince ($10m).

Source: Forbes & MJWN

Ghosts Coming To YouTube
26th October 2020

If any season belongs to Michael Jackson, it’s Halloween. From ‘Thriller’ to ‘Is It Scary’ to ‘Threatened,’ Michael loved this season and created multiple songs around the spooky time. Even since his passing, we’ve had the ‘Scream’ album released alongside the ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’ cartoon special which aired in 2017 and 2018 on CBS.

One of Michael’s greatest masterpieces came in 1996, when he previewed his 39 minute short film ‘Ghosts.’ It was co-written with horror legend Stephen King, and directed by special effects guru Stan Winston. Michael performs songs from the ‘HIStory’ and ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ albums as he dances and electrifies the audience, portraying multiple characters including the main lead (the Maestro) and the towns Mayor. The film was released the following year as part of an exclusive Box Set, which included the VHS, booklet, and CD single ‘On The Line.’

As it’s Halloween seasons, Michael’s Estate will be releasing the full-length version of the film on YouTube for the first time, this Thursday, October 29th and it will remain up until Sunday, November 1st. It’s not yet been disclosed whether it will be in standard or high definition. The Estate said back in 2017 that it was looking to remaster Ghosts into 4K, as they did with ‘Thriller,’ but we’ll have to wait and see.

Source: MJ Online & MJWN

Judge Dismisses Safechuck’s Lawsuit
22nd October 2020

An American judge has again dismissed the lawsuit that Jimmy Safechuck has brought against two of Michael Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. Safechuck claims that these two companies of Michael’s, allowed him to be abused when he was ten years old.

The judge has now dismissed the case saying that neither company had a duty of care for Safechuck.

Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir who were representing MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, told the BBC:

“We are pleased that the court agreed that Mr Safechuck had no grounds to pursue his lawsuit.”

Source: BBC & MJWN

NTV Japan – Michael Laughing
19th October 2020

One of the things that gives Michael’s fans such joy, is watching videos of his glorious big smile light up a room and hearing his infectious laugh. Over the years, while there’s many clips that come to mind, there’s perhaps none as funny or beloved as watching Michael constantly break down in giggles during his December 1996 NTV Japan interview, during promotion for his ‘HIStory’ World Tour.

For years you’ve been able to go to YouTube and watch a fuzzy and grainy version of the interview; but now the HD version of the 24 year old video has surfaced online, which means we can now sit back and watch that big loving smile once again shine light into our lives.

Source: MJWN

Michael Art Items Up For Auction
13th October 2020

Forty-eight bronze sculptures that Michael Jackson once owned, are among items that will be auctioned by the end of the month at Guernsey’s Auction House in New York. Included in the sale, are a Peter Pan bronze themed sculpture which is expected to fetch between $30,000 and $40,000 and a pirate ship with the same estimate, which was given to him by Dame Elizabeth Taylor.

The sale also includes some Jackson 5 items with first pressings of their singles and their first recording contract. There are eighty items in total.

The sale is due to end on October 23rd.

Source: Artnet news & MJWN

New Michael Jackson Figurines
7th October 2020

Michael’s Estate and Pure Arts, a company which is based in China, have been working together on some new Michael Jackson figurines. Here is the official release from MJ Online.

“The Estate has been working with a company based in China, Pure Arts, which manufactures and distributes collectible figures for a variety of different brands and will now be creating a wide range of collectible Michael Jackson figurines to appeal to all levels of collectors. The Estate wanted to make sure MJ Fans knew before anyone else about the new products that will be coming.

The Estate also wanted to make sure that fans know that the roll out of the products will start with one large high-end limited edition piece being previewed at ‘Wonderfest’ in Shanghai which starts October 3rd. While this piece is quite expensive, fans can be assured that subsequent releases will include options with much more affordable prices as well.”

Some photos have already become available online showing a Smooth Criminal figurine, with an optional jukebox. The figurine has already been seen on display Shanghai.

Source: MJ Online & MJWN

Eddie Van Halen Dies
6th October 2020

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who was part of the rock band Van Halen and played on Michael Jackson’s song ‘Beat It’, has died of cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 45.

In a interview with CNN back in 2012, Eddie Van Halen discussed working with Michael.

“I said to myself, ‘Who is going to know that I played on this kid’s record, right? Nobody’s going to find out.’ Wrong!” He said. “Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year.”

“When Quincy rang you up, you thought it was a crank call,” CNN ask.  I went off on him. I went, “What do you want?” And he goes, “Is this Eddie?” I said, “Yeah, what the hell do you want?” “This is Quincy.” I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t know anyone named Quincy.” He goes, “Quincy Jones, man.” I went, “Ohhh, sorry!” I asked, “What can I do for you?” And he said, “How would you like to come down and play on Michael Jackson’s new record?” And I’m thinking to myself, “OK, ‘ABC, 1, 2, 3′ and me. How’s that going to work?” I still wasn’t 100% sure it was him. I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll meet you at your studio tomorrow.” And lo and behold, when I get there, there’s Quincy, there’s Michael Jackson and there’s engineers. They’re makin’ records!

Michael left to go across the hall to do some children’s speaking record. I think it was ‘E.T.’ or something. So I asked Quincy, “What do you want me to do?” And he goes, “Whatever you want to do.” And I go, “Be careful when you say that. If you know anything about me, be careful when you say, “Do anything you want!” I listened to the song and I immediately go, “Can I change some parts?” I turned to the engineer and I go, “OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out.” Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it. I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in. And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We’re all a little bit strange. I didn’t know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, “Look, I changed the middle section of your song.” Now in my mind, he’s either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he’s going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, “Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better.” He was this musical genius with this childlike innocence. He was such a professional, and such a sweetheart.

I have a lot of respect for Michael. He’s going to be sorely missed. I’d be curious as to what he’d be doing right now.

It would have been fun to work with him again.”

Source: CNN & MJWN

Orianthi Interview
5th October 2020

In a new interview with Ultimate Guitar’s Justin Becknet, guitarist Orianthi speaks about working with Michael Jackson.

During the interview Beckner asks Orianthi about the MJ guitar that had been made especially for the ‘This Is It’ shows.

“That was actually designed with Michael Jackson and his clothing designer,” she explains. “It was my guitar originally. It was just a blue Custom 24. We literally just created that guitar over the span of a month or so for the tour. That guitar was actually bought from me by a big Michael Jackson fan in China who wanted to display it. It was in a storage unit, in a vault, it was pretty much kept in the dark because I didn’t want to play it and lose crystals. I’d rather have it displayed somewhere for people to see than locked up in the dark somewhere.”

Orianthi’s then asked what Michael had planned for the ‘This Is It’ shows and if there were any surprises. “There were a lot of surprises,” she says. “Obviously, we had to sign non-disclosure agreements and I don’t know if they still stand or if I can talk about everything freely these days, but there were a lot of things that were going to be pretty epic. It was going to be one of the greatest shows on Earth! That’s for sure.” She then goes on to explain how she became chosen to work with Michael. “It was actually through MySpace. I was in the studio working with Diane Warren and I was putting some vocals down and I got an email through Myspace from Michael Bearden saying Michael saw me on the Grammys with Carrie Underwood and my YouTube videos and that I was exactly what they were looking for. He said in the email that he was going to call me that night with Michael. So they called me that evening and asked me if I’d learn ‘Dirty Diana’ and ‘Beat It’ and play it for them the next day because they were going to be starting something. So I did it and I didn’t know what to expect. They hired us all on the spot and we started working. It was pretty surreal.”

When asked what she learned from Michael, Orianthi explained; “I learned so much. I can’t even really, there was so much I learned from him. It was truly an honour and I’m so grateful to have had that time with him because he pushed everyone to be better. He would tell us to step into our light and reach higher. He would tell me to reach my highest note, keep pushing, and be the best performer you can be. He was so precise about everything, from the dancing to the sounds. He had this photographic memory for every part of every one of his songs. It was pretty incredible working with him like that.”

Orianthi is releasing a new album on November 6 simply called ‘O’.

Read the full interview.

Source: UltimateGuitar.com & MJWN

Michael Crowned Icon Of 2020
1st September 2020

In the UK, Smooth Radio listeners and readers of their web site have been voting for their best artist of all time and not surprisingly, Michael Jackson has come out on top and been crowned the Smooth Icon of 2020.

There were over 43,000 votes cast in the poll.

This is only the second time the station has run the poll. George Michael was last years winner, but this year he came second followed by Queen, Whitney Houston and then ABBA.

Source: Smooth Radio & MJWN

Chinese Fans Erect Statues
1st September 2020

Michael Jackson’s Chinese Fan Club have erected large statues of Michael including one at a Beijing business centre, in celebration of his 62nd Birthday.

The ceremony in Beijing was attended by fans of all ages who were dancing to Michael’s music. The chairman of the Fan Club made a speech and then the 1.8 metre ‘HIStory’ statue was then revealed by six of Michael’s fans.

Money for the statues was raised through crowd funding by Michael’s fans in China. They were made using 3D printing technology.

Along with Beijing, there were four other statues revealed at the same time including in Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province and Nanning, capital of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Previously, the fan club has revealed statues of Michael in Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province and Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province.

Source: Global Times & MJWN

Broadway Cast Celebrate Birthday
29th August 2020

The cast of the new Broadway show, ‘MJ The Musical’, have released a tribute video on YouTube celebrating Michael Jackson’s 62nd Birthday.

‘MJ The Musical’ is due to start in Spring next year with previews beginning on March 8th. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the show, please visit mjthemusical.com

Source: MJWN

‘They Don’t Care About Us’ 2020
29th August 2020

Today, on what would have been Michael’s 62nd birthday, director Spike Lee released a new video for Michael’s classic song ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ (TDCAU).

The new video brings together the two versions of the song Michael originally shot; the Brazilian version and Prison version. It also inserts new footage from the protests that have happened around the world this year in support of Black Lives Matter.

The original two videos were shot in 1996, when Michael decided TDCAU should be the fifth single released from his 1995 album ‘HIStory’. While shooting in Brazil, Michael was surrounded by crowds of residents as he danced and sang in the street. They danced on the rooftops and from the balconies of their homes. Some women even managed to push through security to hug Michael, at one point accidentally pushing him over. Spike Lee helped Michael get up, while the King of Pop continued to sing and dance. The footage made it into the final cut. Michale’s filming in that part of Brazil is credited as now being partially responsible for the improvement and wealth in the local area.

The new 2020 video is an extension of the song being regularly being played and spoken about this year due to the Black Lives Matter movement gaining much more attention after a number of police shootings of black people. Lee debuted the video in the live stream of his annual BK loves MJ block party, which was this year streamed virtually on YouTube.

Source: YouTube & MJWN

‘Another One Bites The Dust’
20th August 2020

Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this week. In an interview with Queen’s bassist, John Deacon, which has resurfaced this week, he claims Michael influenced its release.

“Michael Jackson actually suggested we release it as a single. He was a fan of ours and used to come to our shows,” Deacon said.

Freddie Mercury is also reported as saying about the song;

“Credit for the song should go to Michael Jackson in many ways. He was a fan and friend of ours and kept telling me, ‘Freddie, you need a song the cats can dance to.’ John introduced this riff to us during rehearsal that we all immediately thought of disco, which was very popular at the time. We worked it out and once it was ready, played it for Michael. I knew we had a hit as he bobbed his head up and down.”

“That’s it, that’s the gravy,” Michael said. “Release it and it will top the charts.”
Mercury added: “So we did and it did.”

The song charted at Number 1 and was also Queen’s best selling single with over 7 million units sold.

Source: Express & MJWN

Michael’s Estate Updates FAQ
19th August 2020

Michael’s Estate has updated their frequently asked questions page on the official michaeljackson.com website. The page address fifteen regular questions they receive from fans all around the world. Below are the questions you can find answers to on the FAQ page.

  1. Why doesn’t the Estate release more projects?
  2. Why doesn’t the Estate release all the songs that the fans have leaked?
  3. Why isn’t there a permanent Michael Jackson Channel on Sirius XM?
  4. Why isn’t there a HIStory 25 release? Or a HIStory concert film?
  5. Why doesn’t the Michael Jackson Estate do all of the things that other estates do?
  6. Will the Estate upgrade Michael’s short films to 4k?
  7. Why hasn’t the Estate made a documentary proclaiming Michael’s innocence?
  8. Why isn’t Neverland open to the public?
  9. Why is the Estate selling Neverland and not keeping it for Michael’s children?
  10. Is there going to be a permanent Michael Jackson museum?
  11. Why don’t you release everything in the vault?
  12. What inspired Scream and Michael Jackson’s Halloween?
  13. Do you ever read fan critiques of the Estate’s projects? How do you feel about the fans’ commenting on the Estate projects?
  14. Why doesn’t the Estate do more to stop the TV programs and films being made about Michael?
  15. Will there ever be a soundtrack released to Michael Jackson ONE?

Source: michaeljackson.com & MJWN

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