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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Invincible (Michael Jackson album) 10 Years Anverssary

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Studio album by Michael Jackson
ReleasedOctober 30, 2001
RecordedOctober 1997–August 2001
GenreR&B, pop, dance-pop[1]
ProducerMichael Jackson (also exec.), Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley, Andre Harris, Andreao "Fanatic" Heard, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, R. Kelly, Dr. Freeze
Michael Jackson chronology
Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
Number Ones
Singles from Invincible
  1. "You Rock My World"
    Released: August 22, 2001
  2. "Cry"
    Released: December 3, 2001
  3. "Butterflies"
    Released: February 8, 2002

    Invincible is the tenth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson, released October 30, 2001, on Epic Records. His last studio album, it was the first release of new Jackson material since Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix in 1997 and the first studio album in six years since HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. Jackson, Rodney Jerkins, R. Kelly and Teddy Riley received producing and writing credits, among others. Similar to Jackson's previous material, Invincible explores themes such as love, romance, isolation, media criticism, and social issues. Invincible received generally mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. The album's singles were incomplete in their release.[2] Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early.[3]
    Three singles were released from the album: "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies" of which the first and second were released as physical singles internationally (except the USA) and the third one being a US-only radio-airplay single. The album's first and last singles charted within the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and they peaked at number one and within the top ten in several markets worldwide; "Cry" was less commercially successful. Following a conflict between Jackson and his record label, Sony Music stopped promoting the album. The album was the recipient of one Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male, as well as being voted, by readers of Billboard magazine, the best album of the decade.

    The album peaked at number one in eleven territories worldwide, including the United States (with sales of 363,000 units its first week), the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Switzerland. Invincible charted within the top ten in six other territories; its least successful charting area was Mexico, where the album peaked at number twenty nine. Invincible re-entered music charts several times during the decade. Despite selling 13 million copies worldwide, the album has been viewed as a commercial failure compared to Jackson's previous albums sales.



    During Jackson's time as a member of The Jackson 5, he frequently wrote material for the group and began working on projects as a solo artist, which eventually led to recording his own studio albums, notably Off The Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982). The success of Thriller, which still holds its place as the best selling album of all time with a reported 110 million units sold, often over shadowed Jackson's other projects. Prior to the release of Invincible, Jackson had not released any new material since Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix in 1997, or a studio album since HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995. Invincible was thus looked at as Jackson's 'career come back'.[1]
    Invincible is dedicated to the fifteen year old Afro-Norwegian boy Benjamin "Benny" Hermansen who was stabbed to death by a group of neo-Nazis in Oslo, Norway, in January 2001.[4] The reason for this tribute was partly due to the fact that another Oslo youth, Omer Bhatti, Jackson's friend, was also a good friend of Hermansen.[4] The dedication in the album reads, "Michael Jackson gives 'special thanks': This album is dedicated to Benjamin 'Benny' Hermansen. May we continue to remember not to judge man by the color of his skin, but the content of his Character. Benjamin ... we love you ... may you rest in peace."[4] The album is also dedicated to Jackson's grandmother Nicholette Sottile and his parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson.[4]

    [edit] Production

    Jackson began recording new material for the album in October 1997, and finished with the album's recordings with "You Are My Life" being recorded only eight weeks before the album's release in August 2001.[5] The tracks with Rodney Jerkins were recorded at The Hit Factory in Miami, Florida.[6] Jackson had shown interest in including a rapper on at least one song, and had noted that he did not want a 'known rapper'.[5] Jackson's spokesperson suggested New Jersey rapper named Fats; after Jackson heard the finished product of the song, the two agreed to recorded another song together for the album.[5] Rodney Jerkins stated that Jackson was looking to record material in a different musical direction than his previous work, describing the new direction as "edgier".[5] Jackson received credit for both writing and producing a majority of the songs on Invincible. Aside from Jackson, the album features productions by Jerkins, Teddy Riley, Andre Harris, Andraeo "Fanatic" Heard, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, R. Kelly and Dr. Freeze and writing credits from Kelly, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Nora Payne and Robert Smith.[7] The album is the third collaboration between Jackson and Riley, the other two being Dangerous and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Invincible is Jackson's tenth and final studio album to have been recorded and released.[5] It was reported that it cost thirty million dollars to make the album.[8]


    Invincible is composed of R&B, hip hop, dance-pop, adult contemporary and urban songs.[9] Fourteen out of the album's sixteen tracks were written by Jackson. The album's full length is seventy-seven minutes eight seconds, and it contains 16 songs. It was noted that the album shifts between aggressive songs and ballads.[10] Invincible opens with "Unbreakable"; the last line in the first verse recites the lyrics, "With all that I've been through/I'm still around".[9] In a 2002 interview with the magazine Vibe, Jackson commented on his inspiration for writing "Speechless", saying
    You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water-balloon fight - I'm serious - and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote "Speechless". Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in it's [sic] entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.[6]
    "Privacy", a reflection on Jackson's own personal experiences, is about media invasions and tabloid inaccuracies.[9] "The Lost Children" is about imperiled children.[9] Jackson sings in a third person in "Whatever Happens". The song's lyrics, described as having a "jagged intensity", narrate the story of two people involved in an unnamed threatening situation.[9] Invincible features four ballads: "You Are My Life", "Butterflies", "Don't Walk Away" and "Cry".[9] "Cry", similar to Jackson's "Man in the Mirror", is about healing the world together.[1] The lyrics to "Butterflies" and "Break of Dawn" were viewed as "glaringly" and being able to "emanate" to listeners.[10] "Threatened" was viewed as being a story teller.[9] The song was viewed as a "Thriller redux".[10] The song "You Are My Life" is about Jackson's two children at the time, Prince and Paris. The song features Jackson singing, "You are the sun, you make me shine, more like the stars."[10]
    "Ekam Satyam", a track composed by Indian musician A. R. Rahman, was supposed to be included in the album. The song, written by Rahman along with Kanika Myer was performed by Jackson. Also considered to be released as a single, it was never released.[11][12]

     Sony Music contract issues

    Jackson was waiting for licenses to the masters of his albums to revert back to him, thus allowing him to promote his old material and preventing Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur early in the new millennium, however, due to the fine print and various clauses in the contract, the 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.[3] Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest. For a number of years, Sony had been negotiating to buy Jackson's music catalog. If Jackson's career or financial situation were to deteriorate, it would be in Jackson's financial interest to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson's career failing.[2] Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early.[3]

    Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola he was leaving the record label.[3] As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were cancelled. 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.[3][8] He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a "fat black nigger".[13] Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the United States.[14] The singer accused Sony and the record industry of racism, deliberately not promoting or actively working against promotion of his album.[15]

     Promotion and singles

    It was reported that the album had a budget of twenty five million dollars set aside for promotion.[8][16] To help promote the album, a special 30th Anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden occurred in September 2001 to mark the Jackson's 30th year as a solo artist. The singer performed songs from Invincible and marked his first appearance onstage alongside his brothers for the first time since The Jacksons' Victory Tour in 1984.[17] The show also featured performances by Britney Spears, Mýa, Usher, Whitney Houston, Tamia, 'N Sync, and Slash, among other artists.[18] The show aired on CBS in November 2001, as a two-hour television special.

    The album spawned three singles, "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies". "Cry" was released outside the United States. "Butterflies" did not have a music video. "You Rock My World" was released in late October 2001. The albums lead single. "You Rock My World" peaked within the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, and at number ten in its third week of release.[19] The song was more successful internationally, mainly charting within the top five and charted within the top ten in twelve territories.[20] "You Rock My World" peaked at number one France, and number two in Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium as well as number three in Italy, number four in Australia, and five in Sweden and Switzerland.[20]

    The album's third single, "Butterflies", was released in early January 2002. It peaked within the top twenty at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number two for five weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart.[19] Internationally, "Cry" mainly charted within the top forty; the song's most successful territories were Denmark, France and Belgium, charting at number sixteen, thirty and thirty one.[21] "Heaven Can Wait" also charted at the bottom of the R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, at number seventy two due to radio airplay without an official release; the song did not chart internationally.[19] "Unbreakable" was supposed to be released as the albums fourth single, but was cancelled for unspecified reasons.[2

     Critical and public reception

    Invincible received generally mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 51 based on 19 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[30] Stephen Thomas Erlewine, a writer for Allmusic, gave the album three out of five stars, commenting that Invincible had a "spark" and "sound better than anything Jackson has done since Dangerous [in 1991]."[1] Erlewine noted that while the album had

    good material it was "not enough to make Invincible the comeback Jackson needed - he really would have had to have an album that sounded free instead of constrained for that to work - but it does offer a reminder that he can really craft good pop."[1] James Hunter, a writer for Rolling Stone, gave Invincible three out of five stars noted that the album's later ballads made the record too long.[9] Hunter also commented that Jackson and Riley made Invincible "something really handsome and smart", allowing listeners "to concentrate on the track's momentous rhythms" such as "Santana's passionate interjections and Lubbock's wonderfully arranged symphonic sweeps".[9]

    Mark Beaumont, a writer for NME, gave the record six out of ten, stating, "Invincible is a relevant and rejuvenated comeback album made overlong".[26] Reviewer Robert Christgau gave the album an "A-", commenting Jackson's skills as a musician are often forgotten, but noting that the album seemed too long compared to other Jackson albums.[23] While Christgau felt some material was "offensive", he described the albums first three tracks as being the "Rodney Jerkins of the year" adding that he did not "believe the [album's] hype matters".[23] David Browne, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, rated the album a "C-" commenting that Invincible is Jackson's "first album since Off the Wall that offers virtually no new twists" but remarked that the album "feels like an anthology of his less-than-greatest hits".[10] In a retrospective 2004 review, Jon Pareles for Rolling Stone gave Invincible one out of five stars, writing "Only allowing himself one anti-tabloid song, he tried to play the gentle, adoring lover and concentrated on ballads. But three decades after he had first charmed the world, his old suavity was gone, and all that was left was grim calculation".[31]

    Shortly after the release of the album, in a poll conducted by Billboard magazine, "an overwhelming majority" of people - 79% of 5,195 voters - were not surprised by Invincible entering the Billboard 200 at number one.[32] Billboard also reported that 44% agreed with the statement, proclaiming that Jackson was "still the King of Pop". Another 35% said they were not surprised by the album's ranking, but doubted Invincible would hold on for a second week at the top of the chart.[32] Only 12% of people who responded to the poll said they were surprised by the album's charting debut because of Jackson's career over past six years and another 9% were taken aback by the album's success, due to light of the negativity that preceded the album's release.[32] Invincible received one Grammy Award nomination at the 2002 ceremony. The album's song "You Rock My World" was nominated for "Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male", but lost to James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight".[33] Due to the album's release in October 2001, it was not eligible for any other nomination from the 2002 Grammy Awards.[34] In December 2009, readers of Billboard magazine voted Invincible as the best album of the decade, from their readers poll.[35

    [edit] Commercial performance

    Invincible was Jackson's first studio album to be released in four years, since Blood on the Dance Floor in 1997.[36] In the album's first week of release, with the sales of 363,000 units, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 on the charts issue date of November 17, 2001.[36][37] Invincible was Jackson's fifth number one entry on the Billboard 200,[36] and the fourth to chart at number one in its debut week as a solo artist. Despite the first week sales of Invincible being good, the album sold less than HIStory in its opening week, with the album having sold 391,000 units.[36] Invincible also charted at number one on Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart for four weeks.[38] After eight weeks of release, in December 2001, Invincible was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the sales of five hundred thousand units.[39] In the same month the album was certified platinum for the sale of one million units.[39] On January 25, 2002, the album was certified two times platinum for the sales of two million units.[39]
    Internationally, Invincible was a commercial success. The album peaked at number one in twelve countries worldwide,[36] including the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.[36][40] It also charted within the top ten in several countries, including Austria, Canada, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, and Norway.[40] Mexico was the album's least successful charting territory, peaking within the top thirty at number twenty nine.[40] The album has reportedly sold 13 million units worldwide.[41] 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.[2] Commenting on the sales of Invincible back in late 2003, Bernard Zuel of The Sydney Morning Herald stated:

    "Holly Valance or Delta Goodrem would think their Christmases had come at once if they sold five or six million copies of their albums worldwide. Michael Jackson did something similar in the past two years with his seventh solo album, Invincible, and he's been branded a failure in the industry and the media. Unfair? Yes, of course, because his Invincible figures are better than those for 95 per cent of the thousands of artists released each year and would provide a healthy retirement fund for anyone. What's more, that failure tag is consistently applied by comparisons with his 1982 album, Thriller, which has sold about 100 million copies and its follow-ups, Bad, that sold about 30 million copies. However, selling 10 million copies is still phenomenal compared to the album sales of most artists."[15]
    In 2004, Invincible re-entered Billboard charts. Invincible placed at 154 on the Billboard 200 on December 4, 2004.[42] The album also peaked at number forty eight on the Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart on the charts issue date of December 4.[42] Following Jackson's death in June 2009, his music experienced a surge in popularity.[43] Invincible charted at number twelve on Billboards Digital Albums Chart on July 11, 2009.[44] Having not charted on the chart prior to its peak position, the album was listed as the ninth biggest jump on that chart that week.[44] It also charted within the top ten, peaking at number nine, on Billboard's Catalog Albums Chart on the issue date of July 18.[42] On the week of July 19, 2009, Invincible charted at number eighteen in Italy.[45] Invincible peaked at number sixty four on the European Albums Chart on the charts issue date of July 25.[46] The album also charted at number twenty nine in Mexico in July,[47] and eighty four on the Swiss Albums Chart on July 19, 2009.[48]

    Internationally, the album has received multiple certifications. Invincible was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, for the sales of over 300,000 units in the United Kingdom.[49] The album was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for the sales of 40,000 units in Switzerland.[50] The IFPI also certified the album gold in Austria for the sales of 15,000 units.[51] Australian Recording Industry Association certified Invincible two times platinum for the sales of 140,000 units in Australia.[52] Other certifications include, a gold certification from Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers for the sales of 20,000 units in Argentina.[53

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT 2nd Anniversary

    Michael Jackson's This Is It

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Michael Jackson's This Is It

    Theatrical release poster
    Directed byKenny Ortega
    Produced byMichael Jackson
    Randy Phillips
    Kenny Ortega
    Paul Gongaware
    StarringMichael Jackson
    Music byMichael Jackson
    CinematographySandrine Orabona
    Tim Patterson[1]
    StudioAEG Live[2]
    The Michael Jackson Company, LLC
    Distributed byColumbia Pictures
    Release date(s)October 28, 2009 (2009-10-28)[3]
    Running time111 minutes
    CountryUnited States
    Budget$60 million
    Box office$261,183,588[4]
    Michael Jackson's This Is It is a 2009 American documentaryconcert film directed by Kenny Ortega that documents Michael Jackson's rehearsals and preparation for the concert series of the same name scheduled to start on July 13, 2009, but canceled due to his death eighteen days prior on June 25. It is the last film Jackson starred in. The film is now the highest grossing concert movie and documentary in the history of cinema.[5] The film consists of Jackson rehearsing musical numbers and directing his team, and additional behind the scenes footage including dancer auditions and costume design. The film's director Kenny Ortega confirmed that none of this footage was originally intended for release, but after Jackson's death it ws agreed that the film be made. The footage was filmed at the Staples Center and The Forum in California.

    Despite originally being set for October 30, the film's release date was rescheduled for October 28, 2009, due to a strong demand by Jackson's fans. The film was given a worldwide release and a limited two-week theatrical run from October 28, to November 12, 2009, but theatrical release was later extended. Tickets went on sale a month early on September 27, to satisfy a high anticipated demand; to date, the film has broken numerous records via tickets both pre-sale and sales worldwide.
    Since the film's confirmation, AEG Live has faced criticism; mostly consisting of claims that they had only made the film to make a profit. Multiple members of Jackson's family had confirmed that they did not support the film and some family members went as far as to try to stop the film agreement in August. The film has also been surrounded by allegations regarding the appearance of body doubles in place of Jackson; which Sony denied, and an outrage from some of Jackson fans; with some going as far as to start a protest against the film. In August 2009, a judge approved a deal between Jackson's estate, concert promoter AEG Live, and Sony Pictures. The agreement allowed Sony to edit the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage needed to create the film. Sony subsequently paid $50 million for the film rights.[6]

    The film was released to mainly positive reviews from both critics and Jackson fans; the film's portrayal of Jackson and his performances were generally praised, while criticism mainly consisted of both critics and fans having felt that the film was made just to profit off Jackson's death and that Jackson wouldn't have wanted the film released because he was a "perfectionist".
    Despite some fans boycotting the film, and his family not endorsing the movie, This Is It ticket sales broke international records a month before its release. It has broken advance ticket sales records for a movie. Among the cities with the strongest sales are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and New York. Records were also set in Japan, where more than $1 million in tickets were sold on the first day they were available. In London, fans bought more than 30,000 tickets on the first day. Record sales were also reported in Holland, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand.[7]

    In the first opening weekend it grossed $101 million worldwide. The movie sold $32.5 million over its first five days in the U.S. and Canada, and $68.5 million in 97 other countries - making the number one film at the box office[8] and making it the fifth highest-grossing Halloween debut. On its theatrical run, the film's worldwide revenue gross was in total $261 million, making it the highest grossing documentary/concert movie of all time.[4]
    The movie is also being sold as USB flash drive by Kingston with different capacities, first time ever in company`s history, according to deal done with Sony Music, as Limited Edition Version.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Michael Jackson Interview with The Mirror 1999 by Piers Morgan Part 1 and 2

    Part 1
    SUPERSTAR Michael Jackson wept last night as he told The Mirror of his anguish at
    being branded a child abuser. Speaking publicly for the first time of his private pain,
    Jacko said: "I'd slit my wrists rather than hurt a child. I could never do that. No-one
    will ever know how much these wicked rumours have hurt me."

    In his first interview with a British newspaper for 20 years, he told of his desperate
    wish to help the refugee children of Kosovo
    Jacko, 40, said: "I feel so sad when I see the pictures of those poor kids. It makes me
    cry every day. I just want to go over there and hug every one of them."
    He has dedicated his new record What More Can I Give? to the refugees and will give
    all profits to victims of Kosovo's ethnic cleansing. He also plans a star-studded video.
    Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed is helping the project. In his candid talk, Jacko told
    of his joy at being a dad and his love for wife Debbie.
    THE King of Pop does not give interviews. Michael Jackson does not need to. His
    astonishing talent has always driven a unique worldwide publicity machine that
    ensured his status as the biggest star of them all.
    But that reclusive silence has had an adverse flip-side. The 40-year-old star has never
    been able to counter the child-abuse allegations that threatened to wreck his career.
    He knows a lot of people believe him to be a child molester, a man who seduces and
    abuses young boys for pleasure.
    Yet for years he has said nothing, refusing to go public and reveal himself to the
    world's media on the record about the issue that has dogged his life. Now he has. With
    tears streaming down his face, Jackson told me of the terrible pain and hurt he has felt
    at what he calls "wicked lies and rumours."'
    Sitting next to his friend Mohamed Al Fayed at the tycoon's Harrods store in London,
    Jackson wept uncontrollably as he poured out his anguish about the "evil people who
    think I could do this thing to children."'
    His frankness shocked me. This was not a glib, girlish monosyllabic character hiding
    behind the famous mask and make-up. This was an intelligent, articulate and mature
    man. And a man who very clearly bears the emotional scars of a terrible humiliation
    based on alleged crimes he says he could never commit.

    It was a curious and bizarre experience hearing the most famous person on the planet
    crying his eyes out as he defended himself. I've never been sure either way about
    Michael Jackson and those claims. The parents said he had abused their kids, the kids
    they'd left alone with him for weeks on end despite the rumours - then walked off
    with millions of dollars for their troubles. How much more convincing they would
    have been if they had never taken the money, I've always thought.
    What is for sure is that if he IS guilty, he hides it extremely well. Having spoken to
    him for 40 minutes yesterday, I would say he loves children in a way that few
    ordinary people can ever match or understand. He puts it simply but devastatingly -
    "If it wasn't for the children...I'd throw in the towel and I'd kill myself."
    The tears start to flow as he explains: "I wouldn't care to live without children and
    without the inspiration they give me. They inspire me in all I do, every song I write,
    every dance I perform. People try and use that against me and it's just so unfair. I get
    very upset by it, it breaks my heart."
    Jackson wed US nurse Debbie Rowe in November 1996, after the collapse of his
    high-profile marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis.
    The star is now the proud father of two children of his own - two-year-old Prince
    Michael, who he has nicknamed Baby Doo-Doo, and one-year-old Paris Michael
    Katherine, named after the French capital where she was conceived.
    His joy at fatherhood is tempered by the knowledge that it hasn't stopped the sneering,
    the rumors, the nudge-nudge, wink-wink brigade. He says: ";I love my children so
    much. They have changed me and my outlook on life.
    "I just wish people would leave me alone to get on with my life. I'm just a person who
    wants to be honest and do good, make people happy and give them the greatest sense
    of escapism through the talent God has given me.
    "That's where my heart is, that's all I want to do. Just let me share and give, put a
    smile on people's faces and make their hearts feel happy. To see my kids leaping
    round the room going mad to my sister Janet's music is just fantastic. It fills my heart
    with so much joy.
    "As soon as Janet's songs with a good beat like The Knowledge or Rhythm Nation
    come on they both go crazy.
    "You'd think a machine is moving them around."' The star starts to rap out his sister's
    hits to me, using the desk in front of him as a drum. This is definitely one of those
    Kodak moments for the grandchildren.
    He goes on: "I start singing and there's screaming all over the house.
    "I start dancing and Prince is all in the way trying to dance with me. "Jackson never
    plays his own music to his children - "I'm saving that for a surprise when they are a
    bit older,"' he smiles. He would love them to go into the entertainment world but he's
    aware of the dangers.

    He says: "It's going to be hard for them. When Lisa-Marie wants to sing, people
    always compare her to her father, which is so tough.
    "Of course, I'd love them to do something in the arts so I could teach them to sing and
    dance. But they'd have to want to do that without pressure from me."
    Jackson is clearly devoted to his own kids. 'He tells me: "They are staying with a
    friend of mine who I went to school with. We go back a long way.
    "My children are with hers having fun which is great. I call them all the time and we
    have great conversations. Hearing them say 'Dad! Dad!'' is such a thrill."'
    Jackson says he has learned a lot about being a father from Al Fayed, a friend for
    more than 20 years. The two spent Saturday touring the toy department at Harrods
    and watching Fayed's team, Fulham, play in Division Two.
    Jackson says: "Mohamed is a lovely family man and has been giving me some great
    "He tells me to be loving, to take time with the children, not to leave them with
    anybody and to be with them as much as I can.
    "To help them grow and let them know you love them by looking them in the eyes,
    and saying 'I love you.'' And play, play, play with them."' The singer, who spends
    £3,000 a day on 24-hour nannies, lives apart from Debbie, 40. But he laughs at
    suggestions his marriage is a sham. He insists: "I love my wife, and we have a happy
    "Debbie is a nurse who loves her work, who loves taking care of people. Every day
    she wants to get up and look after others, to help them and make them better.
    "That's why I love her, and that's what gives her bliss in life, God bless her."'
    Debbie - who met Jackson when she worked as a dermatology nurse and treated him
    for his skin complaint vitiligo - is on record as saying: "Michael is a doting father. I
    know the children are safe whenever they're with him."

    Further discussion about the marriage is not forthcoming. But again, you are left with
    a sneaking, dreadful feeling that Jackson might actually be telling the truth. That he
    might genuinely love his wife after all. They may even, incredibly, have had sex.
    Jackson has a deep-rooted distrust of the press based on years of sneering treatment
    by journalists who, he claims, do not understand him.
    He frowns as he sighs: "The press are hard on me, especially in England which is a
    shame because I love it here and would like to live here one day.
    "To give you an example, the last time I was here I flew Mickey and Minnie Mouse
    from Euro Disney to a hospital in London for the sick kids and took them a load of
    toys and things to cheer them up. The next day's papers said Wacko Jacko Snubs Sick
    "That really hurt me - I tried to help those children but people just wanted to make fun
    of me. It was cruel and unnecessary."'
    Jackson's despair at the way he is treated by the media is nothing to his anguish at the
    tragic events in Kosovo. The tears readily return as he says, "I just want to go to
    Yugoslavia and hug every one of those children and tell them I love them. The TV
    footage just breaks my heart. It's just horrifying. I have to turn the set off - it makes
    me cry every day.
    "It's time we did something. It's not enough to turn your head and pretend it doesn't
    exist. I've written a song for the refugees called What More Can I Give? And I'm
    going to give all the profits to the Kosovan Albanians.

    "I want to do what we did with the people in Africa, get all the celebrities together
    and sing for those poor families. I'd like to do this in Britain and get the biggest
    British stars to join me. I want those people to know I love them, that we all love
    them. They are my family, my children. They desperately need our money now to
    help them."
    Despairing of the world's reaction to Kosovo's plight, he adds: "We are all doing too
    much sitting back, and reading and watching TV saying how awful it is and not
    actually doing something about it.
    "I'm not into politics and I don't talk about religion. But I think it's totally wrong and
    ignorant to hurt innocent children over some political or religious issue. It's genocide
    and ethnic cleansing and it's stupid. It shouldn't be happening."
    Part 2. Wednesday 14th April 1999
    For Princess Diana, only one person in the world truly understood what it was like to
    be a hunted superstar icon
    Michael Jackson knew because he was perhaps the only bigger star on the planet. The
    only person who was better known around the globe than our own English Rose.
    Now The Mirror can reveal the extraordinary story of how their shared experience of
    ultimate fame made them first friends and then confidantes.
    By the time Diana was killed they were so close that Jackson spent thousands of
    pounds a month on the phone chatting to and advising her. Which is why the shocking
    and sudden nature of her death came as a terrible blow to the pop legend. His eyes
    brimming with tears, Jackson admitted: "I had a concert on the day the news broke
    and my doctor woke me up to tell me Diana was dead.
    "I literally collapsed, I fainted. He had to give me smelling salts to revive me and I
    cancelled my show because I simply could not perform.
    "I just broke down. I wept and wept for weeks afterwards."
    Jackson's grief was made worse by the fact that he was also a friend of Dodi Fayed.
    "They were a match made in heaven," he says. "I thought they were so beautiful
    "It was lovely to see them like that. Diana was a wonderful person with such a good
    heart. She went round the world as a philanthropist just like Mother Teresa. She
    proved that she really, really cared about people and children especially. The way that
    I do.
    "She used to confide in me. She'd just call me on the phone and we would talk about
    everything that was happening in her life. The press were hard on her in the same way
    they were hard on me and she needed to talk to someone who knew exactly what she
    was going through.
    "She felt hunted in the way I've felt hunted. Trapped, if you like. You can't talk about
    that to your neighbor because how would they ever understand?
    "No normal person could possibly understand, could they? I've had that attention
    since I was a kid, whereas Diana had it suddenly thrust upon her at the age of 19.
    "I've had it all my life so I had the experience to tell her how to handle it.
    "I just said to her, 'Rise above it all'. I'd tell her how I would go on stage sometimes in
    the worst pain - either emotionally, or physically with something like a toothache, and
    I would put whatever it was out of my mind and perform.
    "I'd say, 'Be strong and be determined and nobody can hurt you. Only you can hurt
    yourself - so be defiant'. I think she appreciated it and got something from my words.
    I think I was able to comfort her.

    "I adored Diana. We talked so many times, much more than people realized.
    "When I heard about the paparazzi chasing her, I just thought how lucky I was that it
    had never happened to me because I've been chased the same way so many times and
    you always wonder.
    "Diana's death was the saddest I've ever felt - it reminded me of when Kennedy died.
    It broke my heart so much, I just cried and cried."
    Jackson has never met Princes William and Harry. But he says: "Diana desperately
    wanted me to meet her children and we talked about it many times, but I never did get
    the chance.
    "Mohamed talks very highly of the boys. He says they are wonderful and he had some
    good times on holiday with them and Diana. It would be nice to meet them
    Jackson met Dodi many times in Hollywood, where Mohamed Al Fayed's son made
    He recalls: "He was wonderful, just wonderful. A really smart, charming guy. It was a
    terrible tragedy for Mohamed and my heart goes out to him and his family."
    The friendship between Jackson and Fayed is a curious one, but understandable when
    you consider the similarities. Both billionaires, both sneered at by the establishment,
    both lone fighters against what they see as a hostile world.
    Jackson says: "Mohamed has taken a lot of flak in this country, which is so unfair. He
    is one of the sweetest, kindest men you could ever know.
    "The problem is that people judge people before they even know them. To me he is
    like a big Santa Claus. He loves giving; he's very wise and creative, talented and kindhearted.
    Very giving.

    "He has taught me a lot and I love learning from him."
    Fayed treated Jackson to his first-ever soccer match last Saturday, watching his team
    Fulham in their battle for promotion from Division Two. Jackson clearly loved every
    minute as he was paraded to the fans and watched the first half with his Fulham scarf
    wrapped around his neck.
    "I knew nothing about soccer and I've never been to any sporting event, so it was a
    great experience for me.
    "I'm a soccer fan now, definitely. I'm addicted. It was so exciting and passionate - the
    fans were like the people who come to my concerts. They were screaming and
    shouting and cheering their players on.
    "I loved it. I wanted to jump up and start dancing because I'm used to performing on
    stage when I hear all that noise. The fans were great, although they seemed pretty
    surprised to see me. I have no doubt that Fulham will be promoted; they seemed a
    really good team with a great spirit.

    "I met all the players and they were so kind to me."
    Jackson's legendary business brain sprang into action the moment I mentioned
    Manchester United.
    "I don't know them, but I'd love to get involved with one of the big teams if it was
    right to do so. How much are they?"
    I told him the asking price was around six hundred million.
    "Dollars or pounds?"
    Pounds. There was a long pause.
    "That's interesting, very interesting."
    I pointed out that it would be a perfect union since Manchester United are supposed to
    be the most famous name in the world after ... Michael Jackson. "I'll have a think
    about that. It sounds intriguing. I'm astounded by how much I enjoyed the soccer,
    that's for sure."
    Jackson's career has been relatively quiet for the past couple of years, but he is
    planning a massive end to the century.
    I have an album coming out for the Millennium, which I'm half way through. It's
    going to be the best thing I've ever done," he says.
    "I'm putting my heart and soul into it because I'm not sure if I'm gonna do another one
    after this..."
    Sorry? Did I hear right? Was the King of Pop quitting? This was an astonishing little
    Yes, I did hear right. He is quitting - making solo albums. "This will be my last
    album, I think. I may do the odd movie soundtrack, but this will be my last proper
    "I want it to be something that touches the heart and emotions of the world. From a
    child to older people, from the farmers of Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in
    "I mean I want to reach every demographic I can through the love and joy and
    simplicity of music."
    He is also planning a sensational reunion with his brothers.
    "We are doing an album together, it's legitimate and I'm going to do it. I'll play on
    three songs and produce the rest. It will be fun." How does Michael Jackson unwind I
    wondered? His answer was astonishing.
    "Well, I've stopped being such a recluse now. My friend Elizabeth Taylor has got me
    out," he says.
    "Every Thursday we go to the movies together. She is Godmother to my son Prince
    and we get on so well.
    "I said I could get Warner Brothers to put aside a studio just for us every week to
    watch films in private, but she forces me out. She's the only person who can get me
    out in public.
    "We walk in, sit down, watch our film and walk out. And every time we leave the
    audience all stand up and applaud us. It's funny. The last one we saw was Patch
    Adams, which we loved. It was so touching it made me cry.
    "It's a true story about a man who takes the time to make children happy. That's what
    I'd like to be considered as.
    "The Millennium is an appropriate time to change direction.
    "I'd like to get more into movies. Mohamed and I are looking to set up a company and
    do some films together. It's going to be great."

    With that the two billionaires both roar with laughter at the mischief and mayhem
    they may be getting up to in Hollywood.
    Michael Jackson is a curious cove, that's for sure. He's definitely odd. Not quite the
    full ticket, the entire shopping trolley or even the complete picnic. But he's not the
    nutter I thought he was before I spoke to him.
    He speaks confidently and intelligently, admittedly with a liberal sprinkling of the
    lovey-dovey outpourings you'd expect from him. He was happy to talk about any
    issue I raised, and shirked no questions I threw at him. Most people I know have a
    pretty dim view of Jackson the man, while remaining massive fans of his music.
    I came away from this encounter feeling I may have misjudged the man, that Michael
    Jackson is not such a wacko after all.