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The Michael Jackson Dangerous Years

On December 18, 1989 reports confirmed that Michael's planned greatest hits album, "Decade", was shelved due to an avalanche of new material, prompting thoughts of a brand new album instead, much to the delight of his fans.

In spring of 1990, movie theatres began airing commercials for "L.A. Gear" using Michael Jackson's music, "Wanna Be Startin' Something", but Michael himself did not appear in the commercials. The teaser ads were later aired on TV.

In July of 1990, the first publicity pictures of Michael Jackson's "L.A. Gear" campaign began to circulate in magazines. His eight year old niece, Brandi, daughter of elder brother Jackie, was featured in the promotion and appears in the TV ads. Michael's first TV commercial in nearly 4 years was heralded a creative breakthrough by the industry. A month later, in August, commercials for "L.A. Gear" with Michael began airing in movie theatres.

On August 18, 1990 it was announced that Michael had hired Sandy Gallin as his new personal manager.

On March 20, 1991 in New York City, the biggest deal in music history was announced between Michael and Sony, who bought CBS in 1988. The Japanese-owned multi-national corporation signs Michael to a 15 year, 6-album record and film contract.

Michael enters the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid entertainer in the music industry and up to today still holds his record. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the contract is worth US$ 890 million (US$ 1 billion is estimated).

Michael received an US$ 18 million cash advance for the forthcoming album, plus a $ 5 million bonus for this and each of his next 5 albums.

Michael, now the highest-paid entertainer in the music industry, receiving a royalty rate of 25% on each album sold. He is also CEO of his own record label, Nation Records (which was renamed to MJJ Productions later), for which he will receive US$ 1 million per annum. The lucrative deal is reported in the press as setting new standards for cost and scope.

On April 17, 1991 a tiny Indie dance label, Nation Records, threatened to see Michael in court if he uses their name for his own record label. Katherine Canoville says that they have been trading under the name for 3 years and have developed an international reputation. Michael changed the name of his record label to MJJ Productions.

At the MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1991, it was announced that MTV's most important award, the "Video Vanguard Award" has been renamed "The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award". Bon Jovi were the first recipients.

In November of 1991, 30 second ads directed by David Lynch began airing on TV to promote the long-awaited, forthcoming release of Michael Jackson's new album that came to be titled "Dangerous".

Finally, on November 14, 1991 "Black Or White", the first music video from Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album was broadcast simultaneously in 27 countries with an estimated audience of 500 million people. It was the largest audience ever to view a music video! The video features Macauley Culkin, Michael's niece Brandi, Bart Simpson, George Wendt (who played Norm in "Cheers") and rapper Heavy D, director was once again John Landis ("Thriller"). After the première of Michael's new video, the press went crazy. The new Michael Jackson video was an event in itself! After 4 years of waiting, Michael was back with a bang!

Only hours after its première, "Black Or White" was in the TV News around the world. The première of the video was immediately followed by uproar regarding the video's somewhat violent final segment (Panther Scene), which caused widespread controversy. Parents in particular were disturbed by the violence and sex enacted by Michael breaking windows and simulating masturbation. Michael's publicist said that Michael's dance sequence is meant to portray Jackson's interpretation of the panther's wild and animalistic behavior. Michael agreed to edit out the final 4 minutes of the video, and issued a statement.

Michael: "It upsets me to think that 'Black Or White' could influence any child or adult to destructive behavior. I've always tried to be a good role model and, therefore, have made these changes to avoid any possibility of adversely affecting any individual's behavior. I deeply regret any pain or hurt that the final segment of 'Black Or White' has caused children, their parents or other viewers."

But "Black Or White" was not only a spectacle because of the "Panther Scenes" but also because it was the first music video ever to use the so called "Morphing" Special Effects. This revolutionary technique was used in only 2 movies ("Willow", "Terminator 2"), but NEVER before in music videos. Michael is again a pioneer!

The single rose to the number one position - a tremendous success! "Black Or White" which features Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash, is developed from a track which was intended for the "Bad" album (the beginning part that Slash plays). In 1989, when Michael began to work on "Dangerous", he asked Bill Bottrell, who wrote the rap lyrics and co-produced the track, to dig it out of the vault.

What the music world had been waiting for for 4 years, happened on November 21, 1991: For the first time in 20 years, an album was released on a Thursday instead of the traditional Monday - Michael Jackson's "Dangerous".

Threats of parallel imports lead to the decision for a Thursday release date, after it was learned that US rack-jobbers and wholesalers were to receive copies of "Dangerous" on November 21, 5 days before the scheduled official release date.

"Dangerous" entered the Top 75 album chart in Britain at number one holding its position for 1 week and remained on the charts for 96 weeks. "Dangerous" is the fastest selling number one album of all time (Michael will later break his own record) and makes history by entering the charts at number one just 3 shopping days after its release.

"Dangerous" debuted on the US Pop album chart at number one, holding its position for 6 weeks. "Dangerous" debuted at number 11 on the US Black album chart, reaching number one in its 4th week and holding its position for 12 weeks. In America, Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard opened at midnight (November 24) to sell copies of "Dangerous" and also unveiled a giant 25-foot, roof-top display.

The "Dangerous" sleeve, which took 6 months to complete, is the creation of Mark Ryden who worked with both Sony Music Senior Art Director, Nancy Donald, and Michael to develop the very symbolic, acrylic glaze painting. Michael wanted the cover to be mysterious and for people to interpret the images for themselves.

For the first time since "Off The Wall", Michael did not work with Quincy Jones as producer. Instead he worked with the industry's hottest producers and technical innovators of the 90's: Teddy Riley, Bryan Loren, and again Bruce Swedien. With Teddy Riley, the godfather of "New Jack Swing", which merges hip-hop beats with soul crooning and had dominated the R&B charts in recent years, Michael followed the trend. "Dangerous" becomes a tremendous success all over the world!

On February 3, 1992 Michael held a press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York to announce plans for a new world tour to raise money for his newly-formed "Heal The World" Foundation. "I have founded the 'Heal The World' Foundation to be the voice of the voiceless: the children," Michael said on June 23, 1992 during the press conference about his "Heal The World" Foundation.

Further to this, Michael signed a Pepsi endorsement deal in front of the media.

On June 18, "Dancing The Dream" by Michael, a book of poetry and essays, was published by Doubleday.

On June 27, 1992 the "Dangerous World Tour" kicked off at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Germany. Michael played to a sell-out crowd of 72'000 ecstatic fans, who saw him perform 18 numbers, including 4 songs from his new album. The end of the show hit headlines all over the world when "Michael" jet-packs out of the stadium and over the heads of his fans.

In August, Michael sold the film rights to his "Dangerous" tour concert to America's Home Box Office (HBO) for UK£ 12 million. The deal is the highest ever paid for a live concert. HBO ads - "He's not coming to America, he's coming to HBO" - were published. The special received the highest TV ratings in the history of HBO (21.4% rating, 34% share).

On January 31, 1993 Michael performed a medley of "Jam", "Billie Jean" and "Black Or White" and "Heal The World" at the Super Bowl XXVII Halftime Show in the Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California before an audience of 100'000 in the stadium and 133.4 million on TV. With this, Michael made history again: Michael's Super Bowl half-time spectacular performance, televised live on TV, broke a record with the highest-ever viewership of 133.4 million viewers, unbroken up to today! A distinction, which also earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. On January 28, 2000, just after the '00 Superbowl XXXIV, Michael's performance of '93 was chosen as the best performance of ALL the past Super Bowl performances by "USA Today" Gordon Forbes.

Only 10 days later, another TV sensation: "Michael Jackson Talks... To Oprah", Michael's first TV interview in 10 years, was telecast LIVE from Neverland Valley, attracting over 100 million viewers around the world. The interview became the most-watched TV interview of all time (highest-ever viewership for an interview) and holds this record up to today. And in the history of TV, the event is the 4th most watched telecast (viewership) ever! It's THE event of the year 1993!

During the interview, Michael revealed that he suffers from Vitiligo, a skin disorder which destroys the pigmentation of the skin, and therefore lightens ones skin color. It's the first time Michael talked about it. But he also talked about his relationships. Here's a short excerpt of the interview:

Oprah: "Do you go out, do you date?"
Michael: "Yes."
Oprah: "Who do you date?"
Michael: "Well, right now it's Brooke Shields. Well, we try not to be everywhere, go everywhere, it's mostly at home, she'll come over, I'll go to her house, because I don't like going out in public." Oprah: "Have you ever been in love?"
Michael: "Yeah."
Oprah: "With Brooke Shields?"
Michael: "Yes, and another girl."

The TV special included the première of "Give In To Me".

On February 24, 1993 Michael and his date, Brooke Shields, attended the 35th Annual Grammy Award ceremony. During the ceremony, Michael was honored with the Grammy Legend Award. The Grammy Legend Award is the most important award in the music business! It's the top honor in the recording industry, given for ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field. The award was presented to Michael by his sister Janet, who enjoys great success herself.

On August 24, 1993 Michael kicked off the second leg of his Dangerous tour in Bangkok, Thailand at the National Stadium.
At 270 feet, the "Dangerous" stage is wider than the widest American stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall, which measures 190 feet.

Also on that day (August 24), reports surfaced in the media that Michael is under criminal investigation for child abuse by the Los Angeles Police Department. Investigator Anthony Pellicano says the accusations are the result of a failed attempt to exort money from Michael Jackson. It transpires the boy's father, Evan Chandler, a dentist in Beverly Hills, wanted Michael to fund movie projects for him, so he could become a full-time screen-writer. When this request was refused, he threatened to make child molestation allegations against his son public.

Howard Weitzman read a statement to the press from Michael, in which he states there was NO wrong-doing from his part and that he intends to continue his world tour. The molestation story will dominate newspapers, magazines, and scandal TV shows for many months to come.

On November 9, 1993 Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Larry Fortensky flew to Mexico City to join Michael. In the meantime, the biggest media hunt had begun.

On November 11, Michael performed his 5th concert in Mexico to a capacity audience of 100'000. Sadly, this concert would prove to be the last. After the concert, Michael left Mexico with Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, stopping off in Canada and Iceland. From there Michael was diverted to Ireland and finally landed at Luton Airport, England. Elizabeth Taylor flew on to Gstaad, Switzerland, and the media hunt for Michael Jackson began.

One day later, on November 12, 1993 Michael announced that he is cancelling the rest of his tour and that he is seeking treatment for a dependency on painkillers. He explains that the stress from the false allegations made against him caused him to become dependent on the painkillers to get through the tour.
Michael's whereabouts remain unknown, leaving the media to speculate widely.

Michael's "Dangerous" World Tour was a tremendous success. It is the biggest tour any performer had done, breaking his own record from his "Bad" tour. Michael toured with the biggest (widest) stage ever (2 floors), worked together with the magicians Siegfried and Roy and David Copperfield for the special tricks. Especially the beginning of the show, the so-called "toaster", where Michael is catapulted on stage and the end of the show, where "he" jet-packs out of the stadium, showed once again why Michael Jackson is the greatest performer of all time!

On November 24, 1993 the administration of Michael Jackson's music catalogue, ATV Music, moved from MCA Music to EMI Music Publishing. It is reported to be the largest deal in music publishing's history, earing Michael Jackson up to US$ 200 million with an up-front payment of US$ 100 million.

On December 10, 1993 Michael proved all the sceptics wrong by returning home to the United States. On December 22, 1993 Michael took to the airwaves in his own defence. It's the first time he gives a personal statement on TV. CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC all carried his statement broadcast live from his Neverland Valley Ranch. Michael: "I have been forced to submit to a dehumanising and humiliating examination by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department earlier this week. They served a search warrant on me which allowed them to view and photograph my body, including my penis, my buttocks, my lower torso, thighs and any other areas that they wanted... The warrant also directed me to co-operate in any examination of my body by their physician to determine the condition of my skin, including whether I have Vitiligo or any skin disorder (Michael already talked about Vitiligo with Oprah. His skin disorder was officially confirmed now). Throughout my life, I have only tried to help thousands upon thousands of children to live happy lives. It brings tears to my eyes when I see any child who suffers... Don't treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent!"

On January 26, 1994 after 6 months of hard negotiations, the lawyers representing both sides in the molestation case against Michael finally reached agreement. An out of court settlement, which both sides have been working towards, is agreed for an undisclosed sum. The nightmare was over!

One day later, on January 27, Reuters News Service reported that the photos taken of Michael Jackson's genitalia DID NOT match his accuser's description given to the police!!! Little coverage was given to this in the press - whereas months before they had been trashing Michael.

Back to the Michael Jackson Biography Index.

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Jackson 5 Era
Jacksons Era
Thriller Era
Bad Era
Dangerous Era
HIStory Era
Blood On the Dancefloor Era
Invincible Era



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