Hello, SISters, it’s been too long, right?

In fact, not that long as I speak to you every week on NetSIS and in other columns about our beloved couple.

Since SamCait’s roller coaster never stops, we’ll take a wee break and enjoy this very special edition of Music Speaks to talk about one of my biggest idols of all time.

Put your Flashdance outfit on, tune in our playlist (link), turn up the volume and drag all the furniture out of the way, because today we will talk about him, the king of pop: Michael Jackson!

Michael Jackson was a singer, songwriter, dancer and music producer.

This is our simple tribute to one of the most relevant artists of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29th, 1958. Yes, today he would be 60 years old. In the early part of his childhood, he lived with his family in a simple house.

At age five, Michael was already part of a group with his brothers called Jackson Brothers, who later changed its name to Jackson Five and later, The Jacksons.

At that time, he that was only a boy already stood out because, although he was little, he was the voice of some hits like “I’ll be there”, “ABC” and “I Want You Back”.

Michael’s voice was always different from the others, and because of that his father put a lot of pressure on him to serve as an example to his brothers.

As you can see, our MJ was never a small thing.

In 1979, Michael Jackson released “Off The Wall,” his first successful  solo album, and from that release he began the musical trajectory that would culminate in his absolute stardom.

Let’s start navigating the universe of Michael Jackson’s songs.

It was very difficult to make this selection because MJ had a career full of iconic hits. Here are some of them:

 

BEN

Don Black and Walter Scharf wrote this song for the 1972 movie of the same name.

In the movie, a boy befriends a mouse, and that’s what the song is about.

That’s right, Ben is a mouse. Did you know that?

But despite this detail, the song has such beautiful lyrics and Michael’s interpretation is so strong and touching that it has become an anthem about friendship.

Ben was one of Michael’s favorite songs and it was his first solo hit. He recorded when he was only 14 and impressed Motown executives (his label at the time).

The song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and Michael sang it at the 1973 ceremony.

 

Do not stop ’til you get enough

Is there anything more danceable than this video?

“Do not Stop ’til You Get Enough” is the result of one of the first partnerships between Michael and Quincy Jones.

You’ll hear a lot about this music producer behind Michael’s greatest successes.

Here in Brazil this song is the opening theme of a TV show called Video Show (kind like Entertainment Tonight). It’s a totally Disco song that was released on the “Off The Wall” album.

There are even rumors that Michael put  a few of “Star Wars” dialogues in the song. He never confirmed or denied the link with George Lucas’ saga.

 

Billie Jean

This song is based on a girl who claimed that Jackson was the father of her children. The woman used to chase after Michael and send letters talking about those children who swore to be his.

He rarely talked about her and had a hard time dealing with it. This song was a way of expressing his feelings without addressing her directly.

Quincy Jones once said that he met the woman in the pool at Michael’s house and she kept repeating that Jackson was the father of her twins.

That’s a real stalker. Spooky!

That was one of the reasons Michael got more reclusive and even a little paranoid with his exposure.

The song was a success. It entered the list of 500 most important songs in the history of Rolling Stones Magazine and won two Grammys in 1983.

The performance of “Billie Jean” entered into history, when, at the Motown’s 25 years celebration, Michael made the first famous moonwalk steps.

SISters, I bet you’ve tried this at home, haven’t you? I have!

Thriller

This video marked the history of music video forever.

First, let’s get to the facts. If anyone ever doubted Michael’s immense talent, this is the final receipt.

The homonymous album, released in 1982, in which the single was released, is one of the most important in the history of music.

Thriller sold approximately 65 million copies worldwide and won no fewer than 33 Platinum albums in the US.

That alone would be enough to prove Michael’s success.

But the most important thing was yet to come. In partnership with MTV in 1982, the video for the single Thriller was released, which would completely change the history of video clips.

But why?

Thriller completely changed the way music videos would be produced in the future. That’s because he approached the language of cinema, with an incredible narrative and art direction.

Michael had this idea after watching the movie “An American Werewolf in London.” Thriller has 14 minutes and is totally conceptual and impressive.

We see Thriller’s influence in movies such as “De Fresno 30”, “Bollywood” and “Golimar”.

 

Black or White

The “Black or White” lyrics are an appeal to racial intolerance back then when Michael was accused of changing his skin color and being ashamed of his origins.

He always made it clear that the change of his skin occurred due to vitiligo, autoimmune dermatological disease that causes the loss of skin pigmentation.

People always doubted Michael had vitiligo, and this was only fully proven after his death.

This was his 12th hit to reach #1 in his solo career. It put him in third place of #1 songs in the hot 100, getting behind nothing less than the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

The “Black or White” success solidified Michael’s position as the “King of Pop”.

Macaulay Culkin, the star in “Home Alone” and Jackson’s friend, was in this music video.

Many accused Michael of abusing Culkin because he visited his home often along with other children. But Macaulay has always been very emphatic that this never happened.

Jackson’s connection to children was seen as odd and inappropriate, and he has been charged several times with sexual abuse.

The most famous of these accusations was the boy Jordan Chandler, who was 13 at the time. The case never went to trial and ended in an agreement of more than 20 million dollars.

Only in 2009, the year of MJ’s death, Jordan, now an adult, came out to say that all charges were lies invented by his father.

“I never meant to lie and destroy Michael Jackson but my father made me to tell only lies. Now I can’t tell Michael how much I’m sorry and if he will forgive me. Now for the first time I can’t bare to lie anymore. Michael Jackson didn’t do anything to me, all was my father lies to escape from being poor.”

Michael’s life and career were never the same after that.

 

They don’t care about us

This is one of the strongest ’90s protest songs. With tribal drums and a powerful rap-pop, “They Don’t Care About Us” has the perfect formula for success among the entire world population.

You can feel the anger on some of Michael’s drives.

The song has a controversial stretch, which came to undergo censorship after accusations of anti-Semitism: “Jew me, sue me/ Everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me/ Don’t you black or white me”

The label itself, Sony, has released excusable notes on the excerpt in all subsequent editions of the album “History”.

This experience, in particular, was somewhat painful for Michael, who later revealed:

“The idea that these lyrics could be deemed objectionable is extremely hurtful to me, and misleading.  The song in fact is about the pain of prejudice and hate and is a way to draw attention to social and political problems.  I am the voice of the accused and the attacked. I am the voice of everyone. I am the skinhead, I am the Jew, I am the black man, I am the white man.  I am not the one who was JOY NINE attacking. It is about the injustices to young people and how the system can wrongfully accuse them. I am angry and outraged that I could be misinterpreted.”

And the place chosen to express his feeling was here, in Brazil. With Olodum’s special participation and thousands of fans scattered around the streets, the video was directed by Spike Lee.

The authorities didn’t want the clip to be recorded at the time because it showed “a negative side” of Brazil. Despite this, the King of Pop is there, showing the population scream “they do not care about us, Michael.”

 

Man in the mirror

Although “Man in the Mirror” was not written by Michael, he always said that it represented very much the way he thought.

The song talks about making an internal and personal change to then change the world, and that was very consistent with the way he lived. The lyrics sends the idea that to change anything, you need to start with yourself.

I confess it’s one of my favorites

It became one of the most requested in concerts. Quincy and Michael were looking for an anthem and it ended up becoming, in fact, an anthem.

Scream

This duet with his sister Janet Jackson was a tremendous outburst at the time. After facing the allegations of sexual abuse and having his life and career devastated by the press, Michael needed a shout to relieve his frustrations.

The song says:

“With such confusions.
Don’t it make you wanna scream
Your bash abusing Victimize within the scheme
You try to cope with every lie they scrutinize
Somebody please have mercy
‘Cause I just can’t take it”

The music video was quite successful and, at the time, was the most expensive ever made, costing $ 7 million. He was inspired by the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” and won a Grammy for Best Music Video.

Director Mark Romanek said that to his surprise the easiest part of filming this was recording with the superstars brothers. He told Rolling Stone magazine:

“[ Michael and Janet] obviously had a deep affection and love for one another and were very excited to finally dance together on camera for the first time. There was some very healthy and good-natured sibling rivalry going on there in that scene.

I was surprised by how normal, likable, and approachable he was. I spent a good deal of time with him in his trailer and between takes just talking about hobbies and movies and various random topics. He was very charming, in that he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and my opinions about things.

It was the experience of being that close to him when he moved that’s stuck with me the most. It seemed like a magic trick, like your eyes were deceiving you.

 

Childhood

This may be considered Michael’s most autobiographical song. For me, it’s the most touching thing he’s ever done.

He stated that he had been mistreated and abused by his father, Joseph Jackson, throughout his childhood. Michael reported that his father used to scare him with demonic masks and beat him almost every day.

During his teenage years, Joseph said that Michael was extremely ugly and that his nose was “scary, gigantic and misshapen.”

On an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the singer said that the situation reached an extreme point where he felt sick and vomited from hearing his father’s voice.

Because his career began when he was very young, at the age of 5, Jackson was unable to live his childhood properly because he already had so much responsibilities, travel and commitments.

No doubt this explains much the eccentric way that Michael has always lived. He bought a ranch and named it Neverland, from the movie Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up.

“Have you seen my childhood?
I’m searching for the world that I come from
‘Cause I’ve been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart

No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities
Cause I keep kidding around like a child
But pardon me

People say I’m not ok
‘Cause I love such elementary things
It’s been my fate to compensate
For the childhood I’ve never known

Have you seen my childhood?
I’m searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates and adventurous dreams
Of conquest and kings on a throne

Before you judge me
Try hard to love me
Look within your heart then ask:
Have you seen my childhood?

People say I’m strange that way
‘Cause I love such elementary things
It’s been my fate to compensate
For the childhood I’ve never known

Have you seen my childhood?
I’m searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
The dreams I would dare watch me fly

Before you judge me
Try hard to love me
The painful youth I’ve had
Have you seen my childhood?”

Childhood (Michael Jackson)

The song was chosen as the theme song for the movie “Free Willy 2,” due to the success of Michael’s first song “Will You Be There?”.

This is another awesome song, but if we’re going to talk about all his amazing song, we will never end this post.

“If you really want to know something about me, there’s a song that’s the most honest I’ve ever written. It’s the most autobiographical I’ve ever written. It’s called Childhood. You should listen to it. This is the one you really should listen to. “- Michael Jackson

 

Heal the world

Jackson wrote and produced this song himself. He always said it was the song he was most proud to have written. He said it was “a song about man’s inhumanity to his fellow men.”

Michael was known for being an “Charity Icon.” The singer has donated more than 300 million dollars for humanitarian causes.

He even made the Guinness Book in 2001 for being the most charitable artist to date. Did you know that?

Read more here.

He created a foundation (with the name of the song) in 1992 and it has helped thousands of children around the world.

He also supported countless charities. It’s a shame that the scandals have taken up more space in the tabloids than these impressive numbers and deeds.

“In some parts of the world, I saw hungry children walking the streets without shoes. I’m very worried about the world’s hungry children and I hope you can do something positive to alleviate this problem. “- Michael Jackson

Source: Falando de Michael Jackson

Smooth Criminal

Moonwalk. Does that mean anything to you?

I know, we talked about Moonwalk already, but have you SEEN SMOOTH CRIMINAL MUSIC VIDEO?

It is worth seeing again, just for the concept and style.

The video was developed for the musical “Moonwalker,” in which Michael saves a little girl (Annie) from the villain Mr. Big.

Michael put all his soul and heart (literally) in the song. At the beginning of the song we can hear the beating of his own heart.

This is the SEVENTH single in the album “Bad”. The music video was considered by BRIT Awards, 1989’s best music video. It hit the charts in three different times: 1988, 2006 and 2009. One more incredible feat for Michael’s career.

We could keep talking about Michael forever and ever.

Despite a life with controversies, disappointments and gold diggers  (including family members), Michael was undoubtedly one of the most complete and impressive artists in the history of music.

He past away in June 2009, victim of a heart attack caused by sedatives.

His death left the world in shock as he was about to debut his last and sold out tour, named “This is It”. To learn more about this tour, we recommend the documentary This is It, available on Netflix.

Michael left three children.

Thousands of fans around the world.

And a legacy that marked the history of music in the most varied forms.

Want to know more songs that have made Michael Jackson the King of Pop? Check out the playlist that we made with all the affection for you:

#PayMyTherapy

#PayMyCaipirinha

#MusicSpeaks

#MichaelJackson

To read this post in Portuguese, click here.

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Authors: Flávia Labruna e Thaís Belluzzo
Images: Catarina Balfe
Text formatting: Thaís Belluzzo
Proofreading (Portuguese): Manu e Alexandra Favoretto
Translators: Queen Victoria, Bianca Portela
Proofreading (English): Queen Victoria, Bianca Portela
Compiler: Alexandra Favoretto
SM: Alexandra Favoretto

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