Life and career II : of Michael jackson

1988–90: Autobiography, changing appearance, and Neverland

In 1988, Jackson released his first autobiography, Moon Walk, which took four years to complete and sold 200,000 copies. Jackson wrote about his childhood, The Jackson 5, and the abuse he had suffered. He also spoke of his plastic surgery, saying he had had two rhinoplastic surgeries and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin. He attributed much of the change in the structure of his face to puberty, weight loss, a strict vegetarian diet, a change in hair style, and stage lighting. Moon Walk reached the top position on The New York Times best sellers’ list.The musician then released a film called Moonwalker, which featured live footage and music videos that starred Jackson and Joe Pesci. Moonwalker debuted atop the Billboard Top Music Video Cassette chart, staying there for 22 weeks. It was eventually knocked off the top spot by Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues.

In March 1988, Jackson purchased land near Santa Ynez, California to build Neverland Ranch at a cost of $17 million. He installed Ferris wheels, a menagerie, and a movie theater on the 2,700-acre (11 km2) property. A security staff of 40 patrolled the grounds. In 2003, it was valued at approximately $100 million.[9][58] In 1989, his annual earnings from album sales, endorsements, and concerts was estimated at $125 million for that year alone.[59] Shortly afterwards, he became the first Westerner to appear in a television ad in the Soviet Union.[57]

His success resulted in his being dubbed the “King of Pop“, a nickname conceived by Elizabeth Taylor when she presented him with an “Artist of the Decade” award in 1989, proclaiming him “the true king of pop, rock and soul.” President George H. W. Bush presented him with The White House’s special “Artist of the Decade.”  From 1985 to 1990, he donated $500,000 to the United Negro College Fund, and all of the profits from his single “Man in the Mirror” went to charity. Jackson’s live rendition of “You Were There” at Sammy Davis Jr.’s 60th birthday celebration received an Emmy nomination.

1991–93: Dangerous and Super Bowl XXVII

In March 1991, Jackson renewed his contract with Sony for $65 million, a record-breaking deal at the time, displacing Neil Diamond‘s renewal contract with Columbia Records.  Jackson released his eighth album Dangerous in 1991. As of 2008, Dangerous had shipped seven million copies in the U.S. and had sold 32 million copies worldwide; it is the most successful new jack swing album of all time.  In the United States, the album’s first single “Black or White” was its biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide.  The album’s second single “Remember the Time” spent eight weeks in the top five in the United States, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In 1993, Jackson performed the song at the Soul Train Awards in a chair, saying he had suffered an injury in rehearsals. In the UK and other parts of Europe, “Heal the World” was the biggest hit from the album; it sold 450,000 copies in the UK and spent five weeks at number two in 1992.

Jackson founded the “Heal the World Foundation” in 1992. The charity organization brought underprivileged children to Jackson’s ranch to enjoy theme park rides that Jackson had built on the property. The foundation also sent millions of dollars around the globe to help children threatened by war and disease. The Dangerous World Tour began on June 27, 1992, and finished on November 11, 1993. Jackson performed to 3.5 million people in 67 concerts. All profits from the concerts went to the “Heal the World Foundation”, raising millions of dollars in relief.He sold the broadcast rights to his Dangerous world tour to HBO for $20 million, a record-breaking deal that still stands. Following the illness and death of Ryan White, Jackson helped draw public attention to HIV/AIDS, something that was still controversial at the time. He publicly pleaded with the Clinton Administration at Bill Clinton‘s Inaugural Gala to give more money to HIV/AIDS charities and research.

In a high-profile visit to Africa, Jackson visited several countries, among them Gabon and Egypt.His first stop to Gabon was greeted with a sizable reception of more than 100,000 people in “spiritual bedlam”, some of them carrying signs that read, “Welcome Home Michael”.] In his trip to the Ivory Coast, Jackson was crowned “King Sani” by a tribal chief.He then thanked the dignitaries in French and English, signed official documents formalizing his kingship and sat on a golden throne while presiding over ceremonial dances.

One of Jackson’s most acclaimed performances came during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. As the performances began, Jackson was catapulted up from beneath the stage as fireworks went off behind him. After landing on the canvas, he maintained a statuesque stance dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained in the stance for over a minute while the crowd cheered. He then slowly removed his sunglasses, threw them away and began to sing and dance. His routine included four songs: “Jam“, “Billie Jean”, “Black or White” and “Heal the World”. It was the first Super Bowl where the audience figures increased during the half-time show, and was viewed by 135 million Americans alone; Jackson’s Dangerous album rose 90 places up the album chart.[36]

Jackson was given the “Living Legend Award” at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. “Black or White” was Grammy nominated for best vocal performance. “Jam” gained two nominations: Best R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.

1993: First child sexual abuse allegations

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

In the summer of 1993, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy named Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan Chandler, a dentist.  A year after Jackson met the boy, under the influence of sodium amytal, a controversial sedative, Jordan told his father that Jackson had touched his penis.  The father was tape-recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, where he said, “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever … Michael’s career will be over”. He and Jackson engaged in unsuccessful negotiations to reach a financial settlement; the negotiations were initiated by Chandler but Jackson did make several counter offers. Jordan told a psychiatrist and later police that he and Jackson had engaged in acts of kissing, masturbation and oral sex, as well as giving a detailed description of what he alleged were the singer’s genitals.

An official investigation began, with Jordan’s mother adamant that there was no wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. Neverland Ranch was searched; and multiple children and family members denied that Jackson was a pedophile, though his image took a further hit when his older sister, La Toya, accused him of being a pedophile, a statement she later retracted. Jackson agreed to a 25-minute strip search, conducted by police and doctors at his ranch, required to see if a description provided by Jordan of Jackson’s genitals was accurate. Doctors concluded there were strong similarities, but it was not a definitive match. His friends said he never recovered from the humiliation. He described the search in an emotional public statement, and proclaimed his innocence.

He began taking painkillers and sedatives, including Valium, Ativan, and Xanax, in part to ease chronic pain resulting from an accident with stage rigging during the Dangerous Tour, and for joint inflammation associated with the lupus, but also to ease the panic attacks stemming from the allegations against him. By the fall of 1993, he was addicted. His health deteriorated to such an extent that he canceled the remainder of the Dangerous World Tour and went into rehab in London for a few months, dramatically disappearing from public view with the help of Elizabeth Taylor and Elton John. The stress of the allegations also caused him to stop eating, and he lost a significant amount of weight. With his health in decline, his friends and legal advisers took over his defense and finances. They called on him to settle the child-abuse allegations out of court, believing he could not endure a lengthy trial.

The tabloids painted him in an extremely unfavorable light.Complaints about them included bias against Jackson, paying for stories about alleged criminal activity, and buying leaked confidential material from the police investigation. On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled with the Chandlers out of court for $22 million, after which Jordan stopped co-operating regarding criminal proceedings. Jackson was never charged, and the state closed its criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence.

1994: First marriage

Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley on May 26, 1994.

In May 1994, Jackson married singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. They had first met in 1975 during one of Jackson’s family engagements at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, and were reconnected through a mutual friend in early 1993. They stayed in contact every day over the telephone. As child molestation accusations became public, Jackson became dependent on Lisa Marie for emotional support; she was concerned about his faltering health and addiction to drugs. Lisa Marie explained, “I believed he didn’t do anything wrong and that he was wrongly accused and yes I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it.” In a phone call he made to her, she described him as high, incoherent and delusional. Shortly afterwards, she tried to persuade Jackson to settle the allegations out of court and go into rehabilitation to recover—he subsequently did both. Jackson proposed to Lisa Marie over the telephone towards the fall of 1993, saying, “If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?”. Presley and Jackson married in the Dominican Republic in secrecy; the parties denied they had been married for nearly two months. The marriage was, in her words, “a married couple’s life … that was sexually active”. At the time, the tabloid media speculated that the wedding was a ploy to prop up Jackson’s public image in light of prior sexual abuse allegations. Jackson and Presley divorced less than two years later, remaining friendly.

1995–97: HIStory

In 1995, Jackson merged his Northern Songs catalog with Sony’s publishing division creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Jackson retained half-ownership of the company, earned $95 million upfront as well as the rights to even more songs.[34][90] He then released the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a 15-track greatest hits album, and was later reissued as Greatest Hits – HIStory Vol. I in 2001, while the second disc, HIStory Continues, contained 15 new songs. The album debuted at number one on the charts and has been certified for seven million shipments in the US. It is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all-time, with 20 million copies (40 million units) sold worldwide. HIStory received a Grammy nomination for best album.

One of many identical statues, positioned throughout Europe to promote HIStory. The statue illustrates the singer’s flamboyant clothing and hair style, influenced by military imagery.

The first single released from the album was the double A-side “Scream/Childhood“. “Scream” was a duet, performed with Jackson’s youngest sister Janet. The single had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five, and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals”.[93]You Are Not Alone” was the second single released from HIStory; it holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was seen as a major artistic and commercial success, receiving a Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance”.  In late 1995, Jackson was rushed to a hospital after collapsing during rehearsals for a televised performance; the incident was caused by a stress related panic attack.[94]Earth Song” was the third single released from HIStory, and topped the UK singles chart for six weeks over Christmas 1995; it sold a million copies, making it Jackson’s most successful single in the UK. The HIStory World Tour began on September 7, 1996, and finished on October 15, 1997. Jackson performed 82 concerts in 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans. The show, which visited five continents and 35 countries, became Jackson’s most successful in terms of audience figures.

1996–99: Second marriage and fatherhood

During the Australian leg of the HIStory World Tour, Jackson married dermatologist nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe on November 14, 1996. She bore two children, who she later claimed were fathered by an anonymous donor:[95] a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (after divorce name changed to Prince Michael Jackson), and a daughter, Paris Katherine Michael Jackson.[89][96] The pair first met in the mid-1980s, when Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo. She spent many years treating his illness as well as providing emotional support. They built a strong friendship, then became romantically involved. Originally there were no plans to marry, but following Rowe’s first pregnancy, Jackson’s mother intervened and persuaded them to do so.  Jackson later claimed that he was in such a rush to leave the hospital with daughter Paris in 1998 that he cut the cord and left with the baby covered in blood, taking the placenta with him in his haste. The couple divorced in 1999, and remained friends, with Rowe giving full custody of the children to Jackson.

In 1997, Jackson released Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which contained remixes of hit singles from HIStory and five new songs. Worldwide sales stand at 6 million copies as of 2007, making it the best selling remix album ever released. It reached number one in the UK, as did the title track.[101][102] In the US, the album was certified platinum, but only reached number 24.[64][93] Forbes placed his annual income at $35 million in 1996 and $20 million in 1997.

Throughout June 1999, Jackson was involved in a number of charitable events. He joined Luciano Pavarotti for a benefit concert in Modena, Italy. The show was in support of the non-profit organization War Child, and raised a million dollars for the refugees of Kosovo, as well as additional funds for the children of Guatemala.[103] Later that month, Jackson organized a set of “Michael Jackson & Friends” benefit concerts in Germany and Korea. Other artists involved included Slash, The Scorpions, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, A. R. Rahman, Prabhu Deva Sundaram, Shobana Chandrakumar, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti. The proceeds went to the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund”, the Red Cross and UNESCO.

2000–03: Label dispute, Invincible, and third child

In 2000, Jackson was listed in the book of Guinness World Records for his support of 39 charities, more than any other entertainer or personality. At the time, Jackson was waiting for the licenses to the masters of his albums to revert to him; this allowed him to promote his old material how he liked and prevented Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur early in the new millennium; however, due to various clauses in the contract, this revert date is still many years away. Jackson began an investigation, and it emerged that the attorney who represented the singer in the deal was also representing Sony, creating a conflict of interest. Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest. For a number of years, Sony had been pushing to buy all of Jackson’s share in their music catalog venture. If Jackson’s career or financial situation were to deteriorate, he would have to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson’s career failing.[106] Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early.  Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was leaving Sony.  As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled. Jackson made allegations in July 2002 that Mottola was a “devil” and a “racist” who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own personal gain. He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a “fat nigger“.  Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the US.

Six years after his last studio album and after spending much of the late 1990s out of the public eye, Jackson released Invincible in October 2001 to much anticipation. To help promote the album, a special 30th Anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden occurred in September 2001 to mark the singer’s 30th year as a solo artist. Jackson appeared onstage alongside his brothers for the first time since 1984.[109] The show also featured performances by Mýa, Usher, Whitney Houston, ‘N Sync, and Slash, among other artists.[23] In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jackson helped organize the United We Stand: What More Can I Give benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert was aired on October 21, 2001, and included performances from dozens of major artists, including Jackson, who performed his song “What More Can I Give” as the finale.  Invincible was a commercial success, debuting atop the charts in 13 countries and going on to sell approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It received double-platinum certification in the US.[64][67][106] However, the sales for Invincible were notably low compared to his previous releases, due in part to a diminishing pop music industry, the lack of promotion, no supporting world tour and the label dispute.  The album spawned three singles, “You Rock My World“, “Cry” and “Butterflies“, the latter without a music video.

Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (also known as Blanket) was born in 2002.[110] The mother’s identity was never released by Jackson, but he has said the child was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells.[100] In November of that year, Jackson brought his newborn son onto the balcony of his room at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, as fans stood below. Holding him in his right arm, with a cloth loosely draped over the baby’s face, Jackson briefly extended the baby over the railing of the balcony, four stories above ground level, causing widespread criticism in the media. Jackson later apologized for the incident, calling it “a terrible mistake”.[111] Sony released a compilation of Jackson’s hits on CD and DVD. In the US, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA; in the UK it was certified for shipments of at least 1.2 million units.

2003–05: Second child sexual abuse allegations

Fans show their support for Jackson after he is accused of child molestation in 2003.

In a series of interviews with Martin Bashir, broadcast in 2003 as Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson was seen holding hands and discussing sleeping arrangements with Gavin Arvizo, 13, who later accused him of sexual abuse.Shortly after the documentary aired, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in relation to Arvizo.

Jackson denied the allegations, saying the sleepovers were not sexual in nature. Elizabeth Taylor defended him, saying she had been there when they were in the bed. “There was nothing abnormal about it,” she told Larry King. “There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it.”[114] During the investigation, Jackson was examined by mental health professional Dr. Stan Katz; the doctor spent several hours with the accuser too. Katz said Jackson was a regressed 10-year-old, and did not fit the profile of a pedophile

During the two years between the charges and the trial, Jackson reportedly became dependent on pethidine (Demerol), and lost a lot of weight. The People v. Jackson began on January 31, 2005, in Santa Maria, California, and lasted five months, until the end of May. Jackson was acquitted on all counts. After the trial, he relocated to the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, as a guest of Sheikh Abdullah.

2006–09: Final years

Michael Jackson with his children in Disneyland Paris, 2006

Reports of financial problems for Jackson became frequent in 2006 after the closure of the main house on the Neverland Ranch as a cost-cutting measure.  One prominent financial issue for him concerned a $270 million loan secured against his music publishing holdings. After delayed repayments on the loan, a refinancing package shifted the loans from Bank of America to debt specialists Fortress Investments. A new package proposed by Sony would have had Jackson borrow an additional $300 million and reduce the interest rate payable on the loan, while giving Sony the future option to buy half of Jackson’s stake in their jointly owned publishing company (leaving Jackson with a 25% stake).Jackson agreed to a Sony-backed refinancing deal, although details were not made public. Despite these loans, according to Forbes, Jackson was still making as much as $75 million a year from his publishing partnership with Sony alone.

Jackson was awarded the Diamond Award on November 15, 2006, for selling over 100 million albums, at the World Music Awards. Following the death of James Brown, Jackson returned to the U.S. to pay his respects. He, along with more than 8,000 people, paid tribute during Brown’s public funeral on December 30, 2006.[123] In late 2006, Jackson agreed to share joint custody of his first two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe. Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom in 2007. This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others.

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

Michael Jackson

The 25th anniversary of Thriller was marked by the release of Thriller 25, which added the previously unreleased song “For All Time” and re-mixes of several songs by younger artists influenced by Jackson. The Thriller 25 package also included a DVD. Two remixes were released as singles to moderate success: “The Girl Is Mine 2008” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008”. Thriller 25 sold well as a re-issue, peaking at number one in eight countries and Europe. It reached number three in the UK and top 10 on over 30 national charts.[127][128][129] It was ineligible for the Billboard 200 chart as a re-release, but entered atop the Pop Catalog chart, where it stayed for 11 weeks and had the best sales on that chart since December 1996. In 12 weeks Thriller 25 sold over three million copies worldwide. Thriller 25 was the best-selling catalog album of 2008. As of the date of Jackson’s death, the album had sold 774,000 copies in the US.

To celebrate Jackson’s 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a series of compilation albums called King of Pop. These albums included tracks from Jackson’s group and solo career, all voted for by fans. Each nation’s edition of the album had a different tracklist, according to how that nation’s fans voted.[135][136] King of Pop did reach the top 10 in most countries where it was issued, and also sold well as an import in other countries

Fortress Investments threatened to foreclose on Neverland Ranch, which Jackson used as collateral for loans running into many tens of millions of dollars. However, Fortress opted to sell Jackson’s debts to Colony Capital LLC. In November, Jackson transferred Neverland Ranch’s title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, which was a joint venture between Jackson and Colony Capital LLC. This deal cleared Jackson’s debt, and he reportedly even gained an extra $35 million from the venture. At the time of his death, Jackson still owned a stake in Neverland/Sycamore Valley, but it is unknown how large that stake was.

Prior to his death, Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 sell out concerts to over one million people, at London’s O2 arena. The concerts would have commenced on July 13, 2009 and finished on March 6, 2010. According to Jackson’s website, tickets sales for the concerts broke several records. During a prior press conference, Jackson made suggestions of possible retirement. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live stated that the first 10 dates alone would earn the singer approximately £50 million.

Amanda Ghost, president of Epic Records (Jackson’s record label), has confirmed that new music from the ill-fated star will be released but it will not be a rushed process. Ghost recognises that there is an ‘appetite’ for the Jackson recordings to be released but also stated that the label “wants to be respectful to his memory, as well as making sure the music is fantastic so that it does not damage his legacy”.  She revealed that the star had for several years before his death, been working on new material with Ne-Yo, Akon and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. It was previously revealed that Jackson had worked with the latter producer to complete a new dance album. will.i.am stated in an interview that he “would not leak the material” from his work with the late Michael Jackson.

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