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The Michael Jackson Bad Years

On July 24, 1985 it was announced that Michael Jackson will star in a 3-D science-fiction musical film, "Captain EO", to be shown exclusively at Disneyland and Disney World. Michael: "I'Captain EO' came about because the Disney Studios wanted me to come up with a new ride for the parks." "I flew up to San Francisco a couple of times to visit George at his place, Skywalker Ranch, and gradually we came up with a scenario for a short film that would incorporate every recent advance in 3-D technology. 'Captain EO' would look and feel like the audience was in a space-ship, along for the ride."

More than a year after this first announcement, "Captain EO" ( "EO" is Greek for "dawn"), Michael's 17 minute space fantasy 3-D movie, premièred on September 12, 1986 at Epcot Center in Disney World, Florida. The film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola ( "Dracula") and produced by George Lucas ("Star Wars"), becomes (and up to today still is) the most expensive film -"minute-for-minute" - ever made. (Estimated costs for the 17 minute film - US$ 30 million).

Michael stars in the title role alongside Anjelica Huston, and two new songs by Michael were featured: "Another Part Of Me" and "We Are Here To Change The World".After its première at Disney World Florida, the 3-D movie was shown at all 4 Disney Theme Parks (Florida, California, Japan, France) with tremendous success and became one of the main attractions of the parks. "Working on 'Captain EO' reinforced all the positive feelings I've had about working in film and made me realize more than ever that movies are where my future path probably lies", Michael says later.

Only 4 months before the première of "Captain EO", Michael made history again. On March 12, 1986 a press conference announced the new Pepsi-Cola contract with Michael Jackson. Michael enters The Guinness Book Of World Records and is acknowledged by them as having the largest endorsement agreement in history between an individual and a major corporation (Pepsi-Cola). A record of US$ 15 million were reported.

After "We Are The World", Michael decided to retreat from public view. For 2 1/2 years he devoted most of his time to recording the follow-up to "Thriller", the album that came to be titled "Bad". Michael: "Why did it take so long to make 'Bad'? The answer is that Quincy and I decided that this album should be as close to perfect as humanly possible."

The album, produced by Quincy Jones and co-produced by Michael, features a duet with Stevie Wonder, a duet with Siedah Garrett and other great musicians such as Greg Phillinganes, Steve Porcaro, David Paich, Paulinho da Costa, Steve Stevens to name but a few. Finally, on August 31, 1987 the album "Bad" was released worldwide (except in England, where August 31 is a bank holiday) with copies leaving the record shops faster than assistants could fill the shelves.

Tower Records in London sold 200 copies in the first hour of trading while CBS (Epic) estimated that some 150'000 copies would be sold at the end of the first day's trading. In Amercia, fans stood in line outside shops from New York to Los Angeles and extra staff was hired to cope with the demand.

The album entered the US Pop and Black album charts at number one, holding its position for 6 and 18 weeks respectively and remained on the Pop charts for 87 weeks, 38 of which were spent in the Top 5. This broke a record of 26 weeks in the Top 5 set by The Eagles' "Hotel California". In Britain, "Bad" hold the number one position for 5 weeks and remained on the charts for 109 weeks consecutively.

The album becomes a tremendous success and yes, Michael made history with it again: "Bad" became the second biggest-selling album ever. Michael: "It's very hard to create something when you feel like you're in competition with yourself because no matter how you look at it, people are always going to compare "Bad" to "Thriller". You can always say, 'Aw, forget 'Thriller',' but no one ever will!"

On September 12, 1987 Michael kicked off his first ever solo tour at the Korakuen-Stadium (meanwhile known as Tokyo Dome) in Tokyo, Japan.

Michael had invited the magicians Siegfried and Roy to create illusions for his "Bad" tour and, in return, wrote a special number, "Mind Is The Magic", to open their show at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Siegfried and Roy are Las Vegas' number one entertainment attraction and since its opening in 1981, their spectacular illusion show has never played to a single empty seat!

On March 1, 1988 the new four Pepsi ads with Michael were previewed at a specially arranged Press Conference. One day later, during the 30th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, the innovative Pepsi commercials by Michael premièred.

The commercials were so popular, they were requested specifically by Soviet officials to be aired on Soviet television. They were the first American ads to air in the Soviet Union, and were seen by an estimated 150 million Soviets.

On April 20, 1988 "Moonwalk", Michael Jackson's long-awaited autobiography, which had been edited by Jacqueline Onassis, was published by Doubleday.

The book is a memorable journey to the very heart and soul of a modern musical genius. At the age of 29, Michael could look back to 24 years stage experience.

Within 2 weeks, "Moonwalk" was top of the Best Sellers List in Britain with the first 70'000 print run having sold out. A reprint of 12'500 was ordered, followed by a second reprint of 30'500 a week later.

In America, "Moonwalk" entered the Best Sellers' Lists of the "Los Angeles Times" at number one and the "New York Times" at number 2, moving up to the number one position in its second week on the chart. These two book charts are considered the most important in the publishing industry. Within a few months, it was announced that "Moonwalk" had sold in excess of 450'000 copies in 14 countries around the world.

"Moonwalk" is dedicated to one of Michael's all-time idols, the late, great Fred Astaire.

In "Moonwalk" Michael talks openly about his youth, his family, his first love, plastic surgery, and his wholly exceptional career and the often bizarre and unfair rumors that have surrounded it.

Michael: "When I first became well known, I had a lot of baby fat and a very round, chubby face. That roundness stayed with me until several years ago when I changed my diet and stopped eating beef, chicken, pork, and fish, as well as certain fattening foods. I just wanted to look better, live better, and be healthier. Gradually, as I lost weight, my face took on its present shape and the press started accusing me of surgically altering my appearance, beyond the nose job I freely admitted I had, like many performers and film stars. They would take an old picture from adolescence or high school, and compare it to a current photograph. In an old picture my face would be round and pudgy. I'd have an Afro, and the picture would be badly lit. The new picture would show a much older, more mature face. I've got a different hairstyle and a different nose. Also, the photographer's lightning is excellent in the recent photographs. It's really not fair to make such comparisons.

I'd like to set the record straight right now. I have never had my cheeks altered or my eyes altered. I have not had my lips thinned, nor have I had dermabrasion or a skin peel. All of these charges are ridiculous. If they were true, I would say so, but they aren't. I have had my nose altered twice and I recently added a cleft to my chin (which today is not really seen as "plastic surgery"), but that is it. Period. I don't care what anyone else says - it's my face and I know!"

In May of 1988, Michael moved out of Hayvenhurst, the family's Encino home, to his recently purchased ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The 2'700 acre "Sycamore Valley Ranch" was soon renamed "Neverland Valley Ranch" from Michael's favorite book, "Peter Pan", the boy from Never Never Land.

On May 18, 1988 "Moonwalker", Michael's first movie in which he plays the leading role, was previewed at the "Cannes Film Festival" in the South of France. The movie is scheduled for a Christmas release.

With "Dirty Diana" reaching the number one position on July 2, 1988 Michael became the first artist to have 5 number one hits from one album ("Bad"). No one else had achieved this before!

Michael is featured in The Guinness Book of World Records as the artist with the most number one hits in the 80's - no other artist (male and female) has had more number one hits in the 80's than the King of Pop!!!

In late October of 1988, "Moonwalker" made its debut in Japanese theatres. And finally on December 26, the movie was released in Europe. Although, "Moonwalker" received mixed critics, it was a success in both Japan and Europe. In Britain and France, it was reported that people were standing in line in front of the movie theatres.

Michael's then-manager Frank Dileo decided not to release "Moonwalker" in the US movie theatres. On January 10, 1989 "Moonwalker" was released on video in America. In just over one month, it sold 600'000 units in the States. And this was just the beginning. "Moonwalker" debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Music Video Cassette chart and stayed there for 22 weeks before being replaced by himself, with "Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues".

On January 24, 1989 after only 2 weeks on release, "Moonwalker" is reported to have outsold "The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller". With this, Michael broke his own record, pushing "The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller" to the second position. Up to today, "Moonwalker" is the biggest-selling music video of all time followed by "The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller" as the second biggest-selling music video of all time. With this, Michael made history again. He holds the top 2 positions for the most selling music videos of all time.

Also, on January 27, 1989 Michael played the 123rd and final show of the "Bad" tour at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
The "Bad" tour broke all existing records and became the biggest tour ever done up to that date. The "Bad" World Tour attendance figures total 4.4 million, making Michael's 16 month tour (September 12, 1987 - January 27, 1989), which played in 15 countries, the largest in history. The tour became also the highest grossing concert tour, grossing over US$ 125 million, more than any other entertainer has ever grossed on a single tour. Michael will break his "tour records" a couple years later.

During his European leg of the "Bad" tour, Michael was earning UK£ 3'425 a minute. Michael had negotiated a deal worth UK£ 20 million, of which he received 90% of the preceeds from all concerts. After paying his entourage of 140, he was left with profits of around UK£ 400'000 per show.

On February 14, 1989 it was announced that Michael and his manager Frank Dileo, were to part company. No real reason was given for the abrupt split, leaving the media to speculate about possible causes, suggesting that Dileo was trying to be bigger than Michael, that his managing technique was too flamboyant and that he tried to promote him as a wacky person. Dileo managed Michael's career from March 20, 1984 to February 14, 1989.

On July 28, 1989 Michael became the newest claymation member of the Raisin Family by appearing in their new TV commercial called "Michael Raisin". Michael's speaking voice is used in the ads, but his singing voice on the song "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" couldn't be used because of his exclusive contract with Pepsi. Michael agreed to lend his image to the commercial after working with the claymation creator on "Moonwalker".

On September 13, 1989 a press conference was held to announce Michael's new endorsement deal with "L.A. Gear". The two year deal called for Michael to design and market a line of sportsshoes and sportswear as well as appear in commercials.

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Jackson 5 Era
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